|Brian Tinsman (lead)|
|Brian Schneider (lead)|
|October 6, 2006|
Themes and mechanics
Keywords and/or ability words
(121 commons, 80 uncommons, 80 rares, 20 lands,
Development code name
|Time Spiral Block sets|
|Time Spiral||Planar Chaos||Future Sight|
|Magic: The Gathering chronology|
|Coldsnap||Time Spiral||Planar Chaos|
It includes 301 all new cards and a 121 "timeshifted" bonus reprint subset that are distributed in 15-card boosters including ten commons, three uncommons, one rare and one purple-rarity timeshifted card. Most of the cards in this expansion reference previous cards in some way.
Several rules changes accompanied the release of Time Spiral. Most of the returning mechanics received at least a small update (such as Echo now specifying a cost instead of using the mana cost of the permanent by definition). In addition, the rules governing cards without mana costs were changed to allow a cycle of spells only playable by the Suspend ability, and a new rule was created causing +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters coexisting on the same permanent to eliminate each other in order to avoid confusion.
Pro Tour player cards
One Player Card was placed in each Time Spiral Tournament Pack, Theme Deck and Fat Pack as an additional card (each pack still contained the same number of Magic cards as previous packs). Thirty players are featured in the set, including all five 2005 Hall of Fame inductees, 2005 Player of the Year Kenji Tsumura, 2005 World Champion Katsuhiro Mori, and many others. The front of each card features a portrait of the player and his national flag, with the back filled with career statistics and personal data.
Mechanics and themes
The theme of the expansion is the past. Many mechanics and themes that appear in Time Spiral also appeared in past expansions. These include the keywords buyback, echo, flanking, flashback, madness, morph, shadow, and storm. Returning creature-type themes include rebels, slivers, spellshapers and thallids. Three new time-related mechanics were introduced in this expansion; they are flash, split second and suspend. Another theme are the "timeshifted" cards, each of which is a reprint of a card from Magic's past which carried a special purple rarity symbol. Alongside the direct reprints of old cards, there was a cycle of 'callbacks'; cards that had the same effect as extremely powerful older cards but which could only be played by suspend and never directly cast.
- Suspend sends a spell into the future by removing a card from the game for a number of turns and then playing it, normally at a reduced cost. Some cards had other ways to reduce the time taken before they were played.
- Split second freezes time for a moment, preventing spells and abilities from being played while a spell with split second is on the stack.
- Flash slows down time for the mage, allowing the spell to be cast at instant speed. The ability had been on earlier cards, although not using the keyword spelling it out as "You may play ~ any time you could play an instant". Flash has since become an evergreen keyword.
The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Advisor, Angel, Archer, Artificer, Assassin, Avatar, Bear, Beast, Bird, Cat, Centaur, Cleric, Construct, Demon, Djinn, Dragon, Druid, Dryad, Elemental, Elf, Eye, Faerie, Fungus, Gargoyle, Giant, Goblin, Gorgon, Homarid, Horror, Hydra, Illusion, Insect, Kavu, Kithkin, Knight, Kor, Kraken, Leech, Merfolk, Nightmare, Orc, Pegasus, Rebel, Rogue, Scout, Serpent, Shaman, Shapeshifter, Skeleton, Sliver, Snake, Soldier, Spellshaper, Spider, Spike, Spirit, Treefolk, Vampire, Viashino, Wall, Warrior, Wizard, Wurm, Zombie.
After more than its fair share of cataclysms, Dominaria lies in ruins. Salt rains from the sky and the air is poisonous. Time also seems to be in trouble, as people, places and things from the plane's past seem to appear and disappear on their own. Teferi returns from his phased-out home to find such destruction and realizes that the connection between land and mana is breaking. He seeks the help of Freyalise to repair the plane.
Time Spiral has 20 cycles:
- Mana-costless suspend spells: Rare spells with the Suspend ability, no mana cost, and an effect of a powerful spell from Magic's past — Restore Balance (Balance), Ancestral Vision (Ancestral Recall), Living End (Living Death), Wheel of Fate (Wheel of Fortune), Hypergenesis (Eureka) and Lotus Bloom (Black Lotus).
