The Magic Show #225 – Return to Form

Friday, March 18 – Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. As you can see this week we’re at it again, switching things up in what I feel will bridge the gap between the old and the new. You ready for this jelly? Let’s go! NOW WITH VIDEO!

Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. As you can see this week we’re at it again, switching things up in what I feel will bridge the gap between the old and the new. You ready for this jelly? Let’s go!

Gettin’ Some Action

So this week Wizards once again continues the running joke of not telling us Phyrexia won the war by showing both the Mirrodin Pure and New Phyrexia packaging.

Look, we get it. We understand that you had a plan on not letting us know who won, letting players battle it out at Game Day and in leagues all kinds of neat stuff. But we’ve all chosen a side, we’ve all seen the clash, and we’re all ready for some closure.

You know when they really jumped the shark? By announcing Innistrad, the new block for this fall. And don’t get me wrong, Innistrad looks friggin sweet. I mean, check out Liliana there, looking all badass in her big throne room. Is it finally time for a four mana black planeswalker that doesn’t suck?

And don’t even tell me that Tezzeret is it, because he’s not. It’s like saying Venser, the Sojourner is a blue planeswalker.

Note, I say this because Innistrad will also see the removal of Jace, the Mind Sculptor from Standard. Two ridiculous four mana ‘walkers is not something we need in Standard. But allowing Liliana to finally shine, after her first iteration is so awful, would be nice. R-e-s-p-m-t-g, know what I’m sayin?

A few notes about this announcement. Firstly, did they really just have the Arcana number be 666? This is not a coincidence folks. Also, nice throne Liliana, as it appears that is also the expansion symbol. I can dig it. It appears this will be a “horror” or perhaps “gothic” block, as emo kids all around the world cut themselves gleefully as they finally got their Magic set. We’ll see.

So here we are, knowing what is coming in the summer, which is Commander and M12, along with the fall, which features Innistrad and one badass Liliana Vess.

But what’s coming in a few months? Nobody knows outside of WotC. Hell, best we can tell, the actual prerelease cases will come labeled “Action” instead of whatever the name of the set is.

Look, I love it when they switch things up, and I think they’ve done so. But I also know when WotC wears out its welcome, and it’s time to just bust it already. The set is New Phyrexia. You ready to know why? Here we go.

You see, Mirrodin is like Star Wars: A New Hope. Now in the beginning, there was Mirrodin. It was shiny, cool, and ready for action. As the affinity for the force of artifacts was developed, soon it became overpowered and all hell broke loose. Then we left the plane and came back six years later. Its now time for Empire Strikes Back. The Phyrexians are winning, and will continue to win, because that’s what that whole film is about. Defeat for the good guys, bad guys relishing in their victories.

And in six years or whenever WotC wants to wrap this up we’ll go back to Mirrodin, and everything will be awful. The Phyrexians will have sucked the life out of its thin metal shell, and Karn will be redeemed in some fashion, coming back more badass than ever. He’ll wreck Phyrexian tail, and all will be right again. Return of Karn will happen then, and it will be awesome.

M12 & Duels 2012!

Speaking of summer products, have you seen the new graphic for Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012? Now this obviously coincides with Magic 2012, as Wizards realized Duels of the Planeswalkers is now a product they can continually revamp as they do all other Magic products.

That said, this image basically infers that these are the five Planeswalkers they’re featuring in M12. So there’s Garruk Wildspeaker, Chandra Nalaar, I see Jace Beleren…and there’s Sorin Markov and Gideon Jura! Sweet! Now this exciting for two reasons:

One, Liliana Vess and Ajani Goldmane were terrible. Yes, Ajani Goldmane got to the finals of Pro Tour Kyoto with B/W Tokens. Two years ago. This was back during the days of Three Dudes Seriously and Kitchen Finks. The world has changed, and Ajani is still the same. As for Liliana, she’s always been sub-par on tournament tables, played in very few decks with disappointing results.

The second reason is that we’re hoping for new Planeswalker abilities. And I’m not just talking Sorin and Gideon here, I’m talking all of them. It would be a totally awesome way to get people excited to play M12, and it would help make the “Vampire Planeswalker” more appealing if he actually, you know, could be played in the Vampire deck. Right now, six mana is too much. Also, look at Gideon. A ‘zero’ ability that prevents damage and makes him a creature? This seems pretty complicated for a core set Planeswalker, so I expect a new version of him as well. Since the world is waking up–again–to how awesome Gideon is, a different version that can legend-rule the old one off the table would be nice.

