New Alara

Custom Cards forum

Posted on June 7, 2019, 7:48 p.m. by ZendikariWol

I need some help, folks. I’m building a set, and I need ideas on mechanics. Here’s what I’m working with so far, but I am definitely open to new ideas.

Bant- Renown (see Magic Origins)

Esper- Metalcraft (see Scars of Mirrodin block)

Grixis- Quid Pro Quo (sacrificing permanents, discarding cards, and paying life to cast spells or activate abilities)

Jund- Predate: Whenever this creature attacks, you may sacrifice a creature. If you do, (effect).

Naya- Interacts with creatures with power “greater than x” or “less than x”.

If you have any other ideas or can think of some cards that would be fun for a return to Alara, feel absolutely free to comment.

Icbrgr says... #2

Grixis should totally be the thing to bring back Morbid

June 7, 2019 8:16 p.m.

Funkydiscogod says... #3

Naya should have Ferocious or Formidable keywords.

June 7, 2019 8:24 p.m.

ZendikariWol says... #4

Icbrgr Morbid would be fantastic! Makes me worry though- bringing back three different mechanics? Wizards wouldn’t do it. They’d be worried about the fan response to something like that. I’m trying to make this as faithful as possible to Wizards’ work. I could be convinced to swap it for Metalcraft, though, if I thought of an alternative mechanic.

Funkydiscogod I have three big problems with that. 1) neither Ferocious nor Formidable are particularly well-liked mechanics. No one is calling for their return. 2) see above with the “returning mechanics” thing. 3) Ferocious is basically a carbon-copy of what Naya already did before. Formidable was a serious consideration in early development, and perhaps I could still be swayed to use it, but I wouldn’t count on it, unless you can make a pretty solid case for it.

June 7, 2019 9:36 p.m.

dbpunk says... #5

Honestly like I feel like Quid Pro Quo could use a better name and maybe something more unique than just as part of casting a spell or activating an ability.

Like I like the idea, but Quid Pro Quo just doesn't sound like a great keyword name.

June 8, 2019 1:44 a.m.

ZendikariWol says... #6

Oh, it’s not an actual keyword- just a theme.

June 8, 2019 2:26 a.m.

Funkydiscogod says... #7

I disagree that Ferocious is not well-liked: it is overrepresented with modern staples: Temur Battle Rage , Stubborn Denial , Flamewake Phoenix (now obsoleted by Arclight Phoenix ) and I've seen Wild Slash in some budget sideboards.

Even if we dismiss the last two examples for being too rare, that means out of 20 total Ferocious cards printed, about 10% of all Ferocious cards are modern staples. Not even Infect can claim that kind of popularity, with arguably 5 cards, out of about 60 ( Inkmoth Nexus Glistener Elf Blighted Agent Viridian Corrupter and Carrion Call in some sideboards with control-heavy meta).

I'll agree that Formidable is not well liked, but only because there haven't been many cards printed with that ability.

June 8, 2019 2:28 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #8

As far as Grixis goes, I'm not sure about it.

  • Quid Pro Quo refers to one party expecting or exchanging services to another party for something in return: Like sharing company information to get stock benefits

This means you would be wanting to trade with an outside source - your opponent, for benefit.

An example of a card that already does this is Risk Factor and the older version Browbeat . Basically it says "I'll let you keep your life if you let me draw cards."

Another one is Dash Hopes .

So while precedent surely exists within Grixis for this type of thing, my question would be how would it accurately function? You are effectively giving your opponent control over the game, as a smart opponent will always give you the worst option available.

For example;


Sanguinary Elemental

Creature - Elemental

Quid Pro Quo - As Sanguinary Elemental enters the battlefield, an opponent may pay 4 life. If they do, sacrifice Sanguinary Elemental.

Bound by the richest form of dark magic, blood elementals of all kinds hunger for sacrifice; At any cost.

5/3


Maybe they let you keep the creature because they have a Lightning Bolt in hand? So why pay the life when they can still kill it just as easily?

June 8, 2019 9:38 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #9

The unifying aspect between black, blue, and red I would say is card advantage.

Blue LOVES to draw. Black draws for life or creatures. Red draws for discard.

In fact, these are so prevalent that we even have archetypical names for them:

  • Aristocrats
  • Looting

So I would suggest looking into some form of card advantage for Grixis. It is, after all, one of the hardest ones to ramp in. So smooth out the tempo with cards.

For instance:


Seclusion of Torment

Creature - Nightmare

Flash

When Seclusion of Torment dies, choose one:

  • You draw 2 cards and discard 1 card.
  • Target player puts the top three cards of their library into their graveyard.

4/1


Flash in a chump blocker and reap the benefits.

June 8, 2019 9:45 a.m.

ZendikariWol says... #10

No, Funkydiscogod, take a look. Storm Scale: KTK and DTK

TypicalTimmy, as stated above, Quid Pro Quo is not an actual keyword, simply a theme representing that everything on Grixis comes with a cost. Card advantage mechanics seem a little broken, no?

June 8, 2019 11:17 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #11

I mean, yeah?

But I'm a Timmy. Give me a big flashy card and let me break the game with it haha

June 8, 2019 11:27 a.m.

ZendikariWol says... #12

Actually I do have a card written for the timmies like you. Like many cards before it, it’s intentionally derivative of Necropotence .

Depraved Genius

Enchantment (Rare)

Skip your draw step.

At the beginning of each phase of your turn, if you have no cards in hand, you may pay 1 life. If you do, draw two cards.

*”I might consider going insane. Seems like it has its perks.”

-Demonlord Iyadren*

June 8, 2019 1:02 p.m.

Funkydiscogod says... #13

ZendikariWol First, and most importantly: Storm Scale doesn't apply to custom sets. Second, that article and I have measured popularity in two vastly different ways: They determined popularity by polling players, I determined popularity by looking at the cards people play with in modern.

They didn't have the luxury of knowing what mechanics people would still enjoy years later: that article was written in 2016. They list "Rebound" as the most popular mechanic in the set, but the only Rebound spell we see in competitive Modern is Distortion Strike not even printed in that block.

We could argue about which method of determining popularity is the best, but judging from your "I'll just post a link as if this proves me right without any further elaboration" dishonest debate tactics, I don't think we'll get very far.

June 8, 2019 1:07 p.m.

ZendikariWol says... #14

Ooh. If you’re down to not go after me like that again, I’m down to discuss.

I want to make this a faithful set, and part of that is taking into account the things that Wizards takes into account. One of those things is the storm scale, but the number isn’t what’s important on that scale. It’s the reasoning. Most of that reasoning was the polls, and that’s reason enough for Wizards.

Now, using your popularity theory. Formidable is unheard of in competitive and, in my experienced, looked upon as really meh in most casual circles (if not all). Would it be flavorfully appropriate? Yes, though not as much so as the mechanic I’ve introduced, I think. See, New Alara has changed Naya, and now they see things differently. It’s not all about the massive, now that they’ve seen the massive fall. For their own reasons, they worship their own different kinds of beasts. Some are still struck by the majesty of the massive. Some see the beauty of many small things working as one. Naya, like the rest of Alara, is different from how it used to be. Formidable and Ferocious would be very fitting for old Naya, but old Naya doesn’t exist anymore, except in remnants.

Not only that, but both the power # and whether it’s “greater than X” or “less than X” makes it very broad design space, and gives me a lot of good knobs to work with. It’s also the furthest thing I can think of from a parasitic mechanic (which one could argue old Naya’s “power 5 or greater was, given nearly all of the decent power 5+ creatures below 4-5 mana were from Naya at the time, and kinda still today- most are either flip cards or have a serious downside).

June 8, 2019 2:22 p.m.

Tzefick says... #15

Ideas for the Naya mechanic:

'

Idea #1:

This one sort of resembles the mechanic you suggest yourself ZendikariWol

Caretaker:

Goes on smaller creatures and has no innate effect.

Mechanic works:

Whenever you cast a creature spell with power or converted mana cost 5 or higher, you may return "the caretaker" to your hand. If you do effect.

Effect could be anything from reduction of mana cost, gaining life, draw cards based on number of creatures with Power 5+, search library for basic land, tunnel vision for a new creature/aura/enchantment.

Flavor: In the first Naya shard we had a lot of creatures with a similar feel. Godtoucher , Sunseed Nurturer , Drumhunter . The flavor on Caretaker would be that you call upon these smaller humanoids of Naya, and to more easily lure out or secure a better standing with the Nayan gargantuans, you have the Caretaker tend to the Gargantuan - by not being accessible to you.