- Buyback: Rare spells with Buyback — Evangelize, Walk the Aeons, Demonic Collusion, Reiterate and Wurmcalling.
- Flash auras: Common Auras with flash — Temporal Isolation, Ophidian Eye, Feebleness, Ghitu Firebreathing, and Æther Web.
- Allied-color flashback spells: Common instants with a flashback cost that includes the allied color that follows in the sequence WUBRGW from the color of the spell — Momentary Blink, Mystical Teachings, Strangling Soot, Ancient Grudge and Thrill of the Hunt.
- Rare split second: Rare instants with split second — Angel's Grace, Trickbind, Sudden Spoiling, Word of Seizing and Stonewood Invocation.
- Uncommon split second spells: Uncommon spells with split second — Celestial Crusader, Wipe Away, Sudden Death, Sudden Shock and Krosan Grip.
- One-mana suspend creatures: Common creatures with suspend costs of C — Ivory Giant, Viscerid Deepwalker, Corpulent Corpse, Keldon Halberdier and Durkwood Baloth.
- Common Spellshapers: Common spellshapers with an activated ability resembling a common card from Magic's past — Icatian Crier, Tolarian Sentinel, Urborg Syphon-Mage, Flowstone Channeler and Greenseeker.
- Magi: Rare Human Wizard creatures with the converted mana cost and abilities of a powerful artifact from Magic's past — Magus of the Disk (Nevinyrral's Disk), Magus of the Jar (Memory Jar), Magus of the Mirror (Mirror Universe), Magus of the Scroll (Cursed Scroll) and Magus of the Candelabra (Candelabra of Tawnos).
- Totems: Uncommon artifacts with ": Add C to your mana pool" and an activated ability to turn the card into a creature on the Reserved List with a cost of that creature's mana cost — Thunder Totem (Thunder Spirit), Chronatog Totem (Chronatog), Phyrexian Totem (Phyrexian Negator), Foriysian Totem (Two-Headed Giant of Foriys) and Weatherseed Totem (Weatherseed Treefolk).
- Storage lands: Uncommon lands with ": Add 1 to your mana pool. , : Put a storage counter on [this]. , Remove X storage counters from [this]: Add X mana in any combination of C and/or D to your mana pool." where C and D are allied colors — Calciform Pools, Dreadship Reef, Molten Slagheap, Fungal Reaches, and Saltcrusted Steppe.
- Rancor-like Auras: Uncommon Auras that grant the enchanted creature an ability and have "When [this] is put into a graveyard from play, return [this] to its owner's hand." — Spirit Loop, Fool's Demise, Fallen Ideal, Undying Rage and Aspect of Mongoose.
- Morph creatures: Rare creatures with morph and abilities that allude to cards from Magic's past — Weathered Bodyguards, Vesuvan Shapeshifter, Liege of the Pit, Fortune Thief and Thelonite Hermit.
- Uncommon "main phase matters" instants: Uncommon instants with improved effects when casted during their owner's main phases — Return to Dust, Careful Consideration, Haunting Hymn, Sulfurous Blast, and Might of Old Krosa.
- Two-color legendary creatures: Rare legendary creatures with mana costs that include CD, where C and D are allied colors of mana. Each of these legendary creatures represent characters from Dominaria's past — Ith, High Arcanist; Dralnu, Lich Lord; Kaervek the Merciless; Stonebrow, Krosan Hero; and Saffi Eriksdotter.
- Common Slivers: Common 1/1 slivers — Sidewinder Sliver, Screeching Sliver, Mindlash Sliver, Two-Headed Sliver and Gemhide Sliver.
- Common Slivers: Common slivers — Watcher Sliver, Shadow Sliver, Basal Sliver, Bonesplitter Sliver and Spinneret Sliver.
