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There are some mechanics that have been designed by R&D but have been never released for several reasons as rules concerns. Some of them have been publicly explained over the years.

Unreleased colors[]

Unreleased counters[]

Unreleased keyword actions[]

Other unreleased mechanics[]

  • Advocate — for Commander Legends. A triggered mechanic (like landfall or constellation) that triggers whenever your commander enters the battlefield or attacks.[2]
  • Anchor — For Time Spiral. ig creatures for cheap that required a mana payment for upkeep.[3]
  • Bribe — for Conspiracy: Take the Crown and Commander Legends. The spell gives you an effect. Then, each of your opponents may choose to draw a card. For each one that did, you get the effect again.[4]
  • Call — for Ixalan. A Dinosaur with call was usually a bigger Dinosaur, but one with a very cheap mana cost. You couldn't attack or block until you paid a one-time activation cost.[5]
  • Camouflage (As long as this is untapped, it can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control) for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths[6]. This is similar to Paradise Druid.
  • Celestial (You may cast this card from Nyx. If it would enter the battlefield any other way, it goes to Nyx instead. If the card would leave the battlefield, it goes to Nyx instead. Your devotion to white reduces its cost by that much N) for Theros.[7]
  • Clan — for Kaldheim. A modified version of Leader, adapted for use as a tribal mechanic.[8] When you played a clan card, you chose a creature type, and the card affected that creature type. Then when you played a second clan card, you could rechoose your creature type, but both effects would affect the one chosen tribe.
  • Conjure [creature type] – [cost] — for Strixhaven: School of Mages (If you cast this spell for [cost], when it enters the battlefield create an [appropriately sized, colored, and creature-typed] creature token.)[9]
  • Cooperation (Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on another target creature.) for Throne of Eldraine. A variant of the Slith mechanic.[10]
  • "Creaturefall" — for Selesnya in Guilds of Ravnica. Effects that trigger whenever a creature you control enters the battlefield.[11]
  • "Deathfall" — for Jund in Shards of Alara. Effects that trigger every time a creature dies.[12]
  • Debt — for Orzhov in Ravnica Allegiance.[13] Spells give debt counters to opponents. At the beginning of their end step, they can get rid of any number of debt counters by paying {1} per debt counter. Then, as long as they have any debt counters remaining, they lose 1 life (not per debt counter just 1 life total regardless of how many debt counters they have).
  • Discipline N (Whenever this card becomes blocked, put N +1/+1 counters on this card.) for Throne of Eldraine.[10]
  • Disguise — for Dimir in Guilds of Ravnica. A ninjutsu variant where the creature with disguise is swapping with the attacking creature.[11][14]
  • Endless — for Future Sight. A keyword that made the creature return to your hand whenever it went to the graveyard from the battlefield.[15]
  • Enhanced — for Kaldheim.[8] Enhanced meant that a creature was either enchanted or equipped. The ability went on creatures and gave them an extra ability if they were enhanced.
  • Enlist — for Ixalan. Pay extra mana to create a creature token.[5]
  • Familiar – [Effect] — for Strixhaven: School of Mages (. . . if you control a creature token).[9]
  • Finale — For Rakdos in Ravnica Allegiance. Creature gains +N/+0 and some abilities, in exchange for being sacrificed at the end of turn.[16]
  • Forbidden — By Mark Rosewater, for Avacyn Restored. Card starts the game in exile.
  • Glorify — For Amonkhet. If this creature dies when attacking, it grants a bonus to another creature.
  • Gunk — By Richard Garfield. Blank cards that didn't do anything but could be transferred to the opponent's deck.[17][18][19] It later appeared on a test card in the Mystery Booster set.
  • Hieroglyphics — By Mark Rosewater, for Amonkhet.[20] Pay to exile the card from the graveyard and draw a card.
  • Implements — for Strixhaven: School of Mages.[21]. Artifacts with two different tap abilities (one in each color of the school) and a third ability which was the combination of the two abilities.
  • Jewel — For Guilds of Ravnica. It went on any instant or sorcery. After the card resolved, it got exiled. Then, whenever you cast another instant or sorcery, you could play the first card for free from exile. The idea behind it was that we built smaller effects that comboed together to do cool things.[22]
