THE DIRE TIMES; Last Breath of Vaevictis Asmadi, PHASE 1 - Mechanic and Archetype desinging

Hello everyone! I've decided to commit myself to a project that will last who-knows-how-long, and this is the discussion where I post all my cards, and everyone can post their ideas and help!

[Such thanks to @Tomigon for this image editing!]

Vaevictis Asmadi has used his final breath to turn the world into a barren desert. Talk about going out in a blaze of glory, eh? Anyway, these are the points of the projects-

  • A way of you having fun and making free-range cards.
  • A way of ME having fun by making free-range cards. :lol:
  • A way of me improving my card-making by being a little more controlled.
  • A collection of new mechanics for me (or you) to play with.
  • A way of improving my terrible card-making skills.
  • A way of me (and you) using (and playing) with some of my favourite icons in magic.
  • Just my appreciation of this amazing community by contributing some cool cards.
And now we've gotten through the points of this, let's get into the project itself! Goodbye!


I-Khan Tokens


Khan tokens are a new mechanic being introduced into DIRE TIMES. They resemble strength in numbers and the rebellion the Khans incited against the elder dragons. For example-

Return of the Khans

Return of the Khans creates THREE Khan tokens, thus creatures you control get +3/+3 UNTIL someone destroys one, two or all of the khan tokens. Note that the Khan tokens are green AND red. 


Fantasize is a mechanic that resembles Arcades Sabboth, the wisest of the elder dragons. It resembles looking into the future and seeing what it beholds OR it can resembles using imagination. For example-

Rainbow Dragon
Rainbow Dragon has Flying and Flash. But that's not all. It also has the mechanic "Fantasize": (Scry X, where X is the number of cards in your hand.) Whenever it blocks. Note that this breaks the colour pie if it's in black or red.


This mechanic resembles Nicol Bolas (I'm doing a mechanic for each elder dragon), the most selfish and greedy of the elder dragons. It resembles taking over land and ruling the citizens. For example-

Bolas Devil

Bolas's Devil has rule. (Whenever this creature attacks a player, tap up to two target creatures that player controls.) It also has another ability, but that's not relevant right now. Note that this breaks the colour pie in green and white.


This mechanic resembles Palladia-Mors, the most psychotic and chaos-loving of the elder dragons. It resembles mindless destruction. Creatures can "Madden" other creatures. Note that when they are "Maddened" they become "Mad". For example-

Mad Tamer
Mad Tamer has haste and is mad. (It can't block, gets +1/+1 and attacks each combat if able.)


This mechanic resembles Chromium, the smartest and sneakiest of the elder dragons (As she can turn into humans, so...). It resembles being so sneaky that no one notices your their. For example-

Chromiums Assasin
Chromium's Assasin is probably the most interesting of the cards I've made for this so far. It has muted, sure, but it's other abilities are interesting (and worth observing). It creates token copies of itself, interesting as well. AND it toys around with instants. Ah yes, the keyword, reminder text: (This creature can't be blocked and can't attack planeswalkers.)


This mechanic resembles Vaevictis Asmadi, the most skilled of the elder dargons. It resembles chaotic (yet smart) battles and destruction. For example-

Asmadis Priest

**Edits made to mechanics**



  • -Løre-

    Vaevictis Admadi is a formidable elder dragon who just happens to be my favourite icon in magic. He is known to burn things down for no freakin' reason at all, but this time there is: the planeswalkers have obstructed the elder dragons for too long. Vaevictis burned down every plane EXCEPT  from his homeplane, Tarkir. The dragons stay there and live happily (causing wars between themselves, destroying things, that sort of thing) ever after. BUT NO. The planeswalkers aren't gone yet! The gatewatch and some allies are back at it and we've got some amazing juice! Jace, Nissa, Lilliana, Davriel (Yes, I know, the trash war of the spark planeswalker), Gideon, Chandra and Sarkhan! Here they are:

    Jace Psychic AttackerDavriel the Chance-TakerNissa Vastwood HeroChandra the InfernoSarkhan Dragon TrainerGideon the Unpredictable

  • Sorry about this very messy!
  • Some small comment for Chromium's Assassin, instants-matter in esper is quite a break in the color pie. Usually it would fit in izzet.
  • this sounds really cool! can I please join?
    also, the art on chroni's assassin is from another mtg card
    but yeah this sounds cool can I join
  • Some comments:

    Rule actually wouldn't technically be color break in white, since many white creatures already have the ability to tap an opponent's creature when they attack.

