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Magic: The Gathering goes to battle with its first new card type in 15 years

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For the first time in 15 years, Magic the Gathering introduced a new type of card in the game, called Battle. With the addition of 36 new battle cards Magic‘S latest set, march of the machineIn a landscape of ever-changing rules of the game, this update will redefine kitchen table, tournament and combat math for years to come.

According to the set’s official release notes for Wizards of the Coast, the battle serves as a thematic tie-in behind the overarching story march of the machine, where the cult army of Phyrexians have begun their invasion of the entire multiverse. As players, we see this battle unfold in 36 circles, the first battle subtype and a permanent (such as a land or creature card) that sits on the battlefield for players to attack. Wizards of the Coast has similarly indicated that more battle subtypes are in the works for future sets.

Siege combat is turning two-faced cards, face down which is always played first on the table and provides a certain effect upon entering the game. Afterwards, siege cards can flip to their alternate side—an entirely different card with different effects—when a certain condition is met.

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Siege’s flip condition is removing defense counters through combat or direct damage spells. Also, some newer cards, like Etched Host Doombringer and Render Inert, help explicitly remove defense counters.

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Etched Host Doombringer is a creature, a Phyrexian demon, with 3/5 and other additional abilities.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Render Inert is a sorcery that removes up to five counters from a permanent - such as a fight.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Absolutely, Magic Practically every release adds new game mechanics. Typically they are keyword abilities such as Hexproof or Horsemanship, and keyword mechanics such as Morph and Mute which are essentially tweaks that allow pre-existing card types to interact with the rules of the game. But a new type of permanent is an altogether more important addition, as it potentially changes the way games are played by providing a new outlet for players to spend resources, direct damage, and rethink how their decks work. Redefines the entire texture.

each of the 36 battles has four or five Magicof the five primary colors, one or two in each of the 10 color pairs, plus a colorless battle and another that has all five colors. It not only offers all kinds Magic Players can experiment with new toys, but the large number and variety of battles means they can potentially support or disrupt many of the game’s most familiar and recurring strategies.

There is no pre-existing way of estimating battles and their role Magic deck, the coming weeks will see an exciting race by deck designers and competitors alike to discover the most powerful battles with good old fashioned trial and error. But how exactly do we start evaluating these new game pieces and what are our criteria for judging the ones that are worth keeping an eye on?

Let’s start by recognizing the range of battles, including their in-game cost to play, also known as mana value, and the effects they provide for that cost—one aspect of effective deck building. Potentially the most important limitation to establish is since the large part. Maximizing the return on your mana investment at various points in the early and late stages of a game.

Most battles cost between two and six mana. The cheapest battles, of which there are nine, touch all five Magic Color either by itself or as part of a color pair. And thanks to their range in colors, these nine battles also offer a wide variety of effects for their cost.

For example, Azgol and Tarkir attack are removal spells that can kill opposing creatures on sight, while Ixalan and Pyrulea attacks let you look at the top few cards in your library and draw one of them. Kaladesh’s Attack also creates a creature upon entering play, while Gobkhan’s Attack lets you see an opponent’s hand and makes one of their cards more expensive to play.

For the most part, these sieges basically replace themselves when they enter the battlefield, either by putting a new card in the player’s hand or by creating an additional permanent into play. Nice effects for two mana, but not particularly game-winning on the face of them.

But this reveals two more challenges for battle evaluation: how easy is it to flip them, and is the backside card even worth flipping? Since flipping battles require some sort of damage, players must now decide if their timing is better attacking opponents directly or if the game can be won faster by focusing on combat.

The easiest battles to flip, Gobkhan’s Assault and Zendikar’s Assault, come into play with three defense counters each. At the other end, more challenging sieges, such as Assault of Arcavios and Assault of Alara, are entered with seven counters. You might expect that Siege with seven defense would always be the best fight to flip, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Both Gobkhan and Arcavios turn into enchantments that gradually generate value as you perform additional game actions—attacking with other creatures or casting more spells, respectively. But if time is the limited resource spent laying sieges, the players would probably prefer a more meaningful threat to reward them for that effort and end the game sooner.

Lightshield Array, a spell, grants +1/+1 counters on attacking creatures at the start of your end step.  Sacrifice, it has additional features.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Invocation of the Founders is a spell that instantly affects sorcery spells.  Those spells are copied and new targets are allowed.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Consider the other three- and seven-defense battles, Invasion of Zendikar and Invasion of Alara. Zendikar Awakens transforms into Skyclaw, a large creature that can block well and even tap for mana. Alara turns into a powerful sorcery, Awakening the Vortex, which lets you draw more cards, let you play artifacts from your hand for free, destroy an opponent’s permanent, and even your own creatures Makes it big It’s a lot of text, but seems worth the time it takes to clear all those counters.

Awakened Skyclaw is a 4/4 elemental creature with Vigilance and Haste with additional powers - including the ability to be used as a land card.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Awakening the Vortex is all color, says the card, and allows some unusual abilities - including drawing two cards and placing any artifact from your hand onto the battlefield.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

My personal favorite fight, Ikoria’s Invasion, offers a flexible ability up front that scales up at different points in the game, and then sets up an outright win on the back with a giant creature that can gain a unique ability of its own. moves forward. Heavy damage against your opponent.

Assault on Ikoria War, a siege, has 6 defenses.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Unlike most other combats, Ichoria’s Assault costs two green mana plus X, where X is as much additional mana as you want to sink into the card’s casting cost. You can then search your deck for a creature whose mana is equal to or less than X, and put it directly onto the battlefield. In other words, for the extra two mana, you can play any creature you want, depending on the state of the game and the mana you have access to.

Then if the battle’s six defense counters are removed, it transforms into Jilortha, Apex of Ikoria, a giant dinosaur legend that attaches creatures to opponents even when attacking creatures are blocked. In the right deck, where a substantial battlefield of creatures is set up, turning into Zilortha will win a lot of games on the spot.

One legendary creature with the Zilortha reach, is a dinosaur.  It is an 8/8 creature with extra powers as well.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

It helps that Ichoria’s attack is a green spell, the color of the ramp – Magic‘S Word to accelerate mana generation beyond the typical one-land-per-turn rule. So while some decks may struggle to produce a big payoff from an X spell, green strategies are often well suited to produce lots of mana in a short amount of time, which can be done with any creature suddenly Allows cards such as Ichoria’s Assault to apply pressure. be the best solution to a given situation.

Most exciting to me is the versatility of the attack in different game states. If you have enough mana to find any creatures in your deck, either side of this card can single-handedly change the course of the game whether you’re winning, losing, or even deadlocked.

When you’re ahead, this is the type of card that can set up an even quicker win by finding a creature that always prevents your opponents from recovering. If you’re losing, you can find a creature to help turn the tide or set up a play to bring Xilortha onto the battlefield and stagnate with great dino power. And even in a stalemate, it can also cause a creature to break through an opponent’s defenses by attacking a player directly or by transforming into Zilortha and negating whatever blockers they may have.

As mentioned by the wizards march of the machine‘S Release Notes There is only a first edition set of 36 Siege Battle cards. While time will tell how future battles work out compared to this first batch, the outlook is bright for this brand-new card type to inject some innovation into a game that hasn’t seen much success at this level since Planeswalkers debuted in 2008. Haven’t seen the replay.

Magic: The Gathering March of the Machines Arrives as a physical card set on April 21st, and is currently available for online play Magic: The Gathering Arena,

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