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Rivals of Ixalan Spoiler 12-14

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

Yesterday at around noon, Wil Blanks (@HairlessThoctar) shot out a tweet indicating that gaming stores had received a flyer from possibly from a gaming distribution company supplying Magic: the Gathering products advertising upcoming Rivals of Ixalan products from Ultra PRO.  This was followed with another post yesterday afternoon from redditor TacticalRangers with an image of the full product offering poster.

There are some Rivals of Ixalan images already previewed, and some which are new, so let's review -

Already previewed is the images of the Minotaur (in all certainty Angrath), as well as the vampire, thought to be the legendary character Elenda of Garrano, also known as Saint Elenda (a good second guess may be that of Queen Miralda).  New Rivals of Ixalan art spoiler is the image of the Merfolk - possibly the Merfolk Lord which MaRo alluded to on his blog earlier.

Matte Deck Protectors
86652 - Angrath Minotaur
86653 - Elenda Vampire
86654 - Merfolk

Pro 100+ Eck Boxes
86658 - Angrath Minotaur
86659 - Elenda Vampire
86660 - Merfolk

The first playmat shows what may very well be Admiral Beckett Brass leading a charge of pirates.  The second most epic of images shows a three-headed dinosaur.  The last image appears to be a lovely landscape on Ixalan.

86661 - Admiral Brass and Pirates
86662 - Three-headed Dinosaur
86663 - Ixalan Landscape

Pro Binder
86664 - Sun Empire warrior / dinosaur, Merfolk

Table Mats
86666 - 8 feet Rivals of Ixalan key art

86665 - 6 feet Rivals of Ixalan key art

Here is the full image of the Rivals of Ixalan Ultra PRO advertisement -



Rivals of Ixalan 12-13

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

From MaRo's Tumblr we now have it that the liklihood of a Merfolk Lord in Rivals of Ixalan is pretty much a done deal.  A word of caution to those Magic: that Gathering players about the so-called 'Lords' - this does not simply mean the final card will give a pump of power / toughness, but may be interpreted to be any creature to provide any benefits to creatures of the same type, or even more loosely, the player.  Rather excited about this as we have a blue / green standard Merfolk decklist we want to rock our FNM events after the release.  

We are also pretty much garuanteed, from the Planeswalker Decks revealed that we are to expect a Vraska variant as well as a debut of Angrath (the angry Minotaur dad) as a Planeswalker card, updating the legendary card in the previous Ixalan set.

Chris Rahn rocking this piece here

Anywhoos, We should do a bit of summary of Rivals of Ixalan, more for us than you the reader, to summarise all the recent Rivals of Ixalan spoilers and previews.  Wizards of the Coast posted the other day Rivals of Ixalan packaging images and promo cards to expect over the next while including some interesting Friday Night Magic tokens.  

Rivals of Ixalan Promotional Cards

Magic Open House: Full-art foil Silvergill Adept
Prerelease: a stamped card that can be any rare or mythic rare from the set.
Draft Weekend Launch promo: Brass's Bounty
Standard Showdown: foil land with art by Rebecca Guay
Magic League: foil Evolving Wilds
Store Championship: full-art foil Ghalta, Primal Hunger
Buy-a-Box: Captain's Hook

FNM promos:
1/1 {U} Merfolk token with Hexproof / {C} Treasure (River Heralds flavored)

City's Blessing marker // 0/1 Red Elemental with "At the beginning of youur upkeep, sacrifice this creature and return target card named Rekindling Phoenix from your graveyard to the battlefield. It gains haste until end of turn"

Starting January 1st when official previews begin for Rivals of Ixalan, we hope to front 'n' center, buried deep in the lore / vorthos and awesome new cards.  For now, here is a tantalizing look at Orazca deep within the jungle interior of Ixalan.



12 Days of MTG Christmas

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

It being the 12th day of December, this had reminded us of an apropos post a few years back on December 4th, 2014 where we had laid out our Magic: the Gathering take on the jolly Christmas Carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas.  To this end, we now regurgitate that post to you, along with the estimated card value from that time.

