The new Magic: The Gathering set “Eldritch Moon” will be releasing towards the end of this month, and it’s loaded with new game mechanics that are sure to excite players.
Spoiler season for the final set in the Shadows over Innistrad block has begun. Fans of the world’s most popular trading card game are without a doubt egger to try out the new mechanics that “Eldritch Moon” will bring to their beloved game.
One of the reasons magic the gathering has survived for over 25 years is the inclusion of new mechanics, which helps the game feel fresh. The creators of Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the coast should take great pride in the fact that for years now they’ve been adding new mechanics to the game, without breaking it. Some card games are not so lucky, introducing mechanics that are over powered and become the only way to play. At which point the game becomes stale and no longer fun, or in card game lingo “broken.” Wizards of the coast have always introduced mechanic with care, allowing players multiple ways to play with no one way necessarily better than another
Meld is probably the new mechanic that players are most excited about. Meld works very much like double sided transform cards, when a certain thing happens on the battlefield that coincides with the text on the card its transform ability triggers and it’s flipped over becoming a new creature with new abilities. Meld requires two card which in their text say that they meld together both be in play, at which point either a mana cost is paid or a happening in the game causes these two cards to meld. When meld activates the two cards are flipped over revealing two parts of a whole new card with new abilities.
There are some notable limitations to the meld mechanic. The first being that to meld cards both cards must be in play, as well as owned by the same player. You can’t steal the other half of your meld combo by stealing an opponent’s card, or copying it. The second being that any removal from the battlefield will cause the meld card to break apart, meaning exile enchantments and spells that tuck cards back into your opponent’s deck will break a meld card back into two pieces. That being said in a commander, modern, or legacy format the one mana cost card Cloudshift will be a meld player’s worst nightmare.
The new Mechanic I’m most excited for is Emerge. Emerge is a mechanic which helps bring down mana the cost of larger creatures, specifically the notoriously costly creature type Eldrazi. The Emerge cost on a card is separate from the casting, and allows a player to sacrifice a creature on the battlefield, which reduces the casting cost of the creature you’re emerging by the sacrificed creatures casting cost. For example if a player is trying to play a card with an emerge cost of six, and they sacrifice a creature on the battlefield with a casting cost of three, then the creature that’s emerging now costs three mana to play.
The final new mechanic is called escalate, which gives players the opportunity to pay an additional cost when they cast a spell allowing their spell multiple abilities as well as multiple targets. These escalate spells appear to all be modal instants and sorceries, meaning the card text has a list of abilities, known as modes, that the cards caster may choose from. Basically if you pay the casting cost you get to choose one of the modes your spell offers, but if you pay both the casting cost and the escalate cost you may choose two of the modes the spell has to offer. The spells owner may pay the escalate cost as many times as they would like, each time the cost is paid the player gets to choose another mode from the list on the card. The player can choose the same mode multiple times.
Prerelease weekend for “Eldritch Moon” is July 16-17. The set’s actual release date is a week later on July 22.