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Commander 2018 - Bant Enchant

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

We had picked up the recent Magic: the Gathering preconstructed Commander 2018, 'Adaptive Enchantment'.  This is Bant coloured ( Green / White / Blue ) with an invested enchantment / aura theme.  Although MTG and other playing cards have had a 10% tariff applied (final cost was $56.49) here in Canada, we still do not think this unreasonable in order to ensure that the local Magic: the Gathering gaming community stays intact and that there is a mortar-and-bricks location where friends can meet and play.  

The Commander products continue to deliver an excellent foundation for your further innovation and this year's offering is no different.  Before we do take this for a spin at our local gaming store or with our playgroup, we will need to remove and replace a large number of cards in order to personalise this.  This also affords us an opportunity to showcase some gems we already have in our collection.  We will post later about upgrading Adaptive Enchantment's spells and mana base, but for now, here is a blurb from Wizards of the Coast to provide a baseline of this list's present potential :

"Adaptive Enchantment" is all about playing enchantments.  Your goal should be to craft a wall of magical wards while imbuing your own creatures with powerful Auras.  By defending yourself with protective enchantments and attacking with huge creatures, you can defeat one opponent at a time while they struggle to defend themselves on all sides.

Few Planeswalkers know more about the power of enchantments than Estrid, the Masked.  When playing with Estrid, you're going to want to enchant as many of your permanents as possible to take full advantage of here ability to untap enchanted permanents.  No Auras in your hand?  No problem.  Her Mask tokens provide protective totem armor to your creatures, making them durable threats.  In a pinch, you can even put Masks on your lands so that her first ability can generate mana.

You could also try your hand at beating down with Kestia, the Cultivator.  Your deck's Auras and enchantment creatures make for a potent offense, and the card flow Kestia creates can give you a bounty of options.  As the first legendary creature with bestow, Kestia is particularly  durable - your opponent will need more than one removal spell to slow Kestia down.  Don't be afraid to be aggressive !

Between Estrid's long game and Kestia's quicker offensive style, there's Tuvasa the Sunlit.  Designed to command "enchantress" decks, Tuvasa ensures you can access a steady stream of enchantments turn after turn.  Build your board up slowly, drawing the maximum number of cards, then start pressuring opponents once your commander is big enough to threaten lethal damage. 

Here is a brief but excellent trip to Flavour-Town ->

Constantly striving for self-perfection, Estrid fashions magical masks that imbue her with the strengths and skills of the creatures they represent. Calm and collected in times of danger, Estrid takes pride in her flexibility. She is always ready with the right face–and set of talents–for whatever challenge she encounters. As Estrid journeys through the Multiverse, she seeks mighty creatures with unique fighting styles and weaves their powers into new masks.

The nymphs of Theros are associated with the wilds of nature–lush plains, verdant forests, and rushing waters. Kestia is a unique creation of the gods, and the cultivated fields that sustain human life are her domain. A benevolent steward of the earth's bounty, she oversees fertile fields, crop growth, and irrigation.

Among the River Heralds of Ixalan, most shamans feel close affinity with the winds and waters, or with the verdant growth of the jungle. Tuvasa believes the light of the sun is the power that unites them both, giving life to plants and warming coastal waters.

Other :: (suggest this goes straight into your Momir Vig build)

The kraken Arixmethes is so large that he is frequently mistaken for an island. While he slumbered, an entire city was built on his back. When he awakened–as the Planeswalker Kiora battled the sea god Thassa – he wrought destruction beyond any the hapless citizens of the "island" had ever known.



Thursday MTG Miscellany

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

The end to a hot and dry summer is nearly at hand, so if you had not already attempted an overdose of long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB) from that bright fiery globe in the sky, we suggest to take advantage before the restart of the academic year, return to work from summer vacation, etc.  Although we do not enjoy any such short term departure from work, we acknowledge that the posts to the MTG Realm had certainly been less than 3 articles posted per week.  Having stated that, we have provided for regular (almost daily) posts to our Tumblr page, linked right here.  MTG Realm on Tumblr continues to deliver Magic: the Gathering related news, spoilers, and funnies to the gaming community.  We are very thankful to all the 17,000 followers who have subscribed.

