Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week, things are getting serious after one of the most profound leaks of information in Wizards history – as of right now, the entire New Phyrexia set has been spoiled, an entire spoiler season has been damaged, and Wizards is in damage control mode. You ready to talk about the impact of this and what it means for our game, along with a few exciting tidbits? Let’s go!
The Spoiling of New Phyrexia
Let’s begin this week with a story.
When I was a kid, somewhere around seven or eight years old, I wanted a big remote control truck for Christmas. More than anything else, I wanted that truck. And boy did I love Christmas. It was like a super birthday–you get presents left and right, then you travel to other relatives’ houses to get more presents! Sweet!
As Christmas approached, I was getting more and more anxious. Santa was coming, I had been a good boy, things were looking up.
A few days before Christmas, I went into my mother’s room to get something she asked for. I couldn’t find it at first so I walked around to the other side of the bed…
…and there it was. A big, honkin remote control truck, just like I wanted. I immediately felt exhilarated, overjoyed, and a huge smile broke across my face.
Then…heartbreak. A wave of realization hit me like cold water. My childhood would never be the same. I suddenly realized that my mother wasn’t just â€˜working’ for Santa, she -was- Santa. I had figured out the Ultimate Childhood Secret.
But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part? It was three days until Christmas. I had to not only keep this secret, but act as surprised as I normally would that morning. Essentially, I’d have to fake it. And I’m not good at faking it. I gave it my best shot, but after that year my mother dropped the Santa facade. One of the most thrilling moments of my year had been deflated, removed, and instead of trying hard to go to sleep the night before I was dreading the act I would have to put on because of my need to know every secret.
And that brings us to today. On Tuesday, screenshots of New Phyrexia in PDF form were posted. Not everything, but you could tell the tide was turning. It wasn’t long before the entire file got out, along with every card there-in. Santa Claus is not only dead, he’s spinning in his grave.
First I’ll happily admit to squealing with joy at the idea of seeing the entire set weeks before its release. I’m a -Magic player-, of COURSE I want to see the new cards as soon as possible.
But there’s a double-edged sword to that knowledge, just like that remote control toy. You can’t â€˜un-see’ the cards, the mechanics, the combos. You can’t get â€˜re-excited’ for spoilers after they’ve been in the world for weeks. Quite simply, the exultation I had at seeing all the new cards was soon replaced by the realization that the set won’t be out for almost a MONTH! That is absurd. Wizards spends a lot of time crafting perfect marketing and spoiler unveiling strategies. All of that? Gone. Wasted. Worthless. And that is sad.
Before we continue let’s make sure this is clear: The spoiling of New Phyrexia is nothing less than a criminal act. Wizards employees work for years, literally years, making these sets. Then some prick posts a PDF online and all of the effort and finesse in showing off their hard work go down the drain. That is unfair, uncool, and those who did this deserve to be punished.
The set was damaged by the Japanese spoilers a few weeks ago, no doubt about it. They didn’t want Karn Liberated or Phyrexian Obliterator spoiled early, but they had plenty of awesome new cards left to spoil and rearrange.
Now? Well, now it’s all out there, it’s done, and it’s taken the wind out of the sails of our spoiler season. With every card known, even if you’ve not seen the artwork, you can build decks with it, you can proxy it, you can think about all of its interactions and combos.
But who does this hurt beyond Wizards? It truly damages those smaller sites and blogs on the net, who rely on exclusive previews to gain traffic and notoriety.
Some of you may be asking – has this ever happened before? The answer is yes – and it’s been almost a decade since. In Odyssey block, Wizards was working on the idea of releasing Magic Online and paper products at the same time. This change meant that Judgment cards were inadvertently put into the client almost a month before their official release date. Note that this screwup is one of the primary reasons sets are not released simultaneously online.
Now that was a different era, and you didn’t have nearly the coverage or network in place that you see today. StarCityGames.com was still finding its footing, magicthegathering.com was still a mess to navigate–totally unlike today, of course–Facebook wasn’t even an idea yet, YouTube was years away, Grand Prix were â€˜huge’ with three to four hundred players…and now, well, now everyone has Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, IMs, fan pages, and smart phones. And they’re all now going over this set with a fine tooth comb. Hundreds of thousands of minds putting together decks, ideas, and combos…weeks before they can even play with the cards, let alone purchase them at stores. The Open Series will quickly grind out the best decks and the most powerful strategies. Every player just got a month-long head start on the format. That is ridiculous.
