Welcome, finally, to my THB notable multi and colorless cards. Before we get started, I have an admission. I’m a bad webmaster. You already know that. But, I’m nothing if not honest and willing to admit when I’m not very good at something. It’s been a couple of weeks since I started the Theros articles and I’m just now getting around to the multicolored and colorless cards. I have no excuse. Last week was vacation and the only day that I had anything planned was when my wife and I went to Boston on Wednesday. So, now that we have that all out of the way, let’s get to talking about some cards.
Multicolored (The Only Colors are Blue and Black, right?)
In what might be a first for one of these articles, I’ve played both of the cards that I’m discussing in this section. I had a fun UB control deck that I played in MTGA. I searched for some updates for the deck when Theros released and this was one of the cards in that deck. The body, as they say, dies to removal, but the Fact or Fiction effect is pretty cool and fun to play.
This card was also added to my deck. Once again, it’s not a game breaking card by itself. However, it does cause an opponent to obsess a bit over removal, opening the game up for the other UB shenanigans. Plus, that alternate art is nice.
Colorless (Wait, there’s only one notable colorless card. Let’s talk more about multicolored)
This card is dumb. I get that it’s a Titan, but still. I’ve played against it a few times. It’s not as broken as it first appeared. It is just one of those cards that when it’s played, I roll my eyes. I just know I’m going to be in for stupid shenanigans. Well, don’t you usually play stupid shenanigans, you might say? Of course, but I am all about do as I say not as I do. And I say, sir, no shenanigans for you!
When I first saw this card, I thought it might be the broken card of the set. Then, I saw the casting cost. Then I saw the creature type. And it all started to make sense. Wizards likes their 3/5 Sphinxes with ridiculous casting cost and stupid abilities. This one is UW. Which means it has a gold border. That ensures that I will pick the card in cube way too early.
The original Theros wasn’t know for its multicolored cards. Death changes a plane apparently. The multicolored cards in this set are fun. They might not be good, but I don’t care about all that. I just want to have fun. And make my opponent’s life miserable for the half an hour we play. Before you ask, yes that includes Chris. At least I’m not a complete sociopath. I do feel bad when I make his life miserable. Plus, we always get a good laugh from it, too. So, if you’re like me and you just like being the fun police, there’s plenty here to make that happen. Thanks for reading my THB multi and colorless notable cards article. Stay tuned over the next couple of days for an article about Battlegrounds.
Welcome to my Theros Beyond Death notable Gruul cards article. Last time, I went over the Esper colors. Those are my favorite colors and my favorite two and three color combinations. As a died in the wool blue mage, I absolutely hate red. I do like forcing Gx in cube drafts but, other than that, I don’t have much use for green, either. With all of that being said, there have been some green and red cards that have caught my eye in the set.
I’m not terribly proud of this next admission, but it is relevant to the topic of discussion. I spent the last hour or so swearing at Magic the Gathering Arena opponents who seem to always be able to draw and play exactly the card they need when they need it. Mind you, I’m not opening that discussion. I just wanted to say that I was playing on MTGA.
They are allowing players to play with the World Championship decks from this weekend. It’s a cool event for cheap gamers like me who would never get a chance to play a competitive deck. I chose the Jeskai Fires deck. So, I am capable of playing red. I just don’t like to. With all that being said, lets look at some Theros Beyond Death notable Gruul cards.
Red (Bolt you for lethal? I think we can do a bit better than that.)
This card is sneaky fun, in my opinion. You get a two turn Act of Treason. Then, depending on the board state, you get a turn of removal. Finally, you get almost guaranteed board sweep unless your opponent is playing low attack and high health creatures. In any case, I would play this card for the giggles alone.
I’m a big fan of Through the Breach effects. This gives you that, plus a potential big body itself if you should ever end up getting devotion. I’m pretty sure this is one of the first cards that I texted Chris about and it was all about that Through the Breach text. That card is just so much fun to play in cube. I’d like to test if it is just as much fun in a deck built around it.
Green (You Want Infinite Mana? Because This Might Be How You Get Infinite Mana)
Magic the Gathering has been kind to shirtless green dudes the last few years. First, Oko threw the entirety of the multiverse into chaos. He become the first card in a while to get the ban hammer in almost every format, both competitive and casual. Now, this guy shows up. I’m obviously not saying that he is as powerful as Oko, but he could cause a bit of a ruckus with the right friends.
Speaking of friends, there’s this guy. Chris texted me a picture of him when he was spoiled. I don’t remember my exact response, but it definitely contained some curse words. Again, I can’t promise that this card is any good. In fact, in most formats, it probably isn’t. However, in Commander, this guy plus that dryad up there has got to be some kind of game winning combo. I’m too lazy to find it. Maybe one of you can.
Thanks for reading my part two, Theros Beyond Death Notable Gruul Cards. As promised, I’m not as excited about these cards as I was about the Esper cards. Still, there are some fun red and green cards. I just will never play them unless they come to one of the MTGO cubes and get picked up by xMage. Uh, I mean, unless I invest some case into MTGO and play the cube there. Now that I’m somewhat back in the habit, join us in a couple of days for the colorless and multicolored cards.
Note: This is only the Esper edition of Theros Beyond Death notable cards. It is also two weeks late. Those of you who have been with us for any time at all know this is all very on brand for 2 Generations Gaming. In spite of our best efforts, we are often late and incomplete in our assessments. So be it! Enjoy anyway!
Welcome to my Theros Beyond Death notable cards article. As you know from my previous articles on the subject, these are not necessarily the best cards. They might not even be the most popular cards. They are simply cards that speak to me for some reason or another.
