Yes, dear reader, it's been months. I'm not totally back, but I'm going to try to post something here a little more frequently than once every three months.
There's been a few announcements while I've been on hiatus.
- The Legend rule change is a big deal for a lot of players, but I've used this rule when two people sat down with the same general and this is not a significant change, except for every Clone effect getting less utility. I think that you'll see an uptick in Hexproof commanders, especially Uril, the Miststalker. Poor guy would have three Auras on and then someone would cast Phantasmal Image and ruin the plan.
- Magic 2014 came out and has some really fun cards. I want to say Primeval Bounty isn't good, but I suspect it's better than I think it is. My viewpoint is skewed, since my Adun Oakenshield deck has three six-mana do-nothing cards in it already (Lurking Predators, Guild Feud, Deadbridge Chant) and I can't bear to add a fourth. I'm looking forward to seeing Strionic Resonator combos, except that too many of them will be infinite combos.
- I traded Kaalia's perfect manabase for an iPad. Gives me a quest to complete all over again. Now if I could just find someone to trade a Roomba to me...
- San Diego Comic-Con gave us something to cry about. I like what I see of the black-on-foil planeswalkers, and I admit that the Liliana of the Dark Realms would look sweet in my Zombie deck, but once you start chasing specific, less-available versions, you're not a player, you're a collector. Which many of us are. I certainly am, I just finished foiling out Garza Zol, Plague Queen and I specifically needed a foil Future Sight edition of Graven Cairns. (It has a vampire in the art, come on!)
- Modern Masters was released, and newer EDH players got a chance to nab some really sweet cards. I'm all for increasing the availability of cards to newer players, and everyone should have a chance to get Doubling Season, Vedalken Shackles, etc. Bonus is that this was a ridiculously sweet set to draft, especially when there's a foil in each pack!
- The big fall set, Theros, is Greek-themed, and has an enchantment-heavy feel to it. I approve of the enchantment theme being in play AFTER Rancor leaves the Standard format. I have my fingers crossed that Krond, the Dawn-Clad is in this set, but I realize that's a heavily restrictive mana cost, especially after the nearly-perfect mana rotates in September. I do expect some incredibly sweet legends, though.
- I've started writing short pieces weekly for MTGPrice.com, with a focus on the budget. I've got an infant daughter, and we just moved to a new place, so funds are tight. I hardly ever spend money on single Magic cards, I like trading and I have some strategies I've been sharing. Their price tools and alerts are pretty sweet too. Go check me out.
- The doozy announcement for EDH players, though, is the landing of the new Commander preconstructed decks. I've mentioned here and Twitter how much I expect the four-color legends to finally be printed, usually with every new set, but even C13 isn't going to have that. So who the heck knows. What's relevant is that C13 will have shard-colored decks, three allied colors. It's funny to think that Shards of Alara was printed in 2008, rotated from Standard three years ago, and we still use the shard names (Esper, Jund, Naya, Bant, Grixis). C13 will feature a mechanic that I really like: the spoiled legends have triggered abilities that scale up depending on how much mana was used to cast them. This rewards you for playing your general for the fifth time, and like Landfall, takes something you'd do anyway and turns it into a bonus. I'm already saving to buy a set of these in November.
I'd suggest you start saving too, because the Commander precons were an incredibly successful product for Wizards in 2011, and they were stuffed with valuable reprints and awesome EDH cards. I don't think Star City Games will run the same promotion this year (Buy four, get the fifth free) but if they do, or someone else does, I'm all over that.