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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Scars Previews Day 2! Planeswalker, New and Returning Mechanics

I told ya I'd be back today with more previews. Seriously, you've got to trust me a bit more on getting fast updates done. (hears from the crowd "Yeah right!"...and they'd have a point.)

Today I'm doing the same format as the last update: 1 Common, 1 Uncommon, 1 Rare, and 1 Mythic Rare.

And aren't you all in for a doozy!

But first, some hints to get you to want to read on (not like the promise of spoilers isn't enough, but this makes it just a tad bit more exciting!)

1) A new mechanics that, like Affinity, cares about how many artifacts you control.
2) A Mirrodin mechanic makes its return here...and no, I'm not cheating with using a mechanic that simply originated in Mirrodin.
3) A functional reprint of a favorite Kamigawa block Sorcery.
4) This Planeswalker's been seen in different forms in the storyline...but now our Shaper Savant gets his well-deserved spark.

Find out what these hints mean...after the jump!

(Images come from the MTGSalvation Scars of Mirrodin spoiler)

Let's start the previews, shall we?

First off! Affinity was a broken mechanic that, for the most part, let you reduce a card's cost by 1 for each artifact you controlled. In Scars of Mirrodin, we get a new mechanic that, like Affinity, cares about how many artifacts you control. Let me introduce you to Metalcraft!

Carapace Forger is an example of the use of the new Metalcraft ability word.

"Metalcraft" is shorthand for gaining a certain effect for controlling 3 or more artifacts. Yes...yes, that's a set "3". Every "metalcraft" ability will reference to see if you have at least 3 artifacts on the 'field to see if its stated effect happens.

Here the effect is fairly tame. It just gives Carapace Forger +2/+2 to make it a 4/4. Which might be perfectly balanced as long as Artifact Lands don't return. For the Elf to hit 4/4 reliably, a decent amount of the deck would have to be artifacts. That might be okay, as the Elf deck's main forces are, well, the elves. And I'm sure I'll preview plenty of cheap artifacts that might make you think about Carapacing.

Next up!! I'm not cheating you on this one now. This is an honest-to-goodness re-debut of an original Mirrodin mechanic.

No, it's not Affinity (I think Metalcraft did that one in).

No, it's not Sunburst (that's confirmed, there won't be any Sunburst in Scars of Mirrodin).

There's I think one more guess, so why don't you just see the card already?

Did anyone guess Imprint? Good job if you did! Nothing much changes with Imprint. Imprint will exile a card that fits the Imprint requirement. What changes a bit is the template for the rest of the ability. Instead of referring to the card exiled by Imprint as "the imprinted card" or "a card imprinted on [this]", the ability will simply reference "the exiled card", with the understanding that it's the card exiled by Imprint.

Imprint was..interesting...the first time around. Now we've got a creature that helps possibly cheat your fatties into play (gee, I wonder how we can better ensure that we get our biggest guys out with this...). At 5 mana, it may or may not see play. We'll see how desirable it is to cheat a big creature into play after Scars of Mirrodin comes in.

Halfway there! Up next is a near-reprint of a famous Champions of Kamigawa Rare that once commanded a $20+ price tag! You've heard of Cranial Extraction, right? But that "Arcane" sub-type kinda messes up reprinting it verbatim (unless it's specifically themed, of course, but the chances of an Arcane-based deck? Low.) So see it's relatively-themeless version...

 Cranial Extraction saw a ton of play for its time in Standard (as evidenced by its $20+ price tag while it was Standard-legal). I can bet Memoricide will, too, especially if combo decks keep being played or if certain colors of decks keep running the same card (*cough*Primeval Titan*cough*).

Finally, our Planeswalker! He may not be a new Planeswalker in the storyline, but he's had a creature incarnation in Future Sight. Now it's time to reveal our newest Planeswalker card...

The Shaper-Savant finally gets his Planewsalker spark! *sniff*

Venser (and at least one other Planeswalker in this set) is a 3-ability Planeswalker that returns to the normal way Planeswalkers are made: 1 "plus" ability and 2 "minus" abilities, with the last one being the Planeswalker's "ultimate" ability.

And ultimate it is, I think! But you have to build up to it, so let's see the other abilities real quick.

Venser's +2 ability lets you "blink" a permanent out of play for a very brief time. But what's that wording? "...target permanent...you own?" Yes, folks, there's finally a non-green way to get your stuff back from being stolen. But there's more. Let's say you have a Planeswalker on death's door. It's only got 1 Loyalty Counter left. What do you do now? Hey, I'll use Venser to "recharge" my Planeswalker!

The +2 seems nice, but what do we get for -1?


Seriously? Unbolckable?! So if I can get an Emrakul out, all I need to do the next turn is "Venser, attack, (more than likely) win"?

I hate to say, but I think Venser's one of the most aggressive Planeswalkers...

(gets reminded there's one more ability)

Really? Okay, let's look at his "Ultimate", the -8 ability.

(Reads...mumble mumblemumble "Emblem" mumble mumblemumble "cast a spell" mumblemumble "exile target permanent")


Guys, grab Venser when you can. Grab hold of him and don't let go. Venser looks good, and in the late game he looks great. W/U Control definitely found a nice counterpart to Ajani Vengeant (for those that splash Red or go "Superfriends" with it).

That's all for...

(someone mumbles something about watermarks on the cards)

Oh! real quick, then.

Did you notice that most every card has some kind of watermark (similar to how Ravnica block had certain cards aligned with certain guilds)? Scars of Mirrodin does the same. Most of the cards you'll see use the Mirran symbol, used to symbolize Mirrodin's natural-born residents. There's another symbol used on Contagion Clasp that represents the other side that caused the Scars, the Phyrexians. Yes, Phyrexia is back! It's a planar war for control of Mirrodin. Who's side will you back?

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