Predicting Zendikar (Codename Live) March 24, 2009Posted by James in : all, random, speculation , trackback
We have been given some information about the block after Shards of Alara. Before you know it we will get Alara Reborn and 11th Edition. The next three sets after 11th Edition are codenamed “Live, Long, and Prosper.” Apparently “live” (Zendikar) set will not feature a new mechanic and will reintroduce a fan-favorite mechanic instead. This is what Mark Rosewater had to say:
The end result is that we’ve made a conscious decision to be more assertive about using these tools. This is why cycling returned in Shards and why the fan favorite CENSORED is returning this fall in the set codenamed “Live.” We’ve decided to stop reinventing the wheel when an old wheel can do the job. This doesn’t mean every set will have an old mechanic returning, but it does mean we are feeling more secure about reusing old mechanics when they seem appropriate.
What could this fan-favorite mechanic be? Here is a list of some ideas:
- Flip cards
Poison - This is probably the most popular idea for what this set will be based on. If poison returns, it would probably not be the major theme of the whole set. My guess is that codename live will have a mechanic return as a major theme, just like Shadowmoor returned hybrid as a major theme. (I might be wrong that the new mechanic will be a major theme, but that is my assumption for now considering that Shadowmoor reintroduced an old mechanic as a major theme.)
It is possible for poison to return if it introduces some major innovations that makes it an interesting mechanic for every color. Maybe a black card will give the opponent a poison counter whenever he or she discards a card or something.
Hybrid - Shadowmoor already reintroduced hybrid as a major theme. This might happen again, but not this soon. In fact, Shadowmoor was the first set to reintroduce a mechanic as a major theme in the first place. It looks like every other block will probably be reintroducing mechanics rather than introducing new mechanics.
Ninjitsu - Most of Kamigawa was despised by magic players, but Ninjitsu was the shining star of Kamigawa. Everyone loves ninjas, but I can’t imagine this as the major theme. The likelihood of Ninjitsu being a major theme is less likely than poison being the major theme. I can’t even imagining innovating ninjitsu to be a interesting green mechanic.
Flip cards - Flip cards only had moderate success for two reasons. One, it was introduced in Kamigawa, an unpopular set. Two, flip cards tended to be underpowered. However, split cards are “wacky fun” and it is about time for flip cards to be remade to be a major element in the game.
Still, I must admit that it is a little difficult to imagine half a set devoted to flip cards.
Splice - Originally there was only “splice onto arcane.” Again, splice might have a bad reputation with some players because it is from Kamigawa. Even so, the ability is quite strange and interesting. However, I still can’t imagine splice to be a major mechanic in a set. Splice would require a set to be primarily about instants and sorceries, but every set so far has been greatly about creatures.
Scry - Scry is a fun ability, but it is too much like cantrips, which exist just to fulfill a small role in each set. Additionally, I can’t imagine what Scry could do as a major theme in a set.
Affinity - Affinity has a bad reputation because it was too powerful with artifact lands. This bad reputation might disqualify it from being a “fan favorite,” but the affinity deck has been popular with pro players. Also, affinity doesn’t have to be too powerful. Affinity for forests or green creatures is probably OK.
In conclusion, flip cards are both fun enough and broad enough to be a major theme in a set. I think flip cards are the most likely mechanic to offer a major theme, but I see no evidence that they are a “fan favorite.” Affinity could also qualify as a major theme, but it actually acquired a bad reputation. Poison might also be a possible major theme, but it would have to be greatly innovated to be a major theme in every color.