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Magic: The Gathering (MTG) debuts its newest card set, Amonkhet, for the Standard format on April 28. With it, brings a slew of new and returning mechanics.

-1/-1 Counters and Cycling

First of all, we have the return of -1/-1 counters. If you’re not unfamiliar with this mechanic, these counters will make creatures just a little bit smaller but stay on the creature until it dies.Archfiend of Ifnir

You can also stack these for a greater effect and even kill a creature with enough by setting its toughness to zero. Archfiend of Ifnir is a great card to show just how out of hand these abilities can get.

This also showcases the other returning mechanic called cycling. This tried-and-true ability lets you discard something you don’t need now to draw into something you could use.


Next up, we have a brand-new ability called embalm, a ‘flashback’ for creatures. It lets you recast your dead creatures one extra time from your graveyard.Aven Wind Guide

Aven Wind Guide is just one example of what helps boost the powers of the tokens created. Amonkhet uses themes revolving around Egyptian mythology. Therefore, it makes sense how it explores mummies without having to create a new creature type or giving the zombies some sort of tribal aspect or a new color.

Embalm is a unique ability to blue and white while zombies were mainly in black and blue.


In MTG‘s past, they have explored the physical limits of cards, fitting in as much text on a piece of cardboard as possible. These new aftermath cards are a prime example of this experimentation.Failure // Comply

First and for most, when these cards have typed notation like Failure // Comply, you declare this card as, “Failure to Comply.”

The top half you play from your hand just like normal. Conversely, you play the other half from the graveyard.

Sure, the cards aren’t that attractive, but their gameplay designs are great! You put the card in your graveyard so that the aftermath half is visible. This way, you remember you have it.

Amonkhet is looking promising to make some massive changes to the Standard format, giving reliable and new cards to the colors that currently aren’t seeing play.

This will all change, though, as new decks and archetypes begin to take shape at your local card shop and in bigger tournaments.

All card images belong to Wizards of the Coast.

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