It could be done with sacrifice instead, although sacrifice doesn't seem all that flavorful for a non-black effect. Exile could be another choice but in general that would require the Caretaker effects to be really strong to warrant using your early drops as cannon fodder for a bigger and splashier one.

Next is kinda in tow with the above;

Gargantuan:

Goes on big creatures with Naya's signature power 5+ template.

Mechanic works:

Whenever a creature with power less than 5 enters the battlefield,

Effect could be fight (the Gargantuan fights), gain keywords like Trample, Lifelink, bonus P/T, First Strike, +1/+1 counters.

You could link the mechanics directly to each other to lower the power level but it would also lose all out-of-block relevance by replacing the "creature with power less..." with "creature with Caretaker".

The Caretaker cost to bounce back to utilize would also fuel the Gargantuan effect by effectively giving you a small creature to cast again.

Flavor: When you first summon the gargantuan, you would likely want to use a Caretaker to ease the cost or grant the gargantuan some additional benefit. That symbolizes that the Caretaker is no longer accessible for you until you conjure it again. However the Gargantuan has been summoned and bringing the Caretaker afterwards makes sure the Gargantuan is tended to.

I may not be able to describe it properly here but I think you get what I'm trying to say.


Idea #2

Let a specific mechanic take a back seat and let Beast tribal be the Naya theme.

Naya is already made up of big powerful beasts. A tribal theme would allow more varied creatures and not just the gargantuans. Reprint Contested Cliffs and make a non-keyword mechanic that interacts with creatures that matches to a majority of the beasts.

Possibly make an enchantment version of Herald's Horn something like

Enchantment

When ___ enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.

Creature spells of the chosen type costs less to cast.

Whenever you cast a creature spell of the chosen type, you may look at the top 3 cards of your library. You may reveal a creature card of the chosen type and ...

either the effect is to put it into your hand or to put it on top of your library and the rest on the bottom. Either let it filter into gas or grant conditional card advantage.

Possibly it could be a modal version with exaggerated effects and maybe cost .

Something like

When ___ enters the battlefield choose a creature type and choose Lush or Hunt.

  • Lush - Creature spells of the chosen type costs 2 less mana of any combination of , and/or .

  • Hunt - Whenever you cast a creature spell of the chosen type, you may look at the top 7 cards of your library. You may reveal a creature of the chosen type and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library.

While it's more tempting to straight up make Beast synergistic cards, I think it would be better if you try to set it up with a choice where possible. It puts a strain on the flexibility of the mana costs of these cards, as low mana intense cards will likely bleed over into other color shards. That's not inherently a problem but it does make Naya as a stand alone shard weaker, because it may function better as a support for something else. In the lore Naya was said to be rich in mana, food and life. That would actually make a lot of sense if it was something the other shards wanted to get in on and exploit.

There absolutely should be Beast synergistic cards also but again when possible open up the possibilities.

If there are a few Naya centric cards that specifically says Beasts as the synergy, it leads newer players to perceive that as the best way to utilize the Naya mechanics. It may also teach them through more skilled players, that even though there is a pretty obvious choice, that choice may not be the best option. Going with the aforementioned enchantment, it may be way better to use that enchantment with a completely different tribe, like Elf.

We do need a something like

Sorcery

Look at the top 5 cards of your library. You may reveal a land card from among them and put it into your hand. If you control a Beast you may put it onto the battlefield instead. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

'

PS I really hate the text formatting of TappedOut. It is so limiting and doesn't allow to make proper format that eases the reading, separation of texts.

June 17, 2019 9:45 a.m.

ZendikariWol says... #16

1) I, too, am NOT with the text formatting (or, rather, lack of any formatting ability) on tappedout. It sucks.

2) Okay. Let’s go through these mechanics one by one, because while I’m not sold on any yet, I really appreciate you taking the time for this massive comment, and for me to not address most of it would be a disservice.

Caretaker: This might need some adjustment because as is, the mechanic is extremely weak. Not only does it lean much harder into the lack of versatility (that is, the requirement that you be casting massive creatures) that made Naya the least favorite shard in the first place, but it also returns your creatures to your hand. That’s loss of card advantage. I can see a lot of times where you have to hold up your biggest threat because you just need blockers on the ground.

However- the flavor of this mechanic makes me think of another, which might actually be really neat: Soulbond. We’ll... get into that later?