Some upcoming dates we are looking very much forward to this fall include the September release of Creature Forge : Overwhelming Swarm MTG miniatures from WizKis as well as the October release of Guilds of Ravnica.  For the moment, the MTG Realm playgroup has been picking up singles from the latest Commander 2018 product offering with one member scrapping an existing Enchantress / Pillow-Fort build to meld with the Bant-coloured Adaptive Enchantments Commander pre-constructed deck.

Before signing off, we should very much like to express just how much we had enjoyed the 8-epsisode Core Set 2019 Storyline by Kate Elliot.  The literary work did provide additional depth to the Khans / Dragons of Tarkir story stub that we felt was needed.  We are quite happy Wizards of the Coast had made the decision to serve a short story along with this set.  Here are all the links and blurbs to the eight episodes for Core Set 2019 :

Episode 1
18 years after the events of Fate Reforged, Yasova (formerly Yasova Dragonclaw) leads her granddaughters and a hunting party into the wilderness. There her granddaughter is visited by mysterious vision, telling her the story of the birth of none other than Ugin the Spirit Dragon and of Nicol Bolas himself

Episode 2
As Yasova and her granddaughters are threatened by dragons from multiple clans, they meet a mysterious Ojutai stranger. He has a story to tell about Bolas and Ugin's earliest days, a story which serves a greater purpose.

Episode 3
Hunted by dragons, Yasova and the twins hear more of Tae Jin's tale of Bolas and Ugin and the story of their earliest conflict with humans.

Episode 4
After risking her peoples' lives to save Tae Jin, Yasova demands he finish his story of Bolas and Ugin, revealing its dark conclusion.

Episode 5
In a desperate attempt to assuage Atarka's anger, the hunting band plies her with the tale of an ancient war between dragons.

Episode 6
When Yasova and the twins reach Ugin's grave at last, they find a mysterious, and potentially deadly, stranger awaiting their arrival.

Episode 7
Nicol Bolas gives his own account of history to Naiva and makes her an offer.

Episode 8
Yasova and the twins hear the end of Ugin's version of history and risk defying Nicol Bolas himself.


Guilds of Ravnica Spoiler 7-30

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Some important news on the upcoming Magic: the Gathering set, Guilds of Ravnica for you today.  Wizards of the Coast had let the kitten out of the clutch with an update to the Wizards Play Network (WPN) (linked here) resource site for gaming stores.  Of particular interest is that we can expect the pre-release events to to be Guild-based.

Specifically, the Prerelease Packs are to be Guild-based which includes a seeded booster, composed entirely of cards relevant to that player’s guild as well as five regular Guilds of Ravnica booster packs.  This set as well as the pre-release packs are to feature the following five of the bi-colored Ravnican guilds : 

• Selesnya (G/W)
• Boros (R/W)
• Golgari (B/G)
• Izzet (U/R)
• Dimir (U/B)

With Guilds of Ravnica set releasing on October 5, 2018, it is quite reasonable to imagine that the next set, Ravnica Allegiance, releasing in January, 2019 will feature the other five Guilds :  Azorius (W/U), Rakdos (B/R), Gruul (R/G), Simic (G/U), and Orzhov (W/B).

Also of interest, the same WPN page featured what is guessed to be the Guilds of Ravnica key art.  This particular piece features Vraska, the Planeswalker Gorgon.  We had last left Vraska at the tail end of the Ixalan story where she (voluntarily) had her memories wiped clean by new friend Jace.  Upon returning as an agent of Bolas, she was granted leadership of the Golgari Guild for services rendered.  This new art appears to be the Golgari underworld, with Vraska looking to be quite at ease, perhaps in new new position.  

Our only question about the art at this time - Could there be a Ravnica / Thor crossover ?  The little beastly pet that Vraska has in her arms looks very suspiciously like Miek, Korg's BFF in Thor Ragnarok.



Commander 2018 Spoilers

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Perhaps not so happy as we were doing so well and then, approximately six hours ago, approximately noon (Monday, July 23,  2018), Moscow time, all four Commander 2018 decks were spoiled on the Russian online social media and social networking service 'VK' (or 'CKontakte').  

