The Magic Show #194 - M11 Spoilers & New Extended!
Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show... and boy, do I have a show for you. This week we've got a jaw-dropping preview from M11, along with a new Legacy banlist update and the biggest shakeup of Extended in years. You ready to dive in? Let's go!
Reversal of Time
So there I was last Friday afternoon when a little spoiler showed up. My spoiler! For M11! I noticed immediately it was Mythic. It was also Blue, the best color in Magic. Then I saw the kick ass name: Time Reversal. Two Blue and three colorless mana. A Sorcery. For a five mana Mythic Rare Blue sorcery, it must do something insane.
And then... then I saw what it does:
Each player shuffles his or her hand and graveyard into his or her library, then draws seven cards. Exile Time Reversal.
What? No way. Let me get this straight. Time. Twister. They have reprinted Time freakin' Twister for five mana! Oh mah God are you kidding me? Whaaaat?! A draw seven in Standard?! For a very affordable five mana?! Do you know how many draw sevens exist in Magic period? Give or take, less than a half dozen. And WHY are they so rare? Because drawing seven cards can be incredibly devastating.
Let's break it down: This card does the same thing as Time Spiral, just for one less mana and without the untap clause. This card costs the same as Tidings yet gives you seven cards, a three card bonus but at the cost of trading in your hand and giving your opponent a new hand as well.
What makes this card insane? Trading your cards in hand for board position. Look at the new Man-O-War, Aether Adept. This guy, along with the Unsummoning power of Jace, the Mind Sculptor, as if that card needed any more reasons to be fantastic, gives you the ability to solve any on-board creature problem by simply bouncing it and shuffling it away. Remember: This is a Memory Jar that isn't an artifact and must be used immediately, but still performs the same function. This card enters the metagame like an atom bomb, rocking out with Time Warp in M10 until the rotation this fall. Now you can see plenty of decks, like Super Friends, that include Time Warp just because it's "good." They don't try or reach to make it awesome. But when you do try to abuse it, in decks like Open the Vaults and Turboland, holy crap is it spectacular, and that's exactly how I feel about this card. With a little effort, it is bananas.
I feel like this card is one of those incredibly rare gems that makes players of all types happy. Spike loves what it can do it Turboland; Johnny loves the massive combo potential of drawing seven fresh cards, and Timmy loves it because it's a huge splashy effect perfect for kitchen tables and EDH games of all sorts.
I gotta tell you, the more I look at this card, the more I like it. Could it impact every format? At this point I'm willing to err on the side of caution and say hell yes it will. Just like Time Walk at five mana is playable, here comes a five mana Timetwister to ready throw you for a loop.
I mean, look at this awesome threesome: in Alpha you had Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, and Timetwister. Now we have Jace's Ingenuity, Time Warp, and Time Reversal, all together in Standard for three months. While I wouldn't count on Time Warp being back in M11, having both of these incredibly powerful Blue cards in the same environment will be very exciting, and I can't wait to see what crazy decks pop up.
I for one am completely blown away by this card. Even silly combos like play Time Reversal with three red mana open allows you to triple Runeflare Trap for 21 damage. See how easy it is to do silly things by drawing seven cards? I think this card not only has huge potential, but should make a huge and powerful impact on your Standard, Extended and perhaps even Legacy metagame soon. It's not every day we get a Power 9 functional reprint, particularly for a mere 1U more, and it's time to see what deckbuilders can do with this instant chase Mythic. I'd get yours quickly, because it won't take long to break its symmetrical effect.
Speaking of chase Mythics, have you seen the release foil Sun Titan? Love. This. Guy. Here's where the alarm bells start going off: He says target -permanent- of converted mana cost of three or less, while the most powerful phrase on this card is "or attacks." Yes, every single turn you can return Jace Beleren, Oblivion Ring, fetchlands to work with your Lotus Cobra, Knight of the Reliquary to beat down, Qasali Pridemage to solve Disenchantable problems... the list goes on and on. That and he's a huge beatstick as a 6/6 for six mana who has an awesome enters-the-battlefield effect. While the release foil, Ancient Hellkite, is a killer Limited bomb and one badass looking dragon, the real winner of the two is Sun Titan. This guy will make a lot of maindecks in the coming months, and we'll see just how unfair he can get as every-single-turn he shows you the real definition of card advantage.
Looking at M11 in general, I really love how the Planeswalker names are reaching themselves down rarities. They originally overdid this with the Weatherlight saga, with a million cards that referenced a dozen characters. Now we have badass planeswalkers, such as Garruk Wildspeaker, and he has a badass two mana 3/2 trampling Companion. Now that's a two-drop! While Goblin Deathraiders showed that a two mana three power creature with trample wasn't overpowered by any means, this time it's in the 'right' color, it's a lot easier to cast, and could do some scary things with three mana auras such as my Rise of the Eldrazi preview Boar Umbra. Turn 3 you've got a 6/5 trampler with Totem Armor? Must be, right?
I mentioned it earlier, but you better get used to seeing Jace's Ingenuity, because it's going to be everywhere. Like the Mysteries of the Deep we really wanted, Jace's Ingenuity is here to give you an awesome draw spell that you can bust out with Lotus Cobra on Turn 3 using a fetchland or counter things all day long and bust it out on their end step. This is the most significant and powerful card draw provided in some time, quite a jump from Divination, and I'm excited to sling with it myself.
