Going back to
Alliances, I’ve been publishing set overviews based on expected long term
trade valuations. Mirrodin is by far the most difficult set I’ve
ever tried to evaluate. Hopefully that will make this Trading Guide the
most useful to date! The down side is
that this could also make this the most inaccurate Trading Guide I’ve
done. As always, only time will tell.
At the start of each set evaluation I look back and see how I did on
my last few guides. There are always a few that make me wince but in
general I’m satisfied with my picks. About the only way to judge a
reviewer’s accuracy is past performance so I recommend you take a look and
judge my previous reviews. Please visit my prior set reviews at the
The rares are grouped into 4 categories: Chase, Good, Average,
Poor. Chase rares are those which will see play in Tier 1 decks (usually
in qty. 4) and have that special uniqueness that distinguishes them from other
rares in the set. Good rares will be seen in one or more Tier 1 decks and
probably in quantity 4 but they don’t have the je ne sais quoi of a chase
rare. Some of the Good rares are special/unique but only to certain
audience (ex. huge creatures that have Timmy value) or they’re special but
sideboard only. Average rares will see some tournament play, however
they’re mostly block cards and there are usually good substitutes.
Some Average value rares are just very narrow in use; either sideboard cards or
they require a very special deck, that’s really only Tier 2, to use of
them. Poor rares have very occasional uses and are rarely, if ever,
I’d like to thank
all those people who have gone over the set with me and discussed it in painful
details. In magic as in most things, no one develops in a vacuum. I'm lucky
enough to have steady feedback and suggestion from friends across the US:
Seattle: Andrew Weiss and Gerald Linn, along with the
Microsoft Cafeteria Magic Players. Thanks to Coyote Games in Redmond and
Guildhouse Games in Tacoma for providing the Seattle area players places to
Oregon: Dave Meddish, Mons Johnson.
In CA &
Elsewhere: Chris Cade, Sean Frackowiak, Rick Saunooke
Atlanta: Andy Wolf, David Leader, and the ever reclusive Paul
Promise of Power
Choose one — You draw five cards and you lose 5
life; or put a black Demon creature token with flying into play with power and
toughness each equal to the number of cards in your hand as the token
comes into play. Entwine 4
doesn’t even begin to describe this card. Promise of Power
Necro effect of choice for Mono Black decks (either control or Suicide.)
Adding to this it keeps the MBC builds from having to waste a control slot on a
kill mechanism. Expect to see this card in quantity 4 in Extended, Type
II and Block. I wouldn’t be shocked if it wound up in Vintage as
Creature — Troll Shaman
can't be the target of spells or
abilities your opponents control.
1G: Regenerate Troll Ascetic
Jorael’s Centaur? This guy is way better! He’s the best 3
drop Green has and is on par with Wild Mongrel
. Every tournament or
casual player needs or will want 4. Troll Ascetic
is the dark horse of the set,
trade for them immediately before they get too pricey.
Imprint — When Chrome Mox
comes into play, you
may remove a nonartifact, nonland card in your hand from the game.
T: Add one mana of any of the imprinted card's
colors to your mana pool.
is the single highest valued card in the set. No others need apply.
Does it deserve this status? Hard to say. I will say Chrome Mox
a better (easier to use in deck design) than Mox Diamond
. The reason is
can as a mana source and mana acceleration (in the deck design),
instead of as color fixer and mana acceleration (as the Mox Diamond
Artifact — Equipment
Equipped creature gets +1/+1 for each card in your
equipment, period. Empyrial Plate
is an improved Empyrial Armor
that any agro
deck can (and probably should) use. Get ready for Goblin Armor, Suicide
Armor, and Elf Armor. Heck, I bet we’ll even see Extended Merfolk
Armor. Every player, tournament or casual will want
4, T: Put a fate counter on target permanent.
5, T, Sacrifice Oblivion Stone
: Destroy each nonland
permanent without a fate counter on it, then remove all fate counters
from all permanents.
isn’t hard to judge either. Oblivion Stone
is a Disk with a slightly
higher total cost but without the turn delay. As an insane bonus you can
even protect permanents. You need 4 of these for tournament play in every
Creature — Human Soldier
Equip costs you pay cost 1 less. As long as Auriok
Steelshaper is equipped, Soldiers and Knights you control get +1/+1.
Steelshaper is a borderline card between Good and Average. It’ll see
play in almost every White Weenie deck for the next couple of years. The
only valuation question is how good will White Weenie be?
Creature — Cat Cleric
Artifacts you control can't be the targets of spells
or abilities your opponents control. 2/5
Beast always traded for an inexplicably high value, especially considering its
questionable uses in tournament decks. Leonin Abunas
will see some
tournament play but mostly in block. Normally this would only equate to
Average value rare but expect Leonin Abunas
to gain luster from its Guardian
Beast likeness. Expect that luster to fade eventually and the Leonin to
become an Average value rare.
