Monday, June 29, 2009

M10 - What's In, What's Out - My Analysis

Magic 2010 releases in just a few short weeks. Now that I have weekends off I'm going to try to make it to a prerelease event, but in the meantime, I get to speculate on a few things. This will both be from a casual and competitive standpoint.

What's Missing
Now don't get me wrong. I like building a competitive deck once in a while. I don't know how competitive Unbender's Big Score will be (as I have yet to truly test it), but I think I'm going to wait until after M10 drops anyways, just because some parts of the deck are going to be obsolete. One key card that's missing from M10 (and for the first time in any core set) is Wrath of God. This will have a HUGE impact on Standard. Some people were worried that with the revelation of Damnation that Wrath might have left for 10th Edition. It didn't then, but it's gone now. It's replaced by Planar Cleansing. It's slightly more powerful, but the tradeoff is too much for Unbender. I'm going to have to find another effect. Austure Command and Hallowed Burial come to mind right now.

Wrath is obviously the biggest card missing from M10. Most other colors got their decent utility cards back, and with good reason. Another thing missing that we already knew was missing was the painlands. Instead, we get five allied-color duals that come into play (er... "enter the battlefield") tapped unless you control one of the appropriate basics. In a format where few play basic lands, these probably won't see as much play. We'll see what happens when Lorwyn rotates and we lose the tribal duals, filter lands, vivids, and most notably, Reflecting Pool.

What's New
The cool part about M10 containing brand new cards is the fact that, well, they're BRAND NEW CARDS. In addition, a lot of old cards are coming back that will impact the game a lot. I'm going to point out a few interesting ones.

Baneslayer Angel is going to be huge for white decks. She's basically a slightly weaker Akroma with a lot of similar abilities and not as many defenses. Still a 5/5 beater for 5 though, and a great top to any curve. Especially useful in Limited. Elite Vanguard is as good as Savannah Lions. That's because it is Savannah Lions. Honor of the Pure (AKA Crusade) gives white weenie decks a huge boost, and it's cheaper than Glorious Anthem as well. Lightwielder Paladin is expensive, but you get a 4/4 that can kill a lot of things, both with first strike and the ability to RFG (I mean exile) black and red creatures. Silence is no Orim's Chant and I don't think it'll be used as often, but I like the effect. And Solemn Offering will be used. It's Disenchant. With lifegain. I like it.

Some people say blue got nerfed. Sometimes, I think it needed it. I for one will be quite happy when Lorwyn rotates out and Cryptic Command is out of the format, because every deck needs to play around that card. That said, blue got some interesting cards. Djinn of Wishes is rather expensive to pull off, but comboed with a card such as Lilliana Vess could be quite effective. Ice Cage is an interesting Pacifism-like effect for blue. It must be used with care because targetting the creature removes the effect, but it's still a decent Limited card if played right. Polymorph is an interesting returning card and also shares some combos with Lilliana, as well as the Harbingers from Lorwyn. (Anything that puts a good creature on the top works.)

Black's reception of Black Knight couldn't help them better. Lots of decks these days are vulnerable to cards such as Oblivion Ring, Path to Exile, Bant Charm, and the like. Not this one. Suicide Black isn't really a huge archetype and it probably won't be, but aggressive black decks will use this nonetheless. Cemetary Reaper isn't as cheap as Imperious Perfect to pull off, but for the very similar effect you get a bigger creature, and coupled with black it isn't hard to pull off. Lots of the standard Fear effects are gone and replaced with ones that don't affect artifacts. We'll see how this affects the keyword. I don't think it will, but it's interesting to point out. Sanguine Blood spells combo in drain life decks. (It might make its way into my Esper Drain deck.)

Red is now more aggressive than ever. If you're up against red now, you're going to want to make sure things die fast. With Lightning Bolt and Ball Lightning both in Standard, damage is going to be coming in FAST, and it'll need to be dealt with. Bogardan Hellkite is returning too, and while it's not paired with Dragonstorm this time, he's still a surprise force to be reckoned with. Inferno Elemental is going to be a pain to get around in combat. I'm just waiting for Burrenten Forge Tender to leave with Lorwyn, because red is the new black. (Well, not MtG black, but yeah.)

For Green, it's all about Elvish Archdruid. Elfball is going to make yet another impact, this time in standard, and this time it's literal. For a few short months, you're going to have Imperious Perfect, hordes of elf token producers, and Fireball in the same format. Pyroclasm and Volcanic Fallout exist but Wrath does not, so it's going to be slightly more difficult to deal with. Fog returns to green with its namesake card. Hell, green has so many token producers that they're going to be swarming in droves. Without as much mass removal, green's going to be a major force to be reckoned with. And Protean Hydra? Let's just say that paired with my favorite card (Doubling Season) that thing's going to get REDONKULOUS.

Oh, and Darksteel Colossus and Platinum Angel FOR THE LOSE.

So yeah, there's a lot of interesting stuff. They definitely tried to make white more viable in the core set. Whether or not things have been "balanced" remains to be seen, but the play will have to decide that. Until next time.

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