Basically, the idea behind this set is that it is a world formed of individual warring nations and empires, controlled by global "blocs," five tri-color organizations that run society on the plane as a whole.
The plane is called Pertillo, and is loosely based on 16th and 17th century Europe, in the throes of the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, and the Protestand Reformation. It does however have the fantasy feel of any Magic plane, with various races living together and in separate empires (similar in a way to Dominaria). There is a largely elven nation, dwarven empire, naga, etc. However, it is meant to be a fantasy world with real-word problems, such as widespread racism against dwarves in majority-human nations, social welfare programs, dictatorships, and competing scientists.
Anyway, I'm done with the whole plane explanation thing, though I guess this is also a good thread to air out any concerns with the set-up of the plane and problems that could arise from it. Mainly, I'm here for the recommendations on the blocs and ideas for their respective mechanics (looking for at least one to be a returning mechanic, or a non-keyworded one). The blocs are as followed:
Church of the Fervent (RWB, B-centered)
The largely corrupt Church of the Fervent constitutes the main religious body of Pertillo, and controls the masses through fear tactics and insistence of extreme fervor in the purging of heretics. Due to insistence of separation of church and state by the people, they are able to act independently of the Federation without qualms, and the good that the Church does do generally is through the Commune. Should have a creature-center mechanic, potentially sacrifice-synergistic to reflect followers and worshippers.
The Citizen’s Federation (WBU, U-centered)
The overly bureaucratic and ruthless Citizen’s Federation is the prime governing organ of Pertillo, tasked with regulating each empire and nation on the plane in a supposedly democratic manner. Their laws have little actual enforcement among the people, but in some of the major nations, their police force is known to be particularly brutal in upholding the red tape. Controlled largely by prominent Guild and Church members that act in their own bloc’s self interest. I feel like the bloc itself is overly similar to the Azorius, so it should be as mechanically distinct as possible for distinguishing, but it would also present a perfect opportunity to use Detain again.
Mortician’s Guilds (BUG, G-centered)
The primarily unseen and disregarded Mortician’s Guilds sit at the center of a web of power accrued over centuries by the current members ancestors. They pull the strings in the background of the Federation, and use the front of morticians, cremators, gravediggers, and graveyard keepers to prevent investigation from the other caucuses, as well as practice the necromancy that has been passed on from generation to generation, and used in conjunction with the Factions elemental magic. I'm definitely thinking graveyard synergy here, but it should feel distinct from typical Golgari things, and no +1/+1 counters either.
Spark Factions (UGR, R-centered)
The ever-changing and shifting Spark Factions encompass various dynastic clans of animists and progressive natural scientists across the various nations. They are the experts of mana on the plane, and use wisdom passed from generation to generation to forge new tools and tech that pushes the boundaries the Federation allots the Factions. Some Faction leaders are the lucky few to have knowledge of the Guilds true nature, and the Commune regularly works with the Factions. I want a mechanic that reflects innovation and creativity, maybe a discard into card or creature advantage type thing.
Commune of the Wilds (GRW, W-centered)
The somewhat cult-like Commune of the Wilds manages the environment and the public welfare of society. Seen largely as a hippie community, dedicated to helping people find and fulfill their place in society. The Commune has branches in nearly every major city on Pertillo, and they rarely operate under Federation oversight, but do cooperate with the Factions and Church on social welfare programs. I was thinking of a modular mechanic (like Riot) that allows you to "fulfill your destined role" in the society, largely synergistic with other creatures.
I'm open to pretty much any and all suggestions here, so please, dump any ideas you have for mechanics, PLEASE!
Church of the Fervent, exploit sounds like a good fit, would need a lot more information about what you want out of the set for a different choice
The Citizen’s Federation, you suggest that it needs to differentiate itself from Azorious while suggesting the Azorious mechanic. To highlight the difference between this and Azorious you want a crueler version of Detain, probably something that can kill the creature. Someone had posted here a mechanic that was poison, it tapped then prevented untapping then killed, this could be good here.
Mortician’s Guilds, while it feels bad reusing a mechanic for the same color group Delve would work nicely for what you want to convey.
Spark Factions, a Madness variant? One that alters how the cards function rather than just let you cast if you discard. If you are willing the jump the shark, a double-faced madness variant where you get the back half for casting off 'madness'.
Commune of the Wilds, it sounds like you want Convoke. If you can find a common trigger for a Riot mechanic it could work but I don't think you will find a good trigger that fits the theme. Or maybe a Surge like mechanic that is specific to creatures? Maybe something like Unite X Y You may cast this for its Unite cost if you control X creatures?
Church of the FerventRWB| Ritual (You may cast this spell for its ritual cost.)
Cardname2WB Creature – Type
Ritual RWB(You may cast this spell for its ritual cost.)
When ~ enters the battlefield, if you ritualized, it deals 1 damage to any target.
Rain of Faith1RW Instant
Ritual–Tap and exert each creatures you control. (You may cast this spell for its ritual cost.)
Creatures you control gain indestructible until end of turn if you ritualized. Then ~ deals 1 damage to each creature.
