Scars of Mirrodin returns us to the metal world of Mirrodin, but not quite as we left it. If you've played with the original Mirrodin block, some of Scars' cards and mechanics will look familiar to you. But whether you're a veteran or a newcomer, Scars has some surprises in store ....
Some things haven't changed. Mirrodin is a world made entirely of metal, and in game terms, that means artifacts. More than a third of the cards in the set are artifacts, and many cards in the set care about artifacts. For example:
The new ability word metalcraft gives you a bonus for controlling three or more artifacts. As long as you control three or more artifacts, Carapace Forger gets +2/+2. As soon as you don't, it loses the bonus. So if a pumped-up Carapace Forger takes 2 damage and then your third artifact bites the dust later in the turn (or at the same time, such as in combat), Carapace Forger will also be destroyed.
Some of the cards with metalcraft abilities are themselves artifacts, such as Mox Opal, previewed this past weekend at PAX and Pro Tour–Amsterdam:
Since Mox Opal is itself an artifact, you only need two other artifacts to use its metalcraft ability. (Make sure your other two artifacts aren't also Mox Opals, though—it's legendary!)
One mechanic from the original Mirrodin block, found only on artifacts, is making its return:
Imprint is an ability word denoting an ability that exiles one or more cards. These cards might be from your library, as they are on Clone Shell, or they might come from your hand, the battlefield, or a graveyard.
Cards with imprint abilities have other abilities on them that refer back to the exiled card(s). (The original imprint cards referred to the "imprinted" card(s), but last year's "exile" terminology change makes that unnecessary.) In Clone Shell's case, the exiled card has a chance to come back from exile and hit the battlefield, but most imprint cards leave the card exiled indefinitely and do something based on the exiled card's characteristics. (Like what? Stay tuned to previews!)
Old Friends Return
The original Mirrodin block introduced Equipment and indestructible cards, both of which have since become staples of the game. Scars has plenty of Equipment and plenty of indestructible artifacts, and it even has one card that's both:
Also returning are Mirrodin's little monitors, the Myr:
There's also a new cycle of Spellbombs. But unlike the originals (Sunbeam Spellbomb, for example), these new Spellbombs can get you a color-aligned effect and draw you a card:
That second ability doesn't care why Origin Spellbomb was put into a graveyard, so you can use it even if you sacrifice Origin Spellbomb to pay for something other than its own first ability. And there are lots of reasons to sacrifice artifacts in Scars of Mirrodin, particularly in red. (Like what? And what do the other four Spellbombs do? Stay tuned to previews!)
The first Mirrodin prominently featured charge counters, and Scars follows in its metallic footsteps:
Tumble Magnet has no built-in way to recover its charge counters—once you use it three times, you're done—but fortunately, there are cards in the set that let you add charge counters to it. (Like what? Stay tuned to ... the rest of this article!)
You might have noticed that all the cards we've shown you so far have "watermarks"—those shadow-images floating behind the text in the text box. You might also have noticed that the eight cards shown above all bear the same watermark:
That symbol is the Mirran watermark—that is, the mark of the natives of Mirrodin. But now, they're no longer alone. About 20% of the cards in the set—like the two we're about to show you—bear this watermark instead:
Longtime Magic storyline fans might recognize that as the mark of Phyrexia—a hellish artificial plane of corrosive oil and mortified flesh, ruled by a twisted belief system that glorifies perfection above all else. Phyrexia itself was destroyed long ago ... but the Phyrexians live on. To learn more about their infiltration of Mirrodin, explore the Mirrodin Site.
The Phyrexians' arsenal contains potent weapons to wear down Mirrodin's defenses. Chief among them are poison counters and -1/-1 counters, both of which are handed out most prominently in this set by the infect mechanic:
Creatures with infect deal damage to creatures and players in the form of -1/-1 counters and poison counters, respectively. So what does that mean, exactly?
When a creature with infect deals damage to a player, the player doesn't lose any life as a result of the damage—he or she gets that many poison counters instead. If any player ever has ten or more poison counters, that player loses the game.
When a creature with infect deals damage to another creature, the -1/-1 counters remain on the creature indefinitely. They're not removed if the creature regenerates or the turn ends. A creature with 0 or less toughness is put into the graveyard, even if it's indestructible or can regenerate.
Infect applies to any damage, not just combat damage—so if you can somehow give your Prodigal Pyromancer infect, its ability will deal damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters and to players in the form of poison counters.
Damage from a source with infect is damage, even though it does something different from other damage. Lifelink, deathtouch, and abilities that trigger when a creature deals damage will all work as normal, and the damage can be prevented or redirected just like any other damage.
Damage from a source with infect affects planeswalkers normally.
Phyrexia isn't just about tearing things down. The Phyrexians, in their own twisted way, are trying to make all life in the multiverse perfect. To do that, they need to spread.
Proliferate is a new keyword action that lets them do just that. To proliferate, choose any number of players and/or permanents that each have at least one counter of any type. Each player chosen gets a counter of a kind that player has (so far, poison counters are the only counters players can get). Put a counter on each permanent chosen this way of a kind that permanent already has.
So if a creature already has one or more -1/-1 counters on it, you can put another one on it when you proliferate, accelerating the infection. If an artifact already has one or more charge counters on it, you can put another charge counter on it, but you can't put a charge counter on an artifact that doesn't have one already. You can even choose to put more -1/-1 counters on your opponents' creatures while leaving your own creatures with -1/-1 counters on them alone, or give your opponent a poison counter without giving yourself one.
The Corrosion Begins
Stay tuned to magicthegathering.com for more set info, and be sure to check out the Mirrodin Site for daily updates, art sneak peeks, and card previews!