Gargantuan: I love pushing into new design space- expanding on mechanics that came before. That’s why I love the idea of new cards with Soulbond, Haunt, Ferocious. They’re such nonlinear mechanics with so much untapped potential. And while I love how you’re exploring new stuff to do with it, Gargantuan is exactly what Naya’s mechanic was in the first set, just as an ETB trigger in this instance. It’s a fun, and very open-ended idea, but it is exactly what Naya did before- that is, “power 5 or greater” stuff.

Beast Tribal: I’m already on it, just not on such a wide scale. I’m 150% bent on putting a beast tribal card on Naya. You’ve set me thinking on what beast tribal needs, though, and I appreciate that.

Now, Soulbond. If you’re not familiar, Soulbond is worded like this:

Soulbond (You may pair this creature with another unpaired creature when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.)

Since Avacyn Restored, we have not seen one Soulbond creature. Why? Here’s what Mark Rosewater had to say on the Storm Scale (if you don’t know what the storm scale is, I suggest you check it out. it rates the likelihood of mechanics to return):

Soulbond's biggest strike against is it's a complex mechanic. Many players like it, though. and if you can follow what's going on, it has good gameplay. I really don't know if this mechanic will ever return, but its popularity makes me think there's a chance.

So you see where I’m going with this? If X is paired with a creature with power Y or less, ...

Maybe some will be normal Soulbond, some will care about power/toughness, maybe one or two will care about beasts.

Thank you, Tzefick. Your mechanics were solid works in progress but they got me where I needed to be. I’m dropping Metalcraft and slotting Soulbond in.

June 17, 2019 11:37 a.m.

Tzefick says... #17

@ZendikariWol

Thank you for taking the time to review my suggestions.

Allow me to riposte on some of your criticism.

Caretaker: Well the general idea is to provide you with enough of a bonus that losing tempo (you don't lose card advantage, as your resource is not depleted) is worth it in the long run. You say you may need a blocker down, but that Caretaker might have just given you 6 life or created some tokens or cheapened your big fattie. The benefit has to be better than what a Elvish Mystic might bring to the field.

I guess to better get my point across we should try with an example:

Mana Caretaker

Creature - Elf

Caretaker (Whenever you cast a creature spell with power or converted mana cost 5 or higher, you may return Mana Caretaker to your hand.)

When you caretake for a creature spell, reduce that spell's mana cost by .

2/3

I realize that the Caretaker mechanic might actually need to be worded as an additional cost, like Kicker to function. Anyway, the Caretaker makes casting a big creature much easier and could very well allow you to play something else as a small blocker beside the large creature.

Like I said the Caretaker and Gargantuan kinda goes hand-in-hand. The Gargantuan might not be an exact keyword mechanic but the theme would be there, and just to ease reference I called it Gargantuan.

And it seems like you got the Gargantuan theme a bit backwards. Yes it is still based on big creatures but the effect triggers on playing small creatures. So to utilize both Caretaker and Gargantuan, you want a mix of large and small creatures, symbolizing how the humanoid populace of Naya revere the Gargantuans and that the Gargantuans like being pampered for. Also the Gargantuan effects are way easier to apply broadly through the Magic collection and Caretaker has potential to also work outside the block.


Beast tribal: Well... not much to say really...

I just find it difficult to figure what mechanic or interaction that should be fitting a plane with lush mana, dense jungle, food aplenty, humanoid populace and huge beasts.

Naya's core color is green which is typically that of growth, life, beasts, nature. It cannot be anything tricky, as that is more blue's tendencies. It cannot be reckless and self-harming as that is black. It cannot be truly savage, as Naya pulls from white's color pie of a more orderly and structured hierarchy - the beasts are not forces to be directly controlled but neither are they bloodthirsty critters like those on Grixis or Jund. Nayan beasts don't exactly lust for battle but they do hunt and rampage (the latter sometimes because they are so big and simply chasing or fleeing causes massive damage to the landscape).

I figured that maybe what Naya needed was not to shoehorn a mechanic on it and instead focus on a theme, here the idea fell on Beast tribal as all the large creatures from Naya are mostly exclusively beasts.


Soulbond: I'm not sure what the flavor of soulbond is here? Also I think I may have misunderstood what you intend to do with it. Is Soulbond going to be featured on Naya or Esper? You mentioned you will pick out Metalcraft. That may just be that there cannot be three or more returning mechanics and only introducing two new.

