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[RESULTS] Trial of the Missing Mechanic - Hour of Devastation

Hello everyone! =D

Today I would like to propose you a quite difficult challenge, it's almost a riddle actually. As custom card designers we are often used to design cards in a vaccum, but for this Trial of the Missing Mechanic I would like to see how you manage to design with the same restrictions as real Magic design.

Luckily, we are at this time of the year where we already have half a set that is waiting to be finished. That's right, your challenge is to take the mechanical design of Amonkhet where it was left and bring it to Hour of Devastation, just like the real Magic designers had to do two years ago.


Here are the extensive rules:
- Create A MECHANIC for the upcoming set "Hour of Devastation", just like Revolt was introduced in "Aether Revolt".
- Explain how your mechanic fits in the already existing environment (e.g: specify if your mechanic replace any mechanic(s) from the "Amonkhet" set.)
- I will judge how well your mechanic fits the mechanics that were introduced in the first set.
- I will judge how well your mechanic fits what we already know of Hour of Devastation (Nicol Bolas is going to play a huge role, check out the third article below to see how he is defined mechanically by Wizards.)
- Up to five cards per participant are allowed.
- Old cards are allowed.
- Deadline: Wed 17/05/2017 (in three weeks) — I'll be on holidays from the 13th of May so I'll be especially active with feedback on your cards in the last days of the challenge.

To help you, I recommand reading the Making Magic articles about Amonkhet that will hint at what Hour of Devasation will look like thematically:

I think this line from the first article is very important, keep it in mind:

"In the end, we decided that Amonkhet was going to be mostly top-down Egypt with some top-down Bolas and Hour of Devastation was going to be mostly top-down Bolas with some top-down Egypt."
— Mark Rosewater

- THIRD PLACE: ONE favourite on the card of your choice
- SECOND PLACE: THREE favourites on the cards of your choice
- FIRST PLACE: FIVE favourites on the cards of your choice
Of course, I will favourite any card I like in the contest as well :)

I hope you come out victorious of this trial! Now show me your skills as a true custom card designer! ;)



  • So all 5 entries would have to use the same custom mechanic?
  • edited April 2017
    @ningyouk, what he said. Do we make five cards that use one mechanic, or up to five different mechanics?
  • @ningyounk Does it need to be a keyworded mechanic or a theme? Almost everything we know about Hour of Devastation so far points to themes (Article 2 mentions a desert matters theme and article three discusses a -1/-1 counter thing to represent the "Ruthlessness of Bolas"). Think of it like the "Not actually proliferate" mechanic from Aether Revolt (On Maulfist Revolutionary, Skyship Plunderer, and Winding Constrictor)
  • edited April 2017
    @Faiths_Guide @MagicChess @KrampisZman

    1) The way you use your five alloted cards is up to you: you can make one mechanic displayed on five cards, or five mechanics on one card each, or one mechanic on two cards and another mechanic on three other cards, etc. Of course you don't even have to make five cards, one mechanic on one card is a perfectly acceptable entry.

    2) It has to be a mechanic, think of it as the Revolt of Aether Revolt. So "not actually proliferate" would not qualify in this challenge. Though I have an open mind on things like -1/-1 counters that are technically not mechanics but are still recognizable enough that I would be ok with it. (Deserts is debatable, because it has not enough support in Amonkhet to be called an actual mechanic, just as "not actually proliferate" only appear on a few cards, but I would accept a subtype with a strong support in the contest.)

    Hope this help! If you have any other questions don't hesitate :D
  • As a little bump, I figured I would give an example of what to do in this challenge, as it's a little different from other challenges.

    I'm going to follow three simple steps to create a new mechanic for Hour of Devastation:

    1) Define what's the difference between Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation you want to emphasis.

    Since Kaladesh was about inventing and building things, it had the mechanic Fabricate in Abzan colours. Once it switched to Aether Revolt which was about destroying stuff, Abzan colours replaced Fabricate with Revolt to depict this change.

    There are many ways to do the same in Amonkhet. Personally, I've decided that Amonkhet was about preparing for the return of the God-Pharaoh since so many mechanics are about gathering advantage. Therefore, my Hour of Devastation will be about confronting, so you will be rewarded for coming prepared.

    2) Decide what mechanic(s) from Amonkhet have to go.

    Amonkhet had the following four mechanics:
    - Embalm featured mostly in White and Blue
    - Exert featured only in Red, Green, and White
    - Aftermath featured equally in all colours
    - Cycling featured in all colours though more heavily in Black and Blue

    As I'm only giving an example to my own contest, I don't want to eat up too much design space so I will remove one mechanic and add one mechanic. Following what I've decided on my first point, it makes more sense to remove Exert (the mechanic showing people preparing for the Trials), and replace it with my custom mechanic about confronting.

    3) Make a list of your restrictions and design a mechanic out of it.

    Based on the theme of Hour of Devastation (the return of the God-Pharaoh, Nicol Bolas), I considered I had to meet those restrictions:
    - The mechanic has to be Bolas-flavoured (Cruel / Manipulative / Intelligent / Ancient / Powerful), or at least it can't be "Little Ray of Sunshine".
    - The main theme of the set is still using the graveyard as a ressource, I can't use graveyard in the way Innistrad does with my mechanic, and I can't suddendly decide it's gonna be about artifacts.

    Based on the theme I want to emphasis, I have those restrictions:
    - The mechanic is about confronting.
    - The mechanic rewards you for being better than your opponent.

