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DST logo.jpg
Set symbol
DST symbol.png
Symbol description
The Shield of Kaldra
Design team
Bill Rose (lead)
Tyler Bielman
Brian Schneider
Mark Rosewater
Development team
Henry Stern (lead) [1]
Tyler Bielman
Brandon Bozzi
Charlie Catmandu
Brian Schneider
Art Director
Jeremy Cranford
Release date
February 6, 2004
Themes and mechanics
Keywords and/or ability words
Affinity (for artifacts and basic land types),
Set size
(55 commons, 55 uncommons, 55 rares)
Expansion code
Development codename
Mirrodin block sets
Mirrodin Darksteel Fifth Dawn
Magic: The Gathering chronology
Mirrodin Darksteel Fifth Dawn

Darksteel is the second set in the Mirrodin block. It is the 31st Magic: The Gathering expansion and was released on February 6, 2004. The prerelease was January 24–25, 2004. [3] [4]

Set details[edit | edit source]

Darksteel was the first small expansion to have 165 cards (11 extra rares and 11 extra uncommons campared to previous small expansions). The expansion symbol for the set is a miniature version of the Shield of Kaldra. [5] The set continueds the heavy artifact theme of its predecessor Mirrodin. Thematically the main component are darksteel artifacts, all of which are indestructible. The set also features an update on the lucky charms

Marketing[edit | edit source]

Darksteel was sold in 15-card boosters, four preconstructed theme decks and a fat pack. The booster packs featured artwork from Shield of Kaldra, Arcbound Ravager and Eater of Days.. The prerelease card was a foil alternate art Shield of Kaldra. This card was the first to mention a card in its text box that hadsn't been printed yet. The three Kaldra artifacts for a mega-cycle. [6] The set was accompanied by a novel by Jess Lebow. An 3/3 Beast Token for Pulse of the Tangle was offered as a Player Reward.

Storyline[edit | edit source]

Main article: The Darksteel Eye

"The world . . . is . . . hollow." This is the secret that Chunth, the Tel-Jilad troll elder, entrusts to Glissa Sunseeker before his death at the hands of a traitor. Armed with that knowledge, Glissa fights her way through the great vedalken capital of Lumengrid, down into the Pool of Knowledge. The Synod's sacred chamber contains a lacuna -- a tunnel, saturated with blue mana -- that leads to Mirrodin's secret interior. There, huge, bizarre towers of funguslike metal called mycosynth reach up toward an immense inner sun of pure mana. As Glissa flees from her vedalken pursuers, she discovers another secret inside this plane. Memnarch is real, and he patiently waits for the elvish champion to find him. [7] In the meantime, he studies the blinkmoths and has begun to build a monument to his greatness as an artificer: the Darksteel Eye, a device that will make his omniscience over Mirrodin complete.

Tournament impact[edit | edit source]

Darksteel is notorious as a very powerful tournament set. At one point it was responsible for two of four cards that were banned in Extended: Æther Vial and Skullclamp. Skullclamp was also very notorious in Standard as well for overpowering creature decks, making them very resilient even to mass destruction and providing a lot of card advantage at a very small cost. It became the first card to be banned in Standard in five years. Later other cards featured in the meta-game warping Affinity deck, especially Arcbound Ravager also introduced in Darksteel would follow. Trinisphere on the other hand was restricted in Vintage due to the formats capabilities of players producing large quantities of mana in early turns, dropping Trinisphere and preventing opponents from doing the same.

Mechanics[edit | edit source]

Modular has artifact creatures enter the battlefield with a number of +1/+1 counters on them. If the artifact creature is put into the graveyard from play, these counters are moved to another artifact creature. [8] [9] [10]

Indestructible is also introduced and exclusively found on artifacts with the word "Darksteel" in their names. As the name suggest, permanents that are indestructible simply can not be destroyed through any means, e.g. direct destruction effects such as Wrath of God or Damage. The mechanic would be reused occasionally in later sets, though not exclusively bound to artifacts.[11] [12]

The set also reprises Affinity for artifacts but also introduces Affinity for basic land types in a cycle of Golems. [13]

Creature types[edit | edit source]

The creature type Artificer was introduced in this expansion.

The following creature types that are not new to Magic are used in this expansion:

Cycles[edit | edit source]

Darksteel has four cycles:

Mirrored pairs[edit | edit source]

Reprinted cards[edit | edit source]

In contrast to Mirrodin reprinting a sizable number of artifact-related staples, only three cards were reprinted for Darksteel.

Functional reprints[edit | edit source]

Colorshifted[edit | edit source]

Notable cards[edit | edit source]

Preconstructed decks[edit | edit source]

Main article: Darksteel/Theme decks

Darksteel has three monocolored and one bicolored theme decks.

Theme deck name
Colors included
White Blue Black Red Green
Master Blaster
Mind Swarm
Swarm & Slam
Mirrodin block preconstructed theme decks
Mirrodin theme decks: Bait and Bludgeon (Manau.gifManab.gif) | Little Bashers (Manaw.gif) | Sacrificial Bam (Manab.gifManar.gif) | Wicked Big (Manag.gif)
Darksteel theme decks: Master Blaster (Manar.gif) | Mind Swarm (Manab.gif) | Swarm & Slam (Manaw.gifManag.gif) | Transference (Manau.gif)
Fifth Dawn theme decks: Nuts and Bolts (Manaw.gifManau.gif) | Special Forces (Manau.gifManab.gif) | Stampede (Manar.gifManag.gif) | Sunburst (Manaw.gifManau.gifManab.gifManar.gifManag.gif)
Related pages: Mirrodin block/Preconstructed theme decksMirrodin block theme decks

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Randy Buehler. (January 16, 2004.) "The Evolution of Oxidize", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (August 12, 2002.) "Codename of the Game", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Wizards of the Coast. (January 5, 2004.) "Darksteel Fact Sheet", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Brian David-Marshall. (January 21, 2004.) "Darksteel Prerelease Primer", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Brady Dommermuth. (October 31, 2006.) "Ask Wizards", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Wizards of the Coast. (January 29, 2004.) "What's a "Helm of Kaldra"?", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Rei Nakazawa. (January 13, 2004.) "Shedding Light on Darksteel", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater. (January 12, 2004.) "Arcbound To Happen", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Wizards of the Coast. "Darksteel Frequently Asked Questions", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Magic Arcana. (January 27, 2004.) "The flavor of modular", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Mark Rosewater. (January 05, 2004.) "Enter… The Matrix", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Randy Buehler. (January 9, 2004.) "Developing Indestructibility", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Mark Rosewater. (January 19, 2004.) "To Affinity And Beyond", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Magic Arcana. (March 14, 2007.) "Echoing Art", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Aaron Forsythe. (March 5, 2004.) "Conditional Hammers", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Magic Arcana. (April 13, 2004.) "Pulse of the Groffskithur", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Magic Arcana. (April 22, 2004.) "Emissaries of Hope and Despair", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Wizards of the Coast. (January 26, 2004.) "The Return of Fireball", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Aaron Forsythe. (June 4, 2004.) "Skullclamp, We Hardly Knew Ye", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
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