Creature — Angel
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a 1/1
white Spirit creature token with flying into play. 4/4
Angel since Serra has held Timmy value and most of them are playable in some
format or another. The Luminous Angel
is no exception. Don’t
expect to play it often and likely only in Block. But do expect to be
able to trade it for solid value.
Rule of Law
Each player can't play more than one spell each
Laboratory at various times has been a key sideboard card and in quantity
4. There’s no reason to believe this won’t be true in the
future and Rule of Law
is simply Arcane Laboratory
in White. When you
compound this with people who insist on trying to force a lock deck to work
with Rule of Law
, you are left with a card that has a Good
Each player returns to play all artifact, creature,
enchantment, and land cards that were put into his or her graveyard from play
will initially trade at a lower level than it should. While it does
snatch them up! The obvious use for Second Sunrise
is defensive, against
Wrath effects, Obliterate
or similar and this will set Second Sunrise
initially valuation. If this were Second Sunrise
’s only benefit then
it would simple be an average valued. The spike in value to Good will
occur when players start building decks using this as an Early Harvest
combination with self land/permanent destroying effects. Consider
if you’d like a starting point for these decks.
Choose one — Destroy all creatures with power 2
or less; or destroy all creatures with power 3 or greater.
Entwine—Sacrifice two lands. (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)
This card is
entirely unexciting outside of Mirrodin Block. However, I’ve yet to
see a Wrath effect in any block that didn’t get used in quantity 4 and
they’ve all held at least a Good valuation. I’m not excited
about trading for Solar Tide
s but I know that I, and every tournament player,
will need 4.
Creature — Beast
Affinity for artifacts (This spell costs 1 less
to play for each artifact you control.) Broodstar
's power and toughness
are each equal to the number of artifacts you control.
deck will play 4 of these and they’ll be amazing. I don’t
expect this to be a deck we see very often in tournament and normally I’d
only value Broodstar
as an Average rare. However, Broodstar
casual player appeal and this will keep his valuation at Good.
Search your library for a nonland card and reveal
it. Each opponent who played a card this turn with the same name as that
card loses 6 life. Then shuffle the revealed card back into your library.
BB: Return Grim Reminder
from your graveyard to your hand. Play this ability
only during your upkeep.
This is a
superbly designed card and one that I expect to approach Chase card
valuation. Grim Reminder
is unique, fun and powerful. Everything I
want to see in a card design. Great job R&D!
Creature — Demon
When Reiver Demon
comes into play, if you played it
from your hand, destroy all nonartifact, nonblack creatures. They can't be
is one of those cards that I feel is over hyped and people just like too
much. Its tournament power level is really only Average, however people
will push this card enough that it will show up in MBC builds where it really
shouldn’t. However, my feelings don’t really count in
valuation, the card has player appeal, Timmy appeal and is marginally
tournament caliber. So it will trade at a Good valuation.
Spoils of the Vault
Name a card. Reveal cards from the top of your
library until you reveal the named card, then put that card into your
hand. Remove all other cards revealed this way from the game, and you
lose 1 life for each of the removed cards.
the Vault are one of those cards I have to stick my neck out for (and possibly
get it chopped off) and present its future valuation as opposed to its current
valuation. Right now Spoils of the Vault
is only average valued.
However, contrary to current theory it will increase in value dramatically and
become a card that all serious tournament players will have to own 4 of.
So get your copies while they’re cheap.
why. Spoils of the Vault
is a combo card and a very powerful one.
In a combo deck that uses Black this is an incredibly efficient way to complete
your combo. And when you’re hunting for the final part of your combo
anything that doesn’t kill you is just fine. Unlike Demonic
Consultation you don’t plow the first 6 cards of your library, you just
start digging. This means that with any look ahead ability this is just a
tutor. Without look ahead after you’ve run out of defensive spells a
“Hail Mary” tutor like Spoils of the Vault
isn’t just a
desperation move, it’s a good bet.
following example. You’re playing a 2 card combo deck with 4 copies
of each of the pieces. You play defensive spells and one of the combo
pieces over the first 5 turns. It’s time now to do or die from the
angry agro hordes. You top deck one of your 4 Spoils and are 13 cards
deep into your library. 47 cards left in your deck, average of 12 point
of damage from the Spoils. 12% chance of the Spoils doing 20 damage to
you before providing the key card. Most combo player will take that
chance. Don’t forget the numbers rapidly improve the longer you can
wait to cast the Hail Mary tutor.
Spoils is excellent at resolving mana issues with marginal tempo loss.
And don’t forget that it works as superb tutor for sideboard cards in game
2 (ex. Rule of Law
.) When you’re shutting down the opposing combo decks
it’s a bargain. The price is steep but if you’ve built your
deck to support Spoils the rewards are worth it.
