April Design Challenge – Ultimatums

Every month we do a Design Challenge and this month the challenge is…

The Cruelest Month – Design an Ultimatum

We also include “bonus points” that people can shoot for:

  • Tim’s Bonus: Include flavor text that references your card’s name (because that’s what Wasteland did)
  • Juliet’s Bonus: it’s The Waste Land, so Have it be able to destroy or remove lands
  • MWB’s Bonus: Design it for Timmy/Tammy

Thanks to Mark Confidant for helping assemble these notes!! We go into much more depth in the podcast, so be sure to listen!

Redbay’s Submission

Beastmaster’s Ultimatum 2GGGGG

Sorcery (R)
Search your hand and/or library for any number of green creature cards with total power equal to or less than 20 and put them onto the battlefield. If you search your library this way, shuffle.

“You only call the herd? Ha! Beastmaster Chadaias call entire jungle! Ha!” -Beastmaster Chadaias, Murasa Expeditionary House.

Art Description: A Sawtusk Demolisher, a Woodfall Primus, a Ravager Wurm, and 2 Acidic Slime standing behind Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura character.

  • ‘Green creature’ here probably does a bit to keep this from just being get A and get B, but with so much power to spare this still probably ends the game. It gets more interesting without Craterhoof though.
  • This goes in every green EDH deck.

Grrbear’s Submission

Dune-Brood Ultimatum 7
Spend only a combination of B, R, G, and W to cast ~. It is each of those colors.

Put a -1/-1 counter on each creature. Then, create a colorless Sand creature token for each counter placed this way.

*The Dune-Brood Nephilim took a thousand screams and made them its own.*
  • Novel casting restriction! Quad-brid!
  • Patterned after Dune-Brood Nephilim
  • This feels like it could place more counters.
  • In terms of playing with Dune-Brood Nephilim, this kills your Sand, but makes more. Does DBN want the Sand to die? Great if you just want to kill and recreate a bunch of tikens to get triggers.

CryptRat’s Submission

  • Was this supposed to cast the spells in yard for free? We thought so but weren’t 100% positive.
  • This plays in that Torrential Gearhulk / Mizzix’s Mastery space, but the randomness adds another layer of enabling. If you cast it with a Spirit, though, the odds of getting something good enough go way up.
  • There’s an interesting question here that comes up with other Ultimatums a lot: when an Ultimatum kinda wins the game, how much work should be done as a designer to make it clear the game is over?

iemcd (Ian)’s Submission

Timorous Ultimatum WWUUURR

Sorcery (M)
Create five 2/2 white Archer creature tokens with reach, haste, and “Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, search that player’s library for a permanent card, put it into the battlefield under your control, then shuffle.”

“[…] and man’s knowledge, painfully and laboriously compiled, is made the instrument of man’s destruction.”—Leonard Wibberly, The Mouse that Roared

  • 1v1 this feels like it’ll end the game pretty well. Quintuple Bribery is strong, and chump attacking to get two or three Bribery ain’t bad either.
  • It’s a lot of searching in multiplayer though, but there are quite a few Ultimatum’s that eat up time.
  • The archers don’t feel very timorous though. Rather the opposite.
  • There are, appropriately, five archers on the cover of The Mouse That Roared

Larcent’s Submission

Ashiok’s Ultimatum – UUU{u/b}BBB

Sorcery (M)

Exile the top 10 cards of target opponent’s library. For each land card exiled this way, that opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life. For each sorcery, instant, or enchantment card exiled this way, draw a card. For each creature, battle, or artifact card exiled this way, create a 2/2 blue and black Nightmare creature token with flying. (For cards that are multiple types, choose one.)

“What’s scarier–When Ashiok steals your dreams or when Ashiok gives them back?”

  • Certainly an ultimatum that makes Cruel proud!
  • The 7 Dimir mana felt like an appropriate amount of devotion for a big effect.
  • Any creature deck will be a feast for this card, and any spell-centered deck will give tons of cards. It shifts to fit your opponent!

Thevoidknight’s Submission

Vibrant Ultimatum {g/w}{g/w}{g/r}{g/r}{g/r}{g/b}{g/b}


Search your library for two green creatures each with mana value six or less and put them onto the battlefield.

All basic lands become forests.

Nothing is as vibrant as a sea of green.