Commander 2018 is scheduled to be available for sale on August 10, 2018, and although official Magic: the Gathering previews from Wizards of the Coast are currently taking place, the kitten is out of the clutch now.  As hundreds (thousands?) of MTG fans already seen these, we are posting as well.  Before we get further, if you are new to this awesome Magic: the Gathering format, here is an informative blurb -

Commander is a unique and exciting way to play multiplayer Magic, featuring lots of legendary creatures and big, game-changing spells. Your deck is built around a single legendary creature (the "commander," which can be cast multiple times), and can use only cards within that creature's color identity. A Commander deck must be exactly 100 cards, and can't contain more than one copy of any card other than basic lands, making it a fun challenge for a creative deck builder. Play in a multiplayer free-for-all and maximize your commander's strengths to make sure you're the last one standing!

Commander (2018 Edition) brings back a very special category of commanders: planeswalkers! Yep, instead of a creature, each deck is led by a powerful planeswalker and built to take full advantage of their unique abilities. Most planeswalkers can't be used as commanders, but these four have been designed specifically to fill that role, so you can battle with a true legend of the Multiverse by your side.


Here are the four Commander 2018 decklist names and the new Commanders ::

Exquisite Invention - Artifacts theme
• Saheeli, the Gifted ( Blue / Red ), illustrated by Ryan Pancoast

Nature's Vengeance - Lands matter theme
• Lord Windgrace ( Black / Red / Green ), illustrated by Bram Sels 

Adaptive Enchantment - Enchantments theme
• Estrid, the Masked ( Green / White / Blue ), illustrated by Johaness Voss

Subjective Reality - Top Deck theme
• Aminatou, the Fateshifter ( White / Blue / Black ), illustrated by Seb McKinnon



Art of Ravnica

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

As it Friday, we suggest you would be well served by getting out of the scorching heat and head to your local gaming store.  We are going to OMG! Games here in Barrie, Ontario this evening to see what exciting new decklists have been created with the release of the Magic: the Gathering Core Set 2019 the other week.  We also will bring along some very cool Ultra PRO random draw giveaways.

The big news yesterday evening was this announcement from publisher VIZ Media.

The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Ravnica, scheduled for publication in January, 2019.  This is an art book that will explore the vast and vastly powerful, the City of Ravnica.  

James Wyatt, Magic creative writer at Wizards of the Coast partnered with VIZ Media have produced a number of lovely hardcover art books featuring the incredible images and lore of Magic: The Gathering.  Here is the list of previous 'The Art of Magic: The Gathering' publications -

• The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Zendikar (2016)

• The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Innistrad (2016)

• The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Kaladesh (2017)

• The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Amonkhet (2017)

• The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Ixalan (2018)

• The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Dominaria (2018)



Hold My Beer

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

We had just been browsing the Hold My Beer subreddit, when some related Magic: the Gathering news had popped up on our radar.  The news comes from yesterday's Updates to Alcohol and Age Restriction Policies, posted by the Wizards Play Network (WPN).  

Specifically, as of July 23, 2018, the WPN Terms and Conditions had been updated to removed any prohibition of serving or consumption of alcohol at sanctioned events (including in play spaces).  The policy had also been amended to allow organisers (excluding Premier Play events), to run events with age restrictions which supports the above Alcohol policy, but also promote Magic: the Gathering events to younger players who may not otherwise be engaged given an older, more competitive crowd.  WPN would still ensure that members do "maintain a family friendly environment or retail hobby focus."

This is great news, as this would provide a degree of flexibility to organisers to better cater to their local demographics.  Whether encouraging younger players to attend a less competitive environment or to other gamers (like us) who have been migrating away from gaming stores to the kitchen table and within reach of our favourite beverage.



Commander 2018 Spoilers

Happy Saturday MTG peeps,

Some news for Commander fans we need to update you on.  Similar to previous products, Commander 2018 is to have four pre-constructed theme decks, which features twelve premium foil commanders.   Each of the four decks will have 100-cards each which will have a blend of new cards as well as reprints to support each theme.  Each will have 10 token cards, a strategy insert and a rules reference guide.

