Thirst for Knowledge: The Wishing Well
By Chris Jobin on June 25th, 2009 · Filed in Standard (Type 2), General Magic, Thirst for Knowledge · Comments not available just now
With only two weeks before Magic 2010 is released, I think everyone is at least a little excited about what cards could make their way into the new breed of core set. We know that only half of the original sixteen "everprints" will be making a comeback, and half the set itself will be made up of completely new cards. The rumor mills are filled with a number of wild speculations about possible reprints, some reasonable and others totally and freakishly absurd. Today, though, I'm going to talk a bit about what cards I'd like to see in M10 and how they'd impact Constructed play. Bear in mind that the following list of cards is just my own personal speculation, and none of the cards are confirmed in. And now, without further adieu, my M10 Wish List, arranged by color for your convenience!Faith's Fetters
Silver Knight/White Knight
Since Paladin en-Vec is probably out, I'd like to see both of these cards make it in. The obvious card for the core set to replace, say, Luminesce is Burrenton Forge-Tender, but this core set is trying to push away from the "names" and "themes" of previous planes (which made this list challenging to make) and so I feel that Silver Knight makes the most sense. Both cards are wildly popular with fans, and so it would be nothing short of a good idea to reprint both of white's knights side-by-side.
While it's true that Duress is the card that will likely get the reprint from Divine vs. Demonic, it was never said that more than just one of the cards couldn't make it in. M10 Limited needs a card to deal with planeswalkers at the common rarity, and although "business as usual" recently has been to use Oblivion Ring, it's time for a change. Faith's Fetters is an amazing and very well-designed card, and exactly the kind of card that I want to see in my Limited packs (heck, it's the card I want to see in my opener for a Standard match as well).
So why not? It's probably a bit of a stretch to argue for Armageddon considering that that card is far too powerful and also no longer purely white, but Cataclysm is interesting. It'd be nice to see what people would do with it in this format, what with token decks being all the rage and whatnot. It was never too good in the past, and these days it might be slightly more balanced considering that most creatures seeing play currently are on similar power levels with each other and thus won't make the game too lopsided after this spell resolves. On the other hand, it's not too much of a step down from Armageddon (it's arguably better, even), so this one might be too much to hope for. Of course, in all honesty, I was grasping at straws with white in the first place. The color kind of just sucks.
Mana Leak/Rune Snag
I'm not naive enough or even biased enough to actually suggest that we might get Counterspell back (as that would force Wizards to admit that they were wrong about Cancel), but either of these aren't all that unlikely. To balance the incredibly powerful cards that could potentially be in this core set, blue has to be given something in order to maintain some sort of equilibrium. Broken Ambitions is honestly just the worst, and having a decent two-mana counter again would be a dream come true. I think Rune Snag is probably more likely than Mana Leak as Mana Leak is the stronger card, but either one would be just fantastic. I'm not going to sit here and demand cards like Brainstorm or Counterspell, but I'm more than happy to beg for one of these two gems to make their way back into Standard.
Fact or Fiction
Too much? I guess this one probably is, but I'm not entirely sure this card would snap Standard in half. I mean, the card quality these days isn't even close to the same comparatively. In some ways, cards these days are better, but in most cases they just aren't as absurd. The old saying "EOTFOFFTW" (end of turn Fact or Fiction for the win) was true once, but not anymore. The card saw hardly any play last year in Extended, and only one or two decks play it in Legacy. I know the card would be ridiculous in Standard Faeries and Reveillark, but it wouldn't be degenerate by any means. It's hard to actually support a card like this seeing print again, but as the guy who always ends up playing Islands one way or the other I guess I can't help but voice how badly I want to play with these again. Though Fact of Fiction is probably too powerful to reprint no matter how much I dance around it, I've said the same thing about a lot of cards they have reprinted, so who knows.
Is this too hard to believe? Glare of Subdual once destroyed a format, and Opposition is even better. Can a card this strong be legal in Standard again? What deck would play it? Merfolk? That would be terribly ironic wouldn't it? I guess the idea of this card being printed again is more or less an experimental thought of mine, as I'm not sure how much this card could truly ravage the format. I'm inclined to think it would be pretty awful against the format due to all the token decks, but then I think about how simple it would be just to play these in a deck with Spectral Procession and completely lock the opponent out of the game. On second thought, this one might be a little too insane, huh?
This one is probably going to happen, to be honest. Its Vintage restriction is a result of blue one-mana card-manipulation reaching critical mass rather than the card's own power level. I see no reason why Ponder shouldn't just become a core set staple, because it's far from "too powerful" and it definitely isn't complicated. It's simple, elegant, and good enough to see plenty of play. It's actually just the kind of card that should be considered for the core set, and one I can definitely get behind. It's no Brainstorm, sure, but I'm trying to be reasonable.
I get that they wouldn't give us both this and one of the two-mana counters, but is it too much to ask for to have Force Spike? After all, it's generally one of the weaker counterspells in the game and has never been "too good" no matter when it was in print. It's not as though I'm asking for Daze, here - just a simple, to-the-point one-mana counterspell to help with the Faerie mirror matches and whatnot. I mean, I suppose Spell Snare would do just as well, but that card is about ten times more ridiculous.
