New mechanic: Foretelling (help wanted)

Hello everyone, thank you for your precious time spent to read this thread. 

Soon I am going to create a custom card set revolving around the 22 Tarot cards, which are going to be Creatures - Avatar (plus an added type, like Dragon or Angel), and I want them to have a unique mechanic: Foretelling. 

How will Foretelling work, I'll explain with a practical example. Here's a test card i did recently. 
Since this card has the Foretelling ability, you can cast it and decide to play it upright or reversed.

In this position, you will activate the Upright ability, giving a creature Hexproof.

This way (Yeah I know it's hard to read), you'll play the card and activate the Reversed ability (target creature can't attack or block, in this example).

It's surely a lot of work, but I don't think I'd be able to do it alone, hence why I am asking you guys. I'll appreciate all the help and constructive criticism I can get, feel free to suggest your own ideas. 

Thank you for your patience
- Scaccogaming


  • Well, if it is a creature, the first thing you want is P/T.
  • Otherwise, it dies immediatly for having no toughness.
  • edited April 2020
    Oh! Sorry, I did this card on a rush actually, it was just an example. 

    Anyways, I already made three cards, which can be found here:
  • Aren't these just Flip cards where you can choose what side you want to cast? Based on the examples you've given they're all ETB effects so it's not functionally different from "When ~ enters the battlefield, choose one -". In short, there are easier ways to accomplish this outcome if this is all you're trying to do.
  • On paper, you would be right. Thing is, I"m basically trying to make tarot cards and since they can be flipped, i gave the cards this mechanic. 
  • Hello! Here are my two cents:

    From a MTG perspective, I think your mechanic could work with the same technology as the Siege cycle from Fate Reforged:

    It would go a bit like this:

    Foretelling (As this enters the battlefield, choose Upright or Reversed)

    • Upright — Effect 1
    • Reversed — Effect 2


    However, this doesn't really make sense unless you choose between static abilities. If you have only ETB abilities, you can just say "When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, choose one —". Note that this is valid for your example card as well, right now there is zero reason to do something as complicated as flip them just to signify a choice on entering the battlefield.

    Now, as mentioned above, you coud use the flip technology if you really wanted to physically represent the Tarot card aspect. Something along those lines: 

    That being said, as you can see it's not the most easy to read and it has all the issues of flip cards, including that once you tap a creature with with an up and down side you don't always remember which way to untap it. Might be more suited for an enchantment or something that doesn't tap.
  • First of, very cool card nevertheless, and thank you for the advice. 
    Second of all, I was thinking to redo my cards with the format you guys suggested, but the main problem is my lack of inspiration for the effects. 
    If any of you want to contribute on that matter, I'll be very grateful. 
  • edited April 2020

    I believe I have an idea for the effects of the chariot:

    upright: the chariot has first strike (direction, control, willpower)
    reversed: the chariot has haste (lack of control, lack of direction, aggression)

    Also, I agree with @ningyounk in that the effects should be static abilities
  • Sorry if I've been inactive, but I really struggled to get anything done with the set. Eventually, I decided to delete all my previous cards, since they were obsolete. I still intend to work on these tarot-like cards, but there's a lot of them, and I'll really need a hand completing them all.
  • I also started from scratch taking into consideration the criticism you gave me. And yes, I know this is like the fourth time I remake this card, but please tell me what you guys think of it. 

    I took away the Foretelling mechanic, focusing more on the two effects that (as the text at the bottom would suggest) represent the leap of faith (upright) or the chaos and lack of discipline (reversed).

  • edited April 2020

    Once you've settled on the form of your cycle (in this case, a legendary Avatar creature with two different abilities, upright or reversed) my best advice would be not to do them one by one but work on the whole cycle:
    1) For each card, summarise what they represent philosophically, and if there is any obvious mechanical way to represent that in MTG.
    2) Decide if your care about your colours and effects being evenly distributed (obviously the cycle will be more elegant if each colour is represented more or less the same amount, but more importantly if each card has a very distinctive set of effects that is immediately recognisable.)
    3) Fill in the gaps.

    On Avatar of the fool, it's very weird that one of the abilities is an ETB ability and the other one is a static ability. It could work if all cards followed the same pattern of choosing between a one-shot effect or a continuous effect though. But in that case I would make the two effects relate somehow. For instance, ETB: deals 3 damage to any target OR deals 1 damage to any target at the beginning of each combat.
  • @ningyounk I get what you are saying, and to answer you, I am already trying to summarize the cards' meanings in a way that they would make sense, game-wise.
    I do care about the colors, but they mostly depend on each individual cards' meaning and theoretical effects. 

