Monday, March 22, 2010

Reserved List Gems: Ring of Renewal

Way back on the 17th, Wizards of the Coast announced a change to it's infamous reserved list. Back when Chronicles came out (one of my favorite sets), the mighty Reserved List started as a way to ensure collectors could always count on the value of their precious cards. Never again would Wizards reprint these protected cards, and thusly devalue existing stock. Never would the same mistake happen as it did for the Elder Dragons, vowed the geniuses then at the Magic helm.

Long story short: Wizards has gradually backed away from strict obeyance of the List, but on the 17th they announced the List was going back into the hardest of stone, right after they reprint Karn, Masticore, Memory Jar, Mox Diamond, Phyrexian Dreadnought, Morphling, Thawing Glaciers and  Wheel of Fortune. Then never again.

Other, more talented bloggers have hemmed and hawed about it. They seem focused on cards like the original Dual Lands and weird Legendary land like the Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale.

What cards do I have left to talk about? Here, 5 days later, what leavings can I find?

Today, I'm going to look at Ring of Renewal.

Just wow. When Fallen Empires came out the bombs really started dropping. Fed on a diet of Revised and Chronicles, our jaws dropped at the strange black borders. Strangely enough, you can still buy packs of Fallen Empires for list I would jump in there and get some if I were you!

When I first saw Ring of Renewal, I can honestly say I thought it was a pretty sucky card. It took my friend Greg using it for me to see the actual applications. My eyes saw "discard a card at random". His eyes saw "draw two cards". His eyes have always been better than mine when it comes to Magic.

Once you get to turn 5, your hand is probably not as exciting as it was at turn 0. The card quality has gone down, while the battlefield is hopefully now full of awesome threats for your opponent to flail at. If you are a mind-game kind of guy(and why aren't you?), your hand may even be totally comprised of land and 1 lonely Ring of Renewal.

Coming down at turn 5, Ring of Renewal is the perfect tool for turning a lackluster hand back into something you can be proud of. As long as you don't have anything high-quality to begin with, the discarding isn't really an issue. Other than telegraphing a possible sucky hand to your oppoent, there's zero loss.

So you start discarding land during your oppoent's end-of-turn step, and hopefully draw sweet good cards. It's actually a really good way to filter your draws.

Maybe too slow for any normal rational-thinking format, I see the Ring still having some gusto in the mighty EDH(the sport of Kings).

Except not really.

Why? Because those power-creeping monsters at Wizards had to go print Emmessi Tome. You dirty, dirty, nerf herders.

I guarantee you, when Emmessi Tome came out, there was some anonymous Ring of Renewal buff crying a river. The once proud, majestic rare from Fallen Empires immediately took a 50% drop in value, and even today Ring of Renewal is trading at a 2:1 with its late-coming power-creeping backwoods cousin. What is your problem, Wizards? Do you just not care?

Anyway, some of us remain true. If you're lucky, you might someday run up against an EDH deck with a big card-filtering surprise come turn 5. The least you can do is pass him a quarter. Or 2 Rings of Renewal, if you want to stick to the same currency.

In their eternal wisdom, I really don't see Wizards sticking to the Reserved list for the long haul. No matter what they say. But if they do, the world will have to somehow overcome everpresent grief of a slowly declining supply of cherished Reserved List cards.


  1. I don't agree that Emmessi Tome is better. If you have no cards in hand, Ring of Renewal gives you two cards, no downside! Emmessi Tome will always give you just 1 card.

  2. Mark, yet again I am bested. The hot fire of being wrong on my own blog is tempered by the cool waters of knowing my Ring of Renewal is going to be seeing some action! Huzzah!