I realize that this card kind of goes without saying at this point, but remember there was a time that this card did not grace the core set, and I truly hope that it doesn't go the way of the dodo again anytime soon. Terror is a very balanced and classic card, and one that has always been a Standard mainstay as well as a means by which various decks in the format can deal with Mistbind Clique. It's playtime in Standard has decreased as of late, sure, but I doubt it wouldn't be desperately missed if it didn't make the cut into M10.
Could it be?
I suppose this one isn't all that surprising, is it? I mean, I make it no secret that I have a heavy bias towards blue and black, and so I naturally want Wrath of God to get the axe. Wizards of the Coast has been pushing white towards the "exile stuff" style of removal rather than the "destroy stuff" approach, and so I think white will merely be given a "exile all creatures" sweeper in M10 (or Zendikar), while black gets to enjoy having the four-mana sweeper of the core set. Let's face it, a card like Wrath of God fits into black better than it does white (again, because of the "destroy" clause), and so I think this is a pretty easy and understandable change. There is cause for concern, though, if this card does indeed see print again: Faeries might just implode the format. Regardless of whether or not Standard is filled with hasted creatures, it still stands to reason that giving Faeries this tool back would be enough to actually make it the only logical deck choice, and I'm not sure if that's what Research and Development really wants to do right now. Faeries will only be legal in Standard for three months after M10 is released, so I suppose we'll see if this is all a risk they are willing to take. Being able to play Five-Color Control without the need for white mana (unless you still want Esper Charm) or giving Elves an answer to Chameleon Colossus in the mirror is something I can definitely get behind, and the only thing holding this idea back is what it might do to Faeries.
Okay, okay, this card is stupid good. However, I think it's the kind of card that could see print again based mostly on the fact that its restriction is pretty balanced in the current Standard format. It doesn't kill Bloodbraid Elf or Mistbind Clique, nor does it kill Sower of Temptation and its other 2/2 friends (ala Reveillark). It gives the format a respectable answer to Putrid Leech and even Doran, and I don't feel like that's a bad thing in the slightest. I don't honestly think this is the type of card they look to reprint in core sets (or at all), but as possibly the best point removal aside from Swords to Plowshares, I feel as though it at least deserves a mention.
I know this one seems like an obvious ploy to totally murder Spectral Procession decks (well, and planeswalkers), but it's certainly not too far-fetched to make it in. I mean, if they'll print blatant Fae hosers like Raking Canopy (as awful as they may be), is it too hard to picture them printing a token hoser as well? Especially when that card has already seen print in a block filled with 0/0 modular creatures? If the card didn't see much play in Mirrodin block, I don't think it would be too out of left field to see it make a splash in the current Standard after getting a triumphant return to the format with M10. If Damnation makes it in, though, maybe it won't be all that necessary anyway...
All current rumors aside, this card is pretty plausible. Far more flavorful in red than it ever was in blue, Char would not only be a great card to accompany Ball Lightning and Lightning Bolt into M10, but also another solid answer to Mistibind Clique (not that red needs that). However, my concern is that with Flame Javelin still in the format I feel as though this card might make red too good and could potentially break the proverbial camel's back.
Reasonable, I think.
I suppose Stone Rain is just as possible here, but since Wizards seems to be pushing towards more mono-colored decks (see Glacial Fortress), printing a card like Molten Rain might help to solidify the concept in the playerbase. It would be a simple matter of yanking Rain of Tears from black, as this card is leagues better anyway. Molten Rain has always been a perfect fit for red, and I think it's the type of card that is elegant enough for a core set.
Seismic Assault - OUT
Dear Wizards, please get rid of this card. Aside from the Swans deck, this card has always been pretty useless and not something we've ever truly needed in the core set. I know that pulling it from M10 means that the combo leg of the tripod will be gone again, but I don't know how bad of an idea that is anyway considering how Swans has been doing lately anyway (that is to say, not too well). It's not a huge deal if this card doesn't get the axe, of course, but I think there are better rares we could see in its place (read: Char).
I swear, I'd honestly put money on this one. If green is supposedly the second best behind blue at drawing cards, why is it that green has hardly any solid card-drawing spells? Harmonize was absolutely nuts when it was in Standard, and the green Concentrate could easily become a core set staple. It's not nearly on the same level as a traditional blue card-drawer, and thus is balanced from a color pie perspective. The only issue I see is that if blue keeps Tidings then green might not get this card. If, however, blue does somehow manage to procure Fact or Fiction, I'd say without a doubt that green would pick this beast of a card up. I'd say it would just replace Abundance, which hasn't been good since Oath.
I think this one just makes more sense than Hurricane, mostly just because it's better than that card 90% of the time and also because Squall Line (the card I really want) is a bit too good. The mana cost of Whirlwind is perhaps my favorite part, as it's kind of a Wrath of God for fliers (which I'm going to assume was the idea behind this card anyway).
