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CardShark Content - James Stone (9/12/2003)

As Eric Becker so eloquently summarized in his article ´´Mirrodin is coming
soon,´´ this expansion will undoubtedly be creating a major impact in the
Magic the Gathering world, from schematics to the very course of game play.
This article serves to measure this impact by recognizing trends and drawing conclusions based on our current pool of information, to include themes, mechanics, and of course, the cards!

In the spirit of exploration, let's start from the ground up. Literally.
Mirrodin will introduce a land type that will give the term ´´dual land´´ even
more ambiguity than you thought possible, with the induction of the
´´artifact land.´´ Namely, these are: ´´Tree of Tales
Tree of Tales
Tree of TalesSet: Mirrodin
Color:
Land
Type:
Artifact Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
285
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
(Tree of Tales isn't a spell.) T: Add G to your mana pool.
´´ (Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.
), ´´Ancient Den
Ancient Den
Ancient DenSet: Mirrodin
Color:
Land
Type:
Artifact Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
278
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(Ancient Den isn't a spell.) T: Add W to your mana pool.
´´
(Plains
Plains
PlainsSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add W to your mana pool.
), ´´Seat of the Synod
Seat of the Synod
Seat of the SynodSet: Mirrodin
Color:
Land
Type:
Artifact Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
283
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
(Seat of the Synod isn't a spell.) T: Add U to your mana pool.
´´ (Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.
), ´´Great Furnace
Great Furnace
Great FurnaceSet: Mirrodin
Color:
Land
Type:
Artifact Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
282
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(Great Furnace isn't a spell.) T: Add R to your mana pool.
´´ (Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.
), and
´´Vault of Whispers
Vault of Whispers
Vault of WhispersSet: Mirrodin
Color:
Land
Type:
Artifact Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
286
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(Vault of Whispers isn't a spell.) T: Add B to your mana pool.
´´ (Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.
). The artwork is also something to be spoken of,
displaying an archaic twist of landscape and artifice in its detail. This
new hybrid literally counts as both an artifact and a land, but is not
considered a spell when played. What does this mean to you? Well, for one,
it cannot be countered. This doesn't work well with Vedalken Archmage
Vedalken Archmage
Vedalken ArchmageSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
55
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
0
Toughness:
2
Text:
Whenever you play an artifact spell, draw a card.
(a
0/2 Vedalken Wizard for 2 blue and 2 colorless that allows you to draw a card
for each artifact spell you play), but I'm sure there are plenty of
artifacts in this expansion that will. Otherwise, these ´´metal lands´´ still
offer all of the resourcefulness of your basic lands (they come into play
normally, with no special effects or drawbacks), but perhaps most importantly, these artifacts play perfectly in with the ´´affinity for artifact´´ spells). Which brings us to our first affinity card.

Holding two-thirds of an Ancestral Recall
Ancestral Recall
Ancestral RecallSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Draw 3 cards or force opponent to draw 3 cards.
in your hand may initially sound
like a shameful tragedy, but with the introduction of this card you might
think otherwise. At first glance, ´´Thoughtcast
Thoughtcast
ThoughtcastSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
54
Artist:
Greg Hildebrandt
Text:
Affinity for artifacts (This spell costs 1 less to play for each artifact you control.) Draw two cards.
,´´ a common blue sorcery with
a casting cost of 5 (1 blue plus 4 colorless) to draw two cards may seem
like a waste of deck space. However, its affinity for artifacts would allow
you to play this card extremely early if you're using a deck with metal
lands and/or other artifacts. Think about it, the spell cost is reduced by
1 for every artifact you have in play, and your lands are counting towards
this total. Play an artifact on turn one and you could cast it on turn two! Another thought: while Mishra
Mishra
MishraSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
3
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
+0
Toughness:
-3
Text:
Double all damage dealt by creatures you control.
J3MgV29ya3Nob3A= will definitely be holding its value with this expansion, how
does Tolarian Academy
Tolarian Academy
Tolarian AcademySet: Urza's Saga
Color:
Land
Type:
Legendary Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
330
Artist:
Stephen Daniele
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool for each artifact you control.
look in comparison? I won't answer that!