  • What a brutal second clause! Feels like “destroy all commons.” 🙂
  • Lots of combo setup potential.

jamesGover’s Submission

Perfected Ultimatum BB(1/P)(1/P)(1/P)UU


(1/P) can be payed with 1 generic or 2 life

Choose one of each

  • Return target creature OR instant from your graveyard to your hand
  • Destroy target land OR return target creature to it’s owners hand
  • Draw a card OR each opponent discards a card
  • Is this the most mode-ified card ever??
  • Destroying lands is so evil. 🙂
  • The double phyrexian mana gives you the tools to spend your life aggressively as a resource, and getting instants back probably fuels your removal to keep you safe.

Craftedlavaistrue’s Submission

  • Having to choose between your lands and a portion of your permanents is very evil!
  • Ruinous Ultimatum is the land-keeping mode here
  • Your opponent’s one chance is they have a group of permanents all the same cost and can attack you down afterward.

Tehol’s Blanket’s Submission

  • Needing 3 pests feels like a cool quest for a large payoff!
  • Having full Regrowth mode feels slightly bendy for modern green.

ChurchWizard’s Submission

  • Now this is a cool ultimatum!! Legendary flavor, big effect.
  • The indestructible counter is a cool touch.
  • Chandra is a popular commander finisher and this is a sweet plus-up.

MonoWhiteBorder’s Submission

Bourne Ultimatum CCCCCCC


Exile all permanents you control. Exile your hand graveyard and library from the game. Your life total becomes 7. Exile ~ transformed and cast it without paying its mana cost.

“I remember. I remember everything. I’m no longer Jason Bourne” – The Bourne Ultimatum spoiler for dramatic effect


David Webb


Split Second, indestructible, hexproof

You can’t draw cards.

When ~ leaves the battlefield you lose the game. At the beginning of your second main phase, choose one.

  • Gain 3 life. You deal 3 damage to any target.
  • Lose 3 life. Target opponent exiles a permanent they control.
  • Lose 12 life. Put 12 permanent cards you own in exile onto the battlefield tapped.
  • MDub went extra weird with this one!!
  • It takes so much roles text to set up this “Form of the Planeswalker” effect that the actual gameplay of being a planeswalker doesn’t get to shine.
  • You feel very vulnerable after casting this as you can mostly just Lightning Helix for the rest of the game.
  • The upside of ultimating is you get to undo some of what you paid to cast it.

Dillon’s Submission

  • Seven 7/7s is definitely BIG.
  • There’s a sneaky mode to this when you pay full Naya mana: turn 3 opponent lands into creatures, then deal four to each creature.
  • What’s the white component to this?

Angel Bro’s Submission

  • We laughed! What a hardcore thing to do to the game.
  • You better lay really low before casting this… or else you get yourself removed!
  • It’s fun how the “tie” clause is bad for everyone… That really incentivizes picking on a target.

wobbles’ Submission

Mutamitlu’s Ultimatum ⬆️⬆️GGG⬇️⬇️


(⬆️⬇️must be paid with an enemy mana combination, like UR or WB)

Each player puts five permanents they own on top of their library, then searches their library for five cards and puts them into their hand then shuffles.

“Dooms lack calms mood” —Xerex saying

  • Can you pay this for UGGGGGU?
  • In a competitive game, it’s an interesting question how many threats vs answers each player should get.
  • Resets the game but gives players the fuel to amp it up afterward.

Bulk Rare’s Submission

Automaton Ultimatum WWUUBBRR

Sorcery (M)

Create a Powerstone token, a Clue token, a Food token and a Treasure token.

Untap and put four +1/+1 counters on each artifact you control.

Noncreature artifacts you control become 0/0 Contruct artifact creatures until end of turn.

Artifact creatures you control gain haste, vigilance and indestructible until end of turn.

“It was too late, when we saw the march of the machine”

  • Feels like Breya, Etherium Shaper‘s Ultimatum!
  • Having more of these Rise and Shine effects would make a deck easier to build.
  • The vigilance isn’t super relevant on the tokens that come to life, but it does help any artifact creatures you already have around.

toasty’s Submission

patrick’s Submission

  • Nice technology here! You can either Flashback it normally or do something like Snapcaster Mage.
  • The card has one target, which can lead to weird “invalid target” stuff. That does lead to weird wording like Prismari Command though.


Tim picked Invictus Ultimatum as his favorite, appreciating its Ultimatum-ness and how it hit the bonuses well.

Markus picked Automaton Ultimatum, especially liking how it feels like Breya Charm.