Magic Market Index for Dec 28th, 2018
Magic Market Index for Dec 21st, 2018
Ultimate Masters: MMI Review
  • posted a message on Ral Zarek and a few other PW pics
    Based on the new artwork, I think we can get a good framework for the planeswalkers in the next few sets. Obviously some artwork has been omitted from this poster: for instance, we will almost certainly be seeing new cards for characters like Vraska, Domri, Bolas, and Ugin before a new card for Elspeth, yet her art is included here while theirs is not. There isn't necessarily any rhyme or reason to why certain planeswalkers appear on this poster and others don't. I'd say that they want to avoid ones that could be story spoilers like Bolas or Ugin, but returned Elspeth is quite a spoiler, and one that's further in the future as well. Since they don't commission art too far in advance, we can assume that every piece of art on the post will appear on a card in the next couple of years, but not that every card in the next couple of years has art on this poster.

    In addition, there are certain pieces of art on here that would make no sense on a new card in a standard-set. Our next colorless walker will almost certainly be Ugin, most likely in the third Ravnica set. This leaves little room for another colorless planeswalker in the near future, so I wouldn't expect a new card for Karn anytime soon. Rather, I think that the art on the poster is either going to be in Commander 2018, or alternate art for his most recent card, likely as a SDCC promo. Similarly, Saheeli's art is clearly on Kaladesh, and since we went there so recently, it obviously isn't for a standard-legal set in the near future. Technically, it could be a core set, but I can't imagine Saheeli being either mono-blue or mono-red. Again, this is likely either a promo version of her recent card, or a card in Commander 2018. Teferi would be a little easier to place in a standard-legal set, but the art is pretty generic and doesn't look like Ravnica or Theros, so while Teferi could be in a standard-legal set, I again think that alternate art for his recent card or a card in the Commander set is far more likely. Since Teferi is WU and there are two better candidates for WU planeswalker Commanders who don't yet have planeswalker cards (Azor and Vronos), and since his card in Dominaria is pushed for standard play, and since the art looks like it could easily be on Dominaria, I think that art is more likely to be a SDCC promo. Similarly, Karn would be an odd choice for a Commander deck since he is colorless, and his Dominaria card is very pushed, and the art would be fitting for Dominaria, so I think the promo option is more likely for him as well. Saheeli I could see appearing in Commander more easily since her previous card rotates out of standard soon and sees no play there that I know of anyway, making her less desirable as a promo, and a UR artifact commander has been requested for a long time. Obviously Jhoira exists now, but perhaps a UR artifact deck for the Commander set was decided on before Jhoira was designed. Long story short, I think Karn and Teferi are SDCC promos, and that Saheeli is from Commander 2018, but in theory any of them could go either way. Regardless, they're all out of the picture for standard-legal sets.

    With that out of the way, my predictions for planeswalkers in the next six standard-legal, taking the new art reveals into account, are under the first spoiler tag. Explanation for why each one appears where it does can be found under the second spoiler tag.

    Guilds of Ravnica
    New walker green mana white mana
    Ral blue mana red mana
    Vraska black mana green mana

    Planeswalker decks
    Jace blue mana black mana
    Gideon red mana white mana

    Ravnica Allegiance
    Tibalt black mana red mana
    Kaya white mana black mana
    Kiora green mana blue mana

    Planeswalker decks
    Tamiyo white mana blue mana
    Domri red mana green mana

    Untitled Third Ravnica Set
    Bolas blue mana black mana red mana
    Samut red mana green mana white mana
    Ugin Colorless Mana

    Planeswalker decks
    Liliana black mana
    Vivien green mana

    Core 2020
    Nahiri white mana
    Dovin blue mana
    Ob Nixilis black mana
    Daretti red mana
    Garruk green mana

    Planeswalker decks
    Same as above

    Theros Set 1
    Ajani green mana white mana
    Elspeth white mana black mana
    Dack blue mana red mana

    Planeswalker decks
    Elspeth white mana black mana
    Dack blue mana red mana

    Theros Set 2
    Ashiok blue mana black mana
    Samut red mana green mana
    Gideon red mana white mana

    Planeswalker decks
    Ashiok blue mana black mana
    Samut red mana green mana

    I'm predicting that in the first two Ravnica sets, we see a planeswalker for every guild. The new Tamiyo art looks convincingly WU and is set in an Azorius area. Jace's new art looks like it could be UB, and we could see him work with or take over the Dimir to fight against Bolas. The Rakdos lack a planeswalker currently but there are several who would fit right in and could be used as agents of Bolas: Tibalt, Ob Nixilis, or Daretti. The Gruul have Domri. Selesnya is an odd one since it appears in the first set and Ajani was in the set right before it. We could in theory see a new Ajani or Huatli, but a new walker might be a better fit. Kaya reappearing to help Teysa kill the Obzedat is pretty much a given at this point, so that covers Orzhov. Izzet has Ral, Golgari has Vraska, and Boros has Gideon. The Simic also lack a planeswalker but Kiora is a popular character who would fit right in, and probably the only planeswalker that would fit in the Simic. I don't expect the number of planeswalkers per set to increase, but rather, I expect them to make better use of the additional slots in planeswalker decks. They already started to do this in Dominaria by adding an extra character, Chandra, who didn't appear in the main set. Ravnica sets could do the same except with two additional walkers. Three from the main set and two from planeswalker decks means five planeswalkers per set, which is one per guild.

    Guilds of Ravnica has Dimir, Selesnya, Izzet, Golgari, and Boros. The walker balance in standard currently leans in favor of white, blue, and especially red - Core 2019 and Ixalan block as a whole are both color-balanced, but Teferi and Jaya in Dominaria throw it off slightly. Since only main set planeswalkers are intended for standard play, and three dual-colored planeswalkers in a set results in one overlapping color, I would expect one of the first two Ravnica sets to favor black and the other to favor green. A black-favoring Guilds of Ravnica would put both Jace and Gideon in the main set along with Vraska, while putting Ral and whoever the Selesnya walker is into the planeswalker decks. This seems unlikely since they've stated that their goal is to put Gatewatch members in planeswalker decks and other characters in the main set. Therefore I expect this set to lean towards green, putting the Selesnya walker (who I'm going to assume will be a new character), Ral, and Vraska in the main set while leaving Jace and Gideon for planeswalker decks.

    Ravnica Allegiance has Azorius, Rakdos, Gruul, Orzhov, and Simic. This set should lean towards black, meaning that the Rakdos walker, Kaya, and Kiora belong in the main set with Tamiyo and Domri in the planeswalker decks. Tamiyo has gotten a card more recently than the others and although she isn't technically a Gatewatch member currently, she will either become one or continue to be an ally they can call upon, meaning that she will have plenty of opportunities to get cards and should be fine to appear only in the planeswalker deck. Domri is the least popular of the three new planeswalkers from RTR so while I still expect him to return, restricting him to a planeswalker deck so that more popular characters can get the spotlight makes sense. I'm also going to assume that the Rakdos planeswalker is Tibalt. Ob Nixilis and Daretti are also possible but I think that the former would be better used as a villain of his own story arc rather than a Bolas pawn, while the former would be out of place without artifact support that this set, and the Rakdos faction specifically, don't have enough room for.

    The third and final set will almost certainly include Bolas and Ugin. The foreshadowing in Core 2019's story is pretty obvious: we're going to see those two fight. The question is who the third planeswalker will be. There are two planeswalkers who basically have to appear in this story arc because their motivation is centered around getting revenge on Bolas: Samut and Vivien. Of the two, I think that Samut would fit better in the main set, since she could easily be RGW as to not throw off color balance, and her previous card was less recent. I think Vivien will show up in the planeswalker decks along with Liliana, meaning that the color not represented in the first set's planeswalker decks (green) and the one not appearing in the second set's (black) will both be the focus in the third set's. Both of these characters are almost certainly going to be involved in the climax of the story but don't fit particularly well into any of the guilds, and both have had main set cards recently in Core 2019 so they shouldn't take up a spot in the main set.