There is no specific pattern of colours presented with this year’s Commander decks. The themes were revealed by Wizards of the Coast on the weekly Twitch channel on Friday :

Deck 1 :: Izzet (Blue / Red) :: Exquisite Inventions - Artifacts theme

Deck 2 :: Jund ( Black / Red / Green) :: Nature's Vengeance - Lands matter

Deck 3 :: Bant (White / Blue / Green) :: Adaptive Enchantment - Enchantments

Deck 4 :: Esper (White / Blue / Black) :: Subjective Reality - Top Card of your deck matters

Commander 2018 releases August 10, 2018 with previews officially starting on July 23, 2018. The following artwork has also been released:



M19 PreRelease Weekend

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

Magic: the Gathering players around the world will be congregating at their local gaming store this weekend at the newest core set, Magic 2019 prerelease events take place.  Should you find yourself in Central Ontario (just a titch North of Toronto), do drop by OMG! Games in Barrie, just off Highway 400 in the North end of the city near Georgian College.  OMG! Games kick off the prerelease weekend tonight at midnight soon after the regular Friday Night Magic event and will tear through all weekend long, wrapping up with a 2-Headed Giant event Sunday afternoon.  If you looking for a PreRelease event near you, pop on over to this linky at the Wizards of the Coast MTG site.

After the dust had settled from the PreRelease weekend, many gamers will be looking to a new standard format with Core 2019 being officially release July 13, 2018.  There will be a massive card pool to develop your strategies with (from Kaladesh straight through to Dominaria and the new Core Set).  Some players will choose to 'cherry pick' new M19 cards to supplement existing decklists while others may see a clear path forward to victory with a completely blueprint.  Whichever way you may go, it is always inspiring to see what the professional players associated with the Japanese gaming store Hareruya want to try.  Not missing the opportunity to innovate, the popular 'HareruyaWayfinder' standard format suggestions by the Hareruya Pros have been posted here.  Here are the very creative and spicy lists :: 

Deck 1 - Izzet Paradox
Deck 2 - Naya Dragons
Deck 3 - Orzhov Life
Deck 4 - Mono White Monument
Deck 5 - Grixis Midrange
Deck 6 - Mono Black Zombies

Deck 7 - Selesnya Midrange
Deck 8 - Izzet Artificer
Deck 9 - Gruul's Unsealing
Deck 10 - Tezzerator
Deck 11 - Esper Control
Deck 12 - Orzhov Knights
Deck 13 - Selesnya Life



MTG SDCC Exclusive Promos

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

Magic: the Gathering fans were treated to a preview of this year's SDCC promos via IGN (linked here).  Since 2013, Wizards of the Coast have been providing limited quantity promo cards typically only available at the Convention, however some small numbers had been offered through the parent company Hasbro site.  an Diego Comic-Con or SDCC is a multigenre entertainment and comic convention held annually in San Diego (USA).  This year, it is running from Thursday 19th until Sunday 22nd July.

Comic-Con 2018 again featured the five most recent planeswalker cards from the five first members of the Gatewatch, each in front of a stained-glass window depicting a planeswalker from the pre-mending era.   According to Alison Luhrs at WotC, these pieces aren't set in any one particular time and place. They're intended as a contrast between the past and the present, and how one affects the view of the other. The art director for this series was Mark Winters, and the artist Terese Nielsen.  This boxed set of 5 Planeswalkers with exclusive artwork will be available for purchase for $99 USD.

• Gideon of the Trials (SDCC) — Gideon is paired with Serra. He strives to live his life according to the ideals of justice as she did. He will always be a fighter, though, and his face shows his doubts; did Serra do enough to directly face evil?

• Jace, Cunning Castaway (SDCC) — Jace doesn't know much about Urza, but he know that he saved the world by manipulating thousands and sacrificing millions. To Jace, Urza is a cautionary tale. His back is facing Urza in this piece; an active rejection of all that Urza stood for.

• Liliana, Untouched by Death (SDCC) — Liliana stands in front of Nicol Bolas. She is a ruthless heroine, and though his influence looms large, her hands are alight with her own power. Liliana desires the control his overlapping figure refuses to secede.

• Chandra, Torch of Defiance (SDCC) — Chandra stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the stained glass image of her mentor, Jaya Ballard. Theirs is easily the friendliest relationship, as they know each other personally. There's nothing but loving companionship in Chandra's stance in this piece.

• Nissa, Vital Force (SDCC) — Nissa is next to Freyalise. Freyalise was ruthless in her defense of elvenkind and the natural world. Nissa used to feel the same way, but has come to realize interconnections are more valuable than ferocity, and that nurturing connections will preserve harmony.



