- Urza's Saga
Background = LemonChiffon
Expansion Name = "Urza's Saga"
Expansion Symbol =
Symbol Description = Two
Release Date = October
Mechanics = "Free" spells, Sleeping and Growing Enchantments
Keywords = Echo, Cycling
Cycles = Rancors, Embraces
Size = 350 cards
Expansion Code = USG
Development Code = Armadillo
Block Name = Urza
First Set = "Urza's Saga"
Second Set =
Third Set =
Last Set = "
Next Set = ""
"Urza's Saga" is the 15th expert level set, a 350-card "" expansion set that debuted in October
1998. It is widely regarded as one of the most powerful sets ever released.Who|date=December 2007 The expansion symbol features a pair of gears from an Urzamachine.
Many players believed that the Urza block was another group of artifact sets like "" because of Urza's association with artifacts and the fact that the block contained many powerful artifacts. This is also the official claim of
Wizards of the Coast, even calling the Urza Block the Artifacts Cycle much like how Tempest Block was called the Rath Cycle. However, it was much closer to being an "enchantment-driven" block the same way that Mirrodin was created as an "artifact-driven" block than anything else.Fact|date=December 2007 The block was initially intended to be enchantment driven in the design stages, but thematically from a storyline point of view Wizards maintains that this block is centered around artifacts. This can be seen according to Wizards of the Coast's "Card of the Day" for June 30, 2005, and in artifacts like Fluctuator and other cards like the devastating Tolarian Academy.
The Urza block ushered in an a new era of combo decks. With "Urza's Saga" released in the fall, the period before many of the banning and restrictions of many of the overpowered cards in the set is referred to as Combo Winter by both players and Wizards staff.Fact|date=December 2007 Standard (Type-2) and Saga Block constructed decks were so fast that they could often win by turn three if not by turn one. There are several articles on the
Wizards of the Coastwebsite [http://www.magicthegathering.com/ MagicTheGathering.com] that discuss various tournaments in which players would mulligandown to half their starting hand size just for the perfect initial hand. Many games were simply decided by the flip of the coin to see who would go first. Fact|date=December 2007 In all, "Urza's Saga" has had more cards banned from it than any other Block in the history of the game, with cards banned or restricted across all game formats in which the set has been legal for play. "Urza's Legacy" contains the first card to be 'emergency banned' before it made it to print (Memory Jar). This trend was later continued with Chrome Mox from Mirrodin and Mind's Desire from Scourge which were pre-emptively restricted. Mirrodin, which produced nine cards banned across the Block, Standard, Extended and Legacy formats, and two restricted in Vintage, is the only block that comes close to the sheer power and speed of "Urza's Saga". Examination of the block shows, even with banned cards set aside, an astonishingly high number of constructed playable or near-degenerate cards.Who|date=December 2007
The story of Urza's Saga and the later sets in the block are essentially
prequels to the former '/'/' sets, explaining the aftermath of the Brothers' War as seen in the ' expansion.
Whereas other sets have all five colors of cards referencing the same story, "Urza's Saga" has each of the five colors showing a different part of the storyline.
Green cards detail the conflict on Argoth, which would lead to the events of the "" expansion. Black cards reveal Urza's failed attack on Phyrexia itself. White cards document Urza's period of recuperation in Serra's Realm. Blue cards explain Urza's founding of an academy on Tolaria and his temporal experiments. Red cards show Urza's alliance with Shiv.
Shiv, Phyrexia, Tolaria, and Serra's Realm are some of the most iconic settings in "Magic". Most of the story of this set is written in the book "Planeswalker", though the battle of Argoth is from the end of "The Brothers' War" and the founding of Tolaria and alliance with Shiv are found in "Time Streams".
Cycling cards allow a player to pay a small cost to discard that card and to draw another to replace it. [http://www.wizards.com/magic/expert/Urzas_Saga/UZ_Rules.asp New Features of Urza's Saga] by "MTG.com", Official Rulings] In this expansion set, the cost for cycling is always two colorless mana. When the mechanic appeared again in the "" expansion, the costs varied to fit the card.
Echo is a mechanic that requires the player to pay the casting cost for a permanent again on his/her next turn, or it must be sacrificed. Echo cards have lower mana costs than comparable non-echo cards, in exchange for the double payment. All are creatures in "Saga" and almost all cards with echo are green or red.
Free Spells were a mechanic exclusively featured in blue cards. A powerful group of cards are the Free Spells from this block. These spells allow the player to untap the same number of lands as the card's converted mana cost upon resolution, freeing land for other use. This was abused by decks that use lands that produce more than one mana, and [http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?name=Sapphire%20Medallion Sapphire Medallion] from '. Doing this can produce great quantities of mana and the ability to utilize cards from the ' expansion with the Storm mechanic.
"Saga" also contained a cycle of three Legendary Lands, which produced colored mana for each permanent of a given type controlled: enchantments for white, creatures for green, and artifacts for blue. These would prove to be popular cards and so powerful that all are banned in the "Urza's Saga" Constructed format.
The [http://gatherer.wizards.com/gathererlookup.asp?set=Urza's%20Legacy&name=Rancor Rancor] s, got their name from an enchantment that would be released in
Urza's Legacy. They are auras that return to your hand if destroyed or sacrificed. The embraces were a cycle of auras that could turn a regular 2/2 creature into a huge threat.
* [http://gatherer.wizards.com/gathererlookup.asp?set=Urza's%20Saga&name=morphling Morphling] — Nicknamed "
Superman" for its wide range of abilities, Morphling was for years considered the best creature ever printed due to its abilities and chance to combine them. Morphling appeared in many decks making it one of the most useful and effective blue creatures available at the time. [http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/5796.html The Second Age of Super Creatures] by Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar, "starcitygames.com", September 22, 2003]
* [http://www.wizards.com/magic/expert/Urzas_Saga/Urzas_Saga.asp Wizard's official page for "Urza's Saga"]
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