Thursday, July 4, 2013

Removal in Magic 2014

Usually, I am one who eagerly watches the spoiler season for the next upcoming set, but for some reason the upcoming release of Magic 2014 has basically caught me by surprise. Granted, given the number of reprints in each Core Set, the spoilers aren't quite as dramatic as they are for Expert Sets. Still, even learning that a particular card will be returning to the Standard set after rotating out can be quite exciting.

Rather than focusing on the entire set of cards spoiled thus far, instead today I want to look at two particular removal spells that will be released in the set. One is an old favorite, returning at a new rarity. The other is an effect that's been printed at Common before, but returning for a very different cost. Let's take a look.

1. While I have been unable to find an actual scan of the card, most sources agree that Doom Blade will be returning as an Uncommon. While some have been understandably annoyed by this development, I personally think this will be good for Standard Pauper. Removal has always been a huge part of most Standard Pauper decks, with most lists including between 8 and 16 copies. But lacking both Doom Blade and Incinerate at Common (the latter being replaced by Shock), removal will not be as strong. As a result, Aggro strategies should become more viable, and Control strategies weakened somewhat. I personally think this will be a welcome development. As Common creatures continue to be less powerful and less complex overall, weakening removal in general should help compensate somewhat and keep creature combat more interesting overall in the format.

2. The other card I wish to highlight is Time Ebb. While technically a reprint(from 9th edition and Tempest), this is an effect that has been largely missing from Standard Pauper, or, in the case of Griptide, has been too expensive to really be playable. Time Ebb might be only one mana cheaper, and Sorcery speed as well, but that one mana I believe will make a decisive difference. This card not only acts as an Unsummon effect, but also blanks your opponent's next draw step. While not amazing, this type of effect should be strong in the more aggressive mono-Blue builds like this one from MPDC 21.07. I have always liked more tempo-based archetypes, and this card will slot right in to this type of deck.

So what do you think of the removal for Magic 2014? Do you think it will make the format more interesting, or will the weakening of removal make the format more stale? As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Guess I should comment since I was one of the ones belly-acheing in the linked-to thread :-)

    Before I get back to that, I'll just say that Time Ebb looks like a nice addition to the Mono Blue decks that appear to be the best performers this season.

    But as far as uncommon Doom Blade is concerned, yeah, I'm upset. It just seems to be the perfect common to me, the very top of the power level and not nearly complex enough to warrant being in the upper rarities.

    Like Alex Ullman said, it's likely been moved up to support the tribal-esque Limited environment Wizards designed for Magic 2014.

    So considering that Standard Pauper probably gets most of its gems based on Limited considerations, sometimes we get bombs. I hope Alex is right that Doom Blade returns to its proper rarity in the next Core Set.

    And hey, I guess we've learned to live without Gravedigger for a couple years now, I suppose it can't hurt to do without a Terror variant for the first time in Magic history.