A Magic: the Gathering Christmas !

• 12 Deepwood Drummers Drumming
• 11 Elvish Pipers Piping
• 10 Lords pumping
• 9 Power Nine…ing
• 8 Goblins Lurking
• 7 Mystics forging
• 6 Sphinxs Revving
• 5 Soo-ool Riiiings!
• 4 Squadron Hawks
• 3 Mutavaults
• 2 Tarmogoyfs
• And a Storm Crow in a Treefolk!

Our playgroup was chatting the other evening about this very song when someone wondered as to the price for all of these very lovely cards.  That is what we hope to estimate right now.  Prices below are a rough aggregate from CCG HouseMTG Mint Card, other online retailers and our own local WPN store OMG! Games here in Barrie.  

• Foil 7th Edition Storm Crow ($1 foil)in a Doran, the Siege Tower Lorwyn ($10 Foil).  We used Doran, our fav card to rep the treefolk here.

• 2x Tarmogoyfs ($700 Future Sight Foil)

• 3x Mutavaults ($35 M14 foil) 

• 4x Squadron Hawk ($3 FNM promo)

• 5x Sol Rings ($25 From the Vault: Relics)

• 6x Sphinx's Revelation ($28 Return to Ravnica foil)

• 7x Stoneforge Mystics ($160 Worldwake foil)

• 8x Goblin Bushwacker ($3 Zendikar foil) We used the bushwacker here as we thought it looked very 'lurky'.

• Black Lotus ($6,750 Unlimited), Ancestral Recall ($1,700 Unlimited) Time Walk ($1,200 Unlimited), Mox Pearl ($1,200 Unlimited), Mox Sapphire ($1,600 Unlimited), Mox Jet ($1,300 Unlimited), Mox Ruby ($1,000 Unlimited), Mox Emerald ($1,100 Unlimited), and Timetwister ($650 Unlimited).

• 10x Lord of Atlantis ($75 7th Edition foil)

• 11x Elvish Pipers Piping ($12 M10 foil)

• 12x Deepwood Drummer ($1 Mecadian Masques foil)

Summed up, we are looking at just under $21,000 or so. 




Rivals of Ixalan Promos

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

It is not immediately clear where these Rivals of Ixalan spoilers originate from, but whether it was Reddit / Imgur or Instagram, we do now have a fairly complete list of the promotional cards.  Here is that summary now.

Edit - Now updated with the official Wizards of the Coast article posted at this link.

Magic Open House: January 6–7, 2018
PROMO - Silvergill Adept

Prerelease: January 13–14, 2018
PROMO - random within each pre-release pack

Buy-A-Box Promo - Captain's Hook

Draft Weekend: January 20–21, 2018
PROMO- Brass's Bounty

Store Championship: April 7–8, 2018
PROMO - Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Friday Night Magic (FNM Promo token) February, 2018 - City's Blessing
Flavour text here 'Once you have ascended to the highest temple of Orazca, the power of the Immortal sun is yours to wield forever.'

Magic League participation promo
Evolving Wilds

Here are the new cards from today's spoiler -

Captain's Hook, (??)
Artifact - Equipment, Rare
Equipped creature gets +2/+0, has menace, and is a Pirate in addition to its other creature types.
Whenever Captain's Hook becomes unattached from a permanent, destroy that permanent.
Equip 1

Brass's Bounty, 6R
Sorcery, Rare
For each land you control, create a colorless Treasure artifact token with "Tap, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."
"Why squabble for trinkets when we could be living large of all this gold?" —Admiral Beckett Brass

Evolving Wilds
Land, Common

T, Sacrifice Evolving Wilds: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.



Rivals of Ixalan Spoiler

Happy Tuesday (again) MTG peeps,

Some late day news to share with you.  Charlie Hall of Polygon (Vox Media) had posted some exclusive previews for the upcoming Rivals of Ixalan set (linked here).  Specifically, some nine cards along with glorious artwork from the Rivals of Ixalan Planeswalker Deck products were posted.  

