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New Phyrexia Mechanics

In Mirrodin Besieged, the metal world of Mirrodin descended into all-out war, a pitched battle for the future of the entire plane. On one side stood the noble Mirrans, shining defenders of a unique way of life. On the other side lurked the insidious Phyrexians, reborn from the tiniest traces of an ancient invasion weapon to threaten the multiverse once more.

The war is over. The plane of Mirrodin has been compleated into a new incarnation of Magic's darkest den of horrors, and Phyrexia now has all five colors of mana at its disposal. But in the forgotten corners of a world remade, the Mirran resistance fights on.

Welcome to New Phyrexia!

Phyrexian Mana

Though Phyrexians are now found in all five colors, there are some Phyrexian spells anyone can cast—if they're willing to pay the price.

Mutagenic Growth

That strange symbol you see is a green Phyrexian mana symbol, and it has counterparts in the other four colors. A Phyrexian mana symbol can be paid with one mana of its color, just like a normal colored mana symbol. But it can also be paid with 2 life, letting you cast some spells on the cheap, cast other spells (like this one) for free, and cast spells of any of the five colors no matter what colors of mana you can generate. You can cast Mutagenic Growth for Green Mana, or you can cast it for 2 life and no mana at all—whether you control a Forest or not.

In most ways, a Phyrexian mana symbol works like any other mana symbol of its color. Mutagenic Growth is always a green card, because it has a green mana symbol in its cost—it doesn't matter whether you actually paid any green mana to cast it. Its converted mana cost is always 1, which you might need to know for cards such as Manaplasm and Inquisition of Kozilek. The life payment is a cost just like a mana payment is, so you don't get it back if the spell is countered.

You can't pay life to satisfy the cost of a Phyrexian mana symbol if current circumstances don't allow you to pay 2 life. If you're at 1 life, if your life total is 0 or less because of an effect like Platinum Angel's, or if you can't pay life at all because of an effect like Platinum Emperion's, you can't pay for a Phyrexian mana symbol by paying life. You can always pay for it using one mana of the appropriate color.

In addition to appearing in cards' mana costs, Phyrexian mana shows up in other places, such as in activation costs.

Trespassing Souleater

Activating Trespassing Souleater's ability more than once in a turn doesn't do anything—it's either unblockable or it's not—but there are cards in New Phyrexia with Phyrexian mana activated abilities you might want to activate multiple times in a turn. You can activate an ability like this one as many times as you want (as long as you can pay), by paying Blue Mana or 2 life each time.

Colored Artifacts

In New Phyrexia, every card with Phyrexian mana in its mana cost that isn't an instant or sorcery is a colored artifact.

Slash Panther

In the same way as colored artifacts in previous sets (such as Shards of Alara), Slash Panther is both an artifact card and a red card. It doesn't matter whether you paid 4 ManaRed Mana or 4 Mana and 2 life; it's always red (and never colorless), it's always an artifact, and it always has a converted mana cost of 5.

Slash Panther is an artifact because it says so on its type line; it's not because of some weird clause in the rules for Phyrexian mana. Mutagenic Growth, for instance, is not an artifact.

Golems

New Phyrexia has a small Golem tribal theme. Each of the "Splicers" creates one or more Golem tokens and grants some ability or bonus to all Golem creatures you control.

Maul Splicer

As long as you control Maul Splicer, all Golem creatures you control have trample. The Golem tokens created by Maul Splicer, Golem tokens created by other Splicers, Golem tokens created by cards like Golem Foundry or Titan Forge, cards like Rusted Relic that become Golems, and nontoken Golem creatures such as Golem Artisan (and, yes, Mistform Ultimus) all get the bonus. If Maul Splicer itself becomes a Golem somehow, it will have trample.

Living Weapon

The Phyrexians haven't forgotten their tricks from earlier in the block—far from it. Living weapon returns in New Phyrexia on cards like Sickleslicer.

Sickleslicer

Sickleslicer works just like previous Equipment with living weapon: When it enters the battlefield, you put a 0/0 black Germ creature token onto the battlefield and attach the Equipment to it. The token gives the Equipment a creature to carry it, the Equipment keeps the token from having 0 toughness and immediately being put in the graveyard, and everybody is happy (in a barbed, bloodstained sort of way).

If the Germ leaves the battlefield, the Equipment sticks around as usual, ready to be attached to other creatures. If the Equipment leaves the battlefield or moves to a different creature (either because of its equip ability or because of something like Brass Squire), the Germ token will go to the graveyard unless some other effect is raising its toughness above 0.

Proliferate

Proliferate is back as well, ready to add a -1/-1 counter, a charge counter, a poison counter, or any other sort of counter to any or all permanents or players that have at least one such counter already.

Grim Affliction

When Grim Affliction resolves, you do the things it tells you to do in the order they're listed. That means you put the -1/-1 counter on the creature before you proliferate, and that means that you can choose that very same creature as one of the permanents to put another counter on. If you don't want to proliferate onto the targeted creature for some reason, you don't have to.

If the creature you targeted is no longer a legal target as Grim Affliction would resolve—say, because it's no longer on the battlefield—the whole spell is countered, and you won't get to proliferate.

Infect and "Poisoned"

The infect mechanic is back as well—and in addition to black, green, white, and artifacts, you may find it in colors where you weren't expecting it.

Chained Throatseeker

As you might recall, creatures with infect deal damage to creatures and players in the form of -1/-1 counters and poison counters, respectively. A quick refresher:

  • 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 a player ever has ten or more poison counters, that player loses the game.
  • Unlike regular damage, -1/-1 counters remain on a creature indefinitely. 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 Tap 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 most 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.
  • Damage from a source with infect affects planeswalkers normally.

Additionally, Chained Throatseeker and a few other cards in New Phyrexia feature the returning rules term "poisoned." A player is poisoned as long as he or she has at least one poison counter. It doesn't matter how many poison counters that player has; a player either is poisoned or isn't.

Metalcraft

The Mirrans are down, but they're not out. Mirran rebels continue the fight against Phyrexian oppression. A few cards feature their returning signature mechanic, metalcraft.

Dispatch

Like other instants and sorceries with metalcraft, Dispatch checks how many artifacts you control when it resolves, not when you cast it. So if your opponent can get your third artifact off the battlefield while Dispatch is on the stack, you won't exile the creature, but you will still get to tap it.

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