In Avacyn Restored the idea of Soulbond was because Innistrad as a whole had a lot of spiritual, faith and otherworldly vibes to it. Avacyn Restored also cemented that the "good" forces had to trust and rely on each other to beat back the storming darkness of Dark Ascension. It was only non-black colors that got Soulbond. Green has the most at 7 cards with Soulbond, strangely enough blue ranks second with 6 and red and white at 3.

What is the flavor here? The humanoid populace binds themselves to the massive creatures? So far they have revered them, so going to soulbonding seems like they have leveled themselves with the beasts? Also it kinda stands in contrast that the beasts were before regarded as unruly or unpredictable. Not in a sinister or menacing way but rather that you don't go for cuddles with the lions on the Savannah. Soulbond seems to me more like a Bant mechanic than Naya, but you may yet convince me.

For a second I thought of a mount-rider relationship with a beast and a rider/beastmaster. So instead of the massive creatures the populace had joined forces with the lesser of the large creatures and using them as mounts to better hunt or wage war. Basically have it read the same as Soulbond but be interlocked between a rider and a mount. Although this makes the mechanic very narrow and somewhat goes into the Bant territory again with knights - although this is more a wild pairing and not a solidified mount-rider status like a knight creature. I don't think it's a good or expansive mechanic.

However I think I'll need to see some further explanation and examples to understand what you want to do with this mechanic.

Btw formatting tip: 3x dash makes a complete separation line.

June 17, 2019 7:14 p.m.

ZendikariWol says... #18

That’s fair- I suppose I didn’t do a great job of explaining. Soulbond has a very similar flavor, in this case, to Caretaker. It emphasizes the symbiotic relationship between worshiper and worshipped. As a result, on many of the cards, the pairing creature will get less of a benefit than the creature it’s paired with.

So the natural next question is “if not for flavor, why Soulbond rather than Caretaker?” The reason is sort of a two-part answer. First-off, it’s too similar to old Naya. But more importantly, it doubles down on what made Naya the least popular shard- that is, that “power 5 or greater” is really tough to secure because most creatures in that range cost four or more mana, which basically disqualifies it from most competitive environments. It’s just too slow to be functional.

Soulbond, comparatively, is very versatile, in terms of design space and in terms of playability. I can design a card for casual Commander, competitive modern, two-headed giant, whatever.


In the end, though, it may also come down to this: if I have to choose between reprinting a beloved mechanic and printing a tweaked version of a disliked mechanic, which is the more rational choice?

June 17, 2019 8:06 p.m.

Tzefick says... #19

Again I have to emphasize that without something tangible to compare to, I don't know what makes your Soulbond idea work better than the idea of Caretaker. Please provide some tangible ideas of how you would make this mechanic and put it on some creatures.


"First-off, it’s too similar to old Naya."

  • Well... you do actually want to make it feel like it came from Naya, don't you?

"But more importantly, it doubles down on what made Naya the least popular shard- that is, that “power 5 or greater” is really tough to secure because most creatures in that range cost four or more mana, which basically disqualifies it from most competitive environments. It’s just too slow to be functional."

  • Are you seriously saying that 4+ CMC is non competitive? In what format? Modern, Vintage and Legacy? Sure in most settings hard casting a 4 CMC dumb Beast is likely not something you want to do in those formats, but are we really designing cards for the sole purpose that they should appear in competitive eternal formats? In Standard? No way is that too slow.

I strolled through War of the Spark standard decks on MTGtop8.com. We have a group of Esper Midrange who utilizes fringe amount of Hostage Taker , a bit more uses Elite Guardmage and all uses Teferi, Hero of Dominaria . That's a midrange deck with no efficient ramp access.

We have Gruul Aggro, featuring cards like Nullhide Ferox , Rekindling Phoenix and Skarrgan Hellkite . They also have a selection of ramp creatures.

Even Red Deck Wins have 4 CMC cards, although for a slightly different reason, Chandra, Fire Artisan and Experimental Frenzy .

And these are just the most present aggro decks and only one of whom utilizes mana ramp. If I go to UR aggro (next in line) they have Arclight Phoenix (although they may not actually cast it) and Crackling Drake

So I think it's wrong to say that 4 CMC cards are non-competitive.

It's also quite possible to make cards with the Caretaker idea that is definitely going to see play in eternal formats. It's just a matter of pushing the cards far enough.


