Rezatta, the Renaissance plane — Vision Design Part 2

edited September 2018 in Custom Card Sets
Welcome back to the world of Rezatta, the Renaissance plane!


The previous thread has reached 20 pages (and is now five months old) so it was time to refresh it and make a new updated intro so whoever is interested in participating doesn't have to read over 500 comments to understand what is happening x)

Here are the links to all the previous threads related to Rezatta:
Renaissance Italy Themed Set Design
Renaissance Set — Creative Design
Renaissance Set — Design Design

Quickly, Rezatta is a community-based project where we create a full set of 269 cards (what was used to be called a large set) from scratch on the theme of Renaissance =D

Here is a summary of where we're at so far:


The main theme is the Renaissance era and Rezatta is a top-down set that translates Renaissance in MTG terms :)
Renaissance can be conveyed through many tropes that we're exploring:
- Art, of course! On Rezatta, it is so vibrant it spontaneously comes to life!
- Progress is all over the plane with breakthrough in exploration, warfare and every area of science.
- Humanism, religion, royalty are all important aspects as well.

There is also a secondary theme on Rezatta: Emotions! They engulf the plane and inspire its inhabitants. One of the manifestations (or are they the cause?) of this emotional fever are the Muses of Emotions.



The mechanical core of the set is life. Rezatta is a completely new type of set: a Life-Matters set, just like Dominaria is a Legendary-matters set, Ixalan a tribal set, Amonkhet a graveyard-matters set and Kaladesh an Artifact-matters set.


Elated — If at least 3 life was gained and/or lost this turn, EFFECT.


In this set, players have to pay special attention to their life total and how it changes every turn. Elated is the ability word that unifies all the ways cards can care about life going up or down. Different colours have different ways of triggering it, you can gain life, pay life, make the opponent lose life or even gain life, it doesn't matter as long as life somewhere somehow is being traded. It's not the only way the set can care about life, but it's certainly a cornerstone of its development.
N.B: "Elated" is a code name, we're still looking for a better name that conveys a surge of emotions if you have ideas :)


Psylian life. (Psylian life is part of your life total. If a source would make you lose life, by damaging you for instance, its controller chooses which type of life you lose first. Pay 2 psylian life: Add one mana of any color.)


This is the signature mechanic of Rezatta, something that has never been done before: a new type of life! It can appear without any reminder text, like the Monarch, thanks to a reminder token.
N.B: "Psylian life" is also a code name, we're looking for a better name that conveys Renaissance, as in "rebirth" :)


This mechanic is a top-down design meant to depict how beautiful Art spontaneously comes to life on this plane. It is still under discussion! I will post immediatly after the introduction a collection of all the mechanics we have considered so far. Feel free to jump in!


We know we have enough space in the set for a fourth and final mechanic. What it will do will depend a lot on what the Living Art mechanic looks like ^^ For instance, we know one of them has to be a mana sink to make use of all the mana produced by psylian life. One of them should be more spell-oriented and one of them more creature-oriented, etc...

So far, we've mostly explored a mechanic about progress and discoveries in this slot. I will also post a summary of all the mechanics proposed so far after the introduction.


So far, the design skeleton for common looks like this: (It's nothing locked, it's meant to constantly be adjusted.)


Blue = evasion ; Red = removal

It's almost done, among the few things we still have to add will be the as-fan of each mechanic and themes (which will depend on their nature.)



So, this is where we're at, what do we have to do now? Here's in order:

1) Settle on the mechanics. We have to find an Art-Coming-To-Life mechanic that suits our needs, and a fourth mechanics that will be tailored depending on what's left to do.
2) Make decks around the mechanics to playtest what works and what doesn't with them, so we focus on making cards in the fun design space of each mechanic.
3) Make 101 commons following the set skeleton.
4) Make our first draft playtest.
5) Define the draft archetypes and themes of each colour.
6) Iterate and repeat until we're 100% statisfied with the commons.
7) Repeat this last process with the uncommons, then with enough Rares and Mythic Rares to do an 8-player draft.
8) Go to the set Design Phase =D

