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Card of the Day

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Serum Powder 
Darksteel Rare

Reviewed January 28, 2004

Constructed: 2.6
Casual: 1.8
Limited: 1.5

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating

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* game store owner in CA,

Now, I've heard a few people talking about this card... that it will be something that control freaks will find useful in mulliganing toward their perfect hand to pull off a super fast win. Dunno... I guess I can see it actually. If it's playable, the blue or control mages will find a way to break this. I really hate to speculate much...the potential is obvious, but the jury will be out for sometime on its true playability.  In my opinion, only time will truly tell.

Interested in seeing all the Darksteel Rare pictures?  I posted them all yesterday. Check out the exact text and the cool artwork in this very powerful new set!! 

Constructed: 2 (until it car prove itself)
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 1.5


Judge Bill

*Level 2
MTG Judge

*game store employee

The first card to dabble in the mulligan process. If you have this in your hand, you can remove the cards in your hand from the game instead of shuffling them back in, and draw as many cards as you removed, instead of one fewer.
Unfortunately, I don't see this getting any play. Although the combo deck likes it at first blush, because it means 7 cards less to deal with, you frequently have to worry about losing a key component if you remove the cards from the game. Combo decks are usually tightly built already, and something like this will tend to disrupt more than it helps.
All other decks suffer from the similar problem. Also, this card is VERY weak on its own, so if you don't draw it in your first 7 and use its ability, you've essentially wasted a card slot.
I don't know much about how casual players would see this card, so the casual rating is just a guess.
In limited, I wouldn't touch this either. The smaller deck size is just too risky to lose 15% of your deck.
Constructed: 2
Casual: 2
Limited: 1


* game store owner (The Game Closet - Waco,TX)

* pro tour player

* Scrye writer since 2002

 Wednesday - Serum Powder

I had to keep pointing out all day at the prerelease that I am not a big fan of this card. What a lot of people seem to miss is that you just throw your opening hand away. This means that you are playing without seven cards. That's not something that is really a good thing. Also, if you are mulliganing it is most likely that you had very few lands in hand. This means that you just threw away a lot of spells. I don't think that we like building decks with bad spells, so this really is a bad thing. Sure, the land produces colorless mana and such, but I don't think that's enough to entice me to play the card. Also, consider if you are playing a deck with only one or two copies of particular cards. This makes Serum Powder even more useless.

In casual play, it's not very good. A lot of casual games don't even use a mulligan rule depending on hat variant you are playing. In limited, you want all your cards, so I'm pretty sure this is a no go.

The only saving grace this card might have is if you want to search through your deck for a key card to have in your opening hand in a particular matchup.

Constructed: 1.5
Casual: 1
Limited: 1.3

Ray "Monk"
* Level 3 DCI Judge
*DCI Tournament Organizer
 Wednesday - Serum Powder

This card scares me. It really does. I dislike cards that change the fundamental rules of play within a game, and this one is no exception. People argue that it won't be good because, by its very nature of being a bad card to actually PLAY, any hand with it in it will be one you want to use Serum Powders ability on. But I argue its not the mulligan that matters, its the deck thinning. If you are playing a combo deck, the ability to start with a 53 card deck instead of a 60 card deck greatly enhances your ability to draw the combo pieces you need. I fear this card becoming a key component to any combo deck.

Constructed - 5
Casual - 1
Limited - 1

* Level 1 DCI Judge

*game store employee

* gaming for over 15 years

 Wednesday-Serum Powder

Somewhere in America Richard Garfield was smiling when he first saw this card. Garfield was a man who liked innovation in the game and saw players everywhere doing all kinds of crazy things with his cards. Well this card is something he could be proud of. It brakes one of the main rules of magic. It allows you to play card effects before the game has actually began and change the size of your deck effectively before the game has begun. I see this card trying to be in a several deck in order to give people that perfect hand. The best thing done with this card was giving it the ability to produce mana, so that it isnít completely useless if you donít have it in your opening hand. In constructed and casual it has the same value to me because if you put it in the right deck it should be fairly good. In limited I wouldnít play it because with your deck size being so small you donít want to put yourself at that much of a disadvantage.

