Hello folks, and welcome back to the series that explores the casual. This week I am moving into a look at the actual cards in Abeth Edition. Last week, I explained about my efforts to create the best core set that I can. Today, we will see the fruit of my labor laid out for everybody.
So, without further preamble, let’s take a look at the actual cards that made the cut.
I will randomly determine which color to begin with. Hold on, let’s see…
Dice say Red. Let’s start with Red and then move around the color wheel, ending with Green.
Red Common Creatures
I feel that it is important to separate the creatures from the non-creatures. Each list is prepared individually, to ensure that there are not issues. It is easier to see any issues when gazing over a list of 13 creatures and 11 spells, then it is looking over the combined list of 24 cards.
I wanted to feature a lot of Red’s creature abilities in its commons, so you have first strike, Mountainwalk, and haste all here. You also have Red’s affinity with direct damage showing even here, with the Pyromancer, Eunuchs, and Frostling.
Ekundu Cyclops and Frost Ogre give Red a fighting chance against Green’s pure beef. You also have cards like Anarchist and Goblin Tinkerer than flesh out the color well.
Red Common Spells
You’ll note the continuing presence of old school cards like Firebreathing and new school cards like Lava Axe. Like 10th, I also chose to feature Incinerate at the common level. Spitting Earth and Tremor also join the commons with burn.
Cards like Seething Song, Stun, Stone Rain, Maniacal Rage, Shatter, and Screaming Fury help to demonstrate the color well. When you see these commons, you get more than a sense that the color is about burn, you get a selection of mechanics which all suit Red.
Even the burn gives you an idea of mechanics. Tremor is more than pure burn, it also tells you that Red will deal damage to ground creatures, which is revealed more fully at higher commonalities.
Black Common Creatures
Mass of Ghouls
Black’s creatures give us an opportunity to see its various mechanics. Here you get traditional creature abilities like fear and regeneration. Cards like Gravedigger, Ravenous Rats, Phyrexian Rager, and Gravedigger will even demonstrate its abilities on creatures.
You have the classic shade. You have an underpowered flyer (when compared with other flyers in other colors). There is even a sense of Black’s willingness to sacrifice life for gain in Fledgling Djinn.
Black Common Spells
Feast of the Unicorn
Sometimes, base sets give Black too much removal, and sometimes they err on the other side and do not give it enough. In my set, I gave Black three common removal spells, but just one, Terror, is really good. Of the other two, one requires two Black to kill a smaller creature (Enfeeblement) and the other costs five mana to deal three damage (Essence Drain).
I chose to roll with Terror over Dark Banishing because it is more classic, and more interesting. There’s nothing wrong with Dark Banishing, and I could have gone that route if needed.
We continue our look at various Black abilities in these cards. Discard can be seen in Distress, Syphon Mind, and Mind Rot. Fear gives the classic ability to creatures. Raise Dead continues the reanimation theme. Unholy Strength and Feast of the Unicorn continue to demonstrate the power oriented nature of Black.
Skulltap continues to demonstrate Black’s willingness to make sacrifices for gain. Along with Fledgling Djinn, it is a sign of things to come.
Blue Common Creatures
I want a new player to walk away from the Blue list with an understanding of what Blue is about. Blue is defensive, and with cards like Lumengrid Warden, Labyrinth Minotaur, and Psychic Membrane, you get that. Blue also has some flyers, and with Wind Drake and Cloud Elemental and Sage Owl, you get that as well.
Sea Monster, Tidal Warrior, and Rootwater Commando demonstrate the “Opponent Needs Island” aspect of Blue.
Classic Blue creature abilities include shroud (Giant Crab), flying (several), and Islandwalk (Rootwater Commando). We also have a Looter, and a creature that counters spells.
Yes, Daring Apprentice is a common. You will find out why later, when I spend a page talking about changing all the commonalities in my Blue cards in order to fit everything in.
All of the other colors have 13 common creatures and 11 common spells, but Blue has 14 and 10. Don’t worry, it gets a lot more spells at higher commonalities.
