Moxtober 2020 #09: Tyrant
During the month of October is #MTGMoxtober! Each day, I design a new Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the day’s prompt. Join Moxtober with your own Magic-related creations! Full prompt list here.
Day #01: Harvest
Day #02: Curio
Day #03: Binding
Day #04: Smog
Day #05: Cynic
Day #06: Lance
Day #07: Mithril
Day #08: Rider
Today’s prompt: #09— “Tyrant”
Tyrants rule unjustly or use their power to oppress others. Tyrants are rulers of a people of their own, so I wanted to look to combine these two traits:
— someone that has power
— someone that’s mean to others on their team
I decided to represent a creature with power the following ways:
— legendary (fame)
— Noble (usually wealthy or have a privileged support network)
— power 4 or greater (might — and the cutoff here is a popular designator usually found on white cards to represent a powerful, big creature)
From there, I decided on how someone can be mean to others on their team is sacrifice. Specifically, sacrificing creatures. Triggering off of dying isn’t enough, since you can destroy an opponent’s creatures.
The game can’t really tell whether an ability has a creature sacrifice activated ability or triggers off of a creature being sacrificed until the ability actually gets used. …Okay, so we’ll just call a creature with power that has had an ability triggered or activated this way at least once a tyrant, right?
There’s a problem, though.
I believe it’s possible to forget or be confused on whether a creature had met the sacrifice trigger/activate criteria, say, four turns ago. So the solution was to build into the game that you can designate a creature “that’s a tyrant!” whenever the condition is met. Then it’ll last for the rest of the game.
One strange behavior is when you flicker a tyrant, it becomes a new object and thus is no longer a tyrant. And other similar effects. Then you’d need to sacrifice again and then call it a tyrant again. Nah, that’s too clunky.
So, the last piece of this puzzle was that you call a creature a tyrant once, and that name will live in infamy for the rest of the game. This makes it Commander-friendly if you have a tyrant-prone commander that travels between the command zone and battlefield a few times. :)
Speaking of Commander — did you know? There’s only one creature in Magic that meets all three of these “power” criteria for a tyrant:
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King!