Prerelease Primer: Returning Mechanics

Welcome back to Prerelease Primer Week! Unfortunately, we’re fresh out of new mechanics to cover, as there’s only three in this set! Fortunately, there’s still things for us to talk about- today, we’ll be discussing the returning mechanics of the set, both as a quick refresher for returning players and as an easy jumping-in point for those of you who haven’t seen them before.

The Mardu and the Abzan got new mechanics in Dash and Bolster, but the Jeskai, Sultai, and Temur clans still have the same mechanics from Khans of Tarkir- that is, Prowess, Delve, and Ferocious respectively. The Jeskai’s Prowess ability appears on their creatures, and triggers whenever you cast a non-creature spell; instants, sorceries, planeswalkers, artifacts, and enchantments will all trigger Prowess, giving your Prowess-having creatures +1/+1 for the turn. Lands won’t trigger Prowess, because they aren’t spells. Casting Morph spells won’t trigger Prowess, because they’re creature spells. Artifact Creatures won’t trigger either, because they’re creatures. But anything else, as long as it lacks the Creature type, will trigger Prowess. Multiple spells do get you multiple Prowess triggers, so if you can go critical with a ton of instants or sorceries or cheap enchantments, your team will be all the deadlier for it.

The Temur’s Ferocious ability is a little odd- it’s not actually an ability! It just lumps thematically similar abilities together. The key defining point for Ferocious is “4 power or more”- effectively, your Temur spells with Ferocious get better if you have strong enough creatures. For some, it simply gives an extra bonus (like with Icy Blast, adding the “lockdown” onto the tapping). For others, it entirely changes what the spell DOES (Stubborn Denial turning from a soft counter to a hard counter[/card]). Most of the Ferocious cards don’t care how many creatures you have, only that one or more of them are ‘big enough’, but some DO care about how many, so read the cards carefully!

The Sultai’s Delve ability turns your spent spells and fallen allies into fuel for your new plans. Spells with Delve allow you to pay for them (partially) by exiling cards from your graveyard, rather than paying mana. You can only Delve for colorless mana, so you won’t be able to get around the colored component of those costs, and you can’t “overdelve” to empty your graveyard- if you cast Become Immense, the maximum number of cards you can exile with Delve is normally going to be 5, and you’ll still have to pay a single green mana if you do exile 5 cards. Delve doesn’t change the mana cost of the spell, so that Become Immense is always going to be a legal target for Disdainful Stroke, even if you’re paying less than 4. Finally, your opponent won’t be able to “React” to your delving- by the time they can respond (maybe they want to exile some cards from your graveyard), your spell has already been cast and paid for, and you’ve done your Delving.

The last mechanic we’re only going to touch on lightly- several of the cards in Fate Reforged have hybrid mana symbols in their abilities. For those of you who played in Return to Ravnica (or the original Ravnica block), you’ll know what to do! For those of you who haven’t, hybrid mana can be paid for with either color. So, Yasova Dragonclaw‘s trigger asks you to pay with blue/red hybrid mana. You can pay for that with two blue mana, two red mana, or one of each- it doesn’t matter! So if you open a big scary Mythic or rare with a hybrid mana symbol, you’re not necessarily restricted to 3 colors to play it! Fun times.

Tomorrow won’t have any rules tips- just some general tips on what to expect from the prerelease, and how you can maximize your fun times and minimize your sad times.

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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