With Time Spiral Remastered hitting the shelves this year, I got to think about my earliest custom card designs, from back around Onslaught through Time Spiral era. Back when Time Spiral first landed, it brought with it a change to echo, and at that time, Fox and I designed five different ways for Echo to work across the five colours. I love Echo as a mechanic, but it is something of a dead mechanic. Wizards doesn’t tend to play with strict drawback mechanics, which is a bummer (to me).
But despite that, I quite like the way those cards worked out, so I dusted the ideas off and tried to make some new cards using those ideas!
Here then is the philosophy of the five colours’ ways of handling Echo.
WHITE echo is cards that cast some instant/sorcery spell as their ETB, but you want to keep around for multiple turn cycles. The rationale being that the ideal operation of the card is being patient to maximise their investment.
BLUE echo is cards that have a good passive effect that you may want for one turn, but keeping them around on a body costs you more. The idea is that the spell itself is meant to feel like a kind of time magic — something that isn’t quite complete at first.
BLACK echo in this set is cards priced as a powerful spell that fires off when they die, so you get them ’on delay’ in your upkeep. The purpose is that black is foreboding, and black’s echoes are as dreadful as the experience.
RED echo cards are cards that are cheap as sorceries, but expensive as permanents.
GREEN echo in this case was all cards that you did have to pay for, but each echo card would look at other echo cards and trigger when echo is paid. Important that Green haste wasn’t really a common thing at this point.