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Renaissance Set — Design Phase

edited August 2017 in Custom Card Sets
Hello everyone!

First, let's congratulate the numerous people who have participated in the creative design aspect of our Renaissance set (http://forums.mtgcardsmith.com/discussion/2931/renaissance-set-creative-design) =D Thanks to you, our set has some solid basis, which means it's now time to make a billion cards out of it. In short, it's time for the design phase!

Here's the basis of the set:

THEMES
- This is a top-down Renaissance set, which means this is the first and most important theme. On this plane, it is represented by the return of the muses which always bring with them inspiration and spring after a long period of dull winter.
- The secondary theme of the set is emotions. There are five Grand Muses of emotions roaming this plane, and their influence strongly inspire its inhabitants. There is also a sixth corrupted Muse that makes a brief appearance in the story.
- Art is vibrant under the influence of the Muses! It's also an important theme of the set as the most beautiful art pieces of this plane spontaneously come to life.
- Exploration is another important theme. The plane abounds with litlle achipelagos that are as many new worlds waiting to be discovered.
- The greatest minds are inspired as well, progress in science and warfare is another important theme.
- Feel free to use any other little theme from Renaissance: humanism, religion, royalty, etc.

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MECHANICS

The main mechanical theme is life-matters. This of this theme as the graveyard-matters theme in Amonkhet, it's important and gameplay defining, but not all cards are focused on the main mechanical theme.

There are four keyworded mechanics in the set: Psylian life is a new type of life representing the inspiration brought to the plane's inhabitants, Rebirth shows how this is a time of changes, Compose represents how beautiful art pieces are ensouled with life by the plane itself, and Discover represents how explorers and inventors make exciting new findings in their respective domains.

Psylian life. (Psylian life is part of your life total. You always lose psylian life before regular life. Pay 2 psylian life: Add {C} to your mana pool.)

Rebirth {cost} ({cost}, Exile this nonreborn creature: Return it to the battlefield reborn with two +1/+1 counters on it. Rebirth only as a sorcery.)

Compose N (Create a colorless N/N Art creature token with haste. Sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step.)

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.)

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ARCHETYPES

Here is the archetype grid showing what each combination of to colours cares about:

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LORE

Welcome to the plane of Rezatta which lives at the rythm of the muses cycle! At times it's a quite plane cloaked in a dull winter, but when the Muses return, they bring a spring full of inspiration for everyone. For some, it means creating art so beautiful it spontaneously comes to life. For others it means discovering new worlds or making huge scientific progress. But there are also tortured minds which, once inspired, just create more evil and crazy schemes.

A hidden society secretly plots to steal a Grand Muse, an etheral being of emotion, to harvest its power for themselves. In parallel of showing the wonders of Rezatta under the influence of the muses, the set follows the story of five character who fail at stopping this evil organization plot. Their failure leads to accidentally corrupting a Grand Muse which kill all the other Grand Muses and goes on a rampage while twisting everyone's emotions. The five heroes will finally manage to unite and deal with the corrupted muse. But making things right will require a much greater sacrifice as they themselves become the new Grand Muses to restore the emotional balance of Rezatta.

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___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So, what do we do now? Well the first phase is going to be simple: We just just have to make a lot of cards! More specifically:
- We need cards showing what cool tricks we can do with the mechanics.
- We need cards that bring the Renaissance flavour with cool tropes.
- We need cards to tell the story.
- We need cards that are cool in a vaccum, just to diversify the set.

This process has three main goals we want to keep in mind:
1) Settling some dilemmas we still have about creative design. For instance, try to play a bit with the mechanics. What if instead of Compose N, you did Virtuoso N that did the same thing but always triggered on resolving the spell? What mix of emotions give the best five Grand Muses? Maybe you'll try to use different names to "psylian life", or "Rezatta". Maybe you have some great creature types idea for our creature grid?

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2) Filling a set skeleton. The set has a fixed number of commons, uncommons, rares, creatures, artifacts, johnny cards, timmy cards, etc. We're going to design the set skeleton in this phase. At first, we'll just put the cards we like the most, then we'll start refining what we need for each slot until the set makes sense and each archetype has enough support to be played. We already know some of the cycles we're going to need, if you're interested in starting there:
- We need a cycle of five legendary creatures showing the Grand Muses. They each represent an emotion (maybe two?), it's up to you to decide what sounds best. The sixth corrupted Muse may also get a card.
- We need a 10-cards horizontal of uncommons that are directional towards each archetype for draft.
- We need a cycle of 5 monocolored planeswalkers. There must be at least two returning planeswalkers in the cycle (we haven't decided yet which planeswalker will return in the story, so if you have a cool design it will influence the story conclusion as well!) The first description of the five heroes is here: http://forums.mtgcardsmith.com/discussion/comment/82173/#Comment_82173 but the discussion is still ongoing and will be influenced by the design thread, so don't hesitate to try your own thing =)

3) Finally, once the set skeleton is full, we get to go in the third and final phase of the set creation: development! (That's where we play the cards a lot to make sure all archetypes are equally strong and the set is overall balanced.)