Additionally, we're always on the lookout for new tropes ideas about Renaissance and cool designs in a vacuum =)


We also have a second thread where we discuss the world of Rezatta, its races, locations, religions, but also characters and plots that will eventually lead to a story for the set. We're basically slowly building the Planeshift files of Rezatta and it happen here for those interested:

Rezatta, the Renaissance plane — World Building Part 2




  • Right now the hottest topic is making the mechanics fit together in the set. We have two life-matters mechanics. We really need a Living Art mechanic for world building purposes. We could stop there once this is done, but the two life-matters mechanics are so entwined and as psylian life could maybe skip reminder text altogether it would feel like there are only two mechanics in the set. So, a fourth one would be appreciated. Here is a summary of where we're at on the last two mechanics so far:


    We've talked about many versions of this mechanic. Living art is an important aspect of the world building and we need to put emphasis on that, a keyworded mechanic being the perfect opportunity to tie flavour with gameplay.


    1) Compose N (Create a colorless N/N Art creature token with haste. Sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step.)
    — A simple mechanic that plays well in different archetype. It's nothing too fancy and appears unkeyworded on multiple existing cards, but it's very red-centric and Blue being bad at caring about life (the main mechanical theme of the set) it really needs to have access to the last two mechanics, and this is weird in blue.

    2) Compose N (Create a colourless N/N Art creature token with haste. Sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step unless it dealt combat damage to an opponent this turn.)
    — That's a variation I came up with when playtesting and I have to say it's a lot of fun. We could always use it unkeyworded on a couple cards ^^


    At this point, we discussed *A LOT* of mechanics to depict Art coming to life that could be more blue-friendly. We even had a small contest on that theme. There are basically two ways of dealing with this challenge, you can depict the action of coming to life, or you can try to define what an Art creature means mechanically. One of the best definition being that Art inspires other creatures. Here's a pot-pourri of the most interesting ones (that's not even all the mechanics that have been discussed):

    3) by LyndonF: Living Art (Whenever this creature enters the battlefield or attacks, you may have target creature you control gain all other abilities of this creature until end of turn.)

    4) by Undead: Living Art (When this creature dies, exile it inspiring target creature. That creature as all activated abilities of each card inspiring it.)

    5) by Faiths_Guide: Vivify (If you control an Artist, put this spell onto the battlefield transformed as it resolves.)
    — Note: On DFC Instant/Sorcery --> Creature

    6) by goblinguy: Defender + When [trigger], CARDNAME loses defender until end of turn.

    7) by Faiths_Guide: On Instant/Sorcery: Then, put this spell onto the battlefield face-down as an N/N creature as it resolves.

    8) by Faiths_Guide: On Instant/Sorcery: Then, put this spell onto the battlefield face-down as an 0/0 creature as it resolves. It enters the battlefield with N +1/+1 counters on it.

    9) by Undead: Living Art (When this creature dies, crate a token that's a copy of it except it's an enchantment.)

    10) by me: Alternative (You may cast either side of this card.)
    — On Instant/Sorcery // Creature DFC

    11) by me: Living Art {cost} ({cost}, Discard this card: Compose it.)
    — On Art creature cards with "When you compose CARDNAME or it enters the battlefield, effect" and with Artist cards letting you compose other cards without discarding them.

    Below are some new versions we haven't discussed yet:

    13) Vivify {Cost} (If you cast this spell for {cost}, put it onto the battlefield transformed as it resolves.)
    — Strictly the same as Faiths_Guide's Vivify but with a big alternative cost as the set needs a mana drain for all the mana produced by psylian life.

    12) On coloured Artifact creatures: {cost}, Pay N life: Living Art N (If this permanent isn't a creature, put N +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes a 0/0 artifact creature.)
    — A Monstrosity-like ability, the "Pay N life" part being for flavour, like you literally put life inside the art to animate it.


    The nature of the fourth mechanic is tied to what the Living Art mechanic will end up being. We've mostly discussed an action keyword filtering mechanic in this slot, here is a summary of what we've talked about so far:


    1) Discover an OBJECT card (Reveal the top three cards of your library. You may put an OBJECT card from among them in your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.)
    — The reminder text is really long (over 30 words) and there aren't so many things outside lands and creatures that you can discover without failing most of the times.

