Design League Finals – Unpacking LudosGD

Tim and Kayiu are excited to crack open LudosGD’s entry into the “Lives and Lies of Tibalt and Tamiyo” challenge finals! This is both a card-by-card Unpacking as well as their judging conversation. Moon projections! Drones! Tourists! Colossal stuff! Baby animal people!

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Recaps and card images at:

Fateful Misstep (2:38)

Art description:
An adventurer is falling to their death into a spike pit. The point of view is from the spike pit itself, so you can see that indeed, the adventurer took a fateful misstep. You can clearly see the adventurer is holding a bag full of gold. They were probably running away carelessly after acquiring it.
Mood: “Oh no”Focus: The tragic but almost comical realization of a fatal mistake.

The first card in Ludos’s pack is quite strong. This card can take out a lot of creatures and refund you some of the mana. From a flavor perspective, it seems to suggest that there are going to be lots of people participating in this journey across the multiverse.

Tamiyo’s Announcement (5:12)

Art description:
In the sky of a Kamigawan city, a large image of Tamiyo is projected on the moon. She is speaking to the masses, with an ardor that is clearly not hers.
Mood: A great adventure is starting! But something is wrong, I can feel it.
Focus: The large scale of this announcement.

This card emphasizes the flavor note that Tibalt has tampered with Tamiyo’s clues to corrupt them in his own image. The card is a a solid sorcery to help encourage aggression and give an alternative use for that treasure token we saw previously.

Ognis’s Scavengers (6:25)

Art description:
A group of three Riveteers viashinos are menacingly advancing towards the point of view; the central figure is smiling and sure of herself, while the other two are intimidating students: you can clearly see that these three scoundrels are causing problems on Strixhaven.
Mood: Out of my way, kids!
Focus: The arrogance of the viashinos.

Ognis is a reference to New Capenna but here they appear on Strixhaven. So this card helps to show how the Omenpaths are playing a role in this set. The rate on this card is solid and shows off the new Follow the [Quality] mechanic. It’s a little awkward that you want to sacrifice treasure already so this is upside to something that already has upside.

Truthseeking Glider (9:33)

Art description:
One of Kaito’s robotic tanukis, with gliders like those of a flying squirrel, is soaring through the skies of Ravnica, with attentive (but adorable) eyes. It’s looking for something and is focused on its task. Around it the spires of the City are clearly visible.
Mood: It’s so cute!
Focus: This cute thingy is looking for something.

This one really shocked the hosts. What was previously just Follow the Treasure is now Follow the Clues. There is some concern that Follow the [Quality] is a very isolating mechanic rather than unifying. As a card, wind drake is solid and getting some extra cards on your wind drake is a welcome upgrade.

Note Critter(12:57)

Art description:
A bunny-shaped creature made of folded paper piece is hopping through a path in the woods. Behind it, it’s leaving all sorts of paper notes with glowing characters on them. The creature is moving away from the point of view: it is in the center of the composition, while the notes are closer to the point of view.
Mood: Follow me, if you can!
Focus: This cute but mischievous creature is inviting you to follow it, but it’s not going to make it any easy.

Normally this may be too high of a cost, but in this environment this rate seems fair. This card does a good job of tying together some of the elements of the story we’ve seen so far. It’s clear that Tamiyo is leaving clues and it’s clear that create tokens is a key part of the set.

Sculpture of Pain / Surprise Devil Attack! (14:56)

Sculpture of Pain
Art description:
The statue of a devil, with glowing red eyes, is in the middle of an old house in Innistrad. The statue is in perfect conditions, in contrast to the house which looks like it’s on the brink of collapsing. A group of adventurers is surrounding it, trying to figure out its purpose.
Mood: What is this statue doing here?
Focus: The maliciousness of the statue.

Surprise Devil Attack!

Art description:
The statue is breaking, and two devils are attacking the adventurers, which are caught by surprise. Some are running away, and some are getting severely injured by the devils.
Mood: Everybody run away!!!
Focus: The twisted fun the devils are having.

This is a pretty intense mechanic with a lot to consider. Decrypt might be a tricky mechanic to balance considering how difficult it can get as the number goes from 2 to 3. Additionally this card has a lot going on in addition to the complexity of encrypt.

Mischievous Gemnabber (18:03)

Art description:
In a rocky landscape, a Zendikari goblin is reaching for the bag of a distracted adventurer, who is visible on the side of the illustration, out of focus. The goblin is grinning, elated to have the opportunity to steal something.
Mood: Hehe, I’m gonna “borrow” this!
Focus: The mischievousness of the goblin.

This card works really well alongside Follow the Treasures. Because Follow the Treasure cares about sacrificing treasure and treasure entering the battlefield, this card can get you an etb on your opponent’s turn and a sacrifice on yours. There is still some struggle to pick up the flavor vibe of the set so far.

The Exploration of the Skyclaves (20:25)

Art description:
Vertical composition representing a relief carved in stone. On the top, a far away skyclave is opened, surrounded by floating pillars. On the bottom, a group of adventurers, closer to the point of view, is racing towards the Skyclave.
Mood: Let’s go, a great adventure is waiting for us!
Focus: The call of adventure.

This is another fairly mundane common. The hosts at this point are feeling like it’s a little difficult to see what makes a card flavorfully feel unique to this set.

Rune of Ixalli / Enraged Dreadmaw (22:19)

Rune of Ixalli

Art description:
Forest scene. A carved stone, covered in moss, is in the foreground. In the background, out of focus, some pirates are starting to notice the artifact, illuminated by a ray of sunlight. The carving is emanating a weak red light.
Mood: The moment before a scene where an adventurer starts pointing out how important the artifact is.
Focus: The relevance of the object towards the quest.

