With Kaldheim preview season in full swing, Gavin Verhey detailed the history of the boast mechanic in today’s episode of Good Morning Magic.
When designing Kaldheim, they first started with mechanics and themes based off popular culture from Norse mythology. Boast began as pyre — whenever you attacked with a creature with pyre you could pay some mana and remove a creature from your graveyard to get an effect. It was a way to use dead creatures as a resource and encourage attacking. This would lead to more creatures dying and fueling more pyre effects from more attacking. It eventually changed names to cremate.
But when Dave Humpherys of set design was working with the cards, there was an issue. While attacking as the lone player with pyre cards was good to turn on your cards, when both players had creatures with pyre, players stopped attacking so they wouldn’t fuel their opponent’s pyre creatures. So the mechanic was ditched for what was originally named glory, but became boast.
Some original boast designs allowed players to activate it multiple times, but they changed all of them to only occur once per turn. Notably, boast doesn’t appear alongside evasion much, making the gameplay more interesting. Does the player have a combat trick or are they risking the creature to get the ability?