Blue Common Spells
Counsel of the Soratami
Robe of Mirrors
Cancel gives us the perfect Blue counter for a variety of needs. Bounce is seen in Disperse and Unsummon.
After that, we have a slate of typical Blue spells. The Flight aura has been replaced with Phantom Wings, which not only gives you Flight, but also can be used as a bounce spell. Dehydration is reprinted here from 10th, as it suits the Blue theme of creature control perfectly. Invisibility comes back, demonstrating the sneakiness of Blue in combat.
Card draw and sifting can be demonstrated in Ponder and Counsel of the Soratami. Ponder is pretty good as the new Peek, Sleight-of-Hand-type spell. A long time ago, in 5th Edition, Portent was in the base set, so Ponder is a type of homage to that long lost set.
Robe of Mirrors demonstrates shroud perfectly. This gives us a nice clean set of spells for Blue.
White Common Creatures
White continues to demonstrate its use of common flyers. Four flyers, plus Skyrider Trainee, are all in the common slots. You also have keywords in defender (Angelic Wall) and vigilance (Standing Troops).
I returned some classic cards, such as Crossbow Infantry. Crossbow Infantry is perfect at demonstrating White’s ability to rangestrike, and I am surprised they pulled it out of 10th. To me, it is one of the new classics like Lava Axe, Zombify, and Mind Rot. It may not have been one of the early cards in Magic, but ever since it has been made, it has been a standard for cards of its type, and a perfect sample of the ability for the base set.
There is also Dive Bomber to bolster the rangestrike ability that White has. You also get defense from cards like Capashen Templar, Pious Warrior, Angelic Wall, Standing Troops, and Samite Healer.
Goldmeadow Harrier is a new addition that I think slides in well along the other White cards. It is simply a much better Master Decoy, so I am giving it a place in the sun.
Skyrider Trainee demonstrates the love/hate relationship White has with enchantments. It both loves them (Replenish, Retether, Skyrider Trainee, etc) and hates them (Demystify, Aven Cloudchaser, et all). Aven Cloudchaser shows the other side of this relationship.
White Common Spells
Heart of Light
Pay No Heed
Rain of Blades
A lot of traditional White abilities also feature here. Angelic Blessing may not be good, but it does show White well. Another example is Battle Cry, which again shows White’s willingness to be ready.
If you want to prevent damage or gain life, this is the spot for you. Cards like Healing Salve, Congregate, and Pay No Heed will allow you to understand White’s attachment to life.
Empyrial Armor is powerful, but without shadow creatures running around, it is often card disadvantage. Although casting it on a Skyrider Trainee can make a very big flyer, by the time you cast it (sixth turn), you may not have many cards left in your hand.
Holy Strength continues to show the defensive nature of the color, while Heart of Light and Pacifism can show how the defensive nature of the color can be turned against others. Rain of Blades is rangestrike as a spell, which also helps solidify the theme. When I don’t have mechanics at higher commonalities, I like to put several in the common slot. You’ll see that in Green creatures next.
Green Common Creatures
Three creatures with reach demonstrate what I was just talking about. These are the only creatures with reach in the set, so I wanted to have several.
Other keywords are featured here including Forestwalk, shroud, defender, and flash. In 10th Edition, flash is on a common White card, but White is not one of the key mechanics of flash, Blue and Green are. This gives me an opportunity to reprint King Cheetah, which gives Green a bit of “removal” in Limited formats.
Green also has vanilla beef. Craw Wurm, Whiptail Wurm, Southern Elephant, Grizzly Bears, and Trained Armodon all bring the beef.
Utility creatures like Llanowar Elves and Kithkin Daggerdare also get a note.
I almost pulled Traproot Kami from the set, because it has defender and was not a wall. However, I realized that my bias as a longtime player was raising its head. A new player will not come with baggage that walls are associated with defender, so it gives me an opportunity to demonstrate that not all creatures with defender are walls, and vice versa.
Green Common Spells
Commune with Nature
Stream of Life
Here we have a variety of spells that all accentuate the Green theme. Green makes mana and gets lands, so we have Fertile Ground and Skyshroud Claim. Green also is attuned with Life, so it gets Fog back, plus Stream of Life and Nourish. Regeneration abilities can also be seen in Refresh and Regeneration.
