Monday, July 23, 2012

Premium Deck Series discontinued? Here's what will fill it's place...

So the Premium Deck Series was discontinued as "not enough of you loved it," as stated at a panel by Mark Rosewater, Head Designer of MTG at Wizards of the Coast. This means the only PDS boxes out there are Slivers, Fire & Lightning, and Graveborn. I can't speak for the rest of you, but my Wal-Mart is stocking Fire & Lightning and Graveborn, with F&L being discounted about $10 from the $35 list price. Luckily I got the PDS: Slivers from Star City Games early this year, and I got the other two at my Wal-Mart, so I have all of them, and aside from the deck boxes, they are all in mint condition.

What is replacing them, you may ask? Wizards has decided that they will begin releasing Commander every year (Commander was originally released in summer 2011 as the multiplayer deck type, like we had Planechase in 2009 and 2012 and Archenemy in 2010). Unfortunately, since they did not have enough time to prepare new decks and create new cards since they work 2 years ahead of time, we will be getting what is called "Commander's Arsenal."

Included will be oversized cards (may be foil like in the original Commander decks, or they may be regular like the Helvault promos, their status in uncertain), regular cards with new art, foil cards that have never been in foil before, new card sleeves, and then "lots of Commander goodies."

The "goodies" from what I will assume will probably be Command Tower (in every deck), Sol Ring (also in every deck), Rupture Spire, possibly Oblivion Stone, and other assorted staples of the Commander series that were either in every box, or in more than one. I would also guess that there may be a couple dual lands like the Refuge land cards from Zendikar and others. Return to Ravnica may handle the bounce lands (return a land card you control to the owners hand and this comes in tapped but creates two mana of different colors) and shock lands (dual land that comes into play tapped unless you pay two life) but this has yet to be confirmed.

Commander's Arsenal will be released in November, thus filling in for the PDS release date. Commander decks should be released around November 2013 as Wizards will have had enough time to develop them. After that, new Commander decks/products will be released each November if I understand the news correctly.

So, what is your opinion on this? Are you sad that the Premium Deck Series is no longer being produced? Are you happy that there will be new Commander products each year? Post your opinions in the comments below.

Return to Ravnica (But it isn't October Yet!) Part 2

Regarding the last post, I have one correction to make: I said Gatecrash will be a small set, when in fact it will be a large set like Return to Ravnica. "Sinker" will probably be the small set in this block.

Alright, so here is more information about Return to Ravnica:

There will be two planeswalkers, of which Jace will be one of them. Whether this will be a new one or a previously printed one is unknown. There is speculation that he may be multicolored (which seems to happen to the original five now, with Garruk going Green/Black with hi Innistrad card and Ajani having a White/Red version). This means we will have two Jace planeswalkers in Standard as well as two Liliana planeswalkers ("of the Veil" and "of the Dark Realms"). My theory is that if Jace is multicolored, he will probably be a Blue/Red planeswalker, given his connection with the Izzet League as seen in promotional art (Niv-Mizzet, leader of the Izzet League, is with Jace which may indicate a partnership or agreement between both of them).

RTR will also feature new ability words for each guild, and none of the previous ability words will return. Also, RTR will feature a legendary creature as the leader of each guild. So, for the five guilds we have for RTR, we will have the following legendary creatures, but no word on abilities, mana cost, or anything else...

Azorious Senate (W/U): Isperia (sphinx)
Cult of Rakdos (B/R): Rakdos (demon)
Selensya Conclave (W/G): Trostani (dryad)
Golgari Swarm (B/G): Jarad (zombie elf)
Izzet League (U/R): Niv-Mizzet (dragon)

Gatecrash will have the following legendary creatures with their respective guilds:

House Dimir (U/B): Lazav (shapeshifter)
Gruul Clans (R/G): Borborygmos (cyclops)
Orzhov Syndicate (W/B): Obzedat (spirits)
Boros Legion (W/R): Aurelia (angel)
Simic Combine (U/G): Zegana (merfolk)

These legendary creatures will also be mythic rare, so I wish you luck pulling them from packs when they come out. Art has already been released for these as well. I've had problems with putting some images in the blog posts, so I'll have to let you find it yourself if you wish. Whether or not these are reprints is not clear at the moment.

The only card that has not actually been revealed, but has to be in RTR, would be Birds of Paradise. BoP has been a staple throughout MTG, but has been in all core sets, including Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited, except for 9th Edition. Ravnica: City of Guilds came out three months after 9th Edition was released, and it contained BoP, so it can be assumed that it will be reprinted in RTR since it wasn't printed in M13.

I believe this is all I have on RTR and Gatecrash, but keep watching this blog on Mondays for any news.

