Rezatta, the life-matters Renaissance plane — SET DESIGN PHASE

Hello everyone, it's past time for an update of the thread for our custom set Rezatta!

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As is tradition, this new introduction will allow everyone to know where the project is at without having to read fifteen pages of discussion ^^ You can still find all the old threads here:

Renaissance Italy Themed Set Design
Renaissance Set — Creative Design
Renaissance Set — Design Phase
Rezatta — VISION DESIGN PHASE
Renaissance Set - Creative Team
Rezatta, the Renaissance plane — Vision Design Part 2
Rezatta, the Renaissance plane — World Building Part 2


Rezatta is a community-based custom set based on the top-down theme of Renaissance, with a completely new bottom-up core as a life-matters theme!

I — THE WORLD OF REZATTA

The world building thread is still ongoing (see the link for Part 2 just above), but I am summarising here the most important aspects.

The main theme of Rezatta is Renaissance! There are many main tropes to the Renaissance theme, such as:
- Art: The plane of Rezatta is imbued with a strange kind of aether that spontaneously gives life to beautiful art.
- Progress: Geniuses all around the plane conduct all kind of research to progress scientifically.
- Humanism, religion, royalty, etc. are all also themes we'll touch upon.

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A secondary theme mingles with the main Renaissance theme on this plane: Emotions. Notably, the Muses of Emotions are wandering the plane, inspiring artists and researchers altogether.

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The set should overall have an uplifting feel, the plane of Rezatta knows cycles of dark winters (thematically associated with Middle-Age) and inspiring springs (where this set takes place, representing the Renaissance).

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II — THE MECHANICS OF REZATTA

Mechanically, Rezatta is a completely new kind of set: a life-matters set, the same way you have artifacts-matter sets, graveyard-matters set, or faction sets. This means that your life total is especially important in this set, you will care a lot more about gaining life, losing life or life total values.

We have four keyworded mechanics so far:

1) THE LIFE-MATTERS MECHANIC

Elated — If the sum of all life gained and lost this turn is 3 or more, EFFECT.

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This is the glue of the set. Rezatta will care about different ways of gaining and losing life, whether it's you or your opponent that have their life total change, but Elated allow the set to care about those life changes in a consistent way.

2) THE FLASHY NEW LIFE MECHANIC

Psylian life (Pay 2 psylian life: Add a mana of any color.)
Some of the more nitty-gritty aspects of the mechanic can only be found on the reminder token that goes with it: Psylian life is part of your life total. If you control the source that made you lose life (damage causes loss of life), you lose nonpsylian life before psylian life. Otherwise, you lose psylian life first.

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Psylian life is the signature mechanic of the set. It's a new kind of life. In Rezatta, you can gain regular life like you're used to but also psylian life which is counted separately. It's still part of your life total, which means if you have 20 regular life and 5 psylian life, your life total is 25. Some cards care about you having psylian life, but the main reason you want psylian life is that you can pay 2 psylian life at any moment to add a mana of any color.

3) THE "LIVING ART" MECHANIC

Masterwork (Choose a creature you control. It becomes your only Masterwork.)

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Since Art can become alive on Rezatta, we have a mechanic to tie them flavourfully. Masterwork works a bit like the Slivers mechanic, except you only pile up all the bonuses on one creature at a time, but in compensation you can choose any creature, not just an Art. It is meant to help you hit your opponent more easily, so you can trigger Elated by attacking. Flavour wise, it represents how the living pieces of art are inspiring their surroundings.

4) THE PROGRESS MECHANIC

Discover (Look at the top card of your library. You may cast it. If you don't, you may put it into your graveyard.)

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This is the one mechanic that's not directly playing into the life theme, so the set feel a bit more diverse. It's a powered-up variation on Scry/Surveil/Explore that gives you three options: you can play the top card of your library, leave it there, or toss it in the graveyard. Note that you are still required to pay the mana cost. It also doesn't let you play lands, but it will allow you to play any other card at instant speed, even if you normally could not. Discover brings some filtering to the set and also works as a mana sink for the mana produced by psylian life.

III - THE DESIGN SKELETON OF REZATTA

For now, the main focus is filling up the common sheet. Because this part is a bit long, I'll get back to it in a dedicated comment right below. Here's the empty skeleton for the set:

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Note that it's a very "Vanilla" set skeleton that can be used for about any set, and adjusted to your own needs. You can probably change a few enchantments into instants/sorceries or vice-versa, and change a few artifacts into lands if you prefer.

IV - HOW CAN I HELP?

There are multiple ways you can help:

1) Share new ideas and concepts on how to flesh out the themes of the set.
2) Review what has been done so far to pinpoint what you think doesn't really work.
3) Playtest the common cards. You'll find a not-so-little description below. You can get random pool to create Limited deck by using the PlaneSculptors page of the set, and you can playtest it online on Untap.in (all cards have been added with the set code RZT-PT for "ReZaTta PlayTest".
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Comments

  • edited July 26
    Here is a presentation of my first try at the 101 commons. Some things to clear up before I start:
    - All creative elements are placeholders. Try not to care too much about details such as names, creature types, illustrations etc. I just added those because it's easier to imagine they're real cards this way.
    - I gave a first try at defining 10 broad bicoloured archetypes, so I could fill up the set with something and try different mechanical themes. Here they are:

    WU Control Faerie Tribal (ETB abilities, blink, flash, etc.)
    UB Control (Classic archetype.)
    BR Aggro Suicide (Use your life as a fuel to be super agressive.)
    RG Aggro Go Tall (Classic Archetype)
    GW Midrange Psylian Fortress (Gain psylian life then try to keep it.)
    WB Midrange Symmetry (Use group hugs and chaos strategies to get ahead in ressources.)
    UR Disruptive Aggro Masterwork (Make a big evasive Masterwork)
    BG Combo Multicolor Ramp (Get access to all colors, uses Convergence-like effects.)
    RW Disruptive Aggro Elated (Keep the pressure by turning on Elated every turn.)
    GU Combo Discover Tempo (Get the full power of the Discover mechanic.)

