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Lotus Bloom [1]


So, MTG: Ertai's Meddling as a mechanic, and MTG: Black Lotus on the scene again. Neat. I'm guessing, given the name of the set and the style of the mechanic, that we're actually going to be getting a set/block based around warping "Time". Which could lead in a number of interesting directions! --CH
I'm guessing that they're going to be bringing back mechanics from previous blocks, with each card specifying the block that the mechanics are being derived from.  Plus some extras. --Angoel

Interestingly, it seems that the "you can never ever play cards that don't have a mana cost" rule must be being relaxed, because Suspend's reminder text says "...play it without paying its mana cost". Used to be that there was no way ever ever ever to cast MTG: Evermind, not even using MTG: Fist of the Suns or MTG: Dream Halls or anything. That has to be changing now, I think. --AC
The rule in question is 213.1a - "An object with no mana cost can't be played as a spell." Does that leave some wiggle room for this? Not sure. --CH (incidentally, rule 401.1b is identical)
As for the card: wheeee! Cute, money rare. Note that if you have one in your opening hand, you get the mana on turn 4, not turn 3. But still - exceedingly cool, very cute. --AC

Interesting.  It means that you get a glut of mana around turn 4 or 5.  Which does rule out most of the cheese - but also means you're going to get very few long games (although we've yet to see how else they're messing with these time stuff)  I'm more than half wanting a "Move all cards removed from the game to the really freaking removed from the game forever zone" card already.  --Vitenka (It does improve possibilities for strategic play though, since you can see some of hat your opponent is doing ahead of time)

Orb of Insight [2]


Game terms
Copy: 10 (seems like quite a lot)
Exchange: 1
Hand: 62
Graveyard: 51
Suspend: 26
Equipment: 0
Aura: 16
First: 10, Third: 1 (weird)

Names and places from Magic
Mark's article [3] claims there will be "a female legend that players have been begging us to do for a long time", which suggests that it might be a good idea to try...
Jaya: 3, Ballard: 3, Taskmage: 0
Yay!! --AC
Teferi: 1

(ChrisHowlett) Since I reckon Jaya fits "a legend who uttered one of the most popular lines of flavour text of all time", I think the female legend could be
Serra: 2
Urza: 0
Mishra: 1

(ChirsHowlett?): Ok, I take that back. I reckon (given MaRo's 04/09 article) that the flavour-text character is [Saffi Eriksdotter].

Time: 72, Spiral: 0. So they're not reprinting it. But... seventy-two occurances of a non-defined (and non-trivial) word!

Mechanics
Buyback (as mentioned in Mark's article): 7
Flanking: 21 (!!)
Recover, Cumulative, Soulshift, Imprint, Equip, Kicker, Phasing, Banding, Sunburst, Affinity, Scry: 0
Morph: 18
Madness: 10
Shadow: 28 (!!!)
Threshold: 0 :(
Echo: 13
Cycling: 0
Storm: 5
Flashback: 23
Protection: 6
Split: 10, Second: 11 (but keep the unofficial spoilers off this page) (Sorry, thought it was an old mechanic that I just hadn't heard of due to not being around when it was...)
Equip: 0, which is interesting.
X: 27. I can't tell if that's a lot or not.

Wow. Flanking, Morph, and Buyback I'd been half-expecting. But shadow!?! The mechanic that both MaRo and RaBu? have condemned for reducing interactivity in games? I'm hoping that those 28 include quite a number of "gains / loses shadow" effects. Fascinating. --AC
Shadow would be OK if the creatures with shadow were sufficiently large.  It's just the small characters made it too fast and annoying. --Angoel
Wizards certainly managed to nerf Slivers the second time around. They were very aggressive in Tempest block, and far less so in Legions. --AC

