[Editor’s Note: The Real Life Mirrodin Common Print runs are located here, but there has been some discussion that the online print run differs from the cardboard one. Therefore, if you have information on the Magic Online print run, please either link to it in the forums or send a copy to Mail us at https://sales.starcitygames.com/contactus/contactform.php?emailid=2.]
If you are one of those people who see signaling as a divine holy art, which should be worshiped and protected, then you will not like this article. However, if you’re like me, and think that you need every helping hand you can get when trying to find your niche on the color wheel, then you may find this article of some use. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s print run time.
Mirrodin is an interesting set, in so far as many of its bombs are in the uncommon slot, more so in fact than the rare slot. Although Glissa Sunseeker, Molder Slug, Empyrial Plate, and the like are clearly first pick cards, they are not much better (if at all) than Loxodon Warhammer, Grab the Reins, and Crystal Shard. Far more than with previous sets, will you be faced with an uncommon missing, when you are passed your first Mirrodin pack, and knowing which uncommon it is (or at least is likely to be), can help you immensely when trying to settle into your colors. Did your daddy take a Trolls of Tel Jilad? Better ditch the plan of drafting Green. Did he nab a Crystal Shard? Even if he doesn’t play Blue as a main color, you can bet your life he’s not going to pass you any Neurok Spies. Knowing this information early can save you important early picks and help prevent you from getting cut off.
Unfortunately, it seems Wizards have abandoned the idea of keeping print runs the same on Magic Online and paper Magic. When I first started to compile the print run, after a lot of very confused card lists, I found that Magic Online in fact uses a completely different print run to paper Magic. It even uses a different print run to the Magic Online beta server, which some people were fortunate enough to have access to before the online Mirrodin release. I apologize to anyone who has read this far and doesn’t use Magic Online but, in all honesty, you should have paid more attention to the title of the article.
So anyway, without further ado, here is the print run:
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Roar of the Kha
Grab the Reins
Mask Of Memory
Talisman of Dominance
Dead Iron Sledge
Wall of Blood
Talisman of Impulse
Talisman of Unity
Talisman of Indulgence
Trolls of Tel-Jilad
Betrayal of Flesh
One Dozen Eyes
Tempest Of Light
Golem Skin Gauntlets
Talisman of Progress
Barter in Blood
Thirst for Knowledge
(Loop to Mirror Golem)
I’m sure a fair proportion of you know the deal with print runs by now, but for those who haven’t previously indulged, this is how the list works.
- In any given pack of Mirrodin you open on Magic Online, a random point on the print run is determined, and the next three uncommons on the print run are placed, in order, in the pack. Therefore when you open a pack in a draft, the three uncommons, from left to right, will read directly down the print run. For example, if the leftmost uncommon is Betrayal of Flesh, then the next two will almost certainly be Bottle Gnomes and Thought Prison (although see note on foils below).
- There are 88 uncommons in the set, and each appears only once on the print run. There is no dual-list like there is with the commons.
- The print run is shown as a list for convenience, but in reality it is circular. Rustspore Ram, Mirror Golem, or Fireshrieker (for example) is no more or less likely to occur in a pack as any other run of three.
- The packs opened in drafts appear to be uncorrelated. There is a common misconception that when the eight draft packs are opened, there is some kind of print run that flows between them, however I have found no such relationship. In fact, yesterday I opened Myr Retriever, Barter in Blood, Skeleton Shard, and was then passed Assert Authority, Myr Retriever, Barter in Blood.
- Foils throw a spanner in the works. If there is a foil uncommon in the pack, it will randomly replace one of the other uncommons, and is in no way related to the print run. For example, you could open Dragon Blood, Foil Stalking Stones, Slith Bloodletter, or even Foil Icy Manipulator, Icy Manipulator, Goblin Dirigible (nice pack). Note that if the foil is the middle card, this will cause a”missing” card in the print run between the two others. As you can imagine, once you know the print run, it is very annoying when you open Granite Shard, Foil Woebearer, Slith Firewalker.
What did your Neighbor Pick?