    Here is a link to the full set: LINK. Now, I'm going to present them not in set skeleton code order but by the rough order in which I added them, to give you a sense of the steps I followed. Obviously there have been a few iterations so everything could fit into place.

    STEP 1: THE MECHANICS CARDS
    I started by choosing how many cards I wanted with each mechanic. I looked into how many commons had each mechanic in Standard right now. I decided to give 2 to 3 cards for each color that had a given mechanic, which is a bit on the high side, but each mechanic kind of wanted to appear often enough at common for different reasons.

    1) Psylian life: It wants to be in high enough numbers because all players should be exposed to the novel mechanic of the set, because its the strongest support for Elated in the set, and because it plays better if you pile it up. It's primarily in White, Black and Green, the life gain colors. They all get three cards, one that produces psylian life repeatedly, and two that produce psylian life as a one-shot event (1 creature and one noncreature). In addition, both Blue and Red get a card that "cycles" regular life into psylian life the same way they usually get looting/rummaging.

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    2) Elated: It wants to be in high enough numbers because it's the mechanic that supports the main mechanical theme of the set. I gave it a full horizontal cycle, plus one additional card in White and Red which are the colours that care the most about it. I realised it can be quite hard to trigger, so I made the bonuses pretty significant.

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    3) Masterwork: It wants to be in high enough numbers because it's a semi-parasitic mechanic that plays better if you have multiple cards with Masterwork in your deck. Blue, Black, and Red all have two cards that give a combat-relevant ability to your Masterwork, to help it trigger Elated via combat, one that boosts its stats and one that gives it an evergreen keyword that increases its evasiveness. Red gets an additional card that gives haste just so there is a one-mana way to reassign your Masterwork at common, and because it scales well during the game, going from a 1/1 haste to an Expedite variant.

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    4) Discover: It wants to be in high enough numbers because, as a Scry replacement, it's needed to make the set flow properly. It gets three cards (green get more creatures, blue more sorceries) in each colour that cares about it, Blue and Green, and a colorless card so every colour can have access to that effect if they need card filtering.

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  • STEP 2: THE REMOVAL CARDS
    I chose the number of hard and soft removal in each colour based on recent standard sets, which gave me the distribution that you can see in the table from the introduction. Note that I'm counting a large array of removal, not just effects that destroy creatures, but also removal effects for enchantments/artifacts, counterspells, bounce spells, panic effects, tapping effects, etc.


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    STEP 3: THE EVASIVE CREATURES
    I followed an article from MaRo about evasion that said you should have about 5% of each type of evasion (1= unblockable or flying, 2= there's a downsides to blocking like first strike or deathtouch, 3= just too big to ignore, so power 5 or more).


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    STEP 3: SOME RANDOM CYCLES
    Before filling in the rest of the set, I started with some mandatory cycles, because it's harder to fit in a whole cycle than a few lone cards in a full set skeleton.

    1) A CYCLE OF VANILLA CREATURES

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    2) A CYCLE OF MANA SINKS

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    3) A CYCLE OF REPRINTS

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    STEP 4: PUMP SPELLS
    Each colour has at leas one targeted pump spell but some colours are better than others in combat. Red and White also each get a team pump spell.

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  • STEP 4: CARDS MEANT FOR SPECIFIC ARCHETYPES

    1) WU Control Faerie Tribal (ETB abilities, blink, flash, etc.)

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    2) UB Control (Classic archetype.)

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    3) BR Aggro Suicide (Use your life as a fuel to be super agressive.)

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    4) RG Aggro Go Tall (Classic Archetype)

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    5) GW Midrange Psylian Fortress (Gain psylian life then try to keep it.)

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    6) WB Midrange Symmetry (Use group hugs and chaos strategies to get ahead in ressources.)

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    7) UR Disruptive Aggro Masterwork (Make a big evasive Masterwork)

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    8) BG Combo Multicolor Ramp (Get access to all colors, uses Convergence-like effects.)

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    9) RW Disruptive Aggro Elated (Keep the pressure by turning on Elated every turn.)

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    10) GU Combo Discover Tempo (Get the full power of the Discover mechanic.)

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  • edited July 23
    I just love how this has come along, you really have done heavy lifting, @ningyounk! I'd be more than happy to help playtest the common cards, though I'm not sure how to.

    EDIT: I see how to, I'll see if I can get a friend to playtest it with me.
  • So, after all that, here's my deep thoughts on the set so far based on how easy/difficult it was to use certain themes while doing the commons:

    - The Renaissance theme is struggling a bit to appear which can be a problem considering it's supposed to be the main theme (though I do think that the selling point is more the novel bottom-up aspect based around life than the top-down design about Renaissance at this point). I do like how the mix of art and science evoke it quite well, but I'm really in need of tropes that scream Renaissance and are not just Da Vinci ^^"

    - The life theme is creating some very interesting mechanical interactions and I've been very happy with it so far. Elated and Psylian life are really pulling their weight, though it's difficult to refine all the little other variations of how cards can care about life (if you lost life, whenever you gain life, for each player who gained and/or lost life, etc.).