    Currently unbowed doesn't work on your example. Since the ability doesn't allow the creature to be tapped, you can't tap it to pay the cost of the activated ability.

    I'd be cautious to make so much of this set related to blocking, especially things that can't be blocked. I think that one mechanic that didn't allow creatures to be blocked might be fine, but two is concerning. I read this set as "blocking doesn't matter". Since two abilities prevent creatures from being blocked, and another taps your opponents potential blockers, the downside of mad (that creatures can't block) is really an upside, and creatures like Rainbow dragon that trigger on blocking are practically worthless

    Also, lore wise, the elder dragons' homeplane is Dominaria. The only elder dragons to venture to Tarkir were Ugin and Bolas cause they're planeswalkers. I'm not even really sure the others know about it at this point?
  • I think he chose tarkir because that's kinda the 'dragon' plane
  • @WarriorCatInAhat
    I figured, I was just bringing it up cause the the elder dragons of dominaria are all the opposite mana alignments of the ones on tarkir (i.e. elder dragons from dominaria are grixis, naya, esper, jund, bant while the elder dragons of tarkir are dual-colored but the khanates are abzan, sultai, jeskai, mardu, and temur)
  • edited February 2021
  • @WarriorCatInAhat This isn't to join, just for ideas. 

    @RohanDragoon I know all this. This set was partly tweaking colour pie and theme. (But thanks for the comment on my final example for 

    @AboveAndAbout Yes, I know. As I said to RohanDragoon, I am completely demolishing colour pie and this is just for improving my cards. 

    Next batch coming soon!
  • Ok, I just think it might be strange that three fit in the color pie and Muted/Rule don't.
  • @AboveAndAbout Yeah, sorry about that. Yeah, I tried...But I completely failed. (see my message to you)
  • @TheDukeOfPork
    Haha no worries! I think a lot of people forget that sets are internally coherent sometimes over externally coherent. Like ixalan gave us white vampires because it made sense to that set, so I think it's totally fine to change things up if it makes sense to the set as a whole (especially with mechanics)

    As a way to remedy my concern with creatures that can't be blocked, maybe there could be some good instants/other cards that could deal with attacking creatures or unblocked creatures (i.e. like white instants that deal damage to an attacking or blocking creature, or like Sarkhan from WotS where he deals damage to each attacking creature based on your creatures.) Just some ideas! Hopefully this is helpful or something. Cheers!
  • I agree with @RohanDragoon. I think it could be very interesting to see a new color pie setup. It might need work on making all the cards shifted correctly, so it's not a couple cards that break the pie, but a set of cards that change it. Another fact is that you have some cards that are partially shifted and partially remain the same.

    One small note on Davriel, the 0 ability, allowing you to get rid of an opponent's hand, seems much more powerful than either abilities, at least for five mana. Because the second and ultimate are so similar, it is basically seven extra loyalty to remove 4 life from each opponent, when you can just spend the turns paying 0 to get rid of anything your opponents might have.

    Hopefully this helps your designing!
  • edited February 2021
    by 'join' I just mean help make cards/help give ideas or whatever

  • A couple more points. While it's interesting as the whole three-color thing, I think two ideas arise. First, it might be easiest if you split the cards by the dragon/khan it represents. Second, mechanically, it should probably have a cycle of special mechanics unique to those colors, like in Ravnica or Alara. Maybe you already did that, so if you could post the groups with their respective mechanical theme, that'd be great.

    Also, I think the first ability, "Khans", is too generic to really be a mechanic. It could be a unique thing that would be able to fit into every group. My nitpicky self noticed that the Khans is actually only really usable in Gruul or Naya, when the Khans represent all five orders/houses/broods/hordes/frontiers.

    Rule is quite similar to most already existing powers, except those aren't keyworded, as it can tap creatures whenever it attacks. An example of such would be the Alaborn Cavalier, which is the same as your Bolas' Devil, except it costs one more mana, taps only one creature, and doesn't have an additional ability. I think balancing would probably bring out the devil as a 4-drop rare.

    On Fantasize, the idea, unlike khans, may be a little too unique as a mechanic. Always having it count the cards in your hand for scrying can get boring, so it might be more exciting to count other things, like "Fantasize: Scry X, where X i the number of cards exiled with Cardname.", or something along those lines.