    For Core 2020, I expect a new lineup of monocolored walkers that fit a certain theme, just like Core 2019. The desire for a Villains set by both the players and the designers is clear, and the resolution of the Bolas story arc is the perfect time to establish a rogue's gallery of other villains that the Gatewatch can fight. Green and white are both easy picks: Garruk and Nahiri. Both have leaned toward other colors in the past but could still conceivably be monocolored, especially since core sets can show past versions of them. The spoiled Garruk art looks vaguely villainous but not fully BG, which would be perfect for this set. For blue, the obvious choice is Tezzeret, but after his appearance in Core 2019, we'll need someone else instead. Dovin Baan is a popular character and a potential future antagonist, and as a Vedalken artificer, he could easily be given a mono-blue card (though not a mono-white one). There are only two mono-black planeswalkers in existence currently, and of them Ob Nixilis is the one who is more unambiguously villainous and who has not appeared as recently. For red we could see Tibalt or Daretti or even a new character in theory, but since I expect Tibalt on Ravnica, I'm going to give the edge to Daretti.

    The set after Core 2020 will almost certainly be on Theros with a returned Elspeth, who should be WB. This is where I expect the new Ajani art to be used, and although is looks more mono-white the GW, GW would be better in a block with at least one other white planeswalker. We should also be seeing Dack Fayden and Ashiok, who were both left on Theros as a loose plot thread that needs to be resolved. That adds UB and UR. For the other two planeswalkers, we could see some combination of Gideon, who would need to be RW due to the large number of white planeswalkers, and Samut, who planeswalked to Theros for her first planeswalk and who has nowhere else to go with her story after Bolas barring a return set on Amonkhet. UB, RG, GW, WB, UR, and RW would overrepresent red and white by one, but is still relatively color balanced. I could, however, see a new planeswalker replace either Gideon or Samut. I would put Ajani and Elspeth in the first set since their art has already been commissioned which means they can't be too far in the future. This would also add Dack to the first set for color balance, which would also make sense if he is one of the main protagonists. The second set would then have Gideon, Samut, and Ashiok, which would still make sense: if Ashiok is the main villain, and Gideon ends up dying as has been heavily foreshadowed, both should have their most dramatic moments in the second set, and Samut should be held off on until the second set anyway if she recently appeared in the third Ravnica set. For planeswalker decks, I would choose Elspeth and Dack for the first set, and choose Ashiok and Samut for the second. This would avoid both overlapping colors in the same set, and giving more planeswalker decks to Gideon and Ajani, who have both already had multiple planeswalker decks.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Guild Mechanics - choose x or y
    Quote from Lord_Mektar »
    All I ask is that they bring back Meld as the Simic guild mechanic. It's just too perfect. Obviously, that would probably also mean that the Rakdos or Orzhov would also have some transform cards to maintain color balance. Another neat thought I had was that Rampage would be great for the Gruul. In conjunction with trample or menace, it would make combat very interesting.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the second set had a DFC mechanic for each guild. Simic could get meld, obviously. Orzhov could have a death trigger that returns creatures to the battlefield transformed as an aura, essentially haunt done right. Azorius could have spells that put themselves onto the battlefield transformed as enchantments if you pay a higher cost, since Azorius has been almost given an enchantment mechanic before (Constellation under a different name in RTR) for the law flavor and this would play well in control decks as well. Rakdos could have creatures where you can choose to have them enter the battlefield transformed, with back side being larger or more powerful but with a drawback, as a way to represent demonic forms of creatures and as a callback to unleash. Gruul could have a monstrosity variant similar to the Eldritch Moon werewolves or lands that transform into creatures as a new take on awaken.

    Also worth noting: Guilds of Ravnica has 259 cards while Ravnica Allegiance has 264. In theory that could just mean that the second set has an extra basic land cycle, but I don't know why that would be necessary, especially with Ravnica sets traditionally being so parallel. If DFCs in the second set primarily replaced cards that would have been in the set anyway but had to add a few extra cards since DFCs skew upwards in rarity, that might explain it. Regardless of whether DFCs are present or not, I think that they'll hold off on split cards until the third set, one because they would be perfect to show guilds working together against Bolas, and two because the designers seem to not want more than five mechanics in a single set nowadays. In theory the split cards could be aftermath cards as the ultimate combination of Ravnica mechanics with Bolas mechanics, but they may instead choose to lean on other mechanics such as afflict or cycling to show Bolas's side of the conflict.

    Also, also: I think that the first set might be a -1/-1 counter set. Ravnica sets have always had to be +1/+1 counter sets to accommodate the Simic back when they were all drafted together, but now that they're drafted separately the first set could in theory be a -1/-1 counter set while the second set would be +1/+1 counters. -1/-1 counters would fit the flavor of the Golgari very well and could potentially see some use from the Dimir as well, though in all likelihood only the Golgari would have them directly involved in their named mechanic. Not being able to use +1/+1 counters might hurt the design space for the Selesnya a little bit, but they can just go all-in on tokens again and it should be fine. I also wouldn't mind seeing either a renamed ninjitsu or ninjitsu variant, or some sort of morph variant, for the Dimir since I think either of those would fit their flavor much better than mill would. If they do go with mill again they better actually give it the mechanic and not pull the guild in two directions by having both mill and evasive creatures which contribute to two completely separate win conditions.

    We'll see what happens, but hopefully they do something interesting with the mechanics.
    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on Commander 2018: Multiple planeswalkers per deck?
    Quote from krishnath »
    I am still hoping for planar based commander decks with a planeswalker face. Think about it, what better way to celebrate MTG's 25th than pray tribute to some of the different planes we've visited over the years?

    Dominara and Ravnica are a given, the first for Nostalgia and the second for being the most popular plane. We'll likely get another popular one in addition to that, and one older one. I am thinking either Alara or Zendikar for the other popular plane, and if I am really lucky, Ulgrotha for the older one, although I wouldn't be opposed to a Rabiah based deck if it means Taysir.

    Either way, we'll find out later this year.

    It seems that the whole "plane-themed Commander decks" idea is thrown out there every year. It's always wrong, but it's never made less sense than it does here. The whole point of planeswalkers is their ability to travel between planes - so choosing to do plane-focused Commander decks is the antithesis of that deck. If they were ever going to do plane-themed commander decks, it certainly wouldn't be in a set with planeswalker face cards. I question that they would even want to do it in a regular Commander set though, because it's just needlessly restrictive. Themes for planeswalker decks have always been mechanical and not flavorful. Someday we might see decks focusing heavily on a certain keyword such as morph, which might lend itself to having a lot of cards from one or two planes, but I doubt that there will be a strict limitation to a single plane.

    To be honest I'm not sure exactly what you mean when you (or others) say "plane-specific." All of the cards in a deck are flavored as being from the same plane? That's not possible to implement for obvious reasons. Only the new cards are tied to a deck's featured plane? Even that wouldn't work, because there are always cards that appear in multiple decks. All the new commanders are from the same plane? That could work in a normal Commander deck but there isn't any reason for it. In a planeswalker face-card deck though, especially if we're operating under the assumption that there are multiple planeswalkers per deck, it would be virtually impossible. These decks have fixed color identities. Take your Ravnica example. If Azor is one of the commanders, then the deck is WU. That means that Vraska, Ral, and Domri can't be in it. At all. If we go with only one planeswalker commander per deck, we could see a Ravnica-themed Azor deck with Azor plus two planebound WU legendary creatures from Ravnica. But again, I have to ask, why would they do that? Most planeswalkers, such as Azor, have ties to multiple planes - you know, the entire point of having planeswalker characters. If you want cards tied to commanders, than an Azor deck should feature a mix of cards from Ravnica and from Ixalan. Not just Ravnica. Besides, we generally only see a few cards in each deck (if any) with ties to the face card - sometimes direct references, other times just flavor text - and never ALL the cards, and typically not the other commanders in the deck.

    Could they do plane-specific decks if they wanted to? Yeah. They could. But why would they? It's a completely arbitrary restriction that would make the designers' jobs more difficult for little to no payoff. Especially in a planeswalker-centric set.
    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on Dominaria Name and Number Crunch
    Updated the crunch with a rarity breakdown for each color. I feel each monocolor will get about 7 rares and the other remaining 18 rares will be artifacts/land/multicolored. Hopefully rares are more balanced than the mythics were.

