Trabadart the Tragedy Set - Mechanics Challenge

Hello everyone! =D

For this challenge, I'll be asking you to design MECHANICS for a hypothetical set called "Trabadart".


This world works like a greek tragedy: you know how it's going to end from the very beginning, and you know it's gonna end bad. Basically, The world of Trabadart is inevitably going to disappear and the various denizens of Trabadart know it well. But all of them don't deal with the news the same way. They're all at a different stage of what we call "The 5 Stages of Loss & Grief".

The challenge is to designed mechanics that represent those Stages of Loss & Grief. I'm looking for 5+1 different mechanics separated in different colours:


White/Blue/Black -- Denial
Blue/Black/Red -- Bargaining
Black/Red/Green -- Depression
Red/Green/White -- Anger
Green/White/Blue -- Acceptance


All 5 colours -- Inevitability/Fatality (This mechanic must use the cards in some new way, or use alternate frames that must be described somewhere. Think double-faced cards, devoid frames, face-down cards, sparkly Theros enchantment-creatures, shiny Avacyn Restored miracle cards, etc...)

Here are the specific rules:
- Cards must show the potential of one or more new keyword mechanic (keyword ability, ability word, etc...)
- Each keyword must be linked to Denial, Bargaining, Depression, Anger, Acceptance, or Inevitability/Fatality and stay in the colours alloted to each theme (see above)
- No more than 6 entries per smith (you don't have to do a full cycle, you can focus on whatever stage(s) inspire you the most)
- Cards created for other challenges are accepted
- Deadline in 2 weeks: 27th July

The prizes are:
- First place: 5 favourites on whatever cards you want me to favourite
- Second place: 3 favourites on whatever cards you want me to favourite
- Third place: 1 favourite on whatever card you want me to favourite
If there are enough entries, I'll do a Top 10 and each card of the Top 10 will also get a favourite =)

Good luck everyone! Tell me in the comments if you didn't understand something, I know this challenge has a lot of tricky rules ;)


  • edited July 2016
    This is made for anger stage:
  • Trabadartians?
  • For Black/Red/Green -- Depression.

    Custom mechanic "Despond":
    Despond (Whenever a creature you control dies, if it wasn't sacrificed, put a -1/-1 counter on this creature.)

  • @Faiths_Guide Haha never thought of that, "Trabadartians" does sound good with my accent (french, i pronouce "R" like widowmaker in Overwatch "Alive" short video) but I honestly have no clue how it would sound with a regular english accent x)
  • Similar to "Martian".
  • edited July 2016
    Ha, I pronounce it with a hard T, like in "Smarties" x)
  • Oooh, interesting!
  • Not much but I'll give it a shot. It's for depression:
  • @ningyounk , can I use Absorb? It's on one sliver from Time Spiral, but there's some really fun design space there.
  • Jund Depression: Aftershock
    Depression manifests as a numbing of emotion, which I chose to represent with lands becoming Wastes (which would be easier if Waste was a real type and I could just copypasta Blood Moon, but whatever).

    Esper Denial: Absorb
    I considered keywording the Kira ability, but that seemed narrow and frustrating. Absorb is a much richer design space, and it's about denial without locking your opponents out of options.

    Grixis Bargaining: Pact
    I basically just keyworded the ability from Time Spiral's Pact cycle. Allows for more interesting costs, too.
  • Sorry guys, I'll be less active for a couple of days starting now. I live in Nice, France and was on the Promenade des Anglais last night where there was an attack. Nobody I know was hurt but we don't know the names of the victims yet... So I may not answer right away. Keep posting, I promise I'll be back soon once everything settles down.
  • Best wishes to you and everyone there @ningyounk! Our hearts and thoughts go out to all of the people of Nice!
  • @ningyounk
    We're praying for you!
  • Thank you for these kind words =)

    @IanLowenthal I've not exactly settled on what is threatening Trabadart. I picture it like a world dying of old age: it's something inevitable, with various symptoms like memory loss, shaking and dementia (but for a World, not its inhabitants, if that makes sense). Of course those syptoms would have mechanical consequences on cards picturing them, which is why I haven't decided yet. I just know it's not exile-related to avoid being too similar to Zendikar, especially if the world is going to be personified due to these symptoms.

    On the various mechanics proposed so far, here is a very vague idea of my thoughts:

    @Mila "Rage X" feels clean and interesting, I'm wondering how much design space it has, though your uncommon is already an interesting twist.

    @Faiths_Guide "Despond" has a delicious feeling of despair around it :) Balancing seems tricky, I'd be amused to see how far it can go without being overpowered.

    @TrippleBoggey3 "Desolation" seems like a quirky and interesting one-card design but I'm worried about its design space as a 3-colour broad mechanic outside the specific card you created for it.

