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By: Drbenwayy, Mike Savage
Jul 21 2010 1:37am
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Thanks to the Community Cup Team, the time to crack some Mirrodin packs is finally upon us!  If you contributed to the Community Cup Discussion forums at all, you should have received your Mirrodin, Darktsteel, and Fifth Dawn booster packs after downtime on Wednesday, July 21th.  Mirrodin Block drafts are going to be held from July 23rd at 9am PDT to July 26th at 9am PDT.  Mirrodin was released almost seven years ago on October 23, 2003. This set was based on artifacts and was critically different than anything in Magic up until that point.  While this set was often praised for creativity, it opened a can of worms. Mirrodin block is widely remembered as one of the biggest mistakes in Magic History.  The uniform Affinity decks turned many people off from competitive play and from Magic in general. Skullclamp was banned in Standard and Block on June 20, 2004, less than four months after its release in Darksteel.  Almost all decks were abusing this artifact.  Looking at a top 16 result from that time, 59 out of a possible 64 slots were playing the card either maindeck or sideboard.  Arcbound Ravager, Disciple of the Vault, and the artifact lands were banned March, 1 2005. However, these cards all legal in draft and sealed formats.  Mirrodin introduced Equipment, Affinity, Entwine, and Imprint while Darksteel premiered Indestructible and Modular and Fifth Dawn premiered Sunburst and Scry.    The most influential and game changing of these was equipment. During the Kamigawa block, an infamous piece of equipment drew almost as much criticism as the broken affinity decks of the time.  I'm still not entirely sure how to pronounce that card.   Enough of the history lesson. 

I first signed up for MTGO in August of 2003 but only played for a few months before quitting.  I came back right after Ravnica was released and never had the opportunity to draft Mirrodin.  I did play in the Mirrodin Block Farewell League (Oh how I miss you leagues) and remember chatting with someone in the league about trying to find a Darksteel pack, as they weren’t being sold in the store at this time.  I started spamming the auction house and classifieds.  This was back when the auction house saw constant action and while there were bots, they weren't as big as the bots of today. He found one minutes before me and opened a Sword of Fire and Ice and I had the luxury of opening a Serum Powder. I'm still bitter about it to this day!

Mirrodin is a unique drafting experience. With all the constructed bannings, you would think the MD5 drafts would have some insanely powerful cards.  However, as a draft format this isn’t quite the case.  Being almost 7 years old, the power level of the cards is extremely low, even compared to other sets released before it.  The games can and will often go long.  Triple Mirrodin and to a lesser extent M/M/D drafts were the exception to the rule with players fighting for Affinity cards and desperately accelerating into early Frogmite and Myr Enforcer.  This would allow players the chance to run as little as 14 lands, reaping the benefits from artifact lands to reduce affinity cost.  This strategy also saw players running fairly weak to otherwise almost unplayable artifacts with low casting costs such as Welding Jar or Synod Sanctum to accelerate affinity. Colored Myr (such as Gold Myr and Silver Myr) were always valuable picks for both reducing affinity and mana acceleration but as Fifth Dawn was introduced, Myrs became more valuable and sought after with the introduction of Sunburst. When you cast a permanent with sunburst, you add a counter to it for each different color mana while casting. Sunburst makes Fifth Dawn feel completely different from the previous two sets.  Whereas before players were focused on aggressive or midrange decks with equipment firmly helping their creatures, they now needed to worry about mana fixing.  Sunburst included strong cards such as the common rarity Skyreach Manta, Suntouched Myr, and Opaline Bracers, uncommon rarity Etched Oracle, and the Bringer cycle, which while not Sunburst, could be alternatively cast for Prismatic.

Drafting this set is almost completely different than drafting any other set.  With the high number of artifacts, it is difficult to read signals in the draft. It is not unusual to be without a color until much later than in normal blocks because your first few picks may be devoted to artifacts and equipment. Colored rares are almost always better than the artifact rares, however the power of the rares overall are quite weak. If you receive a pack with rares and uncommons available, the common first picks are Spikeshot Goblin, Bonesplitter, and Myr Enforcer.

