Mirrodin And Five

I want to imagine a world with Myr Incubator. In an artifact-heavy deck with possibly seventy-five artifacts or so, you can use the Incubator, get seventy or so 1/1 dudes, and win in the first combat phase where these dudes can attack. Yes, it costs twelve mana – but unlike Mindslaver, this is a winning condition on its own. Add Anger or Fires of Yavimaya and you can swing that turn. This has a fairly high potential.

With a host of new powerful and impactful cards, Mirrodin promises to change a lot about the way we look at Magic. And because the set is larger, there are a lot of potentially useful cards for the Five Color environment.

For those who are new to my set evaluations for Five Color, there are a few guidelines. Firstly, unlike many set reviews, I don’t mentioned and evaluate every card. I have neither the time, nor the inclination, to write”marginally useful at best” in fifty different ways for the suck cards. Instead, I include that either have been discussed already by others or that I think might make an impact.

How can I determine whether or not a card will impact an environment so quickly? Normally, a person can’t – not without some playtesting. But in an environment as open as Five Color, there are a lot of established cards – benchmarks that are used to measure new cards. Burn has to be as good as Lightning Bolt, removal competes with Swords to Plowshares, and so forth. This is similar to Type One – with a large card pool comes a more predictable impact.

One reminder: Five Color has two worlds. There’s the casual side, which will play anything, and the competitive side, which won’t. This review assumes at least that your casual decks will be designed to win, if not a competitive deck. Feel free to play with any Mirrodin card, its exclusion from this list is not meant to imply that I automatically think it sucks.

With that being said, let’s take a look at some general new things that we see on multiple cards before moving into specifics.


I’m sure that a lot of people are really excited about equipment. However, as a Five Color player, I’m not all too thrilled. The only way equipment would be useful is if you could have a whole lot, plus a whole lot of those creatures that get a lot better with equipment. However, there are not enough of either to saturate a 250 card deck. If you want creatures that get bigger under certain circumstances, go with threshold critters like Werebear and Mystic Enforcer.

There might be the occasional really good equipment card – but most players would rather have another creature than something to pump a creature. Don’t look for equipment to have much of an impact in Five.


Entwine cards are supposedly like kicker, except you get to do both things instead of choosing just one. The problem is, on the cards where you most want to do both things, the Entwine cost is too high. Kicker costs for the good cards were very reasonable. Orim’s Chant spent one more mana to remove an attack phase. Thornscape Battlemage spent one white to pop an artifact. One mana for a +1/+1 counter and an ability on a ‘Volver. Orim’s Thunder needs one red to deal damage to a creature…

But the Entwine abilities that are cheap have amazing abilities like tapping a creature or preventing damage. The Entwine cards that have currently been printed lack power. The few good Entwine cards will be listed individually.

Affinity for Artifacts:

This is much harder for me to assess. In a sixty-card deck, where the reliability of having artifacts in play is much higher, I can make a good guess. A two hundred and fifty-card deck would have to be pretty devoted to artifacts to warrant the inclusion of cards that have Affinity for Artifacts. A few of the best are included below.


Some of the Imprint abilities are pretty good, and some are bad. They simply have to be looked at individually, and the better ones are below.

The Cards:

As always, we will start with white and work our way around the color wheel to blue. Without further ado, here are the cards!


There are very few cards from white that will prove useful to traditional Five Color decks. Its best card may be an instant that makes creatures.

Leonin Abunas

This creature is essentially a modern Guardian Beast, which is pretty nice. It helps keep your opponent’s removal away, which is highly useful. Of course, no self respecting player wouldn’t have a bevy of creature removal at his hand, so you can’t rely on it working – at least not for long. Its advantage is that, like the Guardian Beast, it only has one white mana in the cost, making mana concerns easy to deal with.

Leonin Skyhunter

Honestly, it’s not like there are a bunch of creatures that cost WW in most people’s Five. Even beatdown prefers the simplicity of a 1G or 1W sort of cost. But if a player were to pay WW for a 2/2 creature, then this is exactly the sort of creature that you’d want. I expect to see an awful lot of the Skyhunter in the future in a lot of formats, and that will probably apply to those Five Color decks that are specifically designed to handle its cost.

