1) Commander will have some awesome Legacy and Vintage cards!
2) We’re not going to see OverExtended – at least not this year.
3) 2011 is going to be the year of the Multiplayer.
4) The 2012 Fall set (twenty months from now) will be a return to Ravnica.
5) We will finally see a foil Force of Will this year.
Since I first wrote that article, Wizards of the Coast announced that the From the Vault set this year will be Legends, which seems to tie into #3
— that many of the products released this year are going to be themed towards multiplayer games. This includes the Commander premade decks that
are coming out in June, and I also believe M12 and the fall block!
But you didn’t come here for a recap of my first five predictions, did you? You came here for my next five! So without further ado, here are
predictions number 6 through 10 for Magic in 2011!
Prediction #6) Which fifteen Legends will be in From the Vault: Legends? Let’s have a list!
Wizards of the Coast announced that there will be fourteen reprinted Legends in the From the Vault: Legends box set and one preview card from the fall
block. Pictured with the announcement was an unmistakable new artwork for Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir! This leaves thirteen cards left to round out the
set. The hints?
Image from the Magic Arcana announcement of FTV: Legends.
1) Can’t be any card from the Reserve list because Wizards is no longer putting those in limited-run box sets. This means that any rare Legend from the
Legends set that hasn’t already been reprinted is not eligible for FTV: Legends, along with several rare cards from sets all the way through Urza’s
Relevant cards that might have been in the box set but cannot be because of the Reserve list, include Autumn Willow, Baron Sengir, Eladamri,
Lord of Leaves, Ertai, Wizard Adept, Gaea’s Cradle, Gwendlyn Di Corci, Hazezon Tamar, Kaysa, Multani, Maro-Sorcerer, Phelddagrif, Radiant, Archangel,
Ramses Overdark, Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, Sliver Queen, Tetsuo Umezawa, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Tolarian Academy, Volrath’s Stronghold,
Yavimaya Hollow, and Zirilan of the Claw
2) Wizards said that there will be some cards printed black-bordered for the first time, which implies that there will be some Portal Three Kingdoms
cards in the set.
So what are the other thirteen cards in the set, beyond Teferi and the preview card? I think that Wizards will go for iconic Legends — the ones
that either are big names in storylines or that have really caught on with the Commander crowd. I think there will also be a good distribution of
colors, with a focus on good multicolor Legends. I also don’t think that Wizards will repeat cards from previous From the Vault sets, such as
Niv-Mizzet or Nicol Bolas. Here are my guesses:
2) Braids, Cabal Minion – One of the most iconic Legends in Magic, visually.
3) Captain Sisay – Hasn’t been reprinted since Invasion, works well with the theme.
4) Cromat – There will be a five-color Legend in this set. I think this works better than Scion of the Ur-Dragon (which would work better in a
Dragon-themed set), Sliver Legion (same, but for Slivers), or Progenitus (costs ten to cast).
5) Eight-and-a-Half-Tails – The white Legend for this set. Mageta the Lion and Jareth, Leonine Titan are the other two guys I would think might fill
this slot. I think Wizards will save Yosei for a more white-centric or Dragon-centric product.
6) Jhoira of the Ghitu – One of the most popular Commanders.
7) Kaervek the Merciless – A filler Legend but a great choice for the colors (B/R).
8) Kamahl, Fist of Krosa – The green Legend for this set. Silvos is another fine choice, but Kamahl is more iconic as a character for Magic.
9) LATE EDIT: Originally I had Karakas in this slot, but reading is fundamental, and the product description clearly refers to there being fifteen creatures in this set. Let’s put Doran, the Siege Tower in this slot.
10) Memnarch – Artifact Legend and a key part of the storyline from the previous year’s set. Newly unbanned in Commander, so people will clamor for a
copy of this guy.
11) Squee, Goblin Nabob – Iconic and hasn’t been done as a promo card yet. I’d say Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker would be a close second choice for the red
Legend in this set, but I think they’ll save Kiki-Jiki for a more Goblin-themed deck (while Squee is a Goblin, he isn’t as suited for a Goblin-style
12) Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed – The most desired P3K Legend and a popular Commander.
