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This article marks an important accomplishment for me: it is my 200th Pojo Deck Garage article! It seemed appropriate to mark the occasion with a special article; I’ll be back to fixing decks as soon as I’ve finished with this one. And since it is my “anniversary” of sorts, I think I’ll take the opportunity to write an article I’ve been wanting to write since late April.
All the Magic community knows of the wonder and mystery that is Future Sight-- a menagerie of cards with unusual card frames that hint at a myriad of possible futures for the greatest game ever played on cardboard. What not everyone knows is that Magic Head Designer Mark Rosewater described the function of these cards as twofold. One, to suggest to the players what sort of changes might be made to the game in the foreseeable future, and two, to use the reactions and responses of players to determine what ideas and practices are “successful” and will be brought back sooner or more often than others. Essentially, the “futureshifted” cards are like a giant survey, and the Magic community is the largest focus group imaginable (consisting of 100% of the target demographic). I’m having a bit of trouble remembering where exactly he said that, but I am positive he has also said on many occasions that he reads all E-mail he receives. Therefore, it occurred to me that a motivated Magic writer like myself could easily devote an article to the various timeshifted cards of Future Sight, discussing the design, flavor, and implications for the future of as many of them as possible (there’s 81, you know), and send it off to Mr. Rosewater. This is that article.
The only question left then, is where to begin? Well, since Gatherer can’t sort out timeshifted cards from Future Sight, the only place to begin is alphabetically, with Arcanum Wings. I like the idea of Aura swap, quite frankly. I appreciate that Wizards is working on trying to negate or otherwise mitigate the card disadvantage inherent in Auras. I also like that the ability appears to be worded in such a way that at some point, there may be other kinds of Swaps, like Artifact swap or Land swap. Although Creature swap seems awfully abusable, I’m sure it will be kept within reason when and if it ever is brought into existence.
Since we’re already talking about Auras, I guess we may as well skip ahead to Flowstone Embrace and Second Wind. Auras that tap are pretty neat, I’ll admit. It’s a bit weird, but I suppose the design space it opens up can create cards cool enough that it may be worth doing again.
Global enchantments that tap, however, are a different story. I may be way off base, but I always thought of Auras as being like curses or spells that fundamentally alter the thing they’re enchanting: they don’t really exist on their own. Global enchantments I always considered to be similar to a cloud of magical fog that hangs over the battlefield, like humidity: you can’t doing anything to the humidity, but you can feel it in the air and it has an effect on you. Witch’s Mist doesn’t really seem the same way (which is ironic because flavor wise it is presented as mist). Also, as has been said before, it seriously blurs the line between artifact and enchantment. I won’t go into the other line-crossers (Sarcomite Myr and Darksteel Garrison) because that’s all been said. I will say that I am glad for the implication that we’ll be revisiting the plane of Mirrodin, though. That place really needed a chance to shine beyond the tarnish of Affinity winter.
Getting back into the alphabetical distinction, I’m deeply concerned about Bitter Ordeal. The Storm mechanic has created a lot of problems, from Tendrils combo in Vintage to Dragonstorm decks in Standard. What makes Wizards think that Gravestorm won’t be just as patently ridiculous? I’d say that Gravestorm has even more potential for abuse, because even though there is a theoretical maximum number of permanents that can go to the graveyard in a turn (the number there are in play), it’s much easier to put a lot of permanents into a graveyard than it is to play a lot of spells.
Moving on, I’m very pleased by the prospects of Bonded Fetch. I’m glad Wizards is rethinking their stance on which colors can have which keywords, especially after Rosewater’s article specifically on the subject. I can’t wait to see some green creatures with vigilance or blue creatures with protection.
Now, for Bound in Silence. When I first saw it, I thought Tribal was a supertype. I was a little confused when I learned from Tarmogoyf that it was a type, but I can see how it will essentially play like a supertype. Now my only qualm with it is that cards are now worded “all Sliver creatures” instead of just “all Slivers”. That’s an ugly wording. Can’t it just stay the way it is? Would it really matter if abilities of that nature affected the occasional artifact or enchantment? Can you think of any abilities that would be absolutely broken if they worked on noncreature permanents? Remember, it wouldn’t work on all noncreature permanents, just Tribal ones that happened to be the right tribe. I can see how a Tribal Enchantment- Elf might get out of control, depending on what it’s ability was, but it’s still an ugly way to avoid a future problem.
