Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to be taking a look at the all-stars in Rise of the Eldrazi Limited, what our new Standard environment may look like, address some concerns about the future of the ‘Show, and how a new rumored format may change everything about Extended and Legacy. Let’s go!
Rise of the Eldrazi Limited Bombs
So this past weekened prereleases happened all over the country and from what I can tell it was a huge success. Record turnouts in some areas, we had a ton of players getting down with those wacky and monstrous Eldrazi. But as the weekend went on, it was quickly apparent there was one rare to rule them all, and it is Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief. Now it’s obvious she’s good, but just how good? StarCityGames.com‘ own Ferrett highlighted how insane she was in his Prerelease article, noting that she was pretty much unstoppable. He runs down the answers:
For White, you can Guard Duty it and still have it demolish your team, Oust it and see it again in a few turns, or Smite it if you keep a blocker around long enough to block her, which is pretty doubtful.
Blue can Narcolepsy it and much like Guard Duty will still be destroyed by her ability, Regress it only to see it the next turn, and if you’re lucky you can Unified Will her on the way in.
Black struggles to deal with her, as you need Induce Despair and a creature with converted mana cost four or more, or if you’re really lucky you’ll get to Virulent Swipe a creature blocking Drana… but who lets their opponents have blockers with an ability like that?
Red has the most answers, where “most answers” is defined as two, that being Flame Slash and Heat Ray. Explosive Revelation is also a possibility, if you’re lucky.
And Green? Green’s got nothing. There is no Oran-Rief Recluse in this set, there is no Slingbow Trap. If you’re playing mono Green and your opponent drops Drana, I hope you’re alpha striking next turn, or it’s Frown Town for you.
And it’s not just Ferrett noticing this – Wizards own Aaron Forsythe tweeted about Drana’s incredible over-the-top goodness in Limited, noting she would’ve been a Mythic had she not been needed for the Vampire-based Intro Pack. All I gotta say is, seeing what Drana can do in Limited could be an indication as to how good could be in Standard. The problem is, of course, that there is infinite answers to Drana in Standard, whereas Rise of the Eldrazi Limited is a different beast altogether.
Other revelations about Rise of the Eldrazi Limited include Levelers are awesome – gasp! – and Aura Gnarlid is insane with Totem Armors. Remember my preview, Boar Umbra? This makes this guy a 6/6 that can only be blocked by things with six power or more. Yeah… that guy ends games pretty quick. It’s also apparent that those “impossible” mana costs, such as the 11 mana Pathrazer of Ulamog and his slightly cheaper but still creepy brother Spawnsire of Ulamog at ten mana are very much castable, and will have an impact on your Limited environment. Wizards claimed that Rise of the Eldrazi would be a unique limited play experience, and they weren’t kidding.
I trust all of you out there have your own impressions of this wacky and incredibly different Limited environment, and I look forward to hearing about them in the feedback.
Haters Gotta Hate
Switching gears for a minute, I’ve gotten quite a few comments over the past few weeks about the Magic Show getting ‘too commercialized.’ That I’ve “sold out” and that I don’t bash on anything any longer. Well, it’s true that I have held off on some bashing from time to time, but the reason isn’t that I ‘sold out.’ The reason is twofold: First, bashing on cards without context is a recipe for trouble. A year or two ago I bashed on a little card called Spectral Procession, calling it one of the worst in the cycle of colorless hybrid cards. Needless to say, after it got second place at Pro Tour: Kyoto, I looked a wee bit foolish. Second, as I’ve been doing this for a few years now, I’ve realized that such bashing really isn’t necessary. Every card, no matter how ‘bad,’ is loved by somebody or is perfect for the format in which is was designed. Hell, sometimes cards are bad just so they can make other cards look good!
For example: Magmaw. I hate this guy. He’s friggin horrible. He is underpowered, should’ve been able to sac lands, and is one of the worst rares in the set. May he die in a fire of Chimney Imps. But in Limited? He looks pretty solid. While you can’t pay for his ability using the Eldrazi Spawn you’re probably sacrificing anyway. For that matter, he is an answer to Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief that I mentioned earlier. So no matter how much I dislike this guy in Constructed, he fills a role, he has a job, and he does that job well.
