So I've created a variation of Magic I call Battle of the Gods. It was conceived during Theros block as a faster commander. My playgroup loves commander, but when we get together, we only ever have time for one game of it. After deciding it would be based around the Theros gods, I got the inspiration for the flavor: it would be kind of like a plethora of early religions worshiping different gods, all trying to make their god the One True God. The format was inspired by various religious tenets of many religions and a little bit of Battlestar Gallactica as I was on a BSG NetFlix binge at the time. Also, in this setting, gods are very petty and jealous, so upsetting them causes harsh penalties. The decks are supposed to be fairly aggressive (to keep the game time down) creature-based, as if the creature armies are the worshipers of the god they're fighting for. I also tried to do away with a lot of commander auto-include stuff like obscene card advantage, life gain and graveyard use. So, here it is. Try it out and tell me what you think!
•Multiplayer deck created around one of the Theros block gods.
•60-card deck (59 + your god)
•Up to four of any card other than your god.
•Commander rules for color identity apply to your god.
•Your god must use the command zone, referred to as Nyx in this format.
•All commander rules for the command zone apply to your god.
•Any card that references your commander, references your god (i.e. Command Tower)
•You may not have any cards containing the name or image of another god in your deck.
•Losing the favor of god. If you lose the favor of god
o while it is in the command zone without an appeasement counter on it, it gains an appeasement counter.
o while it is on the battlefield, it is moved to the command zone with an appeasement counter placed on it.
o while it has an appeasement counter on it, it deals damage to you equal to its power. This damage cannot be prevented or redirected.
o You must sacrifice a nontoken creature to remove the appeasement counter.
o Gods with appeasement counters may not be cast.
•The theme of the deck will be closely linked to your god’s abilities, not just color.
•No other gods allowed in your deck. If you ever control another god, you lose the favor of god. If you ever refer to a god other than your god as ‘god’ (“a god,” “his god,” “your god,” referring to the creature type god), you lose the favor of god (use the proper name of other gods). If you ever say your god’s name during the game, you lose the favor of god (refer to your god as simply ‘God’).
•No planeswalkers or legendary creatures allowed in your deck other than your god.
•On turn 7, 14, 21, etc. if you attack you lose the favor of god. If this rule is used, the player winning the die roll may choose to go last rather than first before looking at their opening hand.
•If a spell or ability you control causes a creature to die, you lose the favor of god. (You may cause a creature to be exiled, sacrificed, shuffled away, or returned to owner’s hand without repercussions.) If a spell or ability you control deals damage to a creature that subsequently dies in the same turn due to lethal damage, this rule applies. If Keranos’ ability causes a creature to die, its controller does not lose his favor.
•If at any time you gain control of a spell or permanent you do not own, you lose the favor of god.
•If you form an alliance, you may not break it until all other players are out of the game or until your ally agrees to break it or you lose the favor of god. If you break an agreement (determined by unanimous decision not including the perpetrator) you lose the favor of god.
•If a spell or ability you control causes you to search your library for a card other than basic land, puts a card from a library or graveyard into your hand or the battlefield, if you cast a spell from your graveyard or without paying it’s mana cost, or if you gain more than five life or draw more than three cards in a turn, you lose the favor of god. If Atheros’ ability puts a card from a graveyard to its controller’s hand, its controller does not lose his favor.
•Multiple favor loss triggers separately (i.e. wrath effects and attacking on turn 7 cause massive damage).
•There may only be a single copy of any god in a game (i.e. two players can’t play the same god).
Interestingly, the best restriction is the one about using the word god vice the name of gods. It plays something like a drinking game with the best moments in the game coming when someone forgets or when someone falls into a trap laid by another player. We had one moment where a person asked, "what is that above the playmat?" referring to a card. To which two of his opponents replied, "her god," and everyone going, "OOOOOOHHHHH!!!" at the same time. I'm not a fan of the not attacking on turns that are multiples of seven, but the rest of my group likes it and it causes different kind of decisions, both for the person who wins the initial die roll and for everyone on the turns just before that turn. It also allows someone in a precarious position a turn to stabilize (theoretically, an opponent can always chose to lose favor and go in for the kill, but that then leaves them vulnerable on turn eight. Choices within choices makes for interesting gameplay).
