So you get all that? Wizards of the Coast is now moving to a new product announcement schedule (once in the spring and once in the fall) and announcing the whole next block and supplemental products. What does that mean for us? Well there won’t be any speculation or leaks coming before anyone would otherwise know. If there’s a Modern Masters 2017 (as many assume), we will find out in September.
Well what do we know about Kaladesh?
It’s the home plane of Chandra Nalaar. Presumably she will be the focal point of the story.
These cards are also from Kaladesh. The blue and red thopter themed cards from Magic Origins give us a glimpse into what kind of world Kaladesh will probably be.
This art piece from the art book shows a very steam punk feeling with an unusual mechanical elephant. While I can only hope that elephant is some how the reincarnation of Siege Rhino, it is clear there will be heavy artifact theme in Kaladesh. Clue tokens will be particularly useful if there is a mechanic that cares about how many artifacts you have. Examples are Affinity for Artifacts and Metalcraft, the former of which is almost certainly not in the set. Outside of artifact synergies and some colorless synergies I don’t know what else may come from the set.
Intro Packs/Planeswalker Decks
That’s not the only thing Kaladesh is bringing us. Planeswalker decks (mock up pictured above) are going to replace Intro Packs for new sets starting with Kaladesh. These decks will be similar to the 30 card starter packs that are given for free to new players. The two decks will be 2 color themed Planeswalker decks and include 4 new cards not available in the corresponding expansion set. In Mark Rosewater’s article, here, he explains that these cards should not be good enough to see competitive play but rather be very flashy for casual play. I think it’s only a matter of time before a planeswalker in these decks is just a tiny bit too strong and it will be very expensive. Preconstructed decks being the only source of a card has bit Wizards of the Coast in the butt before. True-Name Nemesis was the worst case scenario where it was only included in 1 of 5 decks (and you have to order cases in sets of 5 decks). While these cards may not be financially relevant upon release, I would recommend looking to pick these planeswalkers up casually in trade because there is definitely a lot of collector value for Planeswalkers even if they’re not good.
Fat packs are also being renamed to “Set Bundles.” Starting with Kaladesh bundle, there is a slight increase in MSRP (to $43) and a few more boosters (up to 10 now) but not much else changes. I don’t think this will make this any more or less attractive of a buy. Nonetheless, it is important to note the changes.
Nissa vs. Ob Nixilis
The next duel deck was announced. Unfortunately they did not include either of the Planeswalker cards outside of the new art. I have to imagine that these decks will include Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Ob Nixilis, Reignited but Wizards has suprised me before on lesser things. At this point I don’t think you fire sale your Nissas or Ob Nixilis because they will still Presumably be very good until the release of the duel deck in 4 months. Walker vs Walker duel decks typically sell better than Stuff vs Guys duel decks but both walkers see enough play they won’t tank.
Commander 2016 was announced to have 4 color commanders. That’s about it. I wouldn’t recommend buying Nephilim (the only 4 color cards) because they’re not particularly good even if you’re playing those colors. Commander is Jason Alt’s forte so I will leave it to him to update you later in the week on things to pick up in preparation.
There’s some weird cards in Planechase. It has the original printings of Baleful Strix and Shardless Agent. Outside of those two, not many competitive cards are from Planechase. I wouldn’t expect any influx of expensive Legacy or Modern cards but if you need some weird stuff for your cube from these sets I would wait. I think it’s entirely possible that Shardless Agent ends up in this or the Commander release this year.
Guys, they’re getting rid of the “Ae” compound letter (that was previously used on cards like Æther Flash). That’s pretty much all of the news for this set. We don’t know a whole lot about Kaladesh so I am not going to even begin to speculate on a set we know even less about.
If you play a lot of Modern and don’t own Grafdigger’s Cages yet you will be very sad very soon. The Modern Open in Indianapolis sported 22 copies in the top 32 decks. That is the 10th most popular card in an extremely diverse field and the 2nd most popular dedicated sideboard card after Nature’s Claim. This is a rare from Dark Ascension so the supply will be low enough to see a quick and violent price correction soon. It allows any deck to cheaply interact with Nahiri, flashback (Snapcaster Mage and Lingering Souls), Chord of Calling, Collected Company, and Goryo’s Vengeance.
Nahiri is still the top of the heap as a the fastest way to win a game in Modern. She’s got a very flexible removal mode, decent card selection ability, and an ultimate that wins the game almost instantly. I don’t expect to see her south of $20 anytime soon so if you need copies to play I don’t expect to get them cheap until December. With Modern PPTQ season creeping up you may be best served investing sooner than later as we hit the 3 set stride which will cause less Shadows over Innistrad to be opened.
If Modern isn’t your thing, Standard is pretty cheap right now. I played a sub $300 deck to the top 8 of the SCG Classic in Indianapolis last weekend. I could have probably won if I didn’t have to get to the airport to get home. As long as you don’t want to play Grixis Control or GW Tokens, most decks can be built for $300 or less which is a far cry from the “Grand Standard” with fetch lands. If you’d like to play my list, you can find it here.