Creature — Beast
R, Remove the top ten cards of your library from the
deals 2 damage to target creature or player. 4/5
has gain considerable attention and increased value due to rules confusion (the
correct ruling is you must have 10 cards in your library to use the
ability.) I expect Arc-Slogger
to devalue to average in the short run,
however he’s likely to return to Good with the onset of Mirrodin Block
is a top notch creature if you have
sufficient cards to “slog”. This will likely mean 50 available
(10 points.) This indicates a potential build for an aggressive
Sligh deck which has slightly more than 60 cards (65 for example)
to allow for a 10 point “slog” and a direct damage turn 6
Flip a coin until you lose a flip or choose to
stop flipping. If you lose a flip, Fiery Gambit
has no effect. If
you win one or more flips, Fiery Gambit
deals 3 damage to target creature. If
you win two or more flips, Fiery Gambit
deals 6 damage to each opponent. If you
win three or more flips, draw nine cards and untap all lands you control.
So there you
are playing in an 8 man Friday Night Magic against Kai, Finkel, Zvi etc.
You look at your 1650 rating and realize 2 things. The first is
you’re dreaming. The second is that you have 4 Fiery Gambit
s in your
Sligh deck and you’ve got a chance at beating any of them.
is the most interesting coin-flip cards ever printed (runner ups are Frenetic
Effreet and Orcish Captain
) and it’s even potentially even tournament
caliber (also like the other two.) However, it has two strikes against it
and thus it might never see tournament play (that’s O.K. the casual
players will love it.) The first strike is that Fiery Gambit
is a coin
flip card and as with the entire breed, coin flip cards reduce player skills
with randomness in a duel. As most players believe they’re a player
than their opponent, they’re unlikely to use this card. The second
strike is playing with Fiery Gambit
is like playing a hot tip with the rent
money. You can’t afford to lose even if the bet is in your
then is when should you play Fiery Gambit
? The answer is when only a
lottery ticket will save you. Fiery Gambit
is a correct sideboard choice
for a horribly disadvantaged match where nothing else will do. It’s
important to realize that although a lottery ticket Fiery Gambit
does have an
expected return of over 1 card (specifically 1.25 cards + bonuses when flipped
3 times). The option to flip once or twice and stopping should be
considered as minor benefits.
considering that this is only a weird Sideboard card normally Fiery Gambit
would only be an average rare. However, considering they printed the
Thumb and the casual player appeal of Fiery Gambit
it will hold Good
Creature — Atog
Sacrifice an artifact: Megatog
gets +3/+3 and gains
trample until end of turn. 3/4
borderline between Good and Average. He’ll see tournament play in
block but only 1 or 2 in a deck. He’ll be passed over in Mirrodin
Sligh block designs for the much faster Atog
. However, he does gain
trample and has Timmy appeal so his valuation will likely stay just above
Trash for Treasure
As an additional cost to play Trash for Treasure
sacrifice an artifact. Return target artifact card from your graveyard to play.
players are going to need 4 of these for the combo decks that get built with
it. Don’t think along the lines of Tinker
designs but rather
Creature — Elemental
When War Elemental
comes into play, sacrifice it
unless an opponent was dealt damage this turn. Whenever damage is dealt
to an opponent, put that many +1/+1 counters on War Elemental
Elemental was one of those cards that made this set really hard to
evaluate. He’s either a bomb or entirely Average. He has some
amazing tricks. For example he comes into play, then put the sacrifice
effect on the stack, top the stack with a Shock for your opponent.
You get the damage and a live 3/3 War Elemental. Then attack with your
team for even more counters.
On the other
hand he might just be forcing the Red deck to overextend its resources and then
he’s just a creature you don’t want to top deck late in the
game. Only time will tell where he belongs so I’m taking the safe
route and valuing the War Elemental as Good.
Living Hive 6GG
Creature — Elemental
Whenever Living Hive deals combat damage to a
player, put that many 1/1 green Insect creature tokens into play.
between Good and Average valuation, this is a pretty good Fatty, reasonably fun
and it has Trample. Not a card that any tournament deck will play 4 of
but it has Timmy value and this will keep it just above Average
Bosh, Iron Golem 8
Artifact Creature — Golem Legend
3R, Sacrifice an artifact: Bosh, Iron Golem deals
damage equal to the sacrificed artifact's converted mana cost to target
creature or player. 6/7
isn’t really good enough to be valued at a Good Rare. It’s not
that he won’t see any tournament play, he almost certainly will,
especially in Mirrodin Block Constructed. However, it will only be in
quantities of 1 or 2. But he’s generally popular with the casual
players and appeals to the Timmy crowd so he’ll hold Good
Chalice of the Void XX
Chalice of the Void comes into play with X charge
counters on it. Whenever a player plays a spell with converted mana cost equal
to the number of charge counters on Chalice of the Void, counter that spell.
the Void is a strong tournament card. Strangely it is closest in effect
to Powder Keg, although Chalice is a preventive instead of a responsive
card. The tradeoff in the case is loss of the ability to respond to a
threat balanced by the ability to lock out future versions of that threat
in perpetuity. It’s a good deal, especially in colorless. This
card might make the Chase card valuation.
Damping Matrix 3
Activated abilities of artifacts and creatures can't
be played unless they're mana abilities.
version of Null Rod, this card will fill that role for decks that just
don’t want to (or have no other way) to deal with artifacts. Perhaps
most importantly it gives everyone an answer to Oblivion Stone.
