The rush of the holidays are behind us. Between bouts of shopping and decorating I got a chance to visit some family and friends. While on my pilgrimage to Texas I caught up with my best friend, Jim. After some preliminary catching up we decided to play some Commander. I was fresh off of building my Kangee, Aerie Keeper deck (here) and wanted to deliver some flying beatdown. Jim had recently put together a Teneb, the Harvester list that wanted to steal games with a big Genesis Wave. Jim’s build was pretty awesome and I had a blast watching some cool interactions. When it was time to go I asked Jim to e-mail me the list so I could sleeve it up and play it myself. I have seen Genesis Wave in action in Commander many times since it came out and it can be backbreaking (just ask Power 9 Pro’s Joe about his Azusa, Lost but Seeking deck).
Since the deck wants to abuse Genesis Wave it needs to have a high concentration of permanents. Jim runs a huge number of creatures backed up with a few artifacts, enchantments and Planeswalkers. The list only has five non-permanents in it.
If you have ever been sitting opposite Sorin Markov in Commander you know that the game is pretty much over as soon as he hits the table. Liliana’s -2 ability helps look for Genesis Wave or can set up a Lurking Predator hit.
Acidic Slime is great in EDH since there will be plenty of nice targets. Drana is a machine-gun, destroying low toughness Generals with ease every turn and at instant speed. Iona… well that is obvious. Drop a Gleancrawler after you attacked with Novablast Wurm to lessen the sting. For those of you who have not had the chance to see how much devastation Terastodon can cause, you need to trust me. World Queller is a vastly underrated card and fits nicely with all of the recursion effects in the deck. Thicket Elemental can be absolutely broken.
This is a great start for an awesome deck that plays with top tier creatures that can be easily cheated into play. With a few minor tweaks I am sure that this deck can be very competitive. Give me some Feedback and let me know what you think should go in or come out and I will keep the list updated. I want to revisit this General in the future so keep the comments comming.
I cracked open my box of Scars of Mirrodin and was really excited about all of the cool new cards that will make EDH more fun. Ezuri Renegade Leader, Geth Lord of the Vault, Kemba Kha Regent, and Skithiryx the Blight Dragon were the new generals waiting to command an army and I was ready to oblige. I use black a lot in EDH and wanted to stay away from it so I decided to build off of our equipment loving cat and put together a Mono-White Kemba deck. Armed with swords and jittes and armor, Kemba was rather unimpressive. I did not put much effort into the build and ended up with a deck that wasn’t as fun as I wanted. I decided to put EDH on the back burner and played in a coupled of FNM draft events, built a budget standard deck, and played some Call of Duty. I was thinking about how good Contagion Clasp was in limited and it hit me; why not an EDH deck that makes use of Proliferate? Now that seemed more fun than gearing up death kitty.
Proliferate reads: “You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.” I checked my Big Ol’ Binder of Legends and looked at my options. The first thing that jumped at me was Experiment Kraj. This ooze mutant just screamed potential. The other Legend that seemed awesome to me was Kangee, Aerie Keeper. I decided to go the route of Big Bird beats. The basic game plan is play Kangee with kicker and use proliferate to make my flying army huge.
My first goal was to pick up all the goodies with Proliferate that would turn Kangee into BALCO for birds. There are only six cards with Proliferate currently and I ended up using five of them:
This was a good place to start. I decided against Throne of Geth since I felt that most of my artifacts would play an important role but I could definitely find room for it. Double bonus! Thrummingbird is a…. yeah a bird. Next up was finding the rest of the flock.
This seemed like a good core for the deck. I figured these birdies would be enough to give Alfred Hitchcock nightmares. A few other creatures that play nice with our bird theme will also make the cut; Jotun Owl Keeper, Pride of the Clouds, and Soraya the Falconer. The Owl Keeper works well with Proliferate. I also wanted to point out that due to Oracle errata, cards like Soraya end up doing things a bit different that originally printed. “Falcon” is no longer a recognized creature type so Soraya instead gives her bonus to Birds. Another interesting change is that Kangee is now a Bird Legend so his feather counters pump him up too. The only other creature in the deck is Weathered Wayfarer who helps us find our ever so important land.