Luminous Angel

I don’t know why the splashier effects always get the bigger press. I think Raise the Alarm is a better card. But, nevertheless, we have the newest incarnation of a big white Angel or reanimation target… Except Verdant Force is better in that regard. There are two white angels already seeing a lot of play, and I don’t see this challenging the throne of Akroma and her Exalted Angels any time soon.

Raise the Alarm

I like this card because it is so simple. It’s also an instant. Kill an attacking Jackal Pup and make a dude. Kill two attacking Jackal Pups, Savannah Lions, or Wild Dogs. Kill an attacking 2/2 like a Carnophage or Sarcomancy token. Or make a pair of attackers at the end of your opponent’s turn and swing for an extra two. Make two creatures to block and essentially Fog for the turn. Make creatures to pitch to Goblin Bombardment or Recurring Nightmare. This is a solid card.

Roar of the Kha

This is possibly one of the better Entwine cards because it’s fairly cheap to use both abilities and they are both useful. Pumping all of your creatures by +1/+1 as an instant used to cost three. This one costs two. Untapping them can also be useful, and gang-tackling a bunch of attackers is a pretty demoralizing effect.

Second Sunrise

Second Sunrise is interesting because it does something that no card has ever done. It’s a tad white in its cost, but it’s pretty good. It’s a solid way of securing yourself against a Pernicious Deed, Nevinyrral’s Disk, Powder Keg, or any other sort of global destruction effect that you couldn’t normally counter.

Solar Tide

I’ve overheard players going positively giddy over the prospects of Solar Tide. Really? Do you really want to pay six mana and sacrifice two lands in order to Wrath of God? Oh, and have creatures regenerate from it as well? Sure, occasionally its ability to pop off weenies or biggies will prove useful as it leaves you with creatures but still, this is a poor creature sweeper.

Sphere of Purity

The Sphere has some interesting interactions with old cards like Barbed Wire, Copper Tablet, and Armageddon Clock. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it rise up in a neo-Prison sort of deck preventing damage from the artifact sources that are damaging the opponent.

Taj-Nar Swordsmith

If any Equipment cards are good enough to make the cut, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Smith played as a way of tutoring for them. If Equipment in the expansion sets does more with creatures other than pump their stats and give them combat oriented abilities, then remember this card.


Like white, Green doesn’t add much new to the card pool except for the uber-powerful Sylvan Scrying. That a card that may be seeing restriction quickly. Its creatures are not as good as previous choices, and its new spells rarely offer something new.

Copperhoof Vorrac

Now here’s an interesting card; sort of a reverse Maraxus of Keld with a body of 2/2 just in case. The problem is that your opponent controls its size, and that it costs five mana, thus not fitting well into a beatdown deck.


Blowing up an artifact and keeping three mana seems like a pretty useful ability, all told. When you have something else to do, you can destroy an artifact for free. However, enchantments don’t get destroyed by this card – and that concerns me. Enchantments are often deadlier in Five than artifacts. And I wouldn’t want to lose the versatility of a Naturalize or Hull Breach in order to play with a free Verdigris.

Glissa Sunseeker

Anything that taps and destroys a permanent but doesn’t use up mana is good in my books, it doesn’t matter how restricted the ability is. It can yield card advantage and not use up any resources doing so – pretty good in my opinion.

Hum of the Radix

There are a lot of enchantments that hose artifacts. I’m not sure that the Hum is the best of them. Energy Flux, for example, is pretty good and cheaper to play.

Living Hive

Another of those beefy Reanimation targets. This one just isn’t as sexy as its kin, however. These days, you have to be amazing to be considered – not just a simple 6/6 trampler that makes a mass of 1/1s.

One Dozen Eyes

This may get the Coolest Name Award for the set. It’s a splashable, more expensive Roar of the Wurm that makes a smaller token creature. It could, however, make a bunch of critters for three green more. If you run a bunch of green in your deck, and a lot of players do play base green, then this might make a cut. Maybe.

Plated Slagwurm

Big reanimation target blah blah blah. Green creatures are so boring.

