INTRODUCTION TO JEZANGO
Jezango is a remake of an old project I had called Kazundoo. This name, albeit cool, sounded too similar to Kazandu, a jungle in Zendikar. Kazundoo had many problems which I had to fix and kinda didn’t want to, so I started working on Aenyr instead. Now that the v1.00 full visual spoiler is up, set design for Aenyr is momentarily put on hold in favor of more intensive playtesting.
Now, my design efforts will go into making that previous project as good as it should have been in the first place. The set’s plot revolved around Settlers, Pirates and Natives fighting for dominion over an island called Kazundoo. I decided to keep this as Jezango’s main conflict and even amplify its importance.
This article features a presentation of the new format Jezango creates as well as a brief overview of the conflict each and each faction’s mechanical identity in the game, along with, of course, some sample cards. The article will be updated as the set progresses to offer a constant and up to date overview of the set and its mechanics.
That being said, what is Jezango?
Jezango is a custom Magic: The Gathering supplemental product centered on the conflict between four factions for dominance of the rich and mysterious island of Jezango. Those factions are the Saleisan Settlers, the Kahana Crew Pirates, the Zestachi Clan and the Fydu Tribe. They will be explained in details below.
This supplemental product also introduces a new format: Multiplayer “duel decks” with a twist.
- Each faction will have a finite (still to be determined) number of cards.
- Each player will pick a faction, then generate a random sealed pool from among cards of the chosen faction (that will result in each game to be different no matter how many times you play with the same faction).
- Then, each player will proceed to build a deck from the generated card pool.
- Finally, it’s time to play, either in 1v1 or multiplayer free for all.
- Note: This new format is a work in progress and, of course, can be changed as Jezango’s design and development moves forward.
The conflict is very similar to what it was in Kazundoo, but some changes have been made, notably reducing the number of native clans to two instead of five
The continent of Saleisa is the cradle of human civilization in the plane of Terys. Akkan IV united all its nations under a unique and powerful empire where all cities are part of a peaceful Trading Alliance.
The only problem is that the resources of Saleisa are starting to dry out. They need to start exploring the world to survive. Their fear of what was beyond the sea and the fact that they didn’t have the need for ships whatsoever was a problem. Akkan IV had heard of a mysterious land called Jezango that was rich in resources but inhabited by natives. He had no choice but to conclude an alliance with the Kahana Pirates: they provide ships for settlers, soldiers and tradesmen against a generous part of any treasure they could peacefully find in Jezango. Akkan IV didn’t want war, he needed to establish trade routes with the natives to benefit from their knowledge of their land. The pact was quickly concluded.
Jezango is the ancestral homeland of the Spirtachi tribesmen, which are divided in two clans: the Zestachi Clan that worship spirits that come from the world of Velundi and wield dark and unknown magic, and the nomad Fydu Tribe that wield elemental magic and Totems in their constant desire to unveil the mysteries of the world. The two tribes, while not being in a opened war prior to the outlanders’ arrival, disagreed in both spiritual beliefs and resource sharing.
A few days after the Saleisan expedition arrrived to Jezango, Saleisan settlers made contact with the curious Fydu Tribe and started to trade. The Pirates, however, broke their pact and attacked the Zestachi Clan to steal their treasures. Their answer was quick: they declared war to all outsiders, claiming the land as no one’s property. The conflict quickly escalated and the trading alliance concluded between Saleisan settlers and Fydu Tribe didn’t last long, as the conflict drove the native tribes to war against each other as well.
The set takes place months after these events, on a hostile Jezango where all four factions fight for resources, territory, and survival.
There is one new mechanic meant to depict the tactical aspect of war and a multiplayer MtG game that’s common to all factions. Also, each faction will feature one new keyword and one returning keyword. On top of that, each faction will also have additional mechanical themes to increase the versatility of decks available within their card pool.
The Saleisan Settlers
Saleisan mechanics have to give the player the feeling that they’re slowly building their colony while exploring the island.
New keyword : Colonization – [Effect] as long as you control five lands with different names.
Colonization is a threshold mechanic that cares about how many different names you have among lands you control. Settlers explore the island to discover its treasures and build colonies, and they get more powerful as their exploration goes further.
Returning keyword : Populate (Create a token that’s a copy of a creature token you control.)
