First, an introduction even though this is my second post on Nerd Bastards, this is my first opinion piece. My name is Chris Alexander. I have been a gamer and nerd – specifically trading card games – for over 14 years, playing Magic a majority of this time. In addition, I work in the gaming industry and have done so for nearly 12 years. What can I say, I love games!
Now that Magic 2010 (M10) has been upon us for a few days now, it seems fair to share my initial thoughts about Wizards of The Coast’s newest product. In doing so, I’m going to adopt a “Props” and “Slops” type of format since I believe that sometimes, it’s good to veer away from the norm.
Props: I have to say, it seems as if Wizards has found a good balance here. By this I mean, solid playable commons, uncommons and even rares (and mythic rares). Moreover, there is simply a lot of value in this set. Naturally, I believe that was their goal: include good cards in order to sell more booster packs. At this, they succeeded with flying colors. In addition, moving the Planeswalkers to mythic is brilliant and makes me wonder why they were not mythic in the first place, other than Lorwyn not including mythic rares of course.
Overall, the set seems well designed and has a lot of flavor. I think they achieved their goal of going back to Magic’s fantasy roots and included a lot of fun, different and influential cards that should effect both the casual and competitive player alike.
Slops: I am however, disappointed with the distribution of cards with in the booster packs themselves. This really only effects Limited tournament formats – Sealed deck – specifically. For example, at the Launch Party last weekend, even after opening six (6) booster packs I didn’t have a solid, playable deck. Is this just the random nature of Sealed Deck? Perhaps. However, I could deal with absolutely every creature my potential opponents’ had to throw at me; all I had was removal but no way to win! The gentleman across from me however, opened ridiculous creatures both in sheer numbers and quality. He managed an undefeated record.
Sealed also seems completely dependant upon the bomb cards, especially since unlike Lorwyn mini-block, Shadowmoor mini-block or Shards block, there is an inherent lack of synergy available to assist in overcoming a ridiculous bomb card. Sure, there’s plenty of targeted removal spells, but sometimes even those aren’t enough.
I haven’t drafted the set yet and I’m hoping that’s better. For now though, Sealed, you disappoint me even though I like the shift away from encouraging more than two (2) colors (i.e. Shards of Alara block).
Props: I actually like the rules changes now that I’ve had a chance to play with them. All I’ve really done is cut saying “damage on the stack” out of the normal combat routine. In addition, mana burn hasn’t come up ONCE. While I do like the previous rules, the changes are more intuitive and elegant. Moreover, I’m hoping this will make acquisitions a lot easier and less intimidating for new players; I wish to see Magic grow, reach the mass market and be around for years to come. Indeed, as I said I work in the gaming industry; one of the most common reasons customers provide for avoiding Magic is that it’s to complicated and unintuitive.
Slops: I don’t believe that releasing a new base set each year is a good idea. It really should be around longer. Naturally, it’s a lot of stress on the consumer’s wallet despite the argument of, “oh, they’d spend the money on a summer release anyway.” Perhaps, but a base set? I simply believe a once a year release to be to fast. I think base sets should impact Standard for a longer period of time since they tend to be so influential and effect more than one format.
Props: Speaking of Standard, I really like how M10 looks in terms of effecting everyone’s favorite constructed format. There are lot of playable cards. While I don’t think Soldier’s as a strategy will be a viable one as long as Kithkin is with us (not for much longer, though), cards such as Baneslayer Angel, the Planeswalkers, Platinum Angel, the new dual lands, Haunting Echoes, Doom Blade, Sign in Blood, Duress and of course Lightning Bolt for example, should all have a great impact on deck design through next year. Moreover, I also like how some of those cards should impact Extended as well, especially given that Extended loses Onslaught block and 8th Edition in October. Nevertheless, with all that in mind, no cards actually blow me away or really impress me. I just believe there to be a lot of really solid, playable – even fun – cards and I think this to be better than one or more really ridiculous cards surrounded by a set of junk.
Thus, we end on a happy note as overall, I’m quite impressed with Magic 2010 thus far – including the rules changes – and the sales numbers only back up my claim, which Wizards officially being sold out and prices highly likely to rise.
Finally, what would an opinion piece be with out a shameless plug? You can get Magic 2010 at TJ Collectibles! Biggest comic and game store in Massachusetts. In addition, this weekend they are hosting a Grand Prix Boston Trial Saturday, July 25th, a great opportunity to play with the new set and practice for Grand Prix Boston. See you there!