Enraged Dreadmaw

Art description:
A Colossal Dreadmaw, with red light emanating from its eyes, appears suddenly from the depths of the forest! It’s clearly furious. A group of pirates is running away.
Mood: A dinosaur, here!?!
Focus: The rage of the beast.

This card is a much simpler interpretation of encrypt. The front side is fixing to help smooth out your draws while the back is nice in the late game and a good callback. It’s unclear if every inscription is a prank from Tibalt or if Tamiyo will provide some too.

Ruthless Nezumi (23:57)

Art description:
A nezumi is running through the streets of a Kamigawan city. He has resolve and a specific purpose, and he is about to attack a Samurai guarding some building.
Mood: The calm before the fight.
Focus: The resolve of the nezumi.

This card is another good flavor hit much like the rabbit from earlier. This card also feels at home in a Follow the [Quality] environment where you know you will be getting artifact tokens frequently.

Fact or Fiction (25:28)

Art description:
Nashi is surrounded by images of Tamiyo, whispering and speaking to his ears, tormenting him. Some images have mischievous grins and eyes, clearly enjoying Nashi’s suffering as he keeps hearing their relentless cruel words.
Mood: What is real?
Focus: The distress and pain of Nashi.

This card reminds the hosts of tormenting voice from khans. It feels a strong reprint from a flavor standpoint that would be popular and help with the theming. Fact or Fiction might be a strong card for standard but it’s okay for a set to have some standard defining cards here and there.

Tamiyo Adopts Nashi (27:39)

Art Description:
Vertical composition. A child-like drawing of a little Nashi reaching for the hand of Tamiyo, which is offering him a soft smile. Behind Nashi, only ash and desolation. Behind Tamiyo, a rich vegetation and flowers.
Mood: Are you lending your hand… to me?
Focus: The compassionate help of Tamiyo towards little Nashi.

Baby Nashi! This card is making it clear that Nashi is the emotional core of this set. This card does an interesting telling of Nashi being raised by Tamiyo and creating a cute image of Tamiyo telling stories to Nashi.

Tamiyo’s Mysterious Code / Tamiyo’s Decryption Key (29:43)

Tamiyo’s Mysterious Code
Art description:
In a hall underground, Nashi, Ajani, Kaito and Quintorius are witnessing giant scrolls with glowing blue characters. The scrolls are towering on the team, that we see from behind.
Mood: A big challenge is ahead of us.
Focus: The grandeur of Tamiyo’s legacy.

Tamiyo’s Decryption Key
Art description:
A small key, glowing with blue light, is in Nashi’s hand.
Mood: Finally, we conquered this!
Focus: The key.

It’s nice that this card helps to enable its own decrypt cost which is pretty steep. The build around might be a little difficult, but maybe two dreadmaws from earlier would be worth it.

Nashi, Legacy Unrelenting (32:25)

Art description:
In a cavern, Nashi is walking towards the point of view. He is full of resolve. You can see some scrolls and Tamiyo’s Story Spirit floating around him.
Mood: No one will be able to stop me.
Focus: The resolve of Tamiyo’s Legacy.

This is a big flavor payoff for the pack. It’s fun to see Nashi taking on Tamiyo’s colors. However, the mechanic payoff isn’t quite splashy as what might have been desired.

Basic Lands (X:XX)

Art description:
You can see the silhouette of the rival team (Oko, Vona, Ognis, Grenzo) walking in the background of an Amonkheti desert. Ruins are scattered across the environment. Vona is clearly annoyed by the sand. Oko is in the lead.
Mood: Why are we here again?
Focus: The desolation around the team.

The art description here helps paint the picture of a rival team and how annoying and tiring traveling around the Omenpaths might be.

Clue Token (X:XX)

Art description:
Focus on a scroll open, with characters glowing with a mysterious blue light.
Mood: A mystery is waiting to be solved.Focus: The mysteriousness of the scroll.

The Lies and Lives of Tibalt and Tamiyo by LudosGD (X:XX)

Each contestant was asked to provide a short synopsis of the set to accompany their cards. Here is what LudosGD wrote:

Some time after Tamiyo’s death, one day, in multiple planes an image of Tamiyo is projected on the moon. Tamiyo’s image reveals that she hid a great treasure somewhere and invites everyone to start looking for it. This causes the start of an hectic multiplanar race for gold, enlarged in scale and dangerousness by Omenpaths. Nashi sees the image and can’t believe his mom would incite such chaos; so, helped by Ajani and Kaito, he starts searching for the truth. Later on, Quintorius joins the party. At the same time, Oko, Vona, Ognis and Grenzo strike an uneasy alliance to find Tamiyo’s Treasure; the two teams will clash numerous times and will become rivals.

Tamiyo hid these clues only for the wisest planeswalkers; Tibalt twisted her legacy into a rigged race for gold, adding mortal traps and some treasures to embolden adventurers as they go towards their demise. In the end, Nashi and his friends find Tamiyo’s secret, her legacy: the greatest library of the Multiverse’s history. Nashi will become its warden.

The set focuses a lot on Clues and Treasures; it features Follow the Clues (mostly GWU), Follow the Treasure (mostly BRG) and Inscription/Decrypt (WUBRG) as new mechanics, and Sagas (from Tibalt’s and Tamiyo’s life or from Tamiyo’s library) and investigate as returning mechanics. Inscriptions represent the various puzzles scattered across the Multiverse; GWU ones are Tamiyo’s, BR ones are added by Tibalt; GWU ones with hybrid Decrypt costs are Tamiyo’s, but rigged by Tibalt.

And that’s the podcast for the week. If you’d like to check out the submission and the dramatic conclusion to the Design League you can follow along in our discord.