Sagathia - What does Green want?

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So, I've run into something that bugs me in my top-down-hybrid-themed set (which I really should put off until after I've put the cap on the Eldangard project).  GREEN does not have a mechanic that fits its flavor!  I have a funny feeling like I've done this before, but I want to get some feedback to get over this creative block.  And hopefully at some point I can make this thread relate to actual card design.

So, the world of Sagathia is an enlightened world whose politics, economy and culture all revolve around their famed academies of learning.  Nowhere else in the multiverse will you find such a gathering of scholars, teachers and priceless books.  And the most prominent of these schools are five great universities each based on the philosophy of one of the five colors of magic.  The main story of the block is told through the experiences of the students at these schools, and includes cards representing teachers, lessons, scholarly experiments, research projects and so on, hopefully hitting all the tropes of the Magical School genre (Harry Potter being the obvious comparison).

Each school has its own unique keyword/mechanic that reflects its personality.  For instance the Blue school believes in the accumulation of as much knowledge as possible, with students magically augmenting their memories to store and organize even more facts inside their brains.  So blue gets a mechanic that cares about holding lots of cards in your hand.  Red values passion and creativity, and gets a twist on Storm that rewards you for casting lots of spells in a single turn.  White emphasizes a protective environment full of rules and rigorous testing, and gets an Aura-based mechanic (a bit of a loose connection but I think it works).  Black rewards ambition, prestige, and has a meritocratic system that allows only the truly talented to succeed, and it has a mechanic based on Birthing Pod as well as an overall converted-mana-cost theme.

But I can't quite figure out the character of the Green aligned school.  Right now it's got a Persist-like creature mechanic that lets you evade destruction, but even though I like it it doesn't really relate to the philosophy of the school itself.

So what would the color Green think about education?  Isn't this the main conflict between Blue and Green; the fact that one believes your potential can only be reached by expanding your mind and improving yourself, while the other believes your potential is an inborn part of you and you will become what you were born to be.  Really the whole world of Sagathia makes Green seem out of place, but turning them into "Gruul School" doesn't appeal to me.  So what does a Green school teach?  How does it treat its students, and what qualities is it trying to instill in them?  I'm at a loss.
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
What if instead of "the Gruul school" it were the "Dosan the Falling Leaf school"? It would be full of monks that would be focused on searching for inner peace and harmony and things like that.
If you think about it, there are some pretty solid similarities to Phyrexia. In Scars, green was about evolving toward perfection. I think you could take a similar ideaology. Maybe...

Adapt (When this creature dies, you may exile a card from an opponent's graveyard. Creatures you control have protection from cards the same name as cards exiled this way)
I would think the Green school would be about Community and Nature. Not necessarily biological nature, but searching for the true nature of each seperate student. A Legend theme might actually be a cool thing to do with Green. You could also focus on the community aspect... I still think Green would be served with a creature mechanic though; How about a gradual hexproofing? So cards would look like this:

Junal Adept
Creature - Human Wizard (C)
Cursefree 1 (this creature cannot be the target of spells and abilities your opponent controls unless that player pays to ignore this effect.)
"You will learn the master outer forces in time. For now, you must try and master the forces within you." -Asman, Junal Mentor
2/2

Harmonic Insight
Enchantment - Aura (U)
Enchant Creature.
When ~ enters the battlefield, draw two cards.
Enchanted creature has cursefree 2 (it cannot be the target of spells and abilities your opponent controls unless that player pays to ignore this effect.)
"With mastery of your senses, mastery of the world itself comes naturally." -Asman, Junal Mentor.


Asmal, Junal Mentor
Legendary Creature - Human Wizard (MR)
Cursefree 4 (this creature cannot be the target of spells and abilities your opponent controls unless that player pays to ignore this effect.)
Other creatures you control have cursefree 1 (they cannot be the targets of spells and abilities your opponent controls unless that player pays to ignore this effect. Multiple instances of cursefree stack.)
: Each creature you control get +1/+1 until end of turn for each point of cursefree it has.
4/4

... You could also make it a spin-off of Kira, Great Glass Spinner.

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flavorfully I think Rio's got it. the main thing green needs in a school philosophy is the idea that they're helping you unlock what you already have. they're not teaching you to be something you're not, just to be everything you already are.

mechanically...

geeze I don't know.