What’s this? Actual gaming content on our gaming web page? Yeah, it took a bit longer than anticipated, but I’m on a regular schedule again updating the page. There will be a plethora of gaming and comic content for the foreseeable future. Look forward to that! Now, let’s get on to Theros Beyond Death notable cards.
White (Stupid Combos? Isn’t that usually Green?)
When I first saw this card, I texted Chris, “This card has to be broken, right? Then again, I’m bad, so I might just be wrong.” He did some searching but didn’t find anything in Standard. I still contend that someone somewhere is gonna break this one.
Honorable Mention – Another (actual) infinite combo? What is happening with white lately? It used to be that their infinite combos were impossible to pull off. Now there is one definite broken card and possibly another if I’m right about Sentinel’s Eyes. I mean, I know I’m not, but it won’t stop me from hoping.
Blue (Forget Countering Your Spells, I’m Just Going to Exile Them)
Those who know me best know that I am a blue mage at heart. I complain often about the fun police but that is only because I want to be the fun police. If I can’t counter a creature, then I want to destroy it. If I can’t counter a spell…well, there’s rarely a time that I can’t counter a spell. This card just adds extra salt to that counter by exiling the card.
An enchantment? With flash? That exiles? Another way to look at it is that it is a permanent instant that prevents the casting of one of your opponent’s most powerful spells. Either way, those are two great tastes that taste great together. They taste like salt. You didn’t think I was going to say victory there, did you? Goodness me, no, this thing is way too slow.
Black (If I Can’t Exile It, I’ll Destroy It)
You are probably noticing a theme here. Honestly, if you’re not, I’d be worried. It’s not that tough of a pattern. This one is even less powerful than the blue enchantment at the same mana cost, which seems weird. Then again, WotC did print Oko, so mana cost clearly doesn’t mean a thing.
My main decks are generally UB. The reason for this, as mentioned above, is that I like to play the fun police. If I can’t counter your spells, then I just want to remove them. From the battlefield, from your hand, from your graveyard. Just get them the hell out of here.
There are some fun cards in the Esper colors in this set. I have updated my UB control list on Arena. So far, it hasn’t been as much fun to play, but that usually just means that I need to play more to figure out how things work. Join me next time for the Gruul version and then colorless and lands after that. Thanks for reading!
The subtitle is a bit misleading. I could play some Pioneer decks if I wanted. I recently learned about the MTGO card and deck rental services. Doing some research, they seem like a good deal to try out some tier 2 or 3 decks at a reasonable price. Also, there is the questionably legal method of trying things out on xMage. So, stay tuned. There might be a follow up to this post in the near future. Plan for Thanksgiving weekend.
Chris already got the ball rolling on some Pioneer content earlier in the week. It might be a couple of weeks too late, but it’s downright topical for how long it usually takes us to get around to trying new things. Hey, there’s a market for retro gaming, too. I’m told. I haven’t actually found any of those markets.
In spite of all that, I was pretty intrigued by the announcement of Pioneer as a format. Like Chris, I took a long break from Magic the Gathering. That break ended, inexplicably, around the time that Return to Ravnica was released. Having a format that starts at that set just feel like kismet. Therefore, let’s take a look at some Pioneer decks that I’d like to try.
Mono Green Devotion
Usually I like to build to the eventual big reveal. that shows you how excited I am about this particular deck. It’s been the “best” deck of the format since pretty much the beginning. They’ve already had a list of banned cards (aside from fetch lands) that tried to slow the deck down, but to no avail. As long as Nykthos is allowing Walking Balllista and Voracious Hydra to terrorize people while Nissa and Vivien party in the background, this deck will dominate the format. I’ve never been the type to want to dominate in Magic. but, there’s just something about giant green stompy decks that makes my blue mage heart sing.
Mono Blue Devotion
Chris got really excited when I mentioned that I thought that this deck might actually be a thing. He texted back, somewhat mysteriously, “I knew it!” He then went on to explain that he saw a spike in Thassa’s price. I know nothing about economy, especially the economy of Magic the Gathering, but I do know from islands. Now, I’m not sure how much of a deck this actually is anymore. There are only 3 listings on MTG Top 8. Nevertheless, any deck that lets you play islands and sling blue cards is okay by me. I will just say. Needs moar counterspell.
Anything that has the word control and swamps and islands in it is okay by me, too. Do I get an added bonus for picking a deck with everyone’s least favorite villain card, Oko? Looking over the deck, this one looks really sweet and it will probably be the first one that I fart around with on xMage after I reinstall that on the desktop upstairs. It’s got shirtless bros. There’s removal. I have to speak to the manager about the lack of counterspell, but that is easily remedied.
Pioneer has been called “Ghosts of Standard Past”. Other than being especially seasonal, that title is actually accurate in a way. When I went to the Khans prerelease, I ended up picking Mardu because Aiden had picked Sultai. I don’t remember what Liam picked, but I think it was probably Jeskai. I then went on to try to build a Mardu control deck. Now, that can be a thing, but not at a prerelease, so I just trolled the rest of the group with my durdle tactics for 3 rounds, dropped, and went to get food with the boys. None of that has to do with Standard, but this felt like a good place to tell that story since I know little about meta gaming.