Artifact Creature — Shapeshifter
Imprint — When Duplicant comes into play, you
may remove target nontoken creature from the game.
As long as a creature card is imprinted on
Duplicant, Duplicant has that card's power, toughness, and creature types. It's
still a Shapeshifter. 2/4
Nekrataal with a built in Clone, which can be played as a 2/4 if there’s
nothing to Clone. What could be better? Well actually it could cost
something less than 6 mana. At 5 mana Duplicant would see a lot of play,
at 6 mana it’s relegated to Block, specialized removal roles and
casual play. Still it will see some play and it’s a fun card so
people will actively trade for it.
Extraplanar Lens 3
Imprint — When Extraplanar Lens comes into
play, you may remove target land you control from the game. Whenever a
land with the same name as the imprinted card is tapped for mana, its
controller adds one mana to his or her mana pool of any type that land
Lens is a solid card that will see play in combo decks and Mono control decks
that can abuse massive amounts of mana. Not a card for most decks but
there will be the occasional Tier 1 deck that uses the Lens.
Gilded Lotus 5
T: Add three mana of any one color to your mana
is only of occasional tournament use, although it will see some play especially
in Mirrodin Block. Combined with having the word Lotus in the name, and
the artwork Gilded Lotus will hold a Good valuation.
Goblin Charbelcher 4
3, T: Reveal cards from the top of your library
until you reveal a land card. Goblin Charbelcher deals damage equal to
the number of nonland cards revealed this way to target creature or
player. If the revealed land card was a Mountain, Goblin Charbelcher
deals double that damage instead. Put the revealed cards on the bottom of
your library in any order.
This is one
of the top Artifacts in this set, it’s simply an improved Cursed Scroll
with a higher casting cost. The comparison with scroll is worth
reflection. Both cards don’t guarantee dealing damage.
However, used properly they’re both likely to. If they deal damage
it’s likely to be a similar amount (although more with the Charbelcher in
a Red deck.) Most importantly if you build your deck to support it both
cards are devastatingly effective.
decks can optimally use Goblin Charbelcher? The first ones that come to
mind are Combo decks. A land thawing combo deck can use this as an
incredibly versatile kill mechanism as well as a backup defensive card.
Agro decks can use this to provide burn, even in traditionally non-burn
colors. In Red it’s even better. Don’t forget
there’s also the Charbelcher Combo deck that sorts your entire deck using
Proteus Staff (no creature cards, activate it off of a token) then kill with a
single Charbelcher activation. Still the Charbelcher isn’t quite
going to be a Chase card but it is Very Good.
Grid Monitor 4
You can't play creature spells. 4/6
reprint, expect this card to be as good as its predecessor, Steel Golem.
Steel Golem was often the only creature in several control designs (for example
the Pox decks or the early Burning Bridges) and filled that role
admirably. Make sure to have at least 3 of these in your collection.
Krark's Thumb 2
If you would flip a coin, instead flip two coins and
tournament playable. Don’t even try. However Krark’s Thumb is
eminently casual. Do try. This is a fun enough card that casual
players will trade for them heavily. My only complaint with this card is
that it should be “semi-legendary, after all you should be able to play
with two of them.
Leonin Sun Standard 2
1W: Creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of
This is an
improved version of Gerard’s Battle Cry. The Battle Cry was solid
although not spectacular. With an activation cost that is reduced by 1 I
suspect the Sun Standard will be on a par with Glorious Anthem and see play in
White Weenie decks in Block and Type II.
4, T, Sacrifice Mindslaver: You control target
player's next turn. (You see all cards that player could see and make all
decisions for the player. He or she doesn't lose life because of mana
Caliber? Maybe, maybe not. Doesn’t matter. This is the
king of casual play cool cards. That alone will keep this card popular
and its trade value high.
Platinum Angel 7
Artifact Creature — Angel
You can't lose the game and your opponents can't
win the game. 4/4
A 4/4 flying
artifact colorless Worshiplike creature. Is it worth playing? Based
on Worship’s power level probably not. However, Platinum Angel is
unique and has Timmy value so that will keep its trade value up.
Proteus Staff 3
2U, T: Put target creature on the bottom of its
owner's library. That creature's controller reveals cards from the top of his
or her library until he or she reveals a creature card. The player puts that
card into play and the rest on the bottom of his or her library in any order.
Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
player’s card with minimal defensive possibilities. The keys to
making the Staff work are using it as an Oath of Druids effect. Staff a
token and put Akroma into play. Alternately use it to sort your deck (by
playing with no creatures.) I’d bet on Proteus Staff leading to
several Tier 1 tournament combo decks.
Sculpting Steel 3
As Sculpting Steel comes into play, you may choose
an artifact in play. If you do, Sculpting Steel comes into play as a copy of
Artifact with the rules fixed would always have been a reasonable card.
In a set that features artifacts it’s strong and valuable.
