I was working on a tribal set not too long ago that focused on class types instead of race types. I got to the point where I had completed a significant portion of the set when the typical thing happened and I hit a wall. I've never completed a set and, odds are, I never will. But rather than let all my labor amount to nothing, I figured I could post a little bit of what I had gotten done for critique.
The path mechanic allows a creature to specialize in one of two classes. By default, creatures with the path mechanic have only a race type. But as they enter the battlefield, that creature's controller chooses one of two printed paths, represented as a creature type (For example, a creature may have a "Warrior path" and a "Wizard path"), a P/T, and an ability. As long as it's on the battlefield, that creature has the chosen class type, P/T, and ability.
In my head, the card template would look rather similar to the Level Up template, but with two shaded boxes instead of three.
Here are a few example cards.
Information Broker Creature -- Human [Wizard Path] : Look at the top card of your library. 1/1 [Rogue Path] : Look at the top card of target opponent's library. 1/1
Halting Pontiff Creature -- Vedalken [Advisor Path] : Tap target creature. 1/1 [Cleric Path] : Prevent all damage that target creature would deal this turn. 1/1
My goal here was to create cards that had a built-in tension, especially in Limited. Do you choose the Path that has the body/abilty that best suits the situation? Or do you choose the one with the more relevant creature type to boost the cards in the next category?
There are some things that certain classes can just do better than others. This ability word represents that mechanically. It shows up as "[Type]craft -- As long as you control a [Type] creature, ". All cards with this ability are Tribal.
It's a workhorse mechanic, like Metalcraft. But a set's gotta have 'em.
Illusory Wings Tribal Enchantment -- Wizard Aura Flash Enchant creature Enchanted creature has flying. Wizardcraft -- At the end of turn, sacrifice Illusory Wings unless you control a Wizard creature.
Rough Cleave Tribal Sorcery -- Warrior Rough Cleave deals 3 damage to target creature. Warriorcraft -- If you control a Warrior creature, Rough Cleave deals 3 damage to that creature's controller.
And then there's a cycle of tribal equipment like this one:
Burglary Tools Tribal Artifact -- Rogue Equipment Equipped creature has intimidate and “Whenever this deals combat damage to a player, draw a card.” Equip Equip rogue
I tried to make each of these playable without any members of the appropriate class. But they obviously get a lot better when you've got one around.
Shadowclinger Creature -- Human Rogue Shadowclinger can't be blocked except by Rogues. It takes a thief to catch a thief. 2/1
Glass Alley Pickpocket Creature -- Human Rogue Whenever you cast a Rogue spell, Glass Alley Pickpocket is unblockable until the end of turn. Whenever Glass Alley Pickpocket deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card. "No matter how good you are, it always helps to have a distraction." 2/1
Flamekin Firedancer Creature -- Elemental Wizard , Tap an untapped Wizard creature you control: Flamekin Firedancer deals 1 damage ot target creature or player. 1/1
Disbelieve Instant Return target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less to its owner's hand. Draw a card.
Vile Confidant Creature -- Human Advisor At the beginning of your upkeep, you draw a card and lose 1 life for each Advisor you control. 2/1
Master of Propaganda Creature -- Vedalken Advisor When Master of Propaganda enters the battlefield, gain control of target creature. When Master of Propaganda leaves the battlefield, that creature's owner gains control of it unless you control another Advisor. 2/3
I never really finished planning out the distribution of class types among the colors. My idea was to have about five "main" classes that showed up in two colors each (Rogues, Warriors, Wizards, Advisors, and... something else). Then there'd be a few tertiary classes with one or two cards that interacted with them (Assassins, Druids, Berserkers, Scouts, etc). I really liked how Lorwyn/Morningtide spread out the tribes among several colors, so I tried to follow that example. But it ended up being too complicated for one mediocre card designer to sort out.
I was going to need a second major mechanic. I was leaning on something like "Renovate (You may cast this spell for its Renovate cost by returning a permanent you control that shares a type with it to its owner's hand.)" I liked that you could bounce your own Path creatures so that you could replay them with the other choice. But I never got that far.