Sample Creature Mechanics for “You Make The Card”

Want a couple of ideas for new mechanics? Bennie’s auctioning off his leftovers for anyone who wants ’em!

I have to admit that things could have been worse. For MagicTheGathering.com’s You Make The Card program, we’re getting a green card. That’s good news in my book! The bad news is my campaign to try and make it an instant could not overcome the creature vote… But 2,544 true believers gave us a respectable showing. Also, Mark Rosewater cleared up the common misconception that people’s fear of a Giant Growth or Fog variant was unfounded. Remember that for next time around, folks!

So, now we get to design a creature card, and the first choice is mechanic. Once I got over the disappointment of not working on an instant, I got down to the business of coming up with creature mechanics to send in. It’s actually rather liberating to just work purely on mechanics separate from the rest of the creature, such as power/toughness and casting cost. I’ve quickly pounded out nearly thirty of them. Unfortunately, Wizards only wants three sent in from each person, so… It occurred to me that not everyone has the time or inclination to create new creature mechanics, so I figured I’d present my extra ones to you all – and if you find any of them interesting, feel free to copy and send it in. Just remember to cut out the name of the card per Maro’s instructions, which I included simply for the fun of it.

A quick disclaimer: I realize that some of these my be considered”broken beyond belief,” but I figured I’d rather submit a mechanic that needs to be powered down than a mechanic that’s DOA. Feel free to tweak any of them to your tastes.

Once the voting is closed, I’ll reveal the three I sent in a future column.

Bennie’s Green Creature Mechanics:

Fleetfoot Mold

When CARDNAME comes into play, if you played it from your hand, destroy target enchantment, artifact, or land. You may cast CARDNAME whenever you could cast an instant.

Obviously very powerful, I decided to add the”play from your hand” clause to keep it from being a lock card with graveyard recursion. I also really like this as an instant.

Fallow Elf

When CARDNAME comes into play, if you played it from your hand, put two target lands on top of their owner’s library. You may cast CARDNAME whenever you could cast an instant.

See Fleetfoot Mold; same applies here.

Elven Stuntrider

When CARDNAME comes into play, target player chooses two cards in their hand and puts them on top of their library in any order. You may cast CARDNAME whenever you could cast an instant.

See Fleetfoot Mold; same applies here.

Tempest Hunter

When CARDNAME comes into play, CARDNAME deals X damage to target player, where X is the number of cards is his or her hand. You may cast CARDNAME whenever you could cast an instant.

Stormseeker was a great green card for controlling excessive card drawing back in the days of Necro. I’d like to see it make a return, and this creature does the trick.

Kudzu Licid

M: CARDNAME loses all abilities and becomes an enchant land that gains”M: Destroy enchanted land. You may only play this when enchanted land becomes tapped.” Enchant target land with CARDNAME. If CARDNAME enchants a land, you may pay M to end this effect.

Kudzu was an old favorite of mine, but it was never quite tournament-caliber. Kudzu Licid was my attempt at upping the power. It’s worded weird, but basically I wanted a Kudzu Licid that could drop off the land it destroys.

Sylvan Librarian

At the beginning of your draw step, you may draw X cards and put X -1/-1 counters on CARDNAME. If you do, choose X cards in your hand drawn this turn. For each of those cards, pay 2 life or put the card on top of your library. At the end of your turn, remove all -1/-1 counters from CARDNAME.

Another old green favorite, tied to a creature to make it a bit more vulnerable. In exchange, in the right deck this card could be better than Sylvan Library — a bold statement that hopefully won’t provoke Adrian Sullivan into hunting me down and killing me.

Gaea’s Knight

Discard a card from your hand: Return CARDNAME to your hand. You may play this ability if CARDNAME is in play or in your graveyard.

I envision this as a 2/2 for 2 mana. Obviously out of flavor for green, but that’s not a bad thing since we want to make something different and fun.

Scavenging Armorer

M: Counter spell targeting Scavenging Armorer and put X +1/+1 counters on CARDNAME, where X is the converted mana cost of the countered spell.

This little guy came about from my idea of making a new kind of green”untargetability” and one that could make playing redundant creature enchantments useful.

Sylvan Ancestor

M, Tap: Look at the top three cards of any player’s library and put them back in any order. You may have that player shuffle his or her library.

Way, way back in the days of Alpha-Beta-Unlimited (the actual cards, not the scourge of PT Magic teams), green had a card called Natural Selection that never saw much play. This card brings it back and makes it better.


Lose 1 life: add 1 colorless mana to your mana pool. Play this ability only during your turn.