Other cards, such as Naturalize and Reclaim, hint at a theme that is more fully fleshed out at higher rarities.
I love Commune with Nature for the main set, and it may be a new, new classic. It is a perfect Green card. It was also in my first Basic Set articles prior to it getting promoted to a real core set.
Other Common Cards
I like this card in 10th, and playtesting shows it to be the most used card in my Base Set as well
Red Uncommon Creatures
Welcome to the next level of rarity. Here we get a little more complex. We have cards that demonstrate a variety of abilities for Red. No new keywords are introduced here that were not in Red commons, except for flying with the Furnace Whelp.
We have beef with the vanilla Fire Elemental, or a cheaper Fire Elemental for one less mana in Wild Wurm. Having the two together shows how Red will gamble for the quicker creature at times
Orcish Artillery, Cinder Elemental, and Viashino Standstalker just show common level mechanics on an uncommon level. Also on uncommon level we see Red hurting itself as Black does. Wild Wurm is a gamble, the artillery hurt itself, and the Stone Giant will kill the creature it throws. It is a different kind of self-hurt, but it is there.
Red uncommon slots also give me a chance to debut the “Sac a Permanent” mechanic I gave Red in the base set, and a spell will add to that here as well.
Red Uncommon Spells
Goblin War Drums
Reign of Chaos
Here we have another set of cards that show Red’s abilities. Reign of Chaos can destroy a land. Pyroclasm deals a lot of damage, while Blaze deals a lot of damage in a different way.
Fervor supports the haste theme, Cave Sense supports the Mountainwalk theme, and Misguided Rage is the card I just talked about that adds to the “Sac a Permanent” theme.
Then we have Threaten which demonstrates the minor ability for Red to temporarily take a creature and beat you with it. Goblin War Drums takes the common Stun and shows that Red is still not afraid to mess with blocking.
Browbeat is a powerful reprint that allows Red to pack an additional punch and keep going.
Black Uncommon Creatures
Brood of Cockroaches
The debut of Swampwalk at uncommon with Bog Wraith gives you one landwalker for every non-White color in the set (Canyon Wildcat, Shanodin Dryads, Rootwater Commando). Also debuting here is first strike with Nekrataal. Neither of these keywords were common in Black.
Black continues several themes here. It will still have flying and regeneration in small numbers (Spined Fluke, Screeching Harpy). You can also see the beginning of the Pestilence ability on Plague Spitter.
Sacrificing resources for gain is on Nantuko Husk, Spined Fluke, and Mold Demon.
Mold Demon is one of those old, obscure cards that no one expects. Opening up a pack with it is just fun for older players, while also giving something for new players to laugh at. It is also a skill tester, which is something Wizards wants. (A card that looks good to new players at first but after being played, may not be so good).
Phyrexian Defiler continues to support the Wither theme (Wither is my name for the —X/-X ability), while Nekrataal continues the Terror theme. I also like Brood of Cockroaches. It is a continuing resource that helps cards like the previously-seen Skulltap, Spined Fluke, and Nantuko Husk, plus whatever is at rare.
Black Uncommon Spells
Here you have more of the same. Fear with Intimidation, discard with Mind Sludge, reanimation with Zombify, draining with Soul Fest and Consume Spirit, the Pestilence ability with Famine, and so forth.
New to some is Famine, but it is a great card for doing what needs to be done, and I expect some players will want to acquire a full set. Diabolic Tutor demonstrates the Blackness of tutoring, while Night’s Whisper continues the Necropotence theme.
Cursed Land may be a bit odd, but it actually fits Black very well, and I will talk about its inclusion in a later article at more length.
Blue Uncommon Creatures
Wall of Air
Note that Blue has one less creature at uncommon and one more spell than the other colors, to make up for the increased numbers at common.
Flyers really make their debut here for Blue. Common flyers are smaller, and never have a power greater than two. Here you get Phantom Monster and Air Elemental, proving Blue is still a flying color.
Wu Admiral continues the Opponent with Island theme of Blue. Graceful Adept is the first time some will see Blue’s “trickiness” and metamagic mechanics.
