From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
I was fortunate enough to get in to the Magic panel held on day 2 of PAX AUS. After turning up 40 minutes early for opening I walked straight to the queue for the Magic seminar, and was early enough to sit in the second row from the back of the hall. People who only turned up 30 minutes before PAX opened, or who were momentarily misdirected, missed out. Sorry guys.
Aaron Forsyth from Wizards of the Coast did the presentation and a very goo one it was too. He touched on a number of subjects, including the next Duel Deck, the next block, the next multiplayer release, and experiential play. I’ll touch on each of these in turn, but first a note. I’m using images from around the internet to illustrate this article. If I used the ones I took, you’d have a whole bunch of images like this:
Actually, that is one of the better ones. Here is how that should look.
Duel Deck: Heroes vs Monsters
As per the Izzet vs Golgari release from last year, this will preview the upcoming block. One of the mythics will be a Hydra from the forthcoming Theros set, the other will be Sun Titan, re-concepted in classical Greek form:
This is the big one. A classical greek themed set where god and mortals fight huge monsters, and the planeswalker Elspeth finds herself i the middle of it all. Ever a reluctant hero, Elspeth is finally forced to tread the hero’s path.
Theros looks like being a solidly mono-coloured block. Pre-release boxes return, this time one for each colour of magic, each with a playable promo card, presumably a hero of whichever colour you have chosen.
Stars and the night sky are also a theme here, as mortals follow the progress of the gods against one another by looking at the stars. The gods themselves have star fields visible in them (see above for the black god). Their cards also have a cool star field effect around the border.
Theros will be a traditional large/small/small set, I say traditional but it’s a pattern that has not been followed much in recent years.
One for the multiplayers here, there will be a November Commander release of five box sets along similar lines to the original commande release. Naturally this one comes with all new commander cards, including this happy little dragon:
By the looks of things all the commanders will have some sort of ability that triggers based on how much mana you spent to cast it. With the ‘commander tax’ rule where you pay 2 additional mana each time you cast your commander in a game, this could become very powerful.
This is a subject for a whole other article, however for Theros each player has the opportunity to tread the Hero’s Path with Elspeth, completing quests and defeating enemies to gain rewards as yet unspecified. There will be nine stages on the path, three per set in the Theros block. Anyone who completes the ninth step will receive a special prize, and anyone who completes all nine steps will also receive a special prize.
Balance and Power
A question was asked about the perceived low power level of M14 compared to other core sets of recent years. The response was interesting. Firstly, the feeling at Wizards after looking at Standard results of the past few years is that core sets have been over-represented in terms of how many cards they have been providing to top decks. Secondly their new strategy moving forward is to have multiple powerful cards rather than a few obvious contenders. Forsyth mentioned they are aiming to have 50 cards of which any could feature in standard decks, and let the players work that out, rather than a handful of obvious must play if you can cards per set. I assume this will also be true of Theros. So interesting times ahead.