Now, this I do know a little bit about. Gather around, children and listen to the tale of Splinter Twin. Once upon a time, there was a deck that allowed you to make many tokens. A great many Modern players enjoyed and played this utterly unfun and disgusting pile of cards. WotC finally killed it. Everyone lived happily ever after. The end….until Felidar Guardian came along. Rinse. Repeat. Until Pioneer came along. Rinse. Repeat. Now, I think the beast is dead forever….until the next stupid card that allows you to pull off this combo comes along. Rinse? Repeat? *sigh* So, this truly is a deck that I can only play against Chris in our no holds barred cage matches every month or so. But, I won’t. Because, it’s stupid. I just wanted a paragraph to rant about this dumb “strategy” again.
Thanks for reading my article about Pioneer decks that I’d play (if I could*). *I can and probably will in a couple of weeks, so look for my report then. No promises, as usual. There might be a cube active on xMage at that time and I am easily distracted by shiny objects. I will try my hardest to play at least the Sultai Control deck a few times and report back on that one.
Seeing as how Jeskai is my second favorite clan, I will probably try that one, too. Okay? Let’s meet in a couple of weeks to discuss my travels back in time (hopefully it goes better than when Sarkhan tried this) to Tarkir. I look forward to meeting again.
Howdy gang! Today I wanted to touch on the subject of the newest format of Magic the Gathering that’s gaining steam; Pioneer. For those of you who are scratching your virtual heads (looking at you Sergei), Pioneer is basically Modern but with the restriction of only being able to use cards from the Return to Ravnica block forward. Being more of a Modern player this format resonates with me. I got back into the game during the RTR block and while it holds a special place in my heart, I kick myself for not getting back into the game years before when the staples of Modern were first released. Yes, unfortunately, I’ve always gone to modern feeling underpowered as I stared across the table at Tarmogoyfs, Lilys, Emrakruls, Karns, Fetches, ..you get the point, while I played mostly budget decks as I’m a responsible (ish) adult who refuses to spend a grand or two on a Tier1 Modern deck. With this format, it feels like equal footing. It’s Modern for the new guys. While giddy on the inside, I’m cautious on the exterior. Why? Well I’m glad that you asked, voice in my head, I’ll tell you why I think this format could already be in trouble and why, on my soft caramel and nougat inside (Mmm Milky Ways), I think this might stick.
WOTC has already made it clear that there will be weekly bannings as the competitive scene meta comes to light. I think a big reason why this format has caught on fire in the last few weeks is the fact that all the overpowered cards from Standard-Ghosts past are now playable again. Emrakrul, The Promised End, Deathrite Shaman, Aetherworks Marvel, Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, Saheeli Rai and that damn Felidar Cat..the list goes on and on. It’s actually been interesting to track the card value spikes online while giggling to myself knowing that there would be a crash on a lot of the cards due to the Ban Hammer being swung around every week. Right off the bat, WOTC banned Fetches (thank you!), and just last week dropped the hammer on the Felidar Beast, therefore killing the Saheeli infinite combo, Oath of Nissa and Leyline of Abundance (to kill mana fixing right out of the gate). While, personally, I rather play fair games that last more 4 turns, I think there a lot of players that get a rush from pulling off infinite combos, playing overpowered cards, and just generally breaking the system and sticking it to the man. Once the bans keep coming, I can see a lot of players dropping the format and crying into their playset of Treasure Cruises. (C’mon we all know that is going away!).
Here to Stay!
Simply put; everyone is ****ing tired of getting their collective ***es kicked by the same Modern decks over and over again. Jund, Tron, Lantern Control, Burn, Bant. We’ve all at one time played against them either in person or online. If you haven’t, then consider yourself lucky. Next person who plays Lantern Control against me will get dropkicked in the ****ing throat. Try me m*******r. Ahem..er..anyways..How many times have you watched SCG Modern streams just to see the same decks over and over and over? How many times have you perused the Top 8 decklists just to see the same decks over and over and over? This is a fresh start! The meta is constantly in a state of flux as WOTC bans what they deem as unfair, so the top decks haven’t been decided yet and probably won’t be for awhile until the bans have subsided. This format feels different as Wizards is pushing it hard in the competitive scene. I fully expect a Pioneer Masters set next year. Write it down. I’ve never felt this sense of excitement from players when it came to any other format. Brawl? Meh. Wizards is still pushing it but not as hard. Tiny Leaders? Who gives a tiny crap? Pioneer? Hell yes! People instantly reacted to the announcement and singles prices went haywire. My gut tells me Pioneer will be a winner due to Modern Fatigue and the uncreative deck brewing of that format, as well as people having tons of old Standard cards just sitting in binders that are not Standard-legal but also not powerful enough to compete in Modern. The possibilities are endless right now and I think people are picking up on that. It’s not often that you can get in on the ground floor of a format.
Welcome to 2 Guy’s Gaming’s presentation of Throne of Eldraine notable cards. As you know, this isn’t going to be a list of the best or most playable cards from the set. There are plenty of other pages for that. Here’s one if that’s what you’re looking for. Instead, these will be cards that speak to me in one way or another.
I am mostly a Johnny with some Timmy mixed in. Rarely do I rise to the level of Spike unless Chris is kicking my butt over and over again and I need to reassert my manhood. Keep all of that in mind as you read my article about Throne of Eldraine notable cards.
What even is this card? I don’t know if white is necessarily known for dumb win conditions. What I do know is that I’ve become so conditioned to them that I actually texted Chris about this card with the comment, “Here’s another white card with an insane ‘win the game’ condition.” He replied with, “I’m not even entirely sure what that all means.” I’m positive that if I played this card in paper, I’d miss the win trigger every single time. Still, the stories I’d be able to tell.