Obviously the idea of using the print run is to see what the person or people upstream of you have picked, as this will help you to avoid fighting for colors. This is more difficult in Mirrodin because of the large number of artifacts, but it is not always just a matter of color, as we will see later. Most of the best signals you get are when you are passed your first pack, as this leaves no ambiguity as to which missing card your daddy has taken, and is also early enough for you to act on your findings. The first pack you are passed in the second and third boosters are just as revealing, but by then you will probably already be committed to at least one color. By the same stroke, boosters you are passed after the first have more than one card missing so it is difficult (although not always impossible) to work out in which order they were taken.
Let’s take a look at a number of scenarios where you can determine what has been taken from the pack, starting with the easiest. All of the following will assume that you are being fed by a reasonable player, who will not make crazy picks. On Magic Online, it always pays to check the rating of the person feeding you, especially if you are in the 4-3-2-2 queue.
Scenario 1 – The Missing Link
This is easy pickings for print-run users. You are passed a pack missing an uncommon and, when you look up the two remaining on the print run, you see a one-card gap in the middle. This is the card your daddy has taken. For example, if you are passed Golem Skin Gauntlets and Taj-Nar Swordsmith, he has taken a Viridian Shaman. There is a small chance that he may have taken a foil instead, but this is normally fairly obvious.
If you are passed Brown Ouphe and Rust Elemental, it is pretty obvious that your daddy has picked a good foil uncommon and not, as the print run suggests, Talisman of Dominance. This is why it is important to ascertain the play skill of your right-hand neighbor. Theoretically, you might be fooled into thinking your opponent has taken a Grab the Reins when in fact they have taken a foil Crystal Shard but, to be honest, the odds of this happening are pretty remote.
Scenario 2 – The Double Ender
As above, but you are passed two uncommons that are next to each other on the print run. Here you will have a choice of two cards that your neighbor might have taken (either side of the pair you have on the print run), but it’s normally pretty obvious which they have taken. For example, if you are passed Slith Strider and Blinkmoth Well, it is fairly certain that your opponent has taken Grab the Reins and not Myr Prototype. Again, foils will cause problems, but your prediction will normally be accurate.
Scenario 3 – The Annoying Foil
You are passed a pack with an uncommon missing, and a foil uncommon making up one of the other two. Here it is a bit trickier, as you are now looking at three potential picks but at least you have eliminated the possibility they picked a foil. How to read the print run here depends on whether the foil is to the left or the right of the non-foil. If it is to the left then you are looking at the card after the non-foil on the print run and both cards before. If it is to the right then you are looking at the card before and both cards after. For example, if you are passed random foil, Leonin Skyhunter then the missing card is either Looming Hoverguard, Lightning Greaves, or Rustmouth Ogre (all potential first picks depending on color preference). However, if you are passed Wall of Blood, random foil, then the choices are Atog, Talisman of Impulse or (almost certainly) Vulshok Battlegear.
Scenario 4 – Third Pick
Okay, admittedly most of the good information you will get from the print run will come from your second pick, but there is no need to abandon the list quite yet. When the third pack comes your way, take a look at what is missing. If all the uncommons are still there, then obviously it will be no help. If an uncommon and a rare are missing, then this is helpful, but not overly so. Although you should be able to determine which uncommon is missing, you have no way of telling which of your neighbors took which. Even if the missing uncommon is a Warhammer then it may have been passed in favor of a Molder Slug. Your only strong move might be to stay out of Blue or Black (the weakest color) if an unsplashable card of that color (such as Looming Hoverguard or Barter in Blood) has been taken by one of your neighbors.
If two uncommons are missing, then you can normally find out which two through the print run using the methods above and you may be able to quantify in what order they were taken. For example, if you are passed a Fabricate then the two missing uncommons are almost certainly Betrayal of Flesh and Trolls of Tel-Jilad. As very few people would take the Trolls over Betrayal first pick, you can assume that the Trolls went you your immediate neighbor. Stay out of Green.
The final option is that there is a common and an uncommon missing. In this case, calculate the missing uncommon and work out the likelihood of it being taken over the top commons. From this you may be able to work out who took what. Obviously we are now talking about a pretty imprecise science and foils will throw the calculations completely out the window. Every hint is helpful though.