Sylvan Scrying

This card is pretty bad except for one very important point. It gets you any land. Get a Library of Alexandria, a Tolarian Academy, whatever. Previously, this ability was limited to Crop Rotation and Weathered Wayfarer. Now we have a third uber-land tutor, and it will possibly find its way to the restricted list as a result.

Troll Ascetic

Of the regenerating green guys, this may be the best. It costs three mana and has three power. And it regenerates. As such, it’s a pretty good creature to attack aggressively or keep to block, depending on the situation.


Red offers several very useful cards, more so than usual. Cards like Trash for Treasure and the”borderline-broken-in-Five-Color” Arc-Slogger are both very useful additions.


What a great card. Normally, removing the top ten cards to deal two damage is something you will rarely consider… But when you have 250 cards, it’s bombs away. So, here is a creature that essentially reads”R: Deal two to something.” It costs five mana and it’s on a reasonable 4/5 body to boot. This is a great card for Five Color, only held back by the fact that red is one of the lightest colors played in many decks.

Fiery Gambit

They are just going to keep pushing and pushing the card flipping mechanic until it is too good. Flip it once. Win, and you can Bolt something. Or, you can choose to take 50/50 odds and deal six to your opponent. Flip again, and you have a 50/50 chance of success. Win, and you win the game. Pretty good, I think, since you do not have to declare ahead of time how many flips you are going to do, so you can stop or keep going however much you desire. This may not be broken, but it is definitely pushing the envelope.

Grab the Reins

This is a versatile card. It’s a Ray of Command, except the creature doesn’t untap… Or it’s an expensive Fling. Or Fling an opponent’s creature at them for only a gazillion mana.

Molten Rain

Should one decide to attempt a Five Color land destruction deck, this would fit right in. I have my reservations about how good a LD strategy would be in the Random World of Five Color.

Seething Song

Is Big Ritual a playable card? There are some pretty gamebreaking five casting cost red cards and artifacts out there. I think we all realize, however, that Dark Ritual is better. Three Mana to drop a big threat on the first turn is better than five mana to drop a big threat on the third turn.

Trash for Treasure

This is a fairly useful ability. Goblin Welders are highly useful because they have this ability. Here is a one-shot, less fragile, sorcery version. Get any artifact into play from your graveyard for three mana and a sacrifice of an artifact. I expect to see this played.


Although black appears at first to have some very powerful upper end spells and useful utility cards, closer inspection is less certain. The best card may be Dross Harvester.

Dross Harvester

Another quick beatdown creature for 3-2-1 decks. It costs two black – but in decks able to handle that, this is a pretty effective beater.

Grim Reminder

This is a weird card – however, I can certainly see it being useful in certain situations. A loss of six life is pretty good for just three black mana; recurring loss of life is even better. However, I think this is best in a competitive metagame where everybody has Contract from Below, Quiet Speculation, Buried Alive, Deep Analysis, and so forth. When everybody has a similar cardstock, this becomes a deadly weapon.

Necrogen Mists

Not as disruptive as a Bottomless Pit, but easier to cast. It might see play in certain odd decks.

Nim Devourer

Like the Necrosavant, this creature comes into play during your upkeep from your graveyard for mana and a sacrifice. However, the mana cost is much less, it can have a much bigger power, and it is amazingly fragile. I can certainly see it getting some play.

Promise of Power

In 5, we actually have Necropotence. This bastardized version also has three black in the cost. As such, it probably won’t see much play.

Reiver Demon

If you play an eight-mana creature (and four of those mana are black) from your hand, then you get a bigger Desolation Giant that might leave a few creatures on the board. Not that useful, I’d think, outside of a mono-black deck – which pretty much eliminates 5 Color decks from contention.

Wail of the Nim

Another of the rare Entwine cards that seems pretty good because of a cheap Entwine cost. The Wail’s abilities are synergetic, keeping all of your X/1’s alive while killing everybody else’s. As an instant. I definitely like it.

Wrench Mind

Allowing a person to choose their discard as opposed to randomly might just make the new Hymn to Tourach unbroken. Having an out by discarding an artifact further weakens it.


The blue cards in this set are really more for tricks and cute stuff, not power. Except for Fabricate, there really isn’t a card in blue that will make an impact, although a few cards may be good enough for the fringes.


