The Top 5 Sets of 2016

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

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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”

Everything That’s Pretty Okay with Battle for Zendikar

Ugin's InsightEditor’s Note: I’ve been sitting on my PAX report for a while after some delays (my brother getting married, life and work). I’ll visit it later; it hasn’t come out the way I want to.

Earlier this week, Pro Player (and notably better Magic player than I) Paulo Vitor Damo de Rosa put out an article on ChannelFireball.com called “Everything That’s Wrong with Battle for Zendikar.” In it, he explains why he doesn’t like the philosophical direction that BFZ has gone and believes it’s a bad set. He came from the angle as a competitive player completely acknowledges that angle; that’s what I want when I read something from him. While I don’t fully agree with his position I want to take a look at this groundswell I’ve seen online about the hatred for BFZ.

There has been a little bit of an issue with Channel Fireball moving his article around trying to hide it so it doesn’t effect sales of the new set in their store. I’m not looking to comment on this as I’ve had my own issues with a large online retail site/store before with their content. I’m all for an author writing what they believe without being tied to sponsors; that’s the major reason why I don’t have advertisements on this blog. If I write something like Paulo had and a sponsor didn’t like the content and this article might hurt sells, I might be pressured into writing something different or censoring myself. Paulo wants to start a conversation while giving his thoughts on the topic, and I fully applaud that even if I don’t agree with him. Continue reading “Everything That’s Pretty Okay with Battle for Zendikar”

Virign Pie – M10 Edition – Rares

M10 RareAh, that little gold symbol. You get one, maybe if you’re lucky a foil one as well, in each pack. They can be  the best of times, they can be the worst. That one card can determine what colors you play in draft. You may open 10 of a certain one and can’t pull any of the one you really want.

Rares are interesting: they’re the cards that you want the most yet get the least, hence representing that they’re rare. In terms of price range in the second market they can range from 50 cents to 20 bucks for a new rare opening out of the pack.

But which ones were right for the color? Again, these are new rares printed this is core set. If you haven’t been paying attention the past few posts, well then I can’t save you. You can check them out below.

Black

Sanguine BloodSanguine Blood – 3BB
Enchantment
Whenever you gain life, target opponent loses that much life.

This would’ve even made a great White/Black Gold card, but it is perfect in Black. Thanks to some lifelink creatures as well as some black drain life spells, you do a vampire effect: you gain stronger while your opponent gets weaker. This is an interesting twist on the lifelink concept but it gets you more bang for you buck if you do that way. Example: one of my EDH decks has Sygg, River Cuttthroat as my general, with Subversion and Sanguine Blood. I tend to draw cards while gaining like and making my opponent’s lose it; very very black.

Also Ran –
Cemetery Reaper for being a great way to “zombify” your opponent’s creatures and making your Thriller army. Continue reading “Virign Pie – M10 Edition – Rares”

Virgin Pie – M10 Edition – Uncommons

M10 UncommonYesterday was commons and today we go up in the rarity scale to uncommons (as seen by the title). There are some interesting choices here in silver land as I believe one of the best cards in the set will be shown here today. One color was completely hard to choose since there was so many new good choices. I really like what Wizards did here in this Core Set identifying the colors, much better than previous Core Sets.

Remember, these cards are one that haven’t been printed before since this is the first Core Set with new printed cards. I’m also not looking at functional reprints (bye bye Act of Treason) nor cards that changed rarity (welcome back Serra Angel). As the name suggests, this is “virgin” pie, something I’m sure that most gamers are familiar with (Ugly stereotype, I know it is but the jokes write themselves).

Black

Rise from the GraveRise from the Grave – 4B
Sorcery
Put target creature card in a graveyard into the battlefield under your control. That creature is a black Zombie in addition to its other colors and types.

While it does cost more than Zombify, I believe it’s a better one. If you brushed over the card due to it’s casting cost, please note that it does say “in a graveyard.” As we learned in Fight Club it’s company policy never to imply ownership…, it’s always a, not your. As a Black mage you should be able to take control of your opponent’s graveyard. Also, the fact that it now turns the creature into zombie (which would’ve made more sense on Zombify) is perfect flavor for Black.

Also Ran –
Howling Banshee for paying life for a good flying creature (bonus that it hurts your opponents as well). Continue reading “Virgin Pie – M10 Edition – Uncommons”