Magic: The Gathering – Amonkhet
The Gatewatch are on the hunt for the elder dragon, Nicol Bolas, and enter a new and unfamiliar plane. What they discover is a world inspired by Ancient Egypt, but with Bolas as its God-Pharaoh, it has a brutal twist.
Those born here are trained as warriors their whole lives to face the Trials of the Five Gods. Those who die and fail to earn a place in the afterlife are reanimated as mummified servants. On Amonkhet, death is merely another chance to serve.
Chandra, Liliana, Gideon, Nissa, Jase and Ajani are all on hand to guide you through this terrifying and exciting new land.
Amonkhet is the 74th expansion of the Magic: The Gathering universe, and recreates Egyptian mythology with a dragon twist. Five new game mechanics are at play:
- Embalm: This ability makes it easier to raise creatures from the graveyard in a zombie version. There are even special zombie token cards for each with an Embalm ability.
- Exert: Allows additional abilities when attacking, but to compensate the creature must then be tapped for an additional turn.
- Aftermath: Split cards are not a new thing, but these cards allow you to cast one spell from your hand, the other from your graveyard.
- Cycling: If you choose to discard a card with Cycling you may draw a new card.
- -1/-1 Counters: Amonkhet is a brutal and unforgiving landscape, and now there are many creatures and spells that can weaken opposing forces or use these counters to their benefit.
These are classic cards reinvented in a very shiny fashion that not only look awesome (the digital versions do not do them justice), but are incredibly powerful. Needless to say, these cards are rare, so if you manage to score one to put in your deck, you will be the envy of many.
Each land type has a God that warriors worship and yearn to complete their set trial. The Gods themselves can be played as indestructible creature cards, but due to their power can only be utilised if certain criteria are met. To keep the theme of each God, each land type also has an immensely strategic Trial card and an associated Cartouche, that as well as being a Sorcery spell, is also able to bring the Trial card back into play.
I was fortunate to be one of the first to see the new Amonkhet cards and was joined by beloved fellow reporter, Rachel Humphreys!
Rachel: Cats, mummies and zombies, oh my! Honestly, if you’re not excited about Amonkhet, the latest instalment of cards for Magic: The Gathering by Wizards of the Coast, then you’re probably unlikely to be excited by the game of Magic at all. Personally my excitement levels for this set have been through the roof and I can say with utmost certainty I have not been this excited for a Magic deck ever before. I went into the evening with a clear vision: zombie cats! I wanted to create a deck that utilised Amonkhet’s bolstered cycling mechanic and new embalm feature.
Unboxing the cards was a delight. The artwork as always is one of my favourite features of the cards, and once again I was not let down. I’m unsure if my love of Egypt, cats and zombies created an unfair bias but I personally felt this set really stood out to me above others. I should also mention that the tokens, which I love, are just becoming more and more collectable with every deck.
Jimmy: I agree, I just love the artwork! Now is the perfect time to start playing Magic: The Gathering if you haven’t already. Each new expansion of this popular card game allows new players to join in on the action but I feel this expansion in particular is brilliantly designed for both new and experienced players. Stores that specialise in selling TCGs have regular Magic: The Gathering playing sessions, and they go to great lengths to ensure everyone has fun.
For example, Games Laboratory (328 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne) hosted the special pre-release session we attended in their wonderful basement bar and lounge called Alchemist’s Refuge. They went all out with an Egyptian theme, complete with their own Pharaoh-God and hilarious trials to complete that included winning a match using a cat.
Rachel: My plan of a zombie kitty army sadly never really happened on the evening (however I have since been able to put a Zombitty deck together). Instead I was fortunate enough to stumble down another path: the path of a god and her double dragons. This proved to be an interesting combination and the addition of the new exert mechanic allowed both myself and Jimmy to complete all trial challenges laid out before us that evening.
The new mechanics found in Amonkhet are the most fun I’ve experienced in Magic: The Gathering for some time. With a boost given to the pre-existing cycling mechanic, making it more functional and fun to use, there’s really no stopping people from making some fantastic decks. The new exert feature is one of my favourites and is actually a game changer when used correctly and combined with the right cards in your deck. My other favourite new mechanic is the embalm feature which in our gameplay proved to be quite deadly!
Jimmy: Who’s your mummy!?! I have a great interest in learning about mythologies that shape societies, and I am a huge fan of zombies, in particular the Egyptian mummy genre. For this reason, I was instantly drawn to developing a black and white deck to create a never-ending horde to attack my opponents. I soon learned though that the zombies in Amonkhet are perfect as a blocking and disabling tool. Although I included it in my deck to be used more as an insult than a powerful card, my game was helped immensely with the inclusion of the Fan Bearer, a white zombie creature that can tap another creature.
Rachel: In my first game with my new deck I was lucky enough to complete the challenge of “death by cat” obtaining the favour of our God-Pharaoh host. I was able to defeat Jimmy with my Heart-Piercer Manticore, my favourite card in my deck besides my God Hazoret and my double Glorybringer Dragons (ok, perhaps I love my whole deck just a little too much… it was a good deck!). The one thing I know after spending my time with Amonkhet on this special evening is that I will be playing much more with this new set and definitely plan to purchase and build more decks when it becomes available to the public later this month.
Amonkhet, like all good Magic: The Gathering decks before it, is ripe with a stunning storyline to continue on the travels and adventures of our Planeswalkers. The artwork also continues to be exceptional and the new card types have once again reinvented this classic trading card game. Rachel and I were perhaps a little too excited about this release, and for good reason – it is a lot of fun to play!
As with all recent expansions you can play Amonkhet online for free or just head to your local card shop and play some Magic! For those of you in Melbourne, Wizards of the Coast will have a booth set up at Supanova (29-30 April) where you can trial out the new set!