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New ideas for MtG-killer game :)

An article for those familiar with MTG or Codex.

I would like to create a game that combines fantastic dynamics, combinations, specializations and simplicity.

From MTG we take the base: lands and creatures. Classic lands (introduced into the game once per turn). (But, perhaps, it would be a good idea to add variety here - by adding “patrol zones”, but not rigidly fixed patrol zones prescribed in the rules of the game (as in Codex), but specifically on the lands themselves (protective bonuses for the squad associated with this land). That is, the earth can combine 2 functions: to give mana, and to be a protective zone. And all this without any complications in the rules.)

As in MTG, units cannot attack on the same turn on which they are summoned. But then 7 fundamental differences follow:

  1. After playing a creature, immediately draw a new card from the top of the deck (for example, if you played three, draw all three cards instead of the spent ones)

  2. The creatures played in the current turn are combined into a new squad that acts as a single unit (or squad). For example, if on this turn the game includes: 1/1 first strikeand 1/1 haste, then the result is a 2/2 squad, which has both haste and first strike.

  3. The order of the creatures in the squad is important, since the damage received is distributed from top to bottom (the top creatures die first). Unlike MTG, non-fatal damage does not go unnoticed and weakens the squad. But unlike Codex, you don’t have to place a bunch of wounds here to show it.

  4. Squads can attack any opponent’s squad, or the player himself, but first of all, they must attack his not tapped units if can (and receive retaliation damage). If an already tapped unit is attacked, then it does not inflict retaliation damage. The already attacked unit is tap if it survives (and for the next attack it will already be tapped).

  5. The player’s lives are his cards in his hand. For each point of damage received, the player discards a card from his hand, and if he cannot, he immediately loses. No 20 lives that need to be additionally tracked, everything is simple and dynamic. If the opponent made a gross mistake and did not hold the table, then killing him in one move is the most correct (no long agonies).

  6. Each color does exactly what it can do - and no other color can. If you want to have First strike in your combo, you must take creatures with white in their cost. If you want to untap your units for repeated attacks, you must take creatures with red color. If you want to have large aggresive creatures with increased characteristics, you must add green, and nothing else. And so on.

  7. Units come into play tapped (except units with Haste). And struct of turn is:

  1. Upkeep (you may play one land)
  2. Main (play creatures, play casts and attacks with any your untapped unit)
  3. Untap (untap all your lands and units)
    No any card draw phase, because you draw cards when playing you creatures!
    So, units can attack then block next turn (because untap at end of your turn). But can’t block then attack (because doesn’t untap at start of your turn), except units with Vigilance (doesn’t tap when block). So if you attack opponent’s unit and it survives, it will tap and skip its next turn (can’t attack).

So far, only the most basic tier-1 creatures (for 1 mana) have been invented for testing. Pure and unmixed basis. No names yet.

Neutral creatures (for colorless - any mana):
(1) = 1/1 Wolf

Red creatures:
® = 1/1 Haste (arrive untapped: so can attack or cast same turn)
® = 1/1 Shooting (does not receive retaliation damage when attacking)

Green creatures:
(G) = 2/1
(G) = 1/2 Trample (excess damage after attack is dealt to the player)

White creatures:
(W) = 1/1 First strike (deals damage first)
(W) = 1/2 Vigilance (doesn’t tap when blocks)

Blue creatures:
(U) = 1/1 Flying (unblockable - can ignore untapped squads, choosing any targets for attack)
(U) = 1/2 Stealth (cannot be targeted by attacks)

Black creatures:
(B) = 1/1 Deathtouch (his attack is equal to the defense of the enemy squad to kill him completely)
(B) = 1/2 Shroud (cannot be targeted by spells)

Spellcasters (playing the role of heroes):

Their abilities can be activated multiple times as long as you have mana. But they cannot cast on the first turn (as well as attack).
In addition, in order to use its abilities, the spellcaster must be the hero of the squad (its top creature). That is, the creature that dies first (real heroes always die first, that’s why they are heroes!).

Red creatures:
® = 1/1; ® destroy target land
® = 1/1; ® untap target squad (yes, in fact it can attack many times until you can pay ® for each!)

