130 Card Expansion Set
By Feyd_Ruin
A convergence of eternities
About
Everend has been a long-term, multi-year project for me. I don't get to spend a lot of consecutive time building on it, but when I do create cards, I come back to this set. I've worked and reworked many of these cards, the concepts, and mechanics, etc, many times. One day I'll fully finish it.


Overview
Everend would be a standard single-set 274 card expansion, and was designed top-down with flavor and storyline driving its form. It has a minor enemy-color gold theme, generally pushing decks towards wedge-color groups. The set strives to have both a fun limited format, as well as a strong-but-balanced constructed setting.


Faction Breakdown
Cards are divided into four named groups, and one non-named "general world" group. Each group spans all five colors, with each named group having a main color, two secondary colors, and two small tertiary colors. The color breakdowns are derived from world-driven lore. Specific breakdown by color and group is as follows:

ColorAetoriaShaielSidheAdheneOtherTotal
1331031039
3133101039
1031310339
1010331339
3101013339
304119
140139
113409
411039
031329
2222614
00002121
Total5050505075275


Mechanics
There are five named mechanics in Everend, with four being ability word mechanics that does not carry with it any reminder text or special rules, and one being a split card design that represents both a creature and a spell. The mechanics were specifically engineered to be mainly ability words so that there is no unknown text or rules associated with a new ability. The non-ability word mechanic has two sets of reminder text to ensure understanding is easy to understand. This will hopefully allow anyone to browse or play the set without any additional information beyond what is presented on the cards.

Each of the above-named groups has one group-specific mechanic, as well as an all-encompassing fifth mechanic that spreads across the entire set. Each mechanic is story-driven, but designed to hopefully create an enjoyable play experience.


Reprisal (Aetoria)

Reprisal — At the beginning of each upkeep, if you were dealt damage last turn, (..ability.)
Reprisal represents exactly what its name implies: retribution, retaliation, and punishment. It serves to show the tyranny and cruelty of White, the glorification of Black, and the virtue of Red — especially how these apply within the nation state of Aetoria. It also represents a reactive power — having a strong response that is limited by your opponent's aggression, or lack thereof. This is again a reflection of Aetoria's strengths and weaknesses.

Mechanically, reprisal is a strong rattlesnake ability. It's pitfalls (being useless without an opponent's aggression) is fully intentional, as is its lack of interaction with the Subvert mechanic below. That is the ability's trade-off, and what allows some of the abilities to be quite strong. It can be a powerful boon against an aggressive deck, but has issues when dealing with control-oriented and/or tempered opponents.


Rhystic (Shaiel)

Rhystic — (..Ability..) unless any player pays (..cost..)
Rhystic represents the unstable growth of the Shaiel's magic as the converging planes disrupt their natural leylines and the flow of magic. The Shaiel's power has grown immensely as the nature of Duiin Sii bolster's their elemental magic, but the connection between Endagard and Duiin Sii remains unsettled, making these spells unsteady and easy to disrupt.

Rhystic is an old mechanic that I believe was capable of much more than what was done. It was very unpopular — being extremely unlikely to ever be seen again because of it's reception — but the mechanic fit what the lore required, and I believe it could be very successful when done correctly and given a good chance.

With my attempt at redeeming Rhystic, I want to keep a focus on making Rhystic abilities add on bonuses that make the spell stronger when not paid, rather than simply nonfunctional. I believe this was one of the faults in the original design, as cards like Rhystic Tutor simply failed when their costs were paid. Instead, if the cards work decently without the rhystic ability but gain a strong boon with it — like Primal Conclave — they become playable cards that can perform well with good timing. I've also streamlined the ability so that any player may pay the cost, so as to keep it uniform across all cards and to distinguish it from other taxing abilities that have become fairly common.


Reincarnate (Sidhe)

Reincarnate — At the beginning of your upkeep, you may exile a creature card from your graveyard. If you do, you may cast a spirit or elemental creature card from your graveyard this turn.
Reincarnate represents the religious rites and spiritual abilities of the Sidhe; specifically regarding their function in a soul's rebirthing process. In the Duiin Sii, when someone dies their soul goes to the Morii — the physical caverns of Duiin Sii. Their soul is reborn again, living countless lives before finding eternal peace. Although souls are often directly reincarnated as new elves and fey races, the convergence in the storyline has affected the process, and only elemental spirits remain unaffected. Beyond that, I wanted the ability to focus on the spiritual and basal nature of the plane.

