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By: xger, Xger
Jan 07 2016 1:34am
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Ah, Mirrodin. Home to one of the most overpowered mechanics of all time--Affinity. Mirrodin block was among the two closest times to Magic dying (along with Urza's block). The block was so oppressive that tournament players left in droves. Let's see what that means for drafting;

Introduction to the Article Series:

First, I will do a fiscal analysis. While a lot of players will play just for the fun of it, knowing what cards are worth something is a good plan. Since none of these formats are competitively valued anymore, there really is no reason to pass on a $30 card. Even if it is terrible and useless in limited. Further, knowing what common and uncommons are worth the effort to sell could be useful.

However, just a rote listing of pricing is only so helpful. A lot of the cards, particularly core sets and the older sets, just don't have the supply to adequately meet demand. That means some of the cards might tank quickly when there is a sudden surge of supply. Some of these sets have probably never had flashbacks, or it has been many years. That means the market reaction might be extreme or subtle. It is also unknown how many cards will enter the system—if the drafts are popular, the effect is greater.

To give the most useful information, I am going to track the value of the sets already given a flashback as well as the time just prior to the flashback. Hopefully this will give some idea of the fiscal value of the flashback draft. Of course, it is still going to be a lottery most of the time.

Second, I will give some brief drafting advice. This will come either from my own experience and memory (if I actively drafted the set) or from what articles I can dredge up. Likely, it will be both, but will probably lean more towards the articles.

With that, let's get started:

Mirrodin History and Backdrop:

Mirrodin was the first artifact block (at least the first officially designated as such) and brought Affinity and Equipment. Seeing that equipment was new, Wizards hadn't worked the chinks out yet so we had severely undercosted equipment (Bonesplitter is really good), overpriced equipment (really,Slagwurm Armor, you are fooling no one), and equipment at the wrong rarity (Loxodon Warhammer has the distinction of being one of the few cards to move up in rarity).

bonesplitterslagwurm armorLoxodon warhammer

Mirrodon also has the distinction of being the set with the most banned cards in Modern--not including the artifact lands. Chrome Mox, Cloudpost, Second Sunrise, and Seething Song all have strong uses that either scared them too much to start or lead to a ban. The artifact lands are simply too powerful an enabler. Imagine the current affinity deck with these:

Ancient DenGreat FurnaceSeat of the SynodTree of TalesVault of Whispers

Mirrodin also had an invitational card in it, the long term stalwart, thoughtful, Sad Robot:

Solemn Simulacrum

As for MTGO news at the time, 8th edition release was considerably bungled, as was the release of version 2.0. The party to apologize crashed the servers again. Mirrodin didn't actually release on MTGO until a month and a half after paper. During the Mirrodin time, the server was up and down, events crash and it was unreliable. Mirroring the paper world--but for different reasons--MTGO struggled during Mirrodin block time.

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices for the individual cards are from MTGOtraders sell price on Monday night the 4th. Set trends are from MTG goldfish.

Mirrordin:

Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Oblivion Stone $35.33
Glimmervoid $10.07
Chalice of the Void $9.09
Chrome Mox $8.29
Mesmeric Orb  $3.06
Goblin Charbelcher $3.04
Tooth and Nail $2.79
Mindslaver $2.25
Spoils of the Vault $1.79
Necrogen Mists $1.74
Top 5 Uncommons
Name Price
Sun Droplet $1.19
Isochron Scepter $0.93
Scrabbling Claws $0.87
Lightning Greaves $0.49
Atog $0.42
Worthwhile Commons
Ancient Den $1.36
Great Furnace $1.33
Chromatic Sphere $1.10

So, now we play the Oblivion Stone lottery. While there are less rares than there were in 8th, there is really only the one money card, so the odds are worse. Given the high amount of play stone sees, it seems unlikely that these drafts will impact the price much.

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
Since the announcement, the set has increased in value just over 2% $1.92 With Commons $5.76
$1.15 Without Commons $3.47
$1.52 Without lottery rares $4.55

Some of the common are probably going to take a big hit in value. In the long term though they will likely increase in price because the odds of a reprint of any of them is pretty low. Most of the rares are in lesser played formats, so the influx of supply could cause price crashes.

Flashback Trend - Eighth Edition

Still not quite ready to produce a fully helpful analysis here, as I am writing this with the Eighth Edition queues still up. Let's look at what 5 and half days of queues have done to the prices:

Before Price After Price Percent Change
$101.20 $90.30 -10.8%
$35.00 $32.65 -6.7%

So, in a little less than 6 days there has been a nearly 11% decline. With another day to go, it might drop fully 12%, though most of the drop has been frontloaded. The second row is for Blood Moon, the fiscal crown of Eighth. So the lottery didn't damage it too badly. I don't think Stone will have a similar drop considering how much more play the Stone sees.

Draft Strategy:

My Take:

Mirrodin overall is powerful and the colors and artifacts are deep. Here's a breakdown:

White has several common bombs and blow outs. At common, Awe Strike is so cheap that it can really swing things out of nowhere, especially is an opponent's big creature does no damage to the triple blockers. Blinding Beam is game winning good and it's a common. White also has Raise the Alarm at common, so surprise blockers is a thing. The Leonins that get buffed for equip are stronger than they seem because it is so easy to get equipment. The Slith Ascendant is the best slith for consistency.

