(Editor’s note: Please feel free to use the spoiler website of your choice to reference the cards below, since they’re not in Gatherer/Magiccards.info yet, and the WordPress plugin won’t pick them up. I suggest www.magicspoiler.com, but go with what you feel.)
Yeah, I know. The Commander 2013 previews are just starting to come in, and I’m already complaining about getting new things. Shocking, right?
I’ll be honest, in that I’m as excited as everyone else to see this stuff get released. I love the hype, and the excitement that comes from the new shiny things, and it’s fantastic to have it all amplified by this release being specific to our format. I even decided to discard any preorders I was planning on, so that I could fall into the excitement of running around to various stores on the release day to see what I can get my hands on. That was a palpable thing with the original Commander release; I eventually ended up with one of each (and multiples of a few) of the decks, and I have no doubt that I’ll eventually be able to do the same thing with these ones as well. But on the original release day, I was only able to find two of the five, and even though I fell short, the disappointment, excitement, and hope that I experienced while running madly around town was pretty awesome. I hadn’t felt that since Legends was released nearly twenty years ago, when the question of whether or not I might actually get any packs at all was an honest and real one.
Yeah, I’m a junkie. So it goes.
But there is a certain level of disappointment happening as I see what is coming down the pike this time that I can’t erase, and that I don’t want either. There’s a sinking feeling as we keep seeing new things each day that Wizards is hitting critical mass on a lot of fronts, and the way they’re keeping things cool and interesting is to just take something old, polish it up, staple it to a big guy or put a spin on the effect, and call it a day.
(Just a quick note here – I’m not going to really review anything in this article, since we’re planning a bigger group review of the cards and the decks once we have the whole picture, and I don’t want to take away from that.
No, this is just me complaining a bit. Y’all know the drill.)
I started getting the feeling at the beginning of the week with the spoiling of Bane of Progress and Baleful Force. Again, no functional judgments yet (and I know there’s a depth to some of these designs that will end up being worth a reasonable look), but I saw a supercharged Phyrexian Arena stapled to a giant beater on one, and Fracturing Gust in mono-green stapled to another. Neither felt all that inspired to me, and I was kind of offended by Bane of Progress in particular; does mono-green really need this effect like this? It’s a homogenization that is making it too easy to just play all the best cards.
Yesterday, while I was busy doing work and passing out on the couch instead of doing an update here (sorry about that!), we got the spoiler for Primal Vigor. This nearly downright pissed me off.
The art is a rehashed version of a million other green cards. Big bunch of rampaging creatures running at the front perspective? Check.
The name immediately brings to mind a million other green cards as well, and worse yet, it isn’t very distinctive from another mono-green monstrosity, Primal Surge.
But more to the point, it’s an attempt to “fix” Doubling Season, and it doesn’t particularly do a great job at that either. Sure, they figured out a wording that prevented it from doing broken things with planeswalkers (and for that, I thank them.) It’s now a (gasp!) global effect! Oh my! Its…
…it’s Doubling Season. Again.
That’s what I’m chafing under. It’s that rehash that seems to be the go-to mindset for “upping the ante” and keeping the card-playing public shocked and excited. It’s like Wizards is almost resigning itself to the fact that we as Magic players can’t get excited by a new design, unless it somehow harkens back to an older one. Even Eye of Doom is a reworked spin on Oblivion Stone…what would have been wrong with trying a new angle instead?
I’m equally stoked and simultaneously dismayed at the new generals. On the one hand, it’s exciting to get new toys, and I’m not unhappy with that fact at all. But looking deeper, what’s there? In Naya colors, we got Counters And Tokens Man for the premier reveal. Jund is Big Scary Dragon. And again, why can’t I get a decent aggro general for Esper? Dakkon Blackblade was one keyworded evasion ability away from being that general. Instead, we get Grindy Control Man Who Is Better Off Not Attacking (And Possibly Better Off Not Even Getting Played At All.)
It’s a little exasperating.
Maybe this is a bit of early overreacting. After all, as I said, some of these cards do pose interesting effects that will play a bit deeper than they suggest at face value. And again, I’m grateful that we do get EDH-specific product. I’m grateful there are new generals available. I love deeper design space.
But I’m at least slightly sad in that so far, what I’ve seen makes me more interested in seeing what gets reprinted in these decks, instead of what new cards are going to be available.
Maybe I’m a jaded jerk too…that’s possible.
What do you all think? Enough is enough with the throwbacks, or jaded jerk? Is there anything you’ve seen yet that either really excites you, or really drives you nuts? Are some of these new cards fresh and exciting after all? Are the finance guys crazy for thinking that these decks are going to have fetch lands in them, or is that really a likely possibility? (Holy off-topic, Batman!)
Hit up the comments. Let me know.