Last updated on November 2, 2022

Reaper King - Illustration by Jim Murray

Reaper King | Illustration by Jim Murray

Shadowmoor was one of the main Magic sets released in 2008, revolving around a single mechanic: hybrid mana. It was common to have entire sets based on mechanics and mechanical space at that time in Magic’s design. Mirrodin was artifact themed and Lorwyn was tribal themed, among others.

The set has a dark theme in contrast to Lorwyn’s lighter one, and the focus on hybrid mana led the set to care about the color of your permanents. It’s also one of the few sets with -1/-1 counters in its theme, joining a few select others like the Scars of Mirrodin and Amonkhet blocks.

It was an interesting experiment at the time that offered a very unique Limited environment with lots of mono-colored decks. Shadowmoor is an interesting set with lots of powerful cards that impacted Constructed, and it still impacts eternal formats to this day.

So let’s dive in and see what this fascinating set has to offer!

Shadowmoor Basic Information

Fulminator Mage (Shadowmoor) - Illustration by rk post

Fulminator Mage (Shadowmoor) | Illustration by rk post

Set Details

Set SymbolShadowmoor set symbol
Set CodeSHM
Number of Cards301
Rarities80 rare, 80 uncommon, 121 common, 20 basic lands
MechanicsHybrid Mana, Untap Symbol, -1/-1 Counters, Conspire, Persist, Wither

Important Dates

EventDate
Previews startMarch 31, 2008
Prerelease weekApril, 19-20, 2008
Paper release dateMay 2, 2008
Release EventsMay 3-4, 2008
Shadowmoor Pro TourMay 23-25, 2008

About the Set: The Story

Boggart Ram-Gang (Shadowmoor) - Illustration by Dave Allsop

Boggart Ram-Gang (Shadowmoor) | Illustration by Dave Allsop

The story of Shadowmoor follows the events of Lorwyn and Eventide. The world of Shadowmoor is like an inverted or bizarre Lorwyn; dark, cruel, and full of mutilation and killing. Shadowmoor is in opposition to Lorwyn’s more pastoral world where the big villain is the pie stealer or goat thief.

The Great Aurora

Lorwyn and Shadowmoor are two faces of the same plane representing Day and Night, and this cycle repeats every 300 years with The Great Aurora. That’s why Lorwyn is bright and peaceful while Shadowmoor is dark and scary.

Set Mechanics

Hybrid Mana

Spectral Procession

Hybrid mana can be paid with either of the two mana colors in the symbol. For example, can be paid with red or black mana. There’s also the symbol of mana, sometimes called two-brid mana, on cards like Spectral Procession, which can be paid with one white or two generic mana.

Although hybrid mana made its debut in Ravnica: City of Guilds, Shadowmoor raised the number of cards to 11. 116 out of 301 cards are hybrid (almost 40%), and only in allied colors.

Untap Symbol

Silkbind Faerie

A mechanic that’s exclusive to the Shadowmoor block, the untap mechanic is the opposite of the tap mechanic. You can pay the cost and untap the card if it’s tapped. Something happens if you do. Silkbind Faerie is a creature that allows you to pay and untap it to tap a target creature.

-1/-1 Counters

-1/-1 counters are more uncommon than their brother, the +1/+1 counter. Shadowmoor uses -1/-1 counters with wither and persist, as well as some cards that put -1/-1 counters on creatures, like Cultbrand Cinder. There are even some cards that interact with -1/-1 counters, like Heartmender and Woeleecher.

Conspire

Burn TrailGleeful Sabotage

Conspire is a mechanic on instants and sorceries. It allows you to tap two creatures you control that share a color, and if you do that you copy the spell with conspire. Examples of cards played in Constructed formats are Burn Trail and Gleeful Sabotage.

Conspire is found on 10 cards, most of them sorceries.

Persist

Persist is a mechanic found on creatures. When a persist creature dies with no -1/-1 counter on it dies, it returns to the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter. There are 13 creatures with persist across all rarities in Shadowmoor, and 27 across all of Magic.

You can put a -1/-1 counter on a persist creature your opponent controls to effectively disable the persist ability. Notable cards with the mechanic are Woodfall Primus, Murderous Redcap, and Kitchen Finks.

Wither

Boggart Ram-GangMidnight Banshee

Wither is a mechanic found on creatures, and it’s the father of the infect mechanic from Scars of Mirrodin. It’s usually found on black and red creatures, and 21 cards mention it.

When a wither creature deals damage to a creature, it deals permanent “damage” in the form of -1/-1 counters instead of regular combat damage. It’s a good foil to creatures with mechanics like indestructible and persist. Notable cards are Boggart Ram-Gang and Midnight Banshee.