Speaking of Tarmogoyf, planeswalkers? How on Dominaria are they going to do this without it feeling stupid? And how many planeswalkers are there in the multiverse currently? Not enough it seems like. I’m not optimistic about this one, I’m sorry to say.
Then there’s the Delve mechanic. I’m happy with it. It suggests the graveyard theme of Onslaught block, with Madness and Threshold and Flashback. Delve would’ve been great in there, but it would work counter to the other mechanics. Here’s hoping that some good Delve cards are printed that will make the people who love graveyard recursion actually think about how badly they want those cards in their graveyard to stay there.
And speaking of mechanics that futureshifted cards have, are all legendary creatures going to have Grandeur from now on? It seems less grandiose if so many have it. And can legendary noncreature permanents have it? I’d love to see a Legendary Land with Grandeur.
Grinning Ignus just makes me sigh and wonder why Wizards continues to enable such an inherently broken mechanic. The “play this ability only as a sorcery” line is the worst. Without it, you could use it as a storm enabler or you could bounce it as a combat trick or to save it from removal, but then you’d have to worry about taking mana burn. That creates tension. What does this do, besides let you go nuts with Empty the Warrens?
Henchfiend of Ukor makes me think that Ukor is somehow connected to Ugin, the dragon mentioned on Ghostfire. I really want to see Ugin and Ukor get their own cards.
Then there’s the noncreature morphs. Are we really going to see Morph come back again, only this time with noncreature permanents, or have these just been sitting in the design file since Morph’s first appearance? I hope it’s the former, though only because Lumithread Field’s flavor text sounds compelling enough to make me want to see the world where it takes place.
And Lucent Liminid and Dryad Arbor just sort of remind me of the artifact lands from Mirrodin—a mix of two card types that never mixed before. I can see a cycle of Dryad Arbors finding its way into the land block, and the Liminid’s descendants populating the world where the enchantment block takes place. I guess now all that’s left is Enchantment Land and Artifact Enchantment. And I guess either of those could be Tribals, too, but now you’re running out of room on the type line. And how about maybe Sorcery Instant?
The next card I want to talk about is Phosphorescent Feast. I know technically it’s just a life gain card, and therefore isn’t really worth looking at, but I like how this and Imperiosaur have started to push Magic back towards monocolored decks and away from million-dollar mana bases, seeing as how many of my clients can’t afford the good dual lands. I also find the “Ibblian pixie’s ditty” unbearably cute, and really hope the Ibblians are in Lorwyn (or at least will be featured soon).
Then there’s Sporoloth Ancient. I believe Aaron Forsythe claimed that if there was one futureshifted card he didn’t think deserved to be futureshifted, it was Bonded Fetch. I say it’s Sporoloth Ancient. I’m glad you made this card because I like Thallids, but how is this “a glimpse into the future”? If anything, it feels like the past—Thallids date back from Fallen Empires if you recall. Why is letting them make Saprolings for two counters such an innovation?
I guess that pretty much covers all the futureshifted cards I wanted to talk about, except of course for one: Steamflogger Boss. A lot of people were upset when they found out that this card was intended as a joke. Frankly, I was upset when I thought it was serious: “assemble” would have to be given a rules definition, and it didn’t seem like the Riggers should be doing the assembling, that should be you doing it. When I found out it was a joke, I calmed down. Nobody will be mailing me Contraptions.dec, so I don’t have to think about what it means, so I can ignore it. We’re moving on now.
That pretty much wraps up this article. If you disagree with me, or if you want to rant to me about a futureshifted card you love/hate, or if you happen to be Mark Rosewater (especially if you’re Mark Rosewater), then feel free to E-mail me about this. Otherwise, thanks for being patient with me and I promise, I’ll be back to fixing decks for my 201st article.
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