Honorable Mention – I do love an arrest card. This one isn’t as good as my favorite, Pacifism, because of the condition. However, it is pretty close. Plus, that flavor text is a win.
Blue (Magic is a fun game. You should play it sometime)
No Spell for You! – I’m, at my heart, a blue mage. Counterspells are my all time favorite cards in Magic the Gathering. One of the reasons I can’t enjoy Hearthstone is that there is only one counterspell and it isn’t even satisfying to cast. I’m happiest when my opponent concedes after the 5th or 6th counterspell. Chris might be right. I might be a sick individual.
Honorable Mention – In addition to counterspells, I also like big, dumb, slow, pretty much unplayable blue cards, too. What can I say, I’m complicated.
Black (Seriously, Magic is fun. Why aren’t you playing?)
What’s not to love? This is a terrible murder card with the awful upside of creating a Food token. This card is just dumb. That is why I love it. Besides, that flavor text is frigging hilarious.
Honorable Mention – Do you want to make a terrible reanimator deck? Of course you do! Well, have I got the card for you!
Red (Pew, Pew?)
1.21 Gigawatts! Can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick an adventure card. But, I was thinking. If I cast the adventure portion and then the creature portion, the creature goes on the stack first. Does that mean that I can target the creature with the buff? Let’s break Magic!
Honorable Mention – Can this card be broken? Probably not. That stipulation that you can only cast two spells per turn is pretty limiting. I just texted Chris something about this and Experimental Frenzy being a jank ass combo. However, I don’t think it is what I hoped it would be. Oh well, this dream is just a meme.
Green (Where are my big stompy dinos?)
What is this playable nonsense? When I first saw this card, I texted to Chris that it seemed straight busted. We both agreed that it could be banned in Modern. That doesn’t appear to be true. So, I guess I’m just sharing that story as more evidence that I’m terrible at this game and shouldn’t be trusted.
Yay, recursion! Okay, I know for a fact that you can use this card to make mana to cast itself. It is completely superfluous. But, that’s how I sometimes like my Magic. Hopefully I pull this card when Chris and I draft because I’m making that happen.
Multicolored (I missed Garruk)
Welcome Back, Big Man. Ridiculous slow casting cost? Check. Possibly unattainable ultimate? Check. Welcome back, Garruk. I, for one, missed you and can’t wait to cheat this out in my Gx ramp stompy deck in Legacy cubes.
I couldn’t come up with an honorable mention for Multicolored and nothing in colorless really jumps out at me. The carriage is a really bad card. The spinning wheel is fun for the lore aspect. But, none of the cards really speaks to me.
Overall, as Chris and I have texted a couple of times, the set looks like a lot of fun. I can’t wait to get together with him to draft and build my latest Frankenstein’s monster of 5 color good stuff to beat him with. Thanks for reading my Throne of Eldraine notable cards article. See you in three months for the next set!
Those who have visited the page in the past know that this isn’t going to be a “best of Core Set 2020” article. I might end up accidentally or incidentally choosing cards that would be considered good. However, that is not the intent of this article. There are plenty of other resources out there that will give you those cards. Instead, I like to do things a bit differently around here.
In the realm of Magic the Gathering personas or whatever they call them, I’m a Johnny. Sometimes I’m a Timmy. I am almost never a Spike unless I start getting beat a bit too many times on Magic the Gathering Arena. As a result, I look through spoiler lists with a slightly different eye than the usual reviewer. My list of cards will contain cards that I (a) think I can build crazy combos around but usually (b) ones that make me say, “Wow, that’s a cool card!” If that sounds like your cup of tea, join me and continue reading.
White Cards (Did Somebody Say Angels?)
Planar Cleansing – Those of you who visit the page on a semi regular basis know that I am a hypocrite when it comes to Magic the Gathering. I will rail against other people playing solitaire Magic decks until I’m blue in the face even as I tap my own blue face for mana to play cards that don’t allow my opponent to play Magic. Planar Cleansing has always been one of my favorite cards. The art is perfect. The effect is ridiculous. And, if you hate all the Superfriends love from Dominaria, here’s your answer.
Starfield Mystic – As soon as I saw this card, I texted Chris about it. Looks a bit like a Theros card, doesn’t it? He agreed. We’ve been talking for a while now that it would be nice to travel back to Theros. I mean, they’ve been back to Innistrad and Zendikar. This last trip was the third to Ravnica. How about some Greek mythology love this time, WotC?
Sephara, Sky’s Blade (Honorable Mention) – i think it was Jeff Hoogland who was playing this one on his stream recently. The alternate casting cost didn’t go off as much as I had hoped, but this thing would be ridiculous in an EDH white token deck. I’m sure someone else already has theirs built and tuned but I’d love to put one together myself.
Pacifism (Lifetime Achievement) – Remember earlier when I mentioned that I like to play cards that don’t let my opponent play Magic? This is probably my all time favorite card ever printed. I don’t like this art, but I will still play the card.
Blue (Oh, I’m Sorry. Did you want to play Magic today?)
Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer – This card might as well just say, “Blue. Blue blue blue blue blue. Blue blue blue.” Everything about this card says to me, put 20 basic islands in your deck and play this card on turn 3. The only thing missing is a counter ability, but that’s tough to do when Planeswalkers activate at sorcery speed. Nevertheless, drawing 20 cards a turn, you’ll get a counter eventually.
I saw this card on a Gaby Spartz’ stream, I think. She was playing limited and it seemed like every single person was playing this card. The card itself is a blue beast token with upside, but that name is absolutely magical. I’m putting four of these in my Mu Yanling deck just so I can repeatedly say, “I cast Octoprophet.”
