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



  • @ningyouk I looked over that at least 3 times. Didn’t see it...No one had Eldrazi, so I’ll go with that.
  • @Netherin5 Eldrazi works =D
  • @ningyounk does colorless mana (Mana that has to be colorless) and another color count as multicolored? And what about devoid?
  • @Netherin5
    Colourless mana doesn't count as a colour so a card with a coloured mana and a colourless mana in its mana cost won't count towards your limit of multicoloured cards.
    Devoid is a non-evergreen mechanic. You can't use it but you can still use that ability without the keyword if needed.
  • https://mtgcardsmith.com/view/complete/full/2019/4/4/1554394270653269.png Ok, there we go. My mechanic is awaken, put x +1/+1 counters on this card at the beginning of your upkeep. Most of these cards will lose awakening eventually, being fully “woken up”. I wanted to keep the cost high, and stats low, at least at the beginning. Works great with proliferate, and other counters matter stuff.
  • edited April 2019
    I'll take Abzan for now...
  • edited April 2019
    I focused a bit heavier on flavor than might have been wise here. Instead of touching on all the diversity with my ability word, I tried to show off it's simplest application in flavorful ways. Here's my entry:
    Willing to fight harder--orders or no--as long as the treasure's pouring in, this cutthroat benefits from the possibility of instant speed treasure as well as pre-combat treasure when you want it to swing in. The first strike doubles the importance of power here so it seems very fitting.

    Here's a card that you would definitely be happy to run alongside the common in limited. Basically this sneaky powder-monkey (who's apparently befriended an actual monkey) has stolen treasure and rouses another creature to defend him and his prize. If you flash him in during combat after attackers are declared, he can untap Bold Cutthroat and pump its power to help block!

    This card is the crux of the pirate flavor I'm trying to get across with this mechanic. As your pirates gain notoriety through combat and bounty, more and more pirates join your crew. As with Revel in Riches, this card presents you with a bit of a puzzle: do you use the treasure from it to ramp out spells, or do you save it for creature tokens? The correct answer, maybe obvious, is both. In earlier turns you will almost certainly want the mana to get ahead, but, as your handsize dwindles, you'll be more than happy to save it up for extra value in creatures on the battlefield.

    This particular harbor got its name from two types of burial. As you bury more treasure on the island, more people learn of it and go in search of it. When an intrepid explorer or a rival pirate happens upon the harbor, they must be silenced forever so the tale won't spread. This is represented by the land becoming a "landmark" as you gain more and more treasure and less of one after a body is buried.

    Feedback on any and all is appreciated. Good luck entrants! Thanks for another fantastic contest @ningyounk!
  • Oh crap! Can I have an extra day?
  • Shoot! I might not make it in time!
  • @Ranshi922 @kandra127
    Alright, considering we have a limited number of entries and multiple people have expressed interest in participating without entering anything yet, let's add one more day to the deadline ^^

  • Thank you!
  • edited April 2019
    My mechanic is Endure.

    Endure X (Tap X other untapped creatures you control: this creature gains indestructible until end of turn.)

    This is to mechanically show that the Abzan endure their harsh surroundings / fierce enemies, and require their family and support of fellow warriors to accomplish this.

    Mechanically, this fits nicely in the three colours. All colours use indestructible but it's mostly seen in these three, and while "tapping creatures" is usually White/Green's thing, black occasionally does it.

    Enduring Warrior
    3B Common
    Creature - Human Warrior
    Endure 2

    This is a fine common that shows the ability. Its high-ish power encourages it to attack, and its relatively low toughnessalso encourages the player to activate the ability.

    Some payoffs for Endure mostly include "whenever a creature you control becomes tapped" or "whenever ~ endures" (i.e. whenever you activate this creature's endure ability).

    Once such payoff is:

    Abzan Chief
    4W Uncommon
    Creature - Human Warrior
    When ~ enters the battlefield, create two 1/1 white Warrior creature tokens.
    Whenever a Warrior you control becomes tapped, you gain 1 life.

    The reason why "Warrior" was chosen instead of "creature" is to suit the WB Warriors theme.

    Art: http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/37900000/ESO-Wallpaper-the-elder-scrolls-online-37936104-500-313.jpg

    Spirit of Endurance
    1G Rare
    Enchantment - Aura
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature has Endure 2.
    If enchanted creature would die, you may pay {w}{b}. When you do, return ~ from your graveyard to the battlefield enchanting a creature you control.

    Art: https://www.wallpaperup.com/uploads/wallpapers/2013/10/28/166709/71852ddcf845a37144a907d958fe824d.jpg

    This tries to depict the spirit of endurance being passed down the generations.
    It would've used hybrid mana, but I didn't as to make it Abzan (and not violate the rules).

    Guardian of the Mer-Ek
    2WBG Mythic
    Legendary Creature - Warrior
    Lifelink, vigilance
    Endure X
    Whenever ~ endures, target creature you control gets +X/+X until end of turn.

    Art: https://images.app.goo.gl/r6EYZH6NWaJufThH6

    The mythic puts another spin on Endure: not only does it protect the creature, it also rewards the whole team. It also protects the creatures against -X/-X effects.

    As a precaution, I would put a bit more -X/-X, edict, or exile effects in the set to compensate for the mechanic.
    (Edit: apologies for editing my entry after the deadline, but I realized the cards weren't complete without names or art.)
  • After a long period of peace in Kamigawa signs of change are rippling throughout the spirit world. Old protective spirits are waning while new transformative powers appear ushering a new age for the plane or maybe even its destruction.
    To illustrate the shifting of the Kamigawa plane I chose to make the usher mechanic:
    Usher X: to usher X, search your library for a spirit of converted mana cost X, reveal it
    and put it in your hand.

    It illustrates both protective spirits failling to contain the new forces (usher triggering on death) and forces actively trying to bring the change about (usher as an activated ability or as a trigger on hit).

  • I day from the 6th is sunday by my timescale.
  • @KorandAngels
    Indeed, the deadline has been extended to Sunday. (Also, I use a rather generous time line as I wait until the day is over everywhere in the world before closing my contests. So technically I'll close this one mid-Monday where I live xD)
  • @ningyounk, here are my entries. Could you perhaps let me know if I am breaking any rules with them before judging them?

    @Anyone, could you provide some constructive criticism such that I could possibly balance them better before the judging?

    image image image image
  • @Ranshi922
    You're good to go, there aren't any rules breaking in there ^^
  • Spirits of Innistrad
    Spirits on Innistrad historically haven't had a strong factional identity save that you generally want to play some number of them together. I leaned into the practical nature of Spirits by creating a mechanic that reflects their physical transience and encourages flickering your specters. After extensive conversations, I landed on triggering from spells and abilities to allow for the ability to be activated more reliably than either option alone.

    Incorporeal [cost] means: Whenever this creature becomes the target of a spell or ability, you may pay [cost]. If you do, exile it and return it to the battlefield tapped.

    I opted for slightly truncated reminder text as it fits better on properly formatted cards and the non-reflexive trigger means you don't need the timing distinction.

    Luminous Lurker - At common, I wanted to showcase the mechanic at its most simple form, pseudo evasion at a high cost. The card only cares about itself entering the battlefield and doesn't care where it comes from.

    Persistent Phantom - For my uncommon, I wanted a card that demonstrated the resilience inherent to a spirit without tangible form but encourage a playstyle with multiple incorporeal Spirits. This version sports its own elusive ability but looks beyond itself for maximal value.

    Sepulchral Wanderer - This is the rare payoff you'd aim for in a deck that centers around Spirits flickering in and out of existence. It doesn't trigger from standard ETBs but points you toward the Spirit mechanic to power the engine.

    Grigor, Drogskol Scourge - This is deceptively strong for as little text as it has. This encourages Spirits to go wide and gives your other spectral warriors added resilience by acting as a lord. (I would normally not put reminder text on this card as a mythic but it's surprisingly empty without it.)
  • It's now Monday everywhere in the world which means...


    As we got many late entries, this might take a little longer than usual, I'll try to be as quick as possible ^^
  • Nice! Like 12 mechanics all of them better than amass xD
  • edited April 2019
    How goes the judging? Oh, and I made you a charm.
  • @Faiths_Guide
    I'm almost done! ^^ I was quite busy at work this week, but I almost posted the results tonight (it's close to 9 p.m. here in France). I'll be slightly short though, I just need to finish writing the very last post with the winners name. I already have everything ready including the winners' banners, the card-by-card review, the medals post etc. The results should be released tomorrow!
  • edited April 2019
    I would be silly not to restate that, in my humble opinion, you're doing a fantastic job and I'm repeatedly amazed at the quality of your contests/feedback/speed etc. Keep up the exceedingly excellent work! Good night ;)
  • I will give that a +1/+1 counter.
  • edited April 2019
    It's finally time for the results! My apologies for the delay, we've got a lot of late entries for this round. Those challenges are definitely becoming more and more difficult. As usual, I wrote a small paragraph on each card and each mechanic individually so you can understand my judging better. You can find the complete version here:

    You'll find below the overall review of each entry, sometimes followed by one of these little medals:


    ORIGINALITY MEDAL — Your cards did something mechanically novel.
    FLAVOUR MEDAL — Your cards captured the flavour essence of the tribe you chose.
    REALISM MEDAL — Your cards looked like they could be printed without change.
    ELEGANCE MEDAL — Your cards had clever details about them.
    *DING* — You get a *DING* whenever you break one of the contest rules.

