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Dominaria United. Dominaria Remastered. Warhammer 40K. The Brothers' War. Magic's 30th Celebration. Secret Lairs. With all of the Magic product pouring out currently it would be easy to forget about the goofiest, most enjoyable sets there are: Un-sets! Coming out this week is the latest set Unfinity! Both Sig and Paul have written about Un-sets of the past. With these cards, you can stretch your goofy muscles, throw caution, and potentially denim, to the wind.
I was able to sit down with a few players last week and discuss how these types of sets affect Magic in general. What do Un-sets, specifically Unfinity, bring to the Magic table?
Our Unfinity Spacefaring Panel of Players!
What's your name, how long have you played, and what are your favorite formats?
Curtis: I've played since around New Phyrexia and I mostly draft and play Commander.
Bill: I started with Scars of Mirrodin and play pretty well any format. Pioneer, Modern, Legacy, whatever I can play competitively.
Patrick: I've been playing since about 2015. Mostly competitive formats, but I do have a soft spot for Limited.
How Have You Played With Cards From the Previous Un-Sets?
Curtis: I haven't played with any of the previous Un-sets. I hadn't started playing during the first two Un-sets. When Unstable came out, I was living in the middle of nowhere with no place to play. Though looking back, if I would have had the opportunity, I definitely would have.
Bill: I hadn't played with the sets directly, meaning I haven't drafted them or anything like that. I do have my 480-card combo Cube that uses them. I have about thirty or forty Un-cards in it currently.
Which Un-cards do you have in the Cube?
Bill: Oh, let's see...there is one I really enjoy. It's Who // What // When // Where // Why.
It's great when someone opens that pack and you see their head tilt and turn to read it. Magical Hacker can be powerful since it allows you to ultimate a planeswalker immediately. Another favorite is Baron Von Count.
Patrick: I drafted Unstable quite a bit and it was great! You got to do things like run around the room getting High Fives from everyone. Or asking people if they like squirrels and having a judge call to see if someone saying they "love" squirrels is sufficient. It's fun to draft a few times, but I wouldn't want to have any actual stakes with all of the wacky randomness. Immense fun though.
Tony: I agree. I've drafted all of the Un-sets and had a great time with them. I recall with the Unhinged event I drafted two Our Market Research Shows That Players Like Really Long Card Names So We Made this Card to Have the Absolute Longest Card Name Ever Elemental and two Wordmail. Having a 27/27 on turn four was awesome!
Bill: I'll always remember the Hurloon Wrangler story.
Patrick: Oh yea! When Mark Rosewater was at an Un-vent, he knew something was wrong when he heard, "In response I take off my pants!" Since Hurloon Wrangler has Denimwalk, that person's opponent wanted to block it. A judge was called and ruled that taking off your jeans before blockers is a special action that doesn't use the stack so he was able to block.
Tony: That's hilarious!
Mark Rosewater Has Expressed a Desire for Players to Use Acorn Cards in Their Casual Games, Especially for Commander. How Do You Feel About That?
Curtis: If it's casual only, I'm totally fine with that. I don't see myself using any silver-bordered or acorn cards, but I'm fine if others are using them.
Bill: For casual use, of course, it's great. When these cards start making their way into eternal formats, then I'm out.
Patrick: I'm the same way. As long as you let others know you're playing with silver-bordered or acorn cards beforehand and everyone's good with it, I'm all for it.
Patrick: There is a green card in the set (Tug of War) that creates a sub-game that Mark Rosewater really wanted to be eternal legal, and when he showed it to the others, they asked the question, "How is this eternal legal?"
Curtis: It actually wasn't his team that had an issue with it. After the team was done, they previewed the set for the rest of Wizards. It was at that point that the card was scrutinized and ultimately put back into acorn land.
Bill: That part of Unfinity is very unusual for me. The way I see it, the precedent from the previous sets is that they were meant to be fun and casual. Now that they're starting to blend, it's an odd adjustment. Casually, I love them and would put more in my Cube.
How do the Jokes in Unfinity Stack Up Against the Jokes in Previous 'Silver-Bordered' Expansions?
