~Planned to be released on 6th February, 2009 is 'CONFLUX', the second set in the Shards of Alara Block. This set was code-named 'Paper', from the popular dice-less game 'Rock, Paper, Scissors'.
Wizards formerly announced this set's release today on Magic Arcana. We are lead to believe that each of the 5 shards alluded to in the first Alara block has "developed it's own tri-coloured theme" (white / blue / black , etc.).
Given this, Conflux (meaning the flowing together of something), may indicate that there may be a possibility of drawing yet another colour into this theme (white / blue / black / red, etc.). Hey - your guess should be about as good as mine.
The lead on the Design Team is Bill Rose, head of Research & Development - we have not heard much from him since 2005. The lead for the Development Team is Mike Turian, a core developer and avid MTG player.
'fnord' over at one of the forums worked on a very neat Alara-to-Conflux morph.
Speaking of forums, BantSentinel was very kind to share a sneak peak with us of what he saw in the yet-to-be-released WoTC publication 'A Planeswalker's Guide to Alara: A Magic: The Gathering Field Guide'. Here is what he says . . .
There is no theme shared by all of Alara. Rather, each of the 5 Shards has its own theme. Each Shard is primary in one of the five colors and secondary in the two colors which are allies of the primary color.
Here are the 5 Shards and their themes:
Secondary: blue, green
Secondary: white, black
Theme: Artifacts. From what I saw, I got the very strong impression that there will be a significant number of Esper-associated colored artifacts.
Secondary: blue, red
Secondary: black, green
Theme: Controlled Chaos. This is a tricky one, and I'm not sure this is the best description. It looks like there will be lot of random effects, growing/shrinking creatures, etc. However, it is unmistakably mentioned that this chaos can be and is controlled/manipulated by savvy planeswalkers to tilt the odds in their favour.
~Until next time, Happy & Safe Gaming !