Wizards of the Coast will begin their official
previews of the new set (Magic 2010 (orM10)) —a set
that promises to change the very nature of core
sets. Since that’s by far the biggest thing in Magic
news at the moment, I figured it was worth an
article to talk about. After all, who isn’t excited
about seeing what sort of new cards might get
printed, or reprinted?
In order to get
you all, and myself, into the spirit of the new set,
I thought I’d take some time to speculate on what
cards I’d most like to see come back in M10. After
all, we all have our wishlists of what will come
back, don’t we? Keep in mind, this is in no way a
claim that any of these cards will be in M10, just
my own speculation and a vehicle to discuss how M10
will affect Standard.
So, here are my
speculations on M10. They’re sorted by color, but
otherwise in no particular order.
When I saw this in Ravnica block, I honestly thought
it was a plant for a future core set. After all,
Roar of the Kha rotated out the same time this
rotated in, and that was such a useful effect for
White Weenie and token decks that the printing of To
Arms! seemed to me like Wizards was saying “We want
you to always have this.” Add to that the potent
flavor of the card (literally, a call to arms), the
fact that it cantrips (which Wizards leaned heavliy
on in 10th because of the way it smooths
out drafts), and the extra-cool factor of the
exclamation point in the card name (proving that
it’s serious business, and giving new meaning to the
term “announcing a spell”) makes this one feel like
the perfect go-to reprint.
bonus points if you remember what this card does.
But if Bandage got to be reprinted in 10th,
Carom deserves a spot in M10. Not only is it also a
cantrip, but reprinting it now would work
beautifully with the introduction of the new combat
rules. I honestly think these new rules make Carom a
better card. It hasn’t gotten worse with damage no
longer using the stack, and it lets you cheat the
“ordering the blockers” rule a little. See, when a
lot of people I’ve heard complain about not being
able to assign damage among blockers anymore, the
most common example I keep hearing is a 4/4 being
blocked by two x/4’s. Under current rules, you can
assign two damage to each blocker, in order to set
up for the Pyroclasm in your hand. With M10, you
have to assign lethal to the first blocker before
you can assign any to the next one, and so you can
only kill one of those two creatures. But if you had
a Carom, you could redirect one point of damage to a
creature down the line whom you couldn’t have
Skulk: Since the rules for Lifelink are also
changing, it seems fair to give the core set a few
decent creatures with lifelink. And its unique form
of protection makes the Skulk a very versatile card,
suddenly making your opponent think twice about what
cards he’s chosen as his removal spells. In
addition, but the flavor perspective of a little
Kithkin being too small for big creatures to do
anything about is adorable enough to give the Skulk
a place in many players’ hearts.
Ascension: White just doesn’t get many good big
creatures, yet Wizards has told us that all five
colors should be able to get them. Players love
throwing an Aura onto a creature and smashing face
with it. Wizards likes to encourage players to use
basic lands when the format starts to depend too
much on nonbasic lands (like it does now). Seems
like a perfect choice to me.
This one was always useful in Onslaught block, where
it gave you an opportunity to play it turn one and
thus sculpt your hand into something you might
otherwise have mulliganed into something you can
make work for you. Of course, it was also the block
of Threshold, Madness, and Flashback, so just as
often you played it to discard a free Basking
Rootwalla or set yourself up for a turn-two Deep
Analysis. We don’t have those mechanics around
anymore. We do have Unearth, but most cards with
Unearth are arguably better if you get to cast them
from your hand the first time around, and there’s
really no Uneath card that could get all that crazy
if you have a free way to discard it turn one. Add
to that the fact that Careful Study actually leaves
you at -1 cards, and it seems perfectly acceptable
in Standard today.
We know they won’t give us Counterspell back, but
having a counterspell with a low converted mana cost
is important to control players. Yes, it hardly ever
really counters anything after the first few turns,
but there are a lot of aggro decks in the format
right now, and Force Spike has always been a great
way to slow down their initial curve by that one
turn, in order to give the control player a chance
to catch up.
M10 has been advertised as a flavor-driven core set.
This card is just plain funny. I also like how it
can serve two purposes: a psuedo-tutor for you, and
a way to mill your opponent. Granted, the Tunnel
Vision/Junktroller combo won’t be around, but is it
necessary for this to be a decent card?
We already know that there’ll be some tribal
cards in M10 (check today’s Card of the Day if you
don’t believe me), and blue has never really had a
headline race. Personally, I think class-type lords
make more sense than race-type lords anyway, and so
a Wizard lord seems fine to me. I also like how this
one really feels like a leader of Wizards—he gets
your other Wizards to work together and copy that
spell… into their spellbooks I’m sure.
You get to turn a creature into an ape. It’s
flavor-driven, and it’s a great answer to a lot of
creatures out there. Would giving it to blue be too
much of a stretch of the color pie? Possibly, but
blue had it once and things were okay. Besides, blue
currently has Unsummon, Remove Soul, Curse of
Chains, and a host of other ways to handle
creatures. Destroying it and giving your opponent a
3/3 token seems fair enough.
Perverter of Truth: With Legendary creatures
coming to the core set in 10th edition, I
think Seizan would make an excellent candidate. Not
only does he serve as a substitute for Phrexian
Arena, a card many black mages have wanted back for
some time now, his flavor is easier to understand
than the Arena’s. He’s the Perverter of Truth—he’ll
tell you some tales and teach you some things, but
you may suffer in the learning. And since they gave
us Graveborn Muse in 10th and nobody
really wanted to play it, I can see them giving us a
different “Arena on legs” creature instead.
