What is Aenyr?
Aenyr is a new plane of the Multiverse where Art is the source of all Magic. Aenyr is a whole custom Magic: The Gathering set that’s playable in both limited and constructed environments.
This article features my design goals for Aenyr, three new mechanics that bring a new take on a “Multicolored matters” theme and my thoughts on how the color pie would be divided among various art forms such as music, dance, theater and more. I will also present card examples for each of those art forms.
The set is now finished as of November 27th, 2017. This article will have one last update in the near future to update the card images that appear in it.
My goals with this set are both on a world building and a mechanical level.
World building: I think it’s pretty obvious. I want a set centered around Art in all its forms. I’ll get into more details about which types of art will be depicted in the set below, but I want the player to feel like he’s part of this Art world, which has a very unique identity among what we’ve seen until now in the Multiverse. Emotions, dreams, and creativity are important themes in Aenyr.
Mechanical: I want the limited environment of Aenyr to offer multiple choices to the players. Art exists in countless forms, so it’s important to me that a game played in this environment feels like it could go in so many directions. Each game has to be unique, as is every single piece of art. Players are the artists of their games and they have to feel like creating something while drafting or creating a constructed Aenyr deck. I will try to achieve this by having strong synergy among cards in the set so that players will feel proud of themselves when they use two cards together that benefit from one another.
The core mechanical theme of this set is very simple: multicolored matters. I want to achieve that in a different way than what was done in Ravnica or Alara, and that leads us to the new mechanics that are to appear in Aenyr.
There are two core mechanics in Aenyr, which are both designed for monocolored cards only: Virtuoso and Resonance. This is my take on a different “multicolored matters” theme: make it matter via monocolored cards that either become multicolored or benefit from such cards. Mixed together, those two mechanics achieve that goal very well.
Virtuoso – Whenever you cast a multicolored spell, [Effect].
Virtuoso is an ability word that, by itself, represents the main theme of the set. Virtuosos, in Aenyr, are those who are able to seek creativity beyond their color identity in order to create art that’s more complex and beautiful than anyone else’s. So, whenever you cast a multicolored spell, they make some great art which has some effect.
Virtuoso appears equally on monocolored creatures of all five colors.
Creatures with Virtuoso are obviously artists of all sorts.
Resonance [COST] (If you cast this spell for [COST], exile it as it resolves. As you cast your next instant or sorcery spell, put this card into your graveyard and you may add both its effects and colors to that spell.)
Resonance is the music related ability of the set. All spells with Resonance feature some kind of instrument in the art.
When you cast a spell for its Resonance cost, it first resolves as normal. Then, you exile it and the next instant or spell you cast will be completed by the resonated card’s effects and color. For instance, if I cast Ethereal Chord for 2U, I’ll scry 3 then exile it. Next turn, if I cast Lightning Bolt and choose to add the effects, Lightning Bolt will be a blue and red spell with mana cost R that will read “Lightning bolt deals 3 damage to target creature or player. Scry 3.”
The very interesting thing is that the Lightning Bolt will then be a multicolored spell that triggers Virtuoso. This particular interaction allows players to craft their own multicolored spells and increase the amount of Virtuoso triggers in a game.
Hybrid cards will return in Aenyr to also increase the amount of Virtuoso triggers per game. This way, the player will be able to use only one color of mana to cast a multicolored spell and this will widen the deckbuilding possibilities in limited while upping the number of multicolored commons in the set without making it impossible to draft. Aenyr, as opposed to Ravnica, Alara or any other multicolored set, cares about all 10 color pairs at the same time, which obviously has many deckbuilding consequences.
Hybrid cards also work really well with the third new ability of the set: Imaginarium.
Imaginarium – [Effect] for each color among cards in your graveyard.
Imaginarium is a graveyard oriented ability that I created when I realized that the set will need to have a little more instants and sorceries than other sets because of Resonance, which will quickly fill graveyards.
It’s also good fit in a “multicolored matters” set, especially with hybrid cards that allow you to have a higher number of colors in your graveyard than the number of colors you actually play in your deck.
Imaginarium appears in blue, black and green.
Returning mechanic: Renown N (When this creature deals combat damage to a player, if it isn’t renowned, put N +1/+1 counter(s) on it and it becomes renowned.)