Shadowmoor Full Card List

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Multicolored

Colorless

Lands

Notable Cards

Shadowmoor has its share of interesting cards, lots of different cycles and Constructed staples. Most money cards are just EDH cards in need of a reprint, and the other eternal format staples are reprinted often enough which keeps the price low.

Money Cards

Greater Auramancy

Greater Auramancy is a staple in enchantment and Voltron decks.

Mana Reflection

Mana Reflection produces double the mana, which is one of EDH’s pillars.

Painter’s Servant

Painter’s Servant is a key card in Legacy combo decks along with Grindstone, which lets you win by milling your opponent’s entire deck.

Polluted Bonds

Polluted Bonds is a constant source of lifedrain in EDH, and it fits black-based bleed and lifegain decks.

Prismatic Omen

Prismatic Omen is easy mana fixing that incentivizes you to play domain and other mechanics that care about the type of land.

Reaper King

Reaper King was one of the few 5-color commanders available, as well as a scarecrow lord.

Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool is a land that usually fixes for five mana in conjunction with Command Tower, or the vivid lands.

Promo Cards

Vexing ShusherDemigod of Revenge

Vexing Shusher and Demigod of Revenge got promo versions.

Hybrid Mana Dual Lands

A few lands see play in various eternal formats, mainly in pip-heavy decks.

Hybrid Lieges

This cycle of rare creatures all cost at least three hybrid mana to cast and are lords to creatures of their respective colors.

Hybrid Spirit Avatars

This cycle of rare creatures are all spirit avatars, and they all cost five hybrid mana to cast.

Mono-Color Hybrids

These cards each have hybrid symbols that can be paid with two generic mana or a single mana of their color.

Notable Constructed Cards

Cursecatcher

Cursecatcher is a disruptive card in merfolk tribal and has seen lots of play in Modern/Legacy merfolk decks.

Demigod of Revenge

Demigod of Revenge used to see play in mono-red and big red decks.

Deus of Calamity

Deus of Calamity often sees play in decks like Modern Ponza where the objective is to ramp and destroy your opponent’s lands.

Devoted Druid

Devoted Druid can produce infinite mana when paired with cards like Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit and Melira, Sylvok Outcast.

Firespout

Firespout is a nice sweeper that can get grounded creatures, fliers, or both.

Fracturing Gust

Fracturing Gust is a mass-Disenchant effect.

Fulminator Mage

Fulminator Mage was often played in Modern Jund () as a way to disrupt enemy nonbasics like the Tron lands.

Guttural Response

Guttural Response was a way to fight blue counterspell decks.

Kitchen Finks

Kitchen Finks, like Murderous Redcap, is a creature often present in “creature toolbox decks.” It can produce infinite mana with the right combo.

Manamorphose

Manamorphose is a staple in storm and other spell-based combo decks. The card replaces itself in your hand and generates mana.

Mistmeadow Witch

Mistmeadow Witch is a key card in blink decks, usually played in EDH.

Murderous Redcap

Murderous Redcap is an important part of creature toolbox decks and can produce infinite damage with the right combo.

Oona, Queen of the Fae

Oona, Queen of the Fae saw play in both Standard and EDH for a while. It’s typically a control deck in Commander that can win via damage or mill. It also benefits from faerie tribal since it makes 1/1 Faerie Rogue tokens.

Rhys the Redeemed

Rhys the Redeemed is also a good commander for token decks. You can make a lot of tokens and copy them since it’s cheap; mass population. Not to mention elf tribal since it’s a cheap elf that makes more elves.

River Kelpie

River Kelpie is a card-advantage powerhouse in decks with persist, flashback, and other mechanics that use the graveyard. It also has persist itself.

Runed Halo

Runed Halo is a good card to have in enchantment and prison decks since you can get selective protection against a specific threat.

Savor the Moment

Savor the Moment is a weird Time Warp effect. It’s usually played in decks that have multiple extra turn effects and planeswalkers to offset the disadvantage.

Smash to Smithereens

Smash to Smithereens was the better Shatter effect for a long time. It’s usually played in burn decks’ sideboards since it deals damage.

Spectral Procession

Spectral Procession was a staple of white weenie and flier decks.

Swans of Bryn Argoll

Swans of Bryn Argoll can produce awesome combos with cards like Seismic Assault, letting you draw a bunch of cards.

Sygg, River Cutthroat

Sygg, River Cutthroat is also a popular Dimir () commander. You want to stall the game and deal damage in increments of three with evasive cards like Brazen Borrower, drawing more cards in the process. Undermine is nice here because it does exactly what you want.