Phantom Warrior solidifies Blue as the unblockable color, while Thieving Magpie continues the suggestion that Blue likes to draw cards.
Blue Uncommon Spells
Here we feature the beginning of classic Blue. Do we have countermagic? Spell Blast and Last Word say yes. Do we have card drawing and card filtering? Tidings and Strategic Planning and Mental Discipline say yes. Do we have stealing effects? Steal Artifact and Annex say yes.
We also have the continuation of Blue as the metamagic color, with cards like Reminisce, Telepathy, and Exhaustion. Levitation supports Blue as the flying color of choice for mages around the world.
White Uncommon Creatures
Angel of Mercy
Raise the Alarm
Wall of Swords
Do we have any keywords that debut here? Yes, first strike is on Thunder Spirit, making his debut here. Thunder Spirit is a highly sought after rare from Legends, which is just a 1WW first strike flyer with a 2/2 body. Other flyers are tight packages, like the Leonin Skyhunter.
Soul Warden and Angel of Mercy continue the life gain theme, while Angel of Mercy is the biggest actual flyer we’ve seen yet in White (unless you count Wall of Swords)
White is still defensive, with Wall of Swords, Ardent Militia, and Luminous Guardian showing that. Rangestrike has met its scion with Ballista Squad. That’s the closest thing to a White Blaze that you will find in this set.
Raise the Alarm may not be a creature, but I count it as one in my listings. It plays as a pair of Flash creatures, not as a spell.
White Uncommon Spells
Gift of Estates
Tempest of Light
First strike is also here with Knighthood.
This is the first place where you see White’s new taxing ability that it stole from Blue. Ghostly Prison lets everybody in on the fun… if they want to attack you.
The life aspect of White gives you Spirit Link, Flowering Field, Mangara’s Blessing, and in the hoser, Luminesce.
Want to kill an attacking creature? Condemn is your guy. Want to really hate the enchantments? See Tempest of Light. Shelter debuts the protection mechanic, while Castle continues the defensive theme, and Gift of Estates shows that not every card that gets lands needs to be Green.
Green Uncommon Creatures
These cards give you a continuing understanding of the color. Hate for artifacts and enchantments? Check. (Elvish Lyrist and Scrapper). Mana production? Check (Vine Trellis and Hunting Cheetah).
You also get cards like Unseen Walker that prove Forestwalk is no temporary mechanic. Kavu Chameleon is a subtle hoser for Blue and Black (especially when they play together). Sylvan Basilisk debuts the poison ability, but in a simpler and deadlier way than the deathtouch mechanic would allow.
Elven Riders gives Green a chance at having evasion, along with Unseen Walker. Uktabi Wildcats just gives it beef. Ivy Elemental gives you an in-set way to use all of Green’s mana acceleration. You have to have something to do with all of those Elves and Trellises.
Green Uncommon Spells
Roots of Life
Debuting here is the “Green Dislikes Flyers” ability that is so core to the color. Wing Snare is proof of that. The Giant Growth theme continues with Overrun and Verdant Field. Primal Rage is the first time the trample mechanic appears in the set. Recollect continues the recursion theme first found in the common Reclaim.
Roots of Life continues the life aspect of Green while also serving as its hoser. Sylvan Scrying is the uber-land search card, getting you any land you desire. Creeping Mold is the final say on Naturalize, and a smattering of LD for Green in homage to Ice Storm in the original set. Lure is a classic Green aura and does serious damage on a Basilisk
Artifact Uncommon Creatures
Like Raise the Alarm, Jade Statue is technically not a creature, but it plays as one. Ornithopter is a fun card that has earned its place in the main set. Juggernaut is another classic that has reestablished itself in the main set recently, and makes my cut. Crenellated Wall gives every color access to a wall and can be quite powerful in Limited with its ability to pump a creature.
Artifact Uncommon Non-Creatures
Fountain of Youth
Rod of Ruin
The most powerful card here, and possibly one of the top five uncommons in the set, is Thran Dynamo, which gives the set some serious mid-game mana acceleration. Icy Manipulator, Rod of Ruin, and Fountain of Youth continue their roles in the base set like they have for ages.