Curtis: I'm not sure if I can appropriately compare, but I do love Un-jokes as a whole. My favorite in Unfinity is Carnival Barker. Being a literal dog and barker just cracks me up.
I also enjoy the continuation of the "Form of" cards, with Form of the Approach of the Second Sun.
(Bill squints his eyes as if he's unfamiliar with the card)
Patrick: Billy, you haven't seen this one, yet?
Bill: I haven't seen most of the cards in this set.
(Curtis and Patrick explain what Form of the Approach of the Second Sun does. Bill shakes his head.)
Patrick: My favorite part of the card, and it's been confirmed, is that you then become the card-type planeswalker. Not saying you'd want to, because you'd have to exile the card, but you could then search for yourself with something like, Call the Gatewatch.
Bill: That's pretty funny! Again, I'm not familiar with much of Unfinity, but I absolutely appreciate the funny. Infinity Elemental and Knight of the Hokey Pokey are a couple of different ones that are on point with these sets for me.
Patrick: I've heard that some don't enjoy the space carnival theme (of Unfinity), since it pulls away from the high-fantasy genre, but I really enjoy it. In comparison to the previous Un-sets, I feel the jokes are better since there are more people working on them.
Tony: I've enjoyed the goofiness with the creature types over the years. With Unglued you had Clams and Chickens, Unhinged it was Donkeys, Unstable was Squirrels, and Unfinity sends in the Clowns!
Do You Have a Favorite Card and/or Theme Among All of the Un-sets?
Curtis: I still have to say Carnival Barker is my favorite. I used to like the squirrel theme quite a bit, but I'm loving the space carnival theme.
BIll: Booster Tutor and Baron Von Count are in my top three.
Patrick: Eh...honestly, there are two cards from this set that I really like. Phone a Friend is a great card. The other is Exit Through the Grift Shop. I like the cards that get other people involved and you can affect other games. Not something you can do in sanctioned Magic and I love it!
Tony: I enjoy the cards that can play in other games. For example, Rock Lobster, Paper Tiger, and Scissors Lizard. Being that you can use them in other games with people who don't know Magic really helps to share the game.
What are You Looking Forward to From Unfinity?
Curtis: Drafting mostly. I don't have a lot of interest in acquiring any Un-set cards, even if they are legal. I'm just really excited to draft it since I haven't been able to with the others.
Patrick: I am looking forward to drafting it. A friend is buying a box and we're getting together with a few others to draft the night away. I feel that's one of the best ways to enjoy the Un-sets; with friends who you can really get into the jokes with. That's the best. Oh, and the lands. I'm looking forward to grabbing a lot of them, especially the shock lands.
Bill: I probably won't be drafting the set, but I will look through to see if I can find something to add in to my combo cube.
Tony: Drafting for me. Getting in a few drafts is always my focus for Un-sets.
Do You Like the Themes and Mechanics From the Set?
Curtis: Themes, definitely. Mechanics, I wouldn't say as much.
Bill: I like most of the mechanics in their appropriate formats. Again, nothing should be in any competitive format.
Patrick: I love the wordplay, people outside the game, and anything with those mechanics.
Tony: I enjoy all of them. I'm pretty open when it comes to wacky mechanics, but incorporating them into non-casual events? It'll be interesting to see how that fleshes out. I'm hopeful it'll be alright, but doubtful.
What are Your Favorites (Stickers, Attractions, Hats, Wordplay, Dice, People Outside the Game)?
Curtis: Well, overall I am fine with dice, people outside of the game, hats, and wordplay. I wouldn't have done stickers at all. I understand that they aren't supposed to be really sticky and you can put them on sleeves, but I foresee something bad happening with them, especially in the competitive formats.
Bill: Stickers are awful, I don't know why they even created them. I will not be letting someone put a sticker on my cards. No way.
Patrick: Putting a sticker on a sleeve in a competitive format? Nope. Just imagine a round later you get a game loss because you and your opponent forgot about it, and now you have marked cards? I'm sure I've forgotten to flip a DFC back over a few times after a match, so do you think I'm gonna remember a little sticker after five minutes, nevermind through multiple rounds of play?