This seems like an interesting idea, but how it plays out is an entirely different thing. I don't see this being a popular thing as it's basically a watered down commander mode. Also, two players with the same gods cannot battle.
Not watered down commander, faster commander. That's exactly what it's supposed to be. 5-6 player commander games can easily last 3+ hours. This game goes much faster with plenty of fun. Have you tried it? I'm more than happy to get feedback.
Well here's the issue with that. Commander IS slow with 5-6 players. However, in your game mode, with 5-6 players there is a good chance that you and another player will have the same gods. You should remove that rule.
I did play it just today actually. I was running a Mogis deck.
It is based around the Theros gods, and I assume that includes the lesser gods as well as long as they are gods, but you don't mention what cards are and aren't allowed, so I assumed it was the same as commander.
The game sort of played like a remixed version of modern or something. It didn't feel at all like commander. I believe it was for two reasons.
1) 60 card deck size. One of my favorite part of commander is that having 100 cards means for a lot of recipes, and a lot of uncertainty with your draws. I think having a deck size of 80 would be more suitable.
2) Having 4 of each creature is again like modern. You should change this to 1 just like regular commander, or perhaps make it so that you can only have 1 copy of a creature on the battlefield at a time, but as many as you want in your deck (up to 4).
As for the rest of it, a lot of these rules are either uselessly annoying or they ruin tactics.
1) We are used to calling other gods a "god" so losing the favor of our chosen god for that reason can ruin the momentum of a game and cause a loss where one wasn't deserving. Remove this rule.
2) Appeasement counters seem a bit excessive, as the only people who would lose the favor of their god would be newbies who made a mistake. Instead, you should simply make it so that you can't cast your god if you control a card that would make you lose the favor of your god and if they were on the battlefield the god goes back into the command zone (and obviously costs more to cast next turn.)
3) I can deal with no planeswalkers, but no other legendary creatures? This makes no sense, as it would make sense for Geth, Lord of the Vault to follow the God of Death.
4) Penalties for killing a creature with a spell or ability? This removes a LOT of tactics. Wouldn't it make sense for a god to want you to kill creatures? This makes a mono-black BoG deck a lot worse, and some red cards as well.
5) The "no attacking every 7th consecutive turn" thing is literally the opposite of face paced, though I guess it doesn't slow down the game "too" much. All this really does is hurt an individual at turn 7, and god forbid you play with 7 players and the 7th can never attack This rule shouldn't even be optional as it plays no real purpose.
6) You should be allowed to take control of any spells or permanents you want. This is based on religious war, and in religious war you want to not only kill people, but to convert them. This rule unnecessarily removes some tactics. What you could do that would make sense, however, is make it so you can't control spells or permanents that have the name of a different god in them, and if you do, you lose the favor of your god.
7) It is common amongst religion, especially monotheistic religions, to fight among each other claiming that they are the ones who know how best to carry out their gods will. So, allow two people with the same god to battle. This is especially interesting if you modify as I suggested in step six above, because if two of the same gods face eachother, they can take eachother's cards with their god's name in them, even their own god.
8) Even more restrictions. Just allow us to search our libraries and graveyards and play them as we please.
9) It makes no sense that alliances should not be allowed to be broken, especially since all of the gods are petty, jealous ones who want total domination through any means.
So ,those are my suggestions. My friends are on vacation so I can't test this suggested method, but we all feel it would make the game more fun and universal, while keeping with the "fast paced" deal. You should try it with your friends. I would honestly love to see this as a real format in the future.
Thanks for the suggestions! I didn't make any card restrictions, but I suppose commander restrictions are appropriate. 80 card decks sound interesting, I'll have to try it.
1)Did you really not like the part about referring to other gods as god? That was the one rule that made the format the most fun in our group. Lots of hilarity.
2,3,4,6,8)So the point of removing things like controlling permanents you don't own, drawing too much, and killing creatures was to try to eliminate all the auto-include things in commander. Same with life gain. Limits breed creativity and I thought this format could branch into deck types that aren't just smaller versions of commander decks. Plus, many of them were inspired by religious tenets (thou shall not kill, covet [taking control], worship false idols [legendary creatures/planeswalkers], etc.). But those things weren't removed from the game entirely because you should always have the option to disobey your god, because most followers do. You just have to pay your penance afterward.