With the introduction of Sunburst, 5 color green becomes a valid yet risky strategy.  This strategy can go awry if Fifth Dawn doesn't prove to be cooperative. Key cards for this archetype include Journey of Discovery and colored Myr in Mirrodin, Darksteel Ingot and Mirrodin's Core in Darksteel and Wayfarer's Bauble, hopefully with plenty of Skyreach Manta to act as your late game beaters.  I wouldn't suggest this strategy.  Affinity is viable if you get enough supporting cards in the first pack.  This will most likely place you in blue, with black being a solid second color for cards like Nim Shrieker and Irradiate.  Top picks for affinity will be cards such as Frogmite, Myr Enforcer, Somber Hoverguard, and Thoughtcast, which are all found in Mirrodin.   The Golems are found in Darksteel, such as Spire Golem, with (Qumulux) found in Fifth Dawn.  You can supplement cheap Modular cards from Darksteel into an affinity deck as well. While there are plenty of viable strategies and color combinations, I think it would be more beneficial to outline the decent common and uncommon cards each color has.


White is the strongest color in the set with many of the strong cards coming in at the common rarity.  If you can get off to a strong start in Mirrodin with white creatures and perhaps a decent piece of equipment or two, you should be able to do fairly well.  However, expect white to be heavily drafted and after those first 2 strong white cards, the color may quickly dry up.  Because the power level of white dwindles in Darksteel, you may have changed your draft strategy by the time you open Fifth Dawn. 

Arrest Skyhunter Patrol Skyhunter Cub Leonin Den-GuardAuriok Transfixer Loxodon Mystic Blinding Beam Loxodon Anchorite Skyhunter ProwlerLeonin SkyhunterVanquishSkyhunter ProwlerSkyhunter SkirmisherStasis Cocoon


Black is a weak color in Mirrodin, gaining power in Darksteel but once again deflating going into Fifth Dawn.  While drafting evasion is always acceptable,  fear is diminished with all the artifacts being played.  Going heavy black in pack one can benefit you going into pack two. Black is arguable the only color that will support a mono colored deck.  This can make cards such as Consume Spirit from borderline playable into monster game changers.  Nim Shrieker can be a sizable threat and beater with only a few artifacts on the field. (Disciples of the Vault) with the combination of Spellbombs was common draft strategy in MMM and MMD towards the end of their cycles. If you pick up a few Disciples in the first pack and some cheap artifacts such as Chromatic Sphere or Conjurer's Bauble, you can draft the white cards in Fifth Dawn such as Leonin Squire and (Auriok Savagers) to combo out an opponent and draw cards like crazy.

Irradiate Terror Consume Spirit Echoing Decay Essence Drain Chittering RatsGrimclaw BatsDross GolemDevour in ShadowNim ShriekerMoriok ScavengerNim Shrieker


Red has the best common in the set in Spikeshot Goblin.  He's a fragile little guy but if he stays alive long enough for you to throw a piece of equipment or three on him, you should be able to roll over your opponent. Red starts as a strong color in Mirrodin but the card choices quickly fade as you move to Darksteel and Fifth Dawn.  This lends the color to be mostly splashed for removal in the form of Electrostatic Bolt, Magma Jet, and Barbed Lightning. Red also has access to decent artifact removal.  Detonate can be quite strong as you get to not only kill an artifact but deal damage to the creature's controller as well.  Nothing is worse to affinity player than playing an artifact land turn one and seeing it blown up by Detonate.  This can cripple their whole game, as I mentioned before that they run as little as 14 lands.

Spikeshot Goblin Shatter Electrostatic Bolt Vulshok SorcererMagma JetBarbed LightningFurnace WhelpShrapnel BlastDetonate


Green is often thought of as a weak color in this format.  When a color is considered weak, there may be a benefit in heavily drafting that color because players will even avoid the strong cards in the color.  When Fangren Hunter is the second best common in Mirrodin, you know the set is lacking power.  Equip a Bonesplitter onto that baby and you can do some real damage.   Green does have access to plenty of artifact removal and there are plenty of cards which give you something in return, such as the Viridian Shaman, Tel-Jilad Justice and Deconstruct.  The biggest advantage green creatures have for them is protection from artifacts and Reach, with flying being the most important evasion in this block. Getting out a few Tel-Jilad Archers can single handily stop an affinity player.  Having the protection from artifacts does disadvantage you from placing equipment on those creatures.

Tel-Jilad Archers Deconstruct Fangren Hunter Tel-Jilad Chosen Tel-Jilad OutriderEternal WitnessTel-Jilad JusticeViridian Shaman


Blue is a midrange power in the set. Neurok Spy will often be unblockable and with a piece of equipment attached is even more lethal.  Annul is cheap enough to keep open at all times to deny a potential game changing threat.  As mentioned before Somber Hoverguard can be amazingly aggressive in an affinity deck and with cards like Thoughtcast, you'll be gaining advantage in no time. Trinket Mage is an all star, tutoring up artifact lands, cantrip artifacts, and low cost equipment.