  • Joust (When this creature is blocked, it gets +0/+N until end of turn. If not blocked, it gets +N/+0 instead.) for Throne of Eldraine.[10]
  • "Land drop" for Zendikar. {T}: action (You may use land drop only if you haven’t played a land this turn. If you use land drop, you may not play a land for the remainder of the turn.)[23][24]
  • Leader — for "Salad", an unmade set intended to follow on from Dominaria.[8] Whenever you played a leader card, you chose a leader from among your creatures, and that card granted an ability to your leader. If you played a second leader card, you had the option of changing who your leader was, but both cards would grant abilities to a single leader.
  • Mechanic I — For Kaladesh. The Invention unreleased subtype (see below).
  • Mummify — For Amonkhet. As embalm or eternalize, but makes the creature a 2/2 Zombie with wither.
  • Nostalgia — By Mark Rosewater, for Time Spiral. It allowed you to put Vintage-legal cards into your deck that you might not normally be able to play.[25]
  • Paincast — For Rakdos in Return to Ravnica. Spells 1 mana cheaper for each point of damage you had dealt to an opponent this turn.[26]
  • Plot — For Amonkhet. A suspend variant representing you planning ahead.[27]
  • Plunder — For the Vampires and Pirates of Ixalan.[5] Based on bloodthirst. When you cast these cards, if you had dealt combat damage to an opponent, the card received some kind of bonus.
  • Precedence — For Azorius in Ravnica Allegiance. When this enters the battlefield, copy the ETB ability of any other creature you control.[16]
  • Reckless — For Gruul in Gatecrash. An ability that sacrificed the creature at the end of the turn when triggered.
  • Relentless — For Time Spiral and inspired by Relentless Assault. Allowed creatures to attack twice each turn.[3]
  • Reverse Engineer — For Kaladesh but pushed for Aether Revolt. It allowed you to copy an artifact and then that copy got sacrificed at end of turn,[28] in the same way Heat Shimmer from Lorwyn does for creatures.[29]
  • Roar — By Mark Gottlieb, for the Dinosaurs of Ixalan.[30] "You may pay [cost] and exile this card from your hand. If you do, you can still cast it this game. When CARDNAME roars .... [effect]". Led to Adventure.
  • Showoff — By Mark Rosewater, for Lorwyn. It allowed you to choose to reveal a card. If the card was revealed (from your hand or your library), then it could be played for its showoff cost, which was often cheaper than its normal mana cost.[31]
  • "Sneaky" (This creature can't be blocked by creatures with power 3 or greater) for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.[6]
  • Spellback — for the Izzet League in Guilds of Ravnica. Somehow allowed players to "mix and match various instants and sorceries".[32]
  • Stopwatch — mechanic forces you to do certain actions in a set amount of time. Considered for Unstable.[33]
  • Study – [cost] — for Strixhaven: School of Mages.[21] A mechanic where you can spend a resource (tapping at common, mana at uncommon) to add an ability to the card. Each card with study has two options of abilities to add. The second time you activate it, you can add the ability you didn't choose the first time.
  • Stygian — for Theros Beyond Death.[34][35] When you play a card with the stygian mechanic, it brings onto the battlefield a special card from outside the game that represents the river of the dead. Creatures on the living side could only block creatures also on the living side while creatures on the dead side could only block creatures on the dead side.
  • Titan — for Zendikar Rising. A kicker variant where the mana cost was always generic and always seven or more mana. It tended to mega-juice the spell. The flavor was that you were tapping into some residual Eldrazi energy that was seeped deep in the land. [36]
  • Torment — Each opponent loses 3 life unless that player sacrifices a nonland permanent or discards a card. Reduced to an unkeyworded vertical cycle in Hour of Devastation.[37]
  • Turmoil — For Gruul, then Rakdos in Ravnica Allegiance. Effect that triggered at the end of your turn if an opponent had lost life during that turn.[16]
  • Unique — By Mark Rosewater, such mechanic is intended to narrow the Legendary rule effect which would be applied only to legendary permanents having the Unique ability.
  • Unnamed — By Mark Rosewater, for Tempest. It allowed you to choose to start with the card in your opening hand. If you chose to do so, you had to begin with one card fewer.[25]
  • Unnamed — For Amonkhet. It made use of -1/-1 counters to represent the ruthlessness of Bolas.[38]
  • Valiance (Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it.) for Throne of Eldraine. This is the Slith mechanic.[10]