I next wanted to include cards that work well with my tribal theme.
This list does a good job showcasing the new mechanic, Proliferate. I am very happy with many of the interactions. I am always looking for feedback so leave any comments, suggestions or criticisms below.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of traveling across Canada to Toronto, a city I had never visited save the airport. I left Edmonton shortly after my first class on Friday, and met up with my uncle who was my traveling partner for the weekend. He had an old friend in Mississauga (A city adjacent to Toronto where the event was actually held) and we decided to go together.
Our flight was rather uneventful, and rather than make the 30-minute walk down from our hotel to the International Center, we decided to spend the evening relaxing after the 4 hour flight. Unfortunately this meant I didn’t get one of the sick Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon playmats they were giving out, but I was thankful for the rest.
In the morning, we bussed down to see the center filled with people. Already I could see that this event would be the largest I had ever been to, making the 100 person PTQs back in Alberta seem like an FNM.
When the seatings were posted for deck construction, I was surprised to see that I only had 1 bye (from rating) when I should have had 3 (from winning a GPT). After a walk by the judges station, I found out that several other players had the same problem, and the judges assured me that everything would be sorted out after deck construction.
Before handing out product, we were informed that 1462 players had sat down to battle Scars of Mirrodin sealed deck. After registering and swapping sealed decks, this is what I was presented with:
“If I was in my local store and opened an Opal I would jump for joy, but I did not travel 1000 miles to open an Opal,” – Brad Nelson
While I can’t say I was as disappointed as Mr. Nelson who ended up losing in the finals of this event, I was much more excited at the prospect of winning games with Hoard-Smelter Dragon than I was at tapping my Mox Opal.
The first thing I (and many other players) do when looking at a sealed pool is to look at the rares. A powerful rare like the aforementioned Dragon can highly incentivize the playing of one colour over another. Unlike Magic Online, I can’t apply sorting filters to my sealed pool instantly, so I looked through my pool to find Copperline Gorge, Myr Propagator, Tempered Steel and Livewire Lash in addition to the dragon and mox. Of those, the only ones which really shone were the steel and the dragon, so I kept those red and white cards in mind as I persued the rest of my pool.
Looking at my white I only had a few spells that I would be happy to maindeck: Glimmerpoint Stag, Kembas Skyguard, Tempered Steel, and Arrest. While I’m sorely tempted by the Steel, I don’t think I’ll be able to play white unless I have a Gold Myr or some other fixing to consistently get double white on turn 3. In addition, I would need a sizable number of artifact creatures to boost up. While splashing the Arrest was a possibility, I moved white to the side.
Our black is pretty underwhelming as well. There are only a few poison cards and the non-poison cards don’t exactly get me excited. Flesh Allergy is fine, but it’s not splashable and there’s really nothing else I’d be able to back it up with. I had to start hoping that my red, green, and artifacts would be enough to carry this deck, as my pool wasn’t looking very promising.
Red looked like it could provide the makings of a base colour. We have some good removal in the form of double Shatter and a Galvanic Blast. We also have Bloodshot Trainee, a card which I think is being vastly underrated. If you get the guy online, he will win you the game. Simple. There are so many ways to get him going, most obviously equipment, but less obviously so Vulshok Heartstoker, Untamed Might and Trigon of Rage, two of which our pool has. I’m a fan of the Heartstoker, as it allows you to push through some extra damage in the early game, in addition to turning on the trainee. Barrage Ogre is a card that I haven’t had a ton of experience with, but the few results I have have been relatively positive. Finally, Blade-Tribe Berserkers is a card that’s been really good for me, as sometimes a Hill Giant just gets there, and the metalcraft bonus is extremely relevant when it triggers. Red definitely looked like it had the potential to be a main colour, and I moved on to green.
