Prerelease Primer: Manifest

Today we’re going to get to the real meat and potatoes of Fate Reforged! We’ve already covered Dash and Bolster, and that just leaves us one new mechanic (we will cover the returning mechanics tomorrow, but that’s all that’s left is returning ones after this!) to discuss, and boy is it a doozy. Those of you who’ve played with Khans are probably familiar with Morph. Manifest is a lot like Morph, but different in a few key ways. To start with: what is Manifest?

Multiple cards in Fate Reforged will tell you to “manifest” one or more cards- usually from the top of your library, but some manifest in different ways. No matter where you manifest from, you do it the same way: you take the card to be manifested, and put it face-down onto the battlefield, just like with Morph. Also like Morph, it’s a very boring creature- it has no name, no subtypes, no mana cost, no abilities, and no color. It’s effectively a completely blank 2/2. Also similar to morph, the creature in question can be turned face-up later, meaning your boring little 2/2 might actually be something scary, like a 6/6 flier!

“But wait!”, you may interject. “How do I turn it face-up if it doesn’t have Morph?”. Easily- Manifest LETS you! The rules for Manifest say that if the Manifested card happens to be a creature, you can turn it face-up any time you have priority (any time you could cast an instant, effectively) by paying its mana cost. So, if you have a face-down Butcher of the Horde, you can pay 1RWB whenever you’ve got priority to flip your little dinky 2/2 into a respectable 5/4 flier with a neat ability. Now, it’s only creatures that you can un-Manifest; if you Manifest a land/instant/sorcery/planeswalker/enchantment/artifact that is not also a creature, it’ll stay face-down without some outside help (which we will cover next week!). It’s also possible for you to Manifest a creature that has Morph as well (especially this weekend, where you’ll be playing with Fate Reforged AND Khans of Tarkir). If that happens, you’ve got two options: you can turn the creature face-up by paying the full mana cost (via Manifest), OR you can pay the Morph cost, whichever you like. And creatures that do neat things when turned face-up don’t care WHY they were turned face up, either- go ahead and flip that Hooded Hydra for only GG and get a scary beater, or flip that Master of Pearls for 1W instead of 3WW and add some smackdown. Finally, there are some cards that care about face-down things, such as Smoke Teller, Lens of Clarity, Secret Plans, and Trail of Mystery. All four of those work with Manifest just the way they do with Morph- Teller and Lens will let you peek at your opponent’s Manifested men, and Plans/Mystery will appropriately buff your Manifested creatures and trigger off of them, same as Morph. And finally, just as with Morph, you can’t mix up your Manifested cards. If your opponent finds out you have a face-down Butcher with his Smoke Teller, and then you kill it before Manifesting a Forest, you can’t mix them up so he doesn’t know which is which!

A word of caution with manifest, however! You still need to reveal the manifested cards as they change zones (same as Morph), and it’s not great if you forget to, so make sure to remember! Second, make sure you don’t mix up your Morph and Manifest cards! It can make things very confusing for everyone, and might lead to penalties you don’t want! There should be Manifest overlay cards (very similar to the Morph ones from Khans) among the booster packs, but you probably won’t have as many as you need just from your packs. What I suggest is keeping your Manifested cards to the left side of the board, and the Morphs to the right, with your normal creatures in between. That way, it’s easy for you, your opponent, the spectators, and the Judges to tell whether that face-down Forest was manifested, or a mistake! Tune in tomorrow, where we’ll be covering the returning mechanics for a little ‘refresher course’, and then on Friday when we’ll have some general prerelease tips!

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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