As a mechanic, it's a fairly straightforward recursion mechanic, while being tribally restricted. Although its restriction is to both elementals and spirits, these two races usually overlap within this set. The number of cards to feature awaken will be smaller than other mechanics in the set, as reincarnate requires only a couple of play occurrences to operate effectively. Lore-wise, the Sidhe are reclusive and much sparser than the other nations and tribes, so a lesser presence is sensible.

In order to achieve mechanical balance within the set, sacrifice outlets and self mill will be kept fairly limited. The mechanic is intended to be a midrange resilience mechanic, not a combo piece.


Infiltrate & Subvert (Adhene)

Infiltrate (When this creature attacks and isn't blocked, you may exile it.)

Subvert (You may cast this card from exile if it infiltrated.)
Infiltrate/Subvert represents the Adhene's distaste for physical engagement and their preference for behind-the-scenes subterfuge. It also serves to illustrate their indirect and secret conflict against all of Endagard. They are the unseen instigators, giving false-purpose influence to the Shaiel, and subverting the Aetorians in order to create, maintain, and escalate the conflict between them. As the Adhene use evasive methods to manipulate the Aetoria and Shaiel into war, they never enter direct aggression against either side. Subvert therefore illustrates the Adhene infiltrating their opponent and gathering information, sabotaging their plans, and otherwise causing indirect harm. Thus, subversion spells cause incidental harm and disruption, rather than directly damaging the opponent.

As mechanics and the game evolved, abilities like that seen on Ophidian have been supplanted with Stealer of Secrets style combat damage triggers, with few modern exceptions. Originally, Subvert was an ability that let you untap the creature and remove it from combat to have an effect, thus allowing you to repeatedly exchange its damage for a spell-like ability. Although I still like this design, it ended up having several issues in development. The largest issue was balancing the effect to be worthy of the loss of damage, while at the same time not allowing any effect to be degenerate or game-locking with repeated use. This balancing act made the ability lose most of its disruption-based effects since their repeated use became too game-clinching, and thus lost most of its intended purpose. So, I instead explored how the "effect instead of combat damage" mechanic could have evolved differently, eventually landing with a one-shot split card design.


Conversion (Global)

Conversion — As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may [..alternative cost..]. If you do, this spell costs [..mana..] less to cast.
Conversion represents the tangled web of leylines and mana as the two planes merge together, especially to those beyond the western reaches, where the land itself has begun to change. As the realms merge into one, land and life is created, destroyed, and changed. Mana can take form, and form can be transferred into mana. Those who succeed into tapping into this wellspring can help bend its will and find vast reserves of mana.

Mechanically, I wanted to represent the chaos of adjoining lands and create a singular mechanic that allowed multiple ways to pay alternative costs, as well as to scale those alternative costs in a way that wasn't all-or-nothing. Wording was streamlined with the printing of Torgaar, which was exactly the mechanic I had created. Ironically, Torgaar also represents a perfect example of what I was doing: exploring how all-or-nothing cards like Delraich could be reinterpreted with a scaling ability. This would allow more flexibility in gameplay while offering a larger-than-normal abundance of alternate costs in a set without making it a degenerate free for all.


Card Counts
Card counts can easily be the unfun part of creating a set, but they are absolutely vital to creating a balanced set.
Card breakdown is based upon a total count, colors, factions, and rarities.
The current counts, and anything remaining, is as follows:
Comments
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I've been working on this set for years, but progress has been slow with vast periods between pushes of adding and reworking cards.
User avatar
This set is lots of fun. I haven’t really been around since the custom set update. How delightful. Anyway, I’m loving infiltrate/subvert. I notice different artist names but there seems to be a unifying filter. You do that yourself?
User avatar
BOVINE wrote:
6 months ago
I notice different artist names but there seems to be a unifying filter. You do that yourself?
Aye, I'm adding that myself.
One of the hardest things to do in a custom set, for me, is to make everything feel cohesive the way a real set is. This obstacle is especially difficult visually, as it's compounded by the fact that we're using various pieces of premade art that have no singular influence or directiong. A unified filter can help overcome some of this, at least for me, by making each piece feel just a bit more connected to the rest.
Awesome set, I love how you filtered the art on the cards, it really adds consistently and makes the set unique. One thing you might want to change is the card Fracture’s name, because recently in Strixhaven WOTC printed a card called Fracture as well.
User avatar
Thank you for the compliments :grin:
planeswaker wrote:
1 month ago
One thing you might want to change is the card Fracture's name, because recently in Strixhaven WOTC printed a card called Fracture as well.
Oof. And it was a 2-color, 2-costed spell that destroys artifacts and enchantments to boot. At least mine came first! lol
Swapped to "Fracturing Blow" (at least until inspiration strikes me for something better)
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