 

Blue's creatures are overall weak, with the exception of the Somber Hoverguard. There are useful creatures, just nothing amazing. However, blue has great spells and is the best color for affinity. Blue gives Thoughtcast and Domineer. Annul is main deck worthy, at least for 1 copy, likely more. It can be important at time, Regress hits lands as well. While blue is best with affinity, since every deck will have some artifacts, blue works just about everywhere. 
Black doesn't really have the normal removal it gets. Terror is so often a miss in this format that it isn't a first few pick. Irradiate depends on your deck and your luck. However, Betrayal of Flesh is amazing and can absolutely destroy an unlucky opponent. Wrench Mind can also do a lot of damage to certain decks. The Nims in black are generally going to be good, but not great that often. Don't underestimate Wail of the Nim as there are a lot of 1 toughness creatures, and regenerating is also good. Disciple of the Vault is one of the best commons in the set simply because so many artifacts die. Keep him around if at all possible.
 
I know I have a penchant to like and play red, but red really is the best color in the set. If red's only card was Spikeshot Goblin, it would probably still be in competition for best color. With so many equipment, Spikey is amazing. I've played just Spikey in red and not regretted it at all. Add to that Grab the Reins, and red has devastating potential. While 7 mana is a lot, the effect is game winningly powerful. The options are many--steal and sac your opponents best, steal one to block while saccing another to kill, and so on. Then there's the rest of red, which includes great spells like Shatter and Electrostatic Bolt. Then Shrapnel Blast and Atog. Oh, red's Slith Firewalker is the best when it comes early. Haste is huge on a slith.
Green is a solid color without anything game breaking good. Tel-Jilad Archers and Tel-Jilad Chosen are severely underrated. Protection from artifacts is huge, and a 2/4 holds back a lot. Predator's Strike is probably the best combat trick in the set. Otherwise it is most typical green. One note, on a rare: Glissa Sunseeker confuses a lot of players. You can add the mana to your pool and (now without mana burn) take no damage if you spend it. You can also stop halfway through casting to activate her. For MTGO, you cannot undo mana spending once you have done something else or something has gone on the stack (mostly).
 

Artifacts will, of course, be the base of every deck. Here are some various tips and thoughts:

  • Bonesplitter can be a good first pick.
  • The mana myrs are all good, and will likely go quickly
  • The replicas vary widely, but all have uses in their colors
  • The spellbombs also vary a bit, but because they cycle, anyone can use them, so they might not stay around long
  • Only the green shard is bad, the rest can be very good.
  • Leonin Scimitar is not Bonesplitter, but is still really good.
  • Loxodon Warhammer should be first picked in nearly every situation.
  • The Talismans are the fixing, so grab 'em early if you want it.
  • The Towers are all bad nearly all the time.
  • Most of the equipment has some valuable use.

Two rare artifacts worth noting are Mesmeric Orb and Quicksilver Fountain. Both are afterthoughts, but, from experience I can say their effect on the game is dramatic. Players just become overly cautious, which can be used to your advantage. So, don't discard those outright. My favorite combo is red/white because of the sheer power. If you can make the blue affinity deck, and make it well, it should wreck everyone.

Other's Opinions:

This time I only found one article that seemed reasonably broad on triple Mirrodin. Here are the highlights I haven't covered:

  • Don't overestimate evasion--Fear isn't that useful commonly seen fliers die to terror or have really low toughness
  • Don't count on a quick win--Being defensive and preparing for a long attrition game count when you have to face cards like Sun Droplet and the assorted (Shards)
  • Green is best at being strong creatures. Only 1 common has above 4 power, so a card like Fangren Hunter goes a long way.

Wrap-Up

Oblivion Stone is the winner. Have fun with this set--personally I loved Mirrodin block limited and think there is plenty of solid options.

As always, I appreciate any comments or feedback!

xger

xger21 on MTGO

3 Comments

one million words's picture

Mirrodin, itself, was not the set that nearly destroyed Magic. It was Darksteel that created the headaches. Darksteel had Ravager and Skullclamp, etc. Nitpicky, I know, but I was a playtester on Mirrodin. What we saw in Mirrodin wasn't broken, although we were not playtesting all of the cards, and development made some changes. (e.g. when we played with Disciple of the Vault, it cost 1B.)

Good overview of triple Mirrodin limited, but remember that half the set is artifacts, so Shatter and the like are this set's Doom Blades, and Molder Slug can be a bomb.

I view Mirrodin as though, if by xger at Thu, 01/07/2016 - 13:04
xger's picture

I view Mirrodin as though, if Magic had died, it would have been the dusk, while Darksteel would be night (Fifth Dawn, contrarily, would be the sign of no more dawns). I tried not to misled by referring to Mirrodin block, but if I did, sorry.

I had forgotten about Molder Slug. Always valuable.

Loxodon Warhammer was King by Fred1160 at Fri, 01/08/2016 - 11:48
Fred1160's picture

I can't stress enough how big Loxodon Warhammer was in Mirrodin limited. You could have a poor deck and a Warhammer and still win matches you had no business winning. In draft it was said that you take the Warhammer over anything else in the pack. It was just that good.