The Great Designer Search 2 Finalists: Ethan Fleischer

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Ethan Fleischer

Epolith

Tooth and Claw

Lands
15 Forest
9 Mountain

Creatures
3 Cave Bear
1 Elven Beastcaller
2 Eohippus
1 Fecund Maiasaur
1 Hunting Therapsid
3 Leaping Ornitholestes
2 Megalosaurus
1 Potbreaker Bull
2 Primal Ooze
1 Prosauropod
1 Rampaging Allosaurus
1 Starving Deinonychus
1 Velociraptor Pack
1 War Mammoth

Noncreature spells
1 Accelerated Evolution
2 Comet Crash
1 Deliquesce
2 Lightning Bolt
3 Migration Route
1 Mist
1 River of Fire
2 Selection Pressure
1 Shooting Spines
1 Symbiotic Adaptation

List of Cards

Cave Bear (common)
[Growing Bear by Cardkeeper - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/challenge1skeleton]
1G
Creature - Bear
2/2
Evolve (Whenever a creature with power greater than CARDNAME's power enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.)

Elven Beastcaller (uncommon)
3G
Creature - Elf Druid
1/1
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a creature card with power 4 or greater, reveal it, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it.
T: Add G to your mana pool.

Eohippus (uncommon)
G
Creature - Horse
1/1
Evolve (Whenever a creature with power greater than CARDNAME's power enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.)

Fecund Maiasaur (uncommon)
[Evolve Splitter by orcishartillery - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/evolvecards]
3G
Creature - Lizard
2/2
Evolve (Whenever a creature with power greater than CARDNAME's power enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.)
Whenever CARDNAME evolves, you may put a 2/2 green Lizard creature token onto the battlefield.

Hunting Therapsid (common)
R
Creature - Beast
1/1
CARDNAME can't block.
Evolve (Whenever a creature with power greater than CARDNAME's power enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.)

Leaping Ornitholestes (common)
[Perhaps CG06 by Orcishartillery - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/challenge1skeleton]
2G
Creature - Lizard
3/1
G, Sacrifice CARDNAME: CARDNAME deals 3 damage to target creature with flying.

Megalosaurus (common)
4GG
Creature - Lizard
7/4

Potbreaker Bull (uncommon)
[Petrovore Ooze by Chah - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/challenge5skeleton]
2R
Creature - Ox
2/2
Evolve (Whenever a creature with power greater than CARDNAME's power enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.)
Whenever CARDNAME evolves, you may destroy target artifact with converted mana cost less than or equal to CARDNAME's power.

Primal Ooze (uncommon)
[Primal Ooze by Toby or Not Toby - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/challenge5skeleton2]
3G
Creature - Ooze Shapeshifter
*/*
As CARDNAME enters the battlefield, it becomes your choice of a 5/1 creature with trample, a 2/2 creature with deathtouch, or a 1/5 creature with reach.

Prosauropod (common)
3GG
Creature - Lizard
4/4
Trample.
Evolve (Whenever a creature with power greater than CARDNAME's power enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.)

Rampaging Allosaurus (premium rare)
[Rampaging Tyrannosaur by Shdwcat and CodaPDX - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/challenge5skeleton]
6RR
Creature - Lizard
8/6
Intimidate
Whenever CARDNAME attacks, you may have it deal damage equal to its power divided as you choose among any number of target creatures. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to CARDNAME.

Starving Deinonychus (uncommon)
[Starving Deinonychus by shdwcat - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/topdowndinos]
2R
Creature - Lizard
5/1
Haste, first strike
At the beginning of your end step, if CARDNAME didn't deal damage to a creature this turn, sacrifice it.

Velociraptor Pack (common)
4G
Creature - Lizard
4/3
Flash

War Mammoth (common)
[Limited Edition Alpha reprint]
3G
Creature - Elephant
3/3
Trample

Accelerated Evolution (rare)
2GG
Enchantment
Each creature you control enters the battlefield with two additional +1/+1 counters on it.

Comet Crash (common)
[Comet Crash by Toby or Not Toby. The number "10" was shdwcat's idea. - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/utilitycards]
4R
Instant
CARDNAME deals 10 damage to target creature.

Deliquesce (uncommon)
[Stone-eating Ooze by Chah - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/challenge5skeleton]
2GG
Sorcery
Destroy target artifact or enchantment. Put an X/X green Ooze creature token onto the battlefield, where X is the converted mana cost of that artifact or enchantment.

Lightning Bolt (common)
[Magic 2011]
R
Instant
CARDNAME deals 3 damage to target creature or player.

Migration Route (common)
[As far as the eye reaches by Toby or Not Toby - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/utilitycards]
1G
Sorcery
Search your library for one or two basic land cards, reveal them, then shuffle your library. Put one onto the battlefield tapped and the other on top of your library.

Mist (common)
G
Instant
Target permanent gains shroud until end of turn.

River of Fire (uncommon)
[Lava Torrent by Chah - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/utilitycards]
XR
Sorcery
CARDNAME deals X damage divided as you choose between target creature and its controller.

Selection Pressure (common)
2G
Instant
Put two +1/+1 counters on target creature.

Shooting Spines (uncommon)
[Exploding Needles by Chah - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/carddepository]
2R
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant creature
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, put two +1/+1 counters on enchanted creature.
Remove a +1/+1 counter from enchanted creature: CARDNAME deals 1 damage to target creature or player.

Symbiotic Adaptation (uncommon)
[Burgeoning Eggsacs by Chah - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs:Gds/gds2/pariah_press/carddepository]
2G
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant creature
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, put two +1/+1 counters on enchanted creature.
When enchanted creature is put into a graveyard, put a 1/1 green Insect creature token onto the battlefield for each +1/+1 counter on enchanted creature.

Comments

"Tooth and Claw" is about dinosaurs and evolution. The name is from a phrase by Tennyson, oft quoted by people referring to evolution's savage and competitive aspect: "Nature, red in tooth and claw."

The Evolve mechanic has been simplified into its most basic form, and is now a keyword. Under the Evolve rules, an ability such as Potbreaker Bull's second ability only triggers if the controller chooses to add a +1/+1 counter.

The deck is designed to play creatures with Evolve early on, then it tries to trigger Evolve as many times as possible by playing a series of ever-larger creatures. It includes tools, such as spells that search for extra lands, creatures with a high power-to-mana-cost ratio, and a tutor that can find powerful creatures, to enable this strategy. Having so many creatures with Evolve in a deck is an inherently high-variance strategy, but the deck has enough resilience to come back from a bad situation.

Regarding reprints, playtesting revealed the need of a cheap burn spell, but Epolith's cheap burn spell uses the Dominance mechanic, which is off-limits, hence the inclusion of Lightning Bolt. I decided to include in Epolith a cycle of reprints from Alpha to help sell the "primitive" flavor of the setting. Instead of the weird out-of-color-pie spells we saw reprinted in Time Spiral, these are simple, primitive versions of spells we see in sets today. Of the cycle, only War Mammoth was suitable for Tooth and Claw.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed!



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