Tale’s End (Honorable Mention) – This is a very specific counter and ultimate useless in most cases. However, it has that quality of blue Johnny cards that just speaks to me. Being able to either counter a Planeswalker or a particularly annoying activated ability of that Walker if you get it a turn late is oddly satisfying. You’ll still lose the game, but a turn or two later.
Leyline of Anticipation (Lifetime Achievement) – One of the surprising reprints in this set was the Leyline cycle reprint. I’m not sure why they would have been reprinted now, but maybe because they are Enchantments and Theros was all about enchantments, that’s one more clue that we are going to go back there in the next sets.
Black (Your graveyard is looking a bit empty)
Rotting Regisaur – This is another one that I texted Chris about. 3 mana 7/6 with minimal draw back? And, as he said, one of black’s identities is sacrificing cards for stronger effect, so even if you discard something, chances are it will be back later. Sometimes I think the fine folks at WotC are just trolling us with these cards.
Yarok’s Fenlurker – This card seems like it could be a limited all star, but I’m terrible at evaluating cards (as the next section will show). A 1/1 body that exiles a card from the opponent’s hand? Sure, the opponent gets to choose, but that’s still a great upside. Plus, it can be a grizzly bear for only 3 additional mana! See, I told you I’m terrible at evaluating cards.
Sanitarium Skeleton (Honorable Mention) – This card is absolute garbage. Sure it might be nice on turn 1 as a blocker for those pesky goblins that basic mountain decks like to play. And, it can sit in your hand for a few turns to be fodder for Regisaur. Why am I including this card in my article then? Who knows. Sometimes, a card just speaks to me.
Murder (Lifetime Achievement) – The caption to the picture says it all. I’ve been playing a UB no fun deck on Arena the last few weeks and it’s filled with counters and removal. This one is just such a tidy answer to pretty much anything that the opponent sneaks through my counter spells.
Red (Aw, man, do I have to?)
Chandra’s Regulator – Another card that necessitated a text to Chris. I think my exact words were, “This card might be garbage, but I love it.” We then had a discussion about Chandra planeswalker cards, how they are always garbage, and as a result, so was this card. Oh well, I still want to play it.
Reckless Air Strike – There is so much wrong with this card. First, it’s a sorcery. Second, many flying creatures have so much more than 3 health. Third, we’ll just slap some artifact hate on the end there. Still, I’m sure to end up with this card in draft and it’ll prove just how unplayable it actually is.
Drakuseth, Maw of Flames (Honorable Mention) – I really include this card as an homage to our fallen homie (oh, he’s not dead, just inactive on the page), Chris. He’s a dragon guy. And this is quite the dragon. Hell, even that subtitle is ridiculous.
Act of Treason (Lifetime Achievement) – Oh, you got a creature past my counter and I don’t have removal? Well, I guess I’ll just take it from you and beat you with it, then. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve used this card to steal someone’s giant creature and beat them.
Green (Giant, Stompy Dinosaurs!)
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger – This is another card that I texted to Chris about. I mentioned how I thought the card was sexy and he told me to calm down. Our conversation then went on to other NSFW content. Seriously, though, this card is dope.
Loaming Shaman – I’m only including this guy as another possible hint that we’re heading back to Theros soon. That ability it kind of neat. What really grabs me is white horse guy with white hair and bear has gotta live on Theros.
Vorstclaw (Honorable Mention) – This thing is just a big dumb creature. It doesn’t trample. There’s no ramp. No text at all other than for flavor. And that’s even that isn’t much of a flavor. Earlier there was a 3 mana 7/6 with minimal draw back. Now, we have a 6 mana 7/7 with no upside. What is happening in this game?
Gift of Paradise (Lifetime Achievement) – This is probably the slowest ramp in the history of the game. But, it is ramp. And ramp helps you to get to those 6 mana generic 7/7s that much faster. So, get out there and start ramping.
Multicolor (Or, the gold border always makes me think it’s Mythic. Yes, still.)
Omnath, Locus of the Roil – If you have “I texted Chris about this card” for this one, then I’m pretty sure you have BINGO. However, I didn’t see this one during spoiler season. It wasn’t until Jeff Hoogland was playing an interesting Elemental deck that I texted him about this card. It looks like such a fun card.
Kykar, Wind’s Fury – Back when Tarkir was the new hotness, I was drawn to Jeskai. I ended up trying to force Mardu in the prerelease event that I went to, but Jeskai is my first love, espeically when they got rid of the pesky red from their color scheme. This card screams Jeskai. And, so, it gets a spot on my list.
No Honorable Mention or Lifetime Achievement – None of the other cards jump out at me as interesting and there aren’t any reprints that I recognize.
Colorless ( Weren’t these cards brown before?)
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim – If you already got BINGO last round, go for Super BINGO this time. Or, you could play how was this message delivered? “This card is probably garbage, but I can’t wait to build a Commander deck around it.” I love the fact that it is an artifact, but also five colors at the same time. That’s all you need to get me to love a garbage card.
Bag of Holding – A second way to get me to like a garbage card is to name it after a Dungeons and Dragons item. When WotC first took over D&D, I was a little bit worried, but they’ve done a good job with the game. I haven’t played the Ravnica cross over yet, but I saw that they are releasing a 2 player version of D&D for losers like me who don’t have more than one friend.