    In muted, I see this is based off of Chromium, the Mutable. I'm not sure this was intended, but mutable means "likely to change", and muted means "muffled or nearly silent". The Chromium's Assassin might make better as five mana rare, but six mana could work too. Also, almost all "can't be blocked" creatures have lowered power to make it less deadly, and even Chromium becomes a 1/1 when you use its ability. I don't know what exactly you were trying to do by saying it couldn't attack planeswalkers though.

    The problem with Mad is similar to the one with Khans. Because this mechanic is based off Palladia-Mors, who is Naya, you could expect that the mechanic "mad" to include at least a part of white. However, like in khans, this can really only work in Gruul. In fact, mad is just a better version of the khans, so I think you should include other stuff to keep them apart.

    Unbowed is pretty cool, especially for mono white.

    The other point that could be made is that a lot of your abilities are slightly tweaked versions of one another, and several unrelated abilities stuffed into one seems unnecessary. For instance, mad gives three effects that might be better off separate.

    I think the planeswalkers do need a balance level, because some are much more powerful than the standard and some are less powerful. Also,  I saw that one of the abilities on one card seems more powerful than than the ultimate. Make sure to keep 
    it so that the ultimate is something a player wants to achieve.

  • edited February 2021
    I have an idea for a cycle. Because Vaevictis breathed a desert:

    Ashido, Desert Banks
    Legendary Land -- Island Plains
    Ashido, Desert Banks enters the battlefield tapped.
    {2}, {t}: Draw a card, then discard a card.
    Fantasize -- {w}{w}: Scry X, where X is the number of cards you've drawn this turn. Activate this ability only once each turn.
  • You could potentially create a two-color cycle of "desert" lands.
  • Also, to avoid problems like with bolas’ devil, I think step one should be to define archetypes.

  • I-Discipline's End

    This card is pretty underpowered, I realised that after I published it. Though it means things. Basically, Phase I is set WHEN the dragons are burning everything. So, in Ravnica, the guilds naturally tried to defend. Maybe you can see from the art, but that..didn't go so well. (So far at least) Feedback appreciated. (NIce centred text there)

    II-Tarkir's Fallback 

    Not much to say about this (Not lore-wise). Just a slightly...I dunno. Op? Underpowered? Ok, lore time. This is when the dragons attack is affecting Tarkir itself. Alliances split, buildings burn, confusion arises. 

    III-Helkite Dive-Bomber

    Unbowed, flying, standard Asmadi friend (Excuse, servant). Destroying the Khans are these guy's job. Passing them down, carving them up. (Joking, joking...:lol:) Basically Asmadi's servants, doing his bidding. Feedback wanted! (Appreciated)

    @AboveAndAbout Thank you for all this. I love most of this and appreciate feedback. Also that cycle idea, I like that very much. The only thing I question is your suggestion to change my Fantasize mechanic.....? I might...actually...THAT'S A GOOD IDEA! I'll do that immediatly thank you!

    @WarriorCatInAhat Yeah, sure.

    @RohanDragoon Yeah! Yeah! You guys are great at ideas! Thank you! I'll do that as soon as possible!
  • quick question
    I know they're powerful, but... how do the guilds fight an all-consuming wave of dragonfire?
  • Out of curiosity, is Khan a creature type you're developing? As of now there is no Khan type.
  • @WarriorCatInAhat That's the point. That. Is. Exactly. The point. They're not powerful enough. It hasn't happened yet but the guilds get defeated. nEXT batch coming soon.

    @AboveAndAbout No. It's like food for eldraine, just khans.
  • I'll just comment on this batch of cards.

    Discipline's End - This should definitely be a three-drop. Even if all creatures attack, they're not goaded, so they can attack you. Plus, it deals 1 damage to you, so this turns out to be a worse Disrupt Decorum.

    Tarkir's Fallback - I think it would work at common for its power level. It creates an enchantment that boosts your creatures by little that can be removed by simple removal. It still bugs me that Khans only works in Gruul. Maybe try to fid a better name?

    Hellkite Dive-Bomber - Woah! This is a red card. Khans are red/green cards. You'd most likely want to use Hellkite Dive-Bomber in a Gruul Midrange deck, and Khan tokens would be pretty awesome synergy, but this card can destroy  them. Also, especially in high-life formats like Commander and Brawl, this should definitely be tap, so you can't use it and then attack. Plus, Unbowed is a mechanic I would expect from small creatures, because not being able to be blocked at high power is devastating. Also, if you keep khans in gruul, it's best to use unbowed in Azorius to prevent these kinds of huge attacks.
  • Ok, thanks. Again, trying to match everything up, doing the algorithms.
  • Are the native elder dragons of Tarkir going to make an appearance? If so, I will make Dromoka.
  • oh if that's true can I make kolaghan
  • Just knocked up a desert cycle:

    This will go down in the history of the set as The Desert Cycle 1.