While we're talking mana, lets segue into another great artifact that not
only makes for insane mana production, but also introduces the Imprint
mechanic at the same time. Extraplanar Lens
Extraplanar Lens
Extraplanar LensSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
169
Artist:
Lars Grant-West
Text:
Imprint|When Extraplanar Lens comes into play, you may remove target land you control from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.) Whenever a land with the same name as the imprinted card is tapped for mana, its controller adds one mana to his or her mana pool of any type that land produced.
, an artifact costing 3 mana,
allows you to remove a land you control from the game when it enters play,
´´imprinting´´ it into the artifact. Whenever you tap a land with the same
name of that which was imprinted, you add one mana of any color that the
sacrificed land could produce. Like mana flare, just cold and steely.
Another awe inspiring imprinting card is the Soul Foundry
Soul Foundry
Soul FoundrySet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
246
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Text:
Imprint - When Soul Foundry comes into play, you may remove a creature card in your hand from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.) X, T: Put a creature token into play that's a copy of the imprinted creature card. X is the converted mana cost of that card.
, a 4 casting cost
artifact that allows you to imprint a creature *from your hand* (yes, FROM
YOUR HAND); pay the converted casting cost of the creature removed from the
game, tap the foundry, and viola! Copy of removed creature is now in play!
This basically circumvents the difficulty in playing many types of
multi-colored creatures (Sliver Queen
Sliver Queen
Sliver QueenSet: Stronghold
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
141
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
7
Toughness:
7
Text:
Sliver Queen counts as a Sliver.2: Put a Sliver token into play. Treat this token as a 1/1 colorless creature.
comes to mind, which would be gruesome
given the kind of mana producing capabilities I've already discussed), while
if you're the type who likes your duels quick and easy, an imprinted Ball
Lightning would make for a very shocking foundry as your opponent would be
dealing with a 6/1 trampler every time you're able to pump one out (Voltaic
Key, anybody?). The seamlessness of these cards together make for many
powerful options. Which brings me to yet another great mechanic.

Ever had a tough time making choices? I know I have, ever since one of the
earliest ´´option´´ type cards, Alliance's ´´Feast or Famine
Feast or Famine
Feast or FamineSet: Alliances
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Bury target non-black, non-artifact creature or put a Zombie token into play. Treat this token as a 2/2 black creature.
.´´ Well, ´´One
Dozen Eyes´´ gives you more than an A or B choice, in fact, you now have the
´´All of the Above´´ option that you always wished you had (and always loved
on multiple choice tests). Entwine, a cousin of the ´´kicker´´ mechanic,
allows you to take both of the options offered by an option spell. ´´One Dozen
Eyes,´´ an uncommon green sorcery at the casting cost of 6 (1 green, 5
colorless) allows you the choice of either a 5/5 green beast creature token,
or 5 1/1 insect creature tokens; if you pay the entwine cost of 3 green (in addition to the casting cost), you get both (hence the dozen eyes staring at you)! Unfortunately, if you don't pay the entwine cost, you only get two big eyes or ten small eyes.