Let's all be inspired now ;)
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Comments

  • edited August 2017
    I nominate Tibalt as walker 1.
    One, he is mono-red.
    Two, he is obsessed with pain and destruction. I can see him wanting to destroy tons of art.
    And three, we haven't seen him since Avacyn Restored. That's a long time!
    Also, I think all the Grand Muses should be enemy colored. Love and Hate can be r/w. Comedy and Tragedy can be r/b
  • @TezzeretofCarmot21 You have to show us with concept cards on this thread! ;p
  • @ningyounk I am at your beck and call
  • Where can I find the muse art?
  • edited August 2017
    image
    This card both gives you the new "Psylian" life and hurts your opponent (too OP?). Maybe it should have "Psylian lifelink."
    I think all the muses should have a helping "Love" side and a "Hate" side to hurt your opponent.
  • edited August 2017
    So, if other people want to find those arts featuring beautiful abstract creatures like the two above, look at Pete Mohrbacher's portfolio! https://petemohrbacher.deviantart.com/ That said, you can use whatever art you like, using these artworks is not mandatory at all ^^

    @TezzeretofCarmot21 This first version is rather overpowered yes ;) I'll slip a comment on the card page to help a bit ^^ EDIT: Wait, there's no link to the card page, it's just an image. You can follow this tutorial if you want to put images of your card on the forum and making it so they send you to the card page: http://forums.mtgcardsmith.com/discussion/comment/24888/#Comment_24888
  • Not quite sure if this is what you were looking for with U/B, but it's certainly a thing.

    image
  • edited August 2017
    @ningyounk Ik the tutorial, I just was too lazy xD Look up Muse of Love and Hate on the search on the home page and mine should come up
  • image
    Muse number two - based off Erebos, Suicide Black, and "Pride goeth before a fall."
    If you reckon that it is too overpowered, just tell me.
  • image
    Muse number three. Fact: You know the creative design thread? On page 22, @ningyounk had a list of five possible Muse names, and I just turned them into enemy colors xD
  • edited August 2017
    -deleted-
  • @TezzeretofCarmot

    That link is borked, my friend.
  • @TezzeretofCarmot21

    No worries. I'll give a more in-depth critique later. I really shouldn't rail on balance, though. I'm usually wrong about those things.
  • @TezzeretofCarmot21 I commented directly on the set page =) You got some good concepts and I like the general flavour though they're generally too strong I think ^^
  • edited August 2017
    Ok thx @ningyounk ! I made a mistake in the colors, very complex
    EDIT: Just had a chance to read it, very good feedback. Will remake these cards. And do you think I should replace indestructible with hexproof?
  • edited August 2017
    I'd say we skip the what I'll call "unfun protection" stuff altogether, and just make them really impactful creatures.

    Mostly because that'd help to differentiate from the gods.
  • edited August 2017
    So just nothing, no hexproof, no indestructible. I can do that.
  • @TezzeretofCarmot21 Basically when you make huge impactful creatures like that you have two options:

    1) Giving them some sort of protections. Gods are indestructible, but there are many other ways to do that, for instance Kozilek can counter almost any spell, Emrakul has Protection from Instants, and the Insectoid Gods just have recursion. Hexproof would probably be too strong, on top of being a colour pie break for most colour combinations. If we go this route, here are some random ideas:
    - Protection from specific types of spells or opponents for instance. (Protections from spells and permanents with converted mana cost 3 or less, Protection from opponents with less life than you, etc.)
    - Blink with a repeatable trigger (that could also represent their cyclic nature actually.)
    - Conditions to be cast from the graveyard, to allow recursion. (Also works well with their cyclic nature.)
    - Super strong death trigger that makes your opponent wants to deal with it without killing it.

    2) Making them impactful the turn they enter the battlefield. Keeping them to attack/block is just a bonus after that. For instance, the Gearhulks http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&name=+[gearhulk] and the Core Sets Titans http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&set=+["Magic 2011"]&name=+[titan] follow this route. Note how the Titans are repeatable which is another useful trope for a big finisher like this. Here are a few ideas:
    - Having a strong ETB trigger.
    - Having a good "end of turn" trigger so it's repeatable and happens the turn where you play it.

    Here are two different concepts for the same card:

    imageimage
  • @ningyounk I like the protection, though I am trying to revise my Muses to have one upkeep ability that helps you and one static that hurts your opponent.
  • @Everyone: I'm back! *trumpets herald MagicChess's return as jubilant throngs flood the streets!*
    ... okay, I'm not really that conceited XD
    .
    .
    .
    Maybe just a little bit.

    Anyhoo, on to feedback!

    @TezzeretofCarmot21, we want to keep the Muses as different from Gods as possible. Indestructible and the slew of other keywords are very reminiscent of Theros' and Amonkhet's dieties.

