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NEM logo.png
Set symbol
Symbol description
Design team
Mike Elliott (lead)
Bill Rose
Mark Rosewater
Development team
Mike Elliott (lead)
Charlie Catena
Paul Peterson
Teeuwynn Woodruff
Art Director
Dana Knutson & Ron Spears
Release date
February 14, 2000
Themes and mechanics
Spellshapers, Alternative Costs, Laccoliths, Seals, Rebels and Mercenaries
Keywords and/or ability words
Set size
143 (55 Common, 44 Uncommon, 44 Rare)
Expansion code
Masques block sets
Mercadian Masques Nemesis Prophecy
Magic: The Gathering chronology
Battle Royale Nemesis Starter 2000

Nemesis is the nineteenth Magic expansion and was released in February 2000 as the second set and first small expansion in the Masques block.

Set details[edit | edit source]

Nemesis featured 143 cards (55 commons, 44 uncommons and 44 rares). Nemesis's expansion symbol is the axe of Crovax, the main antagonist of the story’s Rath component. [2] The set continued Mercadian Masques's themes of spellshapers, rebels and mercenaries, and cards with alternative casting costs. Nemesis is generally considered to be the most powerful set of the Masques block. A card of note is Ascendant Evincar. It was the first card to represent the same legendary permanent as a previous card following a major change in the character's storyline. The card was not named "Crovax, Ascendant Evincar", in order to avoid confusion over whether the "legend rule" came into effect when the Evincar and Crovax The Cursed were both in play. This policy was later dropped with the printing of Ertai, the Corrupted in Planeshift. The set featured Rootwater Thief, Mike Long's invitational card.

Marketing[edit | edit source]

The cards were sold in 15-card boosters which had artwork from Sliptide Serpent, in four preconstructed theme decks and a fat pack. Nemesis prerelease events were held on February 5, 2000. At these events the prerelease card, a foil Rathi Assassin, was handed out. The set was accompanied by the novel of the same name.

Storyline[edit | edit source]

The Phyrexian invasion of Dominaria is nearing; the Dark Lord's plans are almost complete. Only the Planeswalker Urza stands in his way. Rath's Evincar Volrath has abandoned his post, sparking a brutal contest among his would-be successors. Phyrexia has chosen Crovax to take Volrath's place, bestowing terrible new powers on the bloodthirsty noble. Crovax must still prove his worth, however, before he can claim the position. Meanwhile, Rath's rebels have united in the name of Eladamri, Lord of Leaves, in order to break free of Phyrexia's tyranny once and for all.

Tournament impact[edit | edit source]

Several cards from the set have made marks on the tournament scene, including Blastoderm, Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero, Parallax Wave, Accumulated Knowledge, Daze, Submerge, Tangle Wire and the five seals (for example, Seal of Fire).

Keywords and mechanics[edit | edit source]

Nemesis introduced the only keyword mechanic of the Masques block, Fading. [3] The only cards in the block with Fading appear in the Nemesis expansion. The keyword meant that cards with the ability only remained in play for a few turns, but were typically heavily discounted as a result. Many cards with fading also had activated abilities that traded the card's fade counters for various effects. Since fading is a "quick and dirty" form of summoning creatures, the creatures had to be shown as unstable in the art. [4]

Creature types[edit | edit source]

No new creature types were introduced in this expansion.

The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Angel, Beast, Bird, Cleric, Elephant, Elf, Goblin, Golem, Hound, Hydra, Illusion, Insect, Knight, Mercenary, Merfolk, Rebel, Serpent, Ship (later changed to Human), Soldier, Spellshaper, Wall, Wurm.

Cycles[edit | edit source]

Nemesis has four cycles and 2 vertical cycles:

Vertical cycle[edit | edit source]

Mega-mega cycle[edit | edit source]

Pairs[edit | edit source]

Nemesis has the following parallel pairs:

  • Lawbringer and Lightbringer are both 2/2 Kor Rebels having a mana cost of {2}{W} with the ability of {T} and sacrificing themselves to exile a target red (Lawbringer) / black (Lightbringer) creature from the game.
  • Rackling and Viseling are both 2/2 artifact creatures having a mana cost of {4} that deal damage to your opponents based on whether they have less than 3 or more than 4 cards in their hand (respectively), which echoes the old artifacts The Rack and Black Vise. Their flavor texts also parallel to each other.
  • Stronghold Biologist and Stronghold Machinist are both Spellshapers having a mana cost of {2}{U} with an activated ability (costing {U}{U}) to counter either creature spells or non-creature spells. Their flavor texts also parallel to each other, as well as the card art being a single image divided between the two cards.

Functional reprints[edit | edit source]

Nemesis has one functional reprint:

Theme decks[edit | edit source]

The pre-constructed theme decks are:

Theme deck name Colors included
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Breakdown U G
Eruption W R
Mercenaries B
Replicator B G

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wizards of the Coast. (2004-08-02.) “Ask Wizards - August, 2004”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Brady Dommermuth. (October 31, 2006.) "Ask Wizards", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast. [dead link]
  3. Wizards of the Coast. (February, 2000.) "Nemesis Game Features Guide", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast. [dead link]
  4. Magic Arcana. (November 27, 2002.) "Fading artwork", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast. [dead link]

External links[edit | edit source]