    I agree with 7 rares per color theory. I was thinking 8 before (especially because I was hoping that the legends with off-color abilities would be a cycle), but that only would have worked if there were no more colorless/multicolor/land rares spoiled, and seeing Cabal Stronghold proved that theory wrong. It is possible that some colors might get more rares than others. (This used to be something they avoided doing, but that's changed recently; they actually gave white and blue extra rares in Ixalan and blue an extra rare in Rivals, if I'm not mistaken.) However, I doubt that this is the case because having 1 colorless card, 37 cards each for two colors, and 38 each for three colors brings us to 189 exactly before multicolored cards. We definitely can't see more since Adeliz is at 190, and I doubt that we'll see less because it's highly unlikely that we get another multicolored rare whose name happens to be alphabetically before Adeliz. Considering that we have three colors with two mythics (RWB) and two with one (GU), having an equal number of rares across all colors would allow us to have three colors with 38 and two with 37. I also think we can rule out Oath of Karn unless something weird happens - the only way that we could get another colorless nonartifact is with one less white card, which would mean one less white rare (since they don't have different numbers of cards in each color at common/uncommon), and white already has five rares spoiled officially plus Benalish Marshal which is part of a rare cycle and Evra, Halcyon Witness which definitely isn't uncommon. Ultimately, I'm thinking the color/rarity breakdown will look something like this:
    • Common: 19 white, 19 blue, 19 black, 19 red, 19 green, 6 artifact (101 total)
    • Uncommon: 10 white, 10 blue, 10 black, 10 red, 10 green, 10 multicolor, 14 artifact, 6 land (80 total)
    • Rare: 7 white, 7 blue, 7 black, 7 red, 7 green, 6 multicolor, 6 artifact, 6 land (53 total)
    • Mythic: 1 colorless nonartifact, 2 white, 1 blue, 2 black, 2 red, 1 green, 4 multicolor, 2 artifact (15 total)
    Meaning that the total number of cards in each color will look like:
    • Colorless nonartifact: 1 mythic (1 total, #1)
    • White: 2 mythics, 7 rares, 10 uncommons, 19 commons (38 total, #2-39)
    • Blue: 1 mythic, 7 rares, 10 uncommons, 19 commons (37 total #40-76)
    • Black: 2 mythics, 7 rares, 10 uncommons, 19 commons (38 total, #77-114)
    • Red: 2 mythics, 7 rares, 10 uncommons, 19 commons (38 total, #115-152)
    • Green: 1 mythic, 7 rares, 10 uncommons, 19 commons (37 total, #153-189)
    • Multicolor: 4 mythics, 6 rares, 10 uncommons, 0 commons (20 total, #190-209)
    • Artifact: 2 mythic, 6 rares, 14 uncommons, 6 commons (28 total, #210-237)
    • Land: 0 mythics, 6 rares, 6 uncommons, 0 commons (12 total, #238-249)

    I'm guessing that the last mythic (14 of 15 have been spoiled officially) is Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar. It's reasonably mythic-feeling and would complete a cycle of mythic rare legendary creatures (each other color has one, while the three colors with an extra mythic each get a noncreature mythic in addition to their legendary creature). Since the mythics are pretty self-explanatory, I'll just list out the rares, assuming that my current predictions are correct:

    *The Mending of the Dominaria isn't yet spoiled, but it's been hinted at and quoted in Llanowar Envoy the same way that other sagas are quoted in flavor text, and green is both the only color lacking a rare saga and really the only color with space for more rares. This can be considered as good as confirmed as far as I'm concerned. I also read somewhere that it's supposed to be a mythic, in which case that would be the green mythic and Multani would take its spot at rare. Still, for the sake of both a mythic legendary creature cycle and a rare saga cycle, I think that a rare Mending and a mythic Multani would make the most sense, and I'm going to assume that until proven otherwise.
    **Reach of Branches, Blackblade Reforged, and Howling Golem were all spoiled in the release notes but haven't been officially confirmed, so their rarities are speculative. For these three cards specifically, I think that they could conceivably be printed at uncommon, but they're more likely to be rares. If any of these are uncommons, they would simply be replaced by another rare of the same color (or lack of color), probably a card that hasn't been spoiled at all yet, even in the release notes.
    ***Technically #209-210 could potentially be multicolored or artifact. For all my speculation above, I've assumed that 209 is multicolored and 210 is artifact, and that's probably the safest way to leave it in the number crunch. However, it is entirely possible that both 209 and 210 are multicolored, in which case the TBA artifact should be moved to the multicolored section, or that both 209 and 210 are artifacts, in which case the TBA multicolor should be moved to the artifact section. Technically it's even possible that in addition to #209 and #210, #211 or even #212 are multicolored as well if Blackblade and/or Howling Golem are, in fact, uncommons, but it's unlikely that there are this many unspoiled multicolored cards that all happen to be alphabetically after Tiana. I'd still leave 209 as multicolored and 210 as an artifact, but don't be surprised if both end up as artifact or multicolored.

    This is probably way more information than necessary but hopefully it helps with the number crunch. At the very least it helps map out the rares almost for certain, and tells us how much we have left to be spoiled (not much). In all likelihood there are only four, maybe five or six rares we haven't seen either from the release notes or official spoilers, but at least this breakdown should tell us what those rares will probably be - the triple black-cost creature, the Mending as a green saga, two multicolored and/or artifact rares, plus maybe some green and/or artifacts if certain other cards are uncommon rather than rare. I don't know how much of this will be new information to add to the crunch but at least we know what to expect.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on What's the deal with wanting character deaths?
    I've been meaning the comment on this thread, since I've been outspoken about the story not having enough death. But I want to be clear on what exactly my personal expectations are, because I don't think that they're all that unreasonable.

    Quote from Jay13x »
    Quote from Davinel »
    Quote from Jay13x »
    I think the idea that main characters have to die in order for their to be stakes in a story is a very recent one. I think it's fine but not necessary.

    Not true, the idea is not recent. The stories of Magic pre-mending have a lot of impactful deaths and many important characters die just like that.

    I don't remember worrying for any character in Ixalan.
    They really, really don't. If they die, it's almost always at the end of a novel or during one of the 'cleaning house' stories like Invasion or Time Spiral. And most of the time those deaths are for characters created for that story. There are almost no examples of important characters dying mid-narrative.

    I don't want or expect important characters to die mid-narrative, but it wouldn't kill them to let minor characters occasionally die mid-narrative or kill off major characters at the end of their respective story arcs. Anyone who thought that Gideon was going to drown in a puddle in the middle of BFZ's storyline was kidding themselves - that was never going to happen for numerous reasons. But when you fail to show the death of a single named character during an entire story arc about violent conflict, it's hard to remain invested. No one expected Chandra to die in the middle of Kaladesh block, but having a 70 year old woman survive not one but two near death experiences - the second being after she had done everything she needed to do in the story - is just ridiculous. Amonkhet block was much better in this regard (and arguably had too MUCH death for once), but Ixalan slipped back into bloodless conflict despite evidence to the contrary being all over the cards. Once again, they taunt us by almost killing off minor characters like Vona and Kumena, after their usefulness in the story has already been more or less used up (Kumena's still had potential at that point but they didn't do anything with him afterward, and Vona was a generic villain who could have easily been replaced by any other vampire for a more interesting story). The cards depict a violent war for control of the city between giant armies, but the story itself is a handful of people who, despite allegedly wanting to control the city and hating the other factions, are more content to act like Bond villains than make an actual effort to kill each other.

    And then there's the larger issue of more prominent characters (i.e. planeswalkers) virtually never dying. Killing them off unceremoniously in the middle of a story arc when all signs point to them surviving for longer is not good storytelling, unless you're going for shock value and you have a good direction to take the story after that. But in general, it's a bad idea. There's a reason why even Game of Thrones, the go-to example of this trope, stopped killing off its main characters that way in later seasons. However, using death as a fitting conclusion to a character's narrative arc is not something Magic's writers should shy away from as much as they do. Elspeth's death was a good example of this, but it's been years since she (and Xenagos) died, and it's starting to give the impression the planeswalkers (at least the ones with cards - sorry, Vronos) don't die anymore. It has the potential to turn what could be interesting story arcs into endless sagas that drag on and on and stay way past their welcome with the audience. Killing off a planeswalker every once in a while would be healthy for the story because it reminds people that there are still stakes. It doesn't have to be in the middle of a storyline, it doesn't have to completely unexpected, it doesn't have to be all the time, and it doesn't even have to be one of the most prominent planeswalkers. But they need to die on occasion, if for no other reason than so that the audience can't automatically and safely assume that all planeswalkers in a story will survive.

