Apocalypse was the third and final Magic: The Gathering
expansion set for the Invasion
block. It consisted of 143 cards, and the expansion set symbol was a large mask
, substantially larger than the one use for Mercadian Masques
, though some may see it more as a helmet
. The set continued the use of the Black/Silver/Gold symbols to denote rarity, and all the cards were available in rare foil versions randomly inserted into booster packs.
A number of play mechanics from Invasion and Planeshift were continued in Apocalypse. "Kicker", the ability that lets you pay additional mana when casting a spell to increase its effect, was common in the set - including a set of creatures known as "Volvers", which each had kicker from both of the enemy colors of that card. In fact, a lot of the set was oriented around enemy colors teaming up, as there were both enemy color split cards, and enemy color "pain lands", lands that produced mana of two enemy colors while doing 1 damage when used.
An interesting note is that the card "Spiritmonger" in this set was created by a fan, having won the Create a Creature contest that Wizards of the Coast ran in 1999. Eleven cards were chosen as finalists, and the selection of the winning card was done via voting on the WotC web site. The Spiritmonger (originally "Spirit Monger") was the winner of the vote.
Note that in the card list, the "split" cards (two small cards on one large card) are listed with a slash ('/') in the middle, with the name of the card of that specific color listed afterwards in parenthesis.
A Magic: The Gathering card.
Card Title: Apocalypse
Card Type: Sorcery
Artist(s): L. A. Williams
Casting Cost: 2RRR
Card Text: Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
Apocalypse can be described as Jokulhaups with an attitude. A really bad attitude.
There is no subtle effect here - instead, Apocalypse has an effect befitting the name - it wipes the board clean. Everything goes, lands, creatures, artifacts, enchantments, all gone, and not just destroyed, but completely removed from the game, thus almost impossible to bring back.
This card could come in useful as a version of a "reset button", like Nevinyrral's Disk. But there's a small side effect that isn't so small. You have to discard your entire hand when the spell resolves. This means that after you play it, you're sitting there, nothing on the board, and nothing in hand. You are at the whims of fortune, all depending on what you draw.
Now, this may not be the most horrible thing, depending on the situation. When you're staring down a few large critters on your opponent's side, this could be welcome. And if you're able to play it when your opponent has no cards in hand either, it definately can equalize the game again, forcing both people to play from the card-less position. But with a well designed deck, you'll never include cards to help you only in dire situations - you want your cards to be useful all the time.
So, how to work such a destructive card into a deck? You need to remember that all cards IN PLAY are removed from the game. Creatures in your graveyard aren't removed. Nor are creatures that have been removed from the game by some other effect, whether it is a spell like Oubliette or Parallax Wave, or by an inherent ability such as phasing. Those creatures aren't in play to be removed, and even ones held out by effects such as Parallax Wave are returned just after the Apocalypse goes off.
If you can manage to use an Apocalypse when you've got creatures temporarily out of play, your opponent will be totally defenseless for a short time - perhaps longer if they have a hard time getting land. Your creatures can return to play, and find themselves with an easy time beating on your opponent. With the powerful effect of Apocalypse, it can be better than Nevinyrral's Disk or Wrath of God in creating such a situation. You have to make it count, though, with the cost in discarding your hand.
This works really well against decks that live on manipulating their graveyard, as everything that goes out of the game is gone, unrecoverable. Creatures disappear, unable to be brought back, and even decks that love to use recycling cards like Gaea's Blessing can't revive those lost resources.
Apocalypse offers an interesting deck possibility, one that requires careful balance when building, but can be quite rewarding.