Using the Information
Again, this is fairly intuitive, but you have to be a little bit careful what you read into information about your neighbor’s first pick(s). Mirrodin is a strange format, where playing three colors is the norm rather than the exception, and many of the broken cards are splashable, even the colored ones. You have to look carefully at what cards your daddy has picked and decide:
How likely he is to splash this card?
How likely he is to abandon this card if he gets cut off?
There is no use avoiding Red like the plague because your daddy picked a Shrapnel Blast, only to find out later that he splashed the Blast and you actually had a clear run at Red. With double color casting cost cards like Looming Hoverguard, Trolls of Tel Jilad, Soul Nova, and (to an extent) Grab the Reins, you can be more confident that they will draft this as a main color, but you still have to face the reality that they may switch out of that color. Even if you know exactly what picks your daddy made in the first couple of packs, that doesn’t mean you have to stop reading signals, it just means you have a bit of a head start.
Personally, I tend to use knowledge of my neighbors picks more as a tiebreaker. If there are multiple good cards in a booster, I will choose one that does not conflict with my neighbors chosen color. I will also keep it in mind when trying to decipher signals later, knowing there is a greater chance that they are drafting that particular color. I certainly won’t discount drafting that color altogether, and will even fight for it if necessary. For example, I’m not going to abandon a first pick Grab the Reins just because my opponent took a Granite Shard.
The use of the print runs doesn’t stop at just the drafting however. Any pack you receive with one or more uncommons missing while another remains, you can get an idea of what other cards are in the draft. This is especially useful if you know something like Loxodon Warhammer or Soul Nova is in the draft, as you will be able to play around it a little better. If you are really clever, you may even be able to work out who has the card.
A classic example was in a draft when I received a pack to make my fifth pick from. It contained a Granite Shard, with two missing uncommons, a common and the rare missing. I knew it was unlikely that a Tempest of Light would be taken in the first four picks, so assumed the two missing Uncommons must be a Hammer and a Firewalker. Personally I would take the Shard over the Firewalker, but I know some people value that card higher than I do. Therefore I am left pretty certain that my first round opponent opened a Hammer (and would have almost certainly taken it unless the rare was a Slug or a Tenbux), which is very useful information.
In case you are wondering, he did have the Hammer and proceeded to smash me round the face with it, as I couldn’t find a removal spell in either game, but such is the way of Mirrodin Limited I’m afraid.
Memorizing the Print Run
Off you go then, come back when you’re done. What, you can’t be bothered? No, me neither to be honest. Why bother when, on Magic Online, you can sit there with a printout of this article open in front of you. However, the time you have to make your pick is limited, so use it wisely.
You might want to memorize parts of the print run surrounding good colored uncommons. Memorizing the four cards surrounding each of Skeleton Shard, Crystal Shard, Betrayal of Flesh, and Grab the Reins will allow you to easily recognize when your neighbor has picked one of these cards. Also try to remember pairs or groups of good cards that come together. This will allow you to form rules in your head about drafting certain cards (such as”take Trolls second, don’t go blue”). The following are sections of the print run where pairs (or trios) of good cards occur near each other. The more of these you can memorize, the better.
Barter in Blood
One Dozen Eyes
Trolls of Tel Jilad
Betrayal of Flesh
Thirst for Knowledge
Golem Skin Gauntlets
Finally, a word of warning about the limitations of this list. While it can be very helpful, it will certainly not turn a bad player into a good one, it will merely help you out with one facet of your game. To make optimal use of the print run, you will need to know which cards on it are likely to be picked when, and also which can to be splashed and which will be abandoned. Some people may consider using this”cheating,” in so far as you are using information that wouldn’t be available to you were you playing paper Magic. I certainly respect that opinion, but all I am doing here is putting it out on the public domain so you can make the choice. I guarantee that there are dozens of players who have already worked out the print run for themselves and are using it on Magic Online as we speak.
Personally I do use it because I am cheating print-run using scum.
helloimian at hotmail.com