5)This would be every 7th turn for each person i.e. everyone's 7th turn, not turn 7. I don't like the rule, but some in the group were adamant about trying to get the "honor the sabbath" tenet in there. I'm happy to throw it out, but give it a shot this way a few times. We've found it creates some interesting choices. The person who goes last on turn 6 can essentially attack with everything without having to worry about blocking during everyone's next turn (also gives a bit more value to winning the die roll to decide who goes first, since there's now an incentive to go last). But then again, there's the freedom to lose favor, so someone, or everyone acting together against that person could chose to take advantage of their vulnerability and make them pay for the animosity they've just won them self. Losing favor isn't in there so that it can never be done, but to be another resource to use strategically. It won't be expected of you to lose favor, so if someone leaves them self open based on that, you can decide if it's worth it to surprise them.
7)I'm good with allowing people with the same god to battle each other.
9)Breaking alliances is just pet peeve of mine from any multiplayer format. It should be left up to the playgroup. I admit is has nothing to do with the format.
No problem. I love to help as much as I can to see homebrews become bigger and better.
1) I don't think you understand how my playgroup works. We are casual players, yes, but we are competitive as hell. Our fun mostly comes from dominating our opponents, and yet somehow we still manage to have fun losing. The problem with this is that it ruins the momentum of competitive groups. Also, keep in mind, people like to make homebrews and assume it won't take off. EDH was originally made by a few people in Alaska before it kicked off. If you started going in to board game nights at your LGS and showing your format to people, they might like it. Anyways, the point was that it should exist as an optional, casual rule instead of a primary rule for competitive players sake.
2,3,4,6,8) I see your point with the "auto-includes" thing, but at the same time if you allow 4 of the same card in a deck, and have permanents only 1 on the field at a time, it sort of balances it more than commander would, as you wouldn't have to worry about limiting your spells at all. This is a faster pace version of EDH, and until you test it out with murder, search, control cards, you can't truly tell if it will work or not. I just don't like the fact that you are countering "Auto-includes" by removing a huge aspect of the game. Don't worry about it ending up as smaller commander decks, the 4 per deck 1 on field rule will help allow for more creativity.
Now, you are getting a lot of religious text wrong. You are basing it obviously around the old testament, but you are doing it wrong. It doesn't say thou shalt not kill, it says thou shalt not murder, and in the Old Testament there were times god would make the distinction between killing and murdering. Killing can be for good reasons, while murdering is always malicious intent. Also, covet doesn't mean to steal or take control, it means to yearn for something greatly, so technically you can still commit that sin. Just stop basing it solely around a monotheistic religion, considering this is a polytheistic one. Allow for these things to exist as I feel they will simply make it feel less like we are playing a restricted game. Also, the "worship false idols" thing is another falacy. It says do not render false idols, and it means not to literally make any out of wood and what not that aren't real. Reason this commandment exists is because at the time period it was common for people to worship the god of the area they were visitng. If you were to visit Rome, you'd buy or render (make) an idol of Venus and worship it. God was the "Lord of all gods" and didn't want them worshipping false ones (though Yahweh does acknowledge the existence of the egyptian gods.) The only other commandment involving gods was "do not place any god before the lord" and this still doesn't say that other gods aren't real. Short theology lesson over, lol. Point is, allow Legendary Creatures in, because you aren't putting them before your lord god. Also, I never intended them to be other gods, they were more like prophets if anything.
I can understand a bit that you can simply play the cards and lose the favor of your god, but it isn't worth the damage. At least take out the damage rule and simply make it so that they return to your command zone. However, I still think it would be more interesting if you only lost the favor for taking control of creatures with other gods name in it. The reason I feel this is because there are a lot of only "decent" cards with a god's name in it. No one ever plays them because they are only decent. However, if you were to make this rule as suggested, it would give a decent reason to include them, while not being an "auto-include."
5) Again, you are sort of basing it solely around the old testament which is a bit annoying IMO. Though, your friends like the rule, I just feel it should be purely optional. (You should edit your primary post and label the top section "Primary Rules" and the bottom section "Casual/Optional rules")
9) Place it in an "Optional" section and we are good to go.
P.S) The no life gain rule is jank. It makes Erebos completely useless.
That's about it. Other than the reasons listed, I really do like the format. It seems like an interesting spin off of things.