Create-a-Cycle Challenge!

Cycles contain some of the most iconic cards in Magic's history. The Titan cycle, the Core 2019 Mare cycle, the Urza land cycle, the flipwalker cycle from Origins, the check land/fast land/shock land/fetch land/etc. cycles, the Ravnica set cycles (all 100 billion of them)... yeah, cycles are awesome.
But! Designing cycles can be quite difficult. Finding an effect, then finding a way to translate that effect to five different colored cards... it is a tough thing to do.
So naturally, this is exactly the task I want you to undertake!

1. A "cycle" is defined in this contest as a set of five cards of different colors or color combinations that are linked somehow, whether it be by abilities or by something else (e.g. transforming into planeswalkers). It can be any card type.
2. You can submit up to two different cycles in this contest.
3. You must post all five cards in a single comment and say how they are linked. For example, "Frog Cycle: These cards are all Frogs with an activated ability for 2N, where N is an allied color of the Frog's color."

Your cards will be judged on mechanics, flavor, balance, and cohesiveness of the cycle (Does it feel like a cycle? Or is it just five random cards?). I am a Melvin-Vorthos-Johnny, and I appreciate a good cycle, so impress me.
NOTE: I take misuse of watermarks VERY seriously. If you put a Rakdos watermark on a card named Olivia, Bloodlady of Innistrad, I will be far less likely to choose your cycle. Only use watermarks on the appropriate cards. It is a pet peeve of mine when people do this.

1st place - Follow and 5 faves, or 9 faves if I'm following you. Plus you get to select 1 Honorable Mention.
2nd place - Follow and 3 faves, or 7 faves if I'm following you.
3rd place - Follow and 1 fave, or 5 faves if I'm following you.
Honorable Mention (1 selected by 1st place, 1 selected by moi) - 3 faves.
I'm normally a very stingy favorite-giver, so count yourselves lucky! :P

The contest will end October 18th. Results will be posted October 21st, my birthday.
Good luck, happy smithing, and may your cycles be more balanced than the Urza lands!


  • @TezzeretofCarmot21 I knew there was something I liked about you, we are both libras! (My birthday is september 25th.)
    Anyhow, could you create an example set of cycle cards please? I'm thinking of cycling when you discard, and I know that isn't the cycling you are talking about. I need a visual more to what you are going for it would help tremendously, it may help other cardsmiths out as well.
  • edited September 2018
    image image image image image
  • Cycle #1: Guild of Ravnica Guild Commands, designed so that each ability has a connection to the number 2 (because each guild is 2 colors) and all at different CMCs.


  • @sorinjace The cycles made by @sanjaya666 and @bnew07 are both great cycles and great examples of what I want you to do here.
  • edited September 2018
  • edited September 2018
    This is a cycle of legendary creatures from Ravnica which could be one of two different guilds. Basically, they 'join up' to a guild of their choice. They work like the 'siege' cycle from Fate Reforged.
    The cycle also has increasing mana costs, from one to five.
  • Could I post old cards?
  • @TezzeretofCarmot I will be posting soon, after I finish my homework.
  • @TezzeretofCarmot here's the set of lands I forged for the eclipse event from summer 2017:

    Ignore Hallownyx, Luna's Crossing unless you allow for a 6th card to be made that does something special with the rest of the set.
  • edited September 2018
  • I wasn't aware of the lockets that are coming out until after I made these, but hoping this works as a cycle, it's the 1st 5 guild's in guild's of ravnica, and made sure they all said stone in their names. I know how much you don't like watermarks though they would suffice for these cards, I left them alone I won't add them to the cards unless you want to see them on the cards, @TezzeretofCarmot21!
  • This is a B/X cycle of common hybrid removal cycles:
    Because the cycle has to be five cards, the final card was made on Magic Set Editor in order to get the {2/B} symbol (alternatively, it could have a {C/B} symbol if someone wanted to get really creative.
  • edited September 2018

    Fate reforged war-mages from each of the clans (or as I like to call them, khanates, since each is led by a khan). Each is a three cmc 3/3 with each of the three colours and a powerful ETB effect.
  • edited September 2018
    Cycle 2: Khans of Tarkir Wedge Ultimatums

  • edited September 2018
    @bnew07 This cycle is really awesome. Perhaps I'm missing something, but shouldn't Ruthless Ultimatum say 'without paying their mana costs'. Otherwise you have to cast the spells with mana, which you can't do what with all of your mana having been spent to cast the ultimatum.

    Aside from that, really great, unique and flavourful.
  • @Undead

    Thanks a lot! Great catch on Ruthless Ultimatum. I edited my entry to fix it. I always intended it to cast the cards for free, but must have accidentally left it out when making the card.
  • EDIT: Swift Ultimatum

    Double Strike —> First Strike
  • I call it "The Dedication Bear" cycle. Each one is a 2 cost 2/2 with a 2 cost ability that reflects a fervent dedication to their respective crafts.

    image image image image image
  • A kind-of-cycle of owl speakers.
    2/2 for 3 with an owl (bird) at entrance and benefit if the one before them in WUBRG is with them.
    image image image
    image image
  • edited October 2018
    A cycle of one mana 0/1 Advisors, each of which changes the basic rules for all artifacts in play. Themed as bureaucrats and business people in the service to various guilds.

    image image image image image
  • Excellent cycles, everyone!
  • edited October 2018
    Hey, I tried to make a cycle of creatures with X in their cost, representing the guilds used in Guilds of Ravnica. i am completely new to creating costum cards, and these may reflect that, however your challenge seemed fun so i thought why not.


    Edit: Previous versions did not work, so i make some new designs
  • Hey, @blackar. The cycle you made is pretty cool, but the wording you placed won't let the card work like you intend it to. This is because of a weird rule in magic that says:

    107.3f - If a card in any zone other than the stack has an {X} in its mana cost, the value of {X} is treated as 0, even if the value of X is defined somewhere within its text.

    What does this mean? It means when permanents leave the stack and enter the battlefield, they "forget" what X was, so they treat it as 0. This means that your boros, izzet, dimir, and golgari cards will enter the battlefield, have X become 0, then do their ETB ability. Your selesnya card, though, enters the battlefield with counters, meaning that it considered X while on the stack, then left it. That's why all permanents with X casting cost currently in the game enters the battlefield with a certain amount of counters.

    If you want it to work like you are intending, you need to word it so that the effect happens as you cast it. Check out these three examples.

    Hope this helps people in their future card designs.
  • An elegant way to solve for that would be to make these effects "When you cast..." instead of triggering them on entering the battlefield. That does have the added effect of making the effect basically impossible to counter though, so you'd want to consider that in your balancing.
  • @Fiskerton, Thanks for the clarifycation, I didn't want to have them all using counters of some sort, but that apparently doesn't work then, but thank you for your explanation!

    @ChainsawXIV, Yes that could work, I will have to do some drastic changes but still.

    I will update my post with new designs
Sign In or Register to comment.