    Based on the fact that I removed Exert to make room for my mechanic, I have those restrictions:
    - It needs to be mostly in Red, Green and White to fill the hole Exert left.
    - It needs to encourage attacking as finding a way to avoid board stall is a very important role of mechanics in any set and Exert was the main mechanic doing that.

    When I mix everything together, I get this:

    Arrogance — Whenever this creature deals combat damage to an opponent with less [THING] than you, [EFFECT].

    With such a mechanic, there is one big trap to avoid: it must not become a win-more mechanic. Therefore I will have to make sure that you are always rewarded in one domain for being better in another domain. For instance, you must not gain life for having the most life but rather because you have the most cards in hand.

    Here are three commons with the mechanic:


    This mechanic actually has a lot of flaws, but I'll let you figure them out, and avoid them when you design your own mechanic ;)
  • @ningyouk, thanks for the advice! Don't, however, assume that the lack of activity on this contest is due to a lack of interest. I, for one, have been working non-stop to design a flavorful and playable mechanic for Hour of Devastation. I have several pieces of paper covered in ideas for different mechanics, and variations of those. Thanks for the great contest!
  • This is one of those times I wish I had a chalkboard room. I've been trying madly to make something work, and all my thoughts are disorganized.
  • @Lujikul
    You need some help? I'd love to provide input! :)
  • @MagicChess Thanks, I'm glad to hear that! :D
    As I said in the intro, take your time! This one is more complicated than average, the more you let your idea grow the more refine your mechanic will come out ;)
  • edited May 2017
    I know I sound like a hypocrite bumping since I haven't entered, but believe me, I'm working on it. I just want to get this contest back to the top of the Forums so others will see it, as I think it's a really awesome idea. So....
  • @MagicChess Haha thanks ;) Don't worry, I'll make sure that it doesn't disappear from the front page for too long if this happens ;)
  • edited May 2017
    I'm working on cards for this. It's a neat challenge.
    Thanks for this, @ningyounk!
  • edited May 2017
    Here is my new keyword mechanic: Inscribe.
    I'm still tweaking it, with a ton of help from the inimitable @Beeswax.
    I am trying to design a mechanic that could replace cycling as a primarily U/B mechanic in Amonkhet. Inscribe is that mechanic. It allows you to exile a card, then return that card to your hand rather than drawing a card.

    So, something like: "When [creature name] enters the battlefield, inscribe the top card of your library. (Exile it.You may skip your draw step, If you do, return an inscribed card to your hand.)

    I chose the word "Inscribe" because it usually means something like 'write or carve (words or symbols) on something, especially as a formal or permanent record' and the Egyptians (that inspired Amonkhet) believed strongly in the importance of recording past knowledge for future use. Moreover, the way it allows you to filter your deck and increase the odds of getting exactly what you want seems like something Bolas would appreciate. In this set, maybe a Bolas planeswalker would let you inscribe half your library!? Mwuahahahahaha!

    image image image

  • Mechanic created!
    With help from @modnation675 , who helped me refine the mechanic's wording among other things, I bring to you... Enforce!

    A mechanic largely located in the UW slice of the pie, you tap down a permanent unless an opponent is willing to pay the price. In order to maintain total control over Ahmonkhet, Nicol Bolas has enlisted the very law of society to carry out his will, ensuring his dominance over all.

    I really wanted to tackle UW, as it seemed like a section of the pie Bolas wouldn't normally touch, and decided that, as control, tapping, and taxing colors, they were perfect to showcase his absolute domination.
  • One more week to showcase your version of Hour of Devastation! ;)
  • Last bump (probably) for this little challenge ^^ If there are not enough entries, I'll just get a bit more in-depths with my feedback on each mechanic instead of doing the regular top 3 ^^
  • I'd love to enter but there's been way to much on my plate to put adequate work into something like this.
  • Almost ready!
  • I cannot believe this hasn't been more popular. I think it's a really neat contest and thought for sure it would take off in a big way. Props to you @ningyounk for putting it together. I'll be more than happy if I get your feedback about my designs, because I think you give some of the most comprehensive and insightful critiques of any user on this site! :D
  • edited May 2017
    Edit: Misread this challenge as another. XD
  • edited May 2017
    I'm still going to enter (yes I know it ends tomorrow). I've been working on a mechanic for weeks; I sure ain't gonna give up now! XD
    And @modnation675, this contest doesn't require you to re-use card names/images at all.....
  • @modnation675
    You've misread something...
  • @Faiths_Guide
    Well now I see why I hadn't entered! XD
  • @ningyounk, I'm so sorry, but could you give me until tomorrow? I have my mechanic planned and was going to do the final touches on the cards tonight, but an unforeseen complication in schedule is screwing it up.
  • @MagicChess Don't worry, when I give deadline with no specific hour I let people enter as long as it's that day somewhere in the world, which means you still have more than 24h before wednesday is offically over! =)

    I have to apologize, I think the lack of entries came from a miscalculation of mine, I simply shouldn't have proposed a challenge that time-consuming on a low-activity period of the site.

    To compensate, I will propose to you a very unique way of judging to spice things up and get in depths with your mechanics ;)

    Stay tuned...

  • @ningyounk, thanks! Expect my entries later today.
  • edited May 2017
    Last minute entry incoming:

    Missing Mechanic: Scheming
    "…, if you drew two or more cards this turn, … "

    I wanted to create a top down bolas (no graveyard) mechanic centered in blue and black, that creates a negative effect for an opponent once you gain more knowledge. I also wanted it to create a feeling of supremacy, that "intimidates" your opponent. The name for the mechanic was the best I could think of to unite both the "knowledge" and the malicious hidden agenda.
    Feedback appreciated :)
This discussion has been closed.