Xianlu: Mechanics

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Mechanics | Skeleton | Bequeath Abilities | Flavor & Plot | Intro Pack Decklists | Draft Archetypes

Bequeath: When this dies, target creature gains any number of {+} abilities on this creature. Used on 20 cards: Wallbreaker, Vampiric Jiangshi, Luckbringer Sparrows, Immortal Spirit, Carapace Guard, Legacy Bearer, Honed Swordsman, Wild-Eye Matriarch, Lei Fang, Lost Heir, Wishbringer Qilin, Visage Beetle, Raiments of the Monkey King, Ancient Qilin, Inheritor of Winds, Wandering Romantic, Tremorfist Monk, Puppeteer's Shadow, Deathwish Shifu, Qi-Sucking Ogre, Village Herbalist

Thanks to Link for inspiration for this mechanic.

Note that + abilities stack. There will be cards that give + abilities to creatures without Bequeath at uncommon and above. There will be a "School" cycle that permanently gives a card a + ability. This archetype is primarily centered in {w}{b}{g}, but is found in all colors. {w}{b} decks focus on constantly recurring smaller bequeath cards on sticky followers to make them more annoying or evasive. {b}{g} decks focus on constantly fueling large creatures by sacrificing them Bequeath creatures. {g}{w} decks aim for a large Bequeath creature with numerous +1/+1 counters on it.

Keeping track of + abilities uses perforated cards. To limit the number of perforated cards, there will only be a pool of 11 different + abilities - 7 "common" ones, and 4 "rare" ones, on two different perforated cards.

Only one {+} ability stacks, which is Lei Fang, Lost Heir's {+} ability. I wanted to make his unique. Having {+} abilities not stack also helps with tracking and simplifying abilities moving around, which can get confusing in lieu of not having enough perforated stubs.

Reflex: You may cast this card any time you may cast an instant for its reflex cost. Used on 18 cards: Unshaking Resolve, Encouraging Compatriot, Disciplined Takedown, Seeing Spectres, Benevolent Fox, Typhoon Squid, Hungering Claws, Coinhoarder Toad, Unnatural Plague, Astral Shift, Tanri, Celestial Daughter, Vigilante's Challenge, Yaoguai Bloodspiller, Find Oneself, Stern Instructor, Emperor's Judgment, Strike Down, Goldensilk Spider

This is a pretty common mechanic with this exact name I've seen pop up elsewhere. Thanks to those people for inspiration.

Pretty much a filler mechanic. Again, it's aiming at depowering removal and instant speed tricks in general while still keeping them relevant for later. By necessity, it will show up more in {g} and {b}, but will also be found in all colors.

A big focus of the set is on reacting or surprising your opponent. By increasing the prevalence of instant-speed creatures and spells, I hope to encourage that. The combat step is going to be more important than usual in this set, so expect a lot of Reflex spells encouraging being cast during the combat step.

*Sequence*: Used on 11 cards: Second Flurry, Twofold, Treading Upon Mirrors, Four Moments in One, Cyclone Flurry Kicks, Rising Dragon Punch, Descend Like Hawk, Open Palm, Closed Heart, Tortoise Stands Fast, Repulse the Monkey, Beckoning the First Snow, Killing Tiger Fangs

Sequence is a pseudokeyword that classifies abilities that have the rider "If you cast another noncreature spell this turn," This is found primarily in {u}{r}, on primarily instants, sorceries, and creatures. Most of these cards have very over the top martial arts moves names and are relatively cheap; it is encouraged to cast multiple cards per turn, similar to Surge, to get the maximum benefit.

Unseal: PARAM1: Destroy this. Its controller draws a card. Any player may activate this ability during their turn. Used on 14 cards: Destabilizing Seal, Yang-Releasing Seal, Yin-Releasing Seal, Empathy Seal, Allergy Seal, Brainwashing Seal, Vanity Seal, Foretelling Seal, Prying Seal, Resonant Seal, Neutralizing Seal, Agitating Seal, Imbibing Seal, Pacification Seal

Seal is an enchantment subtype. Generally, Seals are fairly moderate - they are weak aura removals that any player can pay a moderate fee to remove them. If they do remove them, you draw a card, refunding the card used to cast the seal. This is to keep removal plentiful in a format where voltron is encouraged, but also keep it within reasonable limits. Most of these Talismans serve as tempo spells. There will be a number of cards in {w}{u} that will key off of enchantments in the battlefield and graveyard, or Seals themselves, creating a removal-heavy tempo archetype.

Monstrosity: If this creature isn't monstrous, put PARAM1ASWORDS +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous. Used on 14 cards: Leicheng Gatekeeper, Megaton Ogre, Flesh-Drunk Ogre, Wildcaller Boar, Slaughter Seeker, Red-Tailed Stallion, Sparrow-Catcher, Bellchime Devil, Moonshade Stalker, Twilight Jumper, White Bone Spirit, Bloodscale Python, Sentinel of the Pines, Insidious Cretin

Monstrous returns, with no mechanical changes from its previous iterations in Conspiracy 2 and Theros. Monstrous appears in {g}{r}{b}, making up the "evil monsters" faction of Xianlu. Design-wise, expect Monstrous to show up a little more on smaller creatures that get larger; the {b}{r} Monstrous archetype is a little more aggressive than the typical {g}{r} Monstrous archetype in Theros.

There will be an uncommon semi-cycle with Monstrous {x}, where X is something the opponent has - further strengthening the role of timing when it comes to combat.

In card text or details pages, write the mechanic's code name (playtest name) between square brackets, like "[Crittercast]", "[Bushido 1]" or "[Delay 4 {2}{R}{R}]". It will be expanded to the mechanic's name plus reminder text, such as "Suspend 4 – {2}{r}{r}. (Rather than cast this spell from your hand,...)"
To expand a mechanic's name but not its reminder text, include parentheses at the end of the square brackets: "[Crittercast()]", "[Delay 9 {R}()]".