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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Sep 10 2010 9:54am
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Editorial Section:
The original Mirrodin block was my first real block of Magic, so seeing a lot of these cards and freshly explored design space has really rekindled a lot of my early memories of playing Magic.  Learning about mana curve, multiple card strategies, and so many other things really began to happen for me with the old block.  Unfortunately, the other memories that are in there aren't nearly as happy.  Cards like Disciple of the Vault, Arcbound Ravager, Skullclamp, Tooth and Nail into Leonin Abunas and Platinum Angel.  Granted, those were just the uber-used strategies.  There were other casual-bombs of Mindslaver and Bringer of the White Dawn.  So how do things compare so far this time?  The news isn't looking good so far, folks!  And that may or may not be a bad thing, depending on where you like your sets power levels.

Throwback Cycle: Spellbombs
Last time around the spellbombs fueled a draft archetype due to the fact that they could be cycled when you needed them or left on the field for Nim bonuses via the Nim cycle.  This 

Throwback Cycle: Replica's
We haven't seen this whole cycle yet, but the last group had some awesome uses in both sealed and draft.  Goblin Replica being the shining star of the group.  

Straight Reprints:
Mindslaver: OH HOW I MISSED THIS CARD! In fact, this was my emblem on my Community Cup members pass.  I have some very fond memories of the card in casual games.  Both sides can be hilarious if each person is on friendly terms as the game is being played.  "that wasn't a very good turn for you" should be the flavor text on that card; as that was the most frequent phrase uttered after the game play resumed as normal.

Trinket Mage: Another golden reprint, in my opinion.  The mere presence of this guy is enough to enable some cards to see play.  "Trinkets" will be looked at in a new light across all of Standard.  And it's not like U/W control needed the options either.... but them's the breaks.

The Mana Myrs: More like the mana "meh"s, I guess.  They're not bad, and certainly valuable in sealed for their colorless mana acceleration abilities.  They never made much of a splash in constructed the first time around, and probably wont this time either.  I'm pleased to see them for their limited applications alone.

What's missing?
One of the most powerful aspects of the last block.  Cheap artifacts and modular creatures made for an all-or-nothing control environment.  Either you kept everything off the field or the little pieces keep on putting pressure on the field.   

One of my favorite groups of cards in the first Mirrodin block were the Nim.  Such a great cycle for black and very fitting in the world.  Being as this world has an overlap of Phyrexia, it makes sense that we haven't seen these guys in any previews yet.  

Seeing as there's not really anything in this set that indicates a five color focus at all, I don't expect this to be brought back.  At least not yet.  I see the groundwork laid already with Proliferate being keyworded.  I would be interested in seeing if they decide to toss it in somewhere in the block.  

Cards that are likely to improve aka (speculation fodder):
The first thing that springs to mind is that Hoarding Dragon with the new three card infinite mana combo with the myr that taps for two colorless and 2x of the "1:Untap all other Myr".  Having a way to search for and get them in hand may just be strong enough to help this combo.  Even without seeing the full list, the potential for this dragon is pretty huge.

Proliferate, emblems, counters, infect... proliferate is a huge amount of overhead for Magic.  Loyalty counters, charge counters, poison counters, -1/-1 counters... there are a lot of different types of counters and there are bound to be a lot of confusion about what will be targeted and where the counters are going to be added to and whatnot.  MTGO's selection options should help a bit, but even there, there are a lot of things to decide.  Being able to do these things at instant speed, during combat, can be devastating.  

Discussion Items:
MTGO Speculators:
A spin off thread from my article last week.  That thread, plus the comments in last week's article are a great read all around.

With no use of them besides showing up on your own screen; it's a very valid question as to exactly what purpose they serve.

Card Price Discussion:
I think this is my favorite part of every season.  The time when speculation and group think run rampant.  Where a card's price will move from x to y to sub-x in a week's time depending on each new card in the set.  This week, we see all sorts of things bouncing around like Vampire Nocturnus and All is Dust along with Vengevine and Primeval's dropping.  There's not always a lot of rhyme or reason to these moves, but I expect even more tumultuous price changes in the next two weeks as we wrap up the actual Scars set list!

Card Price Tables:

Card This Week Last Week Value Change Percentage Change
All Is Dust 18 15.75 2.25 14.29%
Steel Overseer 3.25 1.3 1.95 150.00%
Vampire Nocturnus 8.75 7 1.75 25.00%
Liliana Vess 2.75 1.5 1.25 83.33%
Ajani Goldmane 4.25 3 1.25 41.67%
Phylactery Lich 1.75 0.7 1.05 150.00%
Damnation 21 20 1 5.00%
Vindicate 38 37 1 2.70%
Survival of the Fittest 46 45 1 2.22%
Scalding Tarn 6.75 5.75 1 17.39%
Card This Week Last Week Value Change Percentage Change
Phylactery Lich 1.75 0.7 1.05 150.00%
Steel Overseer 3.25 1.3 1.95 150.00%
Liliana Vess 2.75 1.5 1.25 83.33%
Jwari Shapeshifter 0.9 0.6 0.3 50.00%
Master Transmuter 1.3 0.9 0.4 44.44%
Platinum Angel 1.15 0.8 0.35 43.75%
Student of Warfare 2.5 1.75 0.75 42.86%
Ajani Goldmane 4.25 3 1.25 41.67%
Sphinx Sovereign 0.95 0.7 0.25 35.71%
Polymorph 1.35 1 0.35 35.00%
Card This Week Last Week Value Change Percentage Change
Vengevine 35.5 38.75 -3.25 -8.39%
Gideon Jura 17 19 -2 -10.53%
Force of Will 75 77 -2 -2.60%
Time Warp 19 21 -2 -9.52%
Orim's Chant 23.76 25.74 -1.98 -7.69%
Time Warp 15.5 17 -1.5 -8.82%
Primeval Titan 32.5 34 -1.5 -4.41%
Bitterblossom 14.5 16 -1.5 -9.38%
Sarkhan the Mad 4.5 5.75 -1.25 -21.74%
Doubling Season 5 6 -1 -16.67%
Card This Week Last Week Value Change Percentage Change
Extractor Demon 1 1.5 -0.5 -33.33%
Obstinate Baloth 2 2.75 -0.75 -27.27%
Serra Ascendant 2 2.75 -0.75 -27.27%
Nirkana Revenant 2 2.75 -0.75 -27.27%
Knight Exemplar 0.6 0.8 -0.2 -25.00%
Awakening Zone 1.5 2 -0.5 -25.00%
Hellcarver Demon 0.7 0.9 -0.2 -22.22%
Sarkhan the Mad 4.5 5.75 -1.25 -21.74%
Reaper King 0.65 0.8 -0.15 -18.75%
Doubling Season 5 6 -1 -16.67%

Card Price Graphs:
all is dust chart
steel overseer chart
vampire nocturnus chart
liliana vess chart
ajani goldmane chart
phylactery lich chart
damnation chart
vindicate chart
survival of the fittest chart
scalding tarn chart
phylactery lich chart
steel overseer chart
liliana vess chart
jwari shapeshifter chart
master transmuter chart
platinum angel chart
student of warfare chart
ajani goldmane chart
sphinx sovereign chart
polymorph chart
vengevine chart
gideon jura chart
force of will chart
time warp chart
orim's chant chart
time warp chart
primeval titan chart
bitterblossom chart
sarkhan the mad chart
doubling season chart
extractor demon chart
obstinate baloth chart
serra ascendant chart
nirkana revenant chart
knight exemplar chart
awakening zone chart
hellcarver demon chart
sarkhan the mad chart
reaper king chart
doubling season chart


Trinket Mage is certainly by ArchGenius at Fri, 09/10/2010 - 11:10
ArchGenius's picture

Trinket Mage is certainly going to be huge. The fact that it can fetch Opal Mox, Basilisk Collar, and Brittle Effigy means that it pretty much trumps Stoneforge Mystic.

I would expect to a lot of players trying out Red and Blue decks after Scars for Trinket Mage/Cunning Sparkmage and Jace.

And if the new set of by sanhedrin at Fri, 09/10/2010 - 11:30
sanhedrin's picture

And if the new set of spellbombs are any good Trinket Mage will be that much better. For 5 mana you'll get a 2/2, some small utility effect, and a card. Sadly, as a Pauper and casual player I'm looking forward to the spellbombs being spoiled most of all.

It's actually 6 mana. The by urzassedatives at Fri, 09/10/2010 - 14:10
urzassedatives's picture

It's actually 6 mana. The spellbomb costs 1 to cast, 1 to activate and (C) to draw a card off of it dying.
Chimeric Mass is the strongest card to tutor up with the mage, very excited for Trinket Mage in constructed, but will also run spellbombs for sure.

I hadn't thought of it, but I by sanhedrin at Sat, 09/11/2010 - 10:45
sanhedrin's picture

I hadn't thought of it, but I guess they designed Chimeric Mass just for that. Sweet.

Mindslaver by djinniman37 at Fri, 09/10/2010 - 11:43
djinniman37's picture

Mindslaver is among the least fun cards I've ever experienced. It's even worse than Mind Twist, and I played with and against that one plenty back when you could play four of them. To each his own, I suppose.

I agree 100%. Mindslaver is by this isnt the n... at Fri, 09/10/2010 - 14:35
this isnt the name i chose's picture

I agree 100%. Mindslaver is among my top 5 least fun cards. Its right there with mind twist/armageddon/hymn to tourach/counterbalance. It is a card I would NEVER EVER play unless I was in a tournament.

Gonna have to disagree on by Cownose at Fri, 09/10/2010 - 15:22
Cownose's picture

Gonna have to disagree on this one. Mindslaver is one of my all time favorite cards, as it leaves a lot of room for good players to maximize or minimize it's impact.

Playing around a mindslaver can lead to players making decisions they might not normally make (using removal early, not dropping all their lands, etc.) to avoid it being a blowout. The fact that it costs a total of 10 is also in line with the effect's power. Something that costs 10 mana SHOULD basically win you the game. Also, the fact that it is an artifact is really irrelevant, because we all know mindslaver is blue.

Steel Overseer en Philly by JasonX-NL at Sat, 09/11/2010 - 05:29
JasonX-NL's picture

Steel Overseer en Philly Leech are both in the first two tables.

By the way, is there a way to track these prices better from day to day, without hanging around in the classified section all the time?

Maybe you should title your by GainsBanding at Sat, 09/11/2010 - 16:28
GainsBanding's picture

Maybe you should title your tables... like the above poster, it took me like 6 months to realize they show the biggest value gainers, biggest percentage gainers, biggest value losers, and biggest percentage losers, which is why sometimes the same card shows up on multiple tables.