Looking at the artifacts, we a fair bit of decent equipment in the form of Livewire Lash, Grafted Exoskeleton, Strider Harness, Barbed Battlegear and Bladed Pinions. I’m especially a huge fan of the battlegear, as it turns any creature into a fighting force. Unfortunately, you have to ensure that your deck had enough creatures with 2 or more toughness to make sure that you can equip it with any regularity. We have a couple of Myr, one of which is on-colour, as well as a Contagion Clasp. This was the first Clasp I had opened in a limited event, and I was suitably happy about it.
1. It is built incorrectly. I realized after that I probably should have splashed the Arrest, as I didn’t have any answers to large, non-artifact bombs. As well, I might’ve liked Alpha Tyrannax mainboard, although that might have made my deck to top-heavy. I probably could’ve cut the Saberclaw Golem and/or a Blade-Tribe Berserkers for either of these options. Wall of Tanglecord was also a consideration.
2. Liquimetal Coating plays a role as an aggressive card here. This lets us turn all the artifact removal we have into Vindicate, and it also lets us get a great deal more value out of our Barrage Ogre. Although we can use it to turn on our 3 metalcraft spells, that wasn’t its intended primary function.
3. Barbed Battlegear only kills our 2 mana myr, and nothing else. Therefore it’s operating at pretty much max efficiency.
4. Bloodshot Trainee has 4 ways to get online including 2 equipment and 2 one-shot effects. I’ve found as long as you have 2 equipment for him, everything else is just gravy.
5. Although many players have advocated running 16 land in a for what with a bunch of myr to serve as acceleration, my testing group and I found out that you almost always still want 17 land, as an early Embersmith or Contagion Clasp can crush your dreams of making your 4th land drop. Patrick Chapin recently wrote an article about people cheating on their land bases by playing too few, and complaining about mana screws afterwords. With our slightly higher curve we want to make land drops consistently, so 17 land is definitely warranted.
Let’s get to the action, shall we?
The problem with the byes was fixed, but the tournament organizers messed up everyone’s country. I was playing for the states and many other players were also playing for countries in which they did not reside. This never did end up getting fixed, and I can only hope that for events like worlds they get this straightened out. Anyway, I used my byes to get a ton of cards signed by artists Chippy (famous pieces include Lotus Cobra, Abyssal Persecutor and Doom Blade) and Steve Argyle (famous pieces include Slave of Bolas, Admonition Angel, and Chandra Ablaze). It was really great being able to meet and talk with them face-to-face, and I look forward to meeting more artists in the future.
3 – 0
Round 4: vs James
I came into this round relatively happy with my deck. Action starts early in the game with me Galvanic Blasting his myr after he missed a land drop to put him on 2 mountains for mana. I followed that up with a Liquimetal Coating and attempted to further exacerbate his mana screw by Shattering a land. Naturally, he drew runner-runner land and was back in it. I was beating in with a 5/5 Acid Web Spider thanks to Livewire Lash. He brings the beatdown with a metal army boosting up Ezuris Brigade to an 8/8. When he attacks I cast[ Untamed Might on my tapped spider to trigger the lash and Shock his Snapsail Glider, taking him off metalcraft. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as shortly afterwards my opponent aimed a metalcrafted Galvanic Blast at me to finish me off.
In game 2 I bring in a couple plains and the Arrest, and we battle back and forth for a bit. I cast Contagion Clasp for the first time in my life to take out an Embersmith and keep augmenting my board presence. In the end, there’s a situation where he’s at 6 and I’m at 15. He has a Vulshok Replica and I had some relevant creature, I forgot to note down which. I debate my various lines of attack (I had some other relevant spell in my hand i could use to ensure the win next turn[/card], but I could run the option of attacking and winning with Untamed Might if he didn’t block. He fell for it and we were shuffling up for game 3.
