Editor’s Note: Before you crazy kids head out to NPH Release parties and events this weekend, be sure to read this piece from TCP writer, Dj , on the flavor and content you should expect when you crack your first packs.
Hello everyone and welcome back to Mirrodin… well, I guess it’s Phyrexia now. As everyone has seen by now the Phyrexians have won the war for the plane and it has been greatly changed for this new set. While I’m a little disappointed that the Mirrans lost because I really liked their artifacts and abilities, I am definitely excited for the newest cards that will totally change the game. Here are a few of what I think are the coolest new things to find in New Phyrexia.
1. The Phyrexians have regained their status as the most terrifying force in the Magic multiverse. With a Phyrexia victory we once again have access to some devastating spells, some with awesome improvements. Infect is naturally a huge theme in this set and the Phyrexian penchant for distributing -1/-1 and demanding blood sacrifices are also in tons of cards, particularly black, for this set. I particularly like Grim Affliction
Grim Affliction, allowing you to pass out counters and also proliferate any that happen to be on the battlefield already. However one of the coolest new cards in this set is a huge improvement over a classic Magic card: the Phyrexian Negator. The Phyrexian Obliterator
Phyrexian Obliterator is something I want in every mono-black deck, forcing any opponent without removal in hand to sacrifice a few permanents to take out this guy.
2. Phyrexian leadership has been split along the 5 colors of mana. While black is a dominant force in New Phyrexia, the other colors get cool Phyrexian cards as well. With exposure to the five suns of Mirrodin, factions have emerged among the Phyrexians each with their own ideas of perfection. This leads us to some really cool cycles of cards to play with. Our article from last week goes over how cool the Praetors are but there is another neat cycle of chancellors to play with. These guys are all expensive but they make up for it with some cool abilities, one of which they do before the game even begins. Like the leylines, the chancellors can give you an advantage from the start of the game doing things like milling your opponent, countering spells, or draining life.
3. Colored artifacts return with a Phyrexian twist. Colored artifacts were a major mechanic of Esper in the Shards of Alara block. With the return to Mirrodin since then, it would seem strange if the artifact plane didn’t have some way to add color to their artifacts. It took a Phyrexian invasion but now they have a way to add colors to artifacts. These Phyrexian artifacts are unique by letting you pay for their colors with a payment of life. This mechanic give artifacts colors, but it doesn’t limit them to those colors in building a deck.
4. Phyrexian mana gives decks access to effects normally outside their colors. This new mechanic is probably going to cause the greatest changes in the game. Many spells in New Phyrexia can be paid with colorless mana and some life, allowing them to be put in any deck. Some of the most useful abilities of other colors can now be added to a deck if you are willing to pay life for it. We’ve talked about some awesome Phyrexian cards before but I don’t think we can talk enough about them. I find that the coolest of these cards are the answers such as Dismember and Act of Aggression that can surprise your opponent. Mutagenic Growth is going to cause all sorts of trouble, especially against burn decks. For 2 life you can pump your creatures in an emergency. Tapped out from playing Jin-Gitaxias
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur and about to lose him to a timely Dismember
Dismember? Not anymore! Just pay 2 life and he will be around to wreck your opponent’s hand. These kinds of surprises from Phyrexian spells are going to cause a lot of hesitation in your opponent.
5. Karn has been freed from Phyrexian control and regained his planeswalker spark. Ever since it was announced we were returning to Mirrodin
I was just waiting for Karn
Karn Liberated to return as a planeswalker card. It looks like he is definitely worth the wait. The first thing anyone will notice is that he’s colorless. While 7 is a little expensive for a planeswalker he will find a way to get out quick, especially with mana ramp. His abilities also look pretty expensive but they will certainly be worth it. They have some control aspects, exiling cards from a hand or the battlefield, so hopefully you can take out some threats while he is out. Like any proper planeswalker, his ultimate is one that can end the game (and make a new one). If you can force an opponent to discard something really cool or risk exiling one of your cards to start a new game with a guy that will make the new game end very fast.
A new set is always exciting and these are just quick overview of the coolest new things. As usual there is a good mix of cool new mechanics and awesome cards. The set is released today and I know I will be excited to see what new decks I can make with these cards. I’m certainly most excited for Karn, but what are you hoping to pull from your new packs?