Players have always had a love/hate relationship with MTG’s ever-changing,
yet reassuringly cyclical nature. I’ve heard from gamers who left MTG for Warhammer or D&D primarily on account of the ever-changing play environment of Standard and the necessity for keeping up with the latest expansions in order to have viable decks for FNM.
Even playgroups who stay away from Standard in favor of Legacy will periodically have to buy a playset of the latest and greatest in a series of spells that is central to a long-standing deck.
On the other hand, the rhythm Wizards has established of releasing an annual (since 2009) Core Set, one block with a stand-alone set and two smaller expansions, and a multiplayer product (Planechase, Archenemy) keeps the play environment fresh and gives players and event-organizing a lot to look forward to.
While, I may not be entirely on board with the increasing number of smaller products like Duels of the Planeswalkers, From the Vault, and the Premium Deck series which have been regularly released over the past couple years, I do like the way Wizards does marketing and I’m the type that loves following the rumors and spoilers as they appear. So, for those of you like me, who want the scoop on what’s coming, here’s a taste of the next few months in Magic*:
Commander: June 17, 2011
So, the first big debut of the summer is MTG:Commander. The Elder-Dragon Highlander format has become just popular enough that Wizards is ready to take their cut. In all seriousness though, it’s sometimes difficult for the casual player or newbie to get into a format like EDH due to a small card pool. These five, one-hundred card, tri-color decks will give you a great base for building a competitive EDH deck and will cost $29.99 each. You can also look forward to 15 new cards in each deck and 51 new cards total.
Each deck will showcase three legendary, over-sized commander cards with one of these in each box being part of the Legendary Dragon series from Planar Chaos. The three colors will be a “wedge” trio, meaning they will consist of two allied colors with one enemy color.
Also, if you’re a little bit confused about why it’s called Commander and not EDH, then you’re in good company. The choice is deliberate and explained, more or less, at the official EDH site: http://mtgcommander.net/questions.html
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about what cards will be reprinted in MTG:Commander and what new additions will be made. At any rate, we’re excited to get our hands on these decks and will be planning on finding a Release event to attend.
M12: July 15, 2011
As we mentioned on Monday’s podcast, the TCP crew hasn’t been terribly enthused by core set releases in the past. Of course, most of us started playing back in the day when core sets sported the horrible white-bordered cards that started looking “used” way too quickly and stood out like a sore thumb in an otherwise aesthetically pleasing deck. However, the introduction of black-bordered core sets didn’t do nearly as much to change our minds as the introduction of titans in M11.
The titans were an incredible addition to the standard environment and did a lot to shake up the format. If M12 follows suit, I assume they’ll be a mythic-level incentive to buying the core set in every color – that is, an incentive in addition to the reprinted planeswalkers.
Earlier this week, Wizards released what is, by far, their best promo video to date. In it we find Gideon Jura recounting in brief his inter-planar struggles (especially his encounters with Liliana Vess) and hinting that there are big changes coming in the planeswalker storyline.
The tagline for M12 is “Gather Your Allies” and at the end of the video Gideon hints that he has somehow found a way to unite the planeswalkers (at least planeswalkers who aren’t Liliana) under a common banner. Is this actually storyline? Is this just a weird way to talk about the role of the player as a “controller of planeswalkers”? There is plenty here to speculate on, but we’ll save that for a later date.
If you haven’t already watched the video, check it out.
Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012: Summer 2012
In addition to the reprinting of the planeswalkers in M12, there will be a new edition of Duels of the Planeswalkers appearing this summer. The announcement by Wizards indicated that the picture below is representative of the planeswalkers that we’ll see in both M12 and DoP. So, it looks like Liliana and Ajani have disappeared (though only temporarily) and been replaced by Sorin Markov and Gideon Jura.
Also, this next installment in the video game series will include at least one new planeswalker.Kiora Atua
Based on precedent, I doubt that the M12 planeswalkers will be anything but reprints, though they may have some new name-associated cards like Jace’s IngenuityJace’s Ingenuity
or Chandra’s Spitfire
Jace’s Ingenuity.Either way, I hope beyond hope that we won’t be seeing Jace, the Mind Sculptor return to Standard for another year.
Innistrad: September 24, 2011
Finally, what interests us the most here at TCP is the announcement of the next block: Innistrad. There are several things to be excited about with Innistrad. First of all, it’s the first set that the game’s creator, Richard Garfield, has co-designed since Ravnica: City of Guilds. The tagline of the set is “Horror Lurks Within” and there is already some speculation that we may be returning to Ravnica in this block.
Whether or not we can look forward to a return to the city-plane, it does look like this set will have a flavor similar to that of Torment – the black-centric expansion to Odyssey.
There’s been some debate (though I don’t know why) about whether or not this is a picture of Liliana. Let me put your minds at ease – when I right-click saved it from the Wizards announcement, the picture’s default name was “liliana_innistrad”.
We have Liliana on the throne, a corpse with a smoking chest-wound in the background, a full moon (please reprint Bad Moon), and two zombie-like husks in the background. Also, the Game Day for Innistrad is October 29-30 – as close as can be to Halloween (please reprint All Hallow’s Eve).
While I would love to see mono-block come back in a big was in Innistrad my greatest hope is that Liliana, who seems to have been left out of M12, get a makeover in Innistrad. Especially as Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Jace, the Mind Sculptor leaves standard it would be great to have a new mega-mythic game-changing remake of a planeswalker.
*You might notice that we passed over the Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas duel decks. Right now there isn’t enough information on the decks to have much fruitful speculation. We’ll let you know when we know more.