Green creatures:
(G) = 1/1; (G) add 1/1 Wolf to target squad (to bottom)
(G) = 1/1; (G) put extra land (yes, if you have 3 forests at you hand, you may put them all, each time tapping one (G) for the next, plus one land).

White creatures:
(W) = 1/1; (W) add shield to target squad (prevent next damage)
(W) = 1/1; (W) split target squad (into any number of smaller squads)

Blue creatures:
(U) = 1/1; (U) tap target squad
(U) = 1/1; (U) draw card

Black creatures:
(B) = 1/1; (B) destroy target hero (top creature of any squad)
(B) = 1/1; (B) opponent discards a card

What’s good here? Players are not interested in placing the same cards in a deck. Because identical cards do not reinforce each other in any way, but vice versa. If you have to play two 1/1 flying, then you will not receive any bonus for the second, because the squad already has a flight.

So if we add tier-2 creatures or higher, for what players will use them, if they get “draw card” effect for even tier-1 creatures?
Because of card advantage, but specific.
If you play many tier-1 units for 1 mana, you draw many cards for them, and many lands also.
So having more lands after that is good for playing high-tier units, because with high-tier card draw is slower, and you get lesser lands if you have already very much (and saving more non-lands card in hand!). You can put land only one per turn, and you don’t get any “draw card” for it, so having much lands in hand is no good.

New rule:
Units come into play tapped (except units with Haste). And struct of turn is:

  1. Upkeep (you may play one land)
  2. Main (play creatures, play casts and attacks with any your untapped unit)
  3. Untap (untap all your lands and units)

So, units can attack then block next turn (because untap at end of your turn). But can’t block then attack (because doesn’t untap at start of your turn), except units with Vigilance (doesn’t tap when block). So if you attack opponent’s unit and it survives, it will tap and skip its next turn (can’t attack).

I think this mechanics is simple and better determines things like: tap opponent’s unit (skip his next turn), haste (arrive untapped) and vigilance (doesn’t tap when block).

How will be tier-2 or higher? I think that power of tier-N unit must be equal as power of squad containg N tier-1 creatures.
For example: (G)(G) unit 3/3 trample = 2/1 + 1/2 trample.

So if we want to introduce big walls (strong defender units which can’t attack), it must be green (stats) and white (can’t attack).
(W) unit 2/3 guard (white feature - can’t attack) is normal but not legal without green color, so adding (G) we’ll have:
(G)(W) unit 4/4 guard.

This numbers are big but squad of 2 tier-1 creatures can be powerful too:
® unit 1/1 haste + (U) unit 1/1 flying = ®(U) squad 2/2 haste + flying is ever greater combo (so it is 2/2 flyer + force opponent discard 2 cards when arrive)

If you lose when you try to draw and your deck is empty, one strength of higher-tier creatures would simply be that you’re not going through your deck as quickly. They’re also useful if you’re limited to how many units can patrol / get land bonuses, especially if the bonuses scale.

Agree, but this win condition must be tested (how many cards may contains deck and how quickly you can lose if play at many low-cost creatures).

I understand that discard a card for every damage to you, is very hard (and 2/2 flying-haste units is imba). So the next rule (to correct it), is:

  • Any damage dealt to you cause you “side up” a card in your hand (at random). If you can’t do it (because damage is greater than number of cards in your hand), you lose. At your untap phase (end of your turn), return all side-up cards into your hand (regeneration). So damage dealt to you is weakening you, but temporal (like a tap).

So if you start the game with 7 cards in hand, and at 1-3 turns put 3 lands, so your hand is only 4 cards. Attacking with 4 damage to you can totally “paralyse” your hand (skipping next turn), and attacking with 5 damage to you is the game win condition (for your opponent).

Update creatures:

Neutral creatures (for colorless - any mana):
(1) = 1/1 Wolf - Reinforcement (NEW): arrives to bottom of target squad (so works as +1/+1 counter). This ability is like a “self-only” haste, doesn’t provide any bonuses to new squad, but gains all bonuses from previous squads (including ability of attack).

