Custom Card Game Design
January 9, 2015Posted by on
For a long time, I have had the idea to design a set focused on mana, with many different and unusual mana costs, but mana costs that would still make sense in the context of the card’s abilities. You could argue that any multicolor set is such a set, but I do not think of this set as just a multicolor set, although multicolor cards are very dominant. The plane of choice for this set could be Shandalar. As the MTGSalvation wiki states: “It [Shandalar] is a relatively small plane and incredibly rich in mana. The magical energy is so prevalent, that it all is sentient, and the common people use minor spells as an everyday convenience.”
So, it makes sense that a Shandalar set focuses heavily on mana, with many mechanics associated with it. Here is an example:
Abundance checks whether or not you have specific colors or amounts of mana in your mana pool, but it does not actually use up that mana, so you can easily chain multiple abundance spells in one turn. Is that potentially broken? Probably not. I mean, at best it is an Ancestral Recall; that seems to be acceptable these days. Some abundance effects could also just check for the amount of mana in your mana pool instead of the colors. Important is that the conditions are consistent within cycles, so that it does not become too confusing.
The set would feature new mana symbols, hybrid mana, gold cards, and heavy monocolored cards. All of this must be held together somehow; a set where you expect monogreen and five-color both to be viable, will certainly not work out unless the mechanics heavily support it. Cards like the “Word” cycle would help. They are my take on tri-color hybrid cards and can be played in many different decks, although they are best in a deck that can use all modes.
This is more of a theoretical project. I do not plan to make a whole set out of these ideas, but I want to explore what is possible with the themes and mechanics I have in mind. What would a set focused on mana look like? If you have ideas, I want to hear them as well.