Insider: Mining Mirrodin, Part 2

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Hello, and welcome to the second half of our Mirrodin retrospective, highlighting the money cards in the set. Mirrodin was a critical block, much like the Urza block, that supercharged Magic, pushed it to its limits, and fundamentally changed how the game designers created future sets. Last week, we left off with Lightning Greaves, and this week, we'll finish up the list of Mirrodin cards that you need to know!

Mind's Eye

Mind's Eye was never constructed-playable. Standard couldn't bother with it, since you'd be spending 6 mana to draw your first card. Vintage neglected the card because for five mana, you could have freakin' Memory Jar!

Mind's Eye is highly relevant in Commander, though. Five mana isn't too hard to pull off and if you have spare mana, there's always someone at the table who is drawing cards. It is a colorless font of magical spells, which makes it more desirable – consistent card draw is tough for mono-colored decks that aren't blue. Sufficient people want Mind's Eye such that it is a very tradeable card.


MindslaverSuch a simple sentence, such a powerful one. Mindslaver was originally an Unglued card, but thankfully, it made it through to a real set. What a lucky break, because Mindslaver is so iconic that it got reprinted for more insanity. Mindslaver gets to let a player do what they may have joked about with their friends during casual play one day: how to make your deck kill itself. Mindslaver is no simple “tap you out, pass the turn back” kind of card, it challenges a player to say “with these resources, how can I best screw myself over?” The power of Mindslaver is proportional to the power of the format, and nowhere else is it as potent as it is (or was) in Vintage. With cards like Demonic Consultation and Yawgmoth's Bargain in your deck, getting Slaved could outright kill you (with my favorite suicidal DeCon card name being Corrupt Eunuchs). Thanks to Goblin Welder, Mindslaver could come back over and over, sometimes infinitely (with Crucible of Worlds and Great Furnace, for example).As an example of just how powerful the card could be, I was playing Slaver against Brian Demars, running the mirror. He started the game with a land, Goblin Welder, Mox, Pyrite Spellbomb. This was a dynamite lead-off in the mirror. I drew a hand that went Tolarian Academy, Mana Crypt, Mox, Mox, Aeronaut Tinkerer. He and I both had Force of Will, so my Aeronaut Tinkerer went for Mindslaver. I activated it on the spot. Brian drew into Ancestral Recall and pointed it at me. He then shot Pyrite Spellbomb at his Goblin Welder, responding by welding the Spellbomb in for his Mox. He then shocked himself with the Spellbomb. At that point, Brian scooped up his cards. Note that this isn't even the most savage play I could have made! Mindslaver mirrors often had one player involuntarily Welding in his opponent's Mindslaver, over and over! My opponent would have had to endure two more turns of brain-draining.That's the power of Mindslaver, and it's no small wonder that folks everywhere like to pull it off.$2.50Oblivion StoneO-Stone is a colorless board wipe in the tradition of Nevinyrral's Disk. With enough time and mana, you can make all of your permanents survive the crush! O-stone is popular casually and saw a bit of play in constructed formats. It's a card that casual players love and often overvalue, so it's worth having in a binder.$3.00Platinum AngelThe Angel is still a required component of stupid Johnny win conditions involving doing things that would ordinarily kill you. Players dream of playing it and then putting Lightning Greaves on her. It has shown up occasionally in constructed decks, including Extended – some decks had no answer to a resolved Platinum Angel, strange as it sounds.My favorite Dumb Card Trick with her? If you get to a negative life total with it in play and then cast A-Acererak the Archlich, the game considers setting your life to zero as lifegain if it was from a negative number. Thus, you draw a card for every negative life point you had! Silly!$2.75Sculpting SteelIn Commander, utility rules. Sculpting Steel can take anything, from a Mind's Eye to a Ark of Blightsteel Colossus, and double it up. A big part of its price, though, comes also from Vintage. Sculpting Steel is good in the all-artifact Mishra's Workshop decks that focus on big monster beaters. Cloning a Lodestone Golem is a serious threat, but doubling a Tangle Wire, a Smokestack, a Darksteel Juggernaut or otherwise is still huge. Sculpting Steel often does a duplication on the cheap, saving one or two mana along the way!$3.00Solemn SimulacrumThis card was designed by Jens Thoren and was originally costed at 2RG. Alternately called StrongSad, RoboJens or the Sad Robot, he's a premiere mana fixer and accelerator. Four mana doesn't get you anything crazy here, but the robot does do some stuff pretty well. He's casually loved and saw a little bit of constructed play, too. I would be careful about picking any up, though, because he is a M12 reprint and his current price will probably drop a bit more if/when he sees no constructed play (see: Meddling Mage).$4.75Soul FoundryThe Dude Machine inspires all sorts of silly combo ideas. You can make Mystic Snakes with it, what more could you want! Soul Foundry is pretty popular in Commander, where it can reproduce all manner of fatties. I was surprised to see that this had climbed up so much, since I had previously considered it a junk rare. Don't make my mistake!$2.00Sword of KaldraIt wasn't really until Darksteel that we realized that this card was part of a trio. Sword of Kaldra was, at that point, just a really cool artifact from the first set to debut Equipment. People like to put the Kaldra voltron combo together, and the Sword is just fine by itself, too. It's a valuable card that people might undervalue, so be on the watch for it.$2.75Tooth and Nail
After Affinity got stomped down, the world shifted to Tooth and Nail. It's a ridiculous effect, but at nine mana, who is going to do that in Constructed? It was at that point that people turned to the Urza lands, which were idealistically printed in the base set, though they had never before been used in tournament Magic. People quickly found out that when you make a 9-mana spell that's worth casting, the Tron is actually pretty good. The deck's earliest incarnation would go for Platinum Angel and Leonin Abunas, but people could shred through that with Shrapnel Blast and the like. Then it went for Sundering Titan and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. You'd get the Titan out and then if you didn't immediately need to kill some lands, you'd make the token copy in the Waylay step and then make another on your next turn. Three Titans, coming in!

My favorite adaptation to Tooth and Nail was what Blue Tron ended up doing. You'd cast your Tooth and Nail and then they would respond with... Adrix and Nev, Twincasters? Okay, sure, and you're getting Uyo, Silent Prophet and Triskelion? Weird, okay. Uyo copies the Tooth, getting Mephidross Vampire and Sakashima, The Imposter to copy the vamp? Now Trike gets two counters for each one it takes off? And now I'm dead, with my Tooth and Nail still on the stack?

Talk about metagaming!

Tooth is still enormously popular in Commander and casual, since getting to nine mana isn't hard and Tooth has better and better guys to get these days (like Kiki and Pestermite for an insta-kill).


Troll Ascetic

Apparently, trolls being Artificer's Hexproof has become part of Magic. Not sure where it came from, other than from this duderino. The big play in Standard when he was legal was to slap a Loxodon Warhammer on him. Six lifelinking damage that you can do nothing about, coming right up! Other appropriate attachments included Blanchwood Armor. The Troll has little casual appeal and got reprinted in Tenth Edition, so people don't value him highly. He's much better than bulk, however.


That wraps up Mirrodin! Next week, we'll look at Darksteel, a set that attempted to kill Magic where even the Urza block was unsuccessful. What's your favorite Mirrodin card? Got a good Mindslaver story? Trade for any Mirrodin cards lately? Post in the feedback below!

Until next week,

Doug Linn

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