    So my advice to the creative team would be:
    • DON'T kill off a main character in the middle of their story arc.
    • DON'T kill off characters when it makes no sense in the larger story just for shock value.
    • DON'T overuse death as a narrative tool.
    • DO kill off a named character or two if you're trying to portray a violent conflict.
    • DO kill off planeswalkers occasionally so that the story has some stakes.

    People can't get invested in a story where everyone dies all the time, but they can't be invested in one where no one dies either. The key is striking a balance.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on (non obvious) future spellbook inclusions?
    Quote from einhorn303 »
    Blue might have the most Legacy/Vintage staple spells, but I see these as a great way to publish popular commander cards, especially since they're 1-ofs.

    Here's the top 100 played commander cards:

    Some cards I think could work:

    Chandra: Lightning Bolt (obviously), Red Elemental Blast, Chain Lightning, Fireblast )basically all the burn staples that have already been printed tons of times).

    Nissa: Cultivate, Avenger of Zendikar, Beast Within, Reclamation Sage, Explosive Vegetation, Rampant Growth, Oracle of Mul Daya, Elvish Mystic, Worldly Tutor

    Liliana: Demonic Tutor, Diabolic Tutor, The Chain Veil

    Sorin: Anguished Unmaking, Vampiric Tutor, Vindicate

    Nicol Bolas: Terminate, Fact or Fiction (the mind games part does seem very diabolically appropriate), Propaganda, Toxic Deluge

    Nahiri: Stoneforge Mystic, Masterwork of Ingenuity, Sword of Vengeance, Steelshaper's Gift

    Tamiyo: Ponder, Enlightened Tutor, Tamiyo Field Researcher, Tamiyo's Journal, Farseek, Sensei's Divining Top

    Chandra doesn't do lightning magic. Lightning Bolt definitely belongs to Ral Zarek, not Chandra.

    I think we'll probably see the Origins 5 first, in order of popularity: Jace, Chandra, Liliana, Gideon, and Nissa (the first three are confirmed by Maro; I don't know for sure that Gideon is more popular than Nissa but it seems like a safe bet). Maybe they'll decide to go with the originals and do Garruk and Ajani instead of Nissa and Gideon, especially with Nissa leaving the Gatewatch. Bolas seems extremely likely as well. Ugin could be possible if they give him a larger story role in the form of an Ugin vs. Bolas war, and could have lots of valuable Eldrazi-related spells. Other than that, planeswalkers who have been in the story for a long time and have lots of cards are good choices - Tezzeret, Sarkhan, Sorin, Karn, etc.

    It does seem like they're focusing more on desirable reprints than cards that are already tied to the characters. They'd rather commission new art for a somewhat unrelated but valuable card than reprint garbage that already has Jace/Chandra/whoever art. So Nissa's Pilgrimage seems like the exact type of thing they'll avoid including. Which is ultimately a really good thing for us, the players. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of reprints in the Jace spellbook and I hope that they keep that consistent in the future.
    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on I think the next "block" might be Theros
    I don't know if they're going to go out of their way to give each of Origins 5 a(nother) leading role. Keep in mind that each one the opportunity to be the main character and/or face of a set within the first five sets after Origins - Gideon in BFZ, Nissa in OGW, Jace in SOI, Liliana in EMN, and Chandra in KLD. I do think that they're going to follow up on the home planes of each of the Origins. We already saw Nissa on Zendikar and Chandra on Kaladesh, and we're currently seeing Liliana on Dominaria. All of these story arcs have featured the character originating from that plane heavily and involve them having to face their past mistakes/trauma that they've been avoiding. It makes sense that we should be seeing Gideon on Theros and Jace on Vryn in the relatively near future. They've also been dropping a lot of hints regarding Jace's past on Vryn and Gideon's on Theros recently in the stories. A Gideon-centric Theros set or block and a Jace-centric Vryn set or block are a when, not an if.
    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on Possible New PlanesWalker via Survey
    Quote from RedGauntlet »
    Shes going be forgetable as previous female humanoid walkers like the last ones wich are: Arlin, Samut,Huatli and Saheeli Rai

    I think that it has less to do with them being female and more with walkers who aren't either in the Gatewatch or blatantly being set up to join the Gatewatch (Vraska) tend to get minimal story arcs. Angrath and Dovin didn't get much screen time either but seemed to be more interesting and better-received by the community, not because they are male but because they're non-human and haven't been made to be obvious heroic. Almost all human walkers nowadays are used for some sort of representation, which is good, but it seems to make the writers afraid to give them major flaws or make them anti-heroes/villains/anti-villains, which is not so good. Side characters who are played straight as heroes without any defining personality traits aren't going to stand out when the story is now focused on a bunch of archetypal heroes (and one token anti-hero). For whatever reason they keep putting the male and non-human walkers rather than the female human ones in all the non-heroic roles, which gives them more room to make them interesting.

    I also find it weird that for the past few years all of the new female planeswalkers have been human and all the new male ones are non-human. It makes sense to make more female ones than male since the first several years it was the other way around, but why make all the humans female and non-human ones male? Why not give both a mix a human and non-human? It's been YEARS since we've had a new non-human female or human male... I think the last one was Nahiri in C14? Ob Nixilis and Teferi were human males in that set and Freyalise was half-human (and looks very human-like anyway), but all of those already existed in the lore, and regardless, unless I'm forgetting someone, there hasn't been a newly introduced male human or female non-human since Commander 2014. I kind of get why they're avoiding human males but what's wrong with non-human females? Generally people seem to love Vraska more than any of their recent human walkers. It could just be coincidence but it's weird that this trend has gone on for this long.

    Quote from 5colors »
    She could also appear in Battlebond, the Conspiracy sets showed people liked new walkers appearing in supplemental sets.

    That's a good point; I didn't even think of that. Although it seems like it would be on-theme to have Battlebond feature a pair of planeswalkers fighting together, either as two separate cards or represented by a single card like Pia and Kiran or various other legendary creatures. We know that the plane Battlebond takes place on requires teams of two for its arena fights, and nothing about Vivien so far indicates that she would be working with another planeswalker or even a legendary creature, unless spirit animals are acceptable partners in the contest. It's certainly possible that she could appear in Battlebond, but I'd still bet on Core 2019 if I had to choose.

    Quote from idSurge »
    I don't know why people are down on Saheeli, she still sees niche play in Modern, what more do you want.

    Its not about Saheeli specifically....we have two issues as I noted...story relevance and card power. Saheeli was pretty irrelevant in the Kaladesh Storyline. Even if her card did help power some degenerate combos in Standard.

    However, I don't consider 1 out of the last 6 POC Walkers ( the others 1 Tezzeret, 3 Hautlis and 1 Samut) being fringe modern playable as all that impressive of a record for company that loves talking about their push for diversity. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria also looks fringe at best. I expect to see mostly standard playable walkers with a few (usually the face character) carving themselves in as some modern staples ala Karn, Ugin, Liliana of the Veil and I guess the recently freed Jace. But I suppose its hard to complain it took them 8 tries to make a Good Chandra...not Great.

    And its not like most players don't know what is likely to make a strong walker which is 3-4 CMC and some mix of protection via killing creatures or generating chump blockers, card advantage and a ult that your opponent cannot afford to let you hit. Oh and bolt proof after its first plus. So I can't imagine WOTC cannot figure it out. You going to plaster these POC all over your marketing and talk about how you care about diversity then I don't think asking for something that is actually strong is too much of an imposition and they should be highly story relevant as well.