MTG Canada Tarriff

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

EDIT 7.16.2018 : You may wish to read the CBC article on this subject written by Darren Major who had interviewed Dave Teller over at Wizard's Tower in Ottawa.  Article linked right here.

Should you, like us reside and play in Canada, then this may be of interest to you.  The bottom line is, that you should expect to pay a bit more to buy Magic: the Gathering cards.

On May 31, 2018, the United States had announced tariffs on imports of certain steel and aluminum products from Canada at the rates of 25% and 10%, respectively.   Taking into consideration feedback received from Canadians through over 1,000 submissions during public consultations, on July 1, 2018, Canada had imposed countermeasures (surtaxes) against (Canadian) $16.6 billion in imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the U.S., representing the value of 2017 Canadian exports affected by the U.S. tariffs. 

Listed within Table 3 (‘Other Products’) on the countermeasures response from the Canadian Department of Finance Page, and subject to a 10 per cent surtax, one is able to find this line item -

• 9504.40.00 - Playing cards

There had been some early speculation that Magic: the Gathering cards could be construed as a type of collectible card, such as hockey or baseball cards.  This however is not the case, as the Magic: the Gathering card is integral to play the game, and thus is quite solidly considered a playing card.  This has reportedly been confirmed to a Canadian gaming store owner by Wizards of the Coast as well as that store’s supply distributor.

It had been suggested that Wizards of the Coast had worked closely with Canadian distributors to get Core 2019 Prerelease and Release product shipped across the Canadian border before the tariffs go into effect on July 1st, the day the new tariffs had taken place.  Just how much product may have landed in Canada before this date is unclear at this time.

Looking into the future, we hope that this new tariffs will be dismissed soon and relations with our American cousins will normalize.  What may be hindering this is that at one point in the not too distant past, the American Constitution gave Congressional power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”, whereas the current trend is to shift this to the executive branch.  The current American regime also has a number of loop-holes to employ such as the clause in the 1974 Trade Act, to impose restrictive tariffs where there is “an adverse impact on national security from imports”.


MTG B&R Update July 2

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

First of all - a very happy Canada Day to all of our fellow Canadians.  There is a massive heat wave in Southern Ontario, so be sure you hydrate.  

A quick word about the updated Magic: the Gathering Banned and Restricted list announced today by Wizards of the Coast.  Essentially, just an adjustment to Legacy with the banning of Deathrite Shaman and Gixtaxian Probe.

Here's the full article link including observations of the metagame :

For standard, no changes - here is the existing list -

Revised: January 19, 2018
• Aetherworks Marvel
• Smuggler's Copter
• Felidar Guardian
• Attune with Aether
• Rogue Refiner
• Rampaging Ferocidon
• Ramunap Ruins



Lord of War

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

Today at MTG Realm, we would like to yatter a bit about some of the cool new cards in the re-started Core Set, Core Set 2019.  Quite specifically, the five rare tribal lords.  A "lord" is an informal term that refers to any creature or other permanent that confers boons to other members of the same creature type, typically without conferring such bonus to themselves.  In Core Set 2019, there is one Lord in each colour :

Valiant Knight (W knights) — Grants other Knights +1/+1, activated ability (3WW) to grant Knights double strike

Supreme Phantom (U spirits) — Grants other spirits+1/+1.

Death Baron (B zombies) — Grants skeletons and zombies +1/+1 and deathtouch

Goblin Trashmaster (R goblins) — Grants goblins +1/+1, activate ability to destroy an artifact when you sacifice a goblin.

Elvish Clancaller (G elves) — Grants other Eleves +1/+1, activated ability (4GG, Tap) to tutor another copy of itself onto the battlefield.

When Core 2019 releases on July 13, 2018, and before the large Fall set on October 5, 2018, there is a metric ton of cards in Standard format, but are we able to double down on the above Tribal Lords ?  Ixalan / Rivals of Ixalan was a block that did have a tribal theme, but restricted to Pirates, Dinosaurs, Merfolk and Vampires. 

