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The Return of Urza

Urza's Saga, the latest release from Wizards of the Coast, should be hitting stores in early October. This starts the newest cycle in the Magic world, pushing the Mirage block (Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight) out of Type II play as of November 1. With over 600 cards leaving the environment and 350 new ones coming in, there is sure to be an upheaval in the Standard Tournament scene.

Urza's Saga brings a number of new mechanics to the game, much like the Tempest block brought such items as buyback and shadow.

Cycling - Ever have a card in your hand that would have been great in the early game but is near useless in the late stages. Cards with the Cycling ability help you get rid of those place takers and find something to help you finish off your opponent. A card which states Cycling 2 will allow you to pay two mana and discard the card to draw a new one. These include five new lands for each of the colors, each of which have cycling. Draw an extra land when you didn't need it? No problem, go fetch the next card!

Echo - Here's one to help you practice that pesky "I forgot to do _____ during my upkeep" problem. Cards with Echo (normally a creature) have what appears to be a reduced casting cost for the power/toughness/abilities. The catch is that, during your next upkeep, you have to pay the casting cost again or you lose the creature (you only have to do this once). Big creature, little mana? Summon them on the installment plan!

Sleeping Enchantments - They look like enchantments, they smell like enchantments, but if your opponent makes a wrong move, they wake-up and start to serve up some heavy beatdown. For example, you have Hidden Ancients down, an enchantment that costs 1G. If your opponent casts any enchantment, Hidden Ancients wakes up and becomes a 5/5 Treefolk.

Growing Enchantments - Put the enchantment on the table and then, during your upkeep, add a counter. When you have enough counters on it, do the old sacrifice routine to activate its ability.

Perpetual Enchantments - If these Enchantments go to the graveyard, they are go back to your hand.

As happened when Mirage came out, a number of 6th Edition rule changes are included in the Urza's Saga release. The one creating the most conversation is that trample has been changed so that, if there are multiple blockers, you must assign damage until all blockers are dead, then see if anything tramples over. You can no longer assign all the damage to one.

The regular variety of reprints are in the set, such as Dark Ritual and Disenchant. One notable exception is that Counterspell was left out. There are reports that Boldo was seen crying over this loss to his favorite color.

Finally, it looks like multi-colored cards may be out of the mix as there are no Gold cards in the set. [an error occurred while processing this directive]