Solemn Simulacrum 4
When Solemn Simulacrum comes into play, you may
search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped.
If you do, shuffle your library. When Solemn Simulacrum is put into a
graveyard from play, you may draw a card. 2/2
invitational card, so you know it will be popular. It’s not that
strong or fun but it will trade well.
Soul Foundry 4
Imprint — When Soul Foundry comes into play,
you may remove a creature card in your hand from the game. X, T: Put a creature
token into play that's a copy of the imprinted creature card. X is the
converted mana cost of that card.
might wind up as a Chase card. Every tournament player will need 4 of
these, just for the Ravenous Rat soft lock (make a Rat in your opponents draw
phase, they can only play instants.)
Spellweaver Helix 3
Imprint — When Spellweaver Helix comes into
play, you may remove two target sorcery cards in a single graveyard from the
game. Whenever a card is played, if it has the same name as one of the
imprinted sorcery cards, you may copy the other and play the copy without
paying its mana cost.
Helix is a dangerous card and can lead to serious abuse from sorceries with
graveyard recursion, including mechanics as simple as Flashback. As a
starting point consider bundling a Roar of the Wurm with an Upheaval. One
Quiet Speculation and the game is locked up.
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, each
player removes the top card of his or her library from the game. The player who
removed the card with the highest converted mana cost takes an extra turn after
this one. If two or more players' cards are tied for highest cost, the tied
players repeat this process until the tie is broken.
word in the card text is a hint to the quality of Timesifter. Broken. I
can’t think of a stronger statement than to say Timesifter is so good it
makes Goblin Spy playable. Don’t be surprised if this card breaks one or
more formats. If it does expect it to quickly become a Chase rare.
Triskelion comes into play with three +1/+1 counters
on it. Remove a +1/+1 counter from Triskelion: Triskelion deals 1 damage
to target creature or player. 1/1
is a classic. They look really good in Black border, they’re fun and a
reasonable option in several decks. It’s never an overwhelming card
but the Trike is a workhorse creature.
At end of turn, if you control no artifacts,
T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
This 5 color
lands is strong and in a format without Shatterstorm. Glimervoid is a
reasonable albeit risky card for several deck designs.
Loxodon Punisher 3W
Creature — Elephant Soldier
Loxodon Punisher gets +2/+2 for each Equipment
attached to it. 2/2
has one thing going for it in valuation, specifically people haven’t
learned how to evaluate creatures that are enhanced by Equipment. If the
world were a perfect place everyone would look at this card, realize that a
card must be able to stand alone (without equipment), especially at the top of
a decks mana curve. However, the world isn’t perfect and it will
take a while for people to learn the above lesson by trial and error.
While that’s true there will be people who want your Loxodon
Punisher. Trade it to them.
March of the Machines 3U
Each noncreature artifact is an artifact creature
with power and toughness each equal to its converted mana cost.
Titania’s Song saw occasional play as a
kill spell. March of the Machines likely will fill this role as
well. Don’t expect much else from the Machine March.
Quicksilver Elemental 3UU
Creature — Elemental
U: Quicksilver Elemental gains all activated
abilities of target creature until end of turn. (If any of the abilities use
that creature's name, use this creature's name instead.) You may spend blue
mana as though it were mana of any color to pay the activation costs of
Not a Tier 1
tournament card unless something incredibly weird happens in the Mirrodin block
metagame. However, the Quicksilver Elementals ability is fun and so
casual players will trade something for him.
Shared Fate 4U
If a player would draw a card, that player removes
the top card of an opponent's library from the game face down instead. Each
player may look at and play cards he or she removed from the game with Shared
Fate as though they were in his or her hand.
has drawn a fair amount of attention, as the card is unusual and has a unique
effect. However, upon serious analysis it becomes apparent that this card
will let you win if you were already winning and lose if you were already
losing. Shared Fate’s effect while, implemented in different manner,
has a similar game state change as Zur’s Weirding. It will also hold
a similar valuation.
Temporal Cascade 5UU
Choose one — Each player shuffles his or her
hand and graveyard into his or her library; or each player draws seven cards.
finally made a balanced Timetwister. However, balanced isn’t really
any fun especially when there are much more powerful draw effects available for
a lower cost.
Vedalken Archmage 2UU
Creature — Vedalken Wizard
Whenever you play an artifact spell, draw a
A nice idea
but overcosted by 1. There will be people who try and make decks around
this. It will also make for mediocre rogue sideboard in Silver vs. Silver
fights. But, neither are really Tier 1 strategies.
Dross Harvester 1BB
Creature — Horror
Protection from white
At the end of your turn, you lose 4 life.
Whenever a creature is put into a graveyard from play, you gain 2 life.
