Looking Forward – AvNB, Innistrad, and Graveborn

The dust is just beginning to settle on M12. The visual spoiler is complete, the pre-release and release have come and gone, and our Guide to M12 is currently on sale.

Note: For those of you anticipating the release of M12 on MtGO, I highly recommend picking up our guide.

It’s time to look to the future of Magic. We have seen that future, and the future is awesome:

Duel Decks: Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas

First up, chronologically, is AvNB, the latest in the Duel Decks series.

What we Know: This product will consist of two 60-card decks, based around the two eponymous planeswalkers. The basis of this battle royale is the storyline from the novel Alara Unbroken which chronicles the fierce leonin’s pursuit of vengeance against the terrible, legendary dragon.

Presumably both decks will contain a more or less equal distribution of the component colors of their respective planeswalkers – that’s R/W for Ajani and U/B/R for Bolas. If the deck strategies are based on the abilities of the planeswalkers, then Ajani’s will likely be an aggressive burn/weenie deck, while Bolas is likelier to have a drawn-out, control-based strategy.

While the abilities used by Nicol Bolas are much more powerful than Ajani’s, it will be a serious chore just to get him into play without any mana acceleration.

We only know two of the 120 cards to be included as of right now, and those are the planeswalkers themselves, though even that little bit of information is exciting when they come with new art.

Release Date: September 2, 2011

Innistrad – “Horror Lurks Within”

The upcoming release that the TCP crew is most excited about is the newest “large set” to be released, and the beginning of the latest 3-set block. Previously codenamed “Shake”, we can now plainly refer to Wizard’s newest offering as Innistrad, a 264 card set that will be replacing the Zendikar block in Standard.

What we Know: Actually, quite a bit. Or at least we have some good hunches.

Our Innistrad spoiler page has already been populated with the latest in speculation on the set. Check it out, and check back often in the coming weeks for updates:


Based on the promotional art released with the formal announcement of Innistrad (below), we can also predict that Liliana, who was apparently slighted in M12, will be back and will likely have a new card with new abilities.

We’re also betting that the zombie/vampire theme which was supported in M12 will be continued in Innistrad, along with a strong graveyard focus, based on the spoilers we have thus far (and our deepest hopes and dreams).

Innistrad appears to be the name of an all-new plane, but only time will tell exactly where we’ll be in the next block, how Liliana got there, and who that dead guy is at her feet.

Also, Innistrad-related events will span the month of October, leading up to a Game Day over Halloween weekend. What could be spookier?

Release Date: September 30, 2011

Liliana Vess


Premium Deck Series – Graveborn

Finally, we’d like to mention the next installment of the Premium Deck Series. This one is called Graveborn and it has the potential to be our favorite one thus far. 

Premium Deck Series are 60-card, all foil decks which include 8 rares, and are centered around a prominent archetype or theme (Slivers, burn, and now graveyard recursion).

In the announcement for Graveborn, we were promised (obliquely) that we’d see the standard reanimator fare: Entomb
, Exhume
, Reanimate
. Along with an all-color suite of ginormous creatures just begging to be cheated into play.

While the price tag on the Premium Decks has always been a little bothersome to us (typically in the $35 range), this particular offering will be a good way for newer players to experience the fun of graveyard-based mayhem after receiving their introduction in necromancy from M12 and Innistrad.

The probable inclusion of Entomb, Exhume, and Reanimate, also indicates that these cards will NOT appear in Innistrad, which is a bit of a disappointment to Swamp-things.

Release Date: November 18, 2011

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One Comment

  1. Here is the Ajani vs Nicol Bolas spoilered decklist 😉

    Ajani Vengeant
    Creatures (22)

    1 Woolly Thoctar
    1 Firemane Angel
    1 Fleetfoot Panther
    1 Loxodon Hierarch
    1 Marisi’s Twinclaws
    1 Spitemare
    1 Qasali Pridemage
    1 Kird Ape
    1 Canyon Wildcat
    2 Ajani’s Pridemate
    1 Loam Lion
    1 Nacatl Hunt-Pride
    1 Wild Nacatl
    1 Jade Mage
    1 Ageless Entity
    2 Sylvan Ranger
    1 Essence Warden
    1 Pride of Lions
    1 Briarhorn
    1 Grazing Gladehart

    Enchantments (5)
    1 Searing Meditation
    1 Ajani’s Mantra
    2 Recumbent Bliss
    1 Griffin Guide
    Sorceries (2)
    1 Titanic Ultimatum
    1 Lead the Stampede

    Instants (4)
    1 Naya Charm
    1 Lightning Helix
    2 Sylvan Bounty

    Planeswalker (1)
    1 Ajani Vengeant

    Artifact (1)
    1 Behemoth Sledge

    Lands (25)
    2 Evolving Wilds
    1 Kazandu Refuge
    1 Graypelt Refuge
    2 Jungle Shrine
    8 Forest
    6 Plains
    3 Mountain
    1 Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
    1 Sapseep Forest

    Nicol Bolas
    Creatures (16)

    1 Fire-Field Ogre
    1 Moroii
    1 Jhessian Zombies
    1 Dimir Cutpurse
    1 Igneous Pouncer
    1 Blazing Specter
    2 Hellfire Mongrel
    1 Slavering Nulls
    1 Ogre Savant
    1 Nightscape Familiar
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Morgue Toad
    1 Steamcore Weird
    1 Brackwater Elemental
    1 Surveilling Sprite

    Enchantment (1)
    1 Elder Mastery

    Sorceries (6)
    1 Rise / Fall
    1 Pain / Suffering
    1 Cruel Ultimatum
    1 Slave of Bolas
    1 Profane Command
    1 Deep Analysis

    Instants (7)
    1 Spite / Malice
    1 Recoil
    1 Countersquall
    1 Grixis Charm
    1 Undermine
    1 Agonizing Demise
    1 Vapor Snag

    Planeswalker (1)
    1 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

    Artifacts (3)
    1 Icy Manipulator
    2 Obelisk of Grixis

    Lands (26)
    9 Swamp
    5 Mountain
    7 Island
    2 Terramorphic Expanse
    2 Crumbling Necropolis
    1 Rupture Spire

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