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Announcement Day 8-31

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

BIG news day for Magic: the Gathering players.  Just like back earlier this year on May 15th, Wizards of the Coast bundled a number of new product announcements.  We suggest you pop on over to the mothersite (linky here) and / or watch the video posted to You-Tube (linked here).  

Given the all the very awesome information on the next MTG set, Kaladesh, posted earlier, today's story 'A Time for Innovation' from Kim Kreines, and the general excitement as we move into this weekend's PAX West convention, we a feeling kinda dizzy.  Anywhoos, let's get churning through all the big news out today -

Reporting from the historic Paramount Theater (the central locus of Magic: the Gathering at PAX in Seattle), WotC Community Manager Nate Price leads us through a rapid-fire interaction with other Wizard staffers -

• Lead Creative Designer Kimberly Krienes talks about the back-story of Amonkhet, the set releasing April 28, 2017.  Tag line of 'Rise Among the Worthy'.  This looks to be an Egyptian-themed Plane where warriors compete in the Trials of the Five Gods and earn an honoured place in the Afterlife.  The second set in the Amonkhet block is 'Hour of Devastation' with the tag-line 'Unleash your Endgame'.

• Game Designer Gavin Verhey summaries the following upcoming products.  'Archenemy: Nicol Bolas' is the continuation of the Archenemy series pitting the dragon against two friends.  

• Senior Game Desinger Sam Stoddard talks about the following product releases -
 - Commander Anothology, releasing June, 2017.  This is to be a bundle of  previous Commander products "Heavenly Inferno," "Evasive Maneuvers," "Guided by Nature," and "Plunder the Graves" together in one package.  
 - Duel Decks: Mind vs. Might.  The teaser here is the representation of the age-old clash between mages and warriors, or brains and brawn. 
 - Modern Masters 2017 Edition, releasing March 2017.  This set is to revisit some of the most remarkable sets from recent history, representing everything from Eighth Edition through Magic 2014–including trips through Innistrad and Return to Ravnica. 

• Wizards of the Coast President Chris Cocks - an introduction to the man, the myth and legend, who is attending the very first PAX - evar.  The big reveal here is the artwork for 'Chandra, Torch of Defiance' which is to see print for the upcoming Kaladesh set.



Kaladesh Places

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

Given the large volume of information posted to the Wizards of the Coast website on the Magic: the Gathering storyline of Kaladesh, we think we should press on with processing it all.  With another Kaladesh story installment expected tomorrow (Wednesday) and a truckload of additional previews at PAX West this weekend, we have time for additional exploