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List of unreleased mechanics

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There are some mechanics that have been designed by R&D but have been never released for several reasons as rules concerns. Some of them have been publicly explained over the years.

Unreleased colors[edit | edit source]

Unreleased counters[edit | edit source]

Unreleased keyword actions[edit | edit source]

Unreleased keyword abilities[edit | edit source]

  • Advocate — for Commander Legends. A triggered mechanic (like landfall or constellation) that triggers whenever your commander enters the battlefield or attacks.[2]
  • Bribe — for Conspiracy: Take the Crown and Commander Legends. The spell gives you an effect. Then, each of your opponents may choose to draw a card. For each one that did, you get the effect again.[3]
  • Call — for Ixalan. A Dinosaur with call was usually a bigger Dinosaur, but one with a very cheap mana cost. You couldn't attack or block until you paid a one-time activation cost.[4]
  • Camouflage (As long as this is untapped, it can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control) for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths[5]. This is similar to Paradise Druid.
  • Cooperation (Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on another target creature.) for Throne of Eldraine. A variant of the Slith mechanic.[6]
  • "Creaturefall" — for Selesnya in Guilds of Ravnica. Effects that trigger whenever a creature you control enters the battlefield.[7]
  • "Deathfall" — for Jund in Shards of Alara. Effects that trigger every time a creature dies.[8]
  • Debt — for Orzhov in Ravnica Allegiance.[9] Spells give debt counters to opponents. At the beginning of their end step, they can get rid of any number of debt counters by paying {1} per debt counter. Then, as long as they have any debt counters remaining, they lose 1 life (not per debt counter just 1 life total regardless of how many debt counters they have).
  • Discipline N (Whenever this card becomes blocked, put N +1/+1 counters on this card.) for Throne of Eldraine.[6]
  • Disguise — for Dimir in Guilds of Ravnica. A ninjutsu variant where the creature with disguise is swapping with the attacking creature.[7][10]
  • Enlist — for Ixalan. Pay extra mana to create a creature token.[4]
  • Finale — For Rakdos in Ravnica Allegiance. Creature gains +N/+0 and some abilities, in exchange for being sacrificed at the end of turn.[11]
  • Forbidden — By Mark Rosewater, for Avacyn Restored. Card starts the game in exile.
  • Glorify — For Amonkhet. If this creature dies when attacking, it grants a bonus to another creature.
  • Gunk — By Richard Garfield. Blank cards that didn't do anything but could be transferred to the opponent's deck.[12][13][14] It later appeared on a test card in the Mystery Booster set.
  • Hieroglyphics — By Mark Rosewater, for Amonkhet.[15] Pay to exile the card from the graveyard and draw a card.
  • Jewel — For Guilds of Ravnica. It went on any instant or sorcery. After the card resolved, it got exiled. Then, whenever you cast another instant or sorcery, you could play the first card for free from exile. The idea behind it was that we built smaller effects that comboed together to do cool things.[16]
  • Joust (When this creature is blocked, it gets +0/+N until end of turn. If not blocked, it gets +N/+0 instead.) for Throne of Eldraine.[6]
  • Mechanic I — For Kaladesh. The only unexplained mechanic of the five that the Kaladesh design team ended up making and liking. It got discarded for excess of mechanics.[17]
  • Mummify — For Amonkhet. As embalm or eternalize, but makes the creature a 2/2 Zombie with wither.
  • Paincast — For Rakdos in Return to Ravnica. Spells 1 mana cheaper for each point of damage you had dealt to an opponent this turn.[18]
  • Plot — For Amonkhet. A suspend variant representing you planning ahead.[19]
  • Plunder — For the Vampires and Pirates of Ixalan.[4] Based on bloodthirst. When you cast these cards, if you had dealt combat damage to an opponent, the card received some kind of bonus.
  • Precedence — For Azorius in Ravnica Allegiance. When this enters the battlefield, copy the ETB ability of any other creature you control.[11]
  • Reckless — For Gruul in Gatecrash. An ability that sacrificed the creature at the end of the turn when triggered.
  • Resistance (This creature isn't a legal target of a spell or ability an opponent controls unless they pay {2} as that spell or ability resolves) for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths[5]
  • Reverse Engineer — For Kaladesh but pushed for Aether Revolt. It allowed you to copy an artifact and then that copy got sacrificed at end of turn,[20] in the same way Heat Shimmer from Lorwyn does for creatures.[21]
  • Roar — By Mark Gottlieb, for the Dinosaurs of Ixalan.[22] "You may pay [cost] and exile this card from your hand. If you do, you can still cast it this game. When CARDNAME roars .... [effect]". Led to Adventure.
  • Showoff — By Mark Rosewater, for Lorwyn. It allowed you to choose to reveal a card. If the card was revealed (from your hand or your library), then it could be played for its showoff cost, which was often cheaper than its normal mana cost.[23]
  • Skirmish — for War of the Spark. "Create a Skirmish if one hasn't been created yet."[24] The Skirmish token has a tiny "game board" on it showing a field of combat. When you perform one of the stated conditions, you advance on the field toward the opponent's side. If you have advanced enough, you win the skirmish. There is a payout for winning, a generated effect.
  • "Sneaky" (This creature can't be blocked by creatures with power 3 or greater) for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.[5]
  • Spellback — for the Izzet League in Guilds of Ravnica. Somehow allowed players to "mix and match various instants and sorceries".[25]
  • Stopwatch — mechanic forces you to do certain actions in a set amount of time. Considered for Unstable.[26]
  • Stygian — for Theros Beyond Death.[27][28] When you play a card with the stygian mechanic, it brings onto the battlefield a special card from outside the game that represents the river of the dead. Creatures on the living side could only block creatures also on the living side while creatures on the dead side could only block creatures on the dead side.
  • Titan — for Zendikar Rising. A kicker variant where the mana cost was always generic and always seven or more mana. It tended to mega-juice the spell. The flavor was that you were tapping into some residual Eldrazi energy that was seeped deep in the land. [29]
  • Torment — Each opponent loses 3 life unless that player sacrifices a nonland permanent or discards a card. Reduced to an unkeyworded vertical cycle in Hour of Devastation.[30]
  • Turmoil — For Gruul, then Rakdos in Ravnica Allegiance. Effect that triggered at the end of your turn if an opponent had lost life during that turn.[11]
  • Unique — By Mark Rosewater, such mechanic is intended to narrow the Legendary rule effect which would be applied only to legendary permanents having the Unique ability.
  • Unnamed — By Mark Rosewater, for Tempest. It allowed you to choose to start with the card in your opening hand. If you chose to do so, you had to begin with one card fewer.[31]
  • Unnamed — By Mark Rosewater, for Time Spiral. It allowed you to put cards into your deck that you might not normally be able to play. The idea was the card say that if it was in your deck, then you were allowed to have up to four copies of a card from the past in your deck —even if that card wasn't normally legal in Standard. Understanding that those cards might not be broken cards, Mark Rosewater found six subsets of past cards, one for each color and one artifact, that could work —blue's member of this cycle was a creature that had the creature type Wizard, which would allow any previously published Wizard to be legal in the deck.[31]
  • Unnamed — For Amonkhet. It made use of -1/-1 counters to represent the ruthlessness of Bolas.[32]
  • Valiance (Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it.) for Throne of Eldraine. This is the Slith mechanic.[6]
  • Ward (Once each turn, you may draw a card while this creature's the target of an opponent's spell or ability) for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths[5]

