Monday, March 25, 2013

Dragon's Maze Previews and "Friends" Block Update

Dragon's Maze

From PAX East over the weekend, we were given many updates as to the future of Magic. First and foremost, we have two new cards to check out. We have Ruric Thar, the Unbowed as well as Maze's End. We'll get to Ruric Thar later. The important thing is to get Maze's End, you either need to get it at the prerelease, or pull it in the land slot from a booster pack. Of course, the Maze's End card here is only the foil alternate art promo. The art for the actual card is below these two official card images.

Ruric Thar, The Unbowed - Dragon's Maze Spoilers    Maze's End - Dragon Maze Spoiler

Owly Images

New Rare Legendary GUILD CHAMPIONS

There will be ten rare legendary creatures in Dragon's Maze. They are part of a cycle called "Guild Champions" and since there is a literal maze in Ravnica, I can only assume that each guild champion is the member of each guild chosen to participate in some sort of contest revolving around the maze. That's my theory anyway, but it's only logical... Here are their pictures and names (as revealed at PAX East)

Teysa, Envy of Ghosts (Orzhov)

Ruric Thar, The Unbowed (Gruul)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker (Dimir)

Lavinia of the Tenth (Azorious)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Simic)

Emmara Tandris (Selesnya)

Tajic, Blade of the Legion (Boros)

Varolz, the Scan-Striped (Golgari)

Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch (Rakdos)

Melek, Izzet Paragon (Izzet)

New Guildgate Art

Well, technically it isn't new art, just "zoomed out" art. Essentially the original guildgates are only partial portions of the full guildgate art, which will now be used for the Dragon's Maze versions.

Boros Guildgate

Golgari Guildgate

Simic Guildgate

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

It's official! The Friends set is named Theros. Romans is Born of the Gods. Countrymen is Journey into Nyx. I may have predicted Journey into Nyx wrong, but it was still a new set name. Theros was originally a place in Dragonlance in Dungeons and Dragons which is also made by Wizards of the Coast. But hey, nw we know all three names!

Monday, March 18, 2013

From the Vault: Twenty (20)

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From the Vault: Twenty

So after a short hiatus writing for this blog (I fixed the subscribing to the blog thing, so please follow/subscribe to show your support and encouragement for more posts), I realized I never covered From the Vault: Twenty.

So what we know from the official announcement from Wizards is that there will be 20 cards, with one card representing a card that was key in the top deck of a premier tournament each year Magic has been produced.

So without further ado, we have 20 years to cover and not much time. Obviously there will be a card for each year. Since 2013 hasn't ended yet, I'm going to assume that we will be dealing with 1993 through 2012. Of course, this poses a small problem:

1993 is comprised of Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, and Arabian Knights. Many great cards are on the reserve list from those. So we've got a bit of a problem trying to figure out what 1993 may have... I had a theory about it, but I found something to disprove my thought.

What did I think? Karn, Silver Golem is on the reserve list, yet he appeared in From the Vault: Relics. Of course he also received a print as an oversized card in Commander's Arsenal, but that's different. So why will we not be getting a Black Lotus, Moxen, or other Power 9 card in FTV:20? Because of this post by Mark Rosewater. If you know anything about why the audience didn't like the relaxation of the reserve list, please let me know in the comments (I for one liked it as I now have a copy for Commander. Getting my Sliver Queen for Commander was a real pain in the ass so I'm not too thrilled with the reserve list. At least release stuff produced after 1996... but I digress).

Personally, I'm thinking we'll get some sweet alternate art, foil Sinkhole action. It's an awesome card, and for only double black mana, you can destroy any one land. Another reason why it could be candidate? It was removed from the reserve list in March of 2002. It hasn't been printed again though, so why not now? Of course, it wasn't used in the final match in 1993 as far as I can tell...

1993: Sinkhole

We have many more years to cover, but the only year I feel like I have a very good or definite idea is 2010. 2010 is the year both Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic were released and largely played. Or in 2011 when they were banned on July 1st of that year. Either way, one of them would show up. Just imagine the price of a foil Jace showing up in one of the boxes... But personally, I'd rather see him show up in From the Vault: Planeswalkers, whenever that shows up, or is done, or whatever. It would definitely be cool if they did an FTV dedicated to planeswalkers soon.

1993: "Sinkhole"
2010?: "Jace, the Mind Sculptor" or "Stoneforge Mystic"

Rakdos Haste Deck

4x Rakdos Cackler
4x Rakdos Shred-Freak
4x Gore-House Chainwalker
2x Thrill-Kill Assassin
3x Hellhole Flailer
2x Cryptborn Horror
2x Desecration Demon
1x Necropolis Regent

2x Rakdos Keyrune

Other Spells
4x Bump in the Night
4x Searing Spear
2x Mizzium Mortars
3x Thunderous Wrath
1x Bonfire of the Damned

4x Dragonskull Summit
2x Blood Crypt
2x Evolving Wilds
6x Mountain
6x Swamp

Monday, March 11, 2013

Update on Journey Into Nyx

The more I look at it, the more I think that "Journey Into Nyx" has to be the set for Friends. It has everything belonging to modern set/block naming. First set in a block has the name of the plane (Shards of ALARA, Zendikar, Scars of MIRRODIN, Innistrad, Return to RAVNICA) as indicated by all recent first sets, and since this has been trademarked (twice for two separate cases which I'll get to), I get the feeling this will be what we'll be seeing.

