For almost a year now, the forces of Mirrodin and Phyrexia have been waging war against each other in the Magic: The Gathering universe. On May 13th, Phyrexia will be crowned victorious with the release of the final set of cards in the Scars of Mirrodin block, New Phyrexia. As we come closer to that release, Wizards of the Coast has begun rolling out the details on what mechanics new and old will be showing up on New Phyrexia cards. Here's what we know so far.
As the new dominant force, Phyrexians have spread across cards of all five mana colors. However, additional improvements take their added flexibility even further. A new type of mana, Phyrexian Mana, can be seen on cards where instead of a number indicating the required quantity of mana, there is now simply a Phyrexian symbol (the letter Phi).
Phyrexian Mana is always colored, but can be paid with either that color mana or two life from the active player. Dialing down one's own life to cast a spell is a risky proposition, but this maneuver allows players the flexibility to stock cards which require mana types not otherwise seen in the deck. This symbol will be used not only in the summoning costs but in activation costs as well, so expect to see it used in strategic play.
A first look at the Phyrexian mana symbol present on many new cards in this set.
Colored artifacts will make their return since every card with Phrexian mana must be assigned a color as well. The preview card for this is the red artifact Slash Panther, which demonstrates some very basic payment of either red mana or life to summon a 4/2 cat creature.
Rounding out the order are some returning mechanics: living weapons, proliferate, infect, and metalcraft. The only twist on these is that in line with the Phyrexians being present across all colors, you will now see the infect ability in unexpected places as well, such as this blue Chained Throatseeker card:
Also of note is that tribal golem decks will be receiving a moderate push with the inclusion of several new splicer cards. Wizards previewed one, the Maul Splicer that spawns two 3/3 golem tokens on summon and boosts all golems with the tramply ability.
If this has piqued your interest, be sure to check with your local game shop. New Phyrexia preview events start May 7th and new locations are being announced daily. Enter some of the preview weekend tournaments and you'll have the opportunity to win some early packs of the upcoming set.