    I don't think modern playability is very relevant at all. The vast majority of planeswalkers aren't intended for Modern play, considering that only 3-drops, which are somewhat rare (1 per block at most), and particularly powerful 4-drops, which are even rarer, are ever viable in Modern or Eternal formats. It seems as though just putting the character on a card at all seems like enough for them (and to be fair, planeswalker cards do invariably get a lot of attention regardless of playability). Story relevance also seems to be a consideration, and one that's increased over time - the story roles of Kaya and Saheeli were tragically small. Samut and Huatli, on the other hand, were the main protagonists of several story articles each - still not enough to make interesting in the eyes of the general public, unfortunately. Standard playability is something that they take into account for the prominence of walkers, but they still seem interested in pushing the Gatewatch and splashy characters like Bolas above all else. But to be fair, with the exceptions of Chandra, Gideon, and Bolas, pretty much every planeswalker from Kaladesh through Rivals has been relatively tame in its power level. Dominaria seems to be reversing that trend in a major way, though. I guess what I'm saying is that the lack of power level of POC planeswalkers isn't all that indicative of WotC's apathy, or rather superficial interest, in representation, but the lack of story relevance of those planeswalkers is a concern, albeit one that is beginning to be solved in terms of the quantity of their appearance in the story for Samut and Huatli, but not necessarily the quality. With them hiring professional authors for the stories now, however, this could easily improve in the near future.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Possible New PlanesWalker via Survey
    I'm not all that impressed, honestly. A green-aligned pokemon trainer-esque planeswalker with an iconic weapon would be a lot cooler if we didn't already have two of them - Garruk and Kiora. There has definitely been a need for a second mono-green planeswalker for a while now since Garruk is now consistently BG and Nissa is alternating between G and GU (plus she's no longer part of the Gatewatch and will probably be on hiatus). But...

    • Why another hunter/ranger/beastcaller planeswalker? Garruk isn't dead, and in fact, he should be returning to the story soon, given that he was left as a loose end and two Gatewatch members are aware of threat he poses. It's utterly baffling to me that they would make two planeswalkers which such incredibly similar types of magic before even making one that uses, for instance, ice magic or enchantment magic. It annoys me to watch them recycle ideas when there's so much potential for other types of planeswalkers that would be actually unique. The whole pokemon trainer-style planeswalker is pretty much a cliche at this point - we've seen it with Garruk, Kiora, and even with Saheeli (albeit in a slightly different way, building artifact constructs of creatures from other planes rather than mana constructs, but the core concept is the same).
    • Why another human? I get that we already have an Elf, but I was really holding out for the next green planeswalker to be a Naga - or, if not that, a Centuar, a Treefolk, a Dryad, an Ainok, a Khenra... literally anything other than yet another human. Representation is important, but I'm a lot more forgiving when it's the first planeswalker of a demographic that's long overdue, the way that Saheeli and Kaya were, rather than the third of that demographic in just two years. That's not to say that these groups should only get one planeswalker each to check a box and then they're done, especially when there are so many options for white men and women, but it's ok to space them out a little bit and make something other than a human for once. They can't expect us to applaud them for going NINE YEARS of having planeswalker cards without a single black woman among them, then desperately scramble to create three in the span of two years to redeem themselves. If they had made diverse planeswalkers from the beginning, then we would be able to get a lot more non-humans now.

    Speculation time: She obviously isn't in Dominaria. She could be in the core set. The next three sets after the core set should be some combination of Ravnica and/or Theros, both of which will have plenty going on in terms of planeswalkers without her: Ravnica has a showdown between the Gatewatch and Bolas that will require a lot of planeswalker cards, and there's not much room to introduce a new one (especially if she's not from Ravnica and not tied to a guild), while Theros already has Ashiok, Dack, Gideon (who obviously is going to return there at some point), Samut (where else are they going to go with her storyline?), and/or Elspeth (assuming she returns as a planeswalker, which she may or may not). I don't think she's in the Commander set either: it should be dedicated more to old planeswalkers who lack cards than new ones, and making a mono-green deck, especially when we got the Freyalise deck in 2014, would be disappointing. I really think the best place for her is the core set, meaning we can expect a monocolored cycle that includes her and Tezzeret for sure. If there were any other planeswalkers in the same set, it seems like they would have also been in this survey, so I would assume that the white, black, and red planeswalkers are returning characters, and probably not Gideon/Liliana/Chandra, because the other two aren't Gatewatch members and because they've promised to cut back on the Origins 5. I also suspect we're getting more flipwalkers, which is another reason to avoid the Origins 5 since they already have theirs. I have a feeling we're going to get mono-white Ajani, mono-blue Tezzeret, mono-black Ob Nixilis, mono-red Tibalt or Koth, and mono-green Vivien.

    Additionally, while I think that her first card will definitely be mono-green based on color scheme and desperate need for a new mono-green planeswalker, I do think that that she could become Abzan eventually. Remember in the Theros block when they tried to finish up giving each color pair a planeswalker with GU Kiora and GW Ajani? I think we're going to start seeing the same thing with tricolor combos. GWU has Tamiyo. They can make a WUB Tezzeret whenever they feel like it. UBR already has THREE Bolas cards. Sarkhan Unbroken was originally going to BRG so wouldn't be surprised to see a BRG Sarkhan card someday. Ajani, Samut, and Huatli all have a RGW color identity if you combine all their cards, though Huatli seems the most likely to get a full RGW card. URW should be Narset, obviously. BGU would be a good fit for Vraska, between the romance with Jace, her becoming a pirate, and the reference to her having ties to the Silumgar on Tarkir (I wouldn't be surprised to see her help restore the Sultai in Return to Tarkir once she's a Gatewatch member). RWB could be Angrath if they decide to play up the blacksmith part of character rather than the pirate part next time we see him, or it could be Sorin if he's really pissed when he gets out of the wall. And GUR has Sarkhan. What's missing? WBG. Garruk and Vraska don't seem white at all, Sorin and Kaya don't seem green at all, and Ajani and Huatli don't seem black at all. Abzan, more than any other shard or wedge, requires a new planeswalker rather than just adding colors to a preexisting one. With spirits being white/black on most planes and five-color on only a few, I think we're likely to see Vivien eventually expand into white and black.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Dominaria Name and Number Crunch

    A couple notes:
    -Bear with me it' my first number crunh- hence any suggestons and hep is appericiated Smile
    -It's hard to get numbers thi early since few cards are confirmed. I did my best guess work. Any card in Italics right now is basically a correct name but may be in the wrong spot. I realize this is different from older crunches but since I started and relized i was doing it wrong half way through the crunch i went with it.
    -I also realize I am missing a number count at the top. I will update that later. Hope this helps. Speculate away.

    Thanks for making this thread; I was hoping one would show up soon. Nice job all around.

    Judging by previous planeswalker decks, Teferi should be 275. It always goes face card for deck 1 (regardless of how it fits in number crunch], other 4 cards for deck 1 [in order of number crunch, therefore tapland is always last], face card for deck, other 4 cards for deck 2. So Chandra is 270, her common/uncommon/rare cards are 271-273, Timber Gorge should be 274, Teferi should be 275, his common/uncommon/rare from 276 to 278, and Meandering River at 279. Temporal Machinations could technically be anywhere from 276 to 278, but since the rare planeswalker tutors for multicolored planeswalkers are historically multicolored as well, that should take the 278 slot. The uncommon planeswalker deck exclusive seems to always begin with the planeswalkers name, so it's probably 276 since it's alphabetically before Temporal Machinations if both are blue cards, and would come before Machinations anyway if it's white, but if the uncommon is an artifact, it would go after Machinations. So it's still up in the air whether Machinations is 276 or 277, but I think 276 is more likely. Regardless, 275 is definitely Teferi himself, 278 is definitely the rare tutor, and 279 is definitely Meandering River. And Timber Gorge is 274.

    Also, I would definitely include 243 in the lands section. Large sets pretty much always get some kind of mana fixing land at common (Evolving Wilds 90% of the time), and I don't think this set will be an exception, especially because it has both the monocolored triple-mana cycle and a few tricolored legends that will occasionally appear in limited. We could easily get another utility land or two that isn't part of a cycle as well, which would require the Weatherlight card being moved up a number or two, which the card has plenty of room for. If you moved a bunch of artifacts up you might even be able to fit another entire land cycle in there, presumably at uncommon. However, the generic allied taplands are crunched out since two of them have to appear after 269 to allow Firesong and Sunspeaker at 280 (when the respective tapland appears in the main set, it doesn't get an extra card slot with a number greater than the number of cards in the actual set, like how Forsaken Sanctuary wasn't a bonus card in Rivals despite appearing in Vraska's deck because it appeared in the main set), and since the enemy counterparts were just reprinted in Rivals, we can count those out too. Uncommon multicolored land cycles outside of the generic taplands are generally reserved for multicolored sets, which this set is not. So if we are seeing an uncommon land cycle, it's going to be a monocolored one, like the Amonkhet deserts or BFZ blighted lands. Considering that there's no strong theme of either lands in general or a specific land subtype, I don't see a need for such a cycle. But I still think we should be seeing at least one common mana fixing land and 1-3 more utility lands and uncommon and/or rare, so I would recommend expanding the lands section a little bit. Looks great other than that, though. Keep up the good work.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Dominaria Leak: Speculation and Analysis
    Introduction and General Notes
    I’m going to try to map out what the Dominaria set will look like. The leak gave us a lot of information, but it’s also lacking rarities and collector’s numbers, making a set breakdown something of a puzzle. I can’t use traditional number crunching methods due to the lack of collector’s numbers, but I can try to work backwards and try to guess which cards will fill out the rare and mythic slots. Let’s establish a few things first:

    In every Dominaria booster pack, you'll find at least one legendary creature. Beyond just creatures, the set also features a significant number of other legendary cards.

