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Darksteel preconstructed decks contain 60 cards, a strategy insert, and a premium Mirrodin land card. Released in February of 2004, Darksteel is the second set in the Mirrodin block. The set contains 165 black-bordered cards (55 rare, 55 uncommon, and 55 commons). This set is considerably artifact heavy with 72 different artifacts.
Darksteel continued the themes established in Mirrodin: Artifact cards, equipment and the mechanics that debuted. The expansion symbol for the set is the miniature version of the stylized Shield of Kaldra.
Darksteel featured the powerful single card drawing engine masked as the infamous equipment Skullclamp. When it was eventually banned during block constructed a few months after Darksteel's release, Skullclamp was the first to have been banned in block constructed sinceMercadian Masques' Rishadan Port.
Darksteel was the first "small" expansion to have 165 cards, whereas previous small expansions had 143, (with the exception of Legions which had 145 as a balance among the five colors.)
The Darksteel Eye is the second novel in the Mirrodin Cycle by Jess Lebow. It continues the journey of Glissa, an elf, after the infiltration of the Synod and the recollection of all the golem Bosh's memories. They now must travel back across Mirrodin to seek the power that resides in the center of Mirrodin.
The following mechanics first appeared in Darksteel:
- Indestructible - Mechanic that made permanents indestructible. These permanents can't be destroyed by "destroy effects" or lethal damage. This mechanic, like double strike, was introduced in a small set but has become a common mechanic used in later sets as well; generally, small mechanics are used for a single set and then not used again. In the Darksteel card set, all indestructible cards are artifacts. In the story world, most of the indestructible artifacts are constructed of darksteel, a fictional material. This material appears in the cards' artwork as a dark gray metal with yellow motes of energy swirling around it. Indestructible cards in later sets do not conform to this pattern.
- Modular - A keyworded ability of artifact creatures, these creatures would come into play with a set number of counters and, upon the destruction of that creature, could transfer them to another artifact creature.
- Charge counters - One of the themes of the block, several artifacts in Darksteel functioned by accumulating these counters, which players could then spend for various effects. Most notable among these was Darksteel Reactor, which can win the game entirely by itself if left alone.
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