Card Creation: 4-Color Legends, part 1.

I’ve always been disappointed that there are no 4-color legends to build decks around.  The nephilim are cool, they aren’t all super-inspiring as generals, so soon after I started playing EDH, I started creating 4-color generals. These are all cards that I think would be cool in the format. I haven’t built decks around them yet (my 4-color decks are tag-teams featuring real cards), but I plan on it this summer.

Since I won’t have as many opportunities to play over the summer, I thought I’d share some of my commander creations.

The Originals (my first creations, entered into Commander Cast’s contest, thought they were created well before it)

“I figured that one of the ways that 4-color legal generals could actually get printed in a regular set would be taking advantage of Color Identity rules. In non-commander magic, these would be playable and draftable in 2-color decks. They’d be decent creatures that were made better if a player could manage to scrape together the off-color activation costs for their additional abilities.
In commander, by the color identity rules, they’d only be playable in 4 or 5 color decks.  They’d still be relatively easy to cast, but would really shine with they additional abilities, AND they’d enable the 4 color deckbuilding that we currently lack.
I designed these over a year ago after talking with a buddy of mine (and these were the impetus for me suggesting 4-color decks for the CallInferno).  I’ve tweaked them a bit over the last few months.  The process was mostly to identify some interesting abilities that were effective against the non-color of each general.  I went with Allied Color casting costs with off-color activations only because I liked the balance. (I am working on the opposing color/ allied color-activation counterparts).  Since I like flavor and character in my cards, I also used a bit of top-down design on some of the cards, thinking of the character archetype first and then adding abilities.”

Kvasha Midnights Watch


Once a nightwatch patrol on the walls of her city, dutifully protecting it from threats from the surrounding wilds. Kvasha’s failing one night allowed a woodland necromancer to temporarily take the city. Kvasha was killed by undead beasts in the attack (which was ultimately resisted by the city’s militia). When she rose again the following night, her guilt compelled her to return to the walls (and skies) and defend the city. She slakes her vampiric thirst only on the enemies of the city, but she also draws strength from the dreams and fears of the inhabitants of her city.


_Design notes_:  I almost gave her Defender, but what fun is a commander that can’t go on offense just a little.  I gave her a vampiric pumping ability as a RW combat trick (which is also relatively powerful because of the deathtouch). The before block declaration keeps her from being a constant 2-for-1 on defense).  The discard-regenerate represents her blue side.

Woodwing Arbor Phoenix


Woodwing was nothing but a normal tropical bird until Vedalken artificers burned and clear-cut her forest to gain access to the magical ores beneath it. Woodwing rose from the ashes ready to exact vengeance and justice. Though her flame has been snuffed out many times, her power over life and death is strong enough to re-ignite not only her own soul, but also those of the other inhabitants of her forest.


 _design notes:_   GWB are graveyard recursion colors, with R having creature recursion in the form of phoneix cards.  Hexproof comes from her G cost, and is helpful against blue’s targeted bounce.  Her Graveyard recursion power is also resistant to countermagic. I like the idea that this is a commanderyou want to go to your Graveyard.  I limited her graveyard recursion to G/R for flavor reasons more than anything else.

Zgplyx the Ooze Infernal

If the roilng, burning, engulfing, acidic chaos that is Zgplyx has an origin or motivation beyond the utter destruction of order, none have survived encounters with it with enough sanity (or life) to discover them.

_design notes:_  Oozes are the best. So are +1/+1 counters. It’s a lot more fun with gross amounts of mana.


Varik Spellwild Knight

Varik was a typical knight in the service of his king, when he discovered a latent talent for spellcasting.
_design notes_:  This was the first one I designed. He’s a standard Knight with a mini- electrolyze on a stick.



Altus Realmfinder

Lost Civilizations, hidden temples, camoflauged enemy encampments… Altus Realmfinder will locate them. Many attribute his success to the piercing vision of his Owl-Aven eyes and his uncanny ability to evade harm, however, while this is true,  what none-still-living know is that he also engages in blood magic to guide him (at great and secret cost to those who hire him).
_Design Notes_:  This card is effective versus Red for two reasons. 1. protection from non-combat damage means he can’t be bolted out of the sky by direct damage. 2. Land recursion softens the blow of Red’s targeted and mass land destruction.  I didn’t want this to be a broken recursion engine, thus the additional sacrifice cost (which gives it it’s black feel). The Untap activation was added as a character trait. In order to find the lost realms, Altus has has to fly into the red-zone first. Or find some other way to tap.

1 thought on “Card Creation: 4-Color Legends, part 1.

  1. Pingback: 4-Color Thoughts | EDH 100 Project

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