Red creatures:
R 1/1 Haste: comes into play untapped (and can attack/cast)
R 1/2 Frenzy (NEW): when it attacks squad, untap it (and it can attack again if survive!)
This is more interesting ability for base unit than Shooting (which must not be clear R-ability because contains preventing mechanics)

Green creatures:
G 2/1
G 1/2 Regeneration (NEW): if survives, prevent all damage dealt to squad
This ability is more correct than Trample which is useless at single-unit squad (trample is good for bigger creatures, like a GG 3/3 Trample).

White creatures:
W 1/1 First strike (deals combat damage first)
W 1/2 Vigilance (doesn’t tap when blocks)

Blue creatures:
U 1/1 Flying (can ignore blockers and attack any target)
U 1/2 Shroud (can’t be target of spells) - this ability is more correct for blue

Black creatures:
B 1/1 Deathtouch (when deals any combat damage to a squad, kill that squad)
B 1/2 Fear (can’t be target of attacks) - this ability is more correct for black

So these basic units may be combine in powerful combo squads, if you can provide all parts of that combo by colors.

Best example is RGU 4/3 Flying, Haste (1/1 blue Flying + 1/1 red Haste + 2/1 green) which deals 4 unblockable damage to opponent when arrives (side-up all his hand or even immediately win the game if he has less than 4 cards in hand).
This tier-3 squad is ultimative weapon, but require to collect mana of 3 different colors!

Another powerful combo: WWB 3/4 First strike, Vigilance, Deathtouch (1/1 white First strike + 1/2 white Vigilance + 1/1 black Deathtouch). Immortal blocker which can block and kill any numbers of attackers so making a player almost invulnerability. And this tier-3 squad costs only 2 different colors!

Another mad combo: RRWB 4/5 Haste, Frenzy, First strike, Deathtouch (1/1 red Haste + 1/2 red Frenzy + 1/1 white First strike + 1/1 black Deathtouch). Tier-4 squad which when arrives, immediately kill all opponent’s squads and deals 4 damage to face! Yes, tier-4, but you can use lighter variant with RRW 3/4 Haste, Frenzy, First Strike) or RRG 3/4 Haste, Frenzy, Regeneration.

Or you may simply use light tier-2 squad as BB 2/3 Fear, Deathtouch (can kill any squad and can’t be attacked). Or BW 2/2 Deathtouch, First strike (best single-killer but vulnerable if opponents can attack it with 2 squads). Or RU 2/2 Haste, Flying (2 unblockable damage each turn, including current).

So many combos which are created by players, not determined by game-designer. If you want to use Deathtouch + First strike, why have you need while this card will be invent and hard-printed?

The main problem is balance. Because if an opponent can create RGU 4/3 Flying, Haste at the 3rd turn, what you can do with it? How to survive and defend from it? If you see RG, RU or GU lands your opponent put into play on turns 1-2, what you can do at your turn 2 to prevent potential game loss? Maybe give players some more starting cards, not lose from 4/3 Flying, Haste immediately?

Next question is how deck-building will be. I think the best solution is:

  • Use up to 3 several decks at the same time (for example, one per color), and when you draw a card, choose from which deck you draw. This is more flexible than in MtG and faster than in Codex. You simply draw cards that style/color you want, without any manual searching. And (unlike MtG) draw many cards per turn!

So, now I think that discarding cards when you take any damage, is better when discard it from deck, because it provide new interesting mechanics.

New edition of rules:


  • Each player has 36 cards which are divided into 3 of his decks - towns (for example, 12 per town).
  • Whenever any of your town takes damage, remove the same number of top cards from it (both players can see them). If the damage is greater than number of cards at your town, you must discard rest number of cards from your hand at random. If you can’t do it, you lose the game.


  • Each town has 2 zones: front and back; player can play unit cards here.
  • If town has no cards, destroy it, and remove its front and back zones (and kill squads at these zones).
  • Additional zones are land zones which will be created by your land cards and will be used for attacks.