 
120.6. Some effects replace card draws.
Unlocking True Potential Dude
Creature - Monk
Transcent - : Add to your mana pool. Activate this ability only if ~ has dealt combat damage to an opponent this game.
2/1


More Unlocking Dude
Creature - More Monk
Transcent - Creatures you control have hexproof as long as ~ has dealt combat damage to an opponent this game.
3/4

"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

[spoiler MLP]Congratulations, you've found My Lie Policy: Only when i'm prompted, i might lie. (policy still in the refinement process.) [/spoiler] [spoiler I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.]I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green

[/spoiler]
I'd say that some kind of transformation mechanic would work best to show the improvement comming from the creatures themselves. I guess double-sided cards are right out though. Level up would be a little weird to constrain to just one color (but is awesome and must be revisited in a future set). Some kind of "threshold" mechanic might work- you hit a certain apropriately knowledge based trigger and then your creatures get a boost...

Yah that's all I got.
Unlocking True Potential Dude
Creature - Monk
Transcent - : Add to your mana pool. Activate this ability only if ~ has dealt combat damage to an opponent this game.
2/1


More Unlocking Dude
Creature - More Monk
Transcent - Creatures you control have hexproof as long as ~ has dealt combat damage to an opponent this game.
3/4



I thought about something like that but it seems like a lot of bookeeping. Maybe counters would help? Even pull an unleash and just use +1/+1s perhaps?

I your okay with something like that Fallingman then how about considering these triggers:


  • Didn't play a card for a turn (because that's very mature or something?)

  • Played another creature since you played this guy (the older creature is more learned/seasoned now)

  • Didn't play another creature since you played this guy (No idea how you could tie that in there but I thought it was cool)


I thought about something like that but it seems like a lot of bookeeping. Maybe counters would help? Even pull an unleash and just use +1/+1s perhaps?



Hmmm

Novice Pathfinder
Creature - Elf Scout
Experienced - Novice Pathfinder has nonbasic landwalk as long as it has a +1/+1 counter on it.
1/1

Wasn't something like this in one of the BCPs?  I'm already toying around with a +1/+1 counter theme just because I intentionally avoided using counters in the previous set.  But this might be a bit too parasitic.

The other thing that comes to mind is the Evolve mechanic from one of the latest Great Designer Search contestants, which gives a creature a +1/+1 counter whenever a creature with greater power enters the battlefield.  Sort of has a student-learning-from-others vibe maybe.

Apparently my thought processes keep retreading other people's keywords


I do like the more inward-focused approach for the Green school.  I guess something as broad as "learning" can have a lot of different applications.  The key thing I'd need to express then is that Green's teachers don't try to change their students or impose things upon them, they try to unlock the talent that's already there.
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
Green cares about preserving knowledge, not aquiring it; think dusty old books in a library that might be ignored by more "progressive" students.  Regrowth effects; maybe flashback.  Soulshift for spells.

Grow a Library 
Sorcery
Search your library for a basic land and put it onto the battlfield tapped. You may return an instant or sorcery card with converted mana cost 1 or less from your graveyard to your hand.

Flashback is better though.

I like the whole individuality part that others have hinted on, even if it somewhat threads on red's identity. Keywords can be exploration, adaptability, understanding and individuality. They use their books to explore the world and learn about the wonders of the world. Unlike blue, which have detailed explanation on every structure, the books of the verdant library communicates the experience instead. Green scholars read not to know, but to experience a journey through their imagination. Two scholars may read the same book and have a completely different experience. Unlike black, operating on a hierarchy, no scholar is inferior to another, just different. Their community is a menagerie.

To help differentiate Blue vs Green, using DnD terms. Blue represents Intellect, while Green represents Wisdom. Blue learns to know, Green learns to understand.

Yxoque wrote:
This forum can't even ****ing self-destruct properly.

IMAGE(http://img.pokemondb.net/sprites/black-white/anim/normal/plusle.gif)

Considering the straightforwardness of Unleash also gave me this:

Thriving Shaman
Creature - Elf Shaman
Prosper (At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a +1/+1 counter on this creature)
1/1


Other ideas:

Elvish Cartographer
Creature - Elf Scout
Journey (At the beginning of your upkeep you may exile this creature. Return it to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter at the beginning of your next upkeep.)
Whenever Elvish Cartographer deals combat damage to a player, if it has a +1/+1 counter on it, draw a card.
2/2

Basically a creature leaving the battlefield to explore the world, and returning stronger and more skilled. I'm worried that players would think they can keep repeating the journey to build up multiple +1/+1 counters though.

