2022 had tons of Magic products released, and with them came a bunch of new and returning mechanics. But not every mechanic Wizards of the Coast puts out is going to be a hit. For every mechanic players love, like Cycling or Kicker, there are a dozen which either aren’t fun or are extremely limited in scope. Sometimes you get timeless classics, other times you get Fateful Hour or Mutate.

Four major sets were released in 2022, as well as a bunch of ancillary sets. With them came tons of new mechanics slapped onto cards, with various amounts of success. Some of these mechanics, like Reconfigure, were a reworking of the classic Magic effects. Reconfigure felt like a natural progression in the equipment design space, but it hasn’t made a larger splash in Magic as a whole. Other mechanics, like Prototype, added new and complex layers to the game.

Let’s take a look at some of the best mechanics introduced in 2022, and see how they have impacted the game.


Ledger Shredder and Raffine Scheming Seer Cards

At its core, Connive is just looting with a fancy new name, but it adds +1/+1 counters when you do. There’s not much else to it. It’s relatively straightforward as far as mechanics go. However, there have been a few show-stopper creatures with Connive attached to them. This puts a lot of focus on the mechanic into a few key pieces.

Ledger Shredder and Raffine, Scheming Seer are the two premiere creatures featuring Connive. They’ve been popping up all over the place. These creatures trigger Connive in different ways.

Ledger Shredder triggers whenever any player casts their second spell in a turn. In formats like Legacy where multiple spells are being cast every turn, it can help dig for answers. Ledger Shredder quickly grows beyond classic Legacy staples like Dragon’s Rage Channeler and Delver of Secrets, making it either a favorable blocker or an easy creature to push through damage.

The other banner creature for Connive has been Raffine, Scheming Seer.  Raffine has seen plenty of play in Standard since its release. Esper Midrange decks are as popular as ever, taking advantage of the protection from Ward and evasion from Flying. Connive is on only 16 cards from Streets of New Capenna, an unfortunate result of a set loaded with mechanics.

The Initiative

White Plume Adventurer and Seasoned Dungeoneer Cards

This weird mechanic functions like mixing Venture into the Dungeon with Monarch. When you take the Initiative you enter a specific dungeon, the Undercity. But if your opponent deals combat damage to you, then they get to take the Initiative. When Initiative was released in Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, the mechanic felt a little bland and certainly weaker than Monarch.

Turns out it’s pretty good, particularly in Legacy where Mono-White Initiative has recently been headlining tournaments. Two cards in particular are very good in Legacy, White Plume Adventurer and Seasoned Dungeoneer. Both cards let you take the Initiative when they enter the battlefield, providing both card advantage and pressure with their other abilities.

Mono-White Initiative feels like a Stompy deck early on, but it easily transitions to a late-game plan with Stoneforge Mystic and its equipment package. The deck doesn’t even mind if your opponent takes the Initiative a few times, since Seasoned Dungeoneer can easily take it back. With the success of these two cards, players have been taking a second look at other Initiative cards, in hopes of finding the next hot tech.


Phyrexian Fleshgorger and Woodcaller Automaton cards

Prototype is one of the newest mechanics to Magic, debuting in The Brother’s War. At its core, it provides an alternate casting cost to some very powerful cards. It’s almost like a reverse Kicker, where you pay less mana to get a weaker creature.

Prototype has only seen limited play with two cards in Standard. Phyrexian Fleshgorger shows up in Mono-Black, and Steel Seraph appears in Mono-White. But given the unique nature of these cards, and the sheer potential power behind them, it may just be a matter of time before more Prototype cards breakthrough.

The one other shining card to stand out so far has been Woodcaller Automaton where in Pioneer it has slotted right into Mono-Green Devotion decks. Since it untaps a land when it enters the battlefield, it can untap Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. And being an artifact, Karn, the Great Creator can pull it from your sideboard.


Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia and Urza, Planeswalker cards

Meld is such a weird, rarely-used mechanic, but it’s a lot of fun to see it showcasing some of the strongest characters in Magic’s lore. We haven’t seen these kind of cards in six years! Only three cards got the Meld mechanic in 2022: Urza, Mishra, and Titania.

None of these cards have made a particularly big impact on Magic. The restrictive nature of Meld makes it extremely difficult to pull off, and it constrains deck building in constructed formats. However, Melding Urza together in a match is so incredibly rewarding. You have to experience it yourself to truly understand.

Part of the reason why Meld works is the visceral feeling of combining two cards together, to create dramatic and playable characters at the height of their power.  For years, almost since the beginning of Magic’s story, no one has been able to play with these characters like this. Blind Seer was a little nod to players, and they even went as far as Urza, Lord High Artificer, but those are just single creatures. The nigh-omnipotent, all-powerful Urza, Planeswalker, was a character that you could only read about in stories. Titania, Gaea Incarnate is the towering evolution of Titania, Protector of Argoth. Meanwhile Mishra, Artificer Prodigy had a glow-up in design, becoming Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia.

Meld in The Brothers’ War feels much like a mechanic built with fans in mind. It might not be the most reliable, and it only appears on three cards in the set, but it feels like a way for Wizards of the Coast to celebrate some of the most iconic characters in the game.

Ryan Hay (he/him) has been writing about Magic: The Gathering and video games for years, and loves absolutely terrible games. Send him your bad game takes over on Twitter where he occasionally rants about everything from cats to Lord of the Rings.

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