    2) Discover an OBJECT card (Exile cards from the top of your library until you exile the fifth or an OBJECT card. Put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.)
    — The reminder text is even longer than the previous one. At least you never fail entirely but you'll often get the fifth card which has nothing to do with what you were trying to discover.


    3) This creatures discovers [DESIGNATED CARD, USUALLY TOP OF YOUR LIBRARY]. (Exile it. As long as this creature dealt damage to an opponent this turn, you may play cards it discovered.)
    — This version has the advantage of synergizing better with the life theme of the set by caring about damage. The downsides are the discovered cards are lost after the creatures dies, and it can be difficult to get in the damage to access the discoveries.

    Below are some new versions not discussed yet:

    4) This creatures discovers [DESIGNATED CARD, USUALLY TOP OF YOUR LIBRARY]. (Exile it. Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, put a card it discovered from exile into your hand.)

    5) This creatures discovers [DESIGNATED CARD, USUALLY TOP OF YOUR LIBRARY]. (Exile it. When this creature dies, put all cards it discovered from exile into your hand.)

    6) This creatures discovers [DESIGNATED CARD, USUALLY TOP OF YOUR LIBRARY]. (Exile it. You may play one card from exile discovered by a creature you control each turn.)
  • edited September 2018

    As I was mentioning in the intro, the most burning matter is to settle on the Living Art mechanic right now ^^

    I created a 40-cards singleton playtest deck like for psylian life and Elated with the following mechanic:

    Living Art {cost} (If you cast this for {cost}, put it onto the battlefield transformed as it resolves.)
    — This goes on double-faced cards with an instant/sorcery on the front and a creature on the back.


    Here's the link to the cards I used for the playtest: Click here!

    It actually plays quite weird. During deck building it really counts as a noncreature spell because the Living Art cost is usually quite high. Some of the Sorcery/Instant <==> Creature synergies are very fun but a lot of time you have to play your cards with just the front face and it feels really bad unless you're just missing on a vanilla creature. Since the Art creatures only come up during the late game, the Art-matters cards feel a bit useless for a good chunk of the game. I'm starting to understand why there aren't more cards with the Evoke keyword ^^" It's one thing to have a creature become a bigger creature with monstrosity, but a noncreature becoming a creature is another story.

    They often say in the Nuts & Bolts articles "it's ok if 99% of the cards with the mechanic feel bad, focus on the 1% that feel good and see if that's enough to make a good mechanic. So far, I'd say what felt great was cards where sweeper-like effects that left a body behind, cards with a lower Living Art cost, and cards that transformed into vanilla creatures that I wouldn't miss later in the game.

    Maybe the mechanic shouldn't be a mana sink but have another trigger, like the original version of Faiths_Guide. I'm guessing it would feel quite weird as well to cast it without that trigger though. You basically always want the creature and feel bad for not having it.

    The artifact version with the Monstrosity-like ability could prevent this feel bad moment as you get both the 'spell' and the creature later. It may still be difficult to get Art creatures before turn 4 or 5 though. That's probably why there's no Monstrosity-matters cards. It also pushes towards very lengthy cards if the artifact part and the creature part wants to combo.

    image image


    P.S: Making those mock-up card actually reminded me of a card from TheProxyGuy:


    Maybe the DFC version could work like this visually with a large Art and even fused Title bars. That was just a random thought XD
  • Yasss! Ok so my notes! I am totally game to get on, make some cards, and test tonight! If you want to, pm me!

    First off, continue the great work @ningyounk ! I love Dance of Cleansing just like most of your cards. I think if we did that, we would have to push it visually away from a werewolf depiction.

    I was impressed with the new ideas from the contest! I think we should test the sorcery living art, trigger into creature, and split. I would like to suggest if we do split cards with joined art, we make one half an artist and one half his art (which would have to be instant or sorcery for logistics reasons). The facedown idea was cool, but a bit clunky for everything we already have going on.