  • Whenever a player put unit card into play, he must spend mana for it and choose FREE town zone for it, and draw one card from this town (put the top card of the deck to hand).
  • Units are used for attacking enemy zones or towns, and for defending your zones and towns.
  • Every unit has 2 stats: power and toughness. Whenever unit deals damage, it is equal to his power. Whenever unit take damage which is equal or more than his toughness, he dies (and leave the game).
  • Units comes into play tapped and can’t do any action this turn.
  • For tap (spending his action), unit can move in any of your zone; all units at the same zone become the one united squad


  • Player can put land card for free, but only one card per turn.
  • Each land creates its new land zone which can be used for attacks. If land is destroyed, remove its land zone (and kill squad at that zone).
  • Land card comes into play untapped and can do its action immediately.
  • For tap (spending its action), land produces one mana of its color which can be spent for playing any other player’s cards.


  • Each squad is sorted stack of unit cards, and do his actions as the one unit.
  • Whenever you form squad, you must only put one unit/squad on top of another unit/squad. You can’t split your squad into any parts or change the order of that parts.
  • The squad’s power is total power of his units, and his toughness is total toughness.
  • Whenever the squad takes damage lesser than his toughness, that damage is divided from top to bottom (first try to kill the top unit, rest amount of damage try to kill next unit and so on).
  • Squad has all passive abilities of his units at the same time.
  • Squad’s active ability is only ability of his top unit (or hero).
  • Squad has all colors of his units at the same time.


  • Whenever squad attacks, it must move into one of your land zone.
  • Squad can move to your land zone, if it shares color with that land. If it can’t move to any of your land zone, it can’t attack.
  • Whenever squad attacks, it choose one of your opponent’s land zone if shares color with that land, or one of your opponent’s front zone. Or it can choose to attack enemy town or its back zone, if front zone of that town is empty.
  • Whenever squad attack, it deals combat damage to enemy squad at that zone (or to town if attacking town). If enemy squad is untapped, tap it and it deals retaliation combat damage to your squad. Both damage is dealt at the same time. If enemy squad is already tapped, it can’t do retaliation damage and take damage for free (“flanking” attack).


  • Player can play spells, spending mana for it.
  • Whenever a player plays a spell, he put it on top of the spell stack and draw a card from any of his town.
  • Whenever a player uses top spell of the stack, do action printed on it and remove that card from the game. In addition, do action printed on the second, third and etc. spells in that stack.
    For example: the 1st spell (bottom of the stack) was: opponent discard 1 card, the 2nd was: deal 2 damage, the 3rd was: tap 1 squad. So, when you resolve this stack: after use top card: tap 1 squad, deal 2 damage, discard 1 card. Then you use the second card: deal another 2 damage, discard another 1 card. Then you use your last card: discard another 1 card. Total for this stack: tap 1 squad, deal 2+2 = 4 damage, discard 1+1+1 = 3 cards.
  • Spells’ stack is common for both players, so if anyone plays spell into play and save it for later game, another player may use it effect each time resolve own spells at this stack (choosing targets for it, makes active player, not owner of the original spell). And he MUST use it, if resolve. So the bottom spells of the stack works like enchantment triggered each time any spell resolved.
    For example: first player put into play “deal 2 damage” spell for later game. Then second player put on it counterspell which cancel all next spells in the stack. So that counterspell will work each time any player resolve higher spells, blocking the bottom “2 damage” spell, until counterspell will be resolved or leave the stack by any way.
  • It the top spell of the stack is enemy spell, player can’t resolve it (removing from stack) and any bottom spells next. But player can trigger all the stack’s effect by playing and resolve new top spells.


  1. upkeep step: remove all damage from all units; you may put one land card from your hand
  2. action step: you may play units and spells, use attacks, resolve spells in any order
  3. untap step: untap all your tapped cards (lands and units)


  1. Both players draw 6 cards from any of their towns (for example, draw 2 cards from each of 3 towns).
  2. During the first turn, the first player doesn’t draw any cards for playing units or spells.

I have one suggestion: instead of having periodic expansions, have a big cardlist and select a pool of random cards from that to allow for each competitive season. This way you can prevent the meta going stale without needing to constantly develop new content. This could even allow the game to keep going even years after development ends