Mulling Over the Rumor Mill
Four Fantastic Bombshells in Ninth Edition
July 1st, 2005 by Jeff Zandi
The ninth printing of
Magic’s “basic set” is coming to a store near you in one
month. The set is called the Core Set but is better known as
Ninth Edition. The set will be white bordered and will
feature the Ninth Edition logo, which you can see on Wizards
of the Coast’s web site. On their Magic web site you will
also learn about several of the cards that appear among the
approximately 350 cards in the set. What you will NOT see on
Magic: the Gathering’s corporate site is a complete list for
Ninth Edition. For a complete list, the Magic fan is limited
to the speculation available on any number of different web
pages. While there will be plenty of time to discuss Ninth
Edition a month from now when we are actually ripping open
packs and playing with it, there is something to be gained
from talking about what is MOST LIKELY in the set. It’s fun.
For this article, I want to state up front that I understand
that I’m dealing in speculation on some cards. Anything
short of a list of cards directly from Wizards of the Coast
is speculation. Some cards discussed in this article HAVE
been verified by information found on magicthegathering.com.
Some people have trouble getting excited about the basic
set. Revised Edition, way back in 1994, started the
tradition of pulling cards previously printed in expansion
sets into the basic set. Revised included cards from Arabian
Nights and Antiquities, along with cards from the
Alpha-Beta-Unlimited base sets. Some people see Ninth
Edition and its predecessors as simply a collection of
reprinted cards. I believe that the basic set is a
touchstone, defining the constructed formats for several
years to come.
Today, I want to talk about four fantastic bombshells to
expect in Ninth Edition. You won’t need to be doused in
cosmic rays to gain the power from these great cards!
Fellwar Stone is back. For two colorless mana, you get an
artifact that taps (even the turn you play it) for one mana
of any type your opponent’s land can produce. This is solid
acceleration for any deck. This card may not seem that
exciting, but it was good enough to appear in most of the
decks in the top eight from the first Pro Tour event.
Fellwar Stone is called the “welfare stone” because it seems
like your opponent is GIVING you access to his colors.
Fellwar stone is good anytime, even if the mana it produces
is not the color you want. Things are just THAT MUCH BETTER
when your opponent is playing lands that produce a color
that helps you. If your opponent plays cards like City of
Brass, dual lands or even “pain lands”, Fellwar Stone can
give you access to a wide variety of colored mana. This card
has NOT been confirmed by Wizards of the Coast for inclusion
in Ninth Edition, but reliable sources say that it is.
BIG AND RED
You like fat red creatures? Who doesn’t. It’s been kind of
funny to play
with the cards from the Kamigawa block and see so few large
red men. Well,
if you’ve been missing out on big red men, take a look at
these solid gold
hits from the upcoming Ninth Edition:
Rathi Dragon is a 5/5 flyer for 2RR from Tempest is being
reprinted for the
first time. This was the preferred win condition for many
red decks back in the day. He should be popular again in
Constructed right away.
Shard Phoenix is the THINKING MAN’S flying red creature.
Shard Phoenix is a
2/2 flyer for 4R that you can sacrifice anytime to deal two
damage to all
non-flyers. For three red mana, you can return Shard Phoenix
to your hand
from the graveyard at the beginning of your upkeep step.
Shivan Dragon is the ORIGINAL big red dragon since Magic
first began and is
back again in Ninth Edition. This isn’t really big news.
Sixth Edition is
the only basic set NOT to include this classic monster. It’s
just nice that
he’s going to be around for a few more years.
Thundermare is a 5/5 for 5R that has haste. This card was
first printed in
Portal, but really became known when it appeared in
flaming horse deals a lot of damage in a hurry.
Wildfire may not be a creature, but it IS a big red card
that is going to
make an immediate impact on Standard Constructed formats
soon after Ninth
Edition is released.
Rathi Dragon was confirmed by Wizards of the Coast for Ninth
August in the Selecting Ninth Edition series of articles
magicthegathering.com in which Rathi Dragon won out over
Barbarian Horde and
Goblin Goon. Shard Phoenix was also selected for Ninth
Edition in the
player-polls of the Selecting Ninth Edition series. The rest
of these red
cards are included based on good speculative information
found on multiple
LANDS THAT KILL
Ninth Edition, according to at least two reputable sources,
fourteen non basic lands. In previous editions of Magic’s
basic set, this
would mean the inclusion of all kinds of strange lands with
abilities that, well, just don’t come in handy all the time.
treated us to not-so-popular Oasis. Fifth Edition featured
In Ninth Edition, according to sources, contains exactly
fourteen non basic
lands, every one of them very useful. These include ALL TEN
of the lands
known as “pain lands”, the dual lands that can be tapped for
either of two
colors (dealing a point of damage to you) or tapped for
colorless mana (with
no damage penalty). The five original pain lands were first
printed in Ice
Age. Each of the original five pain lands were capable of
mana from either of two allied colors (colors that appear
next to each other
on the back of a Magic card). The five non-allied color pain
appeared in Apocalypse. Ninth Edition will be the first time
color pain lands have been reprinted.
Along with ten pain lands, the Urza’s lands will again
appear in Ninth
Edition. These lands are very popular for accelerating mana
in several mono
colored deck designs including, but not limited to, the very
and Nail deck.
The big news is Quicksand. Quicksand was originally printed
in Visions and
is being reprinted for the first time. Quicksand taps for a
but is MOST important because it can be sacrificed at any
time to give a
non-flying attacker -1/-2 until end of turn. Land that can
removal to decks of any color. Quicksand will be very
As far as I know, none of these land selections have been
verified openly by
Wizards of the Coast for inclusion in Ninth Edition, but
source seems to believe these fourteen cards are the only
non basic lands
that will appear in Ninth Edition.
WATCH THE SKIES
Finally, the card I am most excited about in Ninth Edition.
Hypnotic Specter is returning to the basic set for the first
Fourth Edition was printed TEN YEARS AGO. While this card’s
return is not
verified by Wizards, sources all over the Net say that this
creature is returning.
Ten years ago, Type II (now called Standard Constructed) was
Hypnotic Specter. The skies over Dominaria were full of
these 2/2 flyers
fearlessly attacking both the opponent and his hand. Several
been made to replace this Hall of Fame creature, Abyssal
quickest to mind, but none have equaled the power and simple
Hypnotic Specter. To date, Hypnotic Specter has only been
printed as an
uncommon, but there is every reason to believe that this
card will be
reprinted as a rare. Wizards has done this with many other
cards that they
The real power of Hypnotic Specter had a lot to do with a
card that very
often came with it, Dark Ritual. Swamp, Dark Ritual,
Hypnotic Specter was
the standard opening play for many black decks over the
years. Without the
availability of Dark Ritual, the value of Hypnotic Specter
does go down
somewhat, but don’t count this great creature out. Black and
green decks can
play the green/black pain land on turn one, play a Llanowar
Elf and then
play Hypnotic Specter on turn two. When Ravnica appears in
of Paradise will return to Standard (Birds of Paradise is in
but has been confirmed to NOT appear in Ninth Edition).
The big deal about Hypnotic Specter is that it takes cards
away from your
opponent, when it damages them, AT RANDOM. When someone
plays a Ravenous
Rat, or hits you with Abyssal Specter, you can offset some
of the pain of
discarding a card by choosing the card that means the least
to your plans in
the current game. When Hypnotic Specter hits your opponent,
he loses a card
at random, which is never good for him.
Of course, I would love to know what you think!
Level II DCI Judge
Zanman on Magic Online