Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Prelude

Three lines say it all:

Set Name: Magic 2012
Three-Letter Abbreviation: M12
Number of Cards: 249

Some people are talking about the new set, Mirrodin Besieged. Some folks are speculating about the next set to come, New Phyrexia.

I, on the other hand, will jump right to the meat. The savory heart of the Magic: The Gathering release schedule. The annual Core Set.

Some of the bigger bits of speculation I've heard about:

1. They are printing new planeswalkers. This happens every core set. The peanut gallery is evidently sick of the old Lorwyn-born planeswalkers: Ajani, Chandra, Liliana, Garruk and Jace. Me, I would absolutely love to see all the old walkers back. And there's really no signal Wizards is pulling any kind of switcher-oo. There's new art coming, certainly. But last year there was "new art" too, and it turned out to just be some planeswalker-themed spells. And we have some strong indicators they are doing the same thing this year.

2. They won't be re-printing the Titans. I think this is pretty obvious. The Titans are a cycle of 5 mythic-rarity spells. We already know they are reprinting the planeswalkers. If the Titans were going in too, that would leave about 4 cards or so left in the mythic slot. I don't imagine the designers would tie one arm behind their back that early in the reveal schedule.

3. They are getting rid of either Giant Growth or Giant Spider. This is thanks to Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment #63 on Scathe Zombies. Since the Alpha-Beta-Unlimited days, we've seen a lot of reprints. But only a few cards have gotten reprinted in every core set. Now apparently it's down to one. If I had to choose the card that was most ready to go, it'd be Giant Spider. Creatures have improved noticeably since I opened my first pack of Revised at the counter of the Eden Prairie Shinders. Giant Spider has not had a competitive mana cost for at least a decade. On the other hand, who doesn't love Giant Growth? Are you a man or a mouse? With Giant Growth you can be both.

4. They are going to reuse the Ally mechanic. Since last year's surprise re-introduction of Scry, the floodgates have opened on which mechanic R&D might decide to reuse in the M12 Set. The tagline for M12 carries the non-so-mysterious words "Gather Your Allies" and so the speculation is obvious. But it might be a little too obvious. "Allies" might just refer to your friends in REAL LIFE, you know, the people you play magic with. For a couple summers now, Wizards has used the season of easy living to introduce new multiplayer casual variants like Planechase and Archenemy. This year, they've already said the multiplayer variant will be Elder Dragon Highlander, a.k.a. COMMANDER. So the tagline for M12 might very well be referring to that. Or maybe there will be some Two-Headed Giant specific cards in M12. Probably not. But the return of Allies is hardly assured.

5. Lightning Bolt is not making it in. This I can handle. I actually scrounged the cash for the Fire and Lightning Deck, so my stock of Lightning Bolts is sufficient. If Wizards replaces it with some other awesome single mana reprint I will be pleased as punch. If they just replace it with Shock, I will be disappointed. Hmmm.

Anyway, the midnight reveal on the Wizards website will undoubtedly refute everything I've said here. But I'm not staying up for it…I just snowblowed my driveway for the second time this evening and its definitely bedy-bye time.

Good luck with all your game related endevours!

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