 Vampire Champion, illus. Craig J. Spearing

Before we get to that, we should speak about what Planeswalker decks are to those new to Magic: the Gathering.

Rivals of Ixalan Planeswalker Decks releases January 19, 2018 for an MSRP of $15.  These decks acquaint players who are interested in Magic with basic strategy, the game's settings, and characters, and include a premium foil Planeswalker card.

• 1 Ready-to-play 60-card deck, featuring a foil premium Planeswalker card
• 2 Rivals of Ixalan booster packs
• 1 Strategy insert
• 1 Magic learn-to-play guide 

Vraksa, Scheming Gorgon, illus. Grzegorz Rutkowski
Angrath, Minotaur Pirate, illus. Chris Rahn


Unstable Variants

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

The newest (kookiest?) 'un' set, 'Unstable' is ready to be unleashed this very weekend.  The full set has already been previewed, and gamers are looking forward to draft this whacky and  farcical set.

Most collectors wanting specific cards from Unstable have already pre-ordered those cards and the well-heeled player may have already likely ordered deck protectors / card boxes and playmats from Ultra PRO (like the table matt above).

This is all very well - BUT - in a jocular jab, Wizards of the Coast did not reveal one rather important thing.  They did 'hint' at it though - blah, bleh, expect 216-ish cards.  We should have paid more attention.  As retailers started breaking down boxes and cracking packs for single sales, it began to emerge that there was something fishy, which may be explained in one word . . . 'VARIANTS'.  A number of cards in Unstable are printed with multiple variants.  These variants can differ on rules text, flavour text, art and watermark.

MTG Realm has had a quick look around the interwebs and have found the following known variants so far.  Images from Kush Singhal (@brute_steamer) -

• Amateur Auteur - 4 Versions (art and flavor text) Innistrad, Ravnica, Theros, and Zenkikar

• Beast in Show (art and flavor text)

• Everythingamajig - 5 Versions (rules text)

• Extremely Slow Zombie - 4 Versions (art and flavor text) Same zombo, 4 different seasons

• Garbage Elemental - 6 Versions (rules, Power/toughness)

• Ineffable Blessing - 6 Versions (rules text and flavor text)

• Killbot (name and flavour text) Curious, Delighted, Despondent, and Enraged Killbot.

• Knight of the Kitchen Sink - 6 Versions (rules text and flavor text)

• Novellamental - 4 Versions (flavor text)

• Secret Base - 5 Versions (art and watermark) one for each of the five factions

• Sly Spy (rules text, art and flavor text)

• Target Minotaur - 4 Versions (art)

• Very Cryptic Command - 6 Versions (art and rules text)

In some sad news, iconic artist Wayne England had been commissioned to create a version of Very Cryptic Command but had unfortunately passed away before completing it.  Ultra PRO is offering this uncompleted work on a line of deck protectors, deck boxes and playmats and donating the net proceeds from the sage to the family's chosen charity, the British Heart Foundation.

In summary, a very happy and welcome surprise for gamers cracking packs in this weekend's draft events around the world.  There may be additions / corrections to the above list over the next few days, so stay tuned.

Collectors and online retailers however may not be as happy however given that preorders have already been preordered and whatnot.  Here is what StarCityGames had pushed out earlier today to communicate with their customers.



Some rather exciting news out today for those Magic: the Gathering fans who aspire to work with Wizards of the Coast to help continue to create entertaining and engaging cards to be played in countless future games.

First, let's have a brief history of 'The Great Designer Search' contest by Wizards of the Coast -

2006 - Great Designer Search 1

The three finalists, Alexis Janson, Ken Nagle and Graeme Hopkins were among the cohort of fifteen cadidates or finalists who had undergone six challenges with eliminations each round.  Alhough Alexis Janson won the contest, all three finalistswere eventually hired by Wizards of the Coast.