Green’s mana-for-life theme hasn’t been seen in a long time. Tying it to a creature and limiting the time when you can use it might keep it from being completely broken. I envisioned it tied to a green Hill Giant body.

Vine Wurm

Trample. When CARDNAME would deal damage to a player, you may reassign any amount of the damage to target creature or creatures instead.

This idea came from the realization that large trampling creatures often just do not get blocked. Vine Wurm pretty well forces them to block.

Llanowar Granger

When CARDNAME comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that land into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library.

When CARDNAME leaves play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that land into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library.

A combination Yavimaya Granger and Hunting Moa. I wanted to make recurring green’s land fetching ability into something that was dangerous instead of a rather ho-hum thing.

Master Tracker

Tap an untapped creature you control: Your tapped creature deals damage equal to its power to target creature. That creature deals damage equal to its power to your tapped creature.

I always thought that the”tracker” mechanic should have stuck around as a green theme. This is what Seton, Krosan Protector should have been.

Planar Bird

Creature spells cost you up to 2 mana less to play.

Legend’s Planar Gate should have been a green 0/1 flying creature for G, don’t you think?

Gaea’s Piper

M, Sacrifice CARDNAME: All target player’s lands are 2/2 creatures.

I think this could qualify as a Wrath of God hoser, don’t you? I know, I know– it’s broken with Pernicious Deed. Let’s make it anyway.

Gaea’s Guardian

When CARDNAME comes into play, take all creature cards you control and put them facedown on the board randomly. These cards lose all abilities and become 3/3 green creatures. If one of these creatures would leave play, reveal that card. If it is not CARDNAME, put it back into play face down, it loses all abilities and becomes a 3/3 green creature. If it is CARDNAME, reveal all face down creature cards and untap them.

This weird card came from me trying to turn Camouflage into a creature and make it good. I don’t know if I succeeded, but feel free to run with the idea.

Harrow Druid

M, Sacrifice a land: Search your library for a land card and put that land into play. Shuffle your library afterward.

Green should be able to thin out the lands from your deck. A lot.

Llanowar Harvester

M, Sacrifice a land: Untap all lands you control.

Early Harvest on a stick… With a built-in diminishing return.

Elven Archaeologist

M: Shuffle target card in your graveyard into your library.

Gaea’s Blessing was good; just about all its variants since have sucked. Tie this to a bear and it might see some play.

Vengeful Centaur

Sacrifice CARDNAME: Name a card type and reveal your hand. CARDNAME deals damage to target opponent equal to the number of cards of that type in your hand. Then choose a card type and have target opponent reveal his hand. CARDNAME deals damage to target opponent equal to the number of cards of that type is his or her hand.

Red stole Stormseeker from green with Sudden Impact, then made it better with Blood Oath. I wanted to steal Blood Oath back to green and make it better still.

Earthshift Wurm


M, Return a basic land from your graveyard to your hand: CARDNAME gets +2/+2 and becomes the color of your choice until the end of turn.

I’ve missed Groundskeeper and the ability to return lands from the graveyard in general. I also wanted a companion card to Wild Mongrel. This guy fits both roles nicely.

Deranged Hierophant

Whenever CARDNAME leaves play, put three 1/1 squirrel tokens into play. Search your library for a copy of CARDNAME and put it in your hand.

I wanted to create an anti-bounce, anti-Wrath (and anti-Perish) green creature, and why not make him the cousin of Deranged Hermit?


M: Tap a land.

C’mon, Rishadan Port and Mishra’s Helix should have been green creatures! I picture him as a 2/2 for 2 creature.

Llanowar Replicant

During your upkeep, pay M or tap CARDNAME and it deals 2 damage to you.

During each player’s upkeep, that player puts into play a 2/2 green Replicant token with the ability”During your upkeep, pay M or tap Replicant token and it deals 2 damage to you.”

Varchild’s War Riders was a card with a neat mechanic – but it should have been green! I also wanted the creatures given to your opponent to not necessarily be a gift, depending on the color of mana they had available. To balance it out, I also wanted it to potentially overwhelm you if you could not keep up with the mana needed. I ultimately liked the idea that once you played this card, you wouldn’t need to play any more cards to generate more threats. Seems like a card in flavor of green, with the idea that in nature life can sometimes overwhelm other life.

Rootwalla Berserker

M: CARDNAME’s power and toughness double until the end of the turn.

Sharpen your math skills while you beat down! I envision this starting as a 1/1, but eventually getting rather huge with enough mana… Or coupled with more mana-efficient Giant Growth effects.

So there you go. If we’re lucky, maybe one or two might show up in the next round of voting!