Harvester is a creature I really like and I have to fight my personal
tendencies to put him into the Good valuation category. The problem is
he’s a narrow role card, filling the role initiated by Phrexian Negator,
as a part of a Suicide Black deck or an Agro board. While this is a
strategy and a role that I personally appreciate most cards in this role are
valued somewhere between Good and Average. Do note that the Dross
Harvester’s life gaining graveyard trigger will allow for deck designs
where the Dross Harvester is a net life gainer (consider Nim
Necrogen Mists 2B
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that
player discards a card from his or her hand.
was almost playable and at occasionally boarded when it was Bottomless Pit and
the discard was random. This card is even more difficult to use
effectively and will be of marginal value. Necrogen Mists almost
made a poor valuation.
Nim Devourer 3BB
Creature — Zombie
Nim Devourer gets +1/+0 for each artifact you
BB: Return Nim Devourer from your graveyard to play,
then sacrifice a creature. Play this ability only during your
was a serious candidate for Good Valuation. However, it’s a
difficult card to design around and this will keep its value down initially
(you can probably grab these for next to nothing – do it) and because of
the design difficulties it might never shine (and be valued) the way it
To help the
Devourer to be all that he can be, a short discussion of his merits is in
order. First of all, he’s a solid creature. At least a 4/1 for
5 and likely a 5/1 or 6/1. Not exciting but strong vs. control.
This leads to his second aspect, he has a great ability against control
decks. He turns every creature (or token) including temporary ones into a
solid threat. Finally, he’s an immediate combo with the Dross
Harvester. In combination with the Dross Harvester the Devourer’s ability
effectively says: “BB: Gain 2 life use only in your upkeep.”
This is done by virtue of his bringing himself into play and then sacrificing
himself. Although a stream of life isn’t worth a card it’s a
nice option to have available.
Creature — Horror
Whenever an artifact comes into play, Vermiculos
gets +4/+4 until end of turn. 1/1
only stays out of the Poor Valuation category as there will be people who try
to make a combo deck with it. They shouldn’t, you shouldn’t,
but you should trade them your Vermiculos so they can try.
Confusion in the Ranks 3RR
Whenever an artifact, creature, or enchantment comes
into play, its controller chooses target permanent another player controls that
shares a type with it. Exchange control of those permanents.
the Ranks is a borderline card that threatens Good valuation just for its
casual play value. In constructed it is solid sideboard for Sligh decks
as a quick answer to a Circle of Protection (don’t forget it trades itself
for that Circle immediately after it comes into play).
Additionally, it has a strange synchronicity with Agro Red as it equalizes the
quality of all permanents. This is especially handy with cards like Siege
Gang which bring in 4 permanent for 1 card.
Mass Hysteria R
All creatures have haste.
Crossroads was a great card. This is a great card for R/G agro decks as
Green creatures become insane when they have Haste. As such this card
would normally have a Good valuation. However, this card will miss its
day in the sun, as it was printed in the same set as Lightning Greaves.
In many if not most cases players will choose Lightning Greaves over Mass
Hysteria and this will drastically reduce the demand (and thus the valuation)
of Mass Hysteria.
Vulshok Battlemaster 4R
Creature — Human Warrior
When Vulshok Battlemaster comes into play, attach
all Equipment in play to it. (Control of the Equipment doesn't change.) 2/2
Battlemaster will only see tournament play as a rogue board option from Sligh
decks against White Weenie equipment decks. Still when it does it will be
funny, otherwise the Battlemaster will see occasional casual play.
Glissa Sunseeker 2GG
Creature — Elf Legend
T: Destroy target artifact if its converted mana
cost is equal to the amount of mana in your mana pool.
featured preview card Glissa has received some popularity that almost puts her
into the Good valuation. The problem is she’s not tournament viable
considering her low toughness and the delay she requires to destroy an
artifact. Trade her while she’s still overvalued.
Plated Slagwurm 4GGG
Creature — Wurm
Plated Slagwurm can't be the target of spells or
abilities your opponents control. 8/8
This card is
just under the Good valuation. The interesting question is why is Plated
Slagwurm just under Good valuation and the Living Hive just over it? 1
word: Trample. Trample is a tournament quality ability worth paying
the extra 1 mana for in large Green men. Trample dramatically improves Green
creatures tournament playability and their fun value.
Tooth and Nail 5GG
Choose one — Search your library for up to two
creature cards, reveal them, put them into your hand, then shuffle your
library; or put up to two creature cards from your hand into play. Entwine 2
wouldn’t be overly surprised if one or two of these show up in some
Mirrodin Block decks. Still it’s a 7cc spell that doesn’t
immediately change the state of the board or a 9cc spell that does change the
board position but not as much as you’d probably hope for a 9 mana
Altar of Shadows 7
At the beginning of your precombat main phase, add B
to your mana pool for each charge counter on Altar of Shadows.
7, T: Destroy target creature. Then put a charge
counter on Altar of Shadows.
see very much tournament play other than in quantity 1 or 2 as a lock card for
a control deck, however Altar of Shadows will see some casual play.
Blinkmoth Urn 5
At the beginning of each player's precombat main
phase, if Blinkmoth Urn is untapped, that player adds 1 to his or her
mana pool for each artifact he or she controls.
The one turn
delay is fatal if you wanted to use this in a combo deck and it’s not as
good as Gilded Lotus for any serious tournament play. Almost Poor in valuation
but there will be a few diehards who want to work with the Urn.
