Renaissance Set — Creative Design

edited July 2017 in Custom Card Sets
Hello everyone =D

We (@Lujikul, @OneBigBlueSky, @obsidianhoax, @MagicChess, @HenryTheHatter, @modnation675 and @ningyounk) have started to build a full Renaissance set about a month ago. While we took a break due to exams, we would like to kick the project back, but we need YOUR help for that. We need fresh ideas to tackle some creative difficulties, so here's a list of everything we would need to finish the early creative part of design for the set.


[EDIT: 15/07/2017]

Thank you everyone, the set has gone pretty far and start to have a clear creative identity! The following lines are a summary of what we know about the set. Below the summary is a list of what we still need to close the creative thread and jump to the actual design thread. Feel free to jump in at any time! =D

1) Set definition
- The set is Top-Down Renaissance, which means we are translating the concept of Renaissance in Magic terms.
- This is a Life-matters set. This means that, just as Amonkhet was a graveyard-matters set and Kaladesh an artifacts-matter set, the set cares more than usual about life.

2) Themes and tropes
- The main secondary theme of the set is emotions. Notably, we have muses that inspire emotions.
- Other themes that we feel are important: Art, plagiarism, exploration, science, humanism, philosophy, religion. This is not exhaustive of course!

3) Mechanics
- This is the flashy mechanic that ties into the Life-matters aspect of the set. Note that we're still looking for a definitive name and flavour (does it represent inspiration for instance?)
Psylian life. (Psylian life is part of your life total. You always lose psylian life before regular life. Pay 2 psylian life: Add a mana of any color to your mana pool.)


- This mechanic depicts how Art is living on this plane:
Virtuoso N (Create an N/N all colors Art creature token with haste and "Sacrifice this creature at the beginning of the next end step.")


- This mechanic depicts both the search for technologic innovation and explorers roaming the world:
Discover THING (Reveal the top three cards of your library. You may put a THING card from among them in your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.)
E.g: Discover a land ; Discover a creature or planeswalker ; Discover Green ; Discover converted mana cost 3 or less ; Etc.

4) Story
- The magic of this plane infuses life to art.
- Something is messing with the emotions of this plane's inhabitants, and it seems to have something to do with the Muses of emotions.
- The plane is an archipelago made out of many islands, waiting to be discovered.

Now, in order to progress from creative to the actual design phase, we'd like to figure out some remaining details first:

1) Additional mechanics
- A Renaissance mechanic. Renaissance is a difficult theme because you don't have big tropes like pyramids and mummies for Egypt. So, for the main theme to be loud enough, a mechanic about Rebirth/Renewal/... is probably needed.
- A good mechanic representing messed up emotions (Overflow/Outburst/...) could be really useful.

2) Story details
- We're still defining the details of the story which is why there's so little written above. The story will be solid enough for actual design once we have decided five key moments.
- In particular, we're still discussing the nature of the antagonist. Is it a planeswalker? Something bigger?

3) Archetype grid
Now that the set starts to have a mechanical identity, we must give each two-colours combination a rough game plan. The game plans must be balanced into the five (more or less) categories of archetypes every set must propose: Control, Midrange, Disruptive Aggro, Turbo/Beatdown Aggro, Combo (includes Ramp and Graveyard).

Feel free to comment below, we would be super thankful for any input you have about the set! =)


  • edited June 2017
    I am at your service however possible.

    Virtuoso N (Create a N/N all color Art creature token with haste and "Sacrifice this creature at the beginning of the next end step.")
    For organizational purposes.

    Just 'cause, I'd love to see Dack Fayden and art stealing thieves making some appearance here. {u}{r} Rogues anyone?
  • @Faiths_Guide Art Thanks for the correction :)

    Art thieves are definitely a good trope to explore! To be honest I don't know much about Dack Fayden storywise (I've seen his card but that's about it), was he popular?
  • @ningyounk
    I dunno, I'm clueless about lore in general. I've heard "Greatest thief in the Multiverse" a bunch of times and thought he'd be neat. XD
  • edited June 2017
    Fayden was popular, but not in the good way. He stole many magical artifacts and the magical energy in them, and at one point, his hand was dyed red as a telltale sign of who he was. Last seen heading into Theros' underworld.
  • Um I had a comic with Dack in it. He had to steal something I think for Sorin. Definitely love Fiora as a plane, so wish you luck. I would toss in GW Clerics because Renaissance.
  • edited June 2017
    Made a new and stylish card for UR control/combo, not sure if it's Renaissance material as I'm less familiar with their acrobat's costumes.

