Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Conspiracy Video & Khans of Tarkir Spoiled.

I don't draft often: I find the format a bit too expensive for my blood but I understand the attraction. It's very dynamic and full of choices that reward or punish you right away.

I do like the direction that Wizards has taken the Conspiracy set, though. There's a very cool video of it in action here, and though it's long I think it's a really nice way to give players a taste for what the set is about.

Conspiracy feels a bit like WotC's take on the draft format, in much the same way that Commander sets are their method of approaching the Commander (formerly EDH) format. The video even mentions the 'Command Zone' as a space for the Conspiracies that can be drafted and used, which I think is a very clever way to add to the draft format without creating more rules complexity. Kudos to WotC for coming up with such an elegant solution.

I also like that they're reprinting some critical spells for the eternal format, like Brainstorm, Misdirection and Fact or Fiction. Which, of course, I also don't like because those spells do not have correspondingly powerful analogs in the other colors.

Bitch, bitch, bitch. The important part is that some valuable staples are being reprinted in a format where the goal is to open packs, not to build constructed decks. And besides, it's not true; cards such as Exploration, Swords to Plowshares, Vampire Hexmage and Decimate (a fantastic Commander card) are also being included. These are all useful cards many of which have gotten expensive and if reprints can help keep or bring the prices down, all the better.

Except for Tarmogoyf. Jesus that card is insane.

Next we have the Khans of Tarkir fall set announcement and yeah, there's very, very little to go on.

But here's what I am deducing: the set's symbol and name suggest a Persian influence which is exciting to me for multiple reasons.

First, this harkens back to one of the earliest, actually I believe the first Magic expansion, Arabian Nights. That is an area of culture that Magic hasn't touched on in a long, long time and after Arabian Nights was completed, they decided they wouldn't use established settings for a Magic set again, so Arabian Nights occupies a fairly unique place in Magic's history. This could be a way for Wizards to reclaim some of that history.

There is also a high possibility of a Mongolian theme instead and that works for me as well because I believe it's important for Magic to reach into worlds that are not dominated by white people, which they have been for 2 of the past 3 sets, and Western concepts for 3 of the past 3. And that's the other part that's exciting to me: a chance to see a Magic spin on different myths from cultures I'm very unfamiliar with, because there will inevitably be some brief discussion about where those myths spawn from. A chance for me to learn something interesting is always cool.

There is a huge maybe of the opportunity for Magic to reclaim juuuuust a little bit of the Arabian Nights history via this set, even if it does tilt heavily towards a Mongolian vibe. Allusions, if you will, which I think would be an opportunity for cool little Easter eggs.

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