    I would also like to put forth the word 'breath' instead of 'elated.' Breath is a symbol of life, more common to the ear, and implies the in and out life changes show.
  • All right, this set is really starting to shine! I applied some of the lessons from this set onto my own custom set. Maybe we could have another name for "elated," for example "moody," to show that it's not just life gain and happiness but life loss and... pain?
    And I have an idea for the art, sort of like the Theros Gods. For instance:

    Happy Painting
    Artifact Creature - Art
    Arty - CARDNAME isn't a creature.
    1WW, Tap an untapped creature you control: CARDNAME becomes a creature. You gain 1 life.

    The art is "awakened" by doing something specific. What do you think? How do you word this? I like this set!
  • edited September 2018
    I'd love to have split cards with an artist on one side and its Art on the other but realistically I don't think we'll find enough illustrations that fit this restriction :/

    "Breath" is a quite interesting name! I like that there is this idea of an in-and-out movement that fits mechanically the "gained and/or lost" part. The theme this mechanic is trying to convey is emotions though, that's a really important restriction, I'm not sure that qualifies? (I could be missing something, subtle english language subtext is lost on me xD) On the opposite, "Breath" could be a romantic way of saying "Animate" or "Vivify" for the Living Art mechanic maybe? You don't give it life, you give it breath?

    For playtesting, I'm in France so it may be a bit difficult for me to play with the rest of you due to time difference (I'm something like 6 to 8 hours later than U.S.A., I believe.) As it also requires to add the cards on, feel free to make some quick proxys at home to playtest, we'll start doing more elaborate playtests between us once we've locked the mechanics ^^

    Yes, I wouldn't mind a better name for Elated. That said, I believe "Moody" has a mostly negative connotation, right? Considering the set wants to be optimistic, if we have to choose between a slightly-too-optimistic name versus a slightly-too-pessimistic name, I think we should lean on the optimistic one ^^

    Having a noncreature permanent becoming a creature is definitely an option in any form, whether it's permanent or transitory. Actually that may be the key, having a transitory transformation. But we need to find one of two things in order to keyword it properly:

    1) For a keyword ability, we need a unified trigger/cost for transformation. For instance "Animate {cost} ({cost}, Tap an untapped creature you control: This becomes a creature until end of turn.)" or ""Animate {cost} ({cost}, Pay 2 life: This becomes a creature until end of turn.)"

    2) For a keyword action, we need a unique way of coming to life that can be stapled on any cost or trigger. For instance "Whenever you draw a card, animate this creature (Put a +1/+1 counter on it. It becomes a 0/0 creature until end of turn.)"

    On the specific "{mana cost}, Tap an untapped creature you control: Animate" proposition, it's a bit close to how vehicles work I think. Maybe if it tapped a specific kind of creature to reinforce a specific flavour?


    P.S: Actually, I just invented the mechanic above for this example but it's kinda interesting xD May be a bit strong though, but here are some tries:

    image image
    image image

  • I also made this for the fun of it, though I don't think it's viable just because we wouldn't find enough illustrations that are wide enough:


  • The “breath” mechanic is good! I like it.
  • edited September 2018
    @ningyounk Hmm, how about this:

    Masterful Curator


    Creature - Human Artist (Rare)

    Each artifact you control is an Art in addition to its other types.

    Arts you control get +1/+1.

    At the beginning of your upkeep, each Art you control breathes.

  • I like breath a lot
  • edited September 2018
    I want to participate in design, but I must admit I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the information and lore of the set.

    Also your Art mechanic should be spelled "Breathe." I love that mechanic idea, by the way. Might want a border other than vehicles for it, if it can be managed. I'll do some looking around for one.
  • edited September 2018
    I like the idea of transforming other noncreature cards into creature, that feels like something a player interested in an Artist deck would want to do.

    Don't worry too much about all the information, right now the problem is quite simple:
    - We need a keyworded mechanic to emphasize an important aspect of world building: Art is alive on the plane.
    - The restrictions are: It must have an evocative name, mechanically represent Living Art, and be Blue-friendly (because blue is having more difficulties than other colours to care about life in its own way).
    -It's better if it's visually innovative since we don't really have a mechanic like that yet. But it's better to avoid anything that's mechanically too new as we already have psylian life as a new game concept.

