Good morning and welcome to the EMN Prerelease Primer! This time around we decided to cover all the mechanics in one article, so they’d be fresh on your minds as you all head off to your events at midnight tonight and this weekend! To start with, I’m going to toss out a link to our Shadows Over Innistrad Primer (which helpfully has links to our posts about all the mechanics of SOI, so you can brush up on those!). Just like the SOI Primer says, you’ll get a neat box for the Eldritch Moon prerelease too; the difference is, your promo will be a rare or mythic from Eldritch Moon, and you’ll be getting 4 packs of Eldritch Moon and 2 of Shadows Over Innistrad (whereas last time you got 6 of Shadows). Returning from SOI are Madness, Delirium, and Double Faced cards. There’s no Investigate in EMN (you don’t really need to ‘investigate’ when Emrakul Herself is hovering over your town after all), but since you’ll have 2 packs of Shadows in the mix you’ll likely still see Clues.
Now, onto the new mechanics! First up we have Escalate. Those of you who remember Entwine might think this looks a bit familiar. Spells with Escalate have several modes for you to choose from, with the added benefit that you can choose more than one mode if you pay the Escalate cost. Some of these spells have only 2 modes, which means you max out at picking those 2, but some have three modes, and you can pick all 3 if you pay enough! You have to have legal targets for all the targeting modes you’re selecting (you can’t pick the second mode for Collective Defiance unless there’s a target creature, for example), and you can’t select the same mode more than once. Escalate also doesn’t change the Converted Mana Cost of a spell; even if you’re paying 3RR to cast it, that Collective Defiance has a CMC of 3.
The second mechanic we’ll cover is Emerge. Emerge shows up on a bunch of colorless Eldrazi creatures, and represents them bursting forth from some unwitting host! You can cast them normally just like any other creature, but where’s the fun in that? They also have an alternate Emerge cost, which requires you to sacrifice a creature as an additional cost. The creature you sacrifice reduces how much you have to pay into the Emerge, though! So, Abundant Maw has an Emerge cost of 6B. Let’s say you sacrifice a Markov’s Crusader for that Emerge. It’ll reduce the 6B cost by 5, down to 1B. This lets you get these big scary Eldrazi out for less mana than normal, though it costs you a creature. A few important bits about Emerge: Sacrificing your creature is a cost, so if your opponent counters your Emerging Eldrazi, you still lose your creature. Emerge doesn’t give you special timing permissions; you can’t Emerge as though your creature had flash unless something else is letting you (so no using the target of your opponent’s removal as Emerge fodder!). Finally, the creature you’re sacrificing never reduces the COLORED component of your Emerge cost; only the generic. That Markov’s Crusader reduces costs by 5, not by 4B!
Finally, we get to the weirdest of the new mechanics: Meld. There are a total of three two-card pairs for Meld in the set. Under certain conditions, those pairs ‘meld’ together to create a horrible monster! To do that, you’ll take both of the cards with Meld and exile them, then return them to the battlefield ‘melded’. You see, these wacky cards don’t have a normal card back, or a ‘normal’ double-faced card back; on the back of them is HALF of a giant card (bottom and top, specifically). When you Meld them together, you’ll turn the cards over and put them together to Voltron into one eldritch nightmare. Meld has a few specific weird things about it: first, you have to own AND control the cards to meld them. You won’t be able to steal your opponent’s Hanweir Garrison to meld with your Hanweir Battlements. Second, it doesn’t work well with copies- you’ll start the meld process by exiling both cards, but since your Hanweir Garrison was a copy, it doesn’t actually HAVE the necessary back face for melding, so the meld fails and the cards stay exiled forever (whoops). Third, while these have a wonky back face, they’re not Double Faced Cards, and can’t transform (though they do have a special Checklist you should use if you don’t have opaque sleeves). Fourth, while your Melded monster is on the battlefield, just treat it as one giant card. If your opponent destroys it with a spell, it destroys the whole thing, not just ‘half’. Ditto for enchanting it, or equipping it, or putting counters on it. If it gets bounced or exiled, both component cards go away- so if you use Long Road Home on your own Brisela, Voice of Nightmares you’ll exile it (where it goes back to being Bruna and Gisela), then come back as 2 cards, each with a counter. It’s not TERRIBLY likely you’ll see much Melding at the prerelease (one of the pairs is a Rare and a Mythic, and one is two rares!), but if you do you’ll know how to deal with it.
Good luck to everyone at their events this weekend, and as always: have fun.
Today’s Prerelease Primer was written by Trevor Nunez