The new core set for Magic the Gathering (MTG), Magic Origins, finally released on July 17th. Ironically the 17th core set (and apparently the last iteration) of the trading card game, Magic Origins strongly meshes with its digital counterpart, Magic Duels: Origins. This release marks the end of Wizards of the Coast’s traditional strategy of releasing three blocks of MTG cards per year.
As for the mechanics of Magic Origins, the set shakes up the game with a variety of additions. Some concepts are reused from previous iterations of MTG; however, there’s a few fresh inclusions:
- Double-Faced Planeswalkers:
Double-faced MTG cards have been included in the game since Innistrad, but this is the first time that Planeswalkers have adopted the concept. Planeswalkers in Magic Origins now require the card to be played as a creature. Under a specific condition per each Planeswalker Creature (listed on the card), it will transform into its Planeswalker counterpart.
Upon inflicting damage directly to a player’s life pool, creatures with this feature will get rewarded with a buff (such as +1/+1 counters or obtaining other abilities). This sets up the creature for potential combos with some instant and sorcery cards released in Magic Origins that buff renowned creatures.
- Spell Mastery:
Spell Mastery is entirely focused on your graveyard. Instant and sorcery cards you’ve used or have discarded into your graveyard buff spells containing this trait, whether it be dealing more damage or keeping creatures tapped for a longer amount of time. Either way, this mechanic amplifies spell effectiveness.
The concept for Menace cards has been around in the form of enchantments and spells for awhile now; however, this is the first time the mechanic is consistently utilized with creature cards. Creatures with Menace can only be blocked by two or more creatures.
Prowess was introduced in Khans of Tarkir, and has since been favored so highly within Wizards of the Coast that they’ve adopted it as a permanent mechanic for MTG. Whenever you cast a spell that isn’t a creature card, creatures with Prowess get buffed, primarily in the form of +1/+1 counters.
Scry came into the world of MTG with the release of Fifth Dawn way back in 2004. Though not a permanent fixture for MTG, it makes its return in Magic Origins. Cards involving the Scry mechanic allow you to look at the top card(s) of your library. You then decide to keep it on top, or put the card on the bottom of your library if you don’t like what you see.
If you’d like assistance on utilizing any of these mechanics featured in the new set, reading the Pre-Release Primer can help you out.
Research & Design (R&D) is the sect of Wizards of the Coast that deals with the design and creation of cards for each set that releases. Over the years MTG has been around, natural complications with the way the game runs continue to occur and stack atop one another, eventually leading to a conceptual overhaul for the release of card sets.
A post over at Wizards of the Coast explains their renovated design philosophies and how they came to their decisions.
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