|Symbol description||The Shield of Kaldra|
Bill Rose (lead)|
Henry Stern (lead) |
|Art direction||Jeremy Cranford|
|Release date||February 6, 2004|
or ability words
Affinity (for artifacts and basic land types),|
(55 commons, 55 uncommons, 55 rares)
|Magic: The Gathering chronology|
Darksteel was the first small expansion to have 165 cards (11 extra rares and 11 extra uncommons compared to previous small expansions). The expansion symbol for the set is a miniature version of the Shield of Kaldra. The set continues the heavy artifact theme of its predecessor Mirrodin. Thematically the main component are darksteel artifacts, all of which are indestructible. The set also features an update of the lucky charms
Darksteel was sold in 15-card boosters, four preconstructed theme decks and a fat pack. The booster packs featured artwork from Shield of Kaldra, Arcbound Ravager and Eater of Days.. The prerelease card was a foil alternate art Shield of Kaldra. This card was the first to mention a card in its text box that hadn't been printed yet. The three Kaldra artifacts form a mega-cycle. The set was accompanied by a novel by Jess Lebow. A 3/3 Beast Token for Pulse of the Tangle was offered as a Magic Player Reward.
"The world . . . is . . . hollow." This is the secret that Chunth, the Tel-Jilad troll elder, entrusts to Glissa Sunseeker before his death at the hands of a traitor. Armed with that knowledge, Glissa fights her way through the great vedalken capital of Lumengrid, down into the Pool of Knowledge. The Synod's sacred chamber contains a lacuna—a tunnel, saturated with blue mana—that leads to Mirrodin's secret interior. There, huge, bizarre towers of fungus-like metal called mycosynth reach up toward an immense inner sun of pure mana. As Glissa flees from her vedalken pursuers, she discovers another secret inside this plane. Memnarch is real, and he patiently waits for the elvish champion to find him. In the meantime, he studies the blinkmoths and has begun to build a monument to his greatness as an artificer: the Darksteel Eye, a device that will make his omniscience over Mirrodin complete.
Darksteel is notorious as a very powerful tournament set. At one point it was responsible for two of four cards that were banned in Extended: Aether Vial and Skullclamp. Skullclamp was also very notorious in Standard as well for over-powering creature decks, making them very resilient even to mass destruction and providing a lot of card advantage at a very small cost. It became the first card to be banned in Standard in five years. Later other cards featured in the meta-game warping Affinity deck, especially Arcbound Ravager. Trinisphere was restricted in Vintage due to the format's capacity for one player producing large quantities of mana on the first turn and then dropping Trinisphere, preventing opponents from doing the same.
Modular has artifact creatures enter the battlefield with a number of +1/+1 counters on them. If the artifact creature is put into the graveyard from play, these counters are moved to another artifact creature.
Indestructible is also introduced and exclusively found on artifacts with the word "Darksteel" in their names. As the name suggest, permanents that are indestructible simply can not be destroyed through any means, e.g. direct destruction effects such as Wrath of God or damage. The mechanic would be reused occasionally in later sets, though not exclusively bound to artifacts.
The following creature types that are not new to Magic are used in this expansion:
Darksteel has four cycles:
|Cycle name||Description and notes|
|Affinity Golems||Each of these common Golem artifact creatures has affinity for a basic land type.||Razor Golem||Spire Golem||Dross Golem||Oxidda Golem||Tangle Golem|
|Echoing spells||These spells affect all chosen cards with the same name (i.e. destroy all enchantments with the same name) and were illustrated by Greg Staples. ||Echoing Calm||Echoing Truth||Echoing Decay||Echoing Ruin||Echoing Courage|
|Lucky charms artifacts||A horizontal cycle of uncommon artifacts, each costing , a "lucky charm" gives its controller to gain 1 life when a spell of the appropriate color is played. Each of them was illustrated by Alan Pollack.||Angel's Feather||Kraken's Eye||Demon's Horn||Dragon's Claw||Wurm's Tooth|
|Pulses||A horizontal cycle of rare spells, each costing MM and providing a resource. The Pulse returns to its owners hand after resolution, as long as an opponent still has a higher count of the resource given. ||Pulse of the Fields||Pulse of the Grid||Pulse of the Dross||Pulse of the Forge||Pulse of the Tangle|
|Cycle name||Description and notes||Mirrodin
||Fifth Dawn |
|Kaldra Equipment||Each expansion symbol in the Mirrodin Block is represented in the Kaldra artifacts.||Sword of Kaldra||Shield of Kaldra||Helm of Kaldra|
- Emissaries: Emissary of Hope and Emissary of Despair: Both are Spirits, have a cost of 1MM, are illustrated by rk post, and have a effect of gaining or losing life relative to the number of artifacts another player controls.
In contrast to Mirrodin reprinting a sizable number of artifact-related staples, only three cards were reprinted for Darksteel.
- Fireball — first printed in Alpha, last seen in 5th Edition 
- Inflame — first printed in Prophecy
- Juggernaut — first printed in Alpha, last seen in Revised
- Hoverguard Observer — functional reprint of Stronghold Zeppelin (Nemesis), save for creature type
- Ur-Golem's Eye — functional reprint of Sisay's Ring (Visions)
- Aether Vial — banned in Mirrodin block tournaments.
- Arcbound Ravager — banned in Mirrodin Block tournaments.
- Skullclamp — banned in Extended format tournaments.
Darksteel has three monocolored and one bicolored theme decks.
|Swarm & Slam||W||G|
- Randy Buehler (January 16, 2004). "The Evolution of Oxidize". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (August 02, 2004). "Ask Wizards - August, 2004". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (August 12, 2002). "Codename of the Game". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (January 5, 2004). "Darksteel Fact Sheet". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Brian David-Marshall (January 21, 2004). "Darksteel Prerelease Primer". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth (October 31, 2006). "Ask Wizards". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (January 29, 2004). "What's a "Helm of Kaldra"?". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Rei Nakazawa (January 13, 2004). "Shedding Light on Darksteel". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (January 12, 2004). "Arcbound To Happen". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Paul Barclay, David DeLaney and Jeff Jordan. "Darksteel Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved on August 10, 2016.
- Magic Arcana (January 27, 2004). "The flavor of modular". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (January 05, 2004). "Enter… The Matrix". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Randy Buehler (January 9, 2004). "Developing Indestructibility". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (January 19, 2004). "To Affinity And Beyond". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (March 14, 2007). "Echoing Art". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe (March 5, 2004). "Conditional Hammers". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (April 13, 2004). "Pulse of the Groffskithur". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (April 22, 2004). "Emissaries of Hope and Despair". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (January 26, 2004). "The Return of Fireball". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe (June 4, 2004). "Skullclamp, We Hardly Knew Ye". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.