13) Zur the Enchanter – A great build-around-me Legend, and it fills a three-color scheme (U/W/B)
I do have to say that when reviewing the list for this article, I didn’t realize how many good choices were available for this product. Legends I don’t
think made the cut (but what do I know?) include Circu, Dimir Lobotomist; Gaddock Teeg; Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund; Korlash, Heir to Blackblade; Llawan, Cephalid Empress; Meloku the Clouded Mirror; Oona, Queen of the Fae; Phage the Untouchable; Rafiq
of the Many; Sakashima the Imposter; Sharuum the Hegemon; Sun Quan, Lord of Wu; Tolsimir Wolfblood; Tsabo Tavoc; Uril, the Miststalker; Venser, Shaper
Savant; and Visara the Dreadful. Just putting them here because I would not be surprised if any one of these showed up in this set — but I’m
going with the thirteen I listed above as my (o)fficial guesses!
Prediction #7) Who will make the Magic Hall of Fame in 2011?
Speaking of legendary, there’s the Magic Hall of Fame class for 2011! This year’s crop of players is generally weak (sorry guys, no offense intended
— you were better players than I!), so I think that this year will be a catch-up year for people who have been left on the cusp in previous
years. Here’s who I think will make the Hall of Fame in 2011:
1) Shuuhei Nakamura: One of the greatest Japanese players to play the game. Sixth on the lifetime Pro Points list, and still active — so at 391
points, he will likely be over 400 points by the time the Hall of Fame ballot rolls around. Should be the only shuu-in who is new to the ballot this
2) Anton Jonsson: One of the finest Limited players in the history of the game, and it seemed as though everyone had an embarrassing moment when he was
just left off of ballots. So of course, he goes and Top 8s Grand Prix Gothenburg to make a point. I think that a great number of people will make a
point of getting Anton voted in this year.
3) Steve OMS: The most long-overdue induction for the Hall. Steve wasn’t as charming as some of the other people who have been inducted. He didn’t
write articles online, and he didn’t keep playing year after year after year. All Steve did was dominate and win. And based on his resume and based on
his skill, Steve is the most deserving person still on the ballot who hasn’t made it yet.
People who I think won’t make it this year but have a chance of eventually getting into the Hall fall into one of two categories:
Prediction #8) Legacy — just how big can it get? Ask the Grand Prix circuit!
Legacy continues to astound me. When we first started our Open Series, we were pulling around 33% of our Standard attendance (on average) for our
Legacy tournaments. That number is closer to 50% now! In addition, Legacy has caught on like wildfire in Europe (where it has replaced Vintage as the
Eternal format of choice). Let’s just say that we brought a pretty sizable stack of dual lands to Pro Tour Paris, and they all sold out on the first
day! We’ve also noticed that Japan is starting to get in on the Legacy craze, so Legacy is being adopted worldwide at this point.
There are two Legacy Grand Prix this year: Providence, Rhode Island, in May and Amsterdam in October. My bold predictions? Amsterdam will have the
highest attendance of a Grand Prix this year, not counting Paris (which was boosted by being coupled with a Pro Tour for Magic Weekend). Yes, I think
that the Legacy Grand Prix in Amsterdam will beat the Grand Prix in Madrid (traditionally, Madrid and Paris have been the two Magic powerhouse
countries in Europe for attendance).
I think that Rhode Island will have the second-highest attendance in the United States/North America, behind Pittsburgh (which is Standard, more
centrally located, and in August, which is traditionally better than May because of college finals/graduations).
Which leads us to:
Prediction #9) If Force of Will isn’t reprinted, it will pass Mana Drain in value in 2012!
And none of this “A Near-Mint Alliances Force of Will will be worth more than a beat-up Italian Mana Drain.” I mean head-to-head, an English Force of
Will (NM) will be worth equal to, or more than, an English Legends Mana Drain (NM). Currently, Force of Will is up to $60 and climbing and is part of
the fastest growing format in Magic. Mana Drain is at $110 and has been sliding $10ish dollars each year (Vintage — not doing so well in
Wizards of the Coast stopped releasing print-run information right before Alliances was released. But if we go by the old information here, we can look at Legends and make a best guesstimate about
Legends: 58,000 copies of each U1 released. This means that if no Mana Drains were ever destroyed and all English Legends product was opened, there
would be 14,500 playsets of Mana Drain in the world. Thankfully, the print run of Italian Legends was several times the amount of English Legends, so
at a guess, I’d say there’s probably another 150,000 to 250,000 Italian Mana Drains in existence.