A note on Untamed Might: everyone knows this card is insnae in the infect deck. However, some people claim that it’s not good in any other archetype. Those people are mistaken, as Untamed Might is a solid combat trick that can serve as removal for some of the bigger threats in the set. A combat trick that scales makes it also very possible to simply steal games from nowhere as I have done on multiple occasions. Seriously, the card is really good.
In game 3 I’m the beatdown as I one again equip Livewire Lash on a guy and start beating in. When he taps out for Turn to Slag to kill my lashed beater, I realize that I’ve got the game won. I cast Galvanic Blast at his face in response before my metalcraft goes offline, and use the Lash trigger to Shock him. I then untap and use Untamed Might on a myr to finish the game.
4 – 0
Round 5: vs Matt Nass
This was my first match against a pro so to speak, and I was a little nervous when facing down the Channel Fireball writer. We made some nice conversation before the round started and then we were off to the races.
In game 2, Matt leads with a Darksteel Axe, and follows up with a Glint Hawk Idol. I have a Sylvok Replica which I crack to kill the idol. Maty misses his third land drop for a few turns and I’m forced to run out an Acid-Web Spider without killing anything to keep up the beats. I resolve my Hoard-Smelter Dragon which starts to dominate the game from there. Matt showed me his hand afterwards which was full of goodies like Myr Battlesphere that very well might have beat me had he hit his land drops. However, I’m not one to turn down a win, and I thanked Matt for the games.
In game 3 we trade pretty evenly for a while and I stabilize behind a sideboarded Wall of Tanglecord equipped with both a Bladed Pinions and a [/card]Livewire Lash[/card]. However, my defense is decimated upon his casting a Carnifex Demon, which pretty much beats me out from there.
5 – 1
Round 7: vs Mitchell
Mitchell and I talk before our match and it turns out that he used to live in Edmonton too before moving to eastern Canada. Early on he Trinket Mages for Darksteel Axe, but I reply with my Bloodshot Trainee and equip it with my Livewire Lash. My machine-gun quickly decimates his board and pretty much carries the game.
Games 2 and 3 were very similar, but for him. Both games he got his Darksteel Axe via Trinket Mage and pumped up his own Bloodshot Trainee. Again, the 4 damage per turn just destroys every threat I can play, and I’m quickly scooping up my cards. As well, I mulliganned to 4 in game 3, which made it slightly harder to pull out a win.
5 – 2
Round 8: vs Samuel
In round 8, both my opponent and I need to win 2 more rounds to make day 2. I keep a slower hand than I would like (I should’ve mulliganned, I just hated the prospect of mulling in such a crucial match). While I’ve become better at taking mulligans in the past year or so, I think I still need to take more when I get hands that in all likelihood won’t win me the game.
In game 3 I don’t have many notes, but what I do remember is going slightly on tilt after he cast a Darksteel Myr. Normally this isn’t a card I’m terribly afraid of but I was racking my brain to see what my deck had to deal with it and I came up with nothing. Was I going to lose this match because I couldn’t get through a Darksteel Myr? Of course, in hindsight I had Contagion Clasp, Golem Artisan and Hoard-Smelter Dragon as outs, as well as my sideboarded Arrest. However, he had enough removal to deal with my team and then cast a few relevant spells that shot me down.
Final Record: 5 – 3.
So there it is. I was out of the running for day 2, and my final standing was 273rd out of 1426. I chatted with a few friends and then headed back to my hotel room, ready for a day of drafting and legacy. I also took in the judge booth, which is an experimental feature where you get asked 3 rules questions, and get awarded prizes based on the number you got correct. Seeing as I’m set to take my level 1 Judge test this Sunday (wish me luck), I knew I had to ace the questions. Of course I did and walked away with a couple of foils and a pack for my troubles.
