I have to admit that evaluating Artifact cards is hard when you have been a Magic: The Gathering player for a long time. Your brain immediately recollects every format of limited and constructed you’ve ever played, gleaning if a card would be good in the current metagame. This massive recollection of cardboard is a sweet skill to impress fellow magicians at parties and win booster packs at a prerelease, but it seriously disorients your ability to know what a good Artifact card is. Let’s take for example Shatterstorm in Magic:
As a Magic player, you know that this card is not something you would play in your main deck but it is a very useful card to bring in against decks with a lot of artifacts. If I showed you a new card that had a mechanic that said, “Destroy all artifacts,” you would reference Shatterstorm and know that the card was okay but not something to get excited about. The reason we think this way is we know that most formats do not involve many artifacts in the game, so having this effect vs. the investment of mana is not going to offer us additional expected value to win. In fact, having this card in our main deck almost certainly is negative expected value as most times it will do nothing but be a rotting piece of meat stinking up our hand.
Now imagine for a second you were playing in a format where every deck had around four to nine artifacts IN PLAY every game. It would be like playing in Mirrodin where there were 142 artifacts in the set! All of a sudden, Shatterstorm becomes a much more playable card because even though it destroys both player’s artifacts, you get to play around it and your opponent doesn’t.
Hearthstone is a good example of where having a main deck answer to equipment is good because you know that most decks will have at least one or more, and having outs to them will help you win games. You’re certainly not playing three or four because your opponent isn’t going to have more than one target at a time. Not that I’m a Hearthstone pro, but I’ve seen Harrison Jones and Gluttonous Ooze in many a deck.
Here’s how this all is relevant in Artifact. In Artifact, our shopping phase is where we get to spend all that lustrous gold on items that make our heroes better. Since heroes keep those items even through death, they hold a lot of value in the game. There are not many ways to deal with a Rix who’s swinging an Apotheosis Blade at your poor cowering creeps, and soon to be devastated tower. (Well except maybe your own flaming Apotheosis Blade)
That’s where our preview card comes in. Introducing Corrosive Mist.
Let’s start by defining what this card actually does. For five mana, you can condemn (aka destroy) all the items that are equipped to heroes (yours included) in that lane. At first glance, the Shatterstorm test would say that this card isn’t all the great main deck but I beg to differ.
In my experience, most games of Artifact have a high number of items getting equipped. Since all of our decks have nine items plus the secret shop items, it’s common to see heroes have two to three items equipped each game. Like I said before, the great thing about this card is that we can play around it because we know it’s coming and our opponent doesn’t.
If you have seen any play video, you’ll see some games snowball out of control because one player gets some bad placement early, feeds their opponent, who in turn buys big items to bury them. Since the items stay attached, killing the hero doesn’t fix the issue long term. If the item is on Rix, who has rapid deployment, it is even worse. Corrosive Mist helps some of the problems that low attack power decks have with gold disparities. Now instead of just dying to your opponent’s expensive gold items, you can pay five mana in a lane to destroy all the equipped items, which in turn will hopefully generate a positive gold advantage. The mere possibility of dissolving a twenty plus gold advantage for our opponent is reason enough for me to include this as a one of in many decks. Even games where we aren’t behind in gold, we can use it in a lane we are lagging in to create a gold disparity in our favor overall.
I think Corrosive Mist will be a card that people will have a hard time seeing the value until they actually play it or have it played against them. Come back and let me know how it goes when we get to launch and see if my evaluation of the card was right or not!