Welcome back to Eternal Central for another Type 4 set review! This time we’ll be looking at Mirrodin Besieged. What’s that, you say? Mirrodin Besieged in an old set that came out like 9 months ago in February 2011?
Yeah, yeah; I know. But I never looked through it in its entirety to explore the full potential the set would have on Type 4 stacks across the globe. I’m going to be going back through all of the last sets of the last couple of years and writing Retro-Reviews for the things I didn’t pay enough attention to for Type 4, and this is the first in that series. After researching and reviewing in preparation for this article, I can say that Mirrodin Besieged is a very good set in terms of Type 4 applicability, and is full of cards that are likely to make your stack better. So if you haven’t already added all of the Mirrodin Besieged cards to your own Type 4 stack, or are just curious what I think is good, giddy up and join me for a Retro-Review!
As I review each set for potential Type 4 candidates I think of what will fit in a ‘balanced’ stack, and I don’t consider X spells like Fireball (deal X damage, or unlimited) very entertaining, so we’ll pretty much completely ignore those or things with Firebreathing (ie infinite pump abilities), as I want more interactive games. It is also assumed that most people’s Type 4 stacks will generally be laden with most of the best and most powerful spells, so stuff like a random Instant that destroys target attacking creature and does nothing else probably isn’t going to cut it when there are many better options available.
Black Sun’s Zenith
Put X -1/-1 counters on each creature. Shuffle Black Sun’s Zenith into its owner’s library.
This is another Wrath of God type effect, but like Flowstone Slide in its ability to kill indestructible creatures because of the –X ability. Even better, this reshuffles into your deck for future use! This should be an auto-include in nearly every stack, probably at the cost of some other Wrath effect or piece of removal.
Go for the Throat
Destroy target nonartifact creature.
A conditional Instant speed piece of removal that can kill Black creatures isn’t all that bad. This can’t kill stuff like Bosh, Iron Golem or Memnarch, but kills most other creatures you care about and is probably good enough to make most stacks.
Creature — Sphinx
Whenever an opponent draws a card, you may draw two cards.
This creature is crazy powerful. It draws twice as many cards as Mind’s Eye, which I think is already borderline too powerful, and is guaranteed to put a giant target on your back. This is only a 4/6 flyer, but with the amount of cards you can potentially draw this is very strong, especially in smaller games.
Creature — Shapeshifter
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may have Cryptoplasm become a copy of another target creature. If you do, Cryptoplasm gains this ability.
While this is only a 2/2 body, the ability to copy any creature already on the battlefield, and then change what it is “cloning” every turn is pretty unique. At the very least this can also serve as removal of sorts, by copying a legendary creature already in play. I think the flavor and abilities this card provides should make a nice addition to every stack.
Search your library for a card, exile it, then shuffle your library. Any opponent may have you put that card into your hand. If no player does, you draw three cards.
Like a Demonic Tutor or Ancestral Recall split card essentially, this reminds me of Library of Lat-Nam, which I already have in my stack. While you get to draw the cards immediately with Distant Memories, you have to reveal what you would tutor up, so it is slightly different and probably the same power wise. This will probably be a toss-up for most people, but I know I am always happy to draft both card draw and tutors in Type 4, so this seems like another logical inclusion.
Fuel for the Cause
Counter target spell, then proliferate. (You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.)
Better than any of the generic or limited counterspells you may already have in your stack. Pretty much an auto-include.
Creature — Human Wizard
When Treasure Mage enters the battlefield, you may search your library for an artifact card with converted mana cost 6 or greater, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.
This guy is like the inverse of a Trinket Mage, but in Type 4 you can search up big artifact bombs like Mindslaver, Planar Portal, Triskelavus, Tower of Eons, Tower of Fortunes, Darksteel Colossus, Bosh, Iron Golem, Duplicant, Memnarch, and many other platinum hits that may be lurking in your deck. The inclusion of Treasure Mage in your Type 4 stack should be directly related to how many big artifacts it can fetch. I think you probably want at least a dozen solid targets in your Type 4 stack to make this worthwhile, but judging by the quality of just the few I mentioned I think this card should be very strong and find a home in most Type 4 stacks in the future.
Destroy all artifacts.
While the ability to destroy all artifacts is certainly nice, this is at Sorcery speed which is a pretty big drawback. Does anybody play Tranquility or Shatterstorm in their stack currently? Not many that I know of, so I can’t really see this getting much run unless you have a relatively immature or young Type 4 stack, in which case it will be acceptable for a little while until it gets pushed out by something better.
Return all cards from your graveyard to your hand. Exile Praetor’s Counsel. You have no maximum hand size for the rest of the game.
This card is flat out busted. You know all of those broken spells that you’ve already played during the first X turns of the game? Yeah, this returns those all to your hand, and you don’t have to discard any of them. That’s insanely strong, and unless you have one of those completely no holds barred kinds of Type 4 stacks, this is probably way too strong to include. I have a feeling many people will be trying this and quickly pulling it out.
Creature — Beast
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may look at the top card of your library. If it’s an instant or sorcery card, you may cast it without paying its mana cost.
Creatures that provide additional utility and do something unique are always welcome in Type 4, especially if they come on a big body. This has a Bringer of the whatever Dawn type effect, but is on a relatively puny 3/3 body. If you are still establishing a young Type 4 stack this is probably a nice addition, but for the more mature stacks this may not cut it.
Put target artifact, creature, or enchantment on top of its owner’s library.
Instant speed removal of basically any permanent type commonly played in Type 4, at least for a turn. This is decent, and could even be used to protect your own permanent from someone else’s removal, but ultimately I don’t think this warrants a slot it most stacks.
Put any number of target artifact cards from your graveyard on top of your library.
Draw a card.
This essentially boils down to an Instant speed Regrowth for any artifact in your graveyard. In general I think Instant speed cards should generally be valued higher than a similar tactical card at Sorcery speed, even if the Sorcery speed card is slightly stronger objectively. I can definitely see this as a nice way to rebuy all of the fantastic artifacts in your deck that your opponents have already had to deal with once. If you already play Footbottom Feast to rebuy creatures at Instant speed this is the same thing for artifacts.
Destroy all creatures, then put an X/X colorless Horror artifact creature token onto the battlefield, where X is the number of creatures destroyed this way.
Another strict upgrade over Wrath of God, this will make its way into every Type 4 stack because you get a nice token creature after wiping the board, creating even more card advantage than a normal Wrath effect. Bonus!
Gold and Mutlicolored
Artifact Creature — Golem
Blightsteel Colossus is indestructible.
If Blightsteel Colossus would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, reveal Blightsteel Colossus and shuffle it into its owner’s library instead.
This card is really pretty bonkers when you think about it. Not only does it survive all Wrath effects because it’s indestructible, but it’s usually a one shot kill with whoever it hits during combat damage. I’m generally not a fan of cards like that in Type 4, but if you like all the most powerful cards you’ll want this one as well. If you play Phage the Untouchable this is even better, as there’s no drawback and it’s tougher to kill. With all of the current talk about how strong this guy is in Vintage with Tinker and what he means to the format, just realize that he is borderline too good for Type 4, and marinate on that for a minute.
Artifact — Equipment
Living weapon (When this Equipment enters the battlefield, put a 0/0 black Germ creature token onto the battlefield, then attach this to it.)
Equipped creature gets +X/+X, where X is the number of creature cards in all graveyards.
More often than not equipment sucks in Type 4, but the whole Living Weapon mechanic has brought a nice touch, and in a couple of cases a reason to include equipment in your deck. Bonehoard is at a minimum a Mortivore (power and toughness equal to creatures in all graveyards), which is already in most Type 4 stacks, and this thing generally sticks around even after you kill off the creature token. This is one of the rare exceptions of equipment not being good enough for Type 4.
Imprint — When Knowledge Pool enters the battlefield, each player exiles the top three cards of his or her library.
Whenever a player casts a spell from his or her hand, that player exiles it. If the player does, he or she may cast another nonland card exiled with Knowledge Pool without paying that card’s mana cost.
The effect that Knowledge Pool offers is very cool and flavorful, but most often this would be a last pick in a draft. However, this is exactly the type of card you would want to include in your Chaos Stack* addendum/game variant (see Appendix for more information on the Chaos Stack).
Whenever another nontoken artifact enters the battlefield under your control, you may pay 2. If you do, put a token that’s a copy of that artifact onto the battlefield.
Similar to Knowledge Pool above, this is another unique effect, but probably not one that many people are necessarily going to want to draft early and often. This also is probably better suited to the Chaos Stack* if you want to rock it at all.
Spine of Ish Sah
When Spine of Ish Sah enters the battlefield, destroy target permanent.
When Spine of Ish Sah is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, return Spine of Ish Sah to its owner’s hand.
For most intents and purposes, this is better than Vindicate and Desert Twister, which see play in most stacks. The only drawback is the high casting cost, which could potentially be an issue only in the face of something like Parallectric Feedback (which comes up more often than you would think, and should always be taken into account in Type 4). This will probably grab a slot in most decks.
Artifact Creature — Thopter
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control no Thopters other than Thopter Assembly, return Thopter Assembly to its owner’s hand and put five 1/1 colorless Thopter artifact creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
Another card that is not overly powerful by Type 4 standards, but high on flavor, Thopter Assembly has the potential to make a lot of creatures if it survives all the way until your next turn. Kind of like Verdant Force in that regard, but vulnerable to more removal and slightly weaker. This is a nice card for beginning Type 4 stacks, but may not make the cut in more mature decks.
As always, when analyzing cards from a new set that can go into your stack, the two main questions I ask are “what would this replace in my current stack,” and “in what order would this card be picked in?” In the evolution of any Type 4 stack you generally weed out cards that are too strong, too weak, or just unfun. Cards that are too weak will generally be last picks, and any new cards that you add should never consistently be a “last pick,” or it shouldn’t be included in the stack.
Here are the cards from Mirrodin Besieged that I will probably be including in my own personal Type 4 stack moving forward:
Black Sun’s Zenith
Fuel for the Cause
Knowledge Pool (for Chaos Stack*)
Spine of Ish Sah
And here are the cards I will be picking up and testing out to evaluate further:
Go for the Throat
As you can see, Mirrodin Besieged can add both a good number of cards to every immature or master level Type 4 stack, and the quality and flavor of cards being added is awesome. I have a feeling this will go down as one of the better sets in recent memory as it relates to Type 4, and am looking forward to seeing what this specific design team cooks up in the future. Until next time, may you mana be infinite and may your spells be uber.
Appendix and Reference
Type 4/Limited Infinity Introduction
Type 4: A Way to Enjoy Magic Again Part 1
Type 4: A Way to Enjoy Magic Again Part 2
Type 4: A Way to Enjoy Magic Again Part 3
The Fourth Type
* Chaos Stack – a Chaos Stack is a separate stack of cards in addition to the normal Type 4 stack, and is used in conjunction with the Chaos Rule, which is essentially if X or more spells have been cast in a single turn (where X is an amount agreed to by the players beforehand), all spells on the stack are paused and the top card from the Chaos Stack is immediately flipped up and resolved, and then the stack and rest of the game is unpaused and continues as normal. Spells in the Chaos Stack will usually affect everybody (such as Eureka, Timetwister, Sway of the Stars, Time Stop, Howling Mine, etc.).