The ever popular TCG Magic: The Gathering’s newest set hit the shelves and is bringing new mechanics to the field while making the plane of Innistrad mad and filled with nightmarish abominations.
This set is a follow up to Shadows over Innistrad, released in April, where Jace went to investigate what was going on and found a series of clues leading to the revelation that Emrakul, the third Eldrazi titan, was indeed coming to this realm. During his search, the land was getting corrupted and the citizens were going insane. The story continues in this set where Emrakul does indeed show up on Innistrad, corrupting life forms and wrecking havoc until the Gatewatch and Tamiyo imprisoned her in the moon.
Well, enough with the lore as most players don’t really care about it, instead caring mostly about what new things are coming in. Eldritch Moon brings in 3 new mechanics while keep the Shadows over Innistrad ones in. The new mechanics are Meld, Escalate and Emerge which Meld and Emerge are deeply tied in with the story aspect.
The Meld mechanic is present on 6 cards in the set, making it a mechanic hard to achieve in sealed format as three of the six cards are rare and one is a mythic. This mechanic represents well what is going on in Innistrad with Emrakul’s arrival, where creatures and land masses meld (hehe, get it) into one being. Each of the 3 combination have specific trigger for the transformation. One being at the start of combat, another being at the end of your turn and the other being a pay and tap feature. Once the trigger is activated, both cards get exiled and come back as their fused form on to the battlefield. The fused form is one oversized card made up from the 2 exiled card’s back side.
Here’s an example:
If you have both of these cards and pay the activation fee on Hanweir Battlements:
They will both be exiled, “flipped” and come back into play as Hanweir, the Writhing Township.
This mechanic is quite fun and fits really well into the lore of the set but the high cost of the cards and specific triggers does make this a bit on the unplayable side as far as constructed decks go for the most part. The one that might see the most play would be the angel meld combo as both of the angel cards have quite a strong value on their own, unlike the other meld combos.
The second new mechanic of this set is also influenced by the Eldrazi invasion on going. Emerge involves casting a creature by sacrificing a creature you control and reducing the Emerge cost by the converted mana cost of the sacrificed creature. This ability is pretty straight forward and allows you to trigger creature abilities that require them to die to activate and still maintain presence on the board with a new creature, usually stronger.
The last mechanic reminds me greatly of the Entwine mechanic from Dark Steel except better. The mechanic is called Escalate and is found on sorcery and instant card in contrast of the two previous mechanics which were creature heavy.
Escalate spells come with multiple abilities and allow you to use more than one of the abilities by escalating the spell. For example, when you cast Collective Effort, you may do so only using 1 colorless and 2 white mana.
But as you see, there is the Escalate feature tied in with a cost, tap an untapped creature you control. With this, if you pay the 1 colorless and the 2 white mana, tapping 2 creatures along side the mana cost for this, you can activate all three effects on the card. This mechanic will more than likely see play in Standard Constructed as most of the spells offer tricks that can be beneficial both early on and late in the game which makes for great plays throughout the match.
Eldritch Moon does contain Eldrazi cards but does not use the Colorless mana present in the new Zendikar set. This set also deals with the imprisonment of the last Eldrazi titan which means that the next sets, to many players pleasure, will more than likely not deal with any of these creatures.
This Mechanic Review is based on Magic: The Gathering’s Eldritch Moon set sent to us by Wizards of the Coast for Review purposes. Eldritch Moon is the second set of the Shadows Over Innistrad block and is available right now on your Local Game Store shelves.