Although in the lore the shards of Bant and Esper weren’t directly inimical to one another, they might as well have been tonight as Jimi and I sat down to do battle with both. Jimi selected the synergistic and artifact-heavy Esper Artifice, and we lined them up for the customary three games. Would exalted have what it takes to take down the etherium-addicts? Here are our notes from the match.
Most of you are familiar with the concept of a ‘cycle’ in Magic: the Gathering, but for those newer to the game who may not have come across this concept yet, it is as follows. A cycle describes a group of cards that are linked together either thematically or mechanically. A good example from the latest block might be the Smith cycle (Myrsmith, Painsmith, Riddlesmith, Embersmith, and Lifesmith), with each card doing something very similar yet representative of the colour each card draws from.
In that vein, the five intro decks from the Shards of Alara set could be said to be a “cycle” as well. This is not just thematic, which is the obvious part- each of the five decks represents a shard of the plane of Alara, a part of the plane that has splintered off from the others and carries a very different topography and culture. It’s the actual compostion of each deck’s mana base that also gives it a mechanical connection. Within each deck is seventeen land, and each of the five has it divided identically. The primary colour gets seven of its respective basic land. Bant, identified with the colour White, has seven Plains. Then each of the two allied colours gets three basics each. As the allied colours of White are Blue and Green, there are three Islands and three Forests in the deck.