As a long time MTG player I've been through many a spoiler season. My favourite part was always reading the articles that introduced a new mechanic and combined it with a flashy spoiler. So, it is a bit surreal for me to now be writing something similar. For those that just wish to see the spoiler, jump to the bottom. For those that wish to pore over my every word...maybe you'll discover some extra tidbits.
Rings of Immortality
The first Mythgard expansion has officially been dubbed Rings of Immortality. The coloured rings and several other themes in the set are meant to pay homage to the Summer Olympics, which originally were set to begin this weekend. And while no official release date has been given for RoI, we'll certainly see it before the Olympics.
And this set is definitely worth getting excited for. Once you stop being mesmerized by the amazing new art, you'll realize there are an incredible amount of new deckbuilding options available. One thing that is going to be a focus of experimentation is Forge.
Forge is a new ability being introduced in Rings of Immortality. It is available in all colours, but it concentrated most heavily in Red and Orange. Cards with the Forge ability have an additional, or different, effect when they have been Forged.
Forging a card is easy; burning a card with Forge will give it, and all copies of it you own, Forged. This affects cards in all zones, so permanents you already have in play will immediately receive the Forged bonus. Watch out for cards that increase stats or gain powerful abilities when Forged. And remember, forging a card modifies ALL copies that you own, even those controlled by another player!
How easy is it really though?
I'll start out with a little math, because this calculation is easy. These are the percentage chances of having 2+ copies of a specific card in your hand on the play/draw.
Common: 13.4 / 17.2
Uncommon: 7.3 / 9.6
Rare: 2.7 / 3.6
That means that roughly 1 in 6 games you will know as of turn 1 whether you can forge a specific common. From here the math gets difficult, as burning a card puts it back in the pool of cards that can be drawn. Draw and divination effects also greatly increase your chance of playing Forged cards. Several cards already exist that help support the mechanic: Pseudonomicon, Root of the World, and Brising Necklace (to name a few).
It still seems pretty random...
In practice, it does not feel like it differs greatly from what one would expect from a card game. Playing Forged commons and uncommons will happen frequently. For rares and mythics, it will happen a lot less often, but in many cases that is because the unforged version is worth playing on its own. Some decks will focus on forging specific cards, while others will take the benefit when it comes.
It sounds like you've played with the cards
Yes, I've been play-testing the expansion cards with other Q-mode players for the last several weeks. We've been looking for bugs, testing card interactions, and exposing the cards that are too powerful. Alongside this, one of our other major focuses has been the Forge mechanic. Due to the nature of the mechanic it is very difficult to balance. The payoff can't be too small, or it won't feel worth the effort. But if it is too large, missing the effect feels punishing, especially if your opponent has been successful.
So far, some Forge cards felt great to play with (You're going to want to get your hands on these puppies.) Other cards have required shifting some power between the unforged/forged modes to make the payoff feel right. And a few cards required a second pass because they missed the mark. As the flagship mechanic of their first expansion, the Rhinos are really focusing on Forge to make sure it is well tuned and rewarding to play. It's getting close, and I'm hoping everyone is going to get a chance to see a lot more of it soon.
While you wait...
As promised, I have a spoiler for you, and hopefully this will help you to hold the line...
As you can see, Forge is not just a selfish mechanic. Forge matters. There is a supporting cast of cards that care about Forge/Forged cards. It just so happens that today's spoiler is both a support card and a Forge card itself.
Caravan Brass has formidable stats on its own, but also makes other Forged minions significantly more difficult to kill. When Forged, it turns into an engine, threatening to overwhelm the opponent with extra cards. This is one of the cards that asks the hard question, do you want something good now, or the chance for something great later?
Hopefully I was able to provide a little more insight into what the forge mechanic looks like and how it plays. If you don't hear from me again, you'll know I've spoiled too much and have been eaten by a lion. Perhaps I need to start collecting those rings...