Hounds: Okay, I admit it: I had to do some real
digging to find this one. Why reprint this of all
things? Well, check today’s Card of the Day. It goes
great with that card. It also makes a great
replacement for Scathe Zombies, a card I desperately
want to see gone from the Core Set.
Horseman: Yeah, I just want to get Scathe
Zombies out of the Core Set. At least this one has
some better flavor. It’s the Headless Horseman, for
goodness sake. And it’s a Knight! Kinsbaile Cavalier
Stromgald Scourge: This one was so much fun when
it was Standard legal, and they’ve confirmed that
they’re reprinting Black Knight. Now would be a
great time for Haakon to rise from his grave once
Undeath: We’ve just learned that Regeneration
(the card, not the mechanic) isn’t being reprinted,
most likely because it was never worth the effort of
playing it and risking losing two cards. Strands of
Undeath solves that issue nicely, as well as being a
solid discard spell in itself. And if the rumors are
true that The Rack is coming back, discard spells
will be in high demand.
Game of Chaos:
If M10 is going to be a showcase of flavor, then
people need to see Red’s reckless side. Red is,
after all, the color of chaos. And who doesn’t love
a little minigame in their games?
Charge: Red needs to play up its “I can get my
stuff back from the graveyard” side more often.
After all, when you’re the color that can’t draw
cards, you need some way to restock your hand. And
with an aggro-heavy format like this one, and Ball
Lightning coming back, the Charge would be a very
Hey, if Black Knight is coming back, why not? And
you just know White is getting an equivalent Knight,
even if we’re not sure which one.
Ringleader: Nobody really expects Goblin King to
be reprinted, but everybody seems to expect a Goblin
lord of some sort. And since I’m all for giving red
some alternative way to “draw cards”, this guy would
fit right in.
Spring: Now that mana burn is no longer a part
of the game, this card is all upside. And everybody
loves lots of mana, right? This card, or its red
incarnation from Alpha, has been the backbone of
crazy combos and cutthroat multiplayer politics for
years. It’s the opposite of non-interactive
strategies like land destruction or discard, which
don’t let your opponent play his game at all. It
encourages your opponent to play out his hand, so
you can then wipe the board or whatnot. How is that
Archdruid: Like I said, I like class tribal
better than race tribal, and in my opinion, Elves
can take a season on the sidelines. I know they
won’t, of course, because M10 is supposed to be
heavy on traditional fantasy flavor, and that means
Elves. But it also means Druids! Druids are always
around in Magic somewhere, and this card can get
absolutely nuts if you let it. Right now in Standard
alone there’s 25 Druids!
See Strands of Undeath above. This card goes a long
way towards demonstrating why Auras can be a
disadvantage—by not being a disadvantage. It has
Flash, it pumps yor creature, and it gives the
creature a way to keep itself alive.
of Summer: I’ll say it right now—I think the
legendary green creatures chosen for 10th
Edition were kind of a punt. Mirri was cool, but for
some reason nobody plays her. Maybe because for the
same mana cost, they can have Troll Ascetic? And
Molimo? He’s a big trampling dude, nothing more.
Legendary creatures should feel legendary,
like they do something you can’t get form just any
creature. Sakiko is exactly that—a big, powerful
ability that you can’t find anywhere else. And with
the new mana burn rule, all those cards from
Kamigawa block that put “temporary green mana” into
your pool are getting reworded. It would be nice if
one got reprinted so we could see it.
See Game of Chaos above. Mark Rosewater once said
that people don’t like randomness in their games. I
say, give them the tools to improve the odds in
their favor. Maybe M10 could have this as a mythic
rare, then a rare, uncommon, and common that involve
Scythe of the
Wretched: Loxodon Warhammer was fun, but it’s
getting out of hand. Any deck can just throw one in,
equip it to anything, and swing for huge life
swings. In Standard, Faeries are running this.
Faeries? What that tribe really expected to be able
to swing for five, with trample and lifelink? It
seems like it’s time to give the Hammer a rest.
Scythe of the Wretched makes a good replacement, and
a very flavorful one. It’s the Grim Reaper’s scythe,
and whoever you kill with it rises from the grave to
Pendant: This might be asking a lot of a core
set. Not only is it indestructible, its ability is
effectively “scry 1”, and neither of those two
abilities has ever been in the core set. But it
would be useful to have that little tool to filter
your draw each turn.
Bauble: Oh, the tricks you could do with this
little trinket. It gets a card in your graveyard
back into your deck, and draws you a card. Combo
decks like this little guy. And so do I.
Dragon’s Fang: Okay, I noticed that all my
artifact picks so far were from Mirrodin. Guess I’m
showing my age there. It was a toss-up for me
between this and Grifter’s Blade. One is a legendary
sword infused with the spirit of an ancient dragon,
the other is the blade of a cutpurse. Traditional
fantasy has always had rogues, pickpockets, and
thieves, but it’s also always had dragons.
Guess what wins.
Clone and Sculpting Steel can be in a core set, so
can Vesuva. Besides, it’s one of the few lands that
really feels like a place.
Center of the Sea: We know Jace Beleren is being
reprinted. This could go well alongside him in a
mill deck. Although it may be competing with Howling
Mine, since the two have similar effects.
10th edition had the cycle of colored
“man lands” (Treetop Village et al.), and only two
of them really saw play. This could easily replace
all five, and see play in a wider variety of decks.
Just remember it if you’re building a Gilt-Leaf
That’s all I can
come up with. I hope you enjoyed my self-indulgent
stroll down What If Lane. If you have any opinions
of your own, or responses to my opinions, feel free
to send them to me!
And here’s hoping
Magic 2010 fulfills all our wishlists!