Genevim Sage
Creature - Dryad
: Add to your mana pool.
Memory (As long as this card is in your graveyard, creatures you control have its activated abilities.)
0/1

I want to put some limitations on this one though, 'cause in its current state it feels pretty broken.  Also doesn't really feel Green, it feels like something Blue or Black would do.
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
I think you need something more combat-relevant since you already have Auras, an ability that encourages holding back, an ability that encourages letting loose, and a ramping up ability.
I kinda like memory, although it can get really broken with self mill.

I agree with riovard that it should be like monks or hippies, teaching about inner peace, and communing with nature and things. Revering the dead is great too.

This is seperate from the token thing you were working on right?
I like Journey a lot. It randomly hoses Auras, which is sort of Green's thing. Also, it works very well with ETB effects (at higher rarities, obviously).
Preparing for the M14 Prerelease - New article up! IN THE TANK - my very own blog for rambling about Magic!
I think you need something more combat-relevant since you already have Auras, an ability that encourages holding back, an ability that encourages letting loose, and a ramping up ability.



I like this thought, but I'm wondering what sort of direction I could go.  What exactly comprises a combat mechanic?  Something that literally affects what happens in combat, like Infect or Exalted?  Something that encourages attacking, like Bloodthirst?  Or just something that's good for making big creatures?  Journey makes things bigger, but it also makes you wait a turn rather than swinging immediately, so maybe it's not a good fit (unless I can tie it into combat somehow, but then it feels too much like Innistrad's vampire bite mechanic.)
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
Something that encourages attacking, like Bloodthirst?


um

 
120.6. Some effects replace card draws.
Something that encourages attacking, like Bloodthirst?


um

 



Well that's weird...  I don't know why I made that into a card link.  But I also don't know why it picked a similar-named card instead of just breaking like it usually does.
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
Autocarding works as long as what you give it is a prefix for exactly one card name.  It's weird.  

"Tezzeret" doesn't work because there are three cards that start with "Tezzeret", but "Tezzeret'", "Tezzeret,", and "Tezzeret " all do.

Also, zzz.

"Go, then. There are other worlds than these." -- Stephen King, The Gunslinger

Please feel free to copy this message into your sig.

Acknowledging that I haven't read most of this thread, have you considered the under-used angle of Green as believers in predestination?
Autocarding works as long as what you give it is a prefix for exactly one card name.  It's weird.  

"Tezzeret" doesn't work because there are three cards that start with "Tezzeret", but "Tezzeret'", "Tezzeret,", and "Tezzeret " all do.

Also, zzz.



This was very annoying when you were talking about A certain burn spell in M13 before the set was added to the autocard feature.
Preparing for the M14 Prerelease - New article up! IN THE TANK - my very own blog for rambling about Magic!
Acknowledging that I haven't read most of this thread, have you considered the under-used angle of Green as believers in predestination?



It seems to be drifting in that direction, actually.  I like the idea of a "student" creature unlocking its own potential somehow rather than being simply given abilities by its teachers (as some other spells in the set do).  A "professor" at this school could be devoted to finding the true fate of those around them, like the classic hermit-on-top-of-a-mountain who awaits the predestined hero and gives them the guidance to achieve their destiny.

I don't think I'll make the entire school quite so heavy on the "fate" aspect of things though, maybe just a few stand-out characters, since a large part of the set involves hitting all the stereotypes of the school experience and I don't want to drift too far from the familiar.
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
There's a distinct problem with Journey.  Say I drop that guy turn 3.  Turn 4, he goes on his journey.  Turn 5, he comes back.  Turn 6, I can actually attack with him.  That's pretty late for a 3/3 ophidian.  If it triggers on end step, I only have to wait 1 extra turn to use his better version, which seems a lot more reasonable.  I even get to block with him after he comes back.
There's a distinct problem with Journey.  Say I drop that guy turn 3.  Turn 4, he goes on his journey.  Turn 5, he comes back.  Turn 6, I can actually attack with him.  That's pretty late for a 3/3 ophidian.  If it triggers on end step, I only have to wait 1 extra turn to use his better version, which seems a lot more reasonable.  I even get to block with him after he comes back.



Yeah, I think I may be barking up the wrong tree with Journey.  Giving up a creature for a couple of turns in order to get a bonus might be an interesting trade-off in certain situations, but it makes it harder for Green to be the aggressive creature color and doesn't really do anything interesting for your playstyle or deckbuilding decisions.  There's no hoop to jump through, just an inconvenience.