Alliances: Fallen Empires nearly ruined Magic because it was tremendously overprinted. Retailers had been unable to stock enough Magic from previous
releases (because of print-run limitations), and so everyone over-ordered Fallen Empires, figuring that their entire allocations would not be filled.
Wizards printed Fallen Empires to order (and then some), and the price of Fallen Empires plummeted to something like $20 a box and nearly killed the
game. Thankfully, Wizards learned from this lesson in the long run, and systems are in place to prevent this from happening again.
There were around 500,000-600,000 of each Ice Age/Chronicles/Homelands uncommon printed, so I’d like to think that a similar amount of Alliances was
printed — probably 500,000 Force of Wills were printed, give or take. This would make for 125,000 playsets of Force of Wills globally — but
again, assuming that none were lost/destroyed/still in sealed packs, etc. The amount of foreign Alliances out there is negligible to this number (as
opposed to Italian Legends, which was a later print run and was printed in far, far greater quantities than English Legends). Based on all of this, I’d
put forward the following statement:
What this tells me is that if Mana Drain (English) is a $110 card, and Mana Drain (Italian) is a $90 card, and Mana Drain is being used in a format
that isn’t particularly popular right now, then Force of Will (which is a $60 card) that is used in a format that is growing in popularity by leaps and
bounds, will catch up to Mana Drain sooner rather than later.
Say, sometime in 2012, why don’t we? After all, I gave Underground Sea two years to hit the $100 mark, and it made it with ten months to spare.
Side note: If you go by Magic Online, Force of Will is selling for $110, and Mana Drain is going for $20ish. That’ll give you some idea of how
popular/in-demand one card is in relation to the other. They’re both rare in Magic Online.
Prediction #10) There will be a StarCityGames.com Open that is larger than a US Grand Prix!
The good news is that the StarCityGames.com Open Series has been a wild success this year — thank you to everyone who has come out to support us!
Between the added support of the Player’s Club, the addition of two Draft Opens, increased prize payouts, and increased tournament coverage courtesy of
SCGLive, people have flocked to our events in record numbers. Just this past weekend in Washington D.C., we had over 1,100 players for our Open events
(692 for Standard, 291 for Legacy, and two Draft Opens that filled up quickly at 64 players for a total of 1,111 players to be exact)!
Heck, we had mid-500s in Indy on the heels of a major Snowmageddon in the week leading up to that event (in February), which was further compounded by
six inches of snow falling the morning of the tournament. I was expecting Indy to break 800 players, and I fully expect our second Indy Open (featuring
the Invitational) to hit that mark!
The bad news is that the Grand Prix that the Open Weekends will beat will likely be our own Grand Prix that we ran in Denver this past month! Don’t get
me wrong — it was a huge privilege to be allowed to run a Grand Prix on behalf of Wizards of the Coast, and we wouldn’t trade the experience for
anything. But the reality is that the threat of weather in Colorado in February, coupled with people being worn out from playing a full week of Magic
in Paris, made for a situation where the other seven North American Grand Prix this year (Atlanta, Dallas, Providence, Kansas City, Pittsburgh,
Montreal, and San Diego) will likely beat the 841 players we got in Denver.
Granted, it’s again hard to complain when you run the largest tournament in Denver’s history by a pretty clear margin! (Denver in 2008 had 620 players,
by comparison). But with us pulling nearly 700 players in D.C. this past weekend, do we have a shot to get more than 841 just for the Standard Open
this year? I think so! I think it’ll happen at one of these events (if not multiple of these events):
Edison (this weekend)
Boston (April 23-24)
Louisville (May 21-22)
Indianapolis (Featuring the Invitational – June 3 through 5)
This doesn’t even count going into the second half of this year — I’m just talking about the events leading up to Indianapolis! And believe me
— if this prediction comes true, and the 2011 Open Series continues to be a huge success, we’ll absolutely be paying it forward to the players
just like we did this year — better prizes, more tournaments, and player benefits that didn’t exist beforehand!
So these are my last five predictions for Magic in 2011 and beyond! As always, discussion is encouraged in the forums, and thank you very much for
taking the time to read this article!