Clockwork Dragon 7
Artifact Creature — Dragon
Clockwork Dragon comes into play with six +1/+1
counters on it. Whenever Clockwork Dragon attacks or blocks, remove a +1/+1
counter from it at end of combat.
3: Put a +1/+1 counter on Clockwork
not tournament caliber, the entire value for this card needs to come from its
casual or Timmy value. There will be some but not a lot.
Culling Scales 3
At the beginning of your upkeep, destroy target
nonland permanent with the lowest converted mana cost among nonland
permanents in play. (If two or more permanents are tied for lowest cost, target
any one of them.)
appealing card but further reflection shows Culling Scales to be wanting.
The turn delay before its first use makes it slow and the fact that it will
destroy itself prevents Culling Scales from dealing with any permanents that
have a casting cost of 4 or greater.
Jinxed Choker 3
At the end of your turn, target opponent gains
control of Jinxed Choker and puts a charge counter on it. At the beginning of
your upkeep, Jinxed Choker deals damage to you equal to the number of charge
counters on it.
3: Put a charge counter on Jinxed Choker or remove
one from it.
Choker is the latest in a line of cards that deal damage to both players
somewhat equally. In this case either player can pay mana to increase or
decrease the amount. These cards have never been worth a card in
tournament play and have only seen a minor amount of casual play. Jinxed
Choker won’t break with tradition.
When Leveler comes into play, remove your library
from the game. 10/10
Only a combo
card and not really a powerful enough card to build a combo deck around.
I’d suggest trading these to people who want to use them in casual combo
Liar's Pendulum 1
2, T: Name a card. Target opponent guesses whether a
card with that name is in your hand. You may reveal your hand. If you do
and your opponent guessed wrong, draw a card.
strategy for using this card is to name whatever land is most common in your
deck every time. This will provide your opponent with minimal information
(don’t forget that you don’t have to reveal) and net you a card about
every other turn. Considering you’re spending about 4 mana on
average to draw a card (2 activations), and that Liar’s Pendulum is
erratic, and that Liar’s Pendulum only gains you a card every other turn
this is clearly not a tournament caliber card. Being unusual will give it
some small amount of casual attraction but that’s all.
Lightning Coils 3
Whenever a nontoken creature you control is put into
a graveyard from play, put a charge counter on Lightning Coils. At
the beginning of your upkeep, if Lightning Coils has five or more charge
counters on it, remove all of them from it and put that many 3/1 red
Elemental creature tokens with haste into play. Remove them from the game
at end of turn.
Coils is one of those cards that might wind up biting me on the backside as it
potentially will have a Good valuation. On the face of things this card
is merely average, providing a solid backup plan after five creatures are
killed. Due to the casting cost this won’t be creatures from the
first wave in any sort of agro deck and thus Lightning Coils isn’t very
Lightning Coils shows potential is in combination with cards such as Nim
Devourer (BB: add a counter to Lightning Coils) or other recursion
creatures. I don’t have enough evidence to determine if there will
be a breakthrough strategy using the Coils so I’ve valued it as
Average. But if I’m wrong and it becomes more highly sought, I
wouldn’t be surprised.
Lodestone Myr 4
Artifact Creature — Myr
Tap an untapped artifact you control: Lodestone Myr
gets +1/+1 until end of turn. 2/2
For 4 mana
the standard of creatures has gotten really high. Sadly a vanilla 4/4
won’t do it. This card is unlikely to be more than that without the
dedication of otherwise needed permanent for each additional +1/+1. So
all in all an O.K., but not exciting card.
Mesmeric Orb 2
Whenever a permanent becomes untapped, that
permanent's controller puts the top card of his or her library into his or her
is a Millstone of a slightly different flavor. As such it is valued smack
in the middle between Good and Average valuation. I picked the lower side
as there are too many superior kill methods available in this block (like
Goblin Charbelcher) to make this a likely Mirrodin Block Constructed control
deck kill mechanism.
Mind's Eye 5
Whenever an opponent draws a card, you may pay 1. If
you do, draw a card.
time and another format Mind’s Eye would rate a higher valuation.
However, in Mirrodin card draw is easy and the time delay in drawing the first
card from Mind’s Eye make this card a sideboard choice at best.
Myr Incubator 6
6, T, Sacrifice Myr Incubator: Search your library
for any number of artifact cards, remove them from the game, then put that many
1/1 Myr artifact creature tokens into play. Then shuffle your library.
Snake Basket? This is no Snake Basket. It’s not terrible
considering that you can fetch probably 8-10 artifact lands and Moxen (not to
mention any other Incubators) to make the effect thin your deck as well as
providing a credible threat. On the other hand it’s a threat that is
answered by a Slice and Dice or Rain of Blades type effect, both of which have
relatives in Mirrodin Block.
Nightmare Lash 4
Artifact — Equipment
Equipped creature gets +1/+1 for each Swamp you
control. Equip—Pay 3 life.