Manifold Key (Honorable Mention) – Another sure fire way to get me to love a garbage card is to make it so that it reminds me of a card played in my favorite format to watch, Vintage. There’s a combo that allows you to go infinite with Time Vault and Voltaic Key. However, both of those cards are restricted. This one isn’t. Not yet. I’m not sure if there are 3 cards to remove from the deck to add 4 of these, but there’s a chance.
Grafdigger’s Cage (Lifetime Achievement) – I was watching Modern the other day. And, yes, I did text Chris about it, but this card wasn’t involved in the conversation. Rather, I was telling him about the Hogaak deck that was casting the title creature on turn 2 or 3. WotC was quick to ban Bridge from Below to slow it down. But, thinking about that deck made me think about this card.
The Verdict (Core Set 2020 is a Core Set)
There are some good cards in the set. At its heart, though, Core Set 2020 lives up to the name. There was a time when WotC killed off core sets and nobody, aside from collecting nerds like me, seemed to miss them. I might be off base here, but I don’t remember a ton of complaining when it happened.
Therefore, I, for one, am happy to have the core sets back. I am a bit behind in my collecting, so I just recently picked up my box from Core set 2019, but it should only take a month or so to get up to speed with Core Set 2020. Until then, maybe I’ll do a draft or two on Arena.
Note: Just to give some context, this review comes shortly after Magic the Gathering Arena switched over to the Mastery system from the weekly quests system.
If it seems like it’s been a while since there has been any gaming content on the page, that’s because it has. I have been working over the last few weeks to get caught up on my comics reading so that I can provide newer content. As a result, most of the recent articles have been reviews of older comic books.
I wrote in my last article that I’m now caught up and next week’s reviews should contain reviews of current comic books. This week I wanted to take a break from comics and get back to what started the page in the first place. Since Quinn is showing an interest in Magic, a new set just came out, and I don’t think I’ve ever done a comprehensive review of Arena, I figured MtG was a good place to start that pivot back into gaming.
The Good (Magic the Gathering Arena is fun!)
I wrote in my notes, “You got Hearthstone in my Magic! You got Magic in my Hearthstone! Two great tastes that go great together?” Because, at my heart, I’m a dad and I abuse dad jokes whenever I can. I think when MTGA was first announced, I even called it Magic the Gathering Hearthstone edition.
I realize now that I’m looking at these two screenshots that I’m selling MTGA short by comparing it to Hearthstone. Sure, they both have interactive backgrounds and an emote system, but that’s about where the similarities end. The animations in MTGA are so much better and more intricate. MtG’s gameplay is so much more in depth and rich than Hearthstone.
I was watching a Kibler stream where he played some ridiculous Angels deck against Day9. They both had nearly 100 angel tokens on the field. Kibler, laughing, said, “You wonder why they don’t have this on mobile? Here’s why.” I admit to asking why in the past. My phone would probably spontaneously combust trying to render that many animations at once.
Magic the Gathering Arena is so much more than just a rip off of Hearthstone. I am ecstatic to have been wrong about that. In my opinion, MtG is so much better than Hearthstone and I would much rather play this game for random gold and packs than Hearthstone. I do still play Hearthstone but only after I’ve finished my time in Arena.
The Bad (Magic the Gathering Arena is Standard Only – for now)
Look, I understand that they need to start somewhere and that Standard makes the most sense. I also get that the game is buggy and suffers from slowdown even now with only standard sets programmed. Still, I’m a Vintage player at heart and I’d love to be able to hoard my wild cards to put together a deck that I’d never play in a million years in paper or even on MTGO. It’s a pipe dream at best, but maybe I’ll live long enough for them to (a) properly optimize the code and (b) transfer all cards into the game.
After all, they’ve announced a new format specifically to address the fact that older cards have already been coded in since the game has been in beta since Ixalan. They’re calling it Historic (?), which seems like a really dumb name. Also, given their recent lack of success in creating new formats, I don’t give this one much chance of lasting very long. Then again, I’ve been wrong before.
The Ugly (Magic the Gathering Arena rewards aren’t as much fun?)
Like many games that want to keep you on the treadmill, Magic the Gathering Arena has daily quests. They used to also have weekly quests. By winning 15 games in a week, I could collect 3 free packs. Apparently, someone decided that was too generous and they changed over to this Mastery system, which gives rewards based on gaining experience through daily quests and your first three wins of the day.
I put this under the ugly section mainly because of my reaction to it. I was not happy with the initial announcement and became less enamored with the idea once I saw it in action. However, as with most things in life, it would appear that Wizards of the Coast knew better than I did. I’ve been playing Arena more now than I ever did under the old reward system. Well, played WotC, well played.
The Verdict (Magic the Gathering Arena is good)
It should come as no surprise that someone who enjoys Magic the Gathering would enjoy a PC game based on Magic the Gathering. Well, the surprising part here is that I despise MTGO. I don’t like playing it. I don’t like watching streams that play it. I enjoy watching Hearthstone so much more and it is mainly for the cartoon graphics and silly animations. Those, therefore, are the main reasons that I keep coming back to Arena and streams that play Arena.
The game isn’t very polished at this point. There are bugs and slowdown from a lack of optimization. However, it is Magic the Gathering. That part I mostly enjoy. I’m still suspicious that RNGsus hates me and loves my opponents. But, I will continue to play as long as they support the game. Look out for me on a virtual tabletop near you.
When Wizards of the Coast notified us that we were going back to Ravnica for the next three sets, my initial reaction was excitement. Then, I thought about it and had a brief text discussion with Chris and we both came to the same thought almost simultaneously. That seems early. I don’t think that either one of us thought that it was a bad thing. We just both got over the initial excitement at nearly the same time and concluded, “Why Ravnica again?”