Additionally the border for Naya's threshold doesn't necessarily need to be at 5. It could be at 4 instead to push the mechanic as a baseline a bit more.

But as you said yourself; "Not only that, but both the power # and whether it’s “greater than X” or “less than X” makes it very broad design space, and gives me a lot of good knobs to work with. It’s also the furthest thing I can think of from a parasitic mechanic (which one could argue old Naya’s “power 5 or greater was, given nearly all of the decent power 5+ creatures below 4-5 mana were from Naya at the time, and kinda still today- most are either flip cards or have a serious downside)."

The Power X or greater/lesser than X does grant a certain amount of design space.


I also fail to see how a shifted Soulbond that forces a particular pairing (you said yourself you wanted it to be restrictive pairing) is a better transcending mechanic outside block than a mechanic that have you play lower CMC creatures that can bounce themselves to gain a powerful effect when you play a higher CMC creature.

Thematically, Caretaker plays into the same space as Exploit, except it's the other way around where you first play the mechanic and THEN the enabler, and you only lose tempo and not resources like you do with Exploit - which was a liked mechanic on the Storm Scale.

Based on MTGTop8.com's historic data, the only Soulbond cards who ever made it to competitive eternal formats (here Modern, Legacy, Vintage) are: Deadeye Navigator and Silverblade Paladin . Deadeye is used in 1 Legacy deck back in 2013, and ended up in rank 5-8 out of 8. Silverblade has occurred a few more time, 4 in Modern (3 of whom back in 2012 - 1 year after Modern launch) and 4 in Legacy (mostly in Death & Taxes decks).

Now these data are all taken from one source, granted, but Soulbond as a mechanic doesn't seem like it has shown much competitive potential or at least result. One of the present cards is a combo component. The other is a Double Strike enabler on a body. Double Strike is an incredibly powerful keyword, especially when you can grant it to any creature. The best alternative is Battle Mastery for a permanent Double Strike ability.

I don't think I'm stretching the truth when I say that Deadeye Navigator and especially Silverblade Paladin were both pushed cards.

Actually looking at it, Spellbreaker Behemoth has 5 entries in Modern but it dies there for him. Woolly Thoctar had 4 in Modern and 2 in Standard. So either the data is just not there for Alara Standard or they made more splashes in Modern than in Standard. Ah and Woolly made 41 entries in Extended (yeah, it was back in those days). I think Naya was kinda overshadowed by the Naya zoo archetype featuring Wild Nacatl .


As for Soulbond's entrance on the Storm scale, MaRo states that the mechanic is very popular but the design space is medium. The template for Soulbond is mostly in P/T upgrades, Evergreen Keywords and occassionally other abilities. Another hindrance is that both paired creatures gets the same effect.

They also say their data may be skewed toward more enfranchised players who are more likely to be competitive. In Standard Soulbond was used quite a lot, especially Wolfir Silverheart , beating Silverblade Paladin but sharing a lot of decks too under Aggro. However Wolfir shows up nowhere in competitive eternal formats.

They haven't made a Storm Scale article about Shards of Alara (or they have hidden it beyond the reach of Google) so where do you get your data on Naya's Power 5 being unpopular with the players? I'm genuinely curious.

The Storm Scale is also a strange way to measure popularity TBH. It kinda pitches the block's mechanics against each other, so if there's a mechanic that overshadows the rest, then you may get a skewed picture compared to considering the mechanics individually. Food for thought I guess.


In conclusion, I don't think a restrictive Soulbond is that much better of a mechanic than what you could do with Caretaker and "Gargantuan". I do however think there's a flavor break on using Soulbond - I don't see the soulbonding between a massive beast and their worshippers. Unless the beasts somehow got way more sentient and actually starts having empathy for their worshippers.

I think you yourself have a dislike of the Naya Power-5 mechanic, so a mechanic that goes somewhat close to what it was is something you dislike. Unless you provide some sauce on the unpopularity of Naya's Power-5, I don't think it's right to say it is disliked as a mechanic. It may not have been a competitively pushed mechanic, but that doesn't mean the mechanic is disliked.

June 19, 2019 11:49 a.m.

ZendikariWol says... #20

Point A is fair. Most standard decks are running some 4-cmc creatures, but the key difference is their deck is not reliant on those creatures to function properly. It’s not that you have high-cmc creatures, even that you have a disproportionately large amount of them, that makes this mechanic weak. It’s that you need them. The difference is whether your decks ends the game with these creatures or starts its game when these creatures are played.