4 mana and 3
life for 4/5 points of damage/turn probably with Haste. The cost/effect
is similar to Lightning Hounds but with less flexibility. Still some
Suicide Black decks will probably play a couple.
Pentavus comes into play with five +1/+1 counters on
1, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Pentavus: Put a 1/1
Pentavite artifact creature token with flying into play.
1, Sacrifice a Pentavite: Put a +1/+1 counter on
had some potential to work interesting tricks based on graveyard triggers and
come into play effects. The 7 mana casting cost killed all that in
serious tournament play.
Psychogenic Probe 2
Whenever a spell or ability causes a player to
shuffle his or her library, Psychogenic Probe deals 2 damage to him or her.
opponent to shuffle is a very restricted mechanism. As such this card
isn’t tournament caliber. As most people don’t find waiting
while their opponent shuffles a fun activity, this card will have marginal
Quicksilver Fountain 3
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that
player puts a flood counter on target non-Island land he or she controls. That
land is an Island as long as it has a flood counter on it. At end of turn, if
all lands in play are Islands, remove all flood counters from them.
cute trick is that if you sacrifice the Fountain, the lands are permanently
Islands. However, this trick doesn’t make
up for the card not being Tier 1 in strength nor especially fun.
Scythe of the Wretched 2
Artifact — Equipment
Equipped creature gets +2/+2. Whenever a creature
dealt damage by equipped creature this turn is put into a graveyard, return
that card to play under your control. Attach Scythe of the Wretched to that
creature. Equip 4
This card is
close to having a good valuation due to its strength as a combo card (think
Atog, Triskellion and Scythe of the Wretched). However, there are better
combos available in this set and so I expect Scythe will never be part of a
Tier 1 combo deck. If there is one this card will have a Good
Sword of Kaldra 4
Legendary Artifact — Equipment
Equipped creature gets +5/+5. Whenever
equipped creature deals damage to a creature, remove that creature from the
game. Equip 4
A solid card
and Sword would be Good in valuation if there weren’t so many better
pieces of equipment. But there are several better pieces and so Sword of
Kaldra is merely an Average rare. Treat the pre-release version as a Good
Whenever a player plays a creature spell, that
player adds G to his or her mana pool.
is a combo card looking for a combo. You can make a combination deck out
of this card, but the question becomes why? There are so many more
promising cards to work with.
Tower of Champions 4
8, T: Target creature gets +6/+6 until end of turn.
All of the
Towers are too expensive and do too little to be serious tournament
cards. However, they at least have some fun value and thus will hold some
Tower of Eons 4
8, T: You gain 10 life.
See Tower of Champions
Tower of Fortunes 4
8, T: Draw four cards.
See Tower of Champions
Tower of Murmurs 4
8, T: Target player puts the top eight cards of his
or her library into his or her graveyard.
See Tower of Champions
Artifact — Equipment
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a
player, destroy all permanents other than Worldslayer. Equip 5
is a colorless way to reset that board. That alone gives it some trade
and play value. It’s a good thing as Worldslayer has precious little
going for it otherwise.
Loxodon Peacekeeper 1W
Creature — Elephant Soldier
At the beginning of your upkeep, the player with the
lowest life total gains control of Loxodon Peacekeeper. If two or more players
are tied for lowest life total, you choose one of them, and that player gains
control of Loxodon Peacekeeper. 4/4
No one is going to play with this in a tournament deck or a fun deck.
Rares that are never played get thrown in binders, lugged around for
years and have led to a generation of Magic players with back problems.
Just thinking about this card makes my back hurt.
Creature — Human Wizard
At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, that
player chooses draw step, main phase, or combat phase. The player skips each
instance of the chosen step or phase this turn. 1/2
effort but one that failed. For a while casual players will try and build
a deck with Fatespinner. Donate yours to their cause.
Lumengrid Augur 3U
Creature — Vedalken Wizard
1, T: Target player draws a card, then discards a
card from his or her hand. If that player discards an artifact card this way,
untap Lumengrid Augur. 2/2
overcosted Cephalid Looter with a mana cost. Sadly, Cephalid Looter
wasn’t quite constructed caliber and that was in a block where the ability
was especially meaningful. The Lumengrid Auger is just a binder
Copperhoof Vorrac 3GG
Creature — Beast
Copperhoof Vorrac gets +1/+1 for each untapped
permanent your opponents control. 2/2
2/2. No Trample. Doesn’t do anything but turn sideways.
Hum of the Radix 2GG
Each artifact spell costs 1 more to play for each
artifact its controller controls.
cost! They’ve got to be kidding. At 1 casting cost the card
isn’t all that good, it won’t permanently stop what you want stopped
and it isn’t a fun card.
Gate to the Aether 6
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that
player reveals the top card of his or her library. If it's an artifact,
creature, enchantment, or land card, the player may put it into play.
draw with a disadvantage has never been especially interesting or
valuable. This one even gives the opponent the first free card.
All card texts are from
Thank you for your
- Jay Schneider
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