    Finally, the reasonbehind the effects of avatar of the fool, is that the first ability is, by default, a situational effect and it can be used as a cheap mulligan. This represents the "leap of faith" described by the Fool. The damage per combat is just an effect I decided to put if the player doesn't need to cycle his deck, and just to be a nuisance. To my eyes, it does make sense. Right?
  • edited April 2020
    Here's a quick list of random mechanical ideas I associate with each card when reading them (I'm free-rolling, it's far from exhaustive, obviously):

    0 - The Fool
    - Upright: Innocence, freedom = positive random effects (choosing something randomly, coin flips, polymorph, cascade, etc...)
    - Reversed: risk, recklessness = negative random effects, dealing damage to yourself

    1 - The Magician
    - Upright: Power, resourcefulness = adding mana, drawing cards
    - Reversed: Poor planning, untapped talent = milling, fateseal, discard

    2 - The High Priestess
    - Upright: Intuition, subconscious = Scry, cascade, impulse
    - Reversed: secrets, science = looting, face-down cards (on the battlefield or in exile), transformations

    3 - The Empress
    - Upright: Beauty, nature = tokens, ramp, proliferate
    - Reversed: Creative block, dependence on others = pacifism, oblivion ring,...

    4 - The Emperor
    - Upright: Authority, structure = Detain, can't cast spells, cost more to activate/cast, ghostly prison effects
    - Reversed: domination, excessive control = removal for tapped and/or attacking creatures, exile

    5 - The Hierophant
    - Upright: Religious beliefs, tradition = spirits, clerics, angels
    - Reversed: personal beliefs, freedom = exiling from graveyard, protection from

    6 - The Lovers
    - Upright: Love, harmony = life gain, +1/+1 counters, effects targeting two creatures, soulbond-like effects
    - Reversed: Self-love, disharmony = sacrificing other creatures, attacking alone

    7 - The Chariot
    - Upright: Willpower, determination = haste, hexproof, super trample, counterspells
    - Reversed: Opposition, lack of direction = counterspells, bounce, freeze

    8 - Strength
    - Upright: Strength, courage = trample, +X/+X until end of turn, +1/+1 counters, 4/4 creatures and bigger
    - Reversed: Self-doubt, low energy = moving +1/+1 counters, -1/-1 counters, -X/-X until end of turn

    9 - The Hermit
    - Upright: Introspection, being alone = having only one creature onto the battlefield, attacking alone, caring about the with the most or higher something
    - Reversed: Isolation, loneliness = balance effects (destroy everything but one permanent of a given type) 

    10 - Wheel of Fortune
    - Upright: Good luck, destiny = random effects (see The Fool), discarding hand and drawing that many cards, looting
    - Reversed: Bad luck, resistance to change = destroying things at random, having a list of possible random effects with one of them being harmful

    11 - Justice
    - Upright: Justice, truth = Exile, prison, balance effects, can't cast spells or activate abilities
    - Reversed: Unfairness, dishonesty = Looking at other players's hands and/or library, gaining control of other's permanents, playing other's cards

    12 - The Hanged Man
    - Upright: Pause, Letting Go = wrath effects, players can't play spells until the end of your next turn, Armageddon effects
    - Reversed: Stalling, indecision = fog effects, can't attack, skipping combat step

    13 - Death
    - Upright: Endings, transformation = removal, polymorph, restarting the game, deathtouch
    - Reversed: Resistance to change, inner purging = indestructible, return from graveyard to hand or battlefield, losing all abilities

    14 - Temperance
    - Upright: Moderation, patience = -X/-0, freeze, skip turn
    - Reversed: Imbalance, excess = +X/-X, sacrifice for value (Berserk, etc.), doubling, additional turns

    15 - The Devil
    - Upright: Addiction, attachment = you lose the game and other pact effects, dealing damage to yourself for value, sacrifice for value
    - Reversed: Exploring dark thoughts, detachment = life loss, removal, sacrifice

    16 - The Tower
    - Upright: Chaos, revelation = Cascade, polymorph, transformation effects, put in play from hand or top of library, flash
    - Reversed: Personal transformation, fear of change: transform, +1/+1 or -1/-1 or keyword counters, transformation effects, beast within type of removal

    17 - The Star
    - Upright: Hope, Renewal = Scry, looking at library, impulse, tutoring a card and putting it on top of the library
    - Reversed: Lack of faith, despair = fateseal, milling, discarding

    18 - The Moon
    - Upright: Fear, illusion = return from graveyard, face-down cards, menace
    - Reversed: Release of fear, repressed emotions = Exiling graveyard, discard, players having hexproof, looking for graveyard and library to exile all copies of a card

    19 - The Sun
    - Upright: Success, vitality = indestructible, +1/+1 counters, life gain, white mana, plains, tokens
    - Reversed: Inner child, overly optimistic = group hug (giving everyone more cards, life, +1/+1 counters, etc.)