Tutoring for an artifact is a fairly easy ability to understand. And to abuse. Look for Fabricate to be voted on for restriction.

March of the Machines

With the new emphasis on artifacts, I wouldn’t be surprised to see people play with a modern Titania’s Song.

Psychic Membrane

Good because it creates a disincentive for a player to attack. Bad because at three mana, it is just too slow to block the early stuff. Ultimately, that adds up to”not that great.” If this card had cost two mana, it would have been eminently playable.

Quicksilver Elemental

A 3/4 for 5 that has a pretty good ability. This thing should get triggered abilities so you could make it an Academy Rector. That’d be neat. Make sure you have creatures with activated costs. Like Arcanis…

Shared Fate

Having a hand that can’t be discarded, only Disenchanted is nice, although your opponent benefits too. So make sure to use it with a Sylvan Library to get three cards a turn to your opponent’s one.

Somber Hoverguard

If there is a creature that is halfway decent with Affinity for Artifacts, this may be it. Two artifacts out and it’s a par for the course. Three artifacts out and it’s a Serendib Efreet that’s easier to kill but doesn’t ting you. More than that and this is a broken card.

Temporal Cascade

Timetwister, Diminishing Returns, and Time Spiral are restricted. I’m not sure that this will be. How bad does a seven-card drawer need to be before it’s unplayable? This bad?

Thirst for Knowledge

This isn’t a half bad card. Draw three, discard two – and make sure at least one of the two is a Glory or an Anger. Or discard an artifact and you’ve netted two cards, dug three cards deep, and only used three mana.


Obviously, the power of the set lies in artifacts, and there may be more artifacts in use from this set in your Five Color deck that from any set outside of the Urza’s block. There is also an amazing amount of chaff. Antiquities level chaff. Separating the two out can be rather difficult for several cards. In many Five decks, artifacts are used predominantly for mana – Fellwar Stone, Mind Stone, Mox Diamond, and such. Although there are mana abilities in a few of these artifacts, the power here lies in some other artifacts.

Aether Spellbomb

All five Spellbombs benefit from cantripping for two mana – essentially making them cyclable. This simulates a Seal of Removal, which is a pretty good warning. This is really one of the two playable Spellbombs.

Altar of Shadows

What a bizarre card this is. It’s sort of a mana engine, but only useful when you have a lot of mana. For six you can use a Planar Portal, which will probably be more useful to a player.

Blinkmoth Urn

If the Altar was an odd mana acceleration device, this one is pretty nifty. Get a bunch of mana each turn, because you have an artifact deck. It also has that”if untapped” ability that is so useful to cards like Icy Manipulator and Relic Barrier. In fact, I can see an entire prison-style deck using this, Winter Orb, Howling Mine, and the aforementioned artifact tappers. You can get your mana through this, not by lands shut down by a Winter Orb.

Bosh, Iron Golem

Bosh is expensive, but he has three things going for him. First of all, he’s an artifact, so you can Tinker, Welder, or Trash for Treasure him into play. Second of all, he’s a creature, so you can Recurring Nightmare, Eureka, Animate Dead him into play. Third of all, he’s a winning condition in an artifact-oriented deck… So his cost isn’t as bad as you think, and he’s a pretty useful guy. Imagine Tinkering in Draco and Flinging him for sixteen.

Chalice of the Void

What an intriguing card this is. A card whose playability is completely unknown doesn’t come along very often. It does something that nothing else has ever done, so that increases its uniqueness. And makes it harder to figure out. Mind games with this card could easily abound.

Chrome Mox

Oh know, there a card with Mox in the title. It’ll probably be worth eighteen times its actual play value. So, what is Chrome Mox good for? Card disadvantage and tapping for one color of mana like a Diamond. Sure, it’s mana acceleration. It’s not that great, and we have access to real moxes or the Mox Diamond which gives us any mana for a land, not a business card for one color.

Clockwork Dragon

Big artifact fliers are rare and usually overpriced. Clockwork Dragon isn’t – which is pretty good, if you ask me. Play your big flyer and pump him up permanently. Not the best flier ever, but easy on the mana.