I like the idea of using +1/+1 counters to unlock abilities on creatures, but it needs some kind of twist. 
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
Meditate (At the begining of your upkeep, you may tap this creature. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on it.)
Hoard of Notions: Cards and general design musings from yours truly.
There's a distinct problem with Journey.  Say I drop that guy turn 3.  Turn 4, he goes on his journey.  Turn 5, he comes back.  Turn 6, I can actually attack with him.  That's pretty late for a 3/3 ophidian.  If it triggers on end step, I only have to wait 1 extra turn to use his better version, which seems a lot more reasonable.  I even get to block with him after he comes back.



Yeah, I think I may be barking up the wrong tree with Journey.  Giving up a creature for a couple of turns in order to get a bonus might be an interesting trade-off in certain situations, but it makes it harder for Green to be the aggressive creature color and doesn't really do anything interesting for your playstyle or deckbuilding decisions.  There's no hoop to jump through, just an inconvenience.

I like the idea of using +1/+1 counters to unlock abilities on creatures, but it needs some kind of twist. 



Maybe make it at the end of your turn, rather than the beginning? keeping it optional, of course.

Meditate (At the begining of your upkeep, you may tap this creature. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on it.)


I feel like with mechanics like this you just end up with a lot of limited bombs, and makes stalemates into a legitimate strategy.

I would suggest "Whenever ~ becomes untapped", as it can represent the learning over time, and encourages you to attack. It's triggers in the untap step though. The rules handle them fine, but it might cause confusion. Not that I can come up with a scenario where it's an issue.

Yxoque wrote:
This forum can't even ****ing self-destruct properly.

IMAGE(http://img.pokemondb.net/sprites/black-white/anim/normal/plusle.gif)

I like the untap trigger.  It could work nicely with some other mechanics I'm trying.  And I like that it encourages attacking, that's a very good thing.  I'm still looking for something that will shape deckbuilding a bit more, although plenty of good mechanics don't have that quality so I'm not dismissing this keyword quite yet.

After mulling over the whole fate/predestination thing, I wanted to try something library oriented.  Green occasionally gets little bits of library manipulation like Gilt-Leaf Seer or Mirri's Guile, which would be a cool way to give the school a more thoughtful, less wild flavor.

Imberquin Idealist
Creature - Treefolk Shaman
Reach
Uplift (At the beginning of your upkeep, you may look at the top card of your library. If it's a creature card with power greater than this creature's, you may reveal it and put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.)
1/3

I like that it gives you a reason to include some big creatures in your deck, and you can also try to manipulate the outcome a bit.  But making creature's bigger doesn't necessarily make for an aggressive strategy.  It's prone to stalling tactics, waiting just one more turn to see if your creatures can get one more boost.

But maybe that's a valid strategy, and I should focus on making Red or White more aggressive and just let Green do its mid-range ramp up to big creatures.
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
Other thoughts before this slips off the first page?
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
Uplift feels fine for green in theory but it doesn't fit with the learning from inside flavor very well.

 
120.6. Some effects replace card draws.
Is this something that could be fixed with flavor, maybe?
The problem with most of the "learning from inside" concepts that spring to mind is that they're usually activated or triggered by the creature itself, which means that the cards don't have any particular synergy or interaction with other cards.

Although I'm having second thoughts on Uplift because I don't like how it only works really well on small creatures.  Things like Exalted or Graft can scale up to a wide variety of big or small creatures, but Uplift on anything bigger than 4/4 seems wasted...  But the interaction with the library is an aspect I like.
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
you do realize this is a very limited kinship

"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

[spoiler MLP]Congratulations, you've found My Lie Policy: Only when i'm prompted, i might lie. (policy still in the refinement process.) [/spoiler] [spoiler I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.]I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green

[/spoiler]
you do realize this is a very limited kinship



Yes, much aware.  It cares about slightly different qualities, but Kinship was the immediate direction my mind went when I wanted to deal with the library in Green.
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
then my follow-up question would be, why limit the effect to only add 1 +1/+1 counter? (if you worry about scalability)
just do something a full-fletch kinship would do?

"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

[spoiler MLP]Congratulations, you've found My Lie Policy: Only when i'm prompted, i might lie. (policy still in the refinement process.) [/spoiler] [spoiler I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.]I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green

[/spoiler]
The problem with most of the "learning from inside" concepts that spring to mind is that they're usually activated or triggered by the creature itself, which means that the cards don't have any particular synergy or interaction with other cards.


