[RESULTS] The HALF-Great Designer Search 3 — Challenge 4: Finding a Good Mechanic

Hello everyone!

It's already time for the fourth round of...


The premise of this contest is simple:
1) It follows the original GDS3 challenges. You can find the original challenges HERE!
2) You only need to design half the cards compared to the original rules (usually going from 8-10 to 4-5 cards). I adapted the rules accordingly.
3) A little twist has been added to each challenge so people who followed the GDS3 can't come too prepared.
4) No elimination, you can skip any round or jump in at any moment.

Without further ado, let's jump to the challenge:


You can find the rules of the original challenge HERE! I took them and cut them in half:


1) You must design 4 cards.
2) You are going to design a brand-new keyword mechanic or ability word. You will have to name it and figure out its rules text and reminder text.
3) You must make one card of each rarity (common, uncommon, rare, mythic rare).
4) You must use at least two colors.
5) No more than one of your cards may be multicoloured.
6) Other than your new mechanic, you may use only evergreen mechanics (which do not include deciduous mechanics).

But that's not all. To prevent people who already did the full original challenge from having too much of a head start, I added... a twist.


7) I added a flavour restriction to the kind of mechanic you can make: YOUR MECHANIC MUST BE TAILORED AROUND AN EXISTING FACTION OF MTG. ALL YOUR CARDS MUST BE FLAVOURED AROUND THAT FACTION AND SYNERGIZE WITH ITS PREVIOUS APPEARANCES. Furthermore, two participants can't choose the same faction, you can claim your faction in the comments. First come, first served.

You can find a list of all factions of MTG in this official article from Mark Rosewater:

Note that the article is up-to-date as it was published after the release of Dominaria (which doesn't have factions) and the only factions the Guilds of Ravnica block brought us are already included in the list because of older sets. Please do not use the undefined factions of Eventide and the silver-bordered factions of Unstable.

BANT from Alara — bnew07
JUND from Alara — Bowler218
ORZHOV from Ravnica — Ranshi922
THE BRAZEN COALITION (PIRATES) from Ixalan — Faiths_Guide
SPIRITS from Innistrad — DomriKade
THE LEGION OF DUSK (VAMPIRES) from Ixalan — ouser94501
DIMIR from Ravnica — Derfaulehelmut
FAERIES AND MERFOLKS from Lorwyn — kandra127
RAKDOS from Ravnica — Potato13
THE KAMI from Kamigawa — LeSelton
THE MORTALS from Kamigawa — KorandAngels
ZOMBIES from Innistrad — Undead
RIVER HERALDS (MERFOLKS) from Ixalan — TheCenterOfTheUniverse
WEREWOLVES & WOLVES from Innistrad — SmallJem
MARDU from Tarkir — sanjaya666
THE ELDRAZI from Zendikar — Netherin5
ABZAN from Tarkir — LyndonF



Here are some additional information for the contest:
OLD CARDS ARE: Allowed, as long as they fit within the restrictions
FORMAT: Design cards for an undefined Standard-legal set
TEXT-ONLY CARDS ARE: Allowed, but you must link the illustration that would go with it.
DEADLINE: Sunday, April 7th (Updated +1 day)
- 1st place — 5 favourites of their choice
- 2st place — 3 favourites of their choice
- 3st place — 1 favourite of their choice

We're definitely going higher and higher in difficulty as these challenges go. There are many factors into what makes a good mechanic: does it have a lot of design space, is it backward compatible, does it inspire new decks, is it fun in density, does it work well in Limited, etc. I strongly advise looking at the original challenge rules, as they give in-depths explanation about it. There are 81 factions to choose from, I'm confident you can find the one that suits your favourite custom mechanic of yours. Don't hesitate to bend the faction colours a little if needed, especially when you need to fit the "at least two colours" rules.

Good luck everyone, let the fourth round of the HALF-GDS3 begin! =D


  • @ningyounk I choose Bant.

    Also, are we allowed to change to an unchosen faction after our original choice?
  • @bnew07
    Yes, you can change factions as you want as long as your new faction is not already claimed by someone else. Additionally, if you change faction, your previous faction won't be claimed anymore and someone else might claim it.
  • @ningyounk. I feel like everything I am coming up with feels very uncreative. But then again, technically most mechanics are kind of that...

