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Magic 2014 Core Set First Impressions (Review) July 9, 2013

Posted by James in : all, reviews, previews , trackback

Magic: the Gathering has reached it’s 20th anniversary. Ten years ago was the 10th anniversary, and we got the new modern frames for Mirrodin and Eighth Edition, which paved the way to the new Modern tournament format. Five years ago was the 15th anniversary, and we got Tenth Edition, which was the first black-bordered core set since Beta. I thought they might celebrate the 20th anniversary with something new, but this core set seems ordinary for the most part. I am not a big fan of core sets, but they do offer new cards and sometimes they offer reprints of cards that are worth way too much money. Last time Grim Lavamancer was reprinted it went from a $20 card to a worthless card. Something similar might happen to Mutavault, but that card is so good that I expect it to continue to hold some value.

M14 will give us three things that I am looking forward to: One, slivers. Two, some good new cards. Three, some good reprints.

Slivers

Slivers are back, but are slightly different. None of them are reprints and I don’t expect to see many reprints because of how they are now different. Now Slivers only help the player who controls them. That is probably a good thing, so that Sliver vs Sliver games can be a bit more interesting.

I’m not that impressed by Slivers that are almost identical to ones we’ve already seen, but there are some good new ones that are a bit more original.

megantic sliver

Megantic Sliver is probably the most interesting new Sliver. It’s mana cost might be a bit prohibitive, but giving all your Slivers +3/+3 should make quite a difference.

Good new cards

There are three new cards that are especially worth mentioning:

chandra pyromancer

Chandra, Pyromaster is a lot like Chandra, the Firebrand; but pretty much just better. It’s bigger, the first ability is much better, and the second ability is also quite good. It’s second ability isn’t quite just free card advantage because you can’t play the card later on, but it’s still decent.

Garruk, callar of beasts

The new Garruk is not better than the Garruk it replaces, but it is still very good in a creature-oriented deck. The card advantage it offers is pretty unfair.

kalonian hydra

Kalonian Hydra is currently the highest-priced card of the set. It seems like a pretty ordinary beefy green creature to be worth so much, but it could certainly have some great interactions with a Simic deck (and also with the Scavange mechanic).

Good reprints

There are two reprints that I find of great significance:

mutavault

Mutavault has always been worth a lot of money, and was pretty much impossible to get one for a reasonable price (it was worth over $30). That should change now that it’s being reprinted.

scavanging ooze

Scavenging Ooze was also worth around $30 just because they were so hard to get, and they should go down in value now that it’s being reprinted. Scavanging Ooze has a very reasonable mana cost and it’s quite good.

Criticism

I have two main criticisms.

One, we used to get cards based on life totals that were a lot better in two-headed giant events and Commander (EDH) events. They would say things like “If you have 30 or more life, x happens.” Now we have a new card like this except it’s intentionally mediocre in Two headed giant and Commander events:

path of bravery

Path to Bravery is gong to be usually weaker than Honor of the Pure, and I want it to be better in other formats. Why not just say it gives your creatures +1/+1 as long as you have over 20 life? Then it would be better in certain formats. Now it will be pretty much useless in Commander rather than something that could actually be fun.

My second criticism is that the mana fixing is pretty much non-existent. There are no dual-colored lands. They are gone. I was hoping to see something new, but it didn’t happen. I’m not sure how good Slivers will be for draft with such bad mana fixing either.

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