Mercadian Masques was a Magic: The Gathering expansion set which was released late 1999. It started off the Masques block, which included the Nemesis and Prophecy sets. It was made available in tournament pack (previously known as starter pack), booster pack and theme deck forms. The limited/black-bordered 350 card set introduced spellshapers, rebel/mercenary searchers, seal enchantment spells and all-play abilities. It was also the first M:tg set to feature big mana symbols on lands instead of the usual text, not unlike the more recent Pokemon CCG, also by Wizards of the Coast. (This led some people to believe that M:tg was becoming Pokemonified and going to mainstream kiddie hell). The promotional card presented to attendees of the prereleases was a foil Overtaker.


  • spellshapers: A creature spell which is capable of turning a card in ones hand into another spell. The creature's ability typically read as "Mana cost, Tap, Discard a card from your hand: Effect". The effects available were typically those of basic spell effects from older M:TG sets, such as Ray of Command (as found on Overtaker) and the Stone Rain (on Seismic Mage). A particularly useful card that neatly complemented spellshapers was Squee, Goblin Nabob, a red legend which returned to its owner's hand from the graveyard during its owner's upkeep, significantly reducing the cost of using spellshapers repeatedly.
  • Rebel & mercenary searchers: Rebels and mercenaries were a large set of white and black creatures respectively. Searchers from each class could grab creatures of their type from their owner's library and bring them directly into play. These fast effects could be used at decisive times such as before declaring blockers. The rebel search chains usually ascended in magnitude (searchers could fetch creatures of higher mana cost). Mercenary searches descended in rank but their fetching costs did not include the 1 mana overhead the rebels paid for advancing up the ladder.
  • Seals Seals were enchantment versions of basic spells, such as Unsummon, Shock, Disenchant and Dark Banishing. These enchantments could be put into play when it was convenient and used (sacrificed to generate their spell effect) later. These "prepaid" spells allowed players to stockpile or cast the seals when it was safer to do so. Although the surprise value of these spells was lost (these spells were typically instants in previous incarnations), they gained some flexibility and could also serve as deterrents (since showing your hand, or part of it, to your opponent(s) when not required by a spell or effect to do so, is at this time, not very legal under tournament rules :).
  • All-play abilities: These abilities were present on several permanents, most notably the Mongers. These abilities could be used by all players in the game (the mana costs were always colourless if there was one). They were feasible in the limited format because the caster could usually make better or quicker use of the card. The Mercadian Masques Mongers were Wishmonger, Sailmonger, Scandalmonger, Warmonger and Squallmonger. All-play cards were not often seen in constructed decks due to the lack of concentrated beatdown power.
As narcolepticinsomniac has went and described the set, I'll just include the full card list here.

Mercadian Masques was the first Magic: The Gathering set to include basic lands as foil cards.








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