For those of you that haven’t attended a GP yet, I highly encourage you to do so. It was a fantastic experience except for the fact that our plane heading back got hit by lightning, causing us to return to the Toronto airport. What would’ve had me home at 11PM local time had me home at 4AM instead, with a class the next morning – yay.
This was my first major event and it really only whetted my appetite for more. The 2011 GP Schedule has been announced and I’d love to make it to Montreal for the GP there. I’m PTQing this weekend in Calgary, so I’ll have another report sometime up next week.
Major thanks go to my testing team at Wizard’s Comics who helped me prepare: Matt, Brian, Blaine, Stephen, Jim, and everyone else. Thanks so much. Thanks also to Skyfox Games who put on a great tournament considering the attendance, and for quickly fixing the hiccough with the byes. Thanks to the judges who did anadmirable job, who worked nonstop for most of the weekend. In talking to my friend Matt who judged, I discovered that they worked full days on both days, and I really appreciate all the work judges do.
As always, you can feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or article suggestions via email (zak-AT-power9pro.com), via twitter (www.twitter.com/zturchan), or in Magic Online (zturchan).
Scars of Mirrodin. Looming large over the horizon, Wizards’ newest expansion is set to hit the stores on October 1st. With the release of Scars of Mirrodin new strategies will emerge and once powerful decks will disappear to the realm of Extended. With all of the available spoilers it is time to speculate on what changes will occur to the Standard (type 2) meta-game. This shift will be important with the 2010′s State and Provincial Championships on October 9th. We will see if we can figure out which cards will make the biggest impact in the post Shards of Alara/M10 tournament world. It is a time of new beginnings and a time to revisit places in our past. Thinking about our past, I would like to take one moment to say goodbye to all of our Shards of Alara friends:
Time to hang up our Putrid Leechs and Sprouting Thrinaxs. No deck was more dominant in the Shards meta-game than this B/G/R build. High powered threats and spectacular removal made Jund the most feared and prepared against deck since the Faeries of Lorwyn. The biggest loss?
Forget Maelstrom Pulse and Broodmate Dragon, this Elf provided amazing card advantage to steal games all by herself. Without Bloodbraid, Jund would not have been remotely viable. This Elf Berserker found a home in every deck that could support her colors. Easily the best uncommon in the set. Now for a few more farewells:
U/W Control Come rotation on October first U/W Control will loose a few pieces, most notably Elspeth Knight-Errant. It will be interesting to see if Elspeth Tirel will be able to replace her old incarnation. The new Planeswalker costs one more and cannot generate counters and token together. I think that the five mana casting cost will not prevent the switch initially but might come to really matter since the meta game is so fast right now. On the flip side, Elspeth’s new ultimate is very powerful. The next option in Planeswalkers is the powerful Venser the Sojourner. Also comining at a casting cost of five, the U/W walker has some interesting abilities. Being able to exile your Baneslayer Angel and following that up with Day of Judgment is a strong play in control. The other loss is the token generating Martial Coup. This loss should not impact the archetype to significantly since most build will only include it as a one-of. Path to Exile is another big loss to U/W, the role will need to be filled by the more situational Condemn.
FauNaya This archetype is on the way out in my opinion. Scars of Mirrodin does not offer anything to this deck that is on par with Knight of the Reliquary or Noble Hierarch. The deck also looses Oblivion Ring, Qasali Pridemage, Realm Razer and the superstar Bloodbraid Elf. I am sure that the Vengevine/ Fauna Shaman engine will still be around but I think the deck will look vastly different.
Valakut-Ramp (Titan-Ramp) The plan is simple; ramp into Primeval Titan and use him to set up a kill with Valakut the Molten Pinnacle. This is the big dog in the yard, Valakut-Ramp only looses Rampant Growth in the rotation. However, nothing in the new Standard will fits the curve of this card. Cultivate might work. I like Strata Scythe as an alternate win condition if you need to play around Spreading Seas. I also think that Genesis Wave fits nicely in the deck. Valakut-Ramp will be the archetype to beat early in the season until new strategies are discovered.
