Keyword Ability: Revenant

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I've been thinking about an ability i think would be cool (for now named revenant - any other suggestions?), but I don't quite know how to balance it. Here it is:




Revenant N: At the beginning of your upkeep, if CARDNAME is in your graveyard, return CARDNAME to your hand and you lose N life.


Example cards:


Everhungry Ghoul


Creature – Zombie


Revenant 2 (At the beginning of your upkeep, if Everhungry Ghoul is in your graveyard, return Everhungry Ghoul to your hand and you lose 2 life.)


2/2


 


Immortal Aristocrat


Creature – Vampire


Lifelink.


Revenant 4 (At the beginning of your upkeep, if Immortal Aristocrat is in your graveyard, return Immortal Aristocrat to your hand and you lose 4 life.)


2/2


 


Dark Study


Sorcery


Draw a card.


Revenant 1.

I like the idea - I think Dark Study is particular is very elegant design - but I'd make the choice either a) optional, and/or b) if on a creature, have it put straight onto the battlefield (but then that would cause all kinds of wierd templating exceptions for Revenant instants/sorceries).
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i agree that it should be optional -- otherwise the potential downsides of playing a creature with revenant are just too restrictive -- "at the beginning of your upkeep, you may return ~ to your hand; if you do, you lose N life"
Hm. If it's optional it loses a bit of the "deal with the devil" feel that i kinda like in black, and it means no (otherwise undercosted) cards where revenant is mostly a drawback - like 4/4 for three mana with revenant 8 or something... On the other hand non-optional is very risky, and gives fewer strategic choices. Should the example cards be powered down if the ability was made optional? Repeatable card advantage is a very powerful thing.

As for the hand vs. battlefield thing; it is more flavourful if the creature returns to the 'field. Maybe I could have two different keywords, like with flashback vs unearth. Revenant is for creature and returns to the battlefield, ...something... is for instants/sorceries and returns to the hand.
Why do you want to make a drawback keyword?

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Why do you want to make a drawback keyword?


it's not a drawback keyword. it has a clear upside.

 

120.6. Some effects replace card draws.

 

why are you here when NGA exists and is just better

The upside is good (repeatable recusion), but ask yourself; "Why would I take (for example) the Zombie that loses me 2 life every time it's put in my graveyard over Reassembling Skeleton, which I can recur whenever I want and doesn't cost me any life?"

If the ability was optional, as in "Revenant X - at the start of your upkeep, you can return this card to your hand/the battlefield. If you do, lose X life", then it would be fine.

If the ability is mandatory though, then I think the creature needs to be a little more aggressively costed or efficient (in the vein of Carnophage, Moroii, Erg Raiders, etc) to make up for the fact that, yes, it's going to die or be discarded or milled and you'll definitely lose a chunk of life when that happens, so the Zombie could be 3/2 for instance, the Vampire could have flying...

Going off on a tangent, you know what I miss and would love to see more of? Recover. That, or Retrace. Both great recursion mechanics that are nice alternatives to flashback/unearth.

  
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As for the hand vs. battlefield thing; it is more flavourful if the creature returns to the 'field. Maybe I could have two different keywords, like with flashback vs unearth. Revenant is for creature and returns to the battlefield, ...something... is for instants/sorceries and returns to the hand.


You could also make it so you cast the cards. Or just instants & sorceries.
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Why do you want to make a drawback keyword?


it's not a drawback keyword. it has a clear upside.

 

did you read the post above me?
If it's optional it loses a bit of the "deal with the devil" feel that i kinda like in black, and it means no (otherwise undercosted) cards where revenant is mostly a drawback

"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupry

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If it's optional it loses a bit of the "deal with the devil" feel that i kinda like in black, and it means no (otherwise undercosted) cards where revenant is mostly a drawback


What I meant by this is that with a mandatory return it would be possible to make one or two cards where the ability is mostly a drawback, whereas on most cards it would be an upside that could potentially turn out dangerous.




I like this idea a lot. I think having the ability be mandatory is a great flavour - it's exactly the kind of risk an ambitious necromancer would take.

I thought the suggestion to return creatures right to the battlefield is a good one, but perhaps not every time. If part of the ability is going to be optional, I think it should be whether the creature returns to the battlefield (or a spell is cast for free on the spot) or to your hand. Something like:

Revenant N: At the beginning of your upkeep, if CARDNAME is in your graveyard, you lose N life. You may cast this card from your graveyard without paying its costs. If you don't, return it from your graveyard to your hand.

Why? Because if your opponent has a consistent way to kill off your creatures (say, Elesh Norn) then you don't want to play your 2/2 that hurts you if it's in your yard. Most of the time you will, but giving people the ability to hoard cards in their hand if they need to would help. It's a lot harder to make people discard a card repeatedly than to repeatedly kill it.
Whether this should be a keyword or just a mechanic that shows up on several cards is dubious, but I love Dark Study.
Why do you want to make a drawback keyword?


it's not a drawback keyword. it has a clear upside.

 

did you read the post above me?
If it's optional it loses a bit of the "deal with the devil" feel that i kinda like in black, and it means no (otherwise undercosted) cards where revenant is mostly a drawback



there's a difference between a drawback mechanic and a mechanic being used a drawback.

 

120.6. Some effects replace card draws.

 

why are you here when NGA exists and is just better

What about making it so that you can either choose to Revanent at the first possible opertunity, or exile it?

Revanent N - At the begining of your upkeep, if this in your graveyard, you may pay N life.  If you do, return it from your graveyard to play/hand.  Otherwise, exile this card?  

It allows you to keep the revanent cost reasonable, while providing a drawback to keep you from leaving it in your 'yard until you need it.   
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k
What about making it so that you can either choose to Revanent at the first possible opertunity, or exile it?

Revanent N - At the begining of your upkeep, if this in your graveyard, you may pay N life.  If you do, return it from your graveyard to play/hand.  Otherwise, exile this card?  

It allows you to keep the revanent cost reasonable, while providing a drawback to keep you from leaving it in your 'yard until you need it.   




i like this one
seems best idea so far

IMO mandatory bouncing to the hand is the most flavorful, elegant, flexible way to do it, that's the way I'd say you should do it.
Back to the hand allows you to keep the cost more reasonable as well.