Reincarnate <cost>

Reincarnate <cost>** (<cost>, Sacrifice a creature you control with the same converted mana cost as this creature: Return this creature from your graveyard to the battlefield.)

Example cards

Sage of Sobek 3B (Pasteur)
Creature - Crocodile Advisor
Reincarnate BB (BB, Sacrifice a creature you control with the same converted mana cost as this: Return ~ from your graveyard to the battlefield.)

Scarab Shaman 3B (Pasteur)
Creature - Insect Shaman
When ~ enters the battlefield, target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
Reincarnate 3B (3B, Sacrifice a creature you control with the same converted mana cost as this: Return ~ from your graveyard to the battlefield.)


So, this can act like a kind of pseudo-regenerate in some situations. Also, two reincarnate creatures with the same cost can form a loop of reincarnation.

This mechanic faces the same difficulty as dredge. We don't want to incentivise repetitive game play, so we don't want to have too many situations where you simply sacrifice a creature just because you want to "upgrade" into a more powerful reincarnate creature. It sucks to have to keep facing the same creature over and over again despite removing it many times. Not only is that powerful, it's also monotonous.

I think the cards here by Pasteur are skillfully designed because they are situation-dependent. While they have their uses, they aren't always better than other cards in their CMC in Limited. Sometimes you want to bring them back, sometimes you don't. But I think this also means that there would be a narrow space for design with this mechanic.

I tried to think what space there is besides situationally good creatures. Maybe there could be some Uncommon and Rare guys that are genuinely powerful, but require some steep cost to reincarnate, like simply requiring a lot of mana, sacrificing a land, losing half of your life, or discarding a card.

Also, build-around-me cards for wacky decks can be put in the form of reincarnate creatures to provide those unstable archetypes some robustness for their key piece. For example, there could be a Pyroconvergence on a body with reincarnate.

However, overall, I'm not sure how exciting the act of trading one creature for another creature is for most players (compared to genuinely getting a second life out of your creatures, counterbalanced by some other factor). I just imagine that once the cards are balanced to avoid repetitive game play, most of the cards with this mechanic will have to be about brainy resource management for marginal gains. Also, it might be harder to activate this than it looks, but we can't up the rewards for activating it by making the creatures better.

- Chah

I think you make a lot of good points, Chah. Reincarnate is a very tricky mechanic to develop, and requires some fine tuning to make sure that the occasion to use the ability comes up and is relevant without being too strong.

But there is a lot of upside! The biggest draw for me is how the mechanic represents the flavor of Egyptian undead. Unearth represents fast zombies, but they ball-lightning themselves out of existence quickly. Instead, Reincarnate taps into the ritual focus on the preparation of the dead that ostensibly prepares them for the afterlife, coming or going. The cooperation (or coercion) between two creatures also ties in with the central theme of duality.

It's definitely not an Ally-style mechanic that can be splashed all over the place, but it is a unique play experience that we can potentially set up as its own (or as a complementary) archetype to be rewarded. This makes it a fun side mechanic with a lot of potential synergies with others in the set, but admittedly probably not the marquee mechanic of the set itself.

The other good thing about this is its natural johnny appeal. We can build two card combos within the set itself, either with relevant bodies, creatures that reward dying, or creatures with ETB, but it also potentially plays well with other creatures from magic's history. It rewards either milling or discard, but is less combo-bang-you're-dead than Dredge/Reanimator.

All in all, it's a unique way to represent the undead that hasn't been done before, with a wide amount of options.

- Pasteur

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