Unreleased lands[edit | edit source]

Unreleased subtypes[edit | edit source]

  • Quest (other mechanic than the released Quest enchantment[33]) — For Zendikar and Throne of Eldraine.[6][22] Enchantments that gave you three tasks. You marked them with counters as you finished each one. Once all of them were completed, you could sacrifice the card for a big effect. Some got you the legendary artifacts for each court.[34]

Unreleased supertypes[edit | edit source]

  • Über-classes — By Mark Rosewater, for Morningtide. Cards that affected "fighters" affected Soldiers and Warriors (and possibly Knights). "Mages" were Shaman and Wizards (and possibly Druids). "Scoundrel" meant Assassins and Rogues.[23]

Revealed mechanics[edit | edit source]

These formerly unreleased mechanics were eventually used in new sets.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater (January 9, 2017). "A Revolting Development (and Design), Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (October 26, 2020). "Your Wish is My Commander Legends, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Alex Walker (October 27, 2020). "Here’s An Exclusive Look At Magic’s Upcoming Commander Legends Set". Kotaku.com.
  4. a b c Mark Rosewater (September 11, 2017). "Just for Ix(alan), Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. a b c d Mark Rosewater (April 13, 2020). "A Twinkle in Someone's Ikoria". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b c d e Mark Rosewater (November 11, 2019). "Throne of Eldraine Vision Design Handoff, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. a b Mark Rosewater (September 17, 2018). "Guild to Order, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (February 24, 2017). "Do you have any Jund trivia?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Mark Rosewater (January 2, 2019). "Building Allegiances, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (September 17, 2018). "What are the chances of disguise making an appearance in the future?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. a b c Mark Rosewater (Jan 07, 2019). "Building Allegiances, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Mark Rosewater, Drive to Work #214 "2008"
  13. Mark Rosewater (November 22, 2017). "Were Contraptions in any way inspired by the "forbidden" mechanic?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  14. Mark Rosewater (October 14, 2012). "purely out of curiosity, what is richard garfield's "Gunk" mechanic?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Mark Rosewater (April 10, 2017). "Amonkhet Down to Business, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Mark Rosewater (October 29, 2018). "Odds & Ends: Guilds of Ravica". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater (January 16, 2017). "What's up with the fifth one?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  18. Mark Rosewater (December 10, 2012). "Designing for Rakdos". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Mark Rosewater (May 29, 2017). "Odds & Ends: Amonkhet, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Mark Rosewater (January 2, 2017). "A Revolting Development (and Design), Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Mark Rosewater (January 16, 2017). "Aether Way, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  22. a b Mark Gottlieb (September 12, 2019). "The Adventure Adventure". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  23. a b Evil Mark Rosewater (February 25, 2008). "Rogue Operative". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Mark Rosewater (April 15, 2019). "Waging War of the Spark, Part 3". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Mark Rosewater (September 10, 2018). "Guild to Order, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Mark Rosewater (January 24, 2018). "Can I have some un-set trivia?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  27. Mark Rosewater (January 2, 2020). "At Death's Door, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Ethan Fleischer (January 3, 2020). "Through the Stygian Waters". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Mark Rosewater (September 7, 2020). "Zendikar Rising to the Challenge, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  30. Melissa DeTora (June 23, 2017). "Cycle of Torment". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  31. a b Mark Rosewater (December 7, 2015). "Topical Blend: Did You Hear the One About...". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  32. Mark Rosewater (April 17, 2017). "Amonkhet Down to Business, Part 3". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  33. Mark Rosewater (September 12, 2019). "So wait, when you say Quests you aren't referring to Zendikar block quests like Quest for Renewal?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  34. Mark Rosewater (September 12, 2019). "Can you please talk about what Quests mechanic would be?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  35. a b Aaron Forsythe (May 16, 2011). "Phyrexian Ken's Demands". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  36. Mark Rosewater (August 30, 2016). "Hang on a sec, did you ever even say...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  37. Mark Rosewater (July 23, 2007). "The X Files". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.