The Magic Show #73 – Good Morningtide

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Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to take a look around at a little Magic culture before we talk about the latest rumors and truths on Morningtide, discuss the huge new set legality change that goes into effect next February, and share with you a few new pieces of equipment that your kick ass donations have brought to the show.

Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to take a look around at a little Magic culture before we talk about the latest rumors and truths on Morningtide, discuss the huge new set legality change that goes into effect next February, and share with you a few new pieces of equipment that your kick ass donations have brought to the show.

A Little Bit Of Culture

You know what I find incredibly cool? Customized artwork. I feel like anything you can do beyond the cards you pull from your packs is a-okay with me. If anything it’s something I kind of miss about playing online – you’re stuck with that artwork, you can never get your duals signed, and you can’t get your friends to sign your collection of Chimney Imps.

But with that said, MTGSalvation has some absolutely incredible artwork threads, and here’s one of them. This focuses on the card alteration practice of “filling in” the rest of the card with what you believe would be its potential artwork.

Take a look at some of these. Just incredible, incredible work. My good buddy Richie Proffitt, a.k.a. PolarBearGod, is a contributor to this medium and I think it’s just fantastic. He’s a hell of a Magic player and artist, and it’s great that those two can converge.

These can range from the mundane to taking over the entire frame itself. I encourage everyone to get those sharpies humming and see what fun can be had when you begin to expand the horizons of your little pieces of cardboard joy.

Good Morningtide

Ah, the rumor mills have opened forth and I have some new information to share. Before we start on what will inevitably a few weeks of Worlds coverage, let’s see what’s in store for the last set of Lorwyn block.

Well, firstly, I have to begin with I Was Totally Right as I highlighted the Class-based play theory in The Magic Show #63 — The Secret of Lorwyn. I found and highlighted a forum poster who had it more or less right on the money: Morningtide is going to feature classes, not creature types, and so that will make you look at your creatures in both Standard and Limited in a whole new light.

Better yet, if the powerful cards are powerful enough, who knows what Extended goodness could be within our reach now that we have to account for Rogues and Soldiers in new ways?

There will be three new mechanics in Morningtide, and we currently know their names and what one of them may be. They are Prowl, Reinforce, and Kinship. Let’s start with what we know. Currently Prowl is said to be a cost reducer. Take a look at this spoiled card:

Black Creature
Creature — Goblin Rogue
Prowl 1B (If a Goblin Rogue creature dealt combat damage to an opponent this turn, you may play ~ for its Prowl cost)

So a few things about this card: Firstly, being a cost-reducing mechanic you immediately think of Affinity, where it all went to hell in a handbastket, and Ninjutsu, which other than Ninja of the Deep Hours and Ink-Eyes didn’t do a whole lot for the game.

Secondly, there is only a single one-drop in Lorwyn capable of powering out this guy on Turn 2. And his name is Boggart Forager, a card you may have picked up as early as fourteenth in your most recent draft.

Thirdly, remember that Changelings are all Goblin Rogues. Sure it’s a class, but it’s a type too! Uh, right?

Overall, I think Prowl is incredibly restrictive. Wizards has been burnt by cost-reducing mechanics so much that they either overpower them like Affinity or they suck mightily like Ninjutsu. I’m sorry, Higure the Still Wind is Still Crap. I for one would welcome the arrival of new Ninjas in Magic, and hopefully one day I’ll get em. This could also be seen as another variant of Bloodthirst, if you want to look at it that way. But for right now, Prowl looks to be a minor and somewhat cute mechanic. We’ll see how far they push this as new cards are brought to light.

That said, what about Reinforce and Kinship? Well, Reinforce is a term I recall from the now-dead Vs System, which gave all of its creatures trample by default. Will this new keyword give or stop trample? Does it have something to do with the combat step or is it Just Another Take On Kicker? Many people have pointed out that mechanics such as Replicate are just interesting takes on Kicker, and this one kinda sounds like something of that nature. I guess we shall see.

As for Kinship, who has any idea. Perhaps they’ll fix Banding to work the way you think it does, where all of your guys can attack and block and you can split up the combat damage any way you see fit. Perhaps it has something to do with pumping up your guys who share classes. Who knows?

Next up is a batch of artwork that popped up online, a full 21 images of pure Morningtide bliss. Take a look at some of these beauties.


Legality Changes

Another interesting aspect of Morningtide is that it brings along a rules change that has been with us for so long I can’t even remember when it began. The traditional release window has been this:

The prerelease occurs two weeks before release
Release events occur two weeks before the set is legal in all constructed formats

You can take the last bit of the second line and simply erase it. That rule is now gone. This is absolutely huge for the average tournament player and could be incredibly impacting to those who happen to be attending a Grand Prix or larger tournament the same weekend a set is released.

There are a few ways to look at this issue. Firstly, it’s good for Wizards. It gets people buying the set earlier, or at least thinking of investing in it earlier. Take for example our own StarCityGames.com. They sell a lot of product in pre-orders before the set is released and that is at an all-time high in the window between the prerelease when the full spoiler is online and the release itself when players can buy as many cards as they want. Now you have a situation where Friday Night Magic players could be running into Morningtide strategies on February first, and on the next day when your average Saturday tournament is held they will be another glut of new cards and ideas.