    Alternative frame border is definitely an option if we go that route, but it's probably better to wait until we know if the mechanic plays well before starting to bother designing a new frame (also, ideally it would be better to do everything on Mtgcardsmith if we can.)
  • The mechanic is pretty nice, just some points to bring up:

    1) Breathe also works on enchantments. The artifact becoming a creature might be a bit similar to Vehicles (though with different flavour). (Or we can have both but then it seems confusing)

    2) The cost of Breathe shouldn't be too low. It's still a mechanic that says "put a +1/+1 counter on this creature" without tapping. E.g. for "Summer Glance" maybe have 3G as the cost instead of the low 1G. Or maybe remove the "+1/+1 counter" effect entirely but that feels like a worse creature :P
    ... Or just lower the initial stats. (Like how "Smile in the Fog" starts as a 0/0)

    3) Having too much of them seems like a bad idea. It may lead to a situation where there are too much Vehicles without a pilot. Only 11 vehicles existed in the Kaladesh set (out of 274). That being said, I guess we can have a higher ratio than that because the cost of Crew is restricted to tapping creatures, while breathe can have different activation costs.

    Some exploratory cards (w/o names and types)

    2W (Common)
    2W: Breathe

    U (Common)
    2U: Breathe

    1B (Common)
    2B: Breathe

    3R (Common)
    First Strike
    2R: Breathe

    4G (Common)
    2G: Breathe

    1BB (Uncommon)
    Flying, Deathtouch
    Pay 2 life: breathe

    2R (Uncommon)
    1R: breathe
    At the beginning of your end step, if this permanent isn't a creature, sacrifice it.

    G (Rare)
    2G: Breathe

    2WG (Mythic)
    Whenever a counter is placed onto a permanent you control, draw a card and gain 3 life.
    3WG: Breathe
  • edited September 2018
    You summed it up pretty well, it needs to be playtested to see if adding a +1/+1 counter every time is too strong, and it's probably problematic in large number.

    There are a few other mechanics we can learn from:

    1) Evolve (Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if that creature has greater power or toughness than this creature, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.) The big difference from Breath is that it's capped to the maximum power/toughness a creature can get.

    2) Outlast “[Cost], {T}: Put a +1/+1 counter on this creature. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.” The big difference here is that the creature can't be used on top of getting the counter.

    3) Vehicles teach us about how to handle transitory creatures.

    I do believe this mechanic can be very problematic, I wouldn't hold my breath too much for it ^^ The main idea is just to ask how to make "becomes a creature until end of turn" feel unique?


    On other areas we haven't really talked about much yet, I wanted to put on the radar the second (and third) place of the Living Art contest, they had a similar idea which sounds like it could be a lot of fun even though it doesn't directly picture Art coming to life:


    I'm just not fond of the fact that it could ask the player to know the difference between an activated, static, and triggered ability at common. I'd rather make it "It has all other abilities of this card." But it's flavourful in a different way.


    Here's another area of design space I don't think we have touched yet, it cares about one specific permanent, a bit like Exalted flavour wise:

    image image
    image image

    And then a reminder token you pass around your creatures as they become your Masterwork.

  • edited September 2018
    The alteration of my "Vivify" concept, turning it into a mana-sink, is really smart.

    Vivify {Cost} (If you cast this spell for {cost}, put it onto the battlefield transformed as it resolves.)

    I am a fan of this. The set seems to be asking for this type of affect.
  • edited September 2018
    I dunno if this would be viable, but here's an idea I have.

    Vexing Imps
    1BB (Rare)
    Breath abilities can't be triggered or activated.

    If that is deemed too weak, then I think it would work to rework the ability to only affect opponents.
  • Okay. This is a crazy idea for mechanic #4:
    Aura Swap
  • @MonkeyPirate2002
    That's a little narrow and specific for a hate card, it's usually better to have them hit multiple archetypes, otherwise your answers will lack subtlety and you'll end up with "players can't use mechanic 1", "players can't use mechanic 2", and "Exile target creature with mechanic 3" in the set >.<

    Well, Aura Swap doesn't really synergize with the set so far, it would probably be more interesting for a world like Theros.
  • @ningyounk How about this:

    Stroke of Corruption
    2BB (Common)
    Each opponent sacrifices a creature or art they control.

