The Magic Show #238 – Innistrad, Modern & More! (Plus Hall of Fame Ballot!)

Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. Today we’re going to talk about Innistrad, Modern and More, along with my ballot for the 2011 class of the Pro Tour Hall of Fame. Let’s go!

Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. Today we’re going to talk about Innistrad, Modern and More, along with my vote for the 2011 class of the Pro Tour Hall of Fame. Let’s go!

First up, when does it come out? On September 30th we’ll be basking in the creepy glow of a gothic horror setting, now confirmed to have Werewolves, Ghosts, Vampires and Zombies.

Now you gotta check out this amazing Liliana artwork. This piece, by the amazing Steve Argyle, shows not only what a master that guy is, but how incredible Liliana of the Veil is going to look. Oh, did you catch that? Yep, the name got spoiled as well, and Liliana of the Veil will be kicking ass soon enough. Fingers crossed for a four mana awesome black planeswalker.

But that’s not all to this artwork. Steve gave us TWO versions of this amazing piece, one for Wizards, which was a bit toned down, and this version, pa-dow, which has all the bells and whistles. Just incredible.

Now as you’ll recall, the supposed leaks so far include Flashback returning and a very graveyard themed set. This leads me to think of a few mechanics beyond Flashback that may be returning.

Firstly, how about Delve? I’d love to see Tombstalker officially in the “correct” frame, and this cost-reducing mechanic is just waiting for a good R&D team to tear into it.

Another Future Sight mechanic waiting for some love? Check out Gravestorm. Only printed on one card, but can you imagine this mechanic can get pretty crazy while also being relatively balanced as you need permanents to die instead of ‘any card ever’ going to your graveyard. So you can’t Tome Scour and then copy Bitter Ideal five times, and so on.

But as for something real and concrete, Mark Rosewater recently mentioned on Twitter we have quite a few tribes in the set, even though Innistrad is most definitely not a ‘tribal set’ per se.

So just what tribes are going to be in Innistrad again? Well, so far they’ve revealed all but one – we have Zombies in Black, but also in Blue. While Blue Zombies are rare, they’re not unheard of and have been in Magic for awhile. Vampires, however, are of course in Black, but they also show up in Red. This sounds like Innistrad will mark the first time a Red Vampire will show up in Magic that isn’t multicolored like Blood Tyrant or Vampiric Dragon.

But where do Ghosts fit? Those go right into White and Blue. White has always been the ‘ethereal’ color, and Blue is the master of all things phantasmal. As Mark Rosewater explained on Twitter, having creatures be “invisible,” ala unblockable or hexproof or whatever, is a great way to explain in gameplay how ghosts will work.

Lastly, we’ve got our Werewolves. Now for me, because of the gothic nature of the set, you can imagine all of these tribes going right into Black. But Wizards knows better and as such our Werewolves will be showing up in Red and Green. I’m certainly curious what Werewolves hold, and my current guess is that every other turn these guys are amazing. With Innistrad rotating you we lose our buddy Vengevine, and I’m expecting a pretty awesome four drop green Werewolf to come barrelling down the pike soon enough.

There is one more tribe, but Rosewater isn’t telling. Me? I’m think the Humans may show up again, battling Ghosts and all the wicked beasts that roam Innistrad. We’ll see.

Wizards has revealed the name of the second set in Innistrad: Dark Ascension. Along with it comes a badass picture of Sorin being a badass. Yeah. Have sword, will plunge it deep into your gullet. High five.

Also, have you seen Creepy Doll? Wizards of the Coast revealed it at the San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago, and it remains an incredible piece. This art is not only called Creepy Doll, according to Wizards the final card is as well! Stuffy Doll has been a casual staple from the moment it was printed, and I’m excited for another freaky looking doll to impact our game.

Moving on, let’s look at Standard. At this point Nationals is about to take place, and our format has once again solidified as Caw-Blade versus Everything Else. Now at this point we are at an impasse — we can continue banning things, as we did with Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Or, we can simply recognize this is a part of the metagame, can be defeated by certain strategies like the difficult-to-pilot TwinPod concoction, and hope to eek out those pesky birds one at a time.

The fact is, and I think we’ve all come to realize this, Squadron Hawk is overpowered. This would’ve been a complete joke line a year ago, but we have learned so much, haven’t we? This little guy, for two mana, gives you four fliers and FOUR CARDS! Man, who’da thunk it. Squadron Hawk is not only the real deal, it’s a player stomping machine. Emeria Angel? She doesn’t stand on her own, she simply “makes more Squadron Hawks.”

But let’s not deny the other overpowered element, Sword of Feast and Famine. Putting Early Harvest on this thing just pushed it way, way over the top, as getting hit with one of these is arguably a worse feeling than getting hit with any other Sword in the game. Not only do you lose a card, they basically get another turn for free. What a beating. And in a Blue/White deck, where big powerful spells are key and keeping mana up on other people’s turns is also key, an overpowered card advantage engine combined with an overpowered piece of equipment to rock this metagame something awful.

With all that out there, I still think we can recognize that this format IS better than what we were stuck with. There IS still brewing going on, from the crazy Arachnus Spinner / Arachnus Web concoctions that are just waiting to be abused, to the Mono-Green beatdown deck that went 7-2 at the SCG Open in Pittsburgh. Yes, Dungrove Elder really did get there for a Top 32 showing.

What can you do? Well, with a slightly underpowered Caw-Blade you can still get plenty of wins with Goblins and their Grenades, Vampires of the Black and Red Variety, and for those wanting that Caw-Blade feel with half the guilt, you can play the “Night Shift” version that includes black and runs Gravitational Shift. Talk about your scary Hawks.

Moving on, Modern is officially A Thing now, as deemed by Wizards of the Coast again in San Diego a few weeks ago. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, the Modern format includes all cards in a “modern” frame. An arbitrary line in the sand, sure, but at least one that is visual and easily discernable. Printed in a modern frame? You’re good to go.

Now what the exact quote means, that is “moving forward with Modern” I don’t know. I’m guessing our PTQs next year will feature Modern instead of Extended because, as we know, Everyone Hates Extended. All I know is, Ravnica shocklands have once again surged in value and the financial landscape has changed dramatically. Cards like Hypergenesis went from once-banned to now sought, and other cards will see similar spikes as that format hashes itself out.

So that’s all I got. Until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards…so you don’t have to!

– Evan “misterorange” Erwin

Bonus Hall of Fame Ballot

In case you missed it, here’s my two short videos covering my Hall of Fame ballot:

My 2011 Hall of Fame ballot:

Shuhei Nakamura
– Steve O’Mahoney Shwartz
– Tsuyoshi Ikeda
Anton Jonsson
Patrick Chapin