Khans of Tarkir: Card Mechanics
If you've seen our Khans of Tarkir Visual Spoiler then you already know that the new Magic: The Gathering set Khans of Tarkir takes place on Sarkhan Vol's home plane of Tarkir. Tarkir is ravaged by war between different clans, each vying for more control. Khans of Tarkir focuses on five different clans. Each clan will have its own set of three colors and each clan will have its own mechanic, some new and some returning from previous sets.
Without further ado, let's take a look at each of the five card mechanics.
Abzan ( ) Mechanic: Outlast
The Outlast mechanic is a new activated ability that requires you to tap your creature as well as pay the associated mana cost to activate it. It can only be activated as at sorcery speed meaning it must be done during your main phase while the stack is empty. Once the ability resolves, your creature gets a +1/+1 counter. That by itself isn't too spectacular but as you can see with Herald of Anafenza, cards with Outlast usually have some bonus to them. In this case your creature gets stronger and you get a 1/1 Warrior Token to strengthen your army. In the case of Ainok Bond-Kin, all creatures you control with +1/+1 counters get first strike. If you have many creatures with Outlast then, as the name suggests, you'll surely be able to outlast your opponent.
Jeskai ( ) Mechanic: Prowess
Prowess is another new mechanic but unlike Outlast, Prowess is a triggered ability. Prowess is pretty straight-forward as far as abilities go. Whenever you cast a non-creature spell, any creatures you have with Prowess will get +1/+1 until end of turn. This mechanic works well if you like to play control decks or if you're just fond of instant spells. You can cast an instant for whatever combat trick it gets you and then on top of that, all your Prowess creatures will get +1/+1 until end of turn. That could definitely foil any plans your opponent had laid out for that combat phase. It's worth noting that the Prowess ability will resolve before whatever spell you cast to trigger it, so even if your spell fails for any reason the Prowess ability will resolve and boost your creatures. Prowess doesn't just work with instants either. Any Sorcery, Artifact, Instant, Enchantment, or even Planeswalker spell you play will trigger the Prowess ability. The more you cast, the tougher your creatures get to deal with!
Mardu ( ) Mechanic: Raid
The Raid mechanic is another new mechanic to the game. Whenever you cast a spell with Raid you'll get some benefit as long as you've attacked with one of your creatures before you cast the spell. That means you'll want to cast your Raid spells after your combat phase. The benefits you get from the Raid ability depend on the spell you're casting. Mardu Heart-Peircer allows you to deal 2 damage directly to any creature or player while Mardu Warshrieker adds to your mana pool! And it isn't just creatures that can have the Raid ability. Howl of the Horde is a sorcery spell with Raid that basically doubles the effect of the card. There's no doubt that the benefits the Raid mechanic bestows can be extremely powerful for you and detrimental for your opponents!
Temur ( ) Mechanic: Ferocious
Ferocious is the fourth and final new mechanic in Khans of Tarkir. Like Raid, Ferocious is an ability word that checks for a certain condition and then grants a benefit if the condition is met. The condition for Ferocious is that you control a creature with power 4 or greater. The benefit you get from Ferocious varies with each card that has it. Heir of the Wilds gets +1/+1 until end of turn each time you attack and control a creature with power 4 or greater. See the Unwritten can get you two more creatures on the battlefield for only six mana! If you're a Timmy type player, then this is your mechanic!
Sultai ( ) Mechanic: Delve
Delve is a returning mechanic which first showed up in the Future Sight set. Delve allows you to pay part of the spell's mana cost by exiling cards from your graveyard. Each card you exile from your graveyard pays towards the spell's cost. It can only be used for colorless mana. So for Necropolis Fiend you could exile up to 7 cards from your graveyard but you would still have to pay . Spells with Delve are usually very powerful but require a lot of mana, so you'll definitely want to pay some of it using the Delve ability. That means you'll need a good way to get a lot of cards into your graveyard quickly and you'll likely need a larger sized deck to be able to feed your graveyard without drawing-out.
All Clans : Morph
Morph is another returning mechanic which first appeared in Onslaught and is shared by all 5 clans in Khans of Tarkir. If a creature card has Morph you may cast it face down for mana. If it resolves, it becomes a 2/2 colorless creature with no name, no types, and no abilities. It can attack, defend, be enchanted, wear equipment, and generally behaves like any other creature in play. The benefit comes in what you can do with a Morph creature. At any point when you have priority you can pay the creature's Morph cost and turn it face up. This is a special action that doesn't use the stack and can't be responded to. After the Morph cost has been paid and the card is face up, it gains all the characteristics of the face up card such as name, power & toughness, mana costs, etc. Any counters, enchantments, or equipment on the card remain. It is not a new card, it has just, well...morphed! As if the deception and cunning provided by Morph cards wasn't powerful enough, some cards even give you bonuses when you morph them. Icefeather Aven lets you return a target creature to its owner's hand. Rattleclaw Mystic adds to your mana pool. Morph may take a little time and practice to get used to and master, but can definitely turn the tide of a game if used correctly.
There you have it! That's all of the card mechanics that will show up in Khans of Tarkir. Which mechanic best fits your play style? Tell us in the comments below.