  • Grandeur from Future sight might make sense for this set
  • edited June 2017
    I think Grandeur is a cool idea as a one off, but doesn't do well in drafts making it ineffective overall.
  • @modnation675 fair, but so many good designs you can do with it and the grandiose theme makes sense. Maybe a mechanic that makes it viable alongside it idk
  • @brcien
    I think it can be a great mechanic, it's just a matter of designing the card to be great with or without it. But crazy with it!
  • @modnation675 what do you think of an ability that either either a -1 transmute or cards that let you fetch copies of creatures you control?
  • @brcien
    -1 transmute? May you be more specific?
  • @modnation675 I believe what @brcien is getting at is an effect that does conditional tutoring, similar to the transmute mechanic, from the first Ravnica block. ([transmute] ) However, the catch is that it ultimately results in card disadvantage by -1, which means probably discarding a card as an additional cost, would be my best guess.
  • ^Yeah either 1 less cmc of fetched card or discarding a card.
  • edited June 2017
    Okay, that makes sense. Although, that seems less efficient than Eldritch Evolution and would need to be cheaper to take effect.
  • But doesn't get it into hand for you to Grandeur with it
  • I'm having a hard time determining the exact nature of the mechanic. May you write it in more detail? (I might just be missing something!)
  • Rework (Cost) (Pay (Cost) and discard this card to search your library for a card with one less converted mana cost, reveal it, and add it to your hand. Then, shuffle your library)
  • Oh, that makes a ton more sense. I misread transmute as transfigure! XD
  • If you guys don't like the idea, it's fine. Just helping brainstorm. Here are examples.
  • edited June 2017
    No, it's not that I don't like it. I just got confused with a different mechanic I was imagining.

    Although the mechanic would be reworded as follows.

    Rework {1}{w} ({1}{w}, Discard this card: Search your library for a card with converted mana cost one less than this card, reveal it, and put it to your hand. Then shuffle your library.)

    But I think that it would make more sense as the following.

    Rework {1}{w} ({1}{w}, Discard this card: Search your library for a card with converted mana cost one more than this card, reveal it, and put it to your hand. Then shuffle your library.)
  • I remember, back when you were all starting this project, you were tossing around the idea of anthropomorphism as a possible component and "story" element. Is that idea permanently scrapped, or...?
  • edited June 2017
    We've been looking for artwork for that, but the set has gotten slowed down after a period of time. Currently we're needing to find a large enough collection of artwork for this aspect. As such, it's been held to the side for the time being.

    I've been looking for artwork but have gotten into more of a UB spree lately, which is why I haven't been posting cards as consistently. Especially as the Scarab God has been revealed.
  • A thought for Deposit:
  • Well the Renaissance era spans a good chunk of time. It included great leaps in science, knights, pirates, inventions, and a ton of other stuff. So is this just all of the Renaissance, or more specifically the art and knightly aspects?
  • Going with the art concept, maybe you could have a mechanic that specifically focuses on taking control of art.

    Thieve X (Gain control of X target Art creatures. When this card leaves the battlefield, return all Art creatures to their owner's control.)
  • @syntheticreign
    Too exclusive to my way of thinking. Plus the art "auto-sacrifices" EoT.
  • Maybe we could make the art not sacrifice? What's the flavor for the sacrifice?
  • edited June 2017
    @brcien @modnation675
    The artwork of Lira is especially beautiful, this could definitely fit on some card! ^^

    On Grandeur, I think it's incredibly difficult to make it work in Limited, and it would only be possible if we make a Legendary-Matters set. It would be on theme though, as Renaissance is full of important figures, I'm just scared to tackle this theme because the last set who tried it (Kamigawa) went notoriously bad. But the legendary rules was also much more frustrating at that time, so it could be an option if done correctly! =)

    On the Transmute-like mechanic, we know Transmute generates a lot of card shuffling and decreases gameplay variety, so it would need to be very specifically worded to avoid those two issues. Looking only at some cards from the top of your library could be a solution for instance?

    I like the golem idea, it feels like a very artistic creature type. Also, superb piece of artwork! Thanks :D
    And yes, you immediatly got the hang of Virtuoso (I would have expected no less from you ;D) As you already realized, Virtuoso is not just an aggro mechanic, you can care about the tokens in a lot of ways: sacrifice outlets, death trigger, Art lords, triggering Virtuoso multiple times on the same card, etc... Which is why it caught our interest.

    We would like to diversify the tropes we use as much as possible, but it still needs to evoke Renaissance in a large public. From my point of view for instance, science and inventions are great trope ideas, knights makes me think of Middle Age before Renaissance, and I would not have linked Pirates with Renaissance. Let's say YOU would have to define which aspect of Renaissance to use for a Magic set, what would you keep?

    For Virtuoso, the flavour is that spells are Art and they come to life when they are beautifully executed. The sacrifice is what makes them interesting: it pushes you to attack with them, or find a use to them before the end of the turn.

    @brcien It's not the first time clerics and life gain were mentioned, for some reason people seems to associate that with Renaissance. We should definitely consider the option thanks :D

    Actually this last comment made me think of something:

    Do you all think it would be possible to have a Life-Matters set as the mechanical focus, like one would do a graveyard set or a tribal set?
    The more I think about it, the more I realize there should be at least enough design space as a Land-Matters set, and probably much more.

    Here's an example:

  • @ningyounk
    That's cool, I like that flavor! Um, well I may not associate knights specifically, but jousting is something I definitely link to the Renaissance. Pirates, inventions, definitely art. Maybe plague as well, to a lesser extent.

    I like the idea of lands matter, since there was a hierarchy of power in the Renaissance, and the more wealthy held more estate. Maybe you could create a mechanic for legendary creatures (lords and ladies) that cares about how many lands you control, or how many creatures (servants)?
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