    - The Art theme is much easier to use than I anticipated, there actually is a plethora of good artworks to use. What I would like is to find a mechanical unifying theme for Living Arts so players notice that Art is alive on the plane while looking at the card. I was thinking that maybe there should be a tribal archetype around Art.

    - The Emotion theme is really falling flat, I've been struggling immensely to make even a couple cards that convey that theme. It's pretty clear it cannot be the secondary theme of the set, as there simply won't be enough good artworks, so it cannot be the flavour of all the life swings cards.

    - I'm really happy with some of the more minor themes that metaphorically play with the concept of Renaissance, notably the theme of flowers and butterflies are surprisingly easy to pull off I think.

    - On the other hand, the Spring theme seems to have very limited ressources to pull from thematically and illustration-wise. It might be tied to a specific archetype though, like the GB multicolour ramp.

    - The anthropomorphized animals are cute and bring some uniqueness to the set feel. My only bemol about them was that they were so perfect for a Fairy Tale set it was a shame to waste them on a set that didn't really need them as much. Since Eldraine is now a thing, I don't see any reason to restrain anymore x)

    - I really like the Faeries, I think they visually blend well and also support the Spring subtheme very well. I'm not sure they really need a strong tribal support like I did in WU though, this was just a try to fill a mechanical blank. The gorgon theme is also quite clean, without having a lot of material it's mechanically-focused and flavourful so it's promising I think. Sirens I haven't really found the right place for yet, but I think they could work with the right mechanical flavour.

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    Which brings me to some conclusions I'd like to try out:

    - Since the Emotion theme likely won't pull its own weight while Art is proving to be a much more prolific theme than I anticipated, I figured maybe Art should be mechanically associated with the cards that create / care about life swings instead of emotions. Which means the mechanics have to switch names. Elated gets a name that means an Art is especially good/moving, while Masterwork becomes about something different entirely (see next point).

    - The Renaissance theme (which is supposed to be primary) is already struggling with itself so it won't fill a full set. I really need a strong secondary theme with loads of illustrations available that will blend with the Renaissance theme (like the Bolas theme supports the Egyptian theme on Amonkhet) and support it so there are enough on-theme topics to show on the cards. Based on the discussion in the World Building thread, I was thinking on going really strong with the Church of Serra theme maybe. Basically, instead of having a cycle of Springs/Winter and Muses returning, Serra show up on the plane with her angels and brings Renaissance. The Church of Serra blends super well thematically with Renaissance, its four virtues are Discourse, Freedom, Peace and Art, and there are a massive amount of Angels/Demons-related illustration on Deviantart.

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  • edited July 23
    @nignyounk
    Awesome stuff! I noticed a couple of things in the break downs.

    THE EVASIVE CREATURES - You had Megalomaniac Sculptor, but he didn't appear in the masterwork section.

    A CYCLE OF MANA SINKS - You had Underwood Librarian, but she didn't appear in the discover section. Edifying Dreams also didn't appear in the discover section.

    I bring this up because it appears to throw off your count slightly.
  • @ningyounk
    Here are my thoughts. NOTE: I am reading this for the first time, so forgive me if I say something that you address farther down in the post.
    1) The World of Rezatta
    It seems to me that despite the Renaissance theme being very well defined in terms of the other themes you list (Art, Progress, and Humanism), there are few resonant top-down tropes that translate easily into card designs. For this reason, it may be difficult to maintain the top down Renaissance theme and it may make sense to transition the set to more of a bottom-up set around your mechanical elements with a Renaissance setting.

    Emotions may be difficult to represent as a minor theme, but might translate well to a five card cycle (like the Incarnations from Lorwyn and Judgement).

    2) The Mechanics of Rezatta
    • Elated
    I like the templating you used here as it is concise, specific, and clearly communicates that both life loss and life gain from either player contributes. How has the threshold of 3 life played out? I think the sweet spot for elated is that it is “active” roughly 50% of the time without any explicit support and only by committing to the life gain/loss archetypes can you approach 100%. My initial impression (with no playtesting and familiarity with the set) is that 3 life may be too low.

    As for the mechanic itself, I really like how it ties mechanically to both life loss and life gain, allowing it to be used in all 5 colors but manifest differently in each color. This is quite elegant and proof of an excellent mechanic! Flavorfully, it ties to both the highs and the lows of the Renaissance quite well.

    • Psylian Life
    This is really interesting in that it is extremely novel. I think this mechanic uses up most of the complexity in the set because it requires players to accurately keep two different life totals and remember to take damage from them in the correct order. The reminder token you put together is perfect! Awesome job!

    Is there any particular reason it is called “psylian”? How well does this mechanic enable color fixing? My one concern is that clearly this is the flashy mechanic of the set and wants to be at a high as-fan to both show it off and support Elated but if the as-fan goes too high you end up with a 5-color soup draft format. If finding the right as-fan is difficult to balance between the different other mechanical elements, my one suggestion would be to tailor the strong uncommons (particularly the gold cards) to specific archetypes and make them narrow enough that there isn’t enough incentive to just draft them all and all the psylian life enablers.