    How creative does it have to be on a scale from Adapt to Delirium? (Being that adapt is kind of just a slightly different version of monstrosity.)
  • Screw it... I claim Orzhov.
  • edited March 22
    You can have different kind of mechanics, for instance the Guilds mechanics of Ravnica are not especially original but they compensate by being clean, deep, and flavourful. On the other hand, something like "Transform" was pretty ground-breaking at the time. I'll accept any kind of keyword mechanic from Adapt to Delirium and even outside of that, they all have strengths and weaknesses ^^

    If you're stuck on creativity, I'll advise two possible approaches:

    1) Choose your favourite faction, and try to create the perfect mechanic for it.

    2) Choose your favourite mechanic you already designed in the past, then find the best faction to put it on, and adapt the flavour accordingly.

    Also, remember that you have over two weeks to get your entries in, you don't need to have the winning idea on the first day of the contest ;)
  • I got a thing. I am just unsure if it actually fits the colors right. Can you answer how well it fits if I ask you?
  • Reincarnate N (Pay N life: Exile this permanent from your graveyard. Search your library for a card with converted mana cost N or less. Reveal it, put it in your hand, then shuffle your library.)

    It also needs some phrasing work, but that's the gist of it.
  • @Ranshi922
    That would be an acceptable entry but to be equally fair to everyone I won't give any hint about what I truly think of your mechanics or how well they fit the chosen faction until the end ;) I can tell you if an entry breaks the rules though ^^
    The original GDS3 challenge has a section about what makes a good mechanic or not in general, if you want some support on the creative aspect!
  • Did that break any rules?
  • @Ranshi922
    Nope, no rule was broken! =D It's a perfectly acceptable entry ^^
  • I'd like to claim:
    The Brazen Coalition – Pirates (blue-black-red)

    My question is, how similar is that to picking Grixis?
  • @Faiths_Guide
    Well, Grixis is about the essence of the colour black while The Brazen Coalition is about Pirates. So your cards should be specifically about those pirates doing pirate-y things!
  • @ningyounk
    I hoped you'd say that! Yaarr!
  • @ningyounk
    So, because of the nature of this challenge, all card types could be the same?
  • edited March 25
    I will most likely be designing an ability word:
    "Muster - ..., if you control another creature that shares a creature type with ~,..."
    Depending on the trigger, it could us this wording variant:
    "Muster - ..., if it shares a creature type with ~,..."

    I'm trying to get across the idea of gathering together for a common cause (a bit like Allies) and also enlisting for a Pirate crew. It should work really well with things like raid and other similar abilities. Interestingly, I think of white as being a color that would really like this ability--even though I'm designing for Grixis colors--but I think that might actually be a good thing for "Backward Compatibility" since it feels like a mechanic that would work in any color or combination given the right flavor. Being an ability word allows me to set any trigger/frequency I desire which should make for a lot of room, and the simplicity of it will allow for "Originality" as it doesn't lock me down too much so I can explore some innovative card designs using it.

    Another thing, is that it feels a bit like a "fixed" version of kinship--a mechanic I like that's a bit to restricted and random to be "good."
  • I suppose I finally ought to do one of these challenges! I'd like to do WU spirits, potentially branching into B but Ill confirm. If you feel that'd be too close to @Ranshi922 's Orzhov let me know and I'll consider something else.
  • For Orzhov:
    Reincarnate N - [Cost] ([Cost], Exile this card from your graveyard: Look at the top four cards of your library. You may reveal a creature card with power N or less from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.)
    It is very very wordy, so I will likely only include the reminder text on one of the cards if you guys are fine with that!
  • @Faiths_Guide
    Absolutely, no card type restriction this round =)

    No problem, we can have both Orzhov and WU Spirits it's fine ^^ Also, once you've claimed a faction you're free to change whatever colours you want without having to ask, but remember that the faction must feel the same.
  • @Ranshi922
    I'd recommend giving yourself a bit more time before locking yourself in. Maybe go through a bunch of Orzhov cards (oldest to newest) and see if something stands out to you. It is important to try and get reasonably concise wording so that you can fit it at least on all common and uncommon cards. You might get inspired to head in a new direction altogether!
  • I will be too wishy-washy if I think about things too much.
  • @Ranshi922
    About the reminder text, I will judge that part too like a real mechanic. If you follow the rules of reminder text correctly, this means that your reminder text should appear on every card if possible but can sometimes be removed on especially wordy cards only at rare and mythic rarity.
  • I call Mardu!
  • I'm thinking either
    Ransack: Whenever this creature attacks, you may discard a card, if you do, ___


    Hit and Run: Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, you may return it to its owner's hand. if you do, ___

    What do you guys think is the better option?.
    P.S. If I go with Hit and Run, I'll come up with a better name for it.
  • Guerrilla is a good name.
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