Open Series Update

Welcome to our first edition of Open Series Update as we go over the plays and players of the past weekend. Last week the Memphis Open began on Saturday with 355 players, taken down by Joey Mispagel’s Valakut list. You’ll see the list on your screen, and congrats to our champion.

As you can see, the interesting thing I feel about this list is the two Koth of the Hammer. Koth has been less of a force recently, with many opting for Hero of Oxid Ridge instead. But as the results have shown, both in Edison where Patrick Sullivan reigned supreme with four in his Red Deck Wins and here with Joey’s list, Koth is not to be underestimated.

Moving on to Legacy, on Sunday 137 battled and one stood alone: Alex Bertoncini! Yes, he was back with his trusty fish friends, and they did not disappoint. Known for playing the same deck in formats until they rotate, this one never does and Alex certainly knows his way around the deck, working through the field in short fashion. Also, Alex is now the first player to ever reach Level 6 in the StarCityGames.com Players Club! Yes, that means at every Open he gets free sleeves, he plays in both constructed Opens for free, and he gets a hundred bucks just for showing up! Pretty sick.

But the story of the weekend? Edgar Flores. “The Other Flores” as some have known him, be careful touching him–you might burst into flames! This boy is so hot, let me explain to you just how hot. The kid arrives in Memphis and battles in a casino all night. Shows up the next day on no sleep and with U/W Caw-Blade. Wrecks the tournament, obviously, taking second place. The next day he enters the Legacy Open with Team America, a format he has never played in his life, and gets fourth! So in just three weeks–three weeks!–and four tournaments Edgar Flores has hit Level 5 in the StarCityGames.com Players Club. That is…that’s ridiculous folks.

To call this unprecedented is an understatement. The gauntlet has been thrown down and Edgar Flores is out to make a name for himself. Suddenly going to Dallas/Fort Worth this weekend, boy, I wonder why, we have ourselves a brand new superstar. Expect to hear more from Edgar in the future.

Invitational Qualifiers are happening this weekend in Baltimore, MD, Vestal, NY, and Chester, VA. More information is available on starcitygames.com/IQ. Remember, you can have an Invitational Qualifier at your store, just have your store owner contact StarCityGames via the email you see on your screen and we’ll take care of the rest.

Metagame Shift

So in this week’s Metagame shift, we look at the best decks in the format:

Caw-Blade, in its U/W, Esper, and Red variants continue to dominate as Stoneforge Mystic and Squadron Hawk continue to be the best two cards in the format. Right behind it is Valakut, featuring the M11 monster Primeval Titan and a whole lotta fetchin goin on just won in Memphis and is certain to be in Dallas in numbers. Boros, our resident aggro deck sits alongside Red Deck Wins as the premier ways to beat face. Kuldotha Red used to be a factor, but its lack of ‘reach’ along with incredible splash damage courtesy of Slagstorm and Pyroclasm making their way into a lot more decks and sideboards means that deck is not to be played right now.

What are the mirror-breakers you should be running? For Caw-Go it appears going Esper and using Inquisition of Kozilek. It is the premier discard spell of the format, forcing players to discard both Stoneforge Mystic and Sword of Feast and Famine. While it doesn’t hit Jace it hits everything else, and that’s good enough. If you’re playing black, I’d be packing four.

While I don’t have tech for Valakut, for Boros the sick tech is certainly Kemba, Kha Regent. A threat on its own, its Lightning Bolt proof and must be dealt with. A single piece of equipment and here comes the Kitty Cat Parade! Rawr!

Patrick Chapin this week debuted an innovative Jund build, packing cards like Mimic Vat, Sign in Blood and Phyrexian Rager. Along with the power of Grave Titan and its own Swords of Feast or Famine, this deck could very well make an appearance this weekend.

Meanwhile, don’t count out RUG, as Lotus Cobra and Jace are best buddies and do all sorts of stuff together…let’s check in on one of their latest conversations.

And now for another episode of….MTG THEATER


Okay, so that was MTG Theater. Fun, fun stuff.

So that was another edition of the Magic Show everybody. I hope you can tell that things are always a-changing around here, as I work my way through these ah..kinks and whatnot. I’ll see you here next week. Until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards…so you don’t have to.

Evan “misterorange” Erwin