If these great new mechanics weren’t enough, along comes yet another addition to the battlefield: equipment! Artifacts can be equipped onto your creatures as a sorcery (for an equip cost); when your creature dies, the equipment remains in play! It is much like a licid, but a bit more difficult to get rid of! While you may have seen the prime example, “Bonesplitter
Bonesplitter
BonesplitterSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
C
Number:
146
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Text:
Equipped creature gets +2/+0. Equip 1 (1: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery. This card comes into play unattached and stays in play if the creature leaves play.)
,” a 1 casting artifact that when equipped on your creature for 1, gives the creature +2/+0, you may not have seen the “Worldslayer
Worldslayer
WorldslayerSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
R
Number:
276
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, destroy all permanents other than Worldslayer. Equip 5 (5: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery. This card comes into play unattached and stays in play if the creature leaves play.)
” (actually you probably have, it is all over the Mirrodin boxes, that big bad earth shattering sword). This 5 casting cost artifact, when equipped on your creature for 5, will destroy all permanents besides itself when the creature deals combat damage to a player. Magalomaniacs unite! Ok ok, it seems a little self destructive, but think about what happens when you put a few regeneration shields on your big fatties before that sword rips the universe a new one? Sure, there will be no lands, no enchantments, and nothing but that sword floating through the void along with your fatties (scratching their heads and wondering what the heck just happened), but I doubt your opponent is going to be able to stop the eminent beatdown, either! Though Worldslayer
Worldslayer
WorldslayerSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
R
Number:
276
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, destroy all permanents other than Worldslayer. Equip 5 (5: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery. This card comes into play unattached and stays in play if the creature leaves play.)
may be about the most extreme example of equipment thinkable, it appears there are going to be many forms of equipment, granting haste, defensive abilities, fear type attributes, or even somewhat detrimental modifiers to your creatures (+1/-1). Yes my friends, it is safe to assume that artifacts are going to be “in” this fall fashion season. But wait! There’s more! Just when you thought this expansion couldn’t offer you any more great themes, they introduce cards like the “Auriok Steelshaper
Auriok Steelshaper
Auriok SteelshaperSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Soldier
Rarity:
R
Number:
4
Artist:
Dany Orizio
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Equip costs you pay cost 1 less. As long as Auriok Steelshaper is equipped, Soldiers and Knights you control get +1/+1.
,” a rare white 1/1 human soldier for 2 (1 white, 1 colorless) that reads: “Equip costs you pay cost 1 less. As long as Auriok Steelshaper
Auriok Steelshaper
Auriok SteelshaperSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Soldier
Rarity:
R
Number:
4
Artist:
Dany Orizio
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Equip costs you pay cost 1 less. As long as Auriok Steelshaper is equipped, Soldiers and Knights you control get +1/+1.
is equipped, Soldiers and Knights you control get +1/+1.” Are you kidding me? We’re talking awesome tribal possibilities with both Soldiers AND Knights plus cheaper equipping costs! So when you’re through attacking with that Bonesplitter
Bonesplitter
BonesplitterSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
C
Number:
146
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Text:
Equipped creature gets +2/+0. Equip 1 (1: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery. This card comes into play unattached and stays in play if the creature leaves play.)
, move it for FREE to one of your untapped creatures for defense!

Finally, a few honorable card mentions. Red appears to still be holding in strong with its history of chaos with “Confusion in the Ranks
Confusion in the Ranks
Confusion in the RanksSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
87
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Whenever an artifact, creature, or enchantment comes into play, its controller chooses target permanent another player controls that shares a type with it. Exchange control of those permanents.
,” a 5 casting cost enchantment (2 red, 3 colorless) that really gives board control an entirely new spin. The card reads: “Whenever an artifact, creature, or enchantment comes into play, its controller chooses target permanent another player controls that shares a type with it. Exchange control of those permanents.” As the influx of artifacts makes their way into mainstream decks, paired with the metal lands that could very well be “traded” for non-land artifacts, this could make for some zany exchanges and otherwise extremely entertaining duels, especially in the world of team play! While we’re talking red, what do Winds of Change
Winds of Change
Winds of ChangeSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Justin Hampton
Text:
All players shuffle their hands into their libraries and then draw the same number of cards they originally held.
, Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of FortuneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
All players must discard their hands and draw seven new cards.
, and Soldier of Fortune
Soldier of Fortune
Soldier of FortuneSet: Alliances
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mercenary
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
R, T: Target player shuffles his or her library.
have in common? Why our next card of course! “UHN5Y2hvZ2VuaWMgProbe
Probe
ProbeSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
66
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Kicker 1B (You may pay an additional 1B as you play this spell.)Draw three cards, then discard two cards from your hand.If you paid the kicker cost, target player discards two cards from his or her hand.
,” a 2 casting cost artifact that deals 2 damage to a player every time they have to shuffle their deck. Make those fetch lands not so friendly, and put a price on the use of that ever-faithful Eternal Dragon
Eternal Dragon
Eternal DragonSet: Scourge
Cost:
7
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
12
Artist:
Justin Sweet
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying.
3WW: Return Eternal Dragon from your graveyard to your hand. Play this ability only during your upkeep.
Plainscycling 2
(not to mention cycling in general)! There is plenty to be done with this irritating artifact; at way you cut it, Probe
Probe
ProbeSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
66
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Kicker 1B (You may pay an additional 1B as you play this spell.)Draw three cards, then discard two cards from your hand.If you paid the kicker cost, target player discards two cards from his or her hand.
should make your duels shorter!