    This might seem pretty logical given the set’s legendary theme. It’s presumably going to be similar to how DFCs are distributed in Innistrad sets and conspiracies in Conspiracy sets. But what’s notable here is that only legendary creature cards are guaranteed – noncreature legendaries exist, but they aren’t guaranteed one per pack. This seems like an odd choice. The other thing is that there’s no reason that guaranteeing a legendary creature per pack should be necessary – if the as-fan of legendaries is high enough (and I assure you, it is), then players will have no trouble getting enough to support the legendary theme in limited if they were to just allow legendaries to be distributed normally. But here’s another quote:

    We have a super-secret project associated with Dominaria that involves a fun new way to play Magic. We had already planned to talk about it, but now we can talk about it using Dominaria cards as an example. So, we'll call that a silver lining.

    A new way to play Magic? In a set that has not one legendary card of any type per booster, not just a high number of legendaries overall, but a guaranteed one legendary creature per pack? It’s got to be limited Commander. We don’t know exactly what this will look like yet (draft or sealed, number of boosters per player, minimum deck size, etc.), but it’s safe to say that this is the “super-secret project.” And if that’s the case, it’s important for the purpose of limited Commander (and to a lesser extent, regular limited) that the legendary creatures are relatively color-balanced. Some colors may have one more legendary at mythic than others, but each color needs to have the exact name number of legendary creatures at rare and uncommon. Additionally, having lots of multicolored Commander options available to players will make limited Commander much better, so when in doubt, I'm going to assume that there are more multicolored legendary creatures rather than less and at lower rarities rather than higher ones.

    Narrowing Down the Mythics
    Let's look at the sagas: according to the leak, green has one, red has two, and white, blue, and black each have three. There could be others - the leak only mentions sagas to clarify on their individual abilities, so any sagas that are simple enough not to have any abilities worth clarifying will be absent. It's safe to say that there will be at least one more green saga, and I'm thinking that we see an uncommon cycle and a rare cycle (Maro confirmed that there are no sagas at common). We know that black has a mythic saga (Phyrexian Scriptures, so it seems likely that white and blue (the other colors with three sagas confirmed) also have three sagas. I don't think that red and green will get mythic sagas, though - these colors seem less invested in the historic mechanic (and more invested in kicker), and there's little room to add more sagas. Presumably, the white mythic is Fall of the Thran. The blue mythic is more debatable but I'll say that it's The Antiquities War for now. This gives us our first three mythics.

    Let's get a few other mythics out of the way: Jaya Ballard, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and Karn, Scion of Urza are guarantees. Jodah, Archmage Eternal and Muldrotha, the Gravetide are obvious candidates as well. Darigraaz seems like a possibility, but I have reason to believe he might be rare instead - more on that later. Between Teferi, Karn, Jodah, and Muldrotha, we have four mythics that aren't monocolored. Might as well round that up to five so that each color can have exactly two monocolored mythics. If I had to guess, I'd say that the fifth non-monocolored mythic is the Weatherlight - since it's returning to the story and vehicle cards now exist, there's no way they pass up the opportunity to give it a card, and while it could be rare, and it seems fitting at mythic - presumably a splashy but relatively simple design that allowed it to evade the release notes.

    We need one more white mythic. An argument could be made for Lyra, especially comparing her to Gisela 2.0 who was also mythic, but I think that Evra, Halcyon Witness is more deserving - historically, exchanging life totals with power or toughness has been exclusively mythic, and by switching power rather than toughness AND adding lifelink, Evra is way more impressive than her already-mythic predecessors. I honestly can't imagine her being printed at rare. The other blue mythic is obvious - Karn's Temporal Sundering. Extra turn effects are mythic, end of story. I'm guessing that other black mythic is Lich's Mastery, becauase it's such an obvious choice. This does put Belzenlok at rare, but I think he's more comparable to Kothoped than Griselbrand or Razaketh, so it seems reasonable. The other red mythic besides Jaya is questionable but I'm going to go with Haphazard Bombardment - it's the type of weird and splashy red noncreature spell that we often see at mythic, and a major experimental bend in the color pie by allowing red to destroy creatures and planeswalkers without damage simply due to the randomness of the card. Green needs two mythics, since it has neither a planeswalker nor a mythic saga. Grunn, the Lonely King is an obvious choice, since it's a creature with the built-in ability to become a 20/20 and one-shot people. Multani is another option but is needed at rare to balance the number of legendary creatures (again, more on this later), so I'm going to throw Kamahl's Druidic Vow in instead, because green X spells that vomit permanents onto the battlefield from the library have been historically mythic.

    Mythic rare predictions:

    Figuring Out the Rares
    The first thing I feel obligated to mention is the lack of Darigraaz among the mythics. That's because of one card: Primevals' Glorious Rebirth. The primevals are the cycle of five shard-colored legendary dragons, including Darigaaz and four others. The fact that the card is named Primevals' Glorious Rebirth rather than Primeval's makes it obvious that more than one primeval has returned - not just Darigaaz (the fact that the card is WB rather than being within Darigaaz's colors also implies as much). This means that we should be seeing at least two primevals in this set - that alone is too many to fit in the mythic crunch without removing not only the unknown/Weatherlight card but also one of the monocolored mythics, making it possible but pretty unlikely. It would be weird to bring back just two of them and not the rest anyway, and disappointing to both the fans of the individual dragons and respective color combinations that were excluded. As such, there are simply too many dragons to fit at mythic, so I'm going to assume that they're at rare. This may seem like an odd choice since this isn't a multicolor set, but remember: they planned this for limited Commander. The higher the as-fan of multicolored legendary creatures, the better that experience will be. As such, having five tricolored cards at rare makes a whole lot of sense.

    On the topic of multicolored, I'd also like to predict that each color pair will get a rare legendary creature and an uncommon one. We already know that four of the color pairs have two legendary creatures, some of which are definitely rare, and some of which feel like uncommons. It's easily to spot the uncommon ones because they're taking the role of the normal pushed multicolored uncommons that define limited archetypes. The rare ones may be less connected to these archetypes if at all, and are generally more powerful and/or complex. Let's go over each color pair:

