Last updated on January 25, 2023
Sylvan Scrying | Illustration by Scott M. Fischer
Mirrodin is a set that changed the game of Magic forever, in ways both good and bad. The creation of now-evergreen mechanics and the prevalence of artifacts was cool, and the change from the Dominaria plane to Mirrodin was interesting and refreshing.
But all these neat things were wrapped up in a package with development problems and tons of banned cards. The power level is over 9,000 here!
This awesome set has no doubt strongly impacted the history of the game, so let’s see what Mirrodin has to offer!
Welding Jar | Illustration by Mark Brill
|Number of Cards||306|
|Mechanics||Imprint, Entwine, Affinity for Artifacts|
|Full Gallery Available||Now|
|Paper Release Date||October 2, 2003|
Copper Myr Illustration by Kev Walker
Mirrodin was the first MTG set to take place on a plane other than Dominaria. Mirrodin, a plane created by the planeswalker Karn, took the spotlight. Mirrodin was released in 2003, and it led a trend of sets that took place on another plane with new lore, mechanics, etc.
Karn created an artificial plane where everything is made of metal, and that plane was called Argentum. Memnarch, an artificial being (construct) made from the Mirari knowledge, was its warden.
The story of Mirrodin is also the story of Memnarch and Glissa Sunseeker. Karn brought the Phyrexian oil with him, later responsible for the corruption of the plane, and the oil corrupted Memnarch. He changed the name of the plane to Mirrodin and had some Illusions of Grandeur, settling to become a planeswalker like Karn and going after Glissa Sunseeker, an important part in his transformation.
The famous and broken affinity for artifacts mechanic was created for this set. A card with this mechanic allows you to pay one less for it for each artifact you control, and that’s why we don’t mess with the cost of the card. Playing free spells is very good, after all.
A card like Myr Enforcer is frequently cast for two or three mana in an artifact-heavy deck.
Mirrodin is a set that’s heavy on artifacts, and the designers started to toy with the idea that some artifacts are better with certain colors of mana. The cycle of replica cards is a good example.
Entwine is a take on modal spells, or spells that have more than one effect that you need to choose from. You can choose two options instead of only one by paying the extra entwine cost. One Dozen Eyes is an example of that: you can have a 5/5, five 1/1 tokens, or both.
Equipment also made its debut in Mirrodin. Originally an aura that was also an artifact, equipment changed how combat is done and the possibilities of enhancing a creature.
Suddenly your “auras that buff your creatures” stay on the battlefield after the creature is removed. You can equip, attack, and move the equipment to defend. Notable equipment from Mirrodin are Bonesplitter, Loxodon Warhammer, and Lightning Greaves.
Imprint is a mechanic that lets you exile a card with the artifact to “imprint its effects.” A card like Chrome Mox lets you imprint a land to generate mana, while Duplicant lets you imprint any creature with it (even your opponent’s) to give it all the exiled creature’s characteristics.
The modern frame may have originated in 8th Edition, but Mirrodin was the first black-border set with the modern frame, and the first expert expansion.
One thing that Mirrodin evidenced was that the new artifact frame was too much like white, so the frame got darker after that. Mirrodin is one of the sets where the artifact card frames are almost white (light gray).
Chalice of the Void is one of the lock pieces that sees play in Modern and Legacy to this day. Chalice is usually played with X=0 or X=1 to limit fast starts from opponents and combos with lots of 1-mana spells and cantrips.
Mesmeric Orb is a mill piece, and it’s good in a deck where you want to mill every player to abuse their graveyard.
Second Sunrise works very well in decks where you want to sacrifice artifacts to draw cards, and you’ll return every single artifact to the battlefield to continue the combo.
Disciple of the Vault is a hell of a creature in an artifact sac deck. You’ll deal damage to them when you sacrifice artifacts. You can kill someone very fast together with Treasure making (and Mayhem Devil also helps).
Sylvan Scrying is one of the best effects to tutor a land, and it’s been used in decks like Green Tron.
Goblin Charbelcher is a win condition in combo decks that have few Mountains. All you need is to tap it and deal lots of damage to the opponent.
Gilded Lotus brings you from five to eight mana, and it’s a huge deal in ramp decks. The Lotus is heavily played in Cube ramp decks and EDH.
Crystal Shard is one of the better ways to abuse ETB effects in blink decks. You only need to pay a single blue mana to return a creature to your hand and play it again. You can mess with your opponents’ creatures too, but that costs extra.
Isochron Scepter allows you to imprint a cheap spell onto it, then you have access to it for the rest of the game. You can even combo off by imprinting a spell that untaps artifacts.
Lightning Greaves has become a staple of EDH because most decks are interested in protecting their commanders from spot removal and giving them haste.
Mindslaver is one of the few cards in the game that allows you to control your opponent. The lock is a combo that allows you to play the card every turn and win from there because your opponents don’t get to play.
Solemn Simulacrum is a value card. A 2/2 that fetches a basic land, and you draw a card when it dies. It’s interesting in slow decks because you’re accelerating your game, chump blocking, and getting a card.
The Locuses, or Postlands, are lands with a type (locus). Cloudpost generates one mana for each locus you have in play, so you’re going to get lots of mana from a single one, and it works wonders in multiples.
The artifact lands cycle is a cycle of lands that are artifacts and generate one mana of the given color, and there’s one for each color of mana. These lands cause all kinds of problems in Constructed because they ease the requirements for mechanics like metalcraft and affinity. They see play in formats they’re not banned in yet, like Pauper and Legacy.
The Spellbomb cycle has a Spellbomb for each color. Each one can be sacrificed for one mana to draw a card, but you can play colored mana to have a different effect like a bounce spell or a shock.
The Talisman cycle, which includes five mana rocks, sees heavy play in formats like Cube and EDH. Nobody likes to lose life to get access to mana, but everybody likes a good 2-mana rock.
The life loss is more forgiving in formats like EDH. Those cards have also been a staple of Cube, so you’ll usually play as many of these as you can. Modern Horizons 2 finished the cycle with enemy colored mana rocks only recently.
Mirrodin booster boxes have 36 booster packs, which are ideal to play Draft or Sealed, or if you’re looking to get singles.
The tournament deck pack contains 75 Mirrodin cards: 30 basic lands and 45 random cards. Sealed deck events used one of those plus two booster packs, which was the format of the Mirrodin prerelease.
Bait and Bludgeon
Little Bashers is a white weenie deck that uses the power of small efficient creatures and equipment to keep hitting.
- The "Little Bashers" deck may look like a typical white weenie deck, but the Mirrodin expansion's Equipment adds a new dimension to this classic deck type.
Chalice of the Void | Illustration by Mark Zug
Mirrodin was revolutionary at the time, but it also taught a few lessons to R&D, notably that artifacts are powerful and go into any deck. There are more than enough cool cards and mechanics that make up for the mistakes, and Mirrodin Limited is also referenced by pros as one of the better ones, especially together with Darksteel.
What are your favorite memories from Mirrodin? Which are your favorite cards? Let me know in the comments below or discuss it on the Draftsim Discord.
Thanks for reading, and stay safe!
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