Mirrodin is promising to be a milestone in the history of MTG in all aspects; not only by altering the game play, but also in exploring a new multiverse through the ongoing story line, which brings me to another couple of great cards. “Glissa Sunseeker
Glissa Sunseeker
Glissa SunseekerSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
120
Artist:
Brom
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
First strike T: Destroy target artifact if its converted mana cost is equal to the amount of mana in your mana pool.
,” a 3/2 Elf Legend for 4 (2 green, 2 colorless), has First Strike and taps to “Destroy target artifact if its converted casting cost is equal to the amount of mana in your mana pool.” Sounds great for smashing the many great artifacts that Mirrodin promises to introduce…but even greater than that, if your opponent is playing with metal lands, it’s a mana-free stone rain every time Glissa untaps! Another great looking card, “Bosh, Iron Golem
Bosh, Iron Golem
Bosh, Iron GolemSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
8
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Golem Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
147
Artist:
Brom
Power:
6
Toughness:
7
Text:
Trample 3R, Sacrifice an artifact: Bosh, Iron Golem deals damage equal to the sacrificed artifact's converted mana cost to target creature or player.
,” is a 6/7 8 casting Artifact creature – Golem Legend, who has Trample and for the activation cost of 4 (1 red, 3 colorless) taps to “Sacrifice
Sacrifice
SacrificeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Sacrifice one of your creatures to add to your mana pool a number of black mana equal to that creature's casting cost.
an artifact: Bosh, Iron Golem
Bosh, Iron Golem
Bosh, Iron GolemSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
8
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Golem Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
147
Artist:
Brom
Power:
6
Toughness:
7
Text:
Trample 3R, Sacrifice an artifact: Bosh, Iron Golem deals damage equal to the sacrificed artifact's converted mana cost to target creature or player.
deals damage equal to the sacrificed artifact’s converted mana cost to target creature or player.” Sounds destructive! Especially since Bosh is an artifact with a converted casting cost of 8! Speaking of sacrifice, here is our last card mention of this article. “Megatog
Megatog
MegatogSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
R
Number:
100
Artist:
Pete Venters
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Sacrifice an artifact: Megatog gets +3/+3 and gains trample until end of turn.
,” a 6 casting 3/4 Atog
Atog
AtogSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
0: +2/+2. Each time you use this ability, you must sacrifice one of your artifacts in play.
(2 red, 4 colorless), gains +3/+3 and Trample for each artifact you sacrifice! Yes, you can bring this bad boy out on turn 6 with a deck of metal lands and sacrifice all your lands alone and make him a 21/22 Trampler!

As these new powerful artifacts, creatures, and mechanics are honed and implemented into mainstream decks, there is no doubt in my mind that the face of magic will never be the same again; the synergy this expansion hints at (even in these early stages) reek of extremely powerful combinations. In the weeks to come, Wizards of the Coast will continue to reveal aspects and brief glimpses into the world soon to be released upon us, and I will be more than happy to bring the highlights of this information to you. Mirrodin promises to bring the magic community an amazing new world, and I for one can’t wait to take part in it!

As a former pro-tour competitor and now licensed retailer, I care about card pricing trends as well as the gaming aspects of magic. I aim to present a balanced and experienced point of view that not only informs, but entertains. If you have found this article to match either of my goals, please let me know with your feedback ratings, or email your comments.

Thank you!


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