Vexing Shusher

Vexing Shusher is another way to guarantee that your spells resolve against blue counterspell decks, and it’s a goblin for tribal goblin decks.

Woodfall Primus

Woodfall Primus is a nice reanimator target, especially in Cube and ramp decks.

Wilt-Leaf Liege

Wilt-Leaf Liege was played in token and creature-heavy Abzan () decks (Modern Junk). It even has the anti-Liliana discard clause for when Liliana of the Veil was rampant.

Wort, the Raidmother

Wort, the Raidmother is a popular “copy red spells” deck commander.

Notable Reprints

Graven Cairns

Graven Cairns from Future Sight was not only reprinted, but the cycle of lands got four more cards and five more in Eventide, totaling 10 hybrid-mana-producing lands.

Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool was reprinted from Tempest.

Available Products

Shadowmoor was sold mainly in 15-card booster packs. There were also five preconstructed theme decks (intro decks) released, and fat packs that come with eight booster packs. There were also tournament packs consisting of 45 random cards and 30 basic lands, a sort of Sealed deck variant.

Booster Pack

Shadowmoor booster pack

Shadowmoor was sold in 15-card booster packs featuring a rare (no mythic rare yet), 3 uncommons, 10 commons, and a basic land.

Fat Pack

Shadowmoor - Fat Pack

The Shadowmoor fat pack contains eight booster packs.

Tournament Pack

Shadowmoor Tournament Pack

The tournament pack was designed to play sort of like a Sealed deck with less cards. It comes with 75 cards including three rares, 10 uncommons, 32 commons, and 30 basic lands. Basically what you’d expect from three booster packs plus extra lands.

Preconstructed Themed Decks

Each preconstructed deck highlighted some cards from the set and a specific theme. Since Shadowmoor has an allied-color hybrid theme, those five decks highlighted this aspect of the set.

Aura Mastery

Shadowmoor Theme Deck - Aura Mastery

Aura Mastery includes lots of white creatures and hybrid spells. It also has some auras that double as removal, and some rares to close the game like Thistledown Liege and Twilight Shepherd.

Mortal Coil

Mortal Coil

Mortal Coil is more black than blue, with hybrid creatures and spells. The theme is -1/-1 counters with ways to distribute them like Incremental Blight, and Fate Transfer to move them. Evasive creatures like Wasp Lancer win you the game while River Kelpie gives you card advantage in the long run.

Magic the Gathering Shadowmoor MORTAL COIL Preconstructed Theme Deck [Toy]
  • The start of a new block for Magic: The Gathering Shadowmoor is the start of a new setting, giving a unique twist to old favorites and introducing new places, creatures, and characters to the world of MagicTM.

Army of Entropy

Shadowmoor Theme Deck - Army of Entropy

Army of Entropy is Rakdos () doing its best. Attack with aggressive creatures for the win. Din of the Fireherd or Torrent of Souls can close a long game, and you use your removal to keep your Ashenmoor Gougers attacking.

Turnabout

Shadowmoor Theme Deck - Turnabout

Turnabout relies on the power of lots of small creatures and lifegain. Presence of Gond combined with untap cards can make lots of tokens, and Wilt-Leaf Liege boosts them.

Overkill

Overkill

Overkill relies on the power of lands. Jaws of Stone and Howl of the Night Pack reward you for having Mountains and Forests out, and Prismatic Omen and Elsewhere Flask can help a lot. Mossbridge Troll is menacing with all those red and green creatures around it.

This is the least hybrid-matters deck of them all.

Wizards of the Coast MtG Shadowmoor Overkill Theme Deck [Sealed Deck]
  • The start of a new block for Magic: The Gathering Shadowmoor is the start of a new setting, giving a unique twist to old favorites and introducing new places, creatures, and characters to the world of MagicTM.

Wrap Up

Spectral Procession (Shadowmoor) - Illustration by Jeremy Enecio

Spectral Procession (Shadowmoor) | Illustration by Jeremy Enecio

That’s all there is to know about Shadowmoor. The set has an interesting take on the light world/dark world trope, and it was a unique experiment with hybrid mana, one that I’d like to see MTG revisit.

One critique of the set was that building a Sealed deck out of a pool was an exercise in deckbuilding and patience that could scare away newer players, especially with Eventide added to the mix. A good part of your Sealed pool consisted of hybrid cards that could fit multiple decks, and it’s not clear from the get-go what colors to play.

What are your favorite experiences with the set? Would you like a hybrid set to return in full force? Let me know in the comments below or discuss it in the Draftsim Discord.

That’s all from me for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!

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