    20 - Judgement

    - Upright: Judgement, absolution = exile, wrath, removal of tapped/attacking creatures, can't lose the game this turn, win the game, +X/+X until end of turn or +1/+1 counter for all your creatures
    - Reversed: self-doubt, ignoring the call = tapping creatures, humility (making creatures 1/1 and removing their abilities)

    21 - The World
    - Upright: Completion, travel = multicolored, lands-matter, ramp
    - Reversed: Short-cuts, delays = land destruction, land tapping, sacrificing lands

    A lot of them are quite redundant (the tower, the fool, the wheel of fortune, etc. are all about unpredictability for instance) so I would start with those by clearly differentiating them from each other mechanically (one can be about flip coins, another about cascading into unknown spells, and the other about transformation effects for instance).
  • P.S: Three more fleshed out designs that seem like good fit based on that:

    Avatar of the Chariot
    Legendary Creature - Avatar
    As Avatar of the Chariot enters the battlefield, choose Upright or Reversed.
    • Upright — Creatures you control have haste.
    • Reversed — Creatures and nonbasic lands your opponents control enter the battlefield tapped.

    Avatar of the Hermit
    Legendary Creature - Avatar
    As Avatar of the Hermit enters the battlefield, choose Upright or Reversed.
    • Upright — Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 for each creature you control.
    • Reversed — At the beginning of each player's end step, that player chooses up to one creature they control, then sacrifices the rest.

    Avatar of the Tower
    Legendary Creature - Avatar
    As Avatar of the Tower enters the battlefield, choose Upright or Reversed.
    • Upright — You may cast spells as though they had flash.
    • Reversed — Each opponent can cast spells only any time they could cast a sorcery.
  • Oh goodness, thank you so much! I'll see what I can do, i really like some of the concepts of yours.

    My old Magician had the following effects: Upright, add 5 mana of any color, Reversed: Target player discards 1 card.

    The empress is basically the same as my original concept (very Selesnya-ish).

    I stopped during the work on the Hierophant, as I couldn't figure out what to give him exactly.
  • I kinda neglected this project for a time, but I think I found some spark of inspiration.
    Here's the Magician card, if anyone is interested.

  • What if reversed reverses the P/T?
  • oh hi @LordTachanka123, Thanks for the suggestion, but it's...not exactly coherent with the card's design and concept. I'll keep it in mind for other cards tho.
  • Yeah, sorry, I don't know too much about the Tarots.
  • edited May 2020
    ALRIGHT, sorry for the lack of updates in my part, and I guess I should update you about my progress.

    I am currently at 19 cards out of 22, and I have this situation:

    4 cards are White/Black
    3 cards are White/Blue
    2 cards are White/Red
    2 cards are Black/Red
    2 cards are Blue/Red
    2 cards are Blue/Green
    1 card is White/Green
    1 card is Black/Blue
    1 card is Black/Green
    1 card is Red/Green

    Now, the remaining cards are The Sun, The Judgement and The World, and I'm stuck since I can't really decide what to do with them. I was thinking about The Sun as a Red/Green card, then the Judgement as a White/Green card, and finally The World as a Black/Green card. 
    Given the respective tarots' meanings, what would you guys think?

    Also, check out my (almost) full set if you want.
  • @Scaccogaming Surely The Sun would fit well as Red / White? They tend to be the most passion / love colors respectively, white relates nicely to fortune along with red's focus on treasure or value, white is enlightenment, so on. I feel like they'd also fit with at least some aspects of the reverse relatively well, and you can make the others fit easily.

    It'd also deal with the fact that you don't have any cards with those colors in the unlikely event that you're bothered by that. If you are, you might want to fit Green / Blue onto one of the others. It could work acceptably on The World, I suspect.

    The Judgement's one of those ones where I have no idea what it's best to do with. It just fits too many things.

    As mentioned, The World could perhaps do well in Green / Blue. The thing is, it's another of those cards where it can fit a load of things really easily depending on which of its aspects you try to focus on. Black / Green feels a little odd, though, because I don't see black fitting with the typical upright interpretations too well.
  • @MemoryHead sorry, I did my list wrong. I do have 2 boros cards and 2 simic cards. That's why I am trying to focus more on the color combinations that have less cards (Selesnya, Dimir, Gruul and Golgari)
  • @Scaccogaming Ah, okay. Makes sense, I guess. Regardless, remember that you should probably be trying to prioritise the flavor of the tarot over trying to balance out colors in a set that clearly hasn't been based on color-balance principles anyway. My points on the subject of The Sun feeling Boros and The World not really feeling Golgari still stand.
  • @MemoryHead The thing is, I did what you said for all of my cards, but now I feel like I'd want some more colors in play. 

    About The World, I think that Green is a good color for the upright meaning (It could be a ramp card, for example), while Black may be a good interpretation for the reversed world (taking shortcuts, personal closure, delays).

    If The World is a Golgari, then The Judgement should at least have some white in it, as it is a card that represents rebirth. I wouldn't like having another Orzhov/Azorius card.

    About The Sun, Ixalan has got 4 avatars of sun (Mono red, white, green and WRG), so I should stick to these colors, in my opinion, but a tri-color in a set made of two-color cards isn't really coherent.
  • @Corwinnn can you please close this thread? I finished my job, thank you for everyone that stopped by to help :)
This discussion has been closed.