A new Magic: The Gathering set is on its way, and with it, new cards and new twists on mechanics that have kept us tapping lands and filling graveyards for decades. But one of the new tweaks Zendikar Rising is adding to the mix is inspired by a mechanic introduced nearly a decade ago—and we’ve got a first look.
io9 is excited to reveal a brief taste of what Magic fans can expect in Zendikar Rising in the form of a brand-new double sided card: a Blue-mana Land/Instant called Beyeen Coast and Beyeen Veil. Check out both sides below!
Now, Magic has had double-faced cards for years at this point—they were introduced in 2011’s Innistrad block. But those cards, and similar ones introduced since, were all bound together by one specific mechanic: they had the keyword action “transform,” meaning that you could swap back and forth by paying a cost and flipping the card over. Zendikar Rising is now introducing double-faced cards that actually don’t use that keyword.
“Many years ago, we made a set called Innistrad where we introduced double-faced cards. The set had a gothic horror theme that played into dark transformation, so you would play the card as side A and the transform it into side B,” Mark Rosewater, Magic’s head designer, told io9 in a statement over email. “While making those cards, we realized that we could design cards where you could play either side A or side B and it never transformed. I held that design in my back pocket until I found a good place to use it. That ended up being nine years later here in Zendikar Rising.”
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So yes, although each version of Beyeen Coast/Beyeen Veil will naturally have both printed on it, you can only play it as one side or the other, and not transform it mid-mach. According to Rosewater, it’s an extra way the Magic team wanted to give players choice in crafting their decks.
“The neat thing about these modular double-faced cards is that they allowed you to give the player two options,” Rosewater explained. “Since [Zendikar Rising]’s a land set, one option is always a land, but it lets the other side be an effect that might be too narrow to play by itself.”
That meant the Magic team could create more cards that both fit Zendikar’s theme, but also created chances for niche abilities. “For example, Beyeen Veil is the kind of card that can be invaluable in the right circumstance, but unnecessary in others,” Rosewater continued. “So this way, if you find it not needed, you can always play it as a land. History has shown us that choice is a very powerful tool.”
Magic: The Gathering’s latest set, Zendikar Rising, is set to release on September 25.
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