Mythic Conscription (Eldrazi Conscription, Mythic) The biggest loss for this deck is Sovereigns of Lost Alara. The Exalted Spirit let you search up your Eldrazi Conscription in order to put the game away. Without the ability to tutor for the key enchantment, Mythic should no longer be a threat in Standard.
What’s Next? Scars of Mirrodin offers us a vast selection of powerful spells that are sure to have an immediate impact on the new Standard. Take a look at some of the things you should be hoping to pick up at your Pre-release event this weekend:
Scars of Mirrodin will offer us plenty of new options and old favorites will soon go by the wayside. I am really looking forward to playing Phylactery Lich with Darksteel Axe. I recommend going to a Pre-release this weekend since there will not be much time to prepare for States coming up in October. The 2010′s State and Provincial Championships will be the first big events to play with the new Standard. Study your spoilers and see what you can do to deal with U/W control and Valakut-Ramp. Goodbye Bloodbraid Elf, and thanks for all the fish.
If you’re like me, then you’re constantly on the look out for ways to improve your game and win more tournaments. Glory in winning–and also the riches of free packs.
The best solution I’ve found is to learn from the best. To help you do the same, Power 9 Pro is organizing a series of workshops with pro-players. In the workshops, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss sealed and draft-tactics for Scars of Mirrodin with top Pro Tour players Ben Lundquist and Gerard Fabiano. As part of the Power 9 Pro online workshop series, they’ll cover the best and worst picks, examine advanced synergies and draft archetypes. Gerard and Ben will also examine reading and sending signals and other limited tips & tricks that set them apart as two of the best of the best in Magic: the Gathering.
Ben Lundquist’s career history in Magic is formidable, easily making him one of the best players in the world. With a reputation of innovation and a cool-headed demeanor, no competitor is safe from Ben.
Gerard Fabiano is one of the most legendary Pro Players in the game and has over 200 pro points to back it up. His Career started in 2001 and since then Gerard has put up numerous GP top8s and a team Pro Tour top4 appearance with team “Slay, Pillage, Gerard”.
Gerard and Ben are great teachers and will take the time to answer your questions and help you take your game to the next level.
The online workshops are designed to give personal attention to all participants (max 15 per session). All you need is an internet connection to participate, the workshops are held via online webinar, you will be able to hear the pro instructor and watch them via mtgo as they lead the discussion. Fabiano and Lundquist will take all questions and make sure you have the tools you need to win playing Scars of Mirrodin.
The live Scars of Mirrodin online workshops are over, but recorded audio/video downloads are available now for only $1.99!
We just recently had the last set in the Zendikar block come down the line and the Standard environment is starting to shift about to fit some of the epic Eldrazi and their associated mechanics and cards into winning and promising decks. So, I want to look at what the Scars of Mirrodin block will likely hold for us and what Zendikar block cards we should be excited about playing in the Zendikar-Scars Standard environment.
Some of you may feel that we are too far out from the Scars release to begin serious speculation as to what the block’s contents will be, but let me explain why I am taking on this task and the unprecedented support we have in this venture compared to other block speculations in the past.
Much like a couple of the people I follow over on Twitter, namely Kelly Reid of Quiet Specualation (@kellyreid) and John Medina of MTGMetagame Blog and the recent Pack-to-Power project at Mananation (@mtgmetagame), I believe in trading for value. It is partly due to necessity as our beloved Magic is not the cheapest pursuit to be enamored with, and because the trading is also like a game in itself, a place to practice salesmanship, bartering, and test your wits and savvy against others.