The Citizen’s FederationWBU| Detain but tied to combat damage*I think @user_938036 is referring to:
Toxin (Creatures dealt damage twice in a turn by sources with toxin are destroyed. Otherwise they become tapped and exerted.)
This could be WU if reflavored. I have it in GUB
Mortician’s GuildsBUG|Clout – Whenever an opponent casts a spell, put a clout counter on ~.
Grave ExchangeBUG Enchantment Clout – Whenever an opponent casts a spell, put a clout counter on Grave Exchange.
Remove three clout counter from Grave Exchange: Put the top three cards of your library into your graveyard then return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
CardnameU Legendary Creature – Human Advisor
Skulk Clout – Whenever an opponent casts a spell, put a clout counter on a permanent you control.
Permanents you control with two or more clout counters on them have hexproof.
Spark FactionsGUR|Conceive – Reveal a card at random from your hand: ...
Conceive – 1, Reveal a card at random from your hand: If it's a noncreature, nonland card, create a colorless Spark artifact token with "Sacrifice X Sparks you control: Scry X."
Conceive – GUR, Reveal a card at random from your hand: If it's a creature card, discard it then create a token copy of it except it's an artifact in addition to its other types.
*Basically you can do whatever you want with what you reveal.
Cards in your hand represent things on your mind already and then boom an idea comes to you. You don't pick what ideas come to you but sometimes, when it's the right idea, you benefit
Commune of the Wilds might be a good place for you to bring back Inspired. Promotes attacking RWG, supports tapping W, and they sometimes work with Spark Factions which means they get inspired all the time by the creative stuff they do
*I've got a few errors in places but I think the ideas come across
Church - Reverse devour? "Sacrifice this: Put N +1/+1 counters on target creature that entered the battlefield this turn"?
Federation - Subtheme of drawing matters, keyword being an additional cost to make things cantrip?
Guilds - Could be the place to bring back recover. I think that's a keyword that'd be better in a better environment overall than Coldsnap.
Factions - Something something fast mana. First, unrefined instinct was an Elvish Spirit Guide keyword; of course, en masse that'd be completely broken. Maybe an X theme?
Commune - Modal creatures in general? Modal ETB abilities with the modes each being based on a different creature type? Something like "Goblins you control gain first strike until end of turn or Warriors you control gain trample until end of turn" on a Goblin Warrior.
Ok so first, I guess I should explain the synergy of the mechanics that is needed: overlapping color pair synergy. For instance, the Church and Federation's mechanics should overlap in WB design space, Federation and Guilds in UB, Guilds and Factions in UG, etc. That's why I'm kind of intent on creature-centric mechanics for the surrounding blocs of the Commune (Church, Factions). That kind of my main criteria here.
So now my breakdown of each of these suggestions divided by Bloc:
Church of the Fervent
Exploit: makes sense, but fairly simple and doesn't exactly scream "RELIGION"
Ritual: The name is great, but I feel there should be some prerequisite for it (Spectacle, Surge, etc.) otherwise it just seems too good
Reverse Devour: I feel like +1/+1 counters don't fit the blocs identity scheme though. Also, this bloc should imply go wide not go tall
The People's Federation
Toxin/Death Detain: I like the flavor but I don't think damage makes sense. I do like tapping effects but I guess I would rather find a non-Azorius thing than repurpose a mechanic that so strongly implies a connection.
Drawing Matters: Cantrips are great but the flavor connection to me just isn't there.
I'm thinking maybe something about exchanges to symbolize backroom political deals.
Delve: Yes, it is a perfect fit. No, it's practically impossible to balance effectively. And I really don't want to make the Guilds become Sultai-y because they are ultimately about self-improvement, not self-interest.
Clout: I actually really like this, I don't like the name, but thats always fixable. I might change the counter placement trigger up to be more reflective of a BUG strategy (countered, destroyed or discarded)
Recover: its an interesting idea, I would probably do an enchantment and creature recovery theme, because its BUG colors. I feel like I should probably tweak it into something different tho.
Double-Faced Madness/Madness in General: I am gonna shoot down the double-faced idea, it's not a theme I want in the set. However, a replacement effect on a madness variant could work, but its gonna take quite a bit of reworking
Concieve: I actually love this! I think I would rework it to make it a "C, Reveal this card from your hand: effect. Put a conceive counter on this card. At the end of each player's end step, sacrifice each permanent you control with a concieve counter on it." Then there is the choice between recurring effects from hand reveals or an enter-the-battlefield effect. But that seems a little complicated, so I don't know yet.
Fast Mana: Yeah, that is WAY to broken. Especially in blue.
X theme: I like it, but mechanics are what I'm looking for, unfortunately.
Commune of the Wilds
Convoke: OK, unpopular opinion here, but I HATE convoke. I was so disappointed that they brought it back in GRN that I quit Magic until RNA released. So I'm sorry, but I refuse to use Convoke
Inspired: I think it would just be a feel bad here because GW is the main color pair of vigilance and I was planning on doing a lot of vigilance for this bloc, and there shouldn't be tapping synergy because Federation doesn't align.
Modal Creatures ETB: I like the idea, but it doesn't feel keywordable. I think I'm gonna try a different kind of mechanic here but I'll definitely make modal creatures a theme for the bloc