“Wanted [the soulbond] to be a restrictive pairing” is not what I want at all. I was suggesting that creatures who pair with specific types of creatures is ground worth exploring. I think, in fact, that most of them will just be plain ‘ol Soulbond.


Also, point of order, Caretaker plays into very different space than exploit. In fact, this comparison highlights a problem I didn’t notice at first.

Sacrificing creatures is classic Sultai- stronger than caretaker because it puts cards into the graveyard. But is boincing your creatures classic Naya? No. Bouncing anything is blue, and bouncing your things is usually Bant (or some combo of colors therein. This mechanic actually breaks the color pie...


I suppose you’re right about the power level of Soulbond- which invalidates my power level argument. So what do I have to whine about now?

I guess it was never the power level, but more the restrictiveness of power 5 or greater that bugged me. For it to work, your deck has to be really linear, just pay-into and payoff. Linear decks are fun to play for a little while, but doing the same thing over and over isn’t fun for long. That is the burden of a mechanic that tells you how to play it.

With Soulbond, however, there’s a lot of varying things you can do. Play it in Voltron, go wide with a ton of different soulbonders, use one you like and build around it, there are a lot of options. It’s much more open-ended than power 5 or greater. That makes it more fun to play, and infinitely less parasitic than the above.


The bond between gargantuan and worshipper is what separates Naya from Jund. It’s the order that stops the circle of live from becoming ravenous predation.

Also, here is my source on the Naya being least popular thing.

June 19, 2019 1:27 p.m.

Tzefick says... #21

I agree that having a critical mass of high cost creatures can be a fundamental flaw in the Naya design. However I also stated that the line didn't necessarily have to be at power 5. It could be power 4.

Additionally Caretaker also takes CMC into account, so it functions with any creature spell that is CMC 5 or higher. That grants a lot of open space to utilize the mechanic outside the strict nature of Naya's theme.


Recent post: "“Wanted [the soulbond] to be a restrictive pairing” is not what I want at all. I was suggesting that creatures who pair with specific types of creatures is ground worth exploring. I think, in fact, that most of them will just be plain ‘ol Soulbond."

Earlier post: "Soulbond's biggest strike against is it's a complex mechanic. Many players like it, though. and if you can follow what's going on, it has good gameplay. I really don't know if this mechanic will ever return, but its popularity makes me think there's a chance.

So you see where I’m going with this? If X is paired with a creature with power Y or less, ...

Maybe some will be normal Soulbond, some will care about power/toughness, maybe one or two will care about beasts."

You contradict your previous statement. I can understand if you changed your mind but you make an adamant statement that you did not want restrictive pairing for Soulbond at all... whereas you previously stated that you want Soulbond that cares about who they pair with and only some would be normal, now you want the majority to be normal Soulbond.


How do you figure that Caretaker is played into a very different gameplay space than Exploit? Both requires a cost of a permanent on your board. Exploit is flexible in what cost it is, while Caretaker is locked and you have to play it before the benefit happens. Caretaker is definitely the weaker version of an Exploit cost due to those restrictions and setup, but I think it fits given that this kind of cost is not something that is normally within Green, so it does it worse. However because Caretaker is worse I think you can get away with granting higher payoffs.

As for breaking the color pie... No break is happening here to the color pie. Red, Green and White definitely have multiple sources of bouncing own permanents or creatures, so it is not a break of the color pie. You may argue about a break of what is traditionally Naya, but we are trying to make a new mechanic for Naya and after the conflux, Blue and Black mana have entered Naya. I wouldn't say it's a large stretch to have such a mechanic within .

Roaring Primadox , Stampeding Serow and its brother Stampeding Wildebeests , Temur Sabertooth , Ambush Krotiq , Invasive Species are some of them. Not bouncing a creature but bouncing none the less; Quirion Ranger Scryb Ranger I based these on mono green cards, but there's obviously a lot of others with other colors within the Nayan color pairing. Stuff like Fleetfoot Panther or Horned Kavu , Shivan Wurm . Red green had a lot of this stuff in the past. As far as I recall it was not a particularly liked mechanic in my LGS mostly because your opponent could interact with the "cost" and kill your only bounce target, so you had to bounce the creature itself. This was also back when creatures wasn't as pushed as they are now. Also having Caretaker as an optional cost that can't be interacted with and granting a benefit could make Caretaker work where the Red Green bounce for an undercosted big fattie failed.