Part of the way I play the trading game is to get a slight edge in trades and get a huge edge in speculative growth. This is a strategy that I’ve read Kelly Reid talking about before, and many people participate in speculative purchasing when a new set is about to drop to ensure they get in on cards before a price spike, real or perceived. The biggest key to speculative trading or buying is to put together knowledge and make tentative conclusions about the future. Scars of Mirrodin gives us a special quantity and quality of fore-knowledge about what cards we can expect and what cards we should be making sure we acquire before any fluctuations in demand price them out of our grip.
Thanks to the below points of knowledge, I feel pretty secure talking about which cards to keep an eye on and what to look for as we get closer to the release of Scars of Mirrodin.
WotC likes to maintain certain staples in one form or another, as shown with the Onslaught fetches rotating out of Extended coinciding with the Zendikar fetches rotating into the format. We can expect similar rotational repeats to occur in this exchange. Certain staple cards of importance to the formats’ health will reoccur, possibly directly but more likely in an indirect approximation.
We can expect to see cards that will fill the roles of Engineered Explosives, Chalice of the Void, and Chrome Mox. Personally, I suspect that they will take yet another crack at the Lotus, attempting to create yet another variation of it that will be attractive but balanced, likely as the replacement for Chrome Mox.
Remember Vampire Nocturnus, the quirky mono-colored Vampire Lord who had barely any vampires to lord over at the time he dipped into the very multi-colored card pool? If you had the foresight to grab them for $2-$4 when they were first being cracked, just a couple months later you could have off-loaded them at the peak price of around $45 each. That’s quite a return. How about Knight of the Reliquary, which suddenly became super-relevant with the introduction of Zendikar Fetches and Spell-lands? I intend to feel out the next Nocturnus or Knight of the Reliquary while it is still in its larva ‘Junk Rare’ status.
We’ve been to Mirrodin before, and we know what we saw the last time we were there. Last time we were visiting Mirrodin we had the following themes and these are my thoughts on their chances to return or matter, and which cards to grab or watch for with that in mind:
Modular isn’t likely to return in any meaningful way as the unintended consequences of moving +1/+1 counters around in mass with any artifact or creature sacrifice outlet can lead to much confusion, hilarity and terror. Cool concept, but abuse potential is too high.
Equipment is going to be amazing, and there is plenty of support for this using the Inter-block Synergy premise. Look at Armament Master, Stoneforge Mystic, Kor Duelist, and Kitesail Apprentice. Mirrodin was the birthplace of the Equipment subtype in Magic history and would be a perfect place to explore new design space. Stoneforge Mystic and Armament Master might prove to be undervalued at current prices if juicy and innovative Equipment comes out of the Mirrodin Armories.
Affinity is dead. There is too much danger in how easily it can and was abused to even touch it again. If something even looking like affinity drops. You can expect a massive chorus of people singing ‘The End is Nigh’ and also players just leaving due to having ‘been there, done that’ before. It should go without saying, but the Artifact lands will also be only a memory, just like affinity.
Other artifacts matter cards will of course be abundant and they should be. As such, I’d make sure I have some of the Zendikar Block Artifacts set aside just incase they should prove integral to one archetype or another. Khalni Gem, Eldrazi Monument, Eternity Vessel, and even Seer’s Sundial have use or abuse potential if made a little better by also adding to your ‘Artifacts Matter’ counts.
We also have a couple cards that already care about Artifacts in Thada Adel, Acquisitor, and Lodestone Golem. With Pilgrim’s Eye and Everflowing Chalice helping your mana develop and giant colorless game finishing creatures abounding, Scars may provide enough support for an Artifact/Colorless Control Deck to form and for an anti-artifact control deck to challenge it for superiority. With very strict counterspells being the norm lately, Annul might see print again, making a deck featuring Thada more attractive to battle the artifact hordes for diehard Blue players.