    In terms of the cards you designed, I think you correctly identified that the mechanic is more interesting if most cards gain an odd number of psylian life so that each psylian life generator can be played in a vacuum but also effectively synergize when played in multiples.

    • Masterwork
    I like this mechanic as well. I like that you chose to evoke the slivers for Masterwork commons and costed each card so that it is just below par if it is the only creature in play (and makes itself the Masterwork).
    I think this mechanic does have a limited amount of viable design space, though, and likely works better as a supporting mechanic.

    • Discover
    This is a cool scry/impulsive draw mashup that is the best of both worlds. I like how this mechanic scales well into the late game in a way that scry doesn’t but also functions in the early game in a way that impulsive draw doesn’t. I think the decision not to play lands is correct as that substantially increases the power level.

    • Overall Mechanical Synergy
    Clearly Elated synergizes with Psylian life and psylian life has some synergy with discover (although limited, particularly in the early game). Masterwork doesn’t explicitly synergize with any of the other mechanics and in a way is the odd man out.

    There might be some opportunity to introduce more synergy between the non-life gain mechanics, but it is tough to say without playing the set.

    3) Draft Archetypes
    • WU: Faeries in white is interesting. Is there a specific flavor/mechanical interpretation for the white faeries?
    • BG: Is this essentially a base green 5-color deck?

    Overall, it looks like you translated the mechanics nicely into clearly defined archetypes. Nice job!

    4) The Mechanics Cards
    • Psylian Life
    I like how you used the mechanic slightly differently in each color (W/B/G). I also think it is really clever how you used the mechanic in blue and red without breaking the color pie. Genius!
    a. Flower Picker: This really hoses Masterwork, so it may make sense to either put a mana cost on the tap ability or to increase the mana cost (similar to the tapper in War of the Spark that was modified to purposefully not interact with amass).
    b. Heather Faerie: I really like how this enables Elated on its own. Nice design!
    c. Soothing Lullaby: this card is quite strong at one mana. I think that this could easily end up at 2 mana depending on how easy it is to turn on/off.
    d. Psylian Extraction: This is a nice, elegant design!

    • Elated
    I like that you chose ETB abilities for the cycle to minimize tracking and memory issues. This mechanic really increases the value of 3 power two drops, so that is something to keep in mind.
    a. Gliding Mouse: Nice design.
    b. Exalted Sage: This is quite strong, might be better at 4 mana or with lesser stats
    c. Head-Spinning Dancer: This is probably just more fun with regular discard.
    d. Playful Recruiter: I feel like this might want to be a noncreature spell to show off some different design space at common.

    • Masterwork
    All these designs are really quite good, I have no substantive comments. I am expecting an uncommon Masterwork card that gives your masterwork hexproof.

    • Discover
    I feel like color pie wise, this mechanic could also be in red (if it fits the sets overall needs).
    a. Gift of Blackwood: This card is pretty strong. Compared to its blue counterpart, it is much easier to make this a two-for-one. That being said, this is an elegant design that plays nicely in that it “cantrips” if you have no creatures which makes up for a common flaw of fight spells.
    b. Curious Statue: This is a nice design. Good job keeping it to sorcery speed.