I put the Morningstar back in from 9th Edition. Puffer Extract is a power Limited card, but has little value in tournaments, being fun for the casual people. Fellwar Stone is a brilliant mana accelerant and is quite powerful. You’ll see why I put it in the set in just a moment.
Yes, the tap lands are back, and as you can probably tell, that means the painlands are out. I talk about this decision at length in a later article. This is why I kept Terramorphic Expanse and added back Fellwar Stone. (Plus two other cards at rare to help you out). You’ll see.
Two thirds down, one third to go.
Red Rare Creatures
Kamahl, Pit Fighter
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Two-Headed Giant of Foriys
Here we have some classic, iconic cards for Red. Shivan Dragon, Goblin King, Balduvian Horde, Squee, and Thundermare were all banner cards in their day.
Balduvian Horde continues the theme of Red sacrificing for a quick gain, and the Ogre Shaman takes that to the next level, providing an outlet for damage at the cost of cards from your hand. Ogre Shaman likes Squee.
Big Red dragons chart here, with the classic Shivan Dragon still flying high while newcomer Thunder Dragon brings both another draconic body to the table while also supporting the Tremor theme.
This is the only color where I kept both of the legendary creatures. Kamahl and Squee are perfect. Shivan Phoenix follows the Squee theme with a more traditional recursion creature available to you.
Excruciator is more powerful than your think, and you can even attack into Akroma with it (by the way, Akroma is back).
Two-Headed Giant is perfect for Red, and does not have confusing abilities. Bringing him back will evoke fond memories of a time long lost, and sell a lot of packs while giving a new generation of Magic players a chance to acquire some copies.
Red Rare Spells
Red still has burn with Char, Searing Wind, and Earthquake. The Quake is also the final piece of the “Damage to Ground Creatures” aspect of Red.
Final Fortune is the perfect gamble card for Red, and no other card gets that across better.
Shatterstorm solidifies Red’s hate of all things artificial. Final Frenzy solidifies Red’s love of powerful creatures. Relentless Assault is a perfect Red card and another new classic.
Every core set has janky Red enchantments going all the way back to the first with enchantments like Smoke, Power Surge, Manabarbs, and Raging River. In this one, I feature Grand Melee, a very Red ability.
Finally, Shunt gives Red its misdirection spell for the set.
Black Rare Creatures
Commander Greven il-Vec
Lord of the Pit
Lord of the Undead
Phage the Untouchable
Some typical Black rares are featured here. There’s no surprise in seeing Royal Assassin, Hypnotic Specter, Nightmare, or Sengir Vampire. Lord of the Pit was out of style for a while but he was recently brought back, and I am continuing that.
Phage is a perfect legendary creature for Black, but I felt Greven was better than the Evincar. He feels Black. Along with Fallen Angel, he continues the theme of sacrifice for gain.
Some people might notice your banner card for the set, a little old 5/5 called Juzam Djinn. Above, in the Red section, I talked about new players getting chance to get this classic. It also gives old players a chance to get it as well. It is not nearly as good as its price would suggest, and reprinting it would sell the set in seconds. Buy the original artwork, and print it in foil. Who wants a new border foil Juzam with the original art? Get in line now…
Black Rare Spells
Hellfire is the banner card for Black. Lots of core sets have had sweeping Black removal in them, like Plague Wind. However, I feel this better meets the flavor of Black. Why?
It kills all non-Black things, which follows other spells, like Terror and Nekrataal. It also keeps opponent’s Black creatures around. Finally, it costs life to kill these creatures, which suits Blacks sacrifice mechanic. It is a perfect card for the core set for Black.
Black also gets the Edict mechanic here, but as Urborg Justice, which can be a lot more powerful. Grave Pact also pushes this idea.
Reanimation is in the form of Shallow Grave. Discard can be seen with the reprinting of Persecute. Head Games, Extinction, and Underworld Dreams all support the various themes of Black, while Reprocess and Moonlight Bargain yield you cards in a very Black way.
