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First Glance at Shards - Nik Zitomer (11/26/2008)

[Editor's note: This paragraph was found on the “Message from the editor” section on the Cardshark Content page shortly after Shards was released.]
“So what does everyone think of Shards of Alara? New Planeswalkers, new Dragons, new Sphinxes, new Angels, new Beast
Beast
BeastSet: Garruk vs. Liliana
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
1
Artist:
John Donahue
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
s, and the return of Zombies! You can pick them all up here on Cardshark for less money than any of those other sites, so check them out! This new set makes my creative side itch to write something, so hopefully it does the same to you. Send me an article at submissions@cardshark.com”


Shards of Alara! Shiny new cards?!?!? New Dragons! New Angels! New Sphinxes???? Well, let me tell you, I like me some new and shiny. For me, Shards of Alara is even more new and shiny than for most of you. The reason for this? Well, I have been an off and on player of MTG for more than a decade now, and Shards represents a new “on” again state of play.

So, I basically started fresh with Shards of Alara, without having seen anything of the rest of what is currently in Standard. This gives me a unique view of the set, I think, in that I am not influenced by thinking about how these new cards fit into the current Type 2. So, When I opened my sealed product at the local pre-release, I was really just looking at these cards for what they were, not what they might combo with well later when I got home.

That being said, I pulled a decent Naya
Naya
NayaSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
27
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Text:
You may play any number of additional lands on each of your turns. Whenever you roll {C}, target red, green, or white creature you control gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each land you control.
card pool and played with it. No real bombs, just some solid mana-fixing, with some good big stompy creatures. I had lots of Panoramas and tri-lands in color and three Obelisks, so the mana worked great every game. Keeper of Progenitus
Keeper of Progenitus
Keeper of ProgenitusSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Druid
Rarity:
R
Number:
135
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
Whenever a player taps a Mountain, Forest, or Plains for mana, that player adds one mana to his or her mana pool of any type that land produced.
came out every game I played, and I loved it for sealed. It helped me to get huge mana every time it showed up, and rarely helped my opponents as much as myself. In the end, I lost to Esper in record time twice in a row, and went home before the end of the tourney, as I had some other obligations. Tidehollow Strix
Tidehollow Strix
Tidehollow StrixSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Bird
Rarity:
C
Number:
203
Artist:
Cyril Van Der Haegen
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying Deathtouch (Whenever this creature deals damage to a creature, destroy that creature.)
was the bane of my game for those two rounds with Esper, and I think that is a fantastic card for the price. Punish Ignorance
Punish Ignorance
Punish IgnoranceSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
183
Artist:
Shelly Wan
Text:
Counter target spell. Its controller loses 3 life and you gain 3 life.
also hurt me late in one of those games. Sharding Sphinx
Sharding Sphinx
Sharding SphinxSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Sphinx
Rarity:
R
Number:
55
Artist:
Michael Bruinsma
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying Whenever an artifact creature you control deals combat damage to a player, you may put a 1/1 blue Thopter artifact creature token with flying into play.
came into play and that finished me off. I don’t think that card is really fantastic, but it did the job in that game.

The next week I figured I’d try again with the release event at my store. I was hoping to draw cards for another shard, but basically ended up with the same card pool, with different bombs. I was lucky enough to pull Mayael the Anima
Mayael the Anima
Mayael the AnimaSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Shaman
Rarity:
M
Number:
179
Artist:
Jason Chan
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
3RGW, T Look at the top five cards of your library. You may put a creature card with power 5 or greater from among them into play. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
, and activate her for a Godsire
Godsire
GodsireSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
8
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
M
Number:
170
Artist:
Jim Murray
Power:
8
Toughness:
8
Text:
Vigilance T Put an 8/8 Beast creature token into play that's red, green, and white.
. [Editor's note: Holy crap that's awesome.] How could that not make me happy? Unsurprisingly, I won that game handily. Overall, I fared a little better this time, and went 2-2.

OK, so that was my experience with the pre-release and release events. Now I had a good card pool to make a decent constructed deck (or so I thought). I picked up two Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
Exalted Intro Packs so I could play with two Battlegrace Angel
Battlegrace Angel
Battlegrace AngelSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
6
Artist:
Matt Stewart
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying Exalted (Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.) Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, it gains lifelink until end of turn.
s and four Sigiled Paladin
Sigiled Paladin
Sigiled PaladinSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Knight
Rarity:
U
Number:
27
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
First strike Exalted (Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
s. I also pulled an RW1weXJpYWwgArchangel
Archangel
ArchangelSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
7
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
2
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
FlyingAttacking doesn't cause Archangel to tap.
from one of those two packs, and she fit right in. I thought my Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
deck was going to go in and mop up some people. So, I arrive at the store, thinking Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
is the best thing since sliced bread… Did I mention I MISSED the last four sets? Well, they did not miss me. In fact, almost all of them pounded me in the face. HARD. I won exactly ZERO rounds that night. I did manage to still snag a pack through a bye, but that did little to lighten my mood. So, While I really enjoy the flavor, art and mechanics introduced in Shards, I have not found much of a home for many of the cards yet. My Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
deck is still built, and will be tweaked some more, but right now, R/B Goblins have my heart. We’ll see if I fare any better at the next event….


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