Damping Matrix

Interesting because it’s sort of a cross between Null Rod and Cursed Totem. It will turn Morphling from the most powerful creature ever into an expensive Giant Octopus. It will also shut down a slew of artifacts, but it’s not as useful as Null Rod considering that Five has a lot of artifact mana. As such, its ability is much more limited in scope – and therefore, limited in potential.


The Duplicant is interesting because, as I read the card, it can imprint any creature. Including one your opponent controls. That makes the Duplicant a pretty good Control Magic. Unlike most Control Magic Effects, your opponent cannot get the creature back with a Disenchant – they’ll kill it instead. Maybe the Duplicant will be good enough to make the cut in a deck somewhere.

Gate to the Aether

Putting a permanent into play for no additional cost of mana on a semi-regular basis is an interesting effect. As such, the Gate may see play in a deck that can make the mana and also has a lot of permanents, so the odds of getting one are higher.

Gilded Lotus

More than Mox, a card with Lotus in the name must be worth like thirty-six times what a regular card is worth. Lotus Petal is still one of the most valuable commons in the modern age of Magic, and it’s banned and restricted in a lot of formats. Lotus Blossom, however, came down in value. As has Lotus Vale. Gilded Lotus will likely follow suit, but it pushes the envelope just enough that it may see play. It may see a lot of play in an environment that likes its mana.

Isochron Scepter

Like Type One, there are a vast number of highly powerful options for this banner artifact from the set: Swords to Plowshares, Mana Drain, Diabolic Edict, Lightning Bolt, Ancestral Recall… This is a highly-potent artifact that everybody has been talking about for weeks. I can’t do it justice in one paragraph. This could end up on the restricted list if it plays as powerfully as it looks.

Krark’s Thumb


Liar’s Pendulum

Slightly less cute and significantly more useful. If you are a good bluffer, then you should win more often than not – and that’s not the worst way of spending two mana. More fun than powerful, of course.

Lightning Coils

Immensely powerful and a card that could easily find a home in aggressive decks. Finding creature kill is bad enough; finding artifact kill as well is harder still. This card makes an excellent coup de gras for a variety of designs, and I expect to see it used quickly.

Lightning Greaves

One of the few good equipment options, the Greaves can be used to give a creature haste for free, and only costs two mana to play. There have already been comments about using this in beatdown decks. It may be a quicker version of Fires of Yavimaya or Fervor. Maybe quick enough to see use.

Mind’s Eye

This card is a bit subtler than many of its friends in the set. Cards like Isochron Scepter or the Lightning Coils are getting more play. However, this is a pretty good card: You can always rely on your opponent drawing at least one card, which yields you a card for a mana every turn. It only costs one more than a tome to drop down for a much smaller activation cost. And, if your opponent is foolish enough to draw extra cards when you have mana open, then you can really abuse this.


Every set seems to have a big powerful card that doesn’t end up nearly as big and powerful as it seems. Phage the Untouchable? Not much of an impact outside of casual circles. So, what will the Mindslaver bring us? Well, amazingly good times around the multiplayer table… And that’s it.

Some players are already writing the Five Color list about how insane Mindslaver is if your opponent has out Zuran Orb, Goblin Bombardment, Sylvan Library, and such. So Mindslaver is good but only if your opponent is running Claws of Gix or something. It takes ten mana. For one mana, I can draw seven cards off of a Contract from Below. For ten mana, I can take your turn for you? And what – hope you have a Desolation Angel in your hand that I can play without kicker? Not a big deal.

Myr Incubator

I want to imagine a world with the Incubator. In an artifact-heavy deck with possibly seventy-five artifacts or so, you can use the Incubator, get seventy or so 1/1 dudes, and win in the first combat phase where these dudes can attack. Yes, it costs twelve mana – but unlike Mindslaver, this is a winning condition on its own. Add Anger or Fires of Yavimaya and you can swing that turn. This has a fairly high potential.

Oblivion Stone

It was, of course, time for the newest Nevinyrral’s Disk replacement.

The good news is that it can be used the turn it comes out. Unfortunately, it takes a hefty mana commitment to do so. You can save a few permanents, and that’s a nice touch.

Note: Make sure your opponent sacrifices the Stone. More than once I witnessed a Stone at the prerelease just tap to destroy stuff, and neither the owner nor the opponent thought to sacrifice the Stone.