There does exist however, some cards which may assist in a tribal theme should you want to move forward with the aforementioned Core Set 2019 Lords -

Arcane Adaptation (2U) - forcing all your creatures to creature type
Metallic Mimic (2) - +1/+1 counters on named creature type when they enter the battlefield
Radiant Destiny (2W) - conditional (City's Blessing) named creature type you control gets +1/+1 and vigilance
Vanquisher's Banner (5) - named creature type you control gets +1/+1, card draw upon casting that type

The most apparent choice may be Zombies.  There was a time, not that long ago, where Zombie tribal did climb to the top tier before the wheels fell off when some choice cards from Magic Origins / Shadows Over Innistrad block rotated out.  There are two Lords, or more specifically, a tribal enchantment and a Lord, in Amonkhet which may be shoed in to build a Zombie Tribal decklist -

• Liliana's Mastery (Amonkhet) - Zombies you control get +1/+1.
• Lord of the Accursed (Amonkhet) - Grants other zombies +1/+1, activated ability (1B, Tap) zombies gain menace

There is also a handful of other useful cards to support this theme as well which we will not go into, but do want to make a point that Embalm and Eternalize are two existing mechanics which also may be of use here.

Happy Brewing !


MTG ‘BEARserker’

~“Would you rather feel the edge of my blade or the sharpness of my fangs?"

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

Incoming event this weekend at a gaming store near you, is the Dominaria Store Championship.  With Dominaria having been officially released on April 27, 2018, Magic: the Gathering players should now have been afforded ample opportunity to hone their standard format deckles.  This weekend, your time and effort; blood and tears; and countless hours of research will pay off as you are crowned Store Championship.  To the victor - priceless treasures in the form of a Champion playmat and deck boxes from Ultra PRO, and promo cards. 

Should you find yourself North of Toronto, do drop in to OMG Games, in Barrie, Ontario on Saturday 23 June at half-past noon.

On topic again -
As of this afternoon, Magic: the Gathering gamers have been delivered about 215 (of 280) official Core Set 2019 card previews by Wizards of the Coast and their media friends.  The Core Set, releasing on July 13th, returns to MTG after a short ( THREE YEAR ! ) hiatus after this was dropped after Magic Origins in 2015.  To date, we have been treated to 2 installments of a storyline created by author Kate Elliot which has been a very good read.

We could talk about some of the very cool and slick new cardboard which has been previewed so far, and perhaps how this new set may impact the meta game in each format, but we really do want to talk about the big BEAR in the room - Ursine Champion.

Ursine Champion, artwork by Alex Konstad

Here is the freak’n awesome card now for your review -

This sweet card is most definitely a 'bear' - 1X for a 2/2, quite conventionally in green or perhaps white.  Although the creature type is a 'Human BEARserker', she does have an activated ability to actually turn into a freak'n bear ! These WereBear creature shenanigans may be more at home on the Plane of Innistrad, but we are loving it.  Late game, with a pinch of mana acceleration, this 2/2 grows to a sizeable 5/5.

This is no common 'Vanilla Bear', and most certainly in the territory of 'Value Bear', but will the discerning MTG fan dare even say bear at all ?  

Here is a very handy Bear Alignment Chart, created by redditor IanUlman for reference should you wish to provide a shot to categorize further . . .




M19 Art Previews

Happy Saturday MTG peeps,

On Friday, Wizards of the Coast had another treat for Magic: the Gathering players.  Specifically the Weekly MTG panel on Twitch with Blake Rasmussen (Content Manager), Paul Cheon (Game Designer), Bill Rose (VP R&D), and Charlie Cateeno (Director R&D) sat down to discuss a variety of relevant and interesting items.

Of note for us here at MTG Realm was some art previews for the upcoming Core Set 2019.  Here are the six very lovely (and intriguing) artworks now -

• ‘Generic Burn Spell’, artwork by Chris Rahn

• ’Satyr’, artwork by Sidharth Chaturvedi

• ‘Leonin’, artwork by Jakub Kasper

• ‘Nicol Bolas Spell’, artwork by Svetin Velinov

• ‘Cool Horse creature’, artwork by Alayna Danner

• ‘Tezzeret’, artwork by Josh Has



Core Set 2019 Story

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

Yesterday, regular Magic: the Gathering story instalments restarted on the Wizards of the Coast website, with the first of eight short stories to be shared for the Core Set 2019 story arc.  Previously, Wizards had been producing stories ‘in-house’ with the R&D Narrative Team, and on the whole, these were very good.  With Return to Dominaria, author Martha Wells was engaged to produce a whopping 12 short stories.  Considering what a herculean effort it was to pen this, it really did make sense for Wizards to work with a professional author, and have the Narrative Team focus on creating a canvas, characters, and major plots to mesh with the cards created for each set.