I think i understand where you come from. but I would loosely argue that it's not completely necessarily true. Take the "damage opponent = self/potential realization" aspect, it still encourages combat and getting through, then in terms increases value with cards like jump (or think bloodthirst). While something are usually "activated or triggered by itself" doesn't mean they can't have conditions that is board/other cards dependent?

Hope i'm tackling the right issue here.

"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

[spoiler MLP]Congratulations, you've found My Lie Policy: Only when i'm prompted, i might lie. (policy still in the refinement process.) [/spoiler] [spoiler I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.]I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green

[/spoiler]
Yeah, there are good examples of abilities that do that.  I'm still trying to work out something that isn't a rehash of Bloodthirst or the Slith/Vampire ability.  Creatures shouldn't always have to beat things up in order to realize their potential (although the usual caveat applies, whatever concepts get translated to cards are things that are inherently weaponizable in this plane, not a representation of day to day life.)

Having thought things through, I'm thinking that the untap trigger mentioned earlier might work best.  Giving creatures new activated abilities is a theme of the set that meshes really nicely already, so it doesn't necessarily have to be combat.  The other question is whether I want it to always give +1/+1 counters, or have a variety of untap triggers linked by an ability word.  I'm leaning towards the first option, but it might get too strong to have it show up on lots of Common creatures.

(Note also that this ability will appear exclusively on Green creatures.  This includes green/x hybrids, but it means that they won't be getting non-green abilities like flying or first strike.)
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
The other question is whether I want it to always give +1/+1 counters, or have a variety of untap triggers linked by an ability word.  I'm leaning towards the first option, but it might get too strong to have it show up on lots of Common creatures.

When in doubt, choose the one with more design space.

Embrace imagination.

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Solphos – A fan set with a 'combo matters' theme

Fool's Gold – The second set of the Solphos block

I'm just worried that without some sort of counter to help keep track of things adding new permanent abilities to creatures would be a headache. Of course if you just want to triggerone-off effects this becomes  a nonissue.
Keep in mind it doesn't have to be +1/+1 counters. Maybe fate counters could tie in with a predestination theme? Divinity and charge counters seem like a stretch... you could always just make up a new one.
I'm just worried that without some sort of counter to help keep track of things adding new permanent abilities to creatures would be a headache. Of course if you just want to triggerone-off effects this becomes  a nonissue.
Keep in mind it doesn't have to be +1/+1 counters. Maybe fate counters could tie in with a predestination theme? Divinity and charge counters seem like a stretch... you could always just make up a new one.

You know it doesn't Always have to spell out c-o-u-n-t-e-r-s before anyone think it's a good idea to use counter to solve memory problems.

I personally don't believe in babysitting players with counters unless those counters actually mean something, rather than just a reminder.

"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

[spoiler MLP]Congratulations, you've found My Lie Policy: Only when i'm prompted, i might lie. (policy still in the refinement process.) [/spoiler] [spoiler I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.]I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green

[/spoiler]
You know it doesn't Always have to spell out c-o-u-n-t-e-r-s before anyone think it's a good idea to use counter to solve memory problems.

I personally don't believe in babysitting players with counters unless those counters actually mean something, rather than just a reminder.


One every now and then, when it's really obvious what the values are, is not a problem.

If a major mechanic is based around things that aren't marked, then it's a problem.
Imagine a version of persist/undying that just expected you to remember it. Or unleash, where you just had to remember whether or not they had +1/+1 and couldn't block, rather than using the counters.

Would be a really, really, annoying way to play.
+1/+1 counters could be considered a reminder, and they are; that's all they're there for, to remind you that that creature has a permanent +1/+1.
The only purpose counters have, outside of fringe things like Vampire Hexmage, Proliferate and doubling-season mechanics, is to act as reminders. 
think you misunderstood what i was saying. All i m saying is that even if you don't explicitly spell the word counter on the card, players can still use counter all they want. So if the counter doesn't have actual counting values or purposes, i don't see the neccessity to spell it out and leave for the player to decide how they want to remember it.

Again, they are already doing it and they do it all the time. (i have read some pro player even put a counter on top of their opponent's deck to remind them paying for the pact in some match report pretty recently...)

"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

[spoiler MLP]Congratulations, you've found My Lie Policy: Only when i'm prompted, i might lie. (policy still in the refinement process.) [/spoiler] [spoiler I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.]I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green

[/spoiler]