Vampires and Speculation

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It’s been a crazy week, hasn’t it? A new set announced (the flavor already seems awesome), Kelly Reid’s return to the country (and to writing for QS), and the constant evolution of the Legacy metagame. Of course, that’s just on the Magic end of things. Many of our Magic peers in Japan are dealing with something much more serious, and our thoughts are with everyone affected.

As I write this, I’m laying down in my villa in Orlando for Spring Break. Since I don’t have much Internet access to keep myself 100 percent connected to the Magic world, this week’s article is going to be a bit more far ranging, with my thoughts on several recent hot topics in the community.

Innistrad incoming

Of course we know nothing about this set yet, other than the announcement and tagline Wizards announced. But from that tiny sample, I can tell you I’m very excited about the set. I love horror movies and the flavor of the set seems sweet. As Kelly suggested, I think it’s likely we’ll see plenty of Vamps and I’m hoping to see some Werewolves, or at least some Zombies.

There’s been a lot of discussion on Twitter about the price and possible reprinting of Vampire Nocturnus. I really don’t have any idea if it’s going to be reprinted or not, but I don’t think it’s a bad investment right now if you can get it under $10. I think it’s probable that it will show up in M12 in June, and it was a $20 Mythic during its time in Standard, despite seeing almost no play at all. I’m not sure if it will be viable next season, since his buddies from Zendikar will be gone, but by the end of the Innistrad block he may have found a home. And if more good Vamps are printed (something I think we can count on), then Nocturnus will still have two years in Extended with his pals from Zendikar and Innistrad.

So why am I acting like more Vamps are coming in Innistrad? If you didn’t know, sets are designed two years in advance, which means Innistrad was being put together in 2009, right about the time when the Twilight series was blowing up. Some people blasted Wizards for putting Vamps into Zendikar because they were “selling out,” but the truth is there’s no reason not to capitalize on the recent popularity of Bloodsuckers.

Another point is that during the Great Designer Search 2, Mark Rosewater constantly reminded contestants to “give the audience what they expect.” What do we expect from a horror-themed world? Vampires. A few weeks ago I talked about how I was dumb to let Stoneforge Mystic slip through the cracks last summer, and I don’t intend to duplicate the mistake.

While I’m on the subject, what kind of mechanics would we expect from a horror-themed set? Surprises and scares around every corner, and certainly a strong theme of death. As such, I’m going to make some fearless predictions on the upcoming mechanics.

What’s a fan-favorite mechanic that perfectly embodies something jumping out at you? Morph. I hope we can see some face-down cards flipping up to scare you in the future.

Another possibility? Something along the lines of Demon of Deaths Gate. The sacrifice mechanic (or something else to allow “Free” casting of spells) plays right into the theme of scary monsters jumping out at you from nowhere.

Legacy explosion

We’ve been calling it for months or years at this point, and I think the tipping point has finally occurred. Star City Games just completed a huge update of their Eternal buy list, and their Legacy Opens are getting bigger with every stop. If you have any interest in the format and still haven’t bought in, this is probably your last warning to do so. These cards are low on supply and skyrocketing in demand, and their prices aren’t going anywhere but up.

As for the effect on the financial market, imagine this (likely) scenario. Wizards begins to pick up more Legacy events along the lines of Grand Prixs and such, to meet the player demand for Eternal events. Someone rockets to the top with an innovative deck like Alix Hatfield’s Time Spiral, High Tide and Candlelabra of Tawnos deck. The Candles spiked absurdly in price after the event. What if this was a Grand Prix event? Candles would be going for $400 instead of $200 right now.

Of course this illustrates why Wizards is in such a difficult spot as far as trying to promote Eternal formats. They want to meet player demand for these events, but also have a much larger audience to appeal to that wants no part of decks costing thousands of dollars. The biggest issue is going to be the rising cost of dual lands, and Wizards should really do something to offset the issue, even if its just printing some type of dual land that doesn’t just eliminate players who have to use those instead of the original duals. The best option is to put these lands into some type of Precon deck so they don’t warp Standard.

Sword of speculation (#NameThatSword)

We know by now we’re just a few months away from the Protection from Red/Protection from White sword that will complete the sword cycle of Sword of Feast and Famine, Sword of Body and Mind, Sword of Light and Shadow, and Sword of Fire and Ice that span two blocks seven years apart.

What is the most important thing about this Sword? To me, it’s clearly the name. I’ve seen a ton of suggestions, ranging from Sword of Chaos and Order to Sword of Flame and Air. I have my money in on Sword of War and Peace. There will be plenty of people on this site trying to sell you speculation on the new set, but remember the most important piece of speculation is #NameThatSword (That’s the Twitter hashtag for the topic).

As far as abilities go, the low-hanging fruit is “Destroy target Artifact and Destroy target Enchantment.” I originally thought the fact that these would have to include “may” clauses eliminated them from consideration, but after someone pointed out the may clause in Sword of Light and Shadow, I’ve changed my stance. I think these are very likely and effective (if unexciting) choices for the card. I’d like to see something more innovative like a Kor Hookmaster clause along with something like a Forked Bolt or “Destroy target Nonbasic Land” sentence to round it out.

That’s all for this week. I know there isn’t a ton of hard-hitting financial topics here, but that’s the downside of being unplugged for a week. I hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll be back next week recovering from Spring Break and hopefully a strong finish at the Legacy portion of SCG Dallas!


Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

3 thoughts on “Vampires and Speculation

  1. Cmon no love for light brite sword? I would love hookmaster effect and destroy nonbasic land just so people maybe learn what basic lands are again people are getting lazy with mana bases not to be a "back in my day" guy but cmon. Frankly that to redic so I imagine it will end up being perhaps destroy target artifact and then hookmaster. Who knows.

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