More Unboxing Videos

Sorry, I did not get the opportunity to put the videos up here as promised last week, but here they are:

Deck Builder's Toolkit 2013

M13 Fatpack

M13 Booster Box Part 1

M13 Booster Box Part 2

Also, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has watched my videos. All of my unboxing videos for the Intro Packs are above 1,000 views with the Path to Victory (W/U) having over 2,100 views! At the time I wrote this, my videos for MTG have 8,790 views. I also have 43 subscribers, but had a few already due to my one Minecraft video.

Additionally, every MTG video I upload, there is one person who gives it a thumbs down immediately. In case you look at my videos and notice all but two MTG videos have exactly one thumbs down. I'm not sure why this one person is within the first 3 views and always gives it that vote, but I wish I knew who it was and why they look at the video just to vote it down.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Return to Ravnica (But it isn't October Yet!)

There will be two posts this week, folks: this post with details about the pre-release for Return to Ravnica and then a post either late today or sometime tomorrow with videos for M13 booster box, fat pack, and deck builder's toolkit unboxing.

So, let's start with this post: On October 5th, Return to Ravnica comes out, but for the pre-release for this, and also Gatecrash, the second set in the block, you will get to choose a Guild to play as. By choosing your guild, you get Guild specific cards, including a promo, a pack with cards only of your colors (plus five normal booster packs), a sticker for your guild, a spindown for your guild, the promo that cooresponds with your chosen guild, and a letter from the leader of your guild. Having not been around with MTG when Ravnica was here (I'm fairly new but learned really quickly even to know everything about MTG that people that started before me don't even know. People who have been playing for years have no clue what Unglued and Unhinged are, nor do they know what a Black Lotus is... But I digress...), I don't know the complete idea, but I have learned that the five guilds involved in Return to Ravnica are Azorious Senate (White/Blue), Cult of Rakdos (Black/Red), Selesnya Conclave (White/Green), Golgari Swarm (Black/Green), and Izzet League (Blue/Red). Gatecrash, which is expected in January/February, will have the remaining five guilds: House Dimir (Blue/Black), Gruul Clans (Red/Green), Orzhov Syndicate (White/Black), Boros Legion (White/Red), and Simic Combine (Blue/Green). Gatecrash is a smaller set, like Dark Ascension was in the Innistrad block, yet it still has five guilds. "Sinker," the third set in the block, will include all ten guilds. No word yet how those pre-releases will play out or how big that set will be. Around the release of Return to Ravnica, the Izzet vs. Golgari Duel Decks will be coming out, so keep an eye out for those. RTR is looking really cool right now.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Morning MTG M13 Core Intro Pack Unboxing Videos

1: Path to Victory (W/U)

2: Depths of Power (U/R)

3: Sole Domination (B/W)

4: Mob Rule (R/G)

5: Wild Rush (G/B)

M13 Pre-release Deck

So I only went to the midnight pre-release party we had at my local shop, and this happened right after Friday Night Magic. So I spent about 8 hours playing Magic Friday evening/Saturday Morning and the hour or more between them I spent trading cards.

If this tells you anything, out of 18, I came in 9th. I'm happy with that. I won one pack for coming in 9th, and I got a mythic rare out of the pack, so I can't complain. I also pulled three mythic rares when opening the prerelease packs I got.

The pack I won, I got a regular Thundermaw Hellkite. One of the mythics I pulled from the packs was a Vampire Nocturnus. The other two I put in my deck. All in all, four mythics in one night, out of seven packs (by the way, one of the mythics was a foil card, so I got 4 rares and 4 mythics out of seven packs)

So, here is my deck (note, I chose to use 52 cards instead of the minimum of 40):

War Falcon x1
Goblin Arsonist x1
Chronomaton x1
Ajani's Sunstriker x1
Aven Squire x1
War Priest of Thune x1
Torch Fiend x1
Wall of Fire x1
Intrepid Hero x1
Reckless Brute x1
Rummaging Goblin x1
Sublime Archangel (Mythic Rare & Foil) x1
Griffin Protector x1
Healer of the Pride x2
Bladetusk Boar x1
Goblin Battle Jester x1
Fire Elemental x1
Battleflight Eagle x1

Chandra, the Firebrand x1

Elixir of Immortality x1
Ring of Valkas x2

Other Spells
Rain of Blades x1
Show of Valor x1
Safe Passage x1
Flames of the Firebrand x1
Mark of Mutiny x1
Angel's Mercy x2
Captain's Call x1
Cleaver Riot x1

Plains x10
Mountain x10

Monday, July 2, 2012

Prereleases for Magic 2013 are this week!

I know... I really let June slide. I didn't have much to say and have been a bit busy, so I neglected this blog.

