This is where we left off last time. I’m going deeper here. Building on some of the ideas from the last time. Mostly making wild guesses on the returning mechanic.
And when I say wild, I mean wild, although probably somewhat more educated than most on the ‘net. That isn’t a very high standard though.
I’m basing my guesses largely on this. Its a collection of Mark Rosewater’s estimates on whether a number of things will return to the game. Its called Storm Scale, because Storm was the first mechanic estimated, and given an immediate 10 (basically never coming back).
Note that the list hasn’t been updated in a while. Actually in over a year. I know many things have been discussed in MaRo’s blog since then and quite a few more estimates must exist.
Affinity (3 or 4 – Probably coming back)
We know MaRo promised a returning mechanic that has been requested for a long time. My first guess is Affinity, but not for artifacts. After all, its not actually tied to artifacts. There is a cycle of cards with affinity to the five basic land types.
The problem with artifacts and affinity is that there are so many cheap artifacts. In fact, quite a few zero costing. How about affinity for tribes? I mean, I did bring up the possibility of a tribal set last time (although that is as pure speculation as well). Why not have a bunch of warriors with affnity for warriors? They could have plenty of tricks that target multiple creatures, continuing the Strive theme from Journey into Nyx.
Affinity for warriors (or similar) could be renamed and explained flavorwise by the fact that a band of warriors doing well will be joined by new opportunistic ones looking to find riches. Of course we wouldn’t only have affinity for warriors, but other class types as well.
Affinity is also over 10 years old, so it might be time to bring it back.
A less known mechanic, and not actually a keyword. Its actually a creature class type. There are only two cards with the type and one card that grants it: [scryfall]Coalition Honor Guard[/scryfall], [scryfall]Standard Bearer[/scryfall], and [scryfall]Coalition Flag[/scryfall].
I don’t think will be it, but I wanted to show off my knowledge of obscure mechanics, and it would fit the theme perfectly. Mongols used standards, and they were very important to them. They were holy. In fact, when even during the 20th century, the Mongols would go through much trouble to protect Genghis Khan’s standard from the Russians.
Evoke is strongly tied to elementals. Mongols were animists (actually they would pick and choose religions from whatever they happened to encounter and their actual religion was a mix of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and animism, among others). Animism is about spirits, but in MtG terms we’re talking about what is basically elementals.
This is the one people mostly think will be the returning mechanic. I would be very disappointed if that was the case, because I don’t find it very interesting. I don’t think it very likely though. Why would they bring it now? Bushido is a Japanese thing (quite modern at that), while the art seems to suggest Mongolian or other nomadic tribes from northern Asia.
Sure, they would probably need a warrior mechanic, but they’ve become so much better at coming up with interesting ones, and they have a philosophy of staying away from making blocking more complicated (because its already very complicated in limited). Although, it is an “expert” set, so you never know.