Hello Magic players and welcome to the first installment of Judge’s Corner, brought to you by me, David Schultz. In this series I’ll be discussing interesting rules interactions, answering your questions, and writing about new Magic sets. With Double Masters releasing this weekend, let’s discuss some of its unique and interesting features.
First, so that we’re all on the same page, what is Double Masters?
Double Masters is the newest Masters set from Wizards of the Coast. Masters sets don’t feature any new cards, but are instead jam-packed with powerful and expensive reprints. Double Masters is no different. The set releases on August 6, 2020 on Magic Online and on August 7 in paper, with release events being held from August 7-9. Booster boxes contain 24 packs plus 2 non-foil box toppers, and each booster pack contains 8 commons, 3 uncommons, 2 rares or mythic rares, and 2 foils.
But wait, if each pack contains 2 rares, won’t that cause lots of sore feelings during drafts? Everyone hates passing a good or expensive rare!
Worry not dear reader, for Wizards of the Coast has your back! You see, with this set only, for your first draft pick from each booster you get to pick 2 cards! That’s right! So, if you open 2 fantastic rares you’ll be able to take both of them, and if you open a 2 card combo then you’ll be able to take those instead! This special rule should make for some fun and interesting drafts.
That’s awesome, I can’t wait to draft Double Masters! But are there any new mechanics I should know about?
Since Double Masters is a reprint set, there aren’t any new mechanics. However, there are some returning mechanics and themes which you may not have seen for a while.
First off let’s look at Living Weapon. Living Weapon first appeared in Mirrodin Besieged, and has been used a couple more times since then. Possibly the most famous card with Living Weapon is Batterskull, which just so happens to be reprinted in Double Masters! Let’s take a look.
As you can see, the reminder text on Batterskull tells us that Living Weapon means: “When this Equipment enters the battlefield, create a 0/0 black Germ creature token, then attach this to it.” Living Weapon is a triggered ability that only appears on Equipment. When the Equipment enters the battlefield, the Living Weapon ability triggers and creates a 0/0 black Germ token, then immediately attaches the Equipment to the Germ before state-based actions would cause the 0/0 token to die. As with all Equipment, it stays on the battlefield even if the creature it’s attached to leaves the battlefield, and it can be attached to another creature you control by paying the equip cost during your main phase. Also, as with all tokens, if the Germ token goes to any zone other than the battlefield, it will go to the new zone and then cease to exist as a state-based action.
Well that covers Living Weapon, but are there any other interesting mechanics that we haven’t seen in a while?
Why yes, in fact there’s one more mechanic which some players may not have seen in a while, and that’s Regenerate. Regenerate was first seen in Limited Edition: Alpha and saw play as an evergreen keyword for many years. However, it’s been a while since we’ve seen Regenerate, so many players may not be familiar with it. Let’s take a look at one of the Double Masters cards featuring Regenerate: Twisted Abomination.
Although Twisted Abomination doesn’t show us any reminder text, we can see that Regenerate is formatted [cost]: Regenerate [card name]. If this card did have reminder text, it would tell us that Regenerate means: “The next time this creature would be destroyed this turn, it isn’t. Instead tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.” Essentially, Regenerate creates a shield around the creature. No matter when you activate Regenerate, for the rest of that turn the creature is protected by the ability. If the creature would be dealt lethal damage or destroyed any one time during the rest of that turn, instead it is tapped, all damage is removed from it, and it’s removed from combat. This will work only once, but if your opponent tries to destroy the creature again, you can always Regenerate it in response as long as you’re able to pay the cost to do so. However, there are cards which prevent creatures from regenerating.
For as long as there have been creatures with Regenerate, there has been Wrath of God. Not only does Wrath of God destroy all creatures, it also makes it so those creatures can’t be regenerated. Say goodbye to your Twisted Abomination!
Okay, so that covers the mechanics. Is there anything else I should know before I start playing with Double Masters?
In fact there is. Although not a mechanic per say, we haven’t yet covered the theme of Double Masters! And what is the theme? Making copies. After all, it wouldn’t be Double Masters without doubling the fun by copying permanents and spells!
That’s right, there are several cards in Double Masters which allow you to copy either permanents or spells. Let’s walk through each of those, shall we?
First off is copying permanents. Let’s look at an example.
Sculpting Steel is an artifact which you may have enter the battlefield as a copy of any artifact already on the battlefield. But, what exactly does that mean? Well, when a permanent becomes a copy of another permanent, it copies exactly what is written on the original. This includes the name, casting cost, rules text, color indicator, type(s), supertype(s), subtype(s), power, toughness, and/or loyalty. If the mana cost contains an X, then the copy sets X equal to 0. Additionally, if the artifact being copied has a triggered ability which triggers upon entering the battlefield, it will trigger when Sculpting Steel enters the battlefield since Sculpting Steel enters as a copy of the chosen artifact. Also, if the permanent being copied is itself copying another permanent, then this copy will become a copy of the original permanent.
So, what doesn’t get copied? Things that don’t get copied are counters, any Auras or Equipment currently attached, effects such as a creature gaining Indestructible or +2/+2 until end of turn, whether the permanent is tapped or untapped, and whether it’s a token.
What about copying spells?
Now that we’ve learned how to copy permanents, we know most of the details of copying spells, but let’s look at an example.
Dualcaster Mage is a creature with Flash, and when it enters the battlefield under your control, it copies target instant or sorcery spell. It also gives you the choice of choosing new targets for the copy.
When copying a spell, the original spell must be on the stack at that time. The copy you create is then created on top of the stack as an exact copy of the original spell. Since it is now on top of the stack it will resolve before the original spell resolves, and since it’s been created on the stack the copy has not been cast, so it won’t trigger any abilities that trigger when a spell is cast.
Copying a spell works much the same way as copying a permanent, it copies all the text of the original spell. However, when copying a spell, the copy also copies the value of X, any alternative or additional costs which were paid, any modes chosen, how damage was divided, and all targets. In the case of spells copied by Dualcaster Mage, new targets may be chosen, but if this is not specified in the text of the card creating the copy then the targets must remain the same.
Wow, that was quite a bit for a set containing only reprints! Is there anything else I need to know?
Nope, that’s about it! If you live in an area where there are paper events being held this weekend, enjoy yourself and play as safely as you possibly can. Otherwise, have fun playing on Magic Online from the safety and comfort of your home, or just crack some packs and see what you pull! Whatever you do, have a good time, and let us know how you like the set!
If you have questions, feel free to ask them in our Discord, leave a comment below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Judge Question." We may feature your question in a future article!
Until next time: Keep it fair, keep it fun!