Could There Be a Set that Focuses on Sacrificing Permanents?

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Posted on Nov. 9, 2023, 8:24 p.m. by DemonDragonJ

Sacrificing permanents has been a major theme of this game for nearly the entire game's history, there certainly have been many cards that feature that strategy, and there certainly have been decks and sets that utilize that mechanic, but I am not certain if there has ever been an entire set whose main theme was sacrificing permanents. Strixhaven focused on instants and sorceries, Theros focused on enchantments, Zendikar focused on lands, and there have been many sets that have focused on artifacts and/or creatures.

Sacrificing permanents is typically associated with black, with other colors only occasionally having that ability, so, if a set were to focus on that mechanic, each color would need to have methods of sacrificing permanents that worked within their identities, and I also imagine that both token generation and returning permanents from graveyards would be important secondary themes, as well, to ensure that players had a reliable supply of permanents to sacrifice. I also imaging that there would be plenty of effects that triggered from players sacrificing permanents, as well as methods to force other players to sacrifice permanents. I am not certain if sacrificing permanents is a sufficiently broad and diverse theme to be the central theme of an entire set, but it could certainly be a major sub-theme, with several other themes supporting it. I also wonder what the flavor of such a set would be, as well; either political backstabbing and betraying, or horror of the human sacrifice variety would work.

What does everyone else say about this? Could sacrificing permanents be a major theme of a set?

wallisface says... #2

There are multiple sets where sacrifice is the primary archetype of the colour-pair. There’s also been sets where has had a heavy sacrifice theme, and gets occasional cards that focus on this also.

The big issues with having an entire set focused on sacrifice are:

  • not all colour pairs fit that theming well, specifically for many of them it would feel very, very out of place.

  • the focus is too specific. The goal of most sets is to have each of the 10 colour-pairs feel unique in how they play, and i’m not sure that’s feasible with such a narrow focus.

  • Wotc want sets to be enjoyed by as many people as possible. While a lot of players enjoy sacrificing permanents, there will also be a lot of players who are heavily against this, and forcing everyone to have to do that in a set won’t market well.

November 9, 2023 8:35 p.m.

legendofa says... #3

It could stand as a subtheme, but I don't think an entire block could be supported by sacrifice mechanics. The best extant example is most likely Azgol (here and here  Flip).

Variations of the theme would fit in black color combinations, but the philosophy is essentially one of rejection and destruction, which , for example, would have a hard time with. In individual colors, black and red have a lot of sacrifice effects, white and green offer cheap creatures and recursion, but blue's role isn't well defined.

Political intrigue is covered in the Conspiracy sets on Fiora, and Innistrad includes some sacrifice as a horror component. Not all of the Fioran politics are so ruthless, and demon cults are recognized as blasphemous on Innistrad.

So the theme would have to be extremely narrow and colors without strong sacrifice/recursion/fodder themes would be at a disadvantage. It could be a drat archetype, but not the foundation of a full set.

November 9, 2023 8:56 p.m.

Daveslab2022 says... #4

Sacrificing stuff is way too narrow of a mechanic to support an entire set.

I mean, look at your three examples, Zendikar for lands… yeah and not every card focused on that, and the ones that did were versatile. It wasn’t all one mechanics.

Same for Strixhaven, instants and sorceries… Instants and Sorceries can do everything from draw cards to make tokens to being removal. It’s not narrow.

Third, Theros, enchantments. Again, not every card or theme in Theros relied on enchantments, there were just an abundance of enchantments in the set.

These three sets focused on a card type, not a specific mechanic.

November 11, 2023 11:55 a.m.

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