  • 5) Individual Cards
    One thing I notice is that the removal seems to be on the expensive side, with very little cheap removal. Is this intentional? It is not necessarily a bad thing, but does make control worse in the format.
    • Let it go: This is a cool new design that feels very white.
    • Polyemic Reaction: Unless there is a flavor element I am missing, I don’t really get the connection between these two mechanics. I think this might be better as a modal spell.
    • Bureaucratic Stare: I get that this is supposed to hose discover but I think this is probably a little bit too complex (wording is correct, but somewhat odd) and narrow to be common. It feels uncommon to me.
    • Death Row: This is an awesome top down design. 10/10!
    • Lab Rat: X is typically not used at common. That being said, I really love this design. I would recommend moving it to uncommon.
    • Smash in Anger: This is a nice design that has additional functionality in enabling Elated
    • Released Fury: I would not underestimate the effect this card has on agro decks. This SUBSTANTIALLY powers them up, particularly in multiples. I could see this card being extremely punishing. This is definitely one to watch and potentially upshift in either cost or rarity. That beign said, I really like how you took two effects that are typically bad (Mass falter + pump aura) and made them quite functional together.
    • Daylight Assassin: I put a white version of this card in my set recently (Tap creature instead of block) with the exact same other qualities. I guess great minds think alike.
    • Venomous Guardinsect: I like the interaction with this card and creatures cast off discover, but that might not play the best at common. It probably is okay but does increase complexity when this is on the board and the opponent has open mana.
    • Machiavellian Potion: X typically not being used at common aside, this is so inefficient that it is probably best at uncommon. I actually think for this to be common it has to be a better removal spell.
    • Uplifting troubadour: This being able to target any creature adds a ton of board complexity when the opponent chooses blockers, mostly beign of the first strike. I think this would be better if it didn’t give such a punishing keyword or only targeted itself.
    • Innocent-Looking Child: Great top-down design!
    • Loving Bear: This card is a nice clean design but may cause some problems at common. The reason for this is because the stat boost is conditional on having psylian life, if you attack with this as a 4/4, it takes 2 or 3 damage, doesn’t die, and then you spend all of your psylian life during your second main phase to cast a spell, this dies as a result of state based effects. The same is true if this blocks and you lose your psylian life as a result of combat damage. All things considered, I think that just means this card shouldn’t be common but would be okay at uncommon.
    • Giggly Nymphs: This is real payoff for Elated. I also really like how you made Solstice Elemental big enough to brickwall this.
    • Fruitful Arrangement: Is there any synergy in the set with tapping your own creatures? Unless there is something I am missing, I don’t get why you would want to do that.
    • Deep Dive: this is a nice innovation on dive down. This can be used to shrink an attacker (but likely not win a combat due to the toughness gain. This card is an excellent example of lenticular design and is my favorite card of your entire set (so far)!
    • Surging Ballet: Like with Released Fury, I like how you combined two typically narrow effects (mass power boost + small token creature) into one card to make it more than the sum of its parts. I worry that this, like Released Fury, may be much stronger than it seems. Stapling creatures (even 1/1s) to staple spell effects was shown to be quite powerful in WAR (Toll of the Invasion, the red tormenting voice amass 1 card, etc.), so it might be worth paying attention to this one in playtesting.
    • Lessons from the Past: This card functions similar to Devious Cover-Up from GRN, where it acts as a win condition for a control deck (you can infinitely loop two of them and several other of your best cards in the late game). Something to keep in mind.
    • Off-Key Flutist: I am not really getting the purpose of this design (aside from elated). Why does it have two separate instances of life loss? Also, is there a reason it loots both players? Typically, this effect would be red or blue and is a bend in black.
    • Sorrowful Lesson: This is just way too strong, even if you always lose the life. This should cost 3 mana.
    • Angry Look / Enlarged Ego: You have two cards at common that are sorcery speed pump spells. These cards typically don’t get played because they are so ineffective. It might be better to swap one of these to instant or reconcept it entirely.
    • Joyful Knight: Same comments as Loving Bear except this is a little better since the bonus is less and it is more likely to die in combat.
    • Elven Party-Crasher: This card requires some tracking, but has good flavor. I think it doesn’t need “and/or” and should just be “or”.
    • Elf of Solstice: This is a great common mana dork design! Awesome job!
    • Rainbow Meadow: This is an extremely strong mana fixer and card advantage engine. This might be better at 2GG or at uncommon.
    • Brazier Golem: This is a nice design in an elated set but gives the red decks a lot of reach. Worth watching in playtesting.
    Overall thoughts:
    1) You have a lot of X at common. This is typically not done to reduce complexity. Is there a specific reason for so much X?
    2) In a vacuum and without any playtesting, the red aggressive decks look to be very strong from a combination of 3 power two drops, strong aggressive cards that make blocking difficult, and several cards that can deal damage to a player in the late game. Also, the fact that there isn’t much cheap removal might allow these decks to snowball pretty quickly. Psylian life seems to help with this on the surface since it increases the as-fan of life gain, but since the player will use that life for mana in many cases it might actually end up reducing the effective incidental life gain in the set. Something to watch for in playtesting.
    3) Overall, the set skeleton is quite robust, with each archetype being supported enough at common. This is really hard to do, so great job!!!
    4) I was expecting to see some sort of “Living Art” creatures (or some sort of representation, both flavorfully and mechanically) at common. I think a tribal archetype could be good, but I might suggest trying to couple it with masterwork in some way. Perhaps the “Living Art” creatures could get some sort of bonus if they are your masterwork?
    5) I like the idea of adding the Church of Serra in as a religious overtone. This has a lot of potential!

  • @Faiths_Guide Good catch thanks! I guess I was bound to forget something at some point, this was a really long post xD Interestingly, the Tramply Masterwork card is actually the real member of the cycle since it's meant to increase evasion, the haste one is more of a function card that just happened to get Masterwork because it plays well x)
  • edited July 26
    @bnew07
    Wow, thanks for all this feedback ^^ Here are some answers and discussions about some random points I thought were particularly interesting:

    1) The World of Rezatta: Yes, I came to the same conclusion that there simply weren't enough resonant Renaissance tropes to fill a full set and that the exciting factor mostly came from the novel bottom-up aspect. I'm still looking for a good secondary theme to give substance to the set, like Renaissance of Innistrad, or Renaissance meets post-apocalyptic world, or whatever xD
    The same is true with Emotions, I do believe that's a trope that goes well with the Art theme, but more likely in small doses, yeah.

    2) The Mechanics of Rezatta
    • Elated:
    The 3 life threshold is surprisingly difficult to meet, you actually often need strong support to meet it consistently. But I like that it snowballs, and that triggering it once gives you enough ressource to trigger it more easily the next turn.

    • Psylian life:
    No, "psylian" is a playtest name with no real meaning. I'm still looking for a good name that would convey the meaning of Renaissance as in Rebirth, or a New Life. If you want to know, it's called psylian because one of the three mechanics that inspired it is Phyrexian Mana. I just took another greek letter than phi, the letter psi as you could guess, and called it Psylian Life x)

    The 5-colour soup was one of my original concerns so psylian life in its first version produced colorless mana. It's after playtesting that I realised it was as innocuous as Treasure tokens. It really helped fixing your mana but without heavy support (hence the BG archetype) wouldn't allow you to cast off-colour cards consistently enough to be worth adding to your deck. I do monitor particularly closely very splashable cards like hard removal and counterspells so they aren't too easy to cast with psylian life.

    • Overall Synergy:
    Yes, Discover and Masterwork were intentionally designed so you wouldn't have the word "life" printed over half the cards of the set, but there are ways to design them that reinforces the synergy with the theme on a card-by-card basis. Masterwork, for instance, specifically makes your Masterwork more evasive so you can trigger Elated by attacking.