Neurok Spy Annul Regress Somber Hoverguard Vedalken Engineer Trinket Mage Thought CourierHoverguard ObserverSerum VisionsAdvanced HoverguardPlasma ElementalThoughtcast


Bonesplitter is a common first pick which turns those junky little creatures into beaters that can take down most creatures in the format.  Every Spellbomb is valuable for at least the card draw they provide.  Their main abilities can be used in most cases, with Sunbeam Spellbomb's main ability the weakest of the bunch. Vulshok Gauntlets can be insanely powerful but can also cripple you if playing with a low creature count or against a deck with a lot of removal.  Please note that Loxodon Warhammer is printed as an uncommon in this set.  Golems are decent to be run in any deck that can support them.  

Bonesplitter Leonin Scimitar Myr EnforcerLeonin BolaPyrite SpellbombFrogmiteLoxodon WarhammerCrystal ShardLoxodon WarhammerComposite GolemSkyreach MantaEtched OracleSuntouched MyrVulshok GauntletsArcbound Bruiser

Money Cards

There are plenty of 1 ticket rares in the sets but I have only listed those which are currently at 2 tickets or above. Hope everyone pulls some money!

Set Card Value
Mirrodin Chrome Mox 4.5
Solemn Simulacrum
(Platinum Angel)
(Sword of Fire and Ice)
(Sword of Light and Shadow)
Darksteel Darksteel Forge 3
Arcbound Ravager
Darksteel Aether Vial (Uncommon) 2.5
Fifth Dawn
(Engineered Explosives)
Fifth Dawn
Crucible of Worlds
Fifth Dawn
Vedalken Shackles 
Fifth Dawn Eternal Witness (Uncommon) 4
Fifth Dawn
Mycosynth Golem 

Fifth Dawn

(Beacon of Immortality) 


While I don't have a lot of experience with drafting this set, I hope this article acted  as at least a refresher. While writing and researching the topic, I did learn some tips that will hopefully help me do well in the upcoming drafts. I wish everyone luck in the events this weekend. There are plenty of draft simulation websites and tools available online for those who wish to sharpen their skills.  CCGDecks.com has a simple quicktime draft interface and I have drafted on there a few times in the last few days to get better acquainted with the set.  We will see MD5 as a featured Nix Tix draft from September 1st-8th so even if you have a busy upcoming weekend, you will still get to use the free product in a few weeks.  I think it would've been wise of Wizards to move MD5 Nix Tix a few weeks later to late September as both a countdown and introduction to Scars of Mirrodin. Perhaps we will see some Premier Sealed Events during the weeks leading up to Scars. Farewell everyone and happy drafting!




I used to always draft UG in by ShardFenix at Wed, 07/21/2010 - 02:53
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I used to always draft UG in MD5 to decent results. Sometimes splashing red for pyrite spellbombs and sunburst

2-1-0? Really? by middleman_35 at Wed, 07/21/2010 - 04:21
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I realize these are free, but 2-1-0 payout? These may not even fire after the initial few hours, as no one will have any Darksteel.

EDIT: After thinking about it a bit more, I would be surprised if ANY of these fire. I'll certainly be either saving my packs for MR Nix Tix Week or just selling them. These drafts are essentially just cracking packs. Even winning one of these is likely to be less worthwhile than just selling your packs.

I am very happy to get the by Drbenwayy at Wed, 07/21/2010 - 11:30
Drbenwayy's picture

I am very happy to get the free product and don't want to seem ungrateful but have to admit there is a small part of me that is disappointed at the prize payout. I wrote this article because I thought these events would be firing constantly during the weekend but didn't consider that they would cut down on the prizes. I got all amped up to play these drafts and now I just may end up waiting until the Nix Tix as well.

The 9 Tix Alara Block drafts are a good deal and I wouldn't mind playing the Force of Will/Dual Land Lottery in the 12 tix MED drafts. All in all, I can't really complain.

Hmmm I didn't get mine. Guess by Paul Leicht at Wed, 07/21/2010 - 03:27
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Hmmm I didn't get mine. Guess they blew it again. (==edit==) Or this article is predated and posted before it should be.

no the packs should be handed by ShardFenix at Wed, 07/21/2010 - 03:41
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no the packs should be handed out during the downtime today

Reading is essential. (check by Paul Leicht at Wed, 07/21/2010 - 06:26
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Reading is essential. (check the edit.)