    • WU has no legendary creatures as of yet. Oath of Teferi will be a rare but it isn't a creature, and for limited Commander reasons there needs to be a rare legendary creature as well, plus an uncommon one that probably has to do with historic, a likely WU archetype.
    • UB has only Rona, Disciple of Gix so far. She feels a bit too weak for rare and pushes you to play historic cards, obviously the UB draft archetype. It's safe to say that Rona is uncommon and the UB rare legend is yet to be revealed.
    • BR has only Garna, the Bloodflame so far. She's not overly powerful but she does a lot of different things and doesn't seem to support a specific draft archetype. She probably could be uncommon but it's more likely that she's rare. Either way, the BR legend of the other rarity is yet to be revealed.
    • RG has both Grand Warlord Radha and Hallar, the Firefletcher. Hallar is weaker and blatantly pushes the RG kicker archetype, while Radha is more powerful and supports kicker in a much more subtle way, making Hallar the obvious uncommon and Radha the obvious rare.
    • GW has only Shanna, Sisay's Legacy so far. This is another one that could be uncommon or rare, but rare seems more likely - while she could push a token archetype in limited, it seems like they would make her cost 1 more if they wanted her to be uncommon. I think that Shanna is rare and the unrevealed GW legend is probably the uncommon.
    • WB is easily the most puzzling color pair, having Arvad the Cursed, Aryel, Knight of Windgrace, and Primevals' Glorious Rebirth. I'll throw Glorious Rebirth in the same category as Oath of Teferi: a legendary rare, but not a legendary creature and therefore not a member of the 10-card multicolored rare cycle. Of the two creatures, Arvad seems more printable at uncommon - he's powerful in constructed, sure, but in limited you'll only get a few legendaries so without building around he's a 3/3 for 5, albeit with good keywords. With another legend out he's a 5/5 for 5, which should be the case most of the time if you build the WB legend deck correctly in limited. With two legends he's insane, but that should seldom happen in limited. Aryel, on the other hand, has to potential to take over games without being built around and adds more to board complexity than Arvad, making him the more likely rare.
    • UR is easy. Adeliz, the Cinder Wind is the uncommon. He obviously defines an archtype without being two powerful, and he's comparable to another UR uncommon, Stormchaser Mage, except that he can extend his buff to other creatures, but only of the right creature type, with a narrower set of spells that trigger it, and at a higher cost. Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain doesn't really support the "play instants/sorceries/Wizards" theme visible on a lot of blue and red commons and uncommons, and she's a card advantage machine, making her a much better option at rare than uncommon.
    • BG has only Slimefoot, the Stowaway, a card with a lot of self-synergy but probably too conservatively costed to be a rare. He (it?) does a great job of supporting themes of Fungus/Saproling tribal and sacrifice in BG, so he's a perfect uncommon. The rare will probably be another Fungus- and/or Saproling-related card that's simpler (thus evading the release notes) but more aggressively costed in its tribal effect.
    • RW has Tiana, Ship's Caretaker and Firesong and Sunspeaker. Tiana is a five mana 3/3 with relatively tame abilities who supports an Aura/Equipment theme visible on other cards in red and white. Obvious uncommon is obvious. Some ambiguous wording in the release notes indicates the Firesong and Sunspeaker might be exclusively a promo card, which would be unfortunate, but in that case there would have to be another RW rare appearing in the main set instead. For the time being I'll just assume that the rare is Firesong and Sunspeaker.
    • GU has no legendaries at all so far. It still presumably has a rare and an uncommon legend in the set, but I guess that neither of them caused any rules questions.

    Now we’re going to jump into monocolored. Each color should get five monocolored rares, because the numbers don’t work any other way (unless I’m wrong about there being more than one primeval dragon card). I think that each is getting two monocolored legendary creatures at rare (remember, they need to be even so that colors are balanced in limited Commander). These are by no means guaranteed, and many of them could potentially be swapped with what I think will be uncommon or mythic legendary creatures, but here’s a tentative list:

    Each color also gets a rare saga: History of Benalia, The Mirari Conjecture, Chainer’s Torment, The Flame of Keld, and Song of Freyalise. The remaining four sagas (Triumph of Gerrard, Time of Ice, The Eldest Reborn, and The First Eruption) plus an unrevealed green one should be uncommons by my logic. The blue and red ones I assigned as rare are about the same power level as the blue and red ones I assigned as uncommon, but I think that the way I distributed them is marginally more likely than the other way around.

    Another obvious cycle is the extremely pushed triple colored mana creatures, those cards being Benalish Marshal, Tempest Djinn, an unknown black creature, Chainwhirler Goblin, and Steel Leaf Champion. These cards seem too powerful for uncommon and even if they weren’t, they would be poor choices at uncommon since pushing people to play monocolored in limited based on a single cycle (rather than lots and lots of support from hybrid mana, devotion, and/or cards that cost only generic mana) is a bad idea. These cards belong at rare.

    There’s one more cycle that the black card is missing from: legendary sorceries. The green and blue ones are mythic, but the red (Jaya’s Immolating Inferno, white (Urza’s Ruinous Blast), and black (TBD) members of the cycle should all be rares, because they sure as hell aren’t going to be uncommons. That gives each of those colors their fifth rare. Blue’s fifth rare has to Merfolk Trickster, an obvious constructed playable and likely a chase rare of the set. Green still have Verdant Force and Thorn Elemental unassigned. I can imagine Thorn Elemental at uncommon (we’ve seen some very powerful green curve-toppers/ramp payoffs at uncommon for limited) but not Verdant Force, so I’m choosing Verdant Force as my final monocolored rare.

    So we have 25 monocolored rares and the 15 multicolored legendary creatures. That leaves 13 more rares in some combination of multicolored, colorless/artifact, and land. Enemy checklands are confirmed. Now we’re down to 8. Oath of Teferi and Primeval’s Glorious Rebirth are in there as well. 6 more to go. Blackblade Reforged, Damping Sphere, Helm of the Host and Howling Golem are almost certainly going to be rare artifacts. 2 to go. Oath of Karn, while not in the release notes, seems very likely to be in the set for a bunch of Vorthos-y reasons I won't go into right now. Presumably it will be a colorless (or maybe five-color?) enchantment that follows the normal rules of Oath cards, while being simple enough to not be in the release notes. That leaves 1 more unaccounted for. It could be a land, an artifact, or a bonus multicolored rare (something other than a legendary creature) for a color pair other than WU or WB (maybe RG to balance it out?). We'll see.

    List of predicted rares:

    Legendary Uncommons
    I’m not going to go into much detail on the commons and uncommons, since we have only a fraction of them and not nearly enough to make the types of predictions I did for rares and mythics. But I would like to mention the legendary creatures at uncommon: the way I see it, each color should be getting at least three (probably just three, but it’s too soon to know for sure). This is mainly because of black, the color with the most remaining legendary creatures: Kazarov, Sengrir Pureblood, Urgoros, Empty One, and Whisper, Blood Litrugist All three of these are pushing it on power level at uncommon, but there’s no space for them at rare. White has Baird, Steward of Argive and Kwende, Pride of Femeref. Propaganda effects are pretty rare but costing 1 is a lot weaker than costing 2. If Ghostly Prison can be uncommon in Conspiracy, then a weaker version on a creature body should be acceptable at uncommon as well. Kwede also isn’t that great; he’s essentially a 4-mana 4/2 on his own and more of a build-around uncommon than anything: his effectiveness in limited will depend heavily on the amount of first strike in the format. For blue we have only Naban, Dean of Iteration, who, much like Kwende, has a build-around effect that could be powerful in constructed but is very narrow in limited. For red we have Squee, the Immortal, a potentially powerful card in a grindy limited matchup but inefficient enough to be acceptable at uncommon. Green actually has no legendary creatures remaining, though I could see Marwyn, the Nurturer maybe being uncommon rather than rare. Either way, though, all that this means is that green has multiple legendary creatures yet to be revealed.

    I’d like to point out Kazarov, Sengrir Pureblood as an example of what will probably be an uncommon cycle: legendary creatures with off-color abilities. We’ve seen this type of cycle many times before, often in multicolored sets or in core sets, but typically not as legendary creatures (unless you count the Fate Reforged Khans). It would be really weird to have a single card with this type of off-color ability at any rarity, especially at common or uncommon, unless it’s part of a cycle. This cycle also would help support limited Commander by being perfectly functional in their main color in regular limited but being playable as two-color generals in limited Commander. Presumably, we should be getting a white legend with a blue ability, a blue one with a black ability, a red one with a green ability, and a green one with a white ability. Since all the non-black colors have zero, one, or two confirmed legendary creatures that I’ve assigned as uncommons, this doesn’t affect my prediction of each color getting three uncommon monocolored legends. Will there be enemy pair counterparts of the off-color activation legends as well? Possibly, although it’s harder to believe that nine of these evaded the release notes than only four. If there are enemy ones, that would bring the number of legendary creatures per color at uncommon up to four, which is still pretty reasonable in a legendary matters set.

    List of predicted uncommon legendary creatures:
    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on Dominaria FAQ leak thread
    Also: hexproof from white and hexproof from black are really weird. Does this mean that any color can get hexproof from its enemy colors? Can red (the color that has historically gotten zero hexproof) have hexproof from white or from blue? Since regular hexproof is effectively "hexproof from everything," shouldn't Progenitus have just "protection" rather than "protection from everything," since apparently hexproof and protection now work the same way? I would have preferred it if they just wrote out "can't be the target of white/black spells and abilities," especially if it's just for the two knight cards.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Dominaria FAQ leak thread
    Hats off to Wizards for responding so promptly and effectively. With the Ixalan leaks, they pretended it didn't happen for months before finally showing the cards, and even then, they only spoiled some cards on the rare sheets, leaving others as preview cards despite many of us already knowing what they were. This time, though, not only did they cover the entire leak, but they did it the exact same day that the leak happened. And that's great. Hats off to them.