    Mana cost is easily fixable if underpriced
  • @MonkeyPirate
    That could work if we have noncreature Arts as long as we don't do enchantment Arts (Black cannot deal with enchantments on the battlefield) but it's actually overpriced, it's a diabolic edict which is worth 2 or 3 mana depending on if it ends up at uncommon or common ^^
  • @Ningyouk
    Yeah, yeah fair enough. I like the inspire mechanic personally.
  • I don’t think having a black card that can deal with enchantments would be bad. Black is also horrible against artifacts, and yet Kaladesh created a card called Daring Demolition that could destroy vehicles
  • @MonkeyPirate2002 yes, but vehicles were a special case; they mostly pnly did something when they were crewed, so they were creatures in a lot of ways.
  • edited September 2018
    @ningyounk Masterwork seems to be confusing if there are lots of Arts with Masterworks on the board. Better should put a special counter on it.
  • I agree with @Fallen_Lord_Vulganps If we go with masterwork, I’d have it function sort of like renown, but as an action word.
    E.g. (For a hypothetical cycle)

    Works of Inspiration 1U
    Sorcery (Common)
    Target Art you control becomes your masterwork. (Put a masterwork counter on that permanent and remove all other masterwork counters from permanents you control. That permanent becomes your masterwork.)
    Draw a card.
  • @Faiths_Guide
    I played with it a little, but it really felt bad when you cast the spell without getting the creature. I suppose Evoke does the same but, if we go that route, I believe the mechanic would play better if you either always get the creature or have a way to get it later.

    Inspire could be an interesting fit because of how flavourful the name could be in this world! The problem is that mechanically we'd really need to have at least one mechanic that targets your permanents, otherwise the synergy would be quite low.

    Black can interact with artefacts, but enchantments is one of its weak spots. If you give it a way to deal with enchantments on the battlefield, it breaks the colour pie.

    Yes, the idea with Masterwork would be to have a special reminder token you tuck under your Masterwork so you don't have to track it.

    I think a couple of things can be improved here for this Masterwork version:
    1) By tying the rules to the word "masterwork" in "becomes your masterwork", we create another game concept, like "you become the Monarch" for instance. It's a little close to what psylian life is. By using a keyworded ability or an action keyword, we rely on more usual types of mechanics and acknowledge psylian life as the main innovation of the set. It's purely aesthetic, not a deal breaker, just a question of what is the most elegant?
    2) That reminder text is quite long for something that intuitive, I'm sure we can do shorter.
    3) On this specific design, you create a trap where you can't cast the spell if you don't control an Art. You need to make it a "may" ability, or use "choose" instead of "target". (Also, this card doesn't do enough to deserve a card slot, it needs to be boosted.)
  • edited September 2018
    It's the same way with Zendikar's Awaken and it is good to have the option to cast early with less impact, hold off for the prime opportunity, or have something big(ger) late game.
  • edited September 2018
    I just had somebody with no knowledge of this set read the masterwork examples you provided and he was quite confused. It’s not obvious when or how art becomes your masterwork and if you can have more than one masterwork.
  • @Faiths_Guide
    Yes, it's something I also noticed when playtesting: it feels ok when you just miss on a vanilla creature, or when the "non-kicked" spell is really saving the day, and it feels the worst when you're missing on a potentially really powerful creature for a spell that doesn't affect the board that much.

    It think the best example I tried of "felt fine" vs. "felt horrible" was those two spells: (The red one always felt great while the blue one felt horrible as a Divination even though I'd be perfectly happy to play a regular Divination.)



    But the whole point of using DFCs instead of just vanilla tokens would be to get interesting creatures. And then, I think it would feel better to find a way to always get the interesting creature.

    There's probably a middle ground between the one I used and the one you used ^^ Something that clearly states you can have only one masterwork, while still using the flexibility of reminder text.

    E.g: (Choose an Art you control to be your one Masterwork.)
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