Continuing to employ outside resources, Wizards had tapped author Kate Elliott to generate 8 stories for the Core Set 2019.  Kate was introduced to us on June 7, 2018, during a Twitch Video ‘Weekly MTG’ which featured Mark Rosewater, M19 Story Author, & Beta Booster Pack Opening.  We’re uncertain about the ‘weekly’ term for the moment, but were very happy to have watched the video.  Kate Elliott is the pen name of American fantasy and science fiction writer Alis A. Rasmussen, who currently resides with her husband Jay Silverstein currently live in (the non-exploding part of) Hawaii.  Here is her first Magic: the Gathering story, as linked below -

Chronicle of Bolas: The Twins, by Kate Elliott
18 years after the events of Fate Reforged, Yasova (formerly Yasova Dragonclaw) leads her granddaughters and a hunting party into the wilderness. There her granddaughter is visited by mysterious vision, telling her the story of the birth of none other than Ugin the Spirit Dragon and of Nicol Bolas himself.

Had you not read this great first installment, we suggest you do, before we move along, as we are hitting / highlighting some rather interesting details presented as they unfold on Tarkir.

Yasova (previously Yasova Dragonclaw), is a grandmother.  Her granddaughters, twins Naiva (more a hunter) and Baishya (more a shaman) have been given a message from the Windfolk (some sort of Elemental beings) who communicate with the human ‘whisperers’ with shamanic gifts.  This message seems to be from the Spirit-Dragon, Ugin.  The stage now appears to be set upon a path to find the (corpse or spirit) of Ugin.
Other items of interest folded into the story concern Dragons.  We appreciate the literary device (?) used to capitalise letters indicating the story section about dragons, and dragon-speech.  We are shown what appears to the Ur-Dragon, the primordial essence of all Dragonkind, with its avatar speeding across the skies of an un-named plane of existence, essentially dropping dragon eggs.  The first wave of eggs include Palladium, Chromium, Arcades, Ugin, Nicol, and Merrivia Sal, but two other dragons are stillborn and fall to the ground.  The dragons are born sentient / intelligent and knowing such things as their names.
The big bombshell here (for us at least) is that, not only is Ugin an Elder Dragon, but he's also Nicol Bolas' brother.  These newborn twins witness the death of a ‘sibling’ dragon Merrivia Sal, whose scales had yet to harden, who was killed by a pack of human hunters.  We learn quite a bit from this event which assists us in understanding the character of each of these two creatures.  Where Nicol Bolas is full of fury, wanting to avenge the death of Merrivia by destroying all the hunters, Ugin appears more practical in calculating potential risk (the ‘long game’).

Looking very much forward to Kate Elliott’s next stories.

For now, you should know that the Core Set 2019 card image gallery is now up to be populated with new previews as they happen.



Core Set 2019 Previews and Promos

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Completely unexpected (at least for us), but there were a slew of Magic: the Gathering previews out this morning from Wizards of the Coast.  Please do click on over to the MTG website and read the article, 'CORE SET 2019 PACKAGING, PROMOS, AND MORE', posted by Blake Rasmussen.  In the post, he goes over a variety of official previews including :

• Welcome Decks
• Standard Showdown promo lands
• Friday Night Magic promos

For this post, we are just touching upon the promotional cards associated with the upcoming Core Set.

Buy-A-Box promo : Nexus of Fate
Open House (June 30–July 1) : Guttersnipe
Draft Weekend (July 14–15) : Desecrated Tomb
Magic League (July 16) : Reliquary Tower
Store Championships on June 18–24 : Demon of Catastrophes
Store Championships Playmat by Ultra PRO: Bolas (?)

The big preview today is a NEW Planeswalker being introduced to Magic 2019 Core Set via The Mary Sue linked right here.  Here is the green Planeswalker Vivien Reid -

According to The Mary Sue, Vivien was born on Skalla, and is part of a tribe of rangers and druids known as the Smaragdi, who protect the wilds of that plane from the growing destructive civilization.  Vivien has a special bond with the animals of the forest, which manifests in her Arkbow