Dominaria Preview – Unwind (Melvins are from Time Spiral and Vorthos are from Dominaria)

A problem is only a problem if you don’t have the tools to correct it.

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Welcome one and all to my little blog on the internet. I know all of you came for the preview card but I just want to display the beautiful art so much:

Dominaria - Unwind - Anna Steinbauer
Unwind – Anna Steinbauer

The art depicts Captain Jhoira, the captain of the new Weatherlight. Anna Steinbauer has been a relativity new artist to Magic but has already painted a good number of cards.

I know you’re here for the card (in fact I bet most of you have scrolled by this to look at the card and closed the tab). This isn’t my first exclusive card, but one in a very long time. But if you stick around I’ll be discussing the nostalgic differences between Time Spiral and Dominaria. That’s interesting, right? Right?

Anyway, here’s Wonderwall:

Unwind_EN

Will this be played in Pauper? I don’t know. Secret tech in Brawl? Sure, why not. What I do know that Unwind has me feeling more nostalgic than this card:

197

And why is that?

Continue reading “Dominaria Preview – Unwind (Melvins are from Time Spiral and Vorthos are from Dominaria)”

Let’s Talk About Ascend

Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be

6Hey, a timely post.

First, if you came over from the Beacon of Creation Podcast where I was a guest, welcome. If you’re just hearing about this Beacon of Creation podcast, take a listen. Adam and Bradley host a podcast about Magic design and the lead up to the Great Designer Search 3 (more info when that kicks off). I’m on Episode 5, which you can find right here.

We talked a bit about some of the Rivals of Ixalan cards that had been previewed that day (we recorded on the first day of Rivals previews). There was one new mechanic in the set that we briefly touched upon that I would like to go further indepth.

Ascend (If you control ten or more permanents, you get the city’s blessing for the rest of the game.)

Ascend is a Threshhold mechanic meaning it needs a criteria to be met for it to turn on (ala, Threshhold from Odyssey block). What’s the most interesting part of this mechanic is that it can’t be turned off. Once you have Ascend, you can’t lose it, even if you have no permanents left on the board.

This was done on purpose.

To understand Ascend, we need to go back a few sets, to Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Ascend”

After PAX: The Death of Magic at PAX

All that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity.
– Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 2

I’ve been to PAX West eight out of the past nine years, venturing specifically for Magic: The Gathering (the only one I’ve missed when my daughter had surgery). I feel like I have some expertise when I say this: This year was by far the worst effort put forth by Wizards of the Coast to do anything Magic related at PAX West. The only major event they produced was one panel about the worldbuilding of Ixalan for an hour. And that was it. How you found it was a blurb in the main schedule, not even a mention on DailyMTG.com.

It was embarrassing.

Let me amend that:

I was embarrassed for Wizards of the Coast.

When I’ve written these After PAX pieces, I was trying to give you a little bit of the atmosphere of Magic-related PAX. They aren’t really reviews as it’s not something that one can experience again. I tried to examine what was WotC doing to promote their latest set and their actions at the convention itself.

For years the draw was the Magic Party where they would debut cards with music, food, drinks and a bunch of people including WotC employees. Over the past few years the party was toned down but the increased presence of Magic was there. Two years ago there was a huge Eldrazi arm crushing a police car on the street. Last year, they took over a whole theater for Kaladesh and the huge street wide banner hanging on the skybridge displaying Saheeli Rai for all of the PAX attendees to see.

This year, an hour long panel with two preview cards.

And as much as it would be easy to blame WotC for this, it’s not their fault.

There’s one clear reason for this complete drop off, but I have a feeling that there were to other factors that contributed to this choice that made it a bit easier. The elephant in the room:

Hascon.

Continue reading “After PAX: The Death of Magic at PAX”

The Top 5 Sets of 2016

It’d be a little odd to do a Top 5 sets of 2017

emissarysployWhat follows is a list of the top 5 sets of 2016. Anything that was more than just a single product to buy qualified as a set (Like, a From the Vault or Anthology collection could not be considered a set). It could be a set with all new cards, all reprints, or something in between. Now, how I’m ranking these sets is going to be different than you’re used to. Sure, there’s going to be a design aspect bent to it, but I’m not going to favor a set on its limited environment, Standard viability, Modern impact or if it had the best Commanders. Ok, there might be a little Commander bias, but not much. Not one set is going to be ranked higher because of a single card’s presence; it’s got to be the whole package. Got it? Good.

#5 – Shadows Over Innistrad

Can you go home again? I don’t know but Wizards sure tried. In the follow up to the original visit to the Gothic Horror plane from 2011 and 2012, we went back to see what has happened since Avacyn, um, Restored it. Everything went back to the way it was and the angel that was assigned to protect the people were now being slaughtered by her? Great job, Sorin. You’re batting 1.000 with the women in your life. Continue reading “The Top 5 Sets of 2016”

Commander 2016 – Getting What You Asked For

As the Philosopher Jagger once said, “You can’t always get what you want.”

kynaiosandtiroofmeletisIt’s a little odd to have a Commander post on the design blog, but whatever let’s roll with it.

Four-color Commanders was one of those areas that I just didn’t care to see Legends printed for. To me, the whole exercise was nothing more than checking boxes. Players kept asking for four-color Commanders so eventually WotC was going to produce them. Believe me, WotC would go back and errata the Nephilim to be legendary so fast it would make Barry Allen look slow (Insert your own timeline joke here). Alas, they don’t do functional errata so that’s a no-go there. I didn’t want four-color Commanders, I didn’t need four-color Commanders. And now?

I’m glad the boxes are checked.

This Commander product wasn’t directed at me. There are those people that want four-color Commanders to play those types of decks. The designs of them feel alright but most don’t really work with my playstyle (though Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis tickles my fancy). And that’s fine, not every product is going to be directed at me and this was something that players have been asking about for years.

Doesn’t mean I’m not buying all five decks, because I totally am. Continue reading “Commander 2016 – Getting What You Asked For”