Again; this is not a color pie break.


While I agree that Soulbond as a gameplay mechanic is more flexible in its core form, as it just requires a Soulbond creature and any other creature, I think Soulbond as a design mechanic is a lot more restrictive than you realize.

As for what decks are fun or not, I'm not going to go into that discussion. I would say most decks that are competitive are pretty linear in my eyes, because that is what makes them consistent and good.


Naya is exactly about the circle of life and normal predation to survive, not for sport like it may seem on Jund. I wouldn't say there's a bond between the gargantuans and their worshippers, as the gargantuans are the prime dangers to the humanoid inhabitants on Naya. The beasts prey on the populace and rampage through the jungle, destroying settlements.

I think for the gargantuans, it's more a tolerance thing. Like when a crocodile rests and opens its mouth to let birds eat out the scraps and clean for them. The crocodile doesn't care for the birds, but there's a symbiotic relationship that benefits both. I wont call it a bond. And certainly not one of the soul. That's why I called it a flavor break.

Thank you for the sauce on the popularity. I recognize that Naya is the least popular of the shards according to WotC's data. However it doesn't say that the mechanic is disliked. Shards of Alara fell into the top of the 25-50 percentile, which WotC classifies as a "liked" position, with the 0-25 percentile to be "disliked". They said some shards (like Esper) broke through the 50 percentile into the "popular" category.

So unless Naya is a vast outlier on the bad end, I don't think it's correct to say that Naya was disliked. Since they positively mentioned Esper to break the category but nothing else, I think it's safer to assume that Naya fell within the 25-50 percentile and is considered "liked, but not popular". You only know that Naya was the least popular of the shards. The rest is speculation.

And this speculation and personal bias is exactly why I kept going with this argument - which I reckoned was lost from the start. From your first post it is pretty clear that you don't consider the ideas applicable, so at first I wanted to know what thought went behind that, also to know what I might not have considered. From thereon it became clearer that some personal bias was present more than thought through criticism. I want people to argue with facts, and not use personal bias and present it as facts.

I don't mind you not liking my suggested mechanic and what it builds on. And if you have some factual or anecdotal evidence that supports a broader consensus which you claim to present, then I'll have to reconsider my position and revalue my viewpoints.

I thank you for our little discussion, but I think it is past time to end this.

June 20, 2019 10:31 a.m.

ZendikariWol says... #22

1) yeah, ya caught me there. I did not look back and read my earlier post. But I don’t want to make very many restrictive Soulbond cards. I’ll try making a few.

2) I think that you may have been right about old Naya, but the Conflux really messed shit up. The gargantuans alone were no longer the biggest thing in the jungle. So what did they do? They looked to the smaller creatures, the smaller creatures looked back, and they found that solidarity and ferocity was the play. Soulbond makes a lot of sense with that narrative, I think.

3) I’m sorry if I seem like I’m not hearing you here. I actually love Naya, though. It was my first commander deck (the c13 precon), and I’ve been trying to build a stronger version that’ll keep up with my other decks ever since. But I’m speculating that it’s probably the mechanic that made it unpopular because Temur did two similar mechanics. One of them (Ferocious) was seen as lackluster and boring by most of the people I’ve talked to and the other (Formidable) was aggressively panned (see the 9 on the storm scale). Johnny doesn’t like it cuz the flavor’s not there. Spike doesn’t like it cuz there’s not enough low-cmc stuff. Lotsa Timmies like it, but the most vocal fans don’t so it’s a real challenge to see it get made.

4) on further inspection Caretaker seems... actually a lot like Cohort. It seems like it’ll be difficult to strike a balance between good enough to justify the loss of a creature and not good enough to create a massive flip in momentum every time a 5-power creature enters the battlefield.

5) maybe we should just stop this. Sorry for dragging it out. I don’t think I’m gonna agree with you but I will say that first, I do like your mechanic- I think as a new Temur mechanic or an old Naya mechanic it could be pretty fun. No idea how it would play, but certainly a fun concept. But I really think Soulbond exemplifies the new Naya I’m looking for. Thank you for your ideas, I appreciate that you’re willing to fight for them, and if you have any ideas for a mechanic for Grixis, Jund, or Esper I’m 150% glad to hear it.

June 20, 2019 3:30 p.m.

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