In this game of ours, knowledge is power. The game itself relies on secrets, surprises, and reveals to keep us enthralled, and it’s crap like this that takes it from us. There is no slow-roll, there is only a torrent of information, coming at you so fast you can’t keep up. A fire hose of information can’t beat the slow ocean tide of build up, you know what I’m saying?
I for one would like to see this never happen again, and those responsible duly punished. I think New Phyrexia is a fantastic set, one of the best in some time, and would have loved to see it given its proper pomp and circumstance.
With that said, because I must, let’s go over two incredible Uncommons found in New Phyrexia.
First up is a card that will forever change Legacy. Let me introduce you to Mental Misstep.
Counter target spell with converted mana cost 1.
This card. Good lord, this card will do things to that format no one ever thought possible. Allow me to name a few of the cards this thing stops: Aether Vial, Goblin Lackey, Sword to Plowshares, Sensei’s Divining Top, Noble Hierarch, Thoughtseize, Dark Ritual, Grim Lavamancer, Lightning Bolt, High Tide, Brainstorm, would you like me to go on?
Sure! How about Ponder, Preordain, Wild Nacatl, hell, half the Elves deck, Green Sun Zenith for zero, I can keep this up folks! And that’s just looking at some recent Top 8s in Legacy. Who knows if this thing will be affecting Vintage or Standard. All I know is, we’ve found the premier Uncommon of New Phyrexia. This card is fan-freakin tastic and will demand Path to Exile prices and above. Something to remember: Sensei’s Divining Top is now a twenty-dollar uncommon. And this card, which goes into any deck, of ANY color, counters it. Think about that. If there is one card you better be thanking Wizards is an Uncommon and not Rare, it’s this one. Get your foil Japanese copies before they’re a hundred bucks, okay?
The second card I must talk about is Beast Within:
Destroy target permanent. Its controller puts a 3/3 green Beast creature token onto the battlefield.
Yeah, you know how Hex Parasite answers Jace? This REALLY answers Jace…and any other permanent. Yes, it says -permanent- on there. Not “non-creature permanent” like Woodfall Primus, or only artifacts, enchantments, and lands like Acidic Slime. Straight up Vindicate…at instant speed. Good lord.
So this card is completely sick and will remain so for pretty much as long as it’s in Standard. This, to me, is a riff on Pongify, a shockingly good removal spell for Blue back in Planar Chaos. It’s not every day you see “Destroy target creature” on a blue card, and it’s a blustery one in hell when you see “Destroy target permanent” on a green one. Let’s see, there’s Desert Twister, Tornado, and…that’s pretty much it. So a six-mana spell is now a three-mana one, at instant speed, but they get a Hill Giant out of it? Oh hell yeah! If you hate Jace, the Mind Sculptor, you’re gonna love this card.
And that’s just scratching the surface this week. With a full spoiler before us, over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about everything that’s in New Phyrexia, what you need to keep an eye out for at the Prerelease…next month…and what the true fallout of this incredible leak means.
[RICHARD CASTLE “INSIDE THE DECK” PIECE]
Moving on, this weekend, the Open Series train starts back up again with a stop in Boston for another round of Standard, Legacy, and Draft Opens. Superstar Gerry Thompson earns his free set of Standard through the end of next year just by showing up, and Alex Bertoncini will be battling for his own Level 8 status as well.
Invitational Qualifiers will be held this weekend in Temple Terrace, Florida, Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Buford Georgia. This week we also have a brand new program to announce: Super IQs! Yes, Super Invitational Qualifiers is officially a thing, and here’s how it works: Select organizers will now be offering two, yes, two, qualifications to the Invitational, exclusive Top 8 playmats, and a minimum thousand dollar prize! The first ever Super IQ is to be held in Chester, Virginia on May 22nd. I hope you guys dig the bigger, better tournament option, now with two chances to qualify.
Remember, if your store wants to run an Invitational Qualifier or a Super IQ, contact us here at StarCityGames.com via the email address on the screen and we’ll do the rest.
So that’s another week in the world of Magic folks. We’ll be back next week with the Open Series Update and the Metagame Shift, bringing you the latest and greatest.
Until next time Magic players this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards…so you don’t have to!
– Evan “misterorange” Erwin