Unreleased lands[]

Unreleased subtypes[]

  • Quest (other mechanic than the released Quest enchantment[39]) — For Zendikar and Throne of Eldraine.[10][30] Enchantments that gave you three tasks. You marked them with counters as you finished each one. Once all of them were completed, you could sacrifice the card for a big effect. Some got you the legendary artifacts for each court.[40]
  • Invention — for Kaladesh. Cards that let you fetch artifact cards from outside the game. The only unexplained mechanic of the five that the Kaladesh design team ended up making and liking. It got discarded for excess of mechanics.[41][9]
  • Scroll — for Strixhaven: School of Mages. The idea of scrolls was that they were artifact tokens that could hold an instant or sorcery in them. You then sacrificed them to cast the spell it was holding. Some cards let you make scrolls out of available instants or sorceries. Other cards made scrolls with spells (usually famous ones from Magic's past) already inside them.[9]

Unreleased supertypes[]

  • Über-classes — By Mark Rosewater, for Morningtide. Cards that affected "fighters" affected Soldiers and Warriors (and possibly Knights). "Mages" were Shaman and Wizards (and possibly Druids). "Scoundrel" meant Assassins and Rogues.[31] Similar to the later batching.

Revealed mechanics[]

These formerly unreleased mechanics were eventually used in new sets.

References[]

  1. Mark Rosewater (January 9, 2017). "A Revolting Development (and Design), Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (October 26, 2020). "Your Wish is My Commander Legends, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. a b Mark Rosewater (March 8, 2021). "27 Things You Might Have Not Known About Time Spiral Block". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Alex Walker (October 27, 2020). "Here’s An Exclusive Look At Magic’s Upcoming Commander Legends Set". Kotaku.com.
  5. a b c Mark Rosewater (September 11, 2017). "Just for Ix(alan), Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b c Mark Rosewater (April 13, 2020). "A Twinkle in Someone's Ikoria". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater (March 24, 2014). "Modern Gods". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. a b c Mark Rosewater (January 11, 2021). "Norsing Around, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. a b c d Mark Rosewater (April 5, 2021). "In the Strixhaven, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. a b c d e Mark Rosewater (November 11, 2019). "Throne of Eldraine Vision Design Handoff, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  11. a b Mark Rosewater (September 17, 2018). "Guild to Order, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Mark Rosewater (February 24, 2017). "Do you have any Jund trivia?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Mark Rosewater (January 2, 2019). "Building Allegiances, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Mark Rosewater (September 17, 2018). "What are the chances of disguise making an appearance in the future?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Mark Rosewater (May 17, 2021). "Future Sight Design Handoff Document". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  16. a b c Mark Rosewater (Jan 07, 2019). "Building Allegia keyword that made the creature return to your hand whenever it went to the graveyard from the battlefield.ances, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater, Drive to Work #214 "2008"
  18. Mark Rosewater (November 22, 2017). "Were Contraptions in any way inspired by the "forbidden" mechanic?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  19. Mark Rosewater (October 14, 2012). "purely out of curiosity, what is richard garfield's "Gunk" mechanic?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  20. Mark Rosewater (April 10, 2017). "Amonkhet Down to Business, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  21. a b Mark Rosewater (April 26, 2021). "Strixhaven Vision Design Handoff Document, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Mark Rosewater (October 29, 2018). "Odds & Ends: Guilds of Ravica". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Mark Rosewater (May 16, 2021). "Hi mark its less than two hours until my...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  24. Mark Rosewater (May 16, 2021). "What would the rules text for that mechanic that...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  25. a b Mark Rosewater (December 7, 2015). "Topical Blend: Did You Hear the One About...". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Mark Rosewater (December 10, 2012). "Designing for Rakdos". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Mark Rosewater (May 29, 2017). "Odds & Ends: Amonkhet, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Mark Rosewater (January 2, 2017). "A Revolting Development (and Design), Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Mark Rosewater (January 16, 2017). "Aether Way, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  30. a b Mark Gottlieb (September 12, 2019). "The Adventure Adventure". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  31. a b Evil Mark Rosewater (February 25, 2008). "Rogue Operative". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  32. Mark Rosewater (September 10, 2018). "Guild to Order, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  33. Mark Rosewater (January 24, 2018). "Can I have some un-set trivia?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  34. Mark Rosewater (January 2, 2020). "At Death's Door, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  35. Ethan Fleischer (January 3, 2020). "Through the Stygian Waters". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  36. Mark Rosewater (September 7, 2020). "Zendikar Rising to the Challenge, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  37. Melissa DeTora (June 23, 2017). "Cycle of Torment". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  38. Mark Rosewater (April 17, 2017). "Amonkhet Down to Business, Part 3". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  39. Mark Rosewater (September 12, 2019). "So wait, when you say Quests you aren't referring to Zendikar block quests like Quest for Renewal?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  40. Mark Rosewater (September 12, 2019). "Can you please talk about what Quests mechanic would be?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  41. Mark Rosewater (January 16, 2017). "What's up with the fifth one?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  42. a b Aaron Forsythe (May 16, 2011). "Phyrexian Ken's Demands". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  43. Mark Rosewater (August 30, 2016). "Hang on a sec, did you ever even say...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  44. Mark Rosewater (July 23, 2007). "The X Files". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  45. Mark Rosewater (April 15, 2019). "Waging War of the Spark, Part 3". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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