Platinum Angel

The newest in a line of big creatures with new effects. Meet the Phage of Mirrodin block. Watch as her price soars as players want a card that prevents them from losing, only to later realize that she a) costs a lot of mana and b) is really easy to kill. This isn’t even as good as Worship.

Proteus Staff

This is an interesting creature because it has several uses. Pop a minor creature of yours and Oath of Druids up a random creature. Can’t be worse, right? Or pop one of your opponent’s big fatties and force them to Oath up a new one. Can’t be worse, right? Polymorph meets artifact, and good times were had by all.

Pyrite Spellbomb

Another in a line of cards that makes red the forgotten color. This particular goodie will pop off protection from red creatures and also draw you a card if you need one. Pretty useful – but it might not have enough raw power to make many cuts.

Quicksilver Fountain

I already see the wheels turning in my friend’s head. He really likes Shimmer, and that might seem to work pretty well with this artifact. Since each player chooses which lands become islands, I don’t like this in decks. If it allowed you to control which lands it affected, then it would be pretty strong.

Scrabbling Claws

Another in a long line of graveyard-hosing artifacts. This one is more random than Phyrexian Furnace. However, if you want to remove something of yours, then it’s actually better. Say, for example, you have a Desolation Angel in your graveyard and your opponent just played Living Death. So, although this is worse at tearing through your opponent’s graveyard, it does have uses. Also, like the Furnace, it can sacrifice and draw you a card. Graveyard destruction is virtually required in a more competitive atmosphere, and the Claws are probably too inexact to use – but you never know.

Sculpting Steel

This card has existed for a long time as Copy Artifact… And, let’s face it, Copy Artifact wasn’t exactly a power card or anything. But with the renewed emphasis on artifacts, and with a colorless Copy Artifact now available, it becomes likely that Sculpting Steel will see serious play.

Scythe of the Wretched

Another of a very small group of good equipment cards. Throw it on a big creature or something good that’s likely to get blocked; get it killed, and you get it with the Scythe. That makes this a pretty interesting card, although four mana as an equipment cost appears a bit steep.

Serum Tank

If there are enough artifacts to keep this running in your deck or metagame, then running this cheap Jayemdae Tome is a very intriguing idea.

Skeleton Shard

You’ll note that most of the shards are missing from this list. Crystal Shard isn’t even as good as Erratic Portal, Granite Shard is just a better Rod of Ruin, and so forth. Their abilities are usually too limited for Five Color play. However, the Skeleton Shard is different: If you play with a lot of artifacts creatures, then you can Raise Dead one a turn for one black mana. That’s a pretty powerful effect. It just remains to see if there are enough good artifact creatures to use this idea.

Solemn Simulacrum

This is a pretty good card in some ways. It gets a land to smooth your mana base and draws you a card when it gets killed. It’s an interesting Skeleton Shard target, too… But four mana is a bit too much to pay for extra lands in a more competitive environment. And a 2/2 creature is too weak. In more casual Five areas, this card fits in very well.

Soul Foundry

Another in a very interesting line of imprint artifacts, the Soul Foundry appears to be a pretty good way of keeping pressure on your opponent just as you are starting to run out of gas. Play some early beats, keep swinging, and slap this down, imprinting a creature like Sedge Troll or something. Then start plowing out Sedge Trolls to keep the pressure on. Seems very potent.

Spellweaver Helix

Is this ability interesting enough to see play? It may be important to note that this card will allow a player to play with additional restricted cards by playing the other side. Remove, say, one of your four Land Grants and a Demonic Tutor. Then you can tutor whenever you or your opponent plays Land Grant. Better yet, imprint Contract from Below and watch your opponent grimace and not play Contract until the artifact is handled.

Synod Sanctum

This is an interesting card in a”Tawnos’s Coffin, Safe Haven, Cold Storage” sort of way. It is cheaper to play and use than its brethren and it works on any permanent. Although you can only toss one card under the Sanctum every turn, you can remove something, then pop it later. You can always pop it if you have the two mana available when someone tries to take it out. As such, it could prove very useful.

There are a lot of cards in the set that are playing really well in our Five Color decks. Get to it and modernize those 250 card decks!

Until later,

Abe Sargent