Blue Rare Creatures
Arcanis, the Omnipotent
Sower of Temptation
Blue did not get an uncommon Control Magic type effect, instead here is Sower of Temptation at rare. Mistform Ultimus replaces the junky Laquatus, while I kept Arcanis. Clone and Mahamoti Djinn need no introduction. [Reejerey at rare… interesting. — Craig.]
Blue regularly has big, expensive creatures of the sea in its rare slots, and I added two. Benthic Behemoth is the avatar of “Opponents with Island” mechanic, while Tidal Kraken really gets across the idea of unblockable.
Zephid proves that Blue gets shroud. It’s not that good, and I was surprised to find it on the reserve list, since it never got much play. However, it is here, printed at least.
Blue Rare Spells
Show and Tell
As I hinted in last week’s article, Braingeyser is getting reprinted here.
A lot of other classic Blue cards are seeing print. Evacuation is a new classic, Bribery is money for casual players and punishes the players of Akroma, Mind Bend and Prismatic Lace give Blue some classic tools, while Traumatize and Twincast give Blue some power.
Stifle continues the counterspell ability of Blue. Time Stop is very flavorful and very elegant in verbage. Time Warp gives Blue the first core set extra turn card since Unlimited when Time Walk was pulled out.
That leaves us Show and Tell, which I admit can be powerful, so see more in a future article about the Show and Tell issue.
White Rare Creatures
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
I didn’t just reprint one banner card in White, I reprinted two. Serra Avatar and Akroma. There’s no reason Akroma can’t be your legendary creature in the set, along with Cho-Manno.
Paladin en-Vec is returning for another run in the sun. Savannah Lions are time tested and being brought back. Serra Angel is a classic.
Veteran Bodyguard is a junk rare form long ago, pulled out for whatever reason. He is very flavorful, and has sentimental value to a lot of old school players. Since then, there have been cards printed that redirect damage to the creature, so the ability is not too powerful or too confusing for the core set. As such, let’s stop playing footsie with cards like Oracle’s Attendants and just reprint the original.
White Rare Spells
Blaze of Glory
Rule of Law
Wrath of God
I doubt anyone would be surprised to see cards like Glorious Anthem, Reverse Damage, Story Circle, or Wrath of God on my list.
Righteousness was considered along with Hold the Line. Ultimately I went with Righteousness, because it was simpler, but there is no shame in used Hold the Line instead.
Blaze of Glory is an old reprint and again, gives players a chance to acquire cards they never were able to before. We all know that if BoG were printed today it would be a junk rare, so give it a day in the sun, for a few months, where people can talk about it again and play it in their decks.
Oblation gives White an answer to anything while also being able to be used to draw cards on your own cards.
Sacred Ground and Spiritual Focus give White solid foils for any dedicated decks.
I hate Rule of Law. I absolutely detest the card and wish it has never been made. However, I understand that the rules aspect of White needs to be represented, and it is perfect for that. I was looking at Tariff, but I deemed it too complex.
Green Rare Creatures
Multani, Maro Sorcerer
Thriss, Nantuko Primus
It probably is no surprise that Erhnam Djinn is in my set, making its debut in a core set. You also have standards old and new in cards like Elvish Champion, Elvish Piper, Lhurgoyf, and Verdant Force.
I changed both legendary creatures. Thriss better suits the color because he shows the Giant Growth ability. Multani is more fearful than Molimo, to my mind, although they are close. I think if you play casual, you’d rather have Multani than Molimo. I think a 6/6 or 8/8 shroud is more powerful looking than a 6/6 or 8/8 with trample, since Green has a lot of beef anyway, but none with shroud.
Carnassid gives Green its classic trampler and pushes the regeneration theme.
Quirion Dryad, Seedborn Muse, Joiner Adept and Troll Ascetic continue Green themes long since started at earlier commonalities (growth, regeneration, shroud, etc).
Green Rare Spells
Heartbeat of Spring
Might of Oaks
Restock is the final piece of the recursion mechanic for Green. Might of Oaks is the final Giant Growth. Heartbeat of Spring is the final mana production.