    Simple abilities just to add to the collection. New ones coming soon! Ideas and feedback to this cycle appreciated!
  • I don't know that I love the fact that you can't use these for mana unless you discard. Also the second ability on these are way unbalanced both with each other and in general. One mana and tapping a land for repeatable 2 life, 1 damage, and a +1/+1 counter are all about on rate give or take, but creature saccing and drawing a card repeatedly is pretty strong. I could see blue scrying 1 or 2 for that cost, not entirely sure about black. Maybe a discard effect? Or a creature from graveyard to top of deck? Hard to say, but the cost is a limiting factor for sure.

    And not to be overly critical/harsh, but I'm going to echo/steal some what @Potato13 said over on @feralitator's Yungdrotha set.

    Quoting Potato:
    "General advice about custom sets:

    1. Use a design skeleton. That is always the first thing a set needs to do; establish how large the set is. The link to the fundamentals and implementation of a design skeleton is here - [PRIMER] Set Skeletons - Custom Card Creation - Magic Fundamentals - MTG Salvation Forums - MTG Salvation.
    2. Design the commons first. These will be the basis of a set, establishing themes and an enjoyable limited environment. Work your way up the rarities instead of designing rarity by rarity.
    3. Use and download Magic Set Editor - MSE. While Mtgcardsmith has a fine community, it can't transfer its cards to Planesculptors . net, the primary hub of custom sets, and the templating is very off compared to MSE while also preventing you from editing cards and other such issues with designing sets with it."
    I know you're perhaps not specifically making a set in the traditional sense. Your primer at the beginning suggests this is just as much a way to focus some of your designs/ideas as it is to be cohesive and/or draftable. That said if you're looking at making less individual designs and more of a collective effort, having a strong foundation and resources are very helpful, and so I encourage the use of everything Potato said.

    While I don't have as much time at the moment to give a larger write-up of my thoughts and critiques of what you've done so far such as Rohan's or Above&About's, I can give some quick impressions. (Also I'm using your write up of the mechanic from the top of the thread).

    • The Khan tokens seem too strong to be something where one spell or effect gives you multiple, and I also think it's probably too strong to really be a full mechanic. Each one is an unconditional anthem, which tend to run a minimum of three mana last I checked. And they are just enchantments without any other types or abilities, meaning black and red will have very little ways to interact with or disrupt them.
    • Fantasize seems very strong. Early game you scry a pretty high number and late game helps you top deck a lot more consistently. This one might be better if you had a set number aka "fantasize N"
    • Rule is too strong being able to tap two creatures at once from just attacking. Maybe you could tap one creature, but that's risky as an attack trigger. Also tapping creatures tends to be more of a UW thing. (Also disregarding the color pie without having a very firm idea of what your doing with it instead is very risky and going to get you called out a lot by people).
    • Mad/madden has memory issues, and is also pretty similar to Unleash (I believe) which was not an over-all well received mechanic. Would consider making some changes or scrapping this.
    • Muted as as keyworded can't be blocked/unblockable with the only restriction being it can't attack planeswalkers doesn't feel great, and also the name seems weird. Also the idea of having a "stealth" mechanic is part of what gave birth to morph, which if this is Khans centric would maybe be a more fitting mechanic to use.
    • Unbowed has a lot of things going on, including being pretty similar to Mad(den), which between that and Muted is three mechanic that all deal with not blocking/not being able to block/attacking every turn. That's a lot of overlap, and I would consider only keeping one of them. Plus Rule being there is another combat thing that all piles on in bad ways. Also the "can't be tapped" part is going to cause a lot of confusion and problems, especially since your example card has a tap ability. If it's supposed to be something like "can't be tapped by your opponents" or something that needs to be spelled out and made clear. Because also unless it has vigilance I don't think it lets you attack with it either.
    As a final note, please try and make an effort to credit artists when you can, most of your cards here have been uncredited. Even if the art is just from the video game, at least credit the developers. (Also it's really weird to me that the planeswalkers you used mostly random art not of them or anything but Gideon I know is from one of his planeswalker cards and the Sarkhan art is almost certainly official art from a card).
Sign In or Register to comment.