If you’re having a sluggish start to the new year, Phyrexia is here to add some oil into your engine. Phyrexia: All Will Be One is the first Standard set for Magic: the Gathering in 2023 and will be out on 10 February. And one thing that hasn’t changed from last year is Tap & Sac and Geek Culture’s spoiler card, all thanks to Wizards of the Coast!
Perhaps fitting for a world complete with living machines, Mirran Safehouse is a rare Artifact that takes on the form of others while not really doing anything itself. As long it’s on the Battlefield, it has all activated abilities of all Lands in any Graveyard.
The word “any” gives the Safehouse more depth, since it can use activated abilities of even your enemy’s Lands. But what is an activated ability, and does it really matter for Lands?
Lands That Become Creatures
Mirran Safehouse’s biggest strength is its versatility in a multiplayer format like Commander, or in a one-versus-one where your deck is heavily reliant on “Creature Lands” — special non-basic Lands that can convert into Creatures through an activated ability.
For example, Mirran Safehouse can easily become a 3/2 Den of the Bugbear if the den is in a player’s Graveyard (and if you have the red Mana to activate it). So think of the Safehouse as a backup to any of your Lands that get destroyed; any of them can have a second life through Mirran Safehouse.
Lands can also come with other kinds of activated abilities, either by making Creature tokens, or in the example of Castle Locthwain, help you draw more cards. As long as any of these are in a Graveyard, Mirran Safehouse can do exactly the same. A perfect machine.
Tapping for Mana is also an Activated Ability
One other nifty strength of Mirran Safehouse is that it can even copy Mana abilities of any Land. Cards like Gaea’s Cradle are incredibly strong for its Mana generating ability, but often players don’t realise that tapping for Mana is also considered an activated ability. Even if the original was destroyed by an opponent, Mirran Safehouse can become its spiritual successor.
As a 3-Mana Artifact, Mirran Safehouse isn’t expensive to cast, but neither is it an impact card when cast early. You can cast it out on turn 3 but it would mean nothing else was done on your turn, since most activated abilities the Safehouse copies will have a cost and you won’t have the Mana to make use of it.
It’s hard to see Mirran Safehouse become a staple card because it has such a high dependency on Lands (that usually go untouched in a game) and it can easily become a dud if your deck does not run many Creature Lands.
Its other restriction of copying only Lands that are in the Graveyard can be a deal breaker for many players. Apart from specific decks that focus on returning Lands from the Graveyard (in order to take advantage of Landfall triggers), don’t expect to see Mirran Safehouse in any competitive games.