I'm still alive, and I'm going to look at M13 in this post. What will I evaluate? The products that will be released, the promos, and the most expensive cards (as released thus far) via

The Products

The Booster Box: 36 packs of 15 cards each. Typically you can get it for around $100, give or take about $15. I've seen them for $85, and I've seen them for $115. If you look at the $100 typical value, each card in each box is about 19 cents each, disregarding rarity. Each pack is also worth about $2.78, so a booster box is the best value for you if you like opening boosters.

The Fat Pack: 9 booster packs, 80 basic land cards, a large 400 card box, 2 small deck boxes, a spindown life counter, and then a player's guide with a visual encyclopedia of each card in the set. A very good buy at about $30 or $35.

The Intro Packs: Of the five intro packs, there is a foil rare legendary creature in each one. Despite the outside packaging indicating a sole color, it is believed that they are dual colored, but this has not been released yet. Additionally, the MSRP went up to $15 instead of the $13? intro packs used to be. This is done because these intro packs contain 2 booster packs now instead of one.
Deck Builder's Tool Kit: As the previous two versions have evidenced, you get random sets of cards with commons and uncommons from the previous couple of sets and the core set and a basic land pack. You'll also receive four booster packs. This one will most likely have an Innistrad booster, a Dark Ascension booster, an Avacyn Restored booster, and then an M13 booster.

The Promos

Xathrid Gorgon Promo - M13 Spoiler
Staff of Nin Promo
 Xathrid Gorgon is the promo for the prerelease event.

Staff of Nin is the FNM release promo.

Cathedral of War Promo - M13 Spoiler

Cathedral of War is the "Buy-A-Box" promo

Mwonvuli Beast Tracker Promo - M13 Spoiler
Magmaquake - M13 SpoilerMwonvuli Beast-Tracker is the Game Day promo everyone receives.

Magmaquake is the Game Day promo that the Top 8 receive.

The Most Expensive Cards as Released Thus Far (203 of 249 released through Star City Games at the time of this being written)

Starting in alphabetical order and only going with the cards initially priced $10 or up, here are the cards and their initial pre-release prices:

Ajani, Caller of the Pride (Pre-Order: Ships Jul 13) Akroma 
Jace, Memory Adept (Pre-Order: Ships Jul 13) Liliana of the Dark Realms (Pre-Order: Ships Jul 13)
Omniscience (Pre-Order: Ships Jul 13) Sublime Archangel (Pre-Order: Ships Jul 13)
Thundermaw Hellkite (Pre-Order: Ships Jul 13) Vampire Nocturnus (Pre-Order: Ships Jul 13)

Ajani, Caller of the Pride is one of the two newest planeswalkers. This is the third version of Ajani, which fits with how Garruk, Jace, and Chandra are all in their third versions currently. Ajani goes for $40 currently.

Akroma's Memorial is a really cool card to have for any deck if you don't want burn and kill spells hitting all your creatures. This also provides a great offense with the vigilance, trample, first strike, haste, and flying offered by this card. This is currently $10.

Jace, Memory Adept is a reprint from M12 and is interestingly cheaper in M13 than the current M12 (which is pictured as the M13 image isn't out yet). Jace is $10 right now.

Liliana of the Dark Realms is the other new planeswalker, getting her third version with M13. Looks like this will be a great card for anyone who runs black and particularly Griselbrand or other high cost demons.

Omniscience looks like a really good card. Unfortunately, of course, it costs an expensive 10 mana to cast, so it may not wind up seeing play in any games or tournaments as much is my prediction, but, then again, someone always finds a way to get cards out faster than the casting cost allows. Hell, I even got a Griselbrand out with only four land using a Grimoire of the Dead. Omniscience is currently $10.

Sublime Angel appears to be a good card giving each creature you have exalted and being of a relatively low casting cost. Currently the price is $20.

Thundermaw Hellkite looks to be an awesome card killing an X/1 flyer an opponent controls when it enters the battlefield and tapping all the others allowing you to use the haste on it to attack your opponent directly for 5 damage, unless, of course, an opponent has a creature with reach. Currently costs $20.

Vampire Nocturnus can give any vampire +2/+1 with flying if the top card of your library is black. This would work great for a mono black vampire deck. Personally, I might throw in a bit of red to use from of the vampires in the Innistrad block.

Everything so far from this set is looking awesome and I cannot wait to get started with it. We have 6 planeswalkers in this set with Nicol Bolas as one of them. His planeswalker has not changed at all since Conflux, so if you still have one, you are good to go. Even if you have a foil alternate art one from the Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas Duel Deck, you are also good to go.

As a tip, if you want Nicol Bolas, my Walmart currently has about four Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas Duel Decks in stock, each for $20, so you could easily go and pick up a Nicol Bolas now if you want to use him in a deck on release day.