    3) Draft Archetypes
    • WU Faeries:
    Not really, the flavour was an optimistic twist on the Lorwyn faeries, but we haven't pushed the creative aspect deep enough yet to really define how the blue, black and white faeries differ. I do feel like the white ones could be more calm and protective, while the blue ones could be more fun and whimsical.

    • BG 5-Colours Ramp:
    Yes, it's the archetype that encourages you to splash your best cards from all colours. I'm trying to get Black to contribute as much as Green thanks to its Psylian life production but the dial might still be too skewed towards Green right now, and that's not the intention.

    4) Mechanic Cards
    • Psylian life:
    - Flower Picker: Oh yeah, good catch on the bad interaction with Masterwork, we definitely need to fix that.
    - Soothing Lullaby: I keep switching it between one and two mana xD It's in a weird spot but the card plays great so I'm pushing it. I decided to go with that version because it can feel really bad when you get bolted in the face and lose all your psylian life before a big attack. One-mana is my way of saying "beware, it's not as strong as you think".

    • Elated:
    - Exalted Sage: Elated is surprisingly difficult to trigger, but it's especially true in Blue which is why I pushed this one a bit more. At least Tolarian Scholar is kind of playable if needs be.
    - Head-Spinning Dancer: Yeah, I added randomness to pump the strength of Elated cards, but it might be unfun, even at four mana. Ideally, this would make you discard one card and a half x) I might fuse it with the Inquisition spell, come to think of it.
    - Playful Recruitor: I did initially designed a noncreature spell in this slot, but it's really the bonus card in White that (with the Bolt) is more powerful than the others and pushes you to play Elated in those colors. It does play very well, so I decided it was worth breaking the symmetry.

    • Masterwork:
    Yes, hilariously I had a common that gave your Masterwork hexproof in my first version. I very quickly came around on that x) Uncommon will be a sweet spot for it.
  • edited July 26
    5) Individual Cards:
    - Slow Removals: Yes, the fact that removal is a bit on the slow side is mainly to compensate the acceleration brought by Psylian life. This is definitely an aspect that will be refined through playtesting.
    - Polemic Reaction: The flavour I was going for was that an Art (the artifact/enchantement) was really controversial so the crowd got angry and destroyed it x)
    - Bureaucratic Stare: It's also a Dispel (unless you play your instants at sorcery speed which I thought was interesting) but yeah it's mostly me trying to throw stuff on a wall and see if it sticks, I did that a lot with the removal xD
    - Lab Rat: Yeah, I went a little strong with the X at common, but Converge needs it and it plays really well with psylian life. It's true it's probably a bit aggressive now that you mention it.
    - Released Fury: Yeah, I wanted a card in each colour that would have a massive impact on board stalls, but putting this at 3 mana might be underestimating the synergy between the two effects, you're right.
    - Venomous Guardinsect: I figured at common it would, in 99% of cases, trigger off of you playing a creature in your pre-combat main phase, pushing for a more agressive use of Deathtouch which I liked.
    - Machiavellian Potion: I'll try to increase the rate as this is needed at common to help trigger Elated. The fact that it's a horrible removal card is more a feature than a bug though, since I want people to not consider this before any coloured spell.
    - Uplifting Troubadour: I based myself on a few precedents of cards granting first strike all around but it's true they're quite old. Its main purpose is to be a mana sink, but with the +1/+0 part it's true it still works just pumping itself and it's probably much less smothering.
    - Loving Bear: Oh that's a good catch on a confusing interaction, you're right. I'll try to find a way to fix it.
    - Fruitful Arrangement: No, you don't have to tap your own creatures, the two modes are basically "Support 2" or "Tap two creatures an opponent controls but put a +1/+1 counter on them in exchange". Honestly the downsides is so big I might just remove this card entirely, but I was trying to seed cards that rewarded you for putting +1/+1 counters on the opponent's creatures at higher rarity.
    - Lessons from the Past: Yeap, I'm trying this version but I'm still on the lookout for a good driver that makes Weave Fate just slightly better.
    - Off-Key Flutist: This one plays in an archetype about Symmetry where you usually ends up ahead in the symmetry effect. I might remove the entire archetype altogether at common to be honest, it didn't came out well and has no real mechanical glue.
    - Sorrowful Lessons: It's meant as a Sign on Blood variation but I guess Painful Lesson is close enough. I still hesitate between BB and 2B there, let's try 2B I suppose.
    - Angry Look/Enlarged Ego: Yes, I was trying to create powerful sorcery pumps that you would actually want to play. I'm really into Enlarged Ego, it plays surprisingly well and is one of the cards that help break board stalls. Angry Look might not be there yet though, you're right and with Unreleased Fury already in Red it might not be needed.
    - Elven Party-Crasher: It is a bit complex, if I remove the WB Symmetry archetype it will no longer be necessary. I was also starting to worry about the number of creatures that change their stats in the set, it might be a bit too high which is another strike against it. There's a concept for an uncommon maybe.
    - Rainbow Meadow: Yeah I "might" have overshot there xD I think it wants to be uncommon if I 'm being honest, I just wanted a spell that could trigger landfall on the one-mana green dryad.