Bill: Yea. I feel the same about Attractions. Technically, in a competitive event, you could bring an Attraction deck with you, just to make your opponent wonder if you're playing any Unfinity cards. Even if you aren't.
Curtis: I'm ok with the Attractions themselves, but yea, I don't like them being eternal legal.
Patrick: It injects a level of mind games that I believe doesn't belong in competitive Magic. It's like before Kaldhiem when you'd play Snow-Covered Mountains in your red deck to make your opponent think you might be playing Skred.
There's also the event logistics. Here's this extra pile of cards we now need to keep track of. My fellow players and I are already elbow-to-elbow with hardly any space to play, (having an attraction deck) just to plant a small seed of doubt in my opponent's mind? Too many issues.
Tony: It is mind games for mind games' sake, not something within the game itself.
Are You Looking Forward to Incorporating any of the Unfinity non-Acorn Cards into Other Decks?
Bill: I don't feel I'm familiar enough, but I've heard talk about these stickers and some cards being Legacy legal. That's where I disconnect from it. As I stated before, I don't believe those things should be included into any competitive format at all, so more than likely no.
Patrick: …maybe Form of the Approach of the Second Sun?
Bill: Hehe, yea, that'll go in my cube with the original Approach of the Second Sun.
Curtis: I haven't seen any cards so far that I'm interested in adding. Again, I'm just looking forward to drafting silver-bordered cards, though I guess you can't really call them that anymore. That is one change for certain I don't like.
You Don’t Like the Switch From Silver Border to the Acorn Stamp?
Patrick: 100% keep the silver border.
Bill: Yes, I agree. I wouldn't have changed it.
Patrick: They're just so difficult to distinguish. If you are unfamiliar with what works and doesn't work within a game you're at a disadvantage. If I'm a new player and I don't know that this is a funny joke set, the joke may be on me, thinking these cards can be used anywhere. It might have been alright if the cards were simpler, but they aren't. The silver border is just so easy to see.
I also agree, I'm not currently looking to add any Unfinity cards into any of my decks.
So, between this question and the last, the answer for everyone on this one is pretty definitively, NO?
What do you Think of the Lands (Planetary, Orbital, and the Shock lands)?
Curtis: The shock lands are incredible! Knocked it out of the park. I like all of the basics too.
Patrick: All the lands are great. I love astronomy, space, planets, all of it. I prefer the Orbital over the Planetary though. The shock lands are awesome. They look amazing. I'm scared of how expensive they're going to be because I want them all! I also like that each land type is very clear on what it is. The island looks like an island, the swamp looks swampy, etc.
Tony: Are you going for the Galaxy Foils, Patrick?
Patrick: Dear Lord, no. They are nice, but I draw the line at foils. I'm just not into having my cards curl on me.
Bill: Blood Moon is one of my most hated cards and these lands remind me too much of that card, so I actually don't like them at all. I will admit, the shock land arts are nice and the Planetary basics are fine, but do not like the Orbital versions. I'm not super high on any of them. I'm a more old-school land aficionado.
Patrick: Any Ponza player that isn't running the Unfinity Stomping Ground, gets disowned! It's literally Stone Rain!
Which of the Cards are You Planning on Collecting? Will Some be More Difficult to get Than Others?
Curtis: Obviously, the shock lands will be difficult to get, and I did say that I really like Carnival Barker, right?
Bill: Once I really look into the set and determine what would work for my Cube, I'll get a single copy of those cards, but beyond that, not really anything.
Patrick: The lands. 'Nuff said.
Tony: Collecting ten of each of the basics, both Planetary and Orbital, and grabbing a couple Comet, Stellar Pups for my wife. She loves puppies and requested both versions.
I want to thank the guys for sharing their thoughts, insights, and excitement on the latest Un-set. I hope you get a chance to get out and revel in the silliness that is Unfinity. Do you have any thoughts on the changes that Unfinity potentially brings or some crazy Un-stories? Feel free to let us know either in the comments below or on Twitter.