There are five cards in Zendikar block that reference charge counters and three are considered junk Rares, Angelheart Vial, Sphinx-Bone Wand, and Surrakar Spellblade, one is a junk Mythic, Eternity Vessel, and the last one is Everflowing Chalice, a utility colorless mana acceleration card that could be broken in half if you can manipulate charge counters. Mirrodin had a few ways to play with charge counters on the various artifacts and this seemingly innocuously named class of counter could provide a subtle inter-block window to doing some very disturbing things in Standard. If you can somehow add counters to an established Eternity Vessel or Everflowing Chalice, you can begin an unexpected climb to recovery or victory where you would have otherwise been dead. Surrakar actually may have the most potential however as he generates charge counters that may be moved about and his own ability is pretty great as it is now with cards like Distortion Strike.
This one I’m on the fence about. Sunburst cared about how many different colors of mana you paid to cast something. After all of the multicolored pains of the past two years with Shadowmoor and Alara, this may be one thing they let fall aside to make room for something less colorful. There are also no cards at the moment that really would make this exciting to see, so put on the spot I’ll say this isn’t going to come back.
This is dead. As much as Chrome Mox rocks, players want to cast their spells, not discard them from the game attached to something else. WotC has been particularly attentive to want players want to do lately rather than rewarding them for doing the counter-intuitive. I might expect something that seems reminiscent of Imprint in that you may reveal a card, use a card already removed, or use cards in your graveyard to apply some trait to the artifact in question, but they are going to let you keep the cards in your hand until you’ve used them or your opponent takes them away.
This could become a theme that will make combat and various strategies more complex but also make playing the cards and killing them more rewarding. With the Edict effects on cards like Gatekeeper of Malakir and Consuming Vapors, the door is open to introduce indestructible permanents that can still be answered. Consequentially, Consuming Vapors may see a corresponding rise in price if playable indestructibles are spoiled. I’d also pay closer attention to ways to neutralize things without destroying them, such as Oblivion Ring and Path to Exile like cards that may show up in M11.
We like modality and this seems ripe for a review and expansion just like Kicker received. We saw Entwine in Mirrodin the first time around and I hope to see it again with a new twist, but I’m cautiously optimistic here. The reason for caution is that kicker had been gone for a single Extended Rotation before it returned, leaving a year that the Extended format had no kicks. We may see a similar period for Entwine when Mirrodin rotates out, but I hope not because it seems like just the type of flexibility we would want upon losing all of the multicolored support and options.
In either case, there are very few cards that I can think of off hand that could benefit value-wise from such a comeback. In fact, the only one is Pyromancer Ascension, and then only if the right kind of options show up on the cards. Perhaps a few of the Rebound cards can get together with some Entwine cards and make Johnny happy with a little Pyromancer’s combo deck.
Ok, so this wasn’t really a theme, but you have to admit that Mirrodin’s colorless Artifacts and the Eldrazi seem to be made for each other. WotC also seems to be dropping a hint to this extent and some possible reprints in the issuing of Cloudpost, the massively colorless mana producing Locus, as the May FNM promo. The price of the Eldrazi titans and all the colorless spells could see a significant bump up if Locus reappears in either Cloudpost or an associated form. Another thing that might have a similar effect is if a good colorless manabase can be formed up out of Quicksands, Tetonic Edges, Eldrazi lands, and colorless man lands like Dread Statuary or new iterations of Blinkmoth Nexus or a Mutavault-esque land. Finally, also be on the look out for a reappearance of Urza-tron in M11 either exactly or a series of role sharing similar lands. People want to cast Eldrazi titans and WotC wants people to want and do just that, so they’ll be sending enablers down the pipe.
So there you have it. By analyzing WotC’s trends and past, as well as player’s behaviors and desires, we can make some predictions on what cards that are currently floating about our environment that may become suddenly much more relevant once Scars starts getting spoiled. In five months you’ll be able to look back to this article and thank me for convincing you to grab a couple extra Lodestone Golems and Consuming Vapors now, while they were obtainable.
Agree? Disagree? Predictions I missed? Say so in the comments section below, or catch me on Twitter @RobJelf!