My first custom mechanic!

I just finished making a card with my first custom mechanic on it. I'd like some feedback on it, because I have this habit of overpowering cards.


  • Oh, I did just realize something. This is super overpowered as a commander, because you're avoiding the commander tax. I should specify "From your hand onto the battlefield". That should fix the issue.
  • I feel like Expense itself is probably fine, as long as you’re careful about the cards you put it on (note that it’s much easier to put creatures from your graveyard into your hand than onto the battlefield). Giving the creature indestructible might be a bit much though, since you’re not only cheating it into play, but also negating almost every way to deal with it that turn.

    I think Niliya in particular would likely be more problematic than Satoru Umezawa, since with Niliya you can drop your giant Eldrazi and such for free instead of paying 2UB for ninjutsu. 
  • @cadstar369 Thank you for the advice! I do think there should be a cost, I'll work that in later. As for the indestructible, I can see it being too much. I do want there to be some form of evasion, to give it a chance of survival. Any suggestions?
  • edited June 2022
    Since this ability sits pretty well inside BR, you could give the incoming creature first strike; a red evasion ability to go along with the black discard cost.
  • Forget any Eldrazi nonsense, even if your opponent plays a turn one Mountain into a Goblin Guide or Wayward Guide-Beast and attacks immediately, discarding a creature card (which black may want in the graveyard anyway) to put down Niliya, and hits you for 6 before you've even had your first turn, you're now facing a 2/2 haste and a 4/3 (effectively with haste) at 14 life by the time you drop your first land.  Does this sound like a game you'd have fun playing?  Not even going to factor in deathtouch or the temporary indestructibility or the ability to do the same thing with ANY other creature on their turn 2 attack or the fact that the built-in redraw effectively negates the only thing that could be remotely counted as a cost to activate expense. 
  • @Jadefire Thank you for emphasizing the issue. I've already decided it needed a cost, and discussed an alternate to indestructible. I will post an edited concept later, if you'd be willing to critique it.
  • @Ashdust_II Definitely, just be mindful that a mechanic with a fixed activation cost that gets around a card's mana cost and permanently puts it onto the battlefield is extremely hard to balance across different mana costs.  That's why effects like evoke, dash, and blitz only put a creature onto the battlefield for a turn or less and are worded so that the activation cost isn't the same regardless of the creature that has it.  Similarly, ninjutsu has a much steeper condition to meet in addition to a variable activation cost (consider Silent-Blade Oni vs. Skullsnatcher or Moon-Circuit Hacker).
  • Interesting, I wouldn't have thought of first strike as an evasion ability over something more obvious and flavourfully Rakdos like menace.
  • Menace totally slipped my mind. ? Granting menace would likely result in your opponent blocking the expense creature much less often though, since they’d probably be better off blocking whatever creature(s) attacked in the first place, then using a removal spell to try and 2-for-1 the expense creature instead of 2-for-2-ing by double blocking. I’m not one for aggro decks though, so I’m not sure which ability would generate more interesting scenarios upon playing a creature via expense. 

  • Expense 2BR (2BR, Discard a creature card: Put this card from your hand onto the battlefield tapped and attacking. It gains deathtouch until end of turn.)

    Deathtouch!  Deathtouch is perfect. I'll just get rid of it on the card. 
  • I think a four power first strike, deathtouch creature is much less likely to get blocked than a four power menace, deathtouch creature.  In both cases, if a removal spell is part of the equation, you're getting 2-for-1'd.  Also, given Niliya has a continuous ability that requires it to survive until your next turn's attack phase for it to be of use, you're not going to complain if your opponent lets it through.

    A cost of 2BR is much more reasonable.  In this case, discarding a creature card is the equivalent of a Lotus Petal that grants {c} with Generator Servant and Cavern of Souls properties (haste & uncounterability) and temporary deathtouch.
  • You probably still want to stipulate that you can only activate expense during your attack phase before blockers are declared or have it trigger when you attack, like in your original wording.
  • I wouldn't know how to word that. Do you have any ideas?
  • Expense {2}{b}{r} (When you attack, you may pay {2}{b}{r} and discard a creature card. If you do, put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking. It gains deathtouch until end of turn.)
  • @Jadefire fair point. I was thinking more about what ability might be more interesting for arbitrary creatures dropped in by expense rather than Niliya specifically, since deathtouch plus most anything is hard to block.

    @Ashdust you could stick the restriction to the end like this: Expense 2BR (2BR, Discard a creature card: Put this card from your hand onto the battlefield tapped and attacking. It gains deathtouch until end of turn. Activate only during the declare attackers step.)

    This wording is similar to cards like Capricopian and a number of cards from the Portal block. 
  • @Jadefire @cadstar369 Thank you both. 

    Alright, the only issue now is determining how much the expense costs for Niliya's ability. I'm going to get rid of the "When you discard, draw" thing, and maybe replace it with this: 

    Creature cards in your hand have expense. The expense cost is equal to its mana cost.

    Expense costs you pay cost 1 less for each card you've discarded this turn.
  • @cadstar369 given that expense appears to be more of an aggro ability, some form of either evasion or blocking deterrence seems appropriate.  That being the case, first strike, menace, or deathtouch would all be appropriate.  I like your suggested wording but I suspect it sidesteps the one major hurdle of the original expense, which is that you need to have at least one creature already declared as an attacker in order to pay the expense cost.  You still get priority to activate abilities during the declare attackers step even if you declare a null attack.

    @Ashdust_II FYI, the part about expense costing less for each card you've discarded this turn won't be affected by expense's own discard.  Costs are determined and locked in before you start paying them, so the discard aspect of the cost only happens after the mana aspect becomes fixed.  Also, the ability could do with a rename as "expense" doesn't really communicate anything except that it has something to do with costs, but it's not clear that it's a "creature only" ability.
  • edited June 2022
    @Jadefire nice catch. I wanted to aim for an activated ability style wording similar to Ninjutsu, since I’m not sure if a hidden trigger like your wording would work. (On second thought, that might be similar to how Miracle works.)
    To fix the last sentence I’ll borrow some text from Nemesis Phoenix: “Activate only during the declare attackers step and only if you’re attacking.”
  • @Jadefire yeah, I was aware of that. I was going for discard matters, but wheel doesn't really fit the aggro mechanic anyways. I'll sleep on it.

    @cadstar369 I like that wording. I'll work on another rough draft tomorrow.
  • @cadstar369 good one!  Nemesis Phoenix didn't even show up for me because I'm still using Gatherer to do my card searching.  I prefer your wording and the Nemesis Phoenix version of it fully brings it in line with Ashdust's intentions.
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