- Uncommon monocolored Slivers: Monocolored uncommon slivers — Quilled Sliver, Telekinetic Sliver, Vampiric Sliver, Fury Sliver and Might Sliver.
- Uncommon multicolored Slivers: Uncommon slivers with CD in their mana cost, where C and D are allied colors of mana — Opaline Sliver, Dementia Sliver, Ghostflame Sliver, Firewake Sliver and Harmonic Sliver.
- Rare Slivers: Rare slivers that grant slivers the abilities of a rare creature from Magic's past — Pulmonic Sliver, Psionic Sliver, Plague Sliver, Sedge Sliver and Fungus Sliver.
- Academy Ruins, used as a regrowth mechanic for artifacts, specifically in Extended to severely hurt or even lock the opponent under a Mindslaver.
- Ancestral Vision, a very cheap but delayed draw spell
- Ancient Grudge, a high quality card due to Flashback, as such used in decks that dump their library in the graveyard, e.g. Friggorid.
- Dread Return also card widely used in such Reanimator decks, especially after Narcomoeba came along two sets later.
- Empty the Warrens, an alternate win Condition for storm decks when they can't target the player.
- Gemstone Caverns, a card designed by Tsuyoshi Fujita during the 2005 Magic Invitational which was voted on by users of the Wizards of the Coast homepage to be the one they'd want to see the most in a set (though changed in functionality due to playtesting later on).
- Greater Gargadon, a long term thread used in R/G aggressive decks, which sacrifices permanents if the opponent attempts to destroy them. It was later used in combo decks as a sacrifice outlet, e.g. with Saffi Eriksdotter and Reveillark.
- Hypergenesis and Living End, two cards which would later be abused with the Cascade mechanic to clutter the battlefield with a number of large and/or utility creatures that are hard to kill.
- Krosan Grip, a valuable sideboard card against blue decks that are dependent on a specific artifact or enchantment, e.g. Counterbalance or Vedalken Shackles
- Lotus Bloom, a card to be played for free and adding mana 3 turns later, especially widely used in Storm decks.
- Saffi Eriksdotter, becoming a card due to it's popularity from the Flavortext of Lhurgoyf.
- Smallpox, a variation of Pox which still saw wide play due to its strong effect depriving the opponent of multiple resources at once.
- Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, a representation of Teferi after he lost his Planeswalker spark in a spell to heal the time rift near his home continent of Jamuraa. Saw widespread tournament play due to his ability to shut down opposing Control decks and being searchable with Mystical Teachings, also from this set.
- Avalanche Riders, Shadowmage Infiltrator and Voidmage Prodigy were all Magic Invitational cards being reprinted.
- Dragonstorm, unlike its first appearance in Scourge inspired a whole new deck, partially because of the inclusion of Bogardan Hellkite and Lotus Bloom, both also from this set, creating the so called Dragonstorm deck.
- Tormod's Crypt, a reprinted graveyard hate card to combat graveyard based decks such as Friggorid which were widespread in the Extended Environment at the time.
The preconstructed theme decks are:
|Theme deck name|
|Fun with Fungus||■||■|
- Time Spiral is the first set since Alliances to distribute cards in boosters differently from the typical eleven commons, three uncommons and one rare format.
- Time Spiral is the first expansion to include a seperate bonus subset of cards. While modern Core Sets include a small subset of cards, these are only included in introductory packages and are not distributed in boosters.
- Time Spiral is the first set to use a new premium card distribution method. All premium cards are now included in booster packs replacing a common card. Past expansions replaced a card of the same rarity as the premium card. This creates the possibility of "three rare" boosters in Time Spiral, as it is possible to find the normal rare, a premium rare and a Timeshifted card that was previously rare in the same pack.
- Both non-rare cards with buyback are blue.
- All cards with echo are red.
- All cards with madness are black.
- All non-rare cards with morph are blue.
- All cards with storm are red.
- Time Spiral product information page — Wizards of the Coast
- Time Spiral Rules Primer, by Mark Gottlieb, MTG.com, Monday, September 18, 2006.