Arransia is a classic fantasy plane built on the releationship between anthropoids on the plane. It is a world built on trade, and many merchants are even willing to deal with those they oppose if it means gaining gold.
In Magic terms, this is a set based on creatures. Mechanics encourage using creatures and having them work together to get you useful effects to win games.
- Gold Counters - (Cost), Tap another untapped creature you control: Put a gold counter on ~. [T], Remove X gold counters from ~: Effect
Gold counters are a new type of counter that feature in the set to reflect how the creatures on Arransia trade with eachother. Most creatures that can gain gold counters have a Merchant or Mercenary creature type making them easily identifiable. Gold counter always work by tapping other untapped creatures to put the counters on a permanent. What that permanent does with the counters, and how it does it often varies. In set 1, it mostly involved tapping the creature an removing a certain number of counters for an effect. In sets 2 and 3, there are more complex interactions with gold counters.
Hired Assassin (rare)
Creature - Human Assassin Mercenary
B, Tap another untapped creature you control: Put a gold counter on Hired Assassin
T, Remove X gold counters from Hired Assassin: Destroy target creature with converted mana cost X.
- Creaturebond X - (When ~ enters the battlefield) If you control X or more creatures, you may (effect)
Creaturebond features throughout all colors and on most card types. Creatures with creaturebond have an effect that triggers when the enter the battlefield and spells upon resolution. In set 1 of the block, creaturebond cards are fairly simple giving seperate bonus effects if the creaturebond criteria is met, and it gets more complex in later sets as players are given a chance to get used to the mechanic.
Brund Warrior (common)
Creature - Dwarf Warrior
Creaturebond 3 - When Brund Warrior enters the battlefield, if you control 3 or more creatures, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Brund Warrior
- Possess X - X, Exile this card from your hand: Return target creature card with converted mana cost equal to or less than this card from your graveyard to the battlefield. Possessed creature has all abilities of the exiled card. Possess only as a sorcery.
Posses features mainly on black cards, though can branch into other colors at higher rarities. It is the focus of black's strategy in the block, and there are many cards that reward you for using possess cards.
Bloodsap Vampire (uncommon)
Creature - Vampire
When Bloodsap Vampire enters the battlefield, you may have it deal damage equal to it's power to target creature or player. You gain life equal to the damage dealt this way.
- Withdraw - Cost - Exile this permanent for it's withdraw cost. At the beginning of your next upkeep, you may return this to your hand. Withdraw only as a sorcery.
Withdraw is used in all colors, though features mainly in blue. It works mainly with enters-the-battlefield and leaves-the-battlefield effects, though there are many other interesting uses for it, especially at higher rarities.
Flourishing Wind (uncommon)
Enchantment - Aura
When Flourishing Wind enters the battlefield, put two +1/+1 counters on enchanted creature.
Enchanted creature has trample.
- Aftershock X - When this spell resolves you may exile it with X time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter. When the last is removed, put this card into it's owner's graveyard.
Aftershock features only on instants and sorceries. It doesn't have much of an effect in itself, but wording on the cards tends to explain it's use. Each card with aftershock has an initial effect like any regular instant or sorcery does, but the also have another effect whenever a time counter is removed. In general, the effect is a smaller, or slightly altered version of the original giving the flavor of the spells still sending waves through the air.
Void Shimmer (uncommon)
Exile target creature
Whenever a time counter is removed from Void Shimmer, exile target creature, then return it to play under it's owner's control.
Each color has a general strategy to win games with, and all are related to creatures.
White: White has a number of cards that interact with, or reward playing token creatures. This leads to limited decks that can be labelled as White Weenie.
Ayrtan Troopleader (uncommon)
Creature - Human Soldier
When Ayrtan Troopleader attacks, it gets +1/+1 for each token creature you control.
Blue: Blue interacts as cards enter and leaves the battlefield. This works well with the withdraw mechanic, as well encouraging you to bounce your own permanents and not overcommit on the board.
Orb Tinkerer (uncommon)
Creature - Human Wizard
When Orb Tinkerer leaves the battlefield, you may draw a card
Withdraw - Return another creature you control to it's owner's hand
Black: Black focuses on it's possess mechanic, and therefore has many cards that focus on getting creatures into and out of your graveyard.
Stench-ridden Dead (common)
Creature - Giant Zombie
When Stench-ridden Dead enters the battlefield, sacrifice a creature.
Green: Green focuses on the advantages of adding mana to your mana pool from nonland sources. There are therefore many druids and alternative ways of getting mana and cards that reward that.
Manabond Baloth (rare)
Creature - Beast
Whenever mana is added to your mana pool from a nonland source, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Manabond Baloth