But still, hate this guy. He is my “Khan” for the set. Magmaw! MAGMAW!!
… moving on.
So this past week one hell of a juicy rumor popped up on the Rumor Mill – Wizards is thinking of creating a new Constructed format consisting of cards from Mercadian Masques forward, with very few things banned. Now this, of course, got the juices flowing in fanboys around the world.
First, why is this format even being discussed? Well, it has to do with the Reserve List. This stupid list, that has haunted Magic for a decade and a half now, finally got set in stone a few weeks ago. Nothing on it, no matter how “Promo-y,” will be reprinted ever again. EVER. And this is kind of a big deal when you realize that dual lands are the most integral part of playing a good Legacy deck. This means your manabase normally starts at several hundred dollars and only goes up from there. But before they sealed the Reserve List forever a few weeks ago, the idea that they could reprint a few of the cards on it as promo foils for From the Vault sets or Judge Foils was still a possibility. Now that possibility is gone, Legacy is only getting more expensive, and something needs to be done.
That ‘something’ is this format. Many are calling this format “Overextended” for a few reasons: One, it’s a cute reference as to how players are kind of tired of Extended. While it was definitely a good idea to put Extended in a solid rotation that changes every Fall, tournament attendance for Extended events and PTQs has been steadily falling for years now. Basically, players only play it when they have to play it, and that’s not really a healthy format in my opinion.
Second, there are more Legacy events ran each year than Extended events now, meaning that players really enjoy playing with their cards, both old and new.
Third, you begin with Mercadian Masques because that’s where the Reserve List ends. Wizards finally came to their senses with this block, and thankfully this block still contains Legacy favorites like Brainstorm and Dark Ritual.
Now while this format is again “just a rumor,” there is just enough truth here to suggest this is actually being entertained by Wizards. What does Wizards need now? Your feedback and reactions. Believe it or not, Wizards of the Coast keeps quite a close eye on forums, YouTube feedback, and does in fact read the email sent to them, so if you have an opinion on a format like this, now’s the time to express it. The rumor continues that this format could be used as both a PTQ season and a Pro Tour Constructed format if it proves popular enough, and that popularity comes from you guys watching this show. If you like it, leave a comment saying so. If you don’t, leave a comment saying so. You can discuss this format over at the StarCityGames.com Facebook page, Twitter @dailymtg, or leave a comment here on YouTube. I assure you, someone is listening and if we champion this thing enough, it just might get there.
Why do I want this format to succeed? Because it gives Wizards a reason to reprint Force of Will, which would obviously warp Standard for a time, reprint Dual Lands as Snow Duals most likely, allowing the goodness of Duals while jumping through the silly hoop of ‘no exact reprints’ set down by the Reserve List, and will allow reprinting of any card in the format to make it more accessible and make future Wizards products more exciting. In other words, good stuff all around.
Will this change Legacy? Of course. Will it kill Extended? You bet. But who will miss Extended when you have a wide open format? Who will want to play Legacy when the decks get a whole lot cheaper, staples can be reprinted at any time, and tournament support will only increase? I’m also intrigued by the “very few cards banned” idea, meaning that beyond Skullclamp, every card is potentially legal. Sure, Entomb looks insane but what’s the powerful reanimation spell you play with it? Life / Death? Stitch Together? Gush could be banned thanks to Mind’s Desire, Disciple of the Vault and/or Aether Vial may need the axe to keep Affinity in check, and Sensei’s Divining Top could get left behind simply because it’s annoying. But my guess is they start with Skullclamp banned and go from there.
I for one think this is a fantastic idea that gets me really excited about the possibilities. I hope Wizards embraces this fully, leaves Extended behind, and gives us a “Legacy” format we can truly be happy with.
Again, this is all up in the air, but it’s definitely worth talking about, and your opinion is needed. You’ve heard mine, so chime in where and when you can, and let your voice be heard. Until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards… so you don’t have to.
Evan “misterorange” Erwin
Community Manager, StarCityGames.com