    @Beeswax "Aftershock" is flavourful and very unique while clearly having a very wide design space which you showed very well with those 2 cards :) I'd be curious to know how handicapping it would actually be to lose the colours of your lands.
    "Absorb" is also very interesting, and you designed some pretty imaginative twists around it as well! Having 'Absorb X' obviously being better than having 2 additional toughness, I'm still unsure what the impact of this mechanic on the mana cost of creatures should be.
    "Pact" is again a pretty clever take on an old mechanic, with a refreshing point of view :) There's a lot of subtlety in it, but I'm not sure the templating on Larcened Lightning would actually work as being dealt damage is not a cost, contrary to paying life (as far as I know, I could be wrong). I've commented on it to get some insight of other Cardmsiths ^^

    @Lujikul "Offer" is not without ressemblance with "Tribute" which sounds pretty interesting and flavourful in this context ^^ Still I'm not sure "Herald of Dealings" is especially powerful at showing its full potential since it is mostly a 3/3 for 3 with downside at rare.

    @IanLowenthal "Misery" and "Wrath" both suffers from a big balancing issue, probably being too powerful.
    On Misery, the similar mechanic Treshold looks if there is 7 or more cards in the graveyard and usually gives bonuses like +2/+2 or +4/+4. Misery triggers if there are only 5 cards and gives at least +5/+5, while easily flying off the roof with 2-digits numbers.
    Same thing with "Wrath" which is pretty similar to the vampire mechanic on original Innistrad, except they only get *one* +1/+1 counter each time they hit the opponent, not an exponential number starting at 3 or 4 at once.
    "Blackmail" is prety interesting and seems relatively balanced since you don't get to keep the creatures and usually can't attack with them. It does take a blocker out, but I'm mostly interested in seeing the quirky things you can do to your opponent's creatures during this brief period of control.
  • edited July 2016
    It took me a while, but I finally managed to make a full cycle.

    image image image
    image image image

    Sorry for the long post. Anyway, feedback would be much appreciated. Great contest btw.

    (Edit: Updated Deathly Judge, Crystal Street Market, and Soul of Trabadart.)
  • @Connor2001: From what I can see, there's a pattern going on in these 6 cards: you have some very interesting keywords with a lot of potential, but some of these individual cards are a little overpowered or overcomplexified even though the keyword is not inherently.

    Deny: The very last ability of Deathly Judge will easily wipe the opponent's board, leaving not even a land, so this is part of the overpowered ones, while the keyword may have interesting applications.

    Swindle: This is the most confusing to me, I did not understand what this does from the reminder text.

    Despair: What an interesting mechanic, I can already imagine a lot of fascinating design with it.

    Frenzy: I'm wondering how this fits between undying and persist. It's a very powerful engine that could create infinite combos easily.

    Evanescence: Very interesting, I like how you played in "Activated abilities matter", it's pretty fresh ^^ Once again, the life gain ability on Soul of Trabadart is probably a little too much though.

    Void: Just to be clear, the "5 colours" mechanic means it will be found in all 5 colours like Morph on Tarkir or double-faced cards on Innistrad, you don't *have* to make it 5-coloured. I'm not sure the Void mechanic is safe for the colour pie once used on non-5-coloured spells. I do really like the flavour of this card though, it's sort of a really appeasing end for Trabadart ^^
  • @TrippleBoggey3 Your card is complicated, I'm going to write a comment directly under it to avoid flooding the topic. Is the mechanic you propose Gravemorph for the Denial stage?
  • @TrippleBoggey3 Once again, there are a lot of issues on your second card so I posted a comment below it directly.

    @GodOfWar Really cool mechanic that sounds like there's a lot of intresting design space behind it :) The denial mechanic is supposed to be primary in White though this sounds more like a Blue/Black mechanic, but I promise I won't judge that ^^ On that specific card, don't you think Refusal (which prevents blocking) kind of "nonboes" with Deathtouch and First Strike which both need a fight to happen in order to actually be relevant?
  • edited July 2016
    Updated some of my cards above. They should more balanced and easier to read now.
  • edited July 2016
    @ningyounk, got it, I'll brew up a new card that uses the Refusal mechanic a little more effectively.

    Thanks for the feedback.
  • edited July 2016
    Entry Two (I suppose, or perhaps just the "remodeling" of the first entry): Spirit Of Things To Come:
  • Fun fact bump:

    The distribution of the 5 stages of Loss & Grief among the 5 Magic colours was suggested to me by Mark Rosewater himself:
  • Last day (and last bump)! Looking for any mechanic that fits the themes Denial, Bargaining, Depression, Anger, Acceptance, or Inevitability ^^
This discussion has been closed.