    • Overall thoughts:
    - Lots of Xs: No, this is a bug I intend to fix, I do have too much Xs. But Converge plays so well with psylian life I think I'm keeping those in for now.
    - Strong Red Aggro: Yes, I was trying to figure out how to not kill Aggro with a focus on life gain and I certainly overshot. It's a pretty unique challenge and I need to search for the right answer.
    - Living Art: The initial plan was to have Artist cards giving bonuses to your Masterwork, and Art cards giving bonuses to themselves as long as they were your Masterwork. In the end, only the Artist cards were really interesting to play (I did keep what became The Silver Monarch as a vestige), and I had much more good illustrations of Living Art than I anticipated, so it felt weird to restrict their use to just a few cards. So yeah, I need a new plan to use the massive amount of Living Art illustrations I found x)
    - Church of Serra: I think it will do well as another subtheme like sculptor gorgons and spring but, looking back at the idea, the tropes that come with it would be biblical references and that doesn't exactly scream Renaissance so, all things considered, I don't think I'll end up making this a major theme.
  • Blurb.
  • Hello, I left comments under all the cards in the current set under different names (GoldenDagonSquirrel and, after I realized Dagon was a character in more than just H.P Lovecraft's fiction, EldritchKrakenSquirrel). I created the accounts purely because I don't have any social media apps, and the only way to then register on Discus without revealing my full name was by creating a new Google account without my name tied to it. I love the set so far! Great job!
  • Living Art arts could work towards some type of golem tribal perhaps? Or just straight up art tribal?
  • I'd like to point out that a card revealed today for the new commander decks has made Sculptures an actual creature type. I wonder if this will impact the card design for this set much, or if we will keep all the constructs.

    Link: http://mythicspoiler.com/c19/cards/doomedartisan.html
  • @pakashara
    I saw that, I found it pretty fun x) They used the Sculpture type as a way to make sure it wouldn't get impacted by an existing playable creature type like Construct. It would be a pretty fun idea to re-use the Sculpture type in Rezatta though, but it should probably synergise with Doomed Artisan as a nod, and it requires thinking about what it means for types like Painting, Music, or Poetry for instance. Overall, if we use the "Art" subtype, I'm not sure Sculpture would make sense in the same set.
  • edited August 8
    @ningyounk

    I'm going to come clean. I was too lazy to join Rezzata when you started. Ever since, I've felt embarassed to go in because of this. But now, I know the set is at a crucial point, and I know I'll regret it if I don't join the project.

    So I will dig through your posts, make sense of all this marvellous framework you've created, and finally help out. :D
  • @HeroKP
    People come and go all the time, if you get time to propose concepts and offer feedback it's always very appreciated =D
  • @ningyounk

    Well, for starters, I haven't seen anything that converts life into psylian life consistently and directly (and please do correct me if I am wrong, there is just so many cards to look over). How about a machine, perhaps? A legendary even? A Magnum Opus?
  • edited August 10
    image

    Do you think this would be sufficiently balanced?
  • @HeroKP

    That card effectively says "Pay 4 life: Add one mana of any color." This is 100% busted. Personally, I don’t believe you should have a card that can pay life for mana like this in a standard legal set unless it requires a heavy deck construction cost and even then it is questionable.
  • edited August 8
    @HeroKP
    For now I've been experimenting with some "psylian life cycling" at common and have been pretty happy with it as it synergises great with Elated and offers access to pseudo-life gain in Blue and Red without feeling like a colour pie break since you don't end up with more life than you had before:

    image image


    But yes, multiple people have tried to make a higher rarity life conversion engine, so we definitely ought to try and make it work. As bnew07 mentioned though, it can easily become completely broken, as anything that includes free mana, so we'll have to be subtle about it ^^ The Auralabe for instance, can probably be used to win on the spot without trying too hard with the right support. (E.g: Aetherflux Reservoir and a deck full of cantrips.)

    image
  • @bnew07 you're right, it is busted, but it's also 6 life, not 4, because you need to pay more psylian life to get the mana. Just in case this comes up again.
  • @ningyounk I wanted to help out, so here's a tip: in the reminder text for psylian life, it should be "Add ONE mana of any color," not "Add A mana of any color."
  • @ningyounk @bnew07

    God you're right. If there is one design challenge with this set, is that it will probably be hard to balance.

    Could 4 life for 1 psylian work?
  • @HeroKP
    I think it's the concept of an artifact that converts any amount of life into psylian life that is problematic. We could try many different conversion rate but it will always be either broken or unusable, while the fun window we want to reach is actually between those two extremes. We need to find the right restriction for it, the card needs some more safety valves, not just twitches in numbers.
  • Thanks. I'll try to brainstorm something!
  • Maybe I can make some (potentially bad) uncommon signposts?

    WU Control Faerie Tribal (ETB abilities, blink, flash, etc.)
    1WU
    Creature - Faerie sth
    Flying
    When ~ etbs, draw a card.
    2/1

    Reference: Elite Guardmage but costs less, so bumped down toughness and removed life gain.

    UB Control (Classic archetype.)

    2UB
    Instant
    Choose one --
    * Counter target spell.
    * Destroy target creature.

    Reference: UB uncommon instants. Most similar to Spite // Malice but this has a lot more targets.

    BR Aggro Suicide (Use your life as a fuel to be super agressive.)

    1BR
    Creature
    ~'s power is equal to the amount of life you paid this turn.
    1, pay 1 life: Target creature can't block until end of turn.
    */2

    Reference: Merciless Javenlineer, at least for its "can't block" ability. The power based on life paid is inspired by demo cards having a lot of "pay X life" as an optional cost.