Another card I'm fond of is Reassembling Skeleton. Yeah, it's a decent limited card, and probably won't make much of a constructed splash, but how does this not earn the nickname "Dry Bones"...? Just perfect for it, isn't it? All I can see are those bones falling apart and coming together when I active this guy. Too cool.
All I know is that M11 is looking like a powerhouse so far. I don't know about you, but I love the return of Scry, where Sage Owl finally gets an upgrade to Augury Owl, Preordain is actually a really powerful draw spell in formats new and old, and even little changes like Harbor Serpent - several years ago this creature would require your opponents to control an island for it to attack, now it just needs five or more Islands on the battlefield, period, regardless as to whether they're your Islands or an opponent's. This to me is much clearer, cleaner, and more efficient design.
There are other M11 spoilers bursting forth throughout the web, and you can be sure to find them on our Facebook page or here on the Show next week. Until then, how about that Time Reversal?
New Extended & More!
Just when you thought Time Reversal was a surprise, Wizards really threw the Magic playing world for a loop last Friday. On that day they released two new pieces of information: The first consisted of Legacy bannings and unbannings, which we'll get out of the way. This included the banning of Mystical Tutor, which drove the two most powerful decks in the environment, Reanimator and Ad Nauseam Tendrils. With this card gone those deck's matchups got worse, its consistency lessened, and hopefully this will reduce the turn 2 or even turn 1 win scenarios that could happen thanks to a single Blue mana finding any instant or sorcery you want. Second, they unbanned Illusionary Mask, which while it can cheat Phyrexian Dreadnought into play, that trigger can safely be Stifled, so why not just do that instead of the two-card mondo combo? The unbanned list now includes Grim Monolith, a card that is now regarded as "fair" where "fair" is defined as getting three colorless mana for a mere two colorless mana with no drawback ever. So suddenly a $5 rare went to $40 overnight, and those missing Mystical Tutor quickly snapped up all of the Personal Tutors from Portal, but its unable to find Ad Nauseam, Force of Will, Entomb or any other number of powerful Instants, so while it looks like a good investment, I'm not sure the Personal Tutor route will work out.
But all of this wasn't anywhere close to what just happened to Extended. Talk about your metagames being destroyed and rebuilt, Extended is a whole new ballgame. Being called "Double Standard", Extended is now a mere two more years of sets than Standard, making it a very large Standard environment, and getting rid of a lot of cruft. Let's take a look.
Extended used to be 7 years of sets. This meant it stretched all the way back to Mirrodin, which was planning on rotating this fall. This meant that if you went from Standard to Extended you had a whole host of decks, strategies, and thousands of cards to deal with. This, along with an insipid metagame which by the end of last season almost exclusively revolved around Dark Depths & Thopter Foundry, made players not want to play it. Now Extended will be four years of sets, meaning we lose everything from Mirrodin up to Time Spiral, thankfully including Coldsnap so we lose the five or so cards that the set provided to constructed formats.
While this change does deal serious financial damage to a lot of collections - nice $5 Dark Depths, nice Ravnica Shocklands which are now in the low single digits, nice Tarmogoyf who lost about 40% of his value in one whack. But while we are losing the ability to have fetchlands get dual lands in Extended, the benefits are also nice - essentially we get to mix it up with the most powerful standard decks of the past few years, including 5-Color Control, Faeries, and Black/White Tokens rocking alongside various levels of Bant, Jund, and Planeswalker-fueled control decks.
While I certainly understand the animosity from players behind such a decision, I think the benefits are obvious. To kick it off they banned two incredibly annoying cards in this new format: Sword of the Meek, which makes Thopter Foundry stupidly, stupidly broken and unfun to play against, and Hypergenesis, a spell that is a wee bit unfair with Cascade spells and our new 15/15 Eldrazi overlord that seems pretty good to plop down on Turn 1 or 2 thanks to Simian Spirit Guide and Gemstone Caverns. Sure you still have Living End decks, but that's a much more "fair" combo deck, not nearly as explosive, and is easily disrupted. Secondly, the format is now All New, All In Flux, and All Ready For The Pros To Do Some Serious Damage in Amsterdam! Whereas before this change the Pro Tour was More Dark Depths Mirrors, a.k.a. Shoot Me In The Face Please, we now can look forward to some serious firepower in force across the pond and I'm really excited for it. My guess is we'll see what the new dual land-free Zoo / Burn decks look like, see how badass Faeries still is, and give Cedric Phillips a chance to sling Kithkin at another PT. Sweet.
For me, I feel that while this change obviously rips out the value of a lot of cards, the idea of OverExtended being created at some point down the road is not off the table. Legacy is currently in a state much like 1998 Vintage, and eventually something will have to be done. But until then at least now we have a vibrant and interesting Extended format that doesn't let all of your multi-hundred dollar Mythic Rare investments be destroyed as soon as they leave Standard and just might fix the attendance and "forced to play" problem that the old Extended format had. While the seven years idea wasn't bad, I feel like the four year format will give people more peace of mind to fork down a paycheck for a playset of the hottest new thing, and ideally encourage more creative deckbuilding and strategy as a result. My fingers are crossed.
So that's another week of the Show. I hope you are as enamored with Time Reversal as I am, and I'm curious how you feel about our new Extended format and the Legacy banlist update. Be sure to let me know in the feedback and I'll return next week with more M11 goodness and any other big news that affects this great game of ours. Until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards... so you don't have to!
Evan "misterorange" Erwin