Mirrodin playtest cards III: Strictly better

Posted in Arcana on November 13, 2003

By Wizards of the Coast

Generally speaking, having a more powerful card means paying a higher cost, but sometimes you get more than you would normally pay for. When two different cards -- or two versions of the same card -- have different abilities for the same cost, the more powerful of the two is said to be strictly better (for example, compare Grizzly Bears and the strictly better Wild Mongrel).

This comes up during the design and development of Magic sets, too. While R&D is developing a new card, that card's abilities and costs can change radically, often for the better. In today's Magic Arcana, we take a look at some playtest versions of Mirrodin cards that didn't change cost in their final forms, but that R&D made strictly better for that same cost. Thanks, R&D!

Plated Slagwurm

Plated Slagwurm survived playtesting as an 8/8 for , but in its final form is targetable by its controller -- a serious advantage. That means it can be Predator's Strike'd by you, but still not Terrored by your opponent.



R&D toyed with the idea of printing an instant in Mirrodin that countered just artifact spells for , but instead just reprinted Urza's Saga's strictly better Annul.


Electrostatic Bolt

Electrostatic Bolt now packs quite a bit more punch for its mana cost -- a change that is often crucial in Limited play, where it can now kill creatures from Yotian Soldier to Platinum Angel.


Crack Study
Thirst for Knowledge

Thirst for Knowledge, a staple of current Affinity decks, changed from Sorcery to Instant -- so now you can leave mana open and cast it during your opponent's end step, or whenever it suits you -- but it maintained its bargain price of .

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