Imagine playing Bloodbraid Elf and cascading into this. Go ahead, do it. Tell me that it isn't the most awesome feeling in the whole wide world. My initial thought was Regrowth, though that wasn't nearly as fun. I mean, after all, the Profane Command loop with Eternal Witness would finally be legal in Standard, and the fact that Eternal Witness blocks Bloodbraid Elf itself is enough to consider it. Can you imagine it with Reveillark? What about with Bituminous Blast? It's like getting back two removal spells! Actually, forget that last one. That actually makes it seem completely broken, doesn't it? Still, a guy can dream, can't he?
Wall of Blossoms
It's not on the Reserved List, and it's far from being broken. It is a tad out of place in green, though the card-drawing ability fits and it's certainly a better card than Wall of Wood (pretty impressive feat, eh?). Wall of Roots is probably a bit better these days, but I'd love to see this card back in Standard again. Green has been given the shaft since Future Sight, and so I think it's time they give the color some gas (hence why I'm okay with Eternal Witness). Wall of Blossoms pushes green's card-drawing nature, and also gives it a bit of defense. After all, how much better is this card than Elvish Visionary? Really think about that, because the answer isn't as obvious as it might initially appear.
To be frank, this just needs to remain. It is simply a fantastic card that anyone can use, and it has its uses in a zillion situations. It allows larger numbers of powerful activated abilities in Standard, and I think it's worth keeping around. No question, I'd be upset to see this card go. It took only one core set to see print again after it left Standard, and so I think it will be around for a while longer.
When you go, don't forget to write...
While I fear that this one might be out, I'd love to see it in. I think control decks always need access to a good mana artifact, and this is easily one of the greats. It's better than Prismatic Lens, though I suppose that card would at least be acceptable. In any case, the fate of the Reveillark decks is on the line with this card. Don't let me down, Wizards!
They've made an effort to reprint a fair number of the Invitational cards, but not this one. I think it would be pretty decent in Standard, and it's far from "too strong." It would admittedly be pretty sick with Reveillark, but how does that factor in when we're dealing with reprints like Lightning Bolt? I think that with core sets only being around for a year, Wizards is going to take more risks with its card choices and thus I feel as though cards like this will be able to see print again without much grief.
Loxodon Warhammer - OUT
It's time to kick this sucker out. Honestly, it was degenerate as an uncommon in Limited, and even at rare in Tenth Edition it was too much. And what about Constructed? It goes into any deck and makes any stupid creature a huge threat. I've just never truly liked this card, and with Behemoth Sledge in Alara Reborn I feel like this time it might really be gone. Good riddance, I say.
I'm not entirely sure how powerful this card would be in the format considering that there are hardly any x/1s, but it's still a decent card nonetheless. I played it quite a bit back during Time Spiral, and I don't know of anyone who'd be totally against it coming back. The card is pretty good versus token decks, though one Glorious Anthem crashes the party. The biggest reason I suggest this card is because the number crunch currently looks as though we need a fair number of lands for the set aside from the five (ten?) duals, so this would be a prime candidate along with Quicksand.
How unlikely is
They always said that they printed Mutavault with the intention of making a reprintable Mishra's Factory, though I admit this core set might not be the right one. Still, I'm not ruling out that M10 might kick out the other five manlands in favor of this single one, a change I'd be okay with (especially if they gave it new art, ugh). I don't think printing Mutavault in the core set would do much harm anyway, as we all know that a card like this isn't broken on its own (it needs cards like Spellstutter Sprite to help it). I guess we'll see.
I guess City of Brass and Undiscovered Paradise are both likely as well, but this is the one I'd like to see. I think giving an opponent a 1/1 in this environment would be a real, honest drawback, something five-color lands have lacked in the past. City of Brass seems the least likely, as the point of removing the painlands was to reduce the number of lands that ping you to produce mana.
So there you have it, my M10 wish list. Some of my choices are as absurd as I complained about, but I was just being honest. A large majority of the cards are frighteningly realistic for this core set, and I'll admit it's a bit unsettling. I hope they decide to print some powerful old cards alongside some strong new ones, as the loss of Faeries from Standard means that we're waiting with open arms for a slew of new ridiculous cards to abuse. Standard should be getting interesting, to say the least.
***Two Pre-M10 Deck Updates***
I decided that Ponder is the same as having Counsel of the Soratami, as it digs for the Mulldrifter anyway. Wall of Reverence is for red-based decks, and it has been just amazing for me. I imagine this list will be what I'll be playing for the rest of 10E's time in Standard.
This is the list that my friend and RIW teammate Erik Robertson piloted to the finals of the PTQ in Indianapolis this past weekend. He said that Pithing Needle was rancid, but everything else (including the Mirrorweave) was the stones. This deck is back in a big way, and it's definitely something you need to watch out for this weekend.
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Until next time,
Chris "Shinjutsei" Jobin
By Chris Jobin on June 25th, 2009 · Filed in Standard (Type 2), General Magic, Thirst for Knowledge · Comments not available just now