    A lot of things are missing of course, most notably all the cards that don't create enough rules questions to be in the release notes, but also the rarities of the cards that are in there. The main question now is whether we get legendaries at uncommon. While most of the ones in here seem rare or mythic, there are a couple that could be uncommon, and if there are in fact legendary uncommons, a lot of them are probably absent from the release notes for their relative simplicity. The BG legendary in particular strikes me as more of an archetype-defining uncommon than a rare, but I could be wrong. At some point someone should put together a list predicting the rarities of each card, if for no other reason than to find out how many rares and mythics we have left. There's at least one rare since we need the black member of the pushed triple colored mana creatures cycle, as others have said. I've also noticed that there's no Simic legend so we're probably waiting on that one as well. I assume that each color pair gets at least one, while some already have two - probably a 10-card cycle of rares, plus a few mythics in whatever color combos they want.

    The wording changes will take some getting used to. Replacing he or she with they could be confusing in a few instances, but 99% of the time it should be fine. That change and the others will take up less space on cards than the current versions, which is always a good thing. A lot of these cards read kind of weird, at least for the time being, but in some ways that's kind of nostalgic in its own way.

    As for the mechanics: saga is cool. Cumulative upkeep meets level up. At first I assumed it was three upkeep triggers but it's actually an ETB first followed by two beginning of precombat main phase triggers, which is even better. Legendary instants and sorceries are kind of gimmicky. It bothers me slightly that legendary means something completely different on permanents versus non-permanents. In my opinion the epic mechanic did a better job executing on the concept of legendary instants and sorceries. But I'm sure the gameplay will be fine. It's just undercosted spells that require a very easy condition to meet. Historic is fine. There aren't a lot of references to it here, but I assume there will be some simpler designs using it that were omitted from the release notes. Artifacts + legendaries + specific type of enchantment is a really odd combination, but easy enough to trigger in both limited and constructed. Kicker is the mechanic I'm least excited for. They could have brought back any nostalgic mechanic, and they chose the most generic one. So generic, in fact, that they said they were avoiding it because they were better off making what were essentially more specific versions of kicker, like the awaken mechanic. I guess they changed their minds, because it's back. Nothing I'm seeing so far makes me say "THIS is why they needed to bring back kicker." I'm sure it will play fine, but it would have been nice to have flashback or cycling instead.

    There are a lot of tribal themes, it seems. So far I'm seeing W Angels, R Goblins, WB Knights, UR Wizards, and BG Saprolings. Angels and Knights might just be single cards, but the others appear on multiple cards. Wizards and Saprolings are almost certainly going to be the respective draft archetypes. We could see a tribe in each enemy pair, but we also might not.

    Thoughts on individual cards:
    • Lyra Dawnbringer - the most pushed thing I've ever seen. Like seriously. You thought Gisela was good. I saw this and assumed that it was either a mistranslation, or that the whole thing was fake. Apparently not. Easily the chase mythic of the set.
    • Oath of Teferi - cool effect that makes the Chain Veil look really, really bad by comparison. Obviously there are storyline implications as well.
    • Muldrotha, the Gravetide - this is insane. I first read it from a translation as "you may play a permanent once during each of your turns", but it's actually each permanent? Plus my favorite color combo? I'm so excited for this. Considering that it's a great effect in the best commander color combo, the price could easily get out of hand, but maybe the lack of protection on a 6-drop will keep it relatively low. Color pie-wise, it seems like they could have easily done this in just BG, perhaps even just green, but I'm so glad that they made it BGU instead. Easily the most exciting card on the list for me personally.
    • Rat Colony - I really, really hope this is common. On one hand, I'm glad to see this ability again, and this seems significantly better than Relentless Rats. On the other hand, Maro will now get even more questions of "is the any number of copies ability only in black?" The answer is no, of course, but with the way they've used the ability it sure as hell doesn't seem that way. It'd be nice to see a full cycle of cards with that ability one day. Maybe they'll even put it on an artifact one day, so that Mishra can be a much better commander.
    • Settle the Score - Presumably, this is Liliana killing Bezlenok, or however it's spelled. We already know it's a story spotlight card. A nice piece of removal for Superfriends regardless.
    • In Bolas's Clutches - the other story spotlight card. Bolas gets a new agent, quite possibly Liliana, but maybe someone else.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Packaging for Dominaria and M19
    I think Wizards has to remind people that spoiled art can be of random, nameless common and uncommon creatures as well as important legendary creatures and planeswalkers. Art quality definitely doesn't have anything to do with rarity or importance. Remember when Scrapper Champion's art got spoiled when Aether Revolt was being teased, and a bunch of people thought it was Saheeli because people just assumed that this human woman from Kaladesh just had to be someone important?

    A few people thought that the art was for Saheeli, but the much larger incident surrounding that art was people thinking it was for a legendary creature, and understandably so: WotC put that art with the name "Advika Taar" and a character bio on their website next to a bunch of other characters' names, art, and bios ( Everyone assumed that there would be cards for Advika Taar and Surash along with the other characters, since Kambal already had a card in Kaladesh and Sram and Rishkar were later confirmed in Aether Revolt. There was even speculation of Advika Taar being the long-awaited UR artificer legend, making it all the more heartbreaking for those people when Advika Taar's artwork ended up on a random uncommon (Surash had no art at all, oddly) and neither appeared in the actual story. This is made even worse by the fact that they had five characters with cards in Aether Revolt that they easily could have put on that page - Sram, Baral, Yahenni, Kari Zev, and Rishkar - yet for some god-forsaken reason whoever designed that web page decided to use only two of them and replace the other three with one character from the previous set and two characters that didn't actually exist.

    It's perfectly fair to blame the fanbase for hasty assumptions of random art being planeswalkers - both in the past and with the alleged "Narset" and "Huatli" art now - but the misconception with Scrapper Champion was more that it was a new legend than that it was Saheeli, and unlike those other instances, you can't really blame the players for interpreting it that way because they had just about every reason to believe it was a legendary creature. That time it was entirely WotC's fault for being disorganized and misleading on their own website.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Packaging for Dominaria and M19
    So the Tezzeret intro deck is mono-blue... monocolor intro decks makes sense for a core set, but the Tezzeret art we saw looks VERY blue/black in terms of color scheme, though that art is presumably for his card in the main set, which could have a different color identity just like Vraska and Nissa recently. Maybe they'll bring back flipwalkers, and the Tezzeret one will be a blue legendary creature (no reason for him to have black before he sparked) that flips into a present-day UB Tezzeret planeswalker.

    It would make sense to do flip walkers since people expect 5 walkers per core set and 3 walkers per regular large set. With the new 3-1 model, that would mean 14 walkers per year instead of 10, which is a big difference. Flipwalkers, though, can't be counted the same way towards the number of planeswalkers in standard, since they typically won't become planeswalkers until the turn after they enter the battlefield, giving the opponent a chance to remove them while they're still creatures and not allowing them to do game-warping planeswalker-y things immediately when you cast them. If they do 9 regular planeswalkers (3 per non-core set) and 5 flipwalkers (in the core set) per year, the number of true planeswalkers in standard remains the same. Plus flipwalkers were very popular as I understand it; Maro's contasntly being asked to make more; and there's lots of untapped design space, so it would make tons of sense for WotC to do them each year in core sets.

    So if we see a blue Tezzeret that flips into a UB planeswalker, I think we could see an entire cycle of monocolored legends that flip into two-colored walkers. They would function as if they were monocolored in every format but Commander, in which the color they add on the back would be counted in their color identity. For instance:
    • white mana Ajani / green mana white mana Ajani
    • blue mana Tezzeret / blue mana black mana Tezzeret
    • black mana Sorin / white mana black mana Sorin
    • red mana Tibalt / black mana red mana Tibalt
    • green mana Garruk / black mana green mana Garruk

    Obviously there are a limited number of planeswalkers who have added another color but all of these have been around for a while, are reasonably popular, and are either currently plot-relevant or could easily become relevant again in the future. Plus these five specifically would easily fit the description of "sort of about villains, but not entirely". The planeswalker decks would be a mono-blue Tezzeret (obviously) and (if these predictions are correct) either a mono-white Ajani, a mono-black Sorin, a mono-red Tibalt, or a mono-green Garruk.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.