    RG Aggro Go Tall (Classic Archetype)

    2RG
    Enchantment - Aura
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature gets +3/+1, has trample and can't be blocked by more than one creature.

    Reference: not much. Turns out there aren't much gruul enchantments. Comments needed.

    GW Midrange Psylian Fortress (Gain psylian life then try to keep it.)

    1GW
    Creature
    When ~ etbs, you gain 3 psylian life.
    0/4

    Reference: Yoked Ox (not joking). Etb gain 3 life has been stapled onto a 3 mana 3/3, but this says "etb add 1.5 mana of any color". So the stats are horrible if that line of text is ignored.
    I thought of having a Ghost Prison effect but it hasn't been done before and seems awkward with green in it.

    WB Midrange Symmetry (Use group hugs and chaos strategies to get ahead in ressources.)

    WB
    Creature
    At the beginning of each end step, if an opponent gained life this turn, you gain 2 life.
    Whenever you pay life the first time each turn, each opponent loses that much life.
    2/4

    Reference: Cliffhaven Vampire. Changed original lifegain payoff to suit paying life (so you lose life --> they lose life), and added payoff when opponents gain life (so they gain life --> you gain life). Removed flying otherwise bit too busted. Also added restriction for

    UR Disruptive Aggro Masterwork (Make a big evasive Masterwork)

    2UR
    Creature
    Masterwork
    Your Masterwork gets +2/+0 and can't be blocked.
    1/3

    Reference: Storm Fleet Sprinter, but bigger and w/o haste (if it's your Masterwork).

    BG Combo Multicolor Ramp (Get access to all colors, uses Convergence-like effects.)

    Deathsprout (or sth similar)

    It helps with the long game and helps ramp & fix. A tweak is to allow it to be cast w/o any creatures.

    RW Disruptive Aggro Elated (Keep the pressure by turning on Elated every turn.)

    1RW
    Creature
    Haste
    At the beginning of your each step, if (Elated), put a +1/+1 counter on ~.
    3/1

    Reference: Ten District Legionnaire. I know that card's a bit strong, so for this one I made sure it costs more, has less toughness and triggers at most once each turn cycle. The increase in power is to make sure it can trugger Elated on its own.

    GU Combo Discover Tempo (Get the full power of the Discover mechanic.)

    GU
    Instant
    Put up to one card from your graveyard on top of your library, then Discover.
    Draw a card.

    Reference: Worst case scenario, Reclaim and draw a card; or a worse Opt. Best case scenario is getting something back and cast it (if you have the mana up).
    Though the card as a whole might be a color pie bend/break? (Because you may be effectively reanimating a creature.)
  • edited August 12
    @LyndonF
    It's still a bit early to work on the gold uncommon signposts since the archetypes are not fixed yet, namely I'd like a way of mechanically signalling the presence of Living Art among the creatures by dedicating an archetype to it (I was thinking a blinking UB archetype instead of the WU Faerie one, and making WU the classic control archetype). I'm also disappointed in the WB archetype and would like to change it. The GB archetype is fun but tricky to pull out, maybe it will have to be a secondary archetype that really starts at uncommon since the payoff for this is really to have access to any card you'd want.

    So my feedback here is more in a vacuum than really in the context of how well the cards integrate into the current set skeleton.

    WU Faerie: Unlike on Ravnica or other multicolour-heavy sets, Rezatta and most other sets only have a single cycle of uncommon gold cards so it's very important to leave them to cards that can only be done as multicoloured cards, and a flyier that cantrips can be done as a mono-Blue card.

    UB Control: It's a clean idea but that's really strong, maybe a bit unfun. I would consider narrowing it down so it doesn't answer absolutely everything, for instance changing it to "Counter target creature spell" instead (and adjusting the mana cost).

    BR Suicide Aggro: I think this one is a bit unbalanced, it's very swingy by doing either nothing or killing the opponent in one attack, I'd rather have something in the middle that's never truly useless but cannot end the game in one attack. It would also probably care about any life you lost, not just paid, to increase combo potential. That activated ability is also very undercosted (it's usually worth 4 mana).

    RG Go Tall: I like the idea of an enchantment but those gold signposts are meant to drive you into a draft archetype so they need to be quite strong, and before an aura can become competitive enough for this slot it will need to solve the card disadvantage issue inherent to that subtype. Basically, the blowout potential of seeing the creature you're about to enchant being destroyed is too much to overcome, it needs to be re-usable, or have an ETB ability.

    GW Psylian life: That's quite weak, the 0/4 body is merely worth one mana. It could easily be a common and either mono-White or mono-Green so it doesn't fit the gold signpost slot.

    WB Symmetry: That's a quite fun idea, but one of the problems with it (which actually comes from the archetype itself, not really the card) is that its not just about life gain and loss, you could have each player sacrifice a creature, draw a card, discard a card, create a token, etc. and this capture only one aspect of it. You could use an effect that rewrites "each player" effects into "target player" effect for instance, but that comes with a lot of rules problems, it's probably more of an Un-card at this point, especially since it may get lost in translation.

    UR Masterwork: That's really strong, maybe a bit too direct. I could see this take over the game a bit too easily.

    WR Elated: I'm guessing this is meant to trigger at the end of your end step? It does sound like a clean and fun design, though the power level might be improved a little (3/1 is a really agressive start, and a single +1/+1 counter each turn is quite weak).

    GU discover: I really like this design, it feels very GU ^^ It might be a bit strong at only 2 mana though.

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