Both Pack Hunt and Natural Order represent Green’s fondness for creatures, which it exhibited in Commune with Nature. Enchantress’s Presence and nature’s Resurgence give Green card drawing in flavor.
Finally, there is Whirlwind. I gave Green its single most powerful flying hoser ever. Why? Because it needs it. Red has Shatterstorm, which blows up at artifacts. White has Wrath of God, which pops all creatures, and Tempest of Light, which blows up all enchantments. Blue has Evacuation, which bounces all creatures. Black has Hellfire, which takes out all non-Black creatures. Green was missing a mass removal spell of any sort. Why? It hates flayers, so should it not have Whirlwind, a mass removal spell? I think so.
Artifact Rare Creatures
Colossus of Sardia
As I promised, there would be two rare cards that also help your manabase. Here is one. Solemn Simulacrum is money for any deck. Get your mana fixed and draw some cardage later. Solemn is good fun, and a powerfully interesting reprint. Platinum Angel is in 10th and I like it there, it works here too. Finally, we have the classic Colossus of Sardia. It’s big and mean and ready for hitting people for damage.
Artifact Rare Non-Creatures
Ankh of Mishra
Coat of Arms
Crucible of Worlds
Sphere of Resistance
Outside of the common cards, this is the most dangerous list. This is where you might screw it up — rare artifacts. Screw up and put something too powerful here, like Winter Orb, and you have a broken set. This is where a bad mistake is multiplied in a variety of decks. I can account for a powerful Blue or White spell by increasing or lowering the power of other cards near it. Here, I have to take into account one simple fact — every artifact can go with every color. How do you balance that? This is where I believe playtesting helped me.
There is no Winter Orb, no Static Orb even. However, we do have Ankh of Mishra returning for another tour. It had just made an impact in tournament decks with Ankh-Tide before being ripped out of the basic set long ago. Now it’s time for another run, this time with a Tide effect anywhere to be seen and in a set with only three possible LD effects (Creeping Mold, Stone Rain, Reign of Chaos).
Meekstone returns as well. Like its friend, the Ankh, it has been missing for a while, and I’m not even sure why. It’s a great tool for weenie decks against the beaters, and coming out of the sideboard, could be one of the tools that gives weenie decks some space in the sun. It is also highly flavorful.
Old favorites return. Jayemdae Tome, Howling Mine, and Millstone are all longtime main set cards. I’m also bringing back on-again-off-again Jester’s Cap. Another occasional main set card is Snake Basket, the third and final card to make token creatures (and every card just makes 1/1 creatures to keep them separate). Disrupting Scepter is also back after taking a set off.
Here we need the foils I spoke about earlier, answers to various problems that might arise. Pithing Needle takes care of a lot, and joining it are Cursed Totem, Null Rod, and Defense Grid (plus the Cap). Each of these cards can take out various problems in many metagames without resorting to artificial means. Many of the artificial means, like Tsabo’s Web (which was created and introduced to hose Rishadan Port), feel fake in the set and have little other use.
Players of eternal formats may be happy to see Sphere of Resistance and Null Rod, as those are good tools. Sphere of Resistance is as close to a Winter Orb as I dare came.
Casual favorites like Crucible of Worlds, Coat of Arms, and Howling Mine give the artifacts some power with that crowd. Loxodon Warhammer reprises its role as the rare equipment of choice. Since it works, I see no sense to change it.
Here we have the final tool for multicolor decks. Along with the taplands, Solemn, Fellwar Stone, and Terramorphic Expanse, I am comfortable with the set’s ability to allow decks with more than one color.
Well, I’ve introduced you to Abeth Edition. Today’s document is charting at almost 6,000 words, about double my usual length, although the lists of cards takes up a lot of space, and some of those words.
For the next few weeks, I’ll be doing analysis of the format, discussing various cards, and then even presenting you with some sample decks we made for the playtesting.
I have written the entire magnum opus, so I may discuss various questions that you have in future articles. If you ask a question or wonder about a card in the forum, and I have not discussed it in the future, I will do so in the forums. Otherwise, you might be asking questions (Where’s Birds of Paradise, Painlands? Why is Fog in for Holy Day? Why not Armageddon? Etc) that I have already answered.