Constructed: 2.75
Casual: 2.75
Limited: 1


2 Grand Prix Top 8's

Multiple Pro Tour appearances

 Serum Powder

Combo decks, hereís what youíve been waiting for! Free mulligans!

ExceptÖwhich combo deck is it that youíre talking about? For one, I canít really think of a combo thatís really viable in standard. In 1.x, the combo-style decks there already have their hands full with the cards to fuel their engines. Honestly, while this mechanic is really interesting, I just donít see a practical application for it.

In limited, you will probably very infrequently use the mulligan part of the card; there isnít much of a need to aggressively mulligan in such a way in this environment. The 3-mana producer of one colorless mana isnít terribly exciting, especially when Darksteel Ingot is available, and that even helps to smooth out your color problems. In other words, eh.

I really donít think this card has too much appeal for casual players. Mulligans arenít terribly important, and there are plenty of solid mana-producers available. Move on.

Constructed: 2.0
Limited: 2.0
Casual: 1.5

Jeff Zand

5 Time Pro Tour

Level 2 Judge

 Serum Powder
I give Research and Development credit for trying to invent a card that
affects mulligans. Unfortunately, Serum Powder does not have much to offer
in this respect. Often, when you have a hand you have to mulligan, your hand
has many very good, even great cards, but just not enough land cards to make
the hand playable. Removing this hand from the game will cost you access to
these cards for the entire game with the only benefit being that your next
hand will have one more card in it than if you had taken the normal
mulligan. In limited, using this card's ability will put you in the position
of starting the game with as few as 33 cards in your library, possibly as
small as 26 cards after drawing your new opening hand, making it much more
likely that you could lose the game by simply running out of cards to draw.
I played this card in a sealed deck yesterday only because I needed it as a
mana accelerator. Of course, Serum Powder doesn't do this job very well
either, because it costs three (a cost of two sounds very reasonable for
what this card does) and only produces colorless mana.
Constructed: 2.0
Casual:         2.5
Limited:        2.5

 Serum Powder is a card that may be very powerful in combo style constructed decks that can use it to help force powerful starting hands. Without the alternate mulligan wording it is a weak card and it must be seen whether that will slow decks down more than it will speed them up. I haven't had a chance to read the FAQ and if a mulligan with this card lets you total up to a 13 card hand then it is much stronger than indicated - for every format.

Constructed - For decks that are already willing to mulligan aggressively it is awsome - 3.95

Limited - Probably too weak to draft - 1.50

Casual - Doesn't jive with the spirit of Casual at all - 1.00
Chase  Serum Powder

This was one of the submitted card ideas for the first You Make the Card at originally called ďMulligan ManĒ. They decided to put off the idea for a later set but who knew it would end up in Darksteel?

Serum Powder isnít totally bad but itís not the kind of card that you would put four of in your deck because itís major ability can only be used at the beginning of the game. But you can also use this to accelerate (have 5 mana on turn 4). I donít think itís bad but you only need one in your deck (for itís effect) however, you need it in your opening hand (and therefore in order to raise the probability of drawing it, you need to play four). So, I dunno, he may be useful in Affinity. I guess people will try him out.

In Casual, you donít usually mulligan that much so this is pretty much useless.

Constructed: 2
Casual: 1
Serum Powder
Wow.  Mr. Rosewater and his guys are trying to really mix things up.  All the major rules of the game are getting cards designed to change how things are done.  First we had upwelling giving us nice big mana pools that never overflowed.  Then we had Gleemax, the all powerful mindslaving head in a jar take your opponents turns for them.  Now we take this sucpicious looking powder and we can mulligan for free ( lose 7 cards from your deck, but... *shrugs*)
In constructed, I like how it works with affinity.  Affinity has been described as teh new U/G madness.  It either goes off or it doesnt.    With the help of this card, it would increase the chances of it going off.  However, they would have to remove some artifact lands to ge this in, so maybe it doesnt make the cut after all.
Limited, this is only really helpful if you don't know how to build limited decks, and put in too few lands.  Only once in a blue moonw ill you be mana screwed.
Constructed rating - 2.5 (sure I like it, but it is a colourless land.  That's about as high as you can rate this card to be honest)
Limited rating - 1.5
Promoting the use of illegal substances rating - "dude, stand watch and tell me if anyone is coming" 10

Copyright 2001


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