As you may have guessed, the story doesn’t end there. Do our stories ever really end around here? We almost always seem to have more to say if you just give us time. I, especially, suffer from what Stephen King used to refer to as diarrhea of the word processor. Chris is much more vocal about his opinions, so you’ll have to tune into the podcasts and videos to hear what he thinks.
At the very least, the announcement got me feeling nostalgic. Initially, I was going to do a top 5 or top 10 Magic the Gathering sets. Then I got the crazy idea to rank all of the sets. I finally settled on this retrospective to look back on all of the sets since I got back into the game. Initially it was going to be a 5 part series, but now you hold part 6 in your greedy little hands. I told you to just give me time and I’ll find more to say. Enjoy!
Some Quick Notes About Core Set 2013
This was my first exposure back into the game. I was wandering around Wal*Mart before the redesign and I noticed that they were still making Magic the Gathering cards. Though I didn’t buy them at that time, but the next time I was in the store, they suckered me in with their “Deckbuilder’s Toolkit” set which more or less spoke to the noob in me who hadn’t played the game in nearly two decades. I brought the set home, opened it, and was hooked almost immediately. At that point, it was mostly just a collector’s hobby since I didn’t know anyone else who played. My kids were too young, Chris hadn’t started playing yet, and my wife and I were too busy with babies to even consider playing against one another.
I still thought about the game and what was possible. Several cards made an impression on me. First and foremost was Talrand, Sky Summoner. At heart, I’m a blue mage and the card represents everything I want to do with Magic the Gathering. If I had known about Commander back then, that would have been the first deck that I mad scienced into existence. Instead, I learned about Krenko and that started my love/hate relationship with goblins in the game. More recently, I just learned that Door to Nothingness is in that set, too. While that is probably to most definitely a terrible card, that never stopped me from trying to make something out of nothing.
Why Should We Not Go Back to Ravnica?
I’m a bad news first kind of guy, so I’ll start with the reasons that I came up not to go back to Ravnica. The first reason is pure selfishness. Having missed out on most of the game due to my absence from it, I feel personally slighted by this decision. Instead of taking us back to one of the planes that I missed (see the last section for more), they are bringing us back to Ravnica.
Furthermore, it just seems like overkill at this point. This is the third visit to Ravnica in 13 years. I was able to brush up on some of the lore and I will talk more about it the “Why” section. In short, it’s a great story. But, what more can the have to tell about Ravnica right now? Perhaps that’s why they’re professional writers and I’m a struggling self published author.
The final point is one that Chris made on the podcast. With Red and by extension Red/Black being so powerful right now, a Ravnica block might only strengthen that. The block is two color focused. In the past, Rakdos has not been one of the color combinations that they’ve given a high power level. What if they decide to change that this time? Are we going to live under the tyranny of an extended RB reign for the foreseeable future? I hope not, but fear we may.
Why Should We Return to Ravnica?
I’m not sure that I made a compelling argument against going back to Ravnica. Truth be told, I’m not all that against the decision. I really like Ravnica. It’s the time that both Chris and I got back into the game, so it holds sentimental value to us. It will be fun to see if we really can go home again.
I mentioned lore in the previous section. Over the weekend, I was able to look back at the “Player’s Guide” booklets that they include in every Fat Pack (because that’s what they are WotC, I don’t care if you changed the name) for the Ravnica block. I forgot how much I enjoyed that story. The guilds get the most focus and for good reason. By giving the color combinations names, people are able to relate more to them. The proof of this is that they are used as descriptors for decks in the tournaments that I watch. It’s just more interesting to hear Mardu (I know that’s Khans, but it’s the same idea) Pyromancer instead of RWB Pyromancer.
With the guilds, there have been new mechanics during each visit to Ravnica. Will that continue, or will they reprint some of the old mechanics? If they do the latter, that might be a slight point against the return. Will they reprint all of the mechanics so that they are all Standard legal at the same time? That might actually be a valid argument for the return. Maybe don’t listen to me. I’m often a fan of chaos, especially in Magic the Gathering.
Finally, what other cards or card types could be reprinted. Chris is a fan of the shock lands. When he said that, it made me think of the bounce lands and the possibilities of having them standard legal again. I’m not usually a fan of reprints, but both of those land types make the head spin with the possibilities. Even if they don’t reprint cards, they can bring back old favorites with new abilities. Going back to Ravnica could be a good thing indeed.
Where Else Could We Return Besides Ravnica?
Alara: Inspired by Chris, I went through and tried to think of some planes that I’d rather visit than Ravnica. This led me to think about recent sets and what I enjoyed about them. One of my favorite recent blocks was Tarkir, but it would be even sillier to go back there than Ravnica. So, instead, I went back a little bit further. Alara is three color focused, similar to Tarkir. Those color combinations are named and the set seems to rival Ravnica’s popularity in some circles. I think that a Return to Alara would be nice.
IceAge: This one is a purely emotional decision. Chris and I started playing the game during this block. Maybe that’s a stretch. I go back a bit earlier than Chris, but we discovered on the comics podcast that we both frequented the same stomping grounds way before we ever officially met. Besides, who doesn’t want snow lands and Skred back in the game?
Antiquities: Chris mentioned this one in the podcast. He said that it felt like a natural extension to the Dominaria set. I didn’t admit it at the time because I didn’t want to sound dumb on the podcast, but I freely admit now that I didn’t know what he meant. I don’t remember my time in the game during the first Antiquities set. However, having now looked at the card list, I can see what he was saying. It’s a classic set with some classic cards and if WotC is feeling nostalgic, then why not take it all the way back?