    @ningyounk, I like the pseudo-Rebirth depicted on your second Muse of Pride and Shame. The first one, however, I'm not so crazy about. Personally, I think the Muses should be less creature-relevant and have more to do with life totals and the other noncreature aspects of Magic (i.e. hand, library, noncreature spells, etc.), for two reasons: First, they induce emotion and are incorporeal, extraplanar mystical beings, so I think creating creatures doesn't make sense. And second, I think separating the Muses from creature-creation and combat will help prevent them seeming to be gods.
    Also, Virtuoso (tentatively Compose) has the "sacrifice it at the beginning of your next end step" thing, which isn't in the mechanic on the front page or the token. Did I miss something, or is it just a mistake?

    @Everyone, here is something we need to consider: All the Muses proposed so far have been game enders and win cons, much like gods. Do we really want them to be fatties with mana costs relevant to their p/t? Even the Gods that we want not to imitate
    (essentially) weren't creatures until a certain condition was met. These Muses are valuable mostly because they're big creatures, and secondarily because of their abilities, which are the important things, since they pertain to the flavor.
  • @ningyounk
    Is "Rebirth" present in all colors?
  • @Faiths_Guide, good question. We haven't really discussed this. I would guess mostly in green, white, and black, but I'm not sure. @ningyounk, any clarification?

    @Everyone, I just began working on some of the defining bicolored uncommons. What do you think? I have two different versions here.

    imageimage
  • edited August 2017
    Placeholder:
    image

    Also, additional subtype?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Additionally, will thieving Rogues (and perhaps Dack Fayden) be making appearances?
  • Placeholder (2):
    image

    (Rare, dropped the reminders. Could fit easily with small text though.)
  • I scanned over the concept of the set and an effect like this: https://mtgcardsmith.com/view/scripting-ward seems like something the set could use with the BW lifegain/lifeloss theme. The variable could be changed but I wanted to show concept of the card.

    Scripting Ward
  • @NokiSkaur So sorry it took me so long to get to the feedback on your Merfolk Rogue, I just had too many stuff happening all at once ^^" We only have one slot for gold uncommon UB so it needs to be very directional. I think this leads you to think there's either an artifact or psylian life archetype in UB instead of the Rogue one. Also 7 psylian life is probably too expensive for an effect. As it's a very strong mechanic that has the potential to go off-track, we'll try to make sure players who play psylian life usually have between none and four at any given time but rarely more.

    @MagicChess Wecome back! Your argument on making sure not to hit the same mechanical themes as the God is good but I'm unsure how much design space there is left, especially if we do two emotions per Muse. What do you think of making a very strong death trigger as a protection ability? (I'll post a concept card whenever I can, but it's already a bit on this design: https://img4.hostingpics.net/pics/797164MuseofCourageandFear.jpg

    For Virtuoso, yes I proposed it at the same time than I proposed that psylian life would only make colorless mana. The change to a floating ability saves some words and make the tokens cleaner ^^ If you think it's confusing we could go back, but I don't think it changes how well the mechanic reads.

    I think we can make the Muses smaller, as long as they remain a very exciting and splashy cycle ^^

    Love the art and flavour of Aristocratic Aven, it's clean and is directional enough, it fits really well the archetype ^^ I'd say it's a very strong candidate. The details of the exact stats and cost will depend on the rest of the cards in the cycle and in the archetype. This is the kind of design that can go up or down pretty easily depending on what is missing to make the archetype better.

    @Faiths_Guide The idea for now is to have all mechanics in all colours, with each mechanic more focused on one colour combination for support (WB Psylian life, GW Rebirth, UR Virtuoso, GU Discover.) Then depending on the designs we get during this early phase of design, we'll likely remove some of the mechanics from certain colours.

    @Faiths_Guide Super cool cards! I like your original costing on the blue common, it fits the UR archetype very well ^^ Mixing Rebirth and Compose on the same card sounds a bit complex but it's definitely a fun way to use the mechanic. Maybe creating the token instead of composing it could be an option if the card costed one more mana?

    Dack Fayden's name was pronounced once or twice during creative, if we manage to find a good artwork for him he's a strong candidate for one of the returning planewalker slots. He would have to be monocoloured though (since this set exists in a vaccum instead of a standard, we really want to have a planeswalker available for each colour.)

    @TheFriendlyGeek Oooh I really like it, very original design! It can be useful in a lot of situations in this set. Also, it has a bit of a "Dark Ritual feel" which feels like a nostalgic kind of bend but in a good way (if that makes sense.)
  • edited August 2017
    @ningyounk @MagicChess I'm trying to give the Muses a rebirth effect - for Pride and Shame it's "Whenever an opponent gains psylian life." I'm stuck on Trust and Doubt tho. Have any ideas?
    And for walkers I nominate red Tibalt and blue Dack.
    We ought to make Artist and Musician subtypes.
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