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Well... Convoke was the guild mechanic of Selesnya back in OG Ravnica and was originally designed for Boros. It may have been elevated since then, but that doesn't change that it was the guild mechanic back then.

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/designing-selesnya-2012-09-28

I don't trust the URL function to work, as it doesn't show up in the preview. Really hope TappedOut soon gets some work done on the comment system. Both URL and the Custom Card function are broken.

August 19, 2019 9:51 a.m.

There's some meaty responses in here, I like it, but I'll have to respond to each point separately.

@ Caerwyn comment 1:

I get your point about it being arbitrary what is and what is not a skill. And it totally is, because WotC haven't planned for this group, and that's why we are stuck with a not so sleek reference as "Evergreen keyword ability". So to shake up and actually make a group of the term, will require some definition and since there's no ground work, it is likely going to be arbitrary.

Skill is meant to be a line in the sand, stating these keyword abilities are part of the group detonated as a Skill. Skills is not exactly as you say = Evergreen. It takes root in those abilities we have at the moment who have or are evergreen, because it's more a basic passive creature ability that has been featured on many cards. Whenever WotC makes a new ability they want to introduce as a Skill, it will be made denoting it is a skill.

So Skill =/= Evergreen. It also means skills are not necessarily recurring mechanics. As we have seen Evergreen Keywords have been pensioned and sometimes taken over by more elegantly designed mechanics. In principle, skills could also be noted as a non-Active Keyword Ability, my point was just more on bringing the Evergreens together, but if WotC needs a more consistent ruleset without arbitrary lines, that could be the way to do it.

To make it easier to combine the Keywords with the group, you could make a "Supertype" for all Evergreen keywords, simply denoting them as: Skill - Flying Skill - Haste

Multiples becomes Skills - Flying, First Strike, Lifelink

I know this just puts the text "Skill -" in front of every mention of an evergreen keyword we have right now, but it also cements what is and what is not a skill.

Future mechanics that gets approved to become a skill at design-level, will be noted as; "Skill - New mechanic".

'

I think of it a bit like how Doubling Season and Proliferate works in tandem with pretty much any kind of counter WotC will ever create.

Similarly I think it could be an interesting design space to utilize the same reference for Skills (in this context mostly Evergreens).


Your suggestion to use the term "Keyword ability" instead of "Skill" falls flat when that term has never before been used in Magic's history as a part of rule text. And Keyword ability also refers to Extort , to Graft , and so on.

If WotC cannot find a more elegant way to create "Skills" than what I came up with on a rather short timespan merely to discuss the idea, then perhaps we indeed do need to simply use the term "Keyword ability" but preferably "non-Active Keyword Ability", to avoid the vast majority of Keyword abilities that are not Evergreen or similar. However I still think by that time it would be more beneficial to have a unifying term that is more reader friendly than "Keyword ability", even if that is just a facade for "Keyword ability".


I see your point in divisive categories.

I don't think there's much worth trying to salvage that mechanic. One can only dream, but sometimes dreams are too warped and are not meant to be.


Thank you for your comment and objective viewpoint. It is kinda harsh to read through (you don't offer much room) but I don't read offense given, thus none taken.

August 16, 2019 10:43 a.m.

With the reveal in Commander 2019 of Rayami. First of the Fallen it made me realize how strange it is that these evergreen keywords with static creature abilities have never been grouped and formalized. Whenever they appear en masse it is a clusterfuck of words.

Rayami's ability has appeared in different variations over the years; Cairn Wanderer , Majestic Myriarch , Odric, Lunarch Marshal , Soulflayer , Concerted Effort - and I probably skipped a few.

I thought it was time to formalize a word for these abilities. And what better way than by example on a card?

Talented Student Show

Now, it's quite easy to simply reject the idea of formalizing the group as it is a constantly changing group depending on what Keyword Abilities, WotC decides to introduce. As such you can never include all Skills that will ever be printed. One principle that WotC have practiced is that any printed card must explicitly say what they do when that effect is printed for the first time.

However when a Keyword has been used for a while, it gets the Evergreen status, and you simply mention the Keyword without explanation of its effect. By this time you expect your players to know or easily explain to others what that Keyword does.

Skills are exactly that, when the Keyword applies to a creature specifically. Thus Evergreen keywords such as Counter, that makes no sense on a creature by itself, is omitted as a skill.

It will take a long time and dedicated effort to implement this change.


Why should we do it? Just to have those 6-7+ cards mentioned before have a smaller word count? Why do we care?

Well there are a couple of things you could do by formalizing the group.

First of all you can reference it specifically on an ability;

"Creature X gets +1/+0 for each skill it has."

"If creature X has a skill, it has indestructible."

"Each creature you control have all Skills among creatures you control."

"Enchant Creature with a skill."

'

You could choose to double down and divide the Skills into groups and utilize that as additional design space.

Offensive skill - First Strike, Double Strike, Deathtouch, Trample, Menace, Fear, Intimidate

Defensive skill - Indestructible, Hexproof, Shroud, Protection, Vigilance, Defender

Utility skill - Flying, Lifelink, Reach, Flash, Haste, Landwalk

'

Dividing the skills into different categories again breeds new design space when you are able to reference them as a group.

"Creature X has +2/+0 if it has an offensive skill.

Creature X has +0/+2 if it has a defensive skill.

Whenever creature X deals combat damage to a player, if it has a utility skill, draw a card.

, discard a card: Creature X gains your choice of First Strike, Hexproof, or Flying."

Just to speak an idea.


This is a big change and obviously not everyone (or anyone?) will be positive about such a change. It's big and at this very moment, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

This change has to come over time and with great effort. Preferably when the change happens the immediately following set needs to focus quite a lot on cementing it into people's mindset, utilizing the new design space.

Dividing skills into categories also present their fair share of issues and questions; Which keyword belongs to which category? Is there a fair spread of use of the keywords from all categories? Does underrepresentated categories demand much higher payoff?

This thread already represents a lot of questions and ideas and I hope people will engage in a constructive discussion.

What are your thoughts? Any ideas on improvements? Changes? Yay? Nay?

August 13, 2019 11:16 a.m.

Well... it seems like the editor mishandled my linebreaks in the spoiler code. Try again;

Revision version Show

August 13, 2019 7:58 a.m.

PlaysWithFire But they haven't been dealt damage, so the effect from your Gruul Guardian still prevents them from moving zone.

It also interacts very poorly with Deathtouch.

I get what you're trying to make, but the wording, and especially the use of the term "zone", makes it problematic as zone has never been used before in ruletext, except the Command Zone.

I would suggest a more in-boxed version that is clearer on its effects:

Revision version Show

I wont delve into the power level of this bad boy, but I think it is on the stronger side.

August 13, 2019 7:55 a.m.

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