Kamigawa: This was my one big idea. First, I have an abnormal attachment to the set due to many of the cards being used in one of the storm decks that I built a couple of years ago. Also, some of the cards are in the cubes that I draft. They are just fun cards. Finally, I thought since they have been doing recent sets based on ancient civilizations, why not an Asian theme? Well, I’m going to hold on to this suggestion for the future. With the release of the Chinese planeswalker decks, I might have been on to something.
Well, not only could I not do a Top 5 in order, but I can’t even think of a fifth to round out my list. If any of you have any ideas, I’d love to hear about them and discuss. Leave a comment, write an email, or Tweet at us!
While there are other times during Magic the Gathering’s history that I’d rather visit, I’m not mad about going back to Ravnica. The story is fantastic, the mechanics are almost always at least fun, and I get to revisit my Vorel of the Hull Clade Commander deck to see if I can improve it with the new cards. Who knows, there might even be stuff for my Alesha, Who Smiles at Death deck. As always, we keep on the sunny side of life here at 2 Generations Gaming.
Welcome to part 5 (of 6 now) of my retrospective on Magic the Gathering since Scars of Mirrodin. It’s been a fun trip for me to look back at all of the sets and it reminded me why I love the game so much. Not that I needed the reminder, but familiarity breeds complacency. Every now and then, it’s appropriate to reminisce on the good times that you’ve had.
Noob’s History with Magic the Gathering
I’ve probably mentioned this several times, both on the web page and in the podcast, but I wasn’t initially impressed with Dominaria. Chris sent me a text with a link. The link was an early and unauthorized leak for the set. After making the joke that someone was definitely going to lose a job over this, I clicked the link. Before I tell you my initial impressions (Spoiler Alert: I already did in the first sentence of this paragraph), let me set the scene.
I’ve been playing Magic the Gathering since the beginning. I don’t have any cool Alpha or Beta collecting stories to tell, but I got into the game when I met someone in college who played the game. When I left school the next year because I met my future wife and moved to be near her, I tried to teach her the game. It wasn’t something that interested her and I didn’t find anyone else who played the game. When combined with the fact that I hadn’t fully developed my commitment to collecting, I moved on to other interests.
I won’t go into the whole story of how I got back into the game. Just know that it involved an initial missed connection at Wal*Mart, a sheepish admission, and 2 other dudes. Let your imagination chew on that one for a while. Once you’re ready, I’ll continue. Back with me? Okay, let’s continue the story.
As someone who played the game from the beginning, but took a nearly 20 year break from the game, I was excited to be going back to the beginning of the game. It gave me a chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. When I finally saw some of what we were getting, it was uninspiring.
Dominaria First Impresssions
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is the set that was supposed to take us back to the beginning of Magic the Gathering. We were supposed to be transported back 25 years to our college, teenage, or even childhood years to reminisce about all of those games of Magic the Gathering we played against friends and family. Instead, after clicking the link to the spoilers, I was transported to just another mediocre Magic the Gathering set. Where was the history? What about the recognizable names? Why not even a reference to Black Lotus?
I should have known better. Any time I take Wizards of the Coast literally in their descriptions, I end up letting myself down. I can’t blame them directly. They are in the business of advertising. As a result, they are doing everything they can to sell their product. It’s not their fault that I fall for it every time and over hype myself.
It happened with Masters 25. It could be any card from Magic the Gathering’s 25 year history. With that one simple statement, off my imagination went. What could possibly be in that box that I’m (or Chris and me together) are going to buy? They recently unbanned Jace. Could it be a defective box containing only Jace the Mind Sculptor, allowing me to live out my dream of retiring on sales of Magic the Gathering cards? It could be literally anything! (Disclaimer: It cannot be any card on the reserved list.)
Both early spoilers and comments from the community cured my hype. One comment in particular stuck with me. “Remember,” the person wrote, “Island is a card that was printed in Magic the Gathering over the last 25 years.” That brought me crashing back to earth. Sure, there are great cards, but there are also not so great cards and even terrible cards, too. I braced myself for Dominaria being another let down.
Final Verdict on Dominaria
The one card that became my focus of the set was the new Karn. Karn Liberated is one of the best cards ever printed in the history of the game. Along with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, It is the backbone of Modern control decks, not that any of them exist anymore. Karn, Scion of Urza might be a good card and I’ve never argued that it isn’t, but it’s a shadow of his former self, in my humble opinion.
Aside from that card, nothing jumped out at me from that initial spoiler reveal. As a result, I wasn’t looking forward to Dominaria. It wasn’t until Chris started to look closer at the set through the remainder of the spoiler season that I started to see the potential of the set. He made the point that as the set filled out, it started to look and feel like classic Magic the Gathering.
In addition to getting a new Mox for the first time since Scars of Mirrodin, the set gave us a potential Tron/Storm killer in Damping Sphere. The also introduced saga enchantments (Phyrexian Scriptures hasn’t proven to be as popular as I hoped, but it’s still my favorite) and as a result, a mechanic known as historic. In a set that lives for flavor, that’s quite possibly my favorite inclusion.
Initially underwhelming, overall Dominaria is a great set. Chris and I have gone back and forth a few times on whether it is the best set in the history of the game. Obviously, having missed a great deal of the game’s history, I can’t make that claim. What I can say is that it is probably my favorite set since coming back to Magic the Gathering. That’s it for now. Join me, hopefully tomorrow, as I finally (for real this time!) wrap up this series with the Return to Ravnica block.
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