2010 - Great Designer Search 2

The final candidates were Ethan Fleischer, Jonathon Loucks, Shawn Main, Devon Rule, Jay Treat, Scott Van Essen, Daniel Williams, and Jonathan Woodward.  Both the winner Ethan Fleischer and runner-up Shawn Main were hired by Wizards of the Coast.  Ethan developed the keyword 'Evovle', and the ability 'Assault' while Shawn would develop the 'Battalion' ability.


This is kicking off January 16, 2018.  The goal of the contest is to find new talent for Magic design and the grand prize was a design internship and thus is in general a job interview.  Like its former iterations, The Great Designer Search 3 begins with the candidates answering ten questions in essay form, with a 350 word cap per question.

For more information, check out the announcement (linked here) and the terms and conditions (linked here).

If you are contemplating of competing in this contest, be sure to prime yourself with some of the tenets which have kept Magic: the Gathering a great game.  Here are the Principles of Magic Research and Design.



MTG Changes

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Going forward through this article, I may very well sound like an 'old guy', which is rather true - I will be 50 in just a few short months.  This is mentioned only to provide a brief context of my experience with the evolution of technology and change itself.  I was born very far North (Arctic Circle north) at a time when cutting technology was chainsaws and the latest improvements in snowmobiles promised smoother / safer rides.  When serving in the Armed Forces, I was one of the first to use an electric typewriter in my Battalion.  Through my academic endeavours, I had witnessed the first computers (think floppys and diskettes) and did actually own a 'bag-phone' which plugged into the cigarette (now 'accessory') socket.  

This is all mentioned to provide a sort of way-marker in my reading of the ever-evolving Magic: the Gathering site that Wizards of the Coast has been maintaining and improving over the years.  Today's article to MTG Realm is posted as a new iteration of the Daily MTG has now gone up.  Here is a progression what the MTG webpage looked liked from when we first started reading it.

Early 2000 / 2002
Pure nostalgia.  I had spent a lot of time reading Magic Arcana, as well as some authors, whose content may very well be considered 'racey' by today's standards.

Circa 2004
My 56k dial-up modem is now considered ancient technology.  Look at all the graphics - enough to make one's self dizzy.  Brian David-Marshall and Adrian Sullivan dispense strategy and wisdom for players.
In 2007, Wizards of the Coast had addressed the rapidly growing fan community's desire to further engage on a more social level.  Randy Buehler was the tip of this spear, but unfortunately, bad timing had these fans busy on Facebook and Myspace resulting in Gleemax closing a year later.   
(Yes - I will admit that I had a Myspace page filled with MTG stuff)

Circa 2009
By far, my favourite designs of the Daily MTG webpage.  The newly improved gatherer is amazing, content is very well organised but By Odin!, should you need to search for something, you are going to have a bad time.  Gatherer has a slick-look page which propels me in to a new level of deckbuilding.
Gleemax 2.0 ?  Wizards of the Coast concludes that Facebook and Myspace is a mess for the MTG fans to build a community with at this time.  Wizards Community goes live circa 2010 which supplements the main webpage with this creation and I enthusiastically sign up.  It closes down five years later which kinda left me sad.

Circa 2014
Oh dear, this was not to our liking at all.
Let's just fast-forward a few months.

Circa 2015
This has become much more improved, and one is now able to use a functional search to float out that article you wanted to re-read.  Navigation is decent and Magic Arcana continues to be a 'must read' column.  Daily MTG 'Update' is soon to become a daily routine for me in 2016.

November 29, 2017
Here comes the part where my 'old fogey' preface is now referenced.  I am experiencing a mild dislike, but as Leo Buscaglia said - "Change is the end result of all true learning", which prompts me to realise that change is sometimes a good thing, so I look past my old-guy pre-determinations.  I very much appreciate the community generated content section and know that I will come to like the re-design in rather short order - just not the 'daily mtg' font.  Let's drop the probiotics please Wizards and ask Beleren to step back into the room.