Creature Types
Angel: 1
Sphinx: 0
Dragon: 8
Merfolk: 1
Wurm: 8
Goblin: 16
Spirit: 12
Saproling: 12
Sliver: 54, Slivers: 26 (note - this is likely to be at most 27 new creatures, more likely 25 or 26)
I'm guessing 18, actually.  One Sliver for the name, one for the creature type, and one for 'All slivers gain XYZ' --Angoel
Good point. Although the 26 "Slivers" makes that a somewhat curious conclusion. --CH
Hmm.  Yes.  I take back my conclusion. ;).  --Angoel
en-Kor: 2
Rebel: 8
Wizard: 15
Legendary: 20
Just one angel - interesting! And just one merfolk - weird. That's like Torment, which had one merfolk among the many cephalids (although Cephalid: 0 for Time Spiral). Also, Dragon - 8 is a lot. Even Champions of Kamigawa only had 6. --AC
There may well be more than one mention of the word 'dragon' on a card.  CoK? didn't have that because of their Name, Title method of naming things, but that's not necessarily the case here. --Angoel

Mana Costs etc:
WUBRG:1
WU:1
UB:0
BR:1
RG:0
GW:1
WB:0
UR:0
BG:1
GU:0
/:0
//:0

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir [4]


(I'm planning to edit in the names tomorrow, but not spoil the surprise for those who read this today...)
Wow. This long-mentioned character finally gets a card, and he's pretty cool. Part MTG: Vedalken Orrery, part MTG: City of Solitude. Bizarrely, though, all his mechanics feel a bit green, rather than blue. --AC
Oh-ohhh, saviour of the Universe! --CH
Heh. ...As I read more discussion about him, I'm realising how deceptively powerful the combination of his effects are. Your opponents have no hope of combat tricks or counterspells; you can play either attached to creatures at instant speed. If you try to kill anything of theirs, with anything from a MTG: Nekrataal to a MTG: Flametongue Kavu to a simple MTG: Stone Rain, they can't respond. Apart from activated abilities of things in play (which you can already see), or the occasional exception like [cycling triggers] or some such. In particular, you can leave your mana open for counters or whatever during your opponents' turns; then you cast your creatures during your opponent's EOT, and your opponents can't do anything at all about them before they've already had a chance to attack once. --AC

Sedge Sliver [5]


Well, I have to admit that was not a combination of an Alpha card and a Tempest series I was expecting. --AC

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy [6]


I wan't expecting that to ever be printed. Cool ability too! As noted by EddPringle?, works on a Lotus Bloom exiting suspension.

Vesuvan Shapeshifter [7]


Ohhh yeah. Wonderful Johnnirificness. I so, so want one. --AC

Brian Rogers' preview card [8]


A bonus MTGcom preview for Magic Player Rewards mailing list recipients. (It appears to be printed in the online style, rather than the closeup of a pseudophysical card that the other previews are.) This is an obvious update of an old Tempest card - not one I've ever seen played, I don't think. But one with reasonable potential nonetheless. I'm not sure the card is actually that good, in its updated form, but it's clearly got some "gorilla" factor. --AC


Miscellaneous


The [minisite] confirms that we are returning to the plane of Dominaria. It also features a jigsaw puzzle, and fantastic blue-on-darker blue links...
Would you believe they haven't tested their site cross-browser? In IE, the links are big and white. In Firefox, they're small and dark blue... --AC
Solving the puzzle yields a rather pretty picture of a card named "Academy Ruins". --AC
Presumably the Tolarian one. The wallpaper now adorns my desktop. --CH



(PeterTaylor) Probably the best place for this, given that I don't think it deserves a page of its own.
MTG: Coalition Victory is back in purple, and just after a block which is possibly even more supportive of it than its original IPA. I'm intrigued by the possibility of
Turn 1: Shock land, suspended MTG: Lotus Bloom
Turn 2: Shock land, MTG: Farseek for another
Turn 3: Shock land, MTG: Transguild Courier
Turn 4: Land, MTG: Coalition Victory.
I suspect it may be tried as a rogue deck in Standard, although I'm not sure that it's possible to make it robust enough to do well.

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