The other aspect of colonizing Jezango is that you have to bring in more settlers in order to establish your dominance. This also marks the introduction of Populate in as a blue mechanic, which works nicely because of how blue frequently has access to copy effects. Managing tokens will therefore be an important part of Saleisan gameplay.
The Kahana Crew Pirates
The Kahana Crew mechanics are meant to offer a different, multiplayer oriented take on B/R while keeping some of its core elements intact.
New keyword : X Marks the Spot (Whenever you cast a spell or activate an ability with [X] in its cost for the first time each turn, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.)
This name is probably going to be temporary until I find a better one but people seem to like it so far so it has made it through the first cut. X Marks the Spot is the mechanic that introduces the “X matters” theme of the pirates, which is related to their constant search of treasures on maps indicated by X. This will require to have multiple spells/abilities with X at common, which is unusual these days but not completely inconsiderable for a supplemental product.
Returning keyword : Raid – [Effect] if you attacked with a creature this turn.
Raid fits nicely for an aggressive Pirate faction. There isn’t much more to be said here except that it’s cool in multiplayer because you have more choice to activate the bonus effects.
The Zestachi Clan
The Zestachi clan is all about worshiping the spirits and the afterlife. They are tightly connected to Veundi, the spirit-world, where they draw their powers. No Zestachi truly ever die, as those who are slain come back from Velundi to haunt their enemies from the afterlife.
New keyword : Jinx [COST] ([COST]: Exile this card from your graveyard jinxing target creature you don’t control. Jinx only as a sorcery.)
Jinx is a mix of Haunt and Scavenge that I came up with when I wanted a keyword that represented Curses on a smaller scale (on creatures). It’s cooler than Haunt in my opinion because the player gets to choose when they use the Jinx ability (while Haunt was mandatory) and it offers more versatility.
I felt that Jinx deserved a new frame because players that use it will probably attach the jinxing creature to the jinxed creature as if it were an enchantment while it’s in fact in another zone (exile). Thanks to /u/TenebraeOmega on reddit for the awesome frame!
Returning keyword : Manifest (To manifest a card, put it onto the battlefield face down as a 2/2 creature. Turn it face up any time for its mana cost if it’s a creature card.)
Zestachi shamans are, in all times, connected to the spirit-world of Velundi and are able to summon manifestations of the spirits in this world. While some are weaker (and represented by Spirit tokens), other beings that come from Velundi can be birthed in Jezango in the service of the powerful tribe. This mechanic also works well with Jinx, as if they kill a manifested card with Jinx, the ability can still be activated from the graveyard.
The Fydu Tribe
The Fydu tribesmen are mostly nomads. They are very curious and unpredictable. They are uncontested masters of fire, ice and lightning.
New keyword : Conjure [COST] (You may cast the other side of this card for its Conjure cost any time you could cast a sorcery.)
Fydu tribesmen can adapt the weather to their desires and manipulate the energies of Jezango to create powerful Totems, monuments that keep track of where the tribesmen have moved over the years. A card with Conjure is either an instant or sorcery spell on one side, or a Totem artifact on the other side.
Returning keyword: Inspired – Whenever this creature becomes untapped, [Effect].
It took me a while before deciding to bring back Inspired as it wasn’t very much liked in the Theros block. However, I do believe that in a multiplayer environment, the same reasoning applies here: you have more opponents to choose from when deciding to attack, meaning your creatures are more likely to survive combat. This combined to the fact that U/R are good colors to make creatures unblockable, unable to block etc as well as removing blockers. The keyword also works well for this clan because of how they tirelessly seek inspiration from their travels and the Elements.
… and one common mechanic
All four factions, while being very different on purpose, are part of the same conflict and this last mechanic is meant to tie them all together and reinforce the conflict feeling of the games.
Strategic advantage (A player has strategic advantage if they have the most life or controls the most permanents.)
An interesting mechanic in multiplayer that offers lots of cool design options. It’s important to take note that 2 players can have strategic advantage at the same time, as war isn’t always as straightforward so that only one faction as the advantage.
The goal here is to make this into a fully playable custom supplemental product.
You can join me over at the Custom Magic Discord channel to discuss my cards, submit ideas and find people to playtest with. I also post cards on reddit/r/custommagic on a regular basis to get more specific feedback and constructive criticism.
Let me know what you think of Jezango so far in the comments, the Discord channel or on Reddit via PM (/u/Zervintz)!
Featured image art by Lius Lasahido on Deviantart.