M15: Aggressive Mining

I haven’t ever played Minecraft, even though I appreciate that it’s basically a digital, infinite Lego set with exploding zombies. I just didn’t get around to delve into it, I guess. What is fun, is that Wizards decided to contact a few third parties to make some cards, and most of those cards reference the designer in some way. And so, Markus Perssons card references Minecraft. Heavilly. It has mining in the name, and the art is a riff off the block-based graphics in that game. But what does it do?


First of all, it stops you from playing lands. It’s interesting to see that most of these “Designed by” cards feature drawbacks. There is a tendency for designers to choose drawbacks, to create “tension” and make cards feel more interesting. Wizards learned to step away from using drawbacks that much, going more towards a “feelgood” type of cards, that mostly do things you want without jumping through too many hoops, but in M15 they allowed some cards to get a little crazy and sometimes do bad things. It creates a more ‘gamey’ feel for some of these cards, but then again they’re made explicitly by video game designers, so it makes sense somehow. How these design choices hold up in the larger game? Time will tell.

It’s still possible to get lands on the table; Terrain Generator still works, as do a myriad of other land-searching spells. But working around the drawback isn’t the point of Aggressive Mining.

The second part allows you to sacrifice land to draw cards. In a duel game, that means you almost get an entire new hand of 7 cards (Including your standard draw) at the cost of some lands. That’s pretty good draw, even though it’ll have lasting repercussions for your mana base going forward in the game. So, ideally, you’ll only want this on the table once there isn’t much game ahead of you.


Red is known for it’s ‘in your face, ‘ aggressive style. It has lots of burn spells, which are often very flexible sources of damage, but that strategy does have a downside: It tends to run out of steam. Trying to take the shortest route to victory also means you’re running out of cards quickly. This is especially sad when you’re just a few points of damage short of a victory. That’s when you decide you could use some Minecraft!

it seems to me that Aggressive Mining works best with cheap, preferably instant spells. The kind red is known for. Instant? Yes, that means you can tap a land on an opponents turn, before you sacrifice it, then draw and play that Lightning Bolt with that mana.

seismic lightningstorm

So, what do you do when you get extra lands in hands in all the extra cards you draw? It’s not like you can trigger Valakut with those, now can you? Fortunately there are a couple of ways to get some extra mileage out of these now-unplayable lands. There is always the infamous Seismic Assault, but a Lightning Storm is a more surprising use of extra lands.

In Commander it might be a worthy inclusion for Borborygmos Enraged.  It’s a shame Primeval Titan and Sylvan Primordial are deemed too powerful for Commander, but what can you do? There should be enough options. Anything that draw you cards for free has the potential to be broken, no matter how many drawbacks are tacked on.

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