The first trademark filed by Wizards as on January 22, 2013.

They applied for the following categories:

  • IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: Card games, trading card games, playing cards, and accessories for use therewith
  • IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Entertainment services, namely, providing online computer games and interactive multiplayer online computer games via a global network; providing online publications in the nature of e-books in the field of fantasy adventures
So essentially they applied for trading card games, accessories, and interactive multiplayer online computer games (like Magic Online, or perhaps some things involving Duels of the Planeswalkers).

The second trademark filed by Wizards was on March 5, 2013, for which they applied for:

  • IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Downloadable electronic publications in the nature of e-books in the field of fantasy adventures
So here we have them trademarking it for eBooks, which for each set, they write books for the storyline, of which you can download and buy them online. These are very similar to the trademarks I've found for RTR and Avacyn Restored, so I see no reason why this probably won't be the next set name. Ravenloft and Neverwinter are other recent trademarks, but all of those trademark entries don't have anything pertaining to trading card games like Journey Into Nyx has. If Nyx is the new plane, and the namesake involving Greek mythology fits with what we find in the set, then I am definitely looking forward to October when "Friends" gets released.

Sorin vs. Tibalt Duel Deck Previews

Sorin vs. Tibalt appears to be a pretty awesome duel deck. It will be released this Friday, so check out your local gaming store, or your local Walmart or Target (since they'll probably get them as well if they have a card section near the registers).

Personally, I get duel decks as something to open, but I mainly get them for the EDH/Commander aspect of them. Of course, a foil Sorin will look awesome in my Junk deck. I'm going to look at this from an EDH perspective as to what is awesome that I can use. (Deck lists are located here.)


Tibalt's deck has two Akoum Refuge from Zendikar and two Rakdos Carnarium from Dissension. Both of these come in handy for a Red/Black deck, a Jund deck, a Grixis deck, or a five color deck (Kaleidoscope).

Sorin's deck has two Tainted Field which was originally printed in Torment. The "Tainted" lands was a land cycle of dual lands that each had black as a color (so Tainted Fields, Tainted Isle, Tainted Peak, and Tainted Wood are the four in the cycle, along with Cabal Coffers which gives you a black mana for each swamp you have, so it isn't a double swamp land). Of course, I have an original Tainted Isle from a booster I bought at Walmart, and then I have the one from Planechase 2012. Anyway, Tainted Field will be good for Esper decks, White/Black decks (maybe an Obzedat deck?) or a Kaleidoscope deck. So it can be useful for something I'm working on.


Of the creatures in Tibalt's deck, I'm most excited about Hellrider and Lavaborn Muse. Lavaborn Muse punishes opponents for having two or less cards during their upkeep (which is conveniently before their draw step) by dealing three damage to them, while Hellrider is an awesome card from Dark Ascension. It has haste and whenever any creature you control attacks, Hellrider deals 1 damage to the defending player. Both of these are really awesome and would be great for modern decks and EDH decks (Hellrider is pretty popular in mono red decks...)

Hellrider  Lavaborn Muse

For Sorin's deck, honestly I think Revenant Patriarch and Twilight Drover are the best (aside from Vampire Nighthawk which is already awesome). Revenant Patriarch is a 4/3 for 5 mana (one black and four colorless), but if you pay a white to cast it as part of the colorless cost, your opponent skips their next combat step. That could be pretty useful. Twilight Drover is a 1/1 for three mana, but when a token creature dies (which tokens are a big part of the deck), then it gets a counter. If you pay three mana and remove a +1/+1 counter from Twilight Drover, you'll get two 1/1 white spirits with flying, which of course when they die, you obviously get more +1/+1 counters, and then the cycle continues allowing you to add more and more spirits to the battlefield...

Revenant Patriarch  Twilight Drover


In Tibalt's deck, I really like Blazing Salvo and Browbeat. With Blazing Salvo, it deals three damage to a creature or else the controller of the creature takes five damage to keep the creature. This is a pretty tough move if the creature is really important to your plans like Twilight Drover in Sorin's deck. Browbeat (which gets new art) deals five damage to an opponent if they choose to, or else target player draws three cards. So either let your opponent have three cards for more burn spells, or take five damage. Tought choice, but these are awesome because of what they do to your opponents.

Blazing Salvo  Browbeat

With Sorin's deck, aside from the Lingering Souls (which is the same art as the promo from a couple months ago), I'm only interested by the prospects of Death Grasp and Zealous Persecution. Death Grasp deals X damage to a creature and you gain that much life where all you have to do is pay X mana plus one white and one black. It's lifelink but without a creature that you control getting themselves killed. Zealous Persecution is pretty awesome since for just one white and one black mana, all of your creatures get +1/+1 until end of turn and all of your opponent's creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn. This definitely helps all the flying spirits you probably have when you play this.

Death Grasp  Zealous Persecution

So aside from those cards, the only other thing I'm really looking forward to Sorin vs. Tibalt are the foil, alternate art planeswalkers. Tibalt may not be the best, but with this deck, he has some interesting prospects. Sorin has always been pretty awesome.