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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

5 Rise of the Eldrazi Previews: New Eldrazis, New Theme, New Mechanic

We're roughly one month away from the release of Rise of the Eldrazi and the official spoilers are starting to come in huge waves!

While I won't get to every preview, I'll get enough going to whet your appetite for the set (like any good seller should do. ;)   ).

In this Preview:
1) Eldrazi at Lower Rarity...yes, lower than you think.
2) New Theme...design space explored in...not attacking!?
3) New Mechanic...hint, it shares a name with a Yu-Gi-Oh! card and usually goes with stuff like Horus the Black Flame Dragon.

All previews...after the jump!

 (Most images courtesy of Wizards of the Coast's Visual Spoiler. Emrakul and Guard Duty are from www.mtgsalvation.com)

1) New Eldrazi
The hint that I gave above? About an Eldrazi at a rarity lower than you thought they'd be? Did you think the Annihilator keyword would be seen at Common?

An 8-mana 8/8? With Annihilator!? At COMMON!? 


Oh, and the "drawback" of attacking every turn? My goodness, it's an 8/8! Are you seriously going to complain about being forced to attack with an 8/8 that forces a 2-permanent loss for your opponent not counting their blocking creature(s)?

Overall...great Common, but I think it ruins the Mythic, HUGE, WORLDHUNGRY creatures Kozilek was.

Speaking of Mythic HUGE Eldrazis, how's about a Time Walk

 We've hit near-highs in Power, Toughness, and Mana Cost on a creature card. 15/15 for 15 is high, and with enough mana acceleration, Eye of Ugin, and another rumored land that should help Eldrazi casting costs by another 2 colorless, you may see this hit the board sooner rather than later.

But what else is that? For 15 mana, here's all you get:
*An extra turn (if you cast it).
* Draw 4 cards
*15/15 flier
*Protection from Colored Spells
* Annihilator 6!!
* "Shuffle graveyard back" effect like Kozilek.

Not...too...shabby...and exactly what Mythic Rare needed to be all along. Think about it: It's not a 4-of (unless Mill decks become hugely popular in tournament play), it takes a huge amount of mana just to cast, but for that you get a huge body and huge effects.

Alright. Eldrazi are old and boring (for the time being, anyway. ;)  ). Now, onto the new theme!

2) New Theme
 Did you figure the hint for this set of previews?

 Yep. We'll get creatures that get their effects pumped for each Defender you control.


Yeah. I don't know the flavor reason for it, but defense is a decent deal in Rise of the Eldrazi. Probably the idea of "the more defenses against the Eldrazi the better"??

So how can you get more Defenders out when you don't have Defenders? Welcome to the new Enchantment:

Of course, you don't have to enchant your own creature. Trade off the benefit of extra Defenders for the benefit of their Emrakul no longer being able to attack. :)

And finally, we have a new mechanic...and new card frame set-up to go with it.

3) New Mechanic 
So the hint...most of the time in Yu-Gi-Oh!, when we're using Horus the Black Flame Dragon we combine it with...Level Up!

I won't tease you with a random Common Level Up creature, so I'll go straight for the best one revealed so far.

Just to note, this guy is one of the cheaper Level Up creatures mana-wise for casting cost and on the Level Up cost.

So you see how this creature has no power/toughness box in the bottom-right corner? That's because it changes with each set of Levels, hence the power/toughness boxes throughout the text box.

For 1U, you start out with a 1/3 creature with "Level up U". "Level up [cost]" means "[Cost]: Put a level counter on [this creature]. Level up only as a sorcery."

A creature with Level up has a Level equal to the number of Level Counters on it. As a creature gains levels, it may change its power/toughness (hence the power/toughness boxes in the text box.) and/or gain new abilities. (In the previews so far, creatures don't lose abilities).

"Okay. Interesting. So how does this one work!?"

Okay, okay. Calm down man! I'm getting to it.

So for 1U, you start out with a 1/3 creature with "Level up U."

At between 4-6 Level Counters, instead it's a 2/4 creature, still only with "Level up U."

At 7 or more Level Counters, instead it's a 3/5 creature with "Level up U" and "At the beginning of each end step, if it's not your turn, take an extra turn after this one."

Here's an easier way to think about it...you know how Figure of Destiny works? It's very similar.

Or think of any standard RPG character. As you get XP (mana paid into putting counters on), once you hit a certain threshold its stats change and the old stats don't matter anymore.

I'll do a more in-depth post next week if you're still confused...and because I love this mechanic, I wouldn't mind it one bit.

I hope you enjoyed these previews. The more I see of this set, the more I just love the ideas behind it. I know we're gonna have to hit some horrible stuff eventually, but right now I'll bask in the awesomeness of this batch of spoilers.

If you want to see these and more on the official website, visit the official Visual Spoiler page.

Until later!

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