War of the Spark is coming and with it comes a new mechanic: “amass.”
War is coming to Ravinca as Nicol Bolas assembles his undead army. You might recall that Bolas corrupted an entire plane’s-worth of people during the Amonkhet saga, and now the elder-dragon is looking to call in the troops to fight in the upcoming battles.
To represent this undead army, Wizards of the Coast has designed the “amass” mechanic. Essentially, it creates a zombie army creature that gets bigger and bigger the more times you amass.
In game terms, amass is pretty simple. Whenever you amass, you look at the playing field and see if you’ve already got an “army” creature type. Since “army” is a new creature type, you probably don’t have one. That’s okay! If you don’t already have an “army” creature, you create a 0/0 army creature token.
Amass always comes with a number attached to it, like “amass 2”. That number represents the number of +1/+1 counters you then place on an army creature. The first time you amass, you create the token and put +1/+1 counters on it, while the second time you just make it grow. Thus, you’ve got an ever-enlarging undead army. Neato.
Wizards showcased Herald of the Dreadhorde in their teaser video, but there are a few other cards spoiled with the amass mechanic.
Honor the God-Pharaoh is essentially Tormenting Voices but more expensive and with “amass 1” tacked on at the end. A somewhat more impressive card is Widespread Brutality, which creates a 2/2 Zombie Army token and deals 2 damage to every other creature at worst, or does a bunch more damage if you’ve already got a large army on the field.
There are a few problems with the amass mechanic. First, you’ll never gain more than one army creature from the mechanic itself, although it’s possible to use other mechanics to gain more armies. Also, since your zombie horde is technically still one creature, it will still die to a single removal spell.
It’s still too early to tell if the amass mechanic will be strong enough to build around in Standard, but we’ll find out when War of the Spark releases online on April 25th and in stores on May 3rd.