This means that those wanting to play with the hot new stuff will need to be overnighting orders and buying things at a premium on February second. So that’s definitely good for business.

But what of your average player? Wouldn’t he suffer under the mighty hand of such a new policy? I don’t think so. I always thought, if anything, it was a little odd to have the entire set spoiled, be able to buy packs and play sealed with the new set, yet you couldn’t play with your new cards in actual tournaments. Some say this will further along tournament technology, meaning cards that flew under the radar for awhile (such as Tarmogoyf, of course) won’t fly under for so long. And to that I say good. This allows those who recognize greatness early to benefit the most, while the rest plays catch-up.

But there’s another side effect to this change that many may not be aware of: Every three months, the DCI releases its new Banned and Restricted list. This announcement also covers things like this new legality change, but also the announcement of newly banned cards. While it hasn’t been specifically said, just imagine if a card is announced as banned on September 1st and that is now the same day in which it can never be played legally again.

Why is this important? Let’s go back to the wild world of 2004, where a little card named Skullclamp was Tarmogoyf-ing its way through the metagame. And I don’t mean it just attacked and blocked, it actively killed people and made Ravager Affinity the most ridiculous, powerful, synergistic, and deadly deck anyone had ever seen. On June 1st, 2004, Skullclamp was banned from Standard, effective June 20th. On June 19th, U.S Nationals occurred, and because it began the day before the ban, the card was legal throughout the entire event. And of course, a deck featuring four Skullclamp rocked its way to the finals, where Craig Krempels won with Elf and Nail.

If newly banned cards are effective the day of the announcement, then this situation would’ve never have happened. Standard tournaments in 2004 wouldn’t have been fraught with players desperately trying to get their last few weeks of Skullclamp craziness on, and Nationals wouldn’t have groaned its way to fruition with Yet Another Deck Running Four Clamp to win the damned thing.

I for one hope ban announcements are immediate, but I can understand where such an announcement could fall on the same Saturday in which a big event is taking place. Awkward.

Either way, this change is going to be very impacting to those who enjoy the sixty card creations and I for one think it kicks ass.

Tournaments, Tournaments

This week we debut the announcement of Pete Hoefling latest brainchild, the $5,000 Standard Open happening on February 23rd in Charlotte, North Carolina. This will be the defining Standard event for Morningtide, as though it will be legal on the first it will take a few weeks to find the best decks. This is the tournament that will garner the attention of Magic players everywhere as I’ll be on-site for live tournament reports the entire day.

That’s right, you’ll see me walking and talking to Magic players from all over as I bring the latest as it’s happening. As you can imagine I’m pretty excited about it and you’ll hear more about Standard and the tournament itself as the date gets closer.

But hey, live updates! How much better does it get than that?

World Championships Bound

As you’re watching this I’ll be in New York City covering the World Championships. And of course, it’s all thanks to you guys. I could thank you enough for your incredible generosity and I’d like to highlight a few new toys I now have in my arsenal thanks to your donations.

The first is a new lightweight handheld camera. As the sheer heft of donations began pouring in, I researched my way into the best handheld for the buck. The result is the Flip Ultra Video, a hand held device that kicks some serious ass. While it won’t replace my Sony camcorder for serious work, it does incredibly well for the price. This holds up to an hour of video, after which I simply flick the USB stick out of the side, copy over the files to my Mac, then I’m back at it again. Fantastic!

The second is the Azden WMS-PRO wireless microphone system. As you can see and hear yourself, audio has never been my strong point. From wonky volume levels to horrible background noise, it’s time we rectified that. This is another steal at only a hundred and fifty bucks to give me both a lapel mic and and handheld mic for interviews. I can’t wait to try this one out.

Lastly I’d like to thank my buddy Reuben Bressler for providing me a place to stay in New York, and you guys for providing the plane to get me there. I’ll only be in New York City from Friday until Monday morning, but you can bet I’ll make the most of it. From a full day of tournament coverage to the biggest Sunday in Magic, I’ll be right in the thick of it, once again with behind the scenes access to the biggest names in Magic.

Saturday Night Cube Draft

On Saturday, December 8th, me and Tom LaPille will be hosting a Saturday Night Cube Draft. My cube will be there and so will Tom’s, so get yours ready and bring it because we’re going to be pounding the cardboard all evening. The event is open until 11:45pm and then the fun moves to Neutral Ground which is thankfully open all night. Cube till you drop, baby!

So if you see me say hello and I hope that my journey will be as fulfilling as I think it will. I’m sure you’ll dig the results.

Until next time Magic players, when the fruits of your labor are revealed, this is Evan Erwin, tapping the cards so you don’t have to.

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
Written in awe of the fact that I’m going to the Big Apple for the first time ever, and it’s all thanks to you guys.

Music Credits:
Opening Credits — “The Old Apartment” by Bare Naked Ladies
Titles — “The W.A.N.D” by The Flaming Lips
Good Morningtide — “Summer’s End” by Foo Fighters
Picture Montage — “Dune Messiah” by Brian Tyler
Legality Changes — “History Song” by The Good, The Bad & The Queen
Tournaments, Tournaments — “Center of Attention” by Guster
World Championships Bound — “Read My Mind” by The Killers
Saturday Night Cube Draft — “Bliss” by Muse