Welcome back to the Prerelease Week! Today we’ll be going over the last of the new mechanics from Kaladesh: Energy. This mechanic has actually been kicking around R&D since the original Mirrodin, waiting for a set to be used in, and now we have it! Many of the cards in Kaladesh give you energy in some way or another, represented by a number of black pentagon symbols with a cut-away lightning bolt in the middle. For example, Glimmer of Genius has you Scry 2, Draw 2, and then get two Energy. Energy comes in the form of counters, placed directly upon you, the player (just like Poison counters, or the Experience counters from last year’s Commander product). There was a little mixup with the printing and there won’t actually be Energy counter tokens in Kaladesh packs, so Wizards has created this handy-dandy, printable token for you to use! Feel free to print one of these out before the event, or just bring your own little handmade token, or whatever non-Magic card way you want to keep track of your Energy, because you will have a lot of it.
So, you’ve had a few Glimmers of Genius, and now you have a bunch of Energy- what do you do with it? Well, Glimmer is a bit of an odd duck in that it only gives energy- the majority of the Energy-givers in Kaladesh also give you some avenue to SPEND your Energy. Thriving Rhino gives you two Energy when it enters, and every time it attacks it’ll trigger, allowing you to pay two Energy to beef it up with a +1/+1 counter. These abilities don’t care where you get the energy- you could use Rhino’s energy to beef it up for one attack, and then follow up on the next turn with a Glimmer of Genius and use THAT energy to beef up your Rhino again! It all goes into your ‘reserves’, so to speak, to be spent as you see fit. Most of the cards give (or ask for) a specific, set amount of energy, like the Rhino up there, but a few of them let you scale it as you want. Harnessed Lightning gives you three Energy, and then lets you spend as much Energy as you want to do that much damage to the target creature. You could just use the Energy from the spell itself to hit for 3; you could use it to generate a ‘net’ gain of 2 Energy if you only need to kill a 1/1. You could also pour a ton of your power into that burn spell, and blast some big scary 8/8 right off the board.
It’s also important to note the way that a card is letting you spend energy: many of them (like Thriving Rhino, and the other four Thriving creatures in that cycle) have a trigger that lets you pay energy as the trigger resolves. Just like with similar triggers that asked for mana in the past, you can’t over-pay. Rhino lets you pay 2 energy, or 0, for one counter, or zero. You can’t pay 4 energy into the trigger, even if you HAVE 4 energy. It’s a binary thing, you either pay that cost, or you don’t; you can’t scale it up. Some cards have activated abilities, though; Spontaneous Artist can hand out haste as long as you have Energy, because you can activate the ability as many times as you are able to pay for it.
Lastly, for people playing in the Two Headed Giant events at your prerelease this weekend: Energy is a per-player thing! You and your teammate might share a life total, but you don’t share power; you can’t use your teammate’s Energy to pay for your stuff, just like you can’t use their mana. Other than that, Energy is fairly straightforward- get it, stockpile it, use it to power up your inventions and your team for great victory! Be sure to bring some way of keeping track of your Energy, and probably plenty of dice- and on some of the crazier cards, make sure you carefully count those symbols so you get as much energy as you should! Oh, and for those of you who want to use Energy in your casual and EDH decks once the cards are out- since Energy counters are… well, counters, they interact pretty well with Populate!
Tune in tomorrow for our last pre-Prerelease post, and have a great Thursday!
Today’s Prerelease Tip was written by Trevor Nunez