The first hints of a brand new card type – Battle – were quietly mentioned a few months ago in Phyrexia, All Will Be One. The Mythic powerhouse card, Atraxa, Grand Unifier, quietly mentioned Battle as a card type but left players stumped if that was a mistake or a teaser.
Thanks to Wizards of the Coast, the veil has been lifted in the upcoming March of the Machine expansion – Tap & Sac and Geek Culture are deeply honoured to present an exclusive preview Battle card: Invasion of Mercadia // Kyren Flamewright!
Launching on April 21, March of the Machines takes place right after Phyrexia: All Will Be One, with lead villain Elesh Norn commanding her compleated Planeswalkers to invade various Planes in the Magic multiverse.
From new worlds like Kaldheim, to fan favourite Ravnica, almost none have been spared from the Phyrexian machinations. Mercadia happens to be a rather niche world that hasn’t been explored for quite some time, so it’s nice to see they’re involved in the universal struggle against the machines.
Spoiler Battle Card: Invasion of Mercadia // Kyren Flamewright
Let’s take a look at the front side of our Uncommon Battle card (the one with the casting cost written on the top right), titled Invasion of Mercadia:
When Invasion of Mercadia Enters the Battlefield, you may Discard a card. If you do, draw 2 cards.
There is also some rules text about the Battle – Siege card that Invasion of Mercadia belongs to:
As a Siege Enters the Battlefield, choose an opponent to protect it. You and others can attack it. When it’s defeated, Exile it, then cast it transformed.
The transformed back is a 3/3 Creature called Kyren Flamewright. His ability reads: “2R, Tap, Discard a card: Create two 1/1 blue and red Elemental Creature tokens. Creatures you control get +1/+0 and gain Haste until end of turn.”
Before we get into the potential powers Invasion of Mercadia // Kyren Flamewright, let’s go through what we now know about Battle Cards:
Battle Cards are Double-Faced/Sided
Double-sided cards are nothing new, from humans transforming into werewolves, and the recent return of meld cards in The Brothers War. Battle cards also have a similar cause and effect – cast it on the front side, and if its conditions are met, transform it.
Battle Cards Revolve Around Combat and Have a Defense Indicator
Invasion of Mercadia comes with a number 4 at the bottom right, at the very same spot where you would find a Creature’s Toughness or a Planeswalker’s Loyalty. It’s highly likely that this “4” refers to the amount of damage that must be dealt to the Siege before it is defeated.
The Front Face of Battle Cards Come With Its Own Effects
Clearly, the intention of Battle cards is to reenact the Phyrexian invasion and promote good old combat between players, but it’s good to see that there is still some upside to casting the card, even if you choose not to attack it.
In the case of Invasion of Mercadia, you may Discard 1 card and draw 2. Gaining a card for just 2 Mana is actually a pretty good trade. If you consider Reckless Impulse, one of the hotter cards in red today, it only gives you temporary card advantage unlike Invasion of Mercadia.
The decision to include worthwhile effects for the front face of Battle Cards is a good sign for the new card type. It means that at the very least, Battle cards are playable even if it never transforms to the back face.
Is Invasion of Mercadia // Kyren Flamewright Any Good?
Being a completely brand new card type, it’s hard to evaluate a single card in a vacuum. Right now we don’t know how other cards might interact with Battle Siege cards – for example, will there be specific cards that can target and destroy Battle cards?
As mentioned earlier, Invasion of Mercadia is already an excellent card for rearranging your hand in search of better cards. The ability to further transform and gain a 0-cost 3/3 Creature is not something a player can just ignore.
Overall, it definitely looks playable at the very least. And don’t be fooled by its Uncommon rarity. Uncommons can have a huge impact in the game – just look at Veil of Summer or Kumano Faces Kakkazan.
Since an opponent has to protect against the Siege (you), it creates another dimension to combat and decision making. Should the opponent choose not to defend it, you’ll get to transform it into Kyren Flamewright.
But if they choose to defend it, they’ll likely have to expend resources in the form of Mana or Creatures to block against your attackers. Either way, you’re putting pressure on the opponent.
If you’re able to transform the Battle card into Kyren Flamewright, the ability to generate 2 temporary tokens each turn and give a +1/+0 and Haste buff isn’t something that can be ignored. In an aggro Goblin red deck, that extra Power can make the difference between winning or losing.
The brand new Battle-type cards are going to add a lot of different play styles and strategies for months, if not years down the road. Depending on player reception, we might see many more done in the future (like Sagas) or it might just fade into memory like unpopular keywords.
Its success might depend on how much players are willing to engage in the ‘siege’ and attack the Battle cards. Just like Sagas and Planeswalkers, they do promise a lot of value in a single card, but require some work to get the most out of them.
Invasion of Mercadia // Kyren Flamewright will fit nicely into some decks, especially in mono-red, but will be marginal in others that don’t rely on combat and thus can’t transform the Battle card.