In Defense Of Mirrodin Artifact Lands
I tweeted this weekend that artifact lands might still crop up in Scars of Mirrodin, when @seanthielman and @Uselessend reminded me that @mtgaaron had declared the artifact lands a ‘mistake’ back in 2004.
Yes, Artifact lands were a mistake. A beautiful, glorious, mistake. Except… Aaron didn’t say they were a mistake. What he said was:
Either printing the lands was a mistake, or printing the other cards once we knew the lands were in place was a mistake. If we had to do it over, something would change.
Or to put it another way, the combination of Affinity and Artifact Lands was a mistake.
In the Scars of Mirrodin spoilers so far, Affinity has not appeared. Instead we have the new artifact-based mechanic, Metalcraft. Like Affinity, Metalcraft gets ‘turned on’ by the presence of artifacts on the field. Unlike Affinity, this does not (thus far) reduce casting costs, but merely adds abilities / bonuses as a result.
When Aaron said, “If we had to do it over, something would change.”, could he have meant the Metalcraft mechanic instead of Affinity, rather than the loss of Artifact lands?
Okay, the thought that Artifact Lands might return is a long shot, almost an impossibility. But they exist, and without affinity around to abuse them, would they be completely overpowered in the new Scars Standard? I doubt it.
For me, Artifact Lands defined the landscape of Mirrodin in all its robotic glory. They conjured the image of a world so alien that the very ground you walked on, the mountains, the forests, the plains, the islands, the swamps themselves were mechanioid, organic and metallic, foreign in their familiarity. It would be a shame not to see them return and help define Mirrodin again.