    @KorandAngels (MORTALS of Kamigawa)
    You chose a very narrow mechanic that cared about a subset of creatures in your opponent's deck. Making it work would have been no easy task, and I do think you stumbled on the difficulty of this challenge. You also had problems identifying the right colours for your mechanic, and its power level. On the brighter side, it fitted the faction quite well flavour wise, and your Mythic Rare card was quite interesting.

    @bnew07 (BANT of Alara)
    Chivalry looked like a realistic mechanic with plenty of potential. It might play a bit too linearly though, as you’ll almost always want to trigger it and it’s easy to do so. The synergy with the “saboteur” effects (dealing damage to an opponent) was well used but felt a bit lonely as a way of rewarding you for committing to the mechanic. I liked the recruitment flavour on some of the cards, it played nicely with the flavour of Bant.

    @Undead (ZOMBIES of Innistrad)
    Unsettle is a really original and exciting mechanic. I think it would be complicated to develop, as it has the potential to be broken, but I think that can be arranged, with the right restriction like a cost or making sure you can’t make more than one token at once. It’s also hard to trigger in Limited because of it’s A/B nature that would require a lot of support from the set. Despite those challenges, you still showed a lot of clever ways of using the mechanic, your entry in general had a lot of elegance and you kept its excitement factor always above its potential developmental risks.

    @Derfaulehelmut (DIMIR of Ravnica)
    The mechanic itself is original and there’s a good core idea behind it. This iteration is really overpowered though, it will kill any opponent way too fast. I liked best the designs that offered a real choice to the opponent without removing the possibility of interaction. Overall, I liked the concept but I think it needs to be reworked to find a better balance.

    @TheCenterOfTheUniverse (RIVER HERALDS of Ixalan)
    Dominion is original but looks very difficult to track and its available design space is probably not worth the trouble. On the other hand, you did a very good job of selling the mechanic anyways. You found clever and original ways of making it matter despite the difficulty of finding interesting design space that make lands matter. You also had a lot of elegant details sprinkled on that made the mechanic look better.

    @Netherin5 (ELDRAZI of Zendikar)
    Awaken is a really problematic mechanic that would need to be toned down considerably to be more balanced. The way you used it reinforced that problem as you added a lot of tracking issues and the overall balance didn’t feel right. You did a good job at capturing the Eldrazi flavour and the excitement of playing ridiculously big cards though, and it’s one of the most difficult tribe to design for in all MTG.
  • @Faiths_Guide (BRAZEN COALITION of Ixalan)
    Hoard is a flavourful mechanic and seems to have potential. It would require a lot of infrastructure to support its presence in a set and requires a critical mass of treasures which are essentially free mana though. Still, your execution was really clever and showed a lot of interesting ways of using the mechanic. I think Hoard is realistic and scales well, your entry hinted at enough interesting design space that I believe it would make a good mechanic.

    @LyndonF (ABZAN of Tarkir)
    I think there’s an inherent developmental problem with Endure as it’s a repeatable free regenerate ability. That’s probably really oppressive if you put it on too many cards in a set, which is why I don’t think it would make a very enjoyable mechanic. It also made your whole entry feel a bit overpowered. That being said, you managed to execute the mechanic in many interesting ways, and I especially like that you mentioned how you would warp the removal from the set around it. So, the card-by-card designs did compensate nicely for the inherent issues of Endure.

    @kandra127 (FAERIES & MERFOLKS of Lorwyn)
    You took a simple mechanic idea based on a staple effect and you managed to make that little variation (caring about controlling a faerie) matter. I’d say you managed to avoid the potential trap of keywording the thief ability in a way that would make it harder to use in other sets, and you did it in a very elegant way. The balance of your cards was especially ingenious and you showed a lot of innovative ways of dreaming.

    @LeSelton (KAMI of Kamigawa)
    Usher is an inherently problematic mechanic, as this kind of tutoring ability makes each game play more similar to the next and requires too much shuffling. Despite its gameplay problems, you still managed to make the mechanic shine thanks to an excellent execution that helped selling it. Notably, you found interesting ways of circumventing the fact that Usher only searches for one specific converted mana cost by having all your cards outside common search for multiple Usher costs.

    @Ranshi922 (ORZHOV of Ravnica)
    The mechanic has a couple issues built-in but still sounds fun. Notably, it’s very wordy and I don’t think it has a lot of design space but you still managed to find interesting ways to make Reincarnate matter. The variation in costs on the higher rarity cards were especially nice. I do think you overcosted the ability by a lot when you had regular mana costs though.

    @Domrikade (SPIRITS of Innistrad)
    In my opinion, Incorporeal is a design trap. It sounds nice at first glance but I think it would play as a threat-only mechanic that never triggers. You definitely had some strong and fun rewards for the archetype though, and it was still very interesting to read. It made me think that, with some tweaking, it could be a very fitting mechanic for the Spirits of Innistrad.
This discussion has been closed.