Thursday, May 27, 2010

M11 possible reprints and omission (White)


M11 edition is coming this July. It's never too early to start speculating on what card will get reprinted and will be removed from the Core Set. As such, it is expected that half of the cards will be reprints and half will be brand new cards. This post is an attempt to look at what is expected to be reprinted (from past sets and from M10) and what will be omitted from M10.

The evaluation will look at the card as to how it affects the metagame and also in limited. A useless card (bound to be undrafted in limited and useless in constructed) is expected to be replaced. There are other considerations to be looked upon. For one, if the card is a utility card, it is expected to be reprinted as no expected improvement will make it better. Also, changes towards creature type (the creature type fix) is expected to stay from hereon forward.

Each card will be evaluated as needed.

I start off with the white cards:

Ajani Goldmane - Ajani Goldmane is the simplest of all the white Planeswalkers ever printed. The two other (pure) white Planeswalkers are Elspeth, Knight Errant and Gideon Jura. In my opinion, the two other planeswalkers are too complicated for a beginner just learning how to use the Planeswalkers in a deck. And it is highly unlikely that Wizards would create a new Planeswalker for the Core Set. Thus, it is concrete that Ajani Goldmane is here to stay for M11.

Angel's Mercy - a new card in M10, it has a huge chance of coming back. From a design standpoint, Angel's Mercy embodies what the color white is supposed to be, gaining life (well, not necessarily at instant speed). This card has a chance of coming back simply because it's a new card. In limited, I wouldn't want to play it. I haven't seen it in Standard Constructed ever. So, the verdict is that this card is out.

Armored Ascension - this is a beautifully designed card. It looks at the number of Plains in play and gets better with more Plains in play. But it's not that played in Standard Constructed. Considering that it's a reprint from Shadowmoor, I'd say that this card is on its way out.

Baneslayer Angel - the boon of all non-white players in Standard. This mythic rare jumped to an exorbitant price. Few found the Protection from Dragons and Demons to be a joke. There are two arguments to look at regarding Baneslayer Angel: 1.) would Wizards be concerned regarding the distribution of this card and if so, would they care of its price? and 2.) would the inclusion of Baneslayer Angel in M11 make future Standard Constructed tournaments stagnant? I would think that Wizards wouldn't want their fans to go angry over the one year stay of the expensive Baneslayer Angel. Thus, it's here to stay for 1 more year.

Blinding Mage - this is an update from Master Decoy, who was probably a Human Soldier rather than a Human Wizard. A functional reprint, I expect this card to be back.

Captain of the Watch - this is another beautifully designed card. At the rare slot, it's meant to be with all the plus it brings to the table yet for Soldiers only. If Wizards would maintain the Soldiers theme for M11, I'd expect this card to be reprinted.

Celestial Purge - a card that was newly printed during Conflux, it was a surprise to see this reprinted for M10. It is a functionally efficient card and efficiently shows that White is not friendly with Black or Red. I expect this card to be reprinted. It does things just right.

Divine Verdict - a functional reprint of Neck Snap from Lorwyn. Neck Snap sounds too violent. Divine Verdict provides the right name for the right card. Should come back in M11.

Elite Vanguard - another functional reprint. This is supposed to be Savannah Lions. It encourages the Soldier theme from M10. It should be back without any problems.

Excommunicate - another surprise reprint from Shards of Alara. This could well be removed in favor of a more efficient creature removal spell (I'm referring to Path to Exile). Still, it wouldn't be too much to ask if this card gets reprinted. But having too many creature removal in a set would hurt its (over) performance in limited. Thus, either Excommunicate comes back or Path to Exile will be reprinted.

Glorious Charge - a not-so-boring card. It's another new card so I'd expect it to be back.

Griffin Sentinel, Guardian Seraph, Harm's Way - these are cards that wouldn't hurt to be reprinted.

Holy Strength - always a favorite. I expect it to be back.

Honor of the Pure - a more restricted Glorious Anthem. It is beautifully designed to affect only white creatures. I expect it to be back.

Indestructibility, Lifelink - these are typical new cards that got printed to help remove rules clutter. Indestructibility illustrates the indestructible ability (which, in my opinion, can easily be removed from the set). Lifelink does exactly the same thing. Again, I expect these two cards to return.

Lightweilder Paladin - a non-used card in Constructed. If there should be a candidate for not returning, I'd say that this is one of those cards.

Mesa Enchantress - a card that bodes plenty of interaction among enchantments. With the existence of (almost) the same card in ROE, I'd expect this card to not return.

Open the Vaults - a Timmy card. One that inspired a good combo deck. Time will tell whether this card would be as powerful once Scars of Mirrodin is released. Considering that SOM is assumed to be an artifact set, I'll say goodbye to Open the Vaults.

Pacifism - an efficient pseudo creature removal spell. Unless Oblivion Ring gets reprinted, I expect Pacifism to be back.

Palace Guard - it wouldn't hurt for this card to be back.

Planar Cleansing - here's where wonderful debate can be started. Wrath of God was removed in favor of printing this card. It has never seen the light of day in most Constructed decks. It's too costly at 6 converted mana cost. That said, I expect Day of Judgment to be reprinted in M11. You read it here first.

Razorfoot Griffin - reprinted from past sets = candidate to be not reprinted.

Rhox Pikemaster - a non-used card but it should enhance the Soldiers theme of M11. I expect it to be back.

Righteousness - it's been around. In limited, it's a fun card to have. It should be back.

Safe Passage - a new card. It's safe to say that it will be back as the token damage prevention spell in the set.

Serra Angel - will it or will it not return? I believe Serra Angel is the staple white creature. It will be back.

Siege Mastodon - token big toughness creature that embodies what white creatures should be. It should be back unless Wizards decides to print that 1/5 lifelink creature from Zendikar.

Silence - somewhat a useless rare. It would have been a good card at the uncommon slot. I haven't seen it in Constructed play. I expect it to be scrapped.

Silvercoat Lion - white's bear. It should be back.

Solemn Offering - it seems that Wizards is drifting away from allowing white to easily destroy artifacts and enchantments (that's green's job now). No other recent card does the same thing. I expect this card to be back.

Soul Warden - sigh... More life gain effects for white. This should be back.

Stormfront Pegasus - token flying creature at 2 mana. Back.

Tempest of Light - why attempt to destroy all enchantments when enchantments have never been dangerous. Candidate for non-reprint.

Undead Slayer - if Wizards wants to show that white hates Skeletons, Zombies, and Vampires, they'll reprint this card.

Veteran Armorsmith, Veteran Swordsmith - again with the Soldiers theme. They should be back.

Wall of Faith - the only wall in the set. It should be back despite that Rise of Eldrazi had the Defender subtheme.

White Knight - this card was reprinted to add expectations to the set. With its non use in Constructed decks, I expect it not to return.

I say, 10 cards that could be on its way out. Not a bad number considering that half of M11 will be new.

As for reprints, these are my speculations:

Path to Exile - it's not mere coincidence that that new wording for Removed from the Game is Exile. The word comes from Path to Exile. In the tradition of Swords to Plowshares and other white removal with drawback spells, Path to Exile is just right for white. If PtE is not going to be reprinted, I expect a more costly version but without the drawback.

Day of Judgment - as mentioned in the Planar Cleansing entry, Day of Judgment could be reprinted. I say so, simply because it's a functional reprint of Wrath of God. With the removal of the text, "They can't be regenerated," it helps explain the game better. Day of Judgment is a simple card. And considering that Wizards would want to sell the set, they'd do great in reprinting this card.

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