I needed an aggressive mechanic for white and red since they don’t get Imaginarium, and the last mechanic of this set had to be a returning mechanic. I first thought of bringing back the untap symbol, but it performed very poorly in the first playtests so it had to be changed to something else. Then, I figured Renown would fit nicely as a representation of the artist’s desire to become famous. The mechanic appears on all kinds of creatures, but mostly dancers and duelists since they are more combat oriented.
An aggressive mechanic also prevents the format from becoming too slow, which has to be kept in touch with multicolored focused environments.
What do we find in Aenyr?
- New subtype: Bard
In past Magic sets, bards have had the Rogue creature type. However, there are many musicians in Aenyr and they couldn’t simply all be Rogues, so I created the Bard subtype for both them and poets. There won’t really be any real Bard tribal support in the set; the new type is mostly to make the set feel more realistic. Most Bards have the Virtuoso ability, but not all of them.
Music is represented in all colors. Musicians have the Bard subtype, and many music related spells have the Resonance ability. This is the main art form of the set. I’m not saying it’s more important that any other form of art, but it will be the most represented in this set.
Dance is mainly represented in Red (passion) while being secondary in Blue (choreographic knowledge and aerial movements) and White (perfection). Dancers are Wizards on Aenyr, using their bodies to channel magic.
- Writing & Poems
Storytelling is also an important form of art in Aenyr. Writers are mainly seen in Green (admirers of Nature) and White (poet-warriors). Some poets could also be secondarily seen in Blue (dreamers). Writers have the Bard subtype.
Founded by Olexar Kirsus, the Kirsus Circus is a main part of Aenyr’s story. It’s where most clowns and actors work. It’s Blue (tricks and illusions), Red (chaos and entertainment) and recently also mysteriously became Black (madness and lack of morality). The Kirsus Circus isn’t the glorious institution it initially was. The notion of amusement got twisted and rumors of underground and unethical shows made by some corrupted members of Kirsus started to spread.
- Theater, debate & eloquence
Theater and comedy also are performing arts mainly represented in Blue and Black (deception, tricks, playing a role) and secondarily in red (impulsiveness and improvisation). Debate and eloquence (or the lack of skills in those things) are white and blue.
Satyrs of Aenyr aren’t festive revelers like those of Theros. They live in the woods, alone or in tribes. It’s very dangerous to cross their paths, as they will often trap you within the woods and never let you escape. They use their magic to turn people into plants to “accelerate the natural order of things.” The biggest Satyr clan is the Kenoram clan.
Weaving is also art. It will mainly be in blue (the weavers) and green (silk producing beasts (mostly spiders). Silk gatherers and hunters can be in any color.
Duelists are those for whom sword fighting is art. They fight with style and precision. They are flavorfully similar to the dancers, that’s why they will also use the Renown ability. They are mainly White (perfection, military techniques) but some are Red (driven by passion) or even Blue (precision and knowledge of fighting techniques.)
For many artists, dreams, imagination and fantasy are the primary source of inspiration. Aenyr is no exception. This plane is, after all, about getting your ideas to become real through magic. This comes with its downside: Nightmares are also very real.
When you paint something on Aenyr, it can become, among other things, an Idealon a “paint elemental”. Some painted landscapes can even materialize in the world. While painters themselves are mostly red (emotions) and green (admiration of Nature), Idealons are multicolored creatures.
When someone with a particularly high level of creativity dies in Aenyr, their spirits still roam in the afterlife and can be brought back by those with enough creativity or to avenge terrible things that have been done to what they achieved in their lives.
Aven are birdlike humanoids who also live on Aenyr. They are white and blue, and their aerial art is breathtakingly beautiful.
Last but not least, sculpting is also a form of art depicted in Aenyr.
I couldn’t do an art-focused set without a full cycle of rare muses. They all respect the old muse “rules”, so they are all [something]born muses with flavor text referencing their respective voices.
What’s next now that the set is done?
You can join me over at the Custom Magic Discord channel to discuss my cards. Even if the set is done, I always appreciate good feedback and it can always be useful for my future projects. I also sometimes post cards on reddit/r/custommagic to get more specific feedback and constructive criticism.
Let me know what you think of Aenyr so far in the comments, the Discord channel or on Reddit via PM (/u/Zervintz)!
Featured image art by Alkab-Art on Deviantart.