September 13, 2016

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Pure Energy

Welcome back all! This week is all about energy. Not any type of energy, but that which is found in the aether, in its purest form. Speaking of pure energy, let's take small side trip to the 80s, shall we?

What's on our mind, really?

It's mana, but it's not mana. It's a counter, but it's not affected by Doubling Season, sadly. It's Energy, a fantastic mix of lore and gameplay that will be affecting your limited and constructed games in the near future. Mark Rosewater spelled out the Energy attribution scales in his article last week and it breaks down this:

E = Deal two damange to an opponent.

EE= Put a +1/+1 counter on a creature.

EEE = Create a 1/1 flying Thopter token.

EEEE = Draw a card.

It's easy enough to see how this would translate into regular mana terms. For example Shock was a staple for a long-time dealing two for one. Four mana to draw a card takes us back to Jayemdae Tome. Two mana to move a +1/+1 counter reminds of Spike Feeder, among others. The big questions are whether there is enough support in Kaladesh alone to make Energy...efficient, if you'll pardon the pun, and whether the mechanic will reach new levels of support in Aether Revolt, or perhaps beyond if it becomes an "evergreen" mechanic able to find its way into any block.

Energy Now

A treasure to be unravelled, energy comes in all sizes. The puzzleknots, one in each colour, are one of the starting points. The constructed world is afire with the Woodworker's Puzzleknot, which costs two generic mana, gives you 3 life and EEE. Sacrificing it for 2G grants you another 3 life and EEE. From there, you can use your stored energy for any purpose. For damage in the apply named Harnessed Lightning, for creature removal to make someone Die Young, and for defence under the watch of Consulate Surveillance.

Or maybe you let it accumulate, to be used later.

Energy Later

The beauty of this mechanic is its versatility. Still largely unknown, the future, in both Kaladesh and later Aether Revolt, looks very promising. Imagine if Energy could be harnessed to draw cards, or to create creatures, or to bring artifacts back from your graveyard, or to counter spells? The possibilities are near endless. Energy could end up being that elusive sixth mana (seventh if you count colorless) that players have been clamouring for since time immemorial.

Currently, only you can harness this new resource. Perhaps we'll see energy theft occur in the future? Instead of a Clash of Wills, will we see a new Power Sink, draining your energy reserves? We've seen the Elixir of Immortality make an appearance here and there, how about (pardon the pun!) an energy drink for our assembled pilots and artificers? The future isn't only bright, it's downright stunning.

Until next time, may you never encounter an energy flux.