Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Why Would Wizards Spoil Falkenrath Reaver?

We're deep into the spoiler season for Eldritch Moon, with new cards being revealed every day, leading up to the paper Prerelease Weekend on July 16-17 and its eventual online release on August 1. The idea behind such spoilers is to build increasing excitement for the set, revealing some of the  marquee cards and mechanics and saving the more mundane cards for the full spoiler, which should come out sometime next week.

So imagine my surprise today when one of the newly revealed cards was Falkenrath Reaver. It's hard to imagine a less exciting card. It's a vanilla 2/2 for 2, with a creature type consistent with what we've already seen, that certainly doesn't seem to play any special role in the format. Why would Wizards want to use this card as a way to create excitement for the upcoming set.

As it turns out, this card was spoiled on the Magic Development Tumblr page in response to the question, "Will we ever see a vanilla 1R 2/2?". In fact, this is the first 2/2 for 2 converted mana (outside of Rares; even then I believe those cost RR) that has ever been printed without a drawback. Two good examples of this card type at Common are Mage-Ring Bully and Valley Dasher, which both come with the drawback of having to attack each round. Granted, it's arguable that Mage-Ring Bully is superior to Falkenrath Reaver, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, this is a statement from development about what we can expect from Red Commons in the future. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if we saw such cards even with one of the set's mechanics without a drawback in the future.

As Mark Rosewater has said many times, the hardest part of design is Commons. But now, the design mentality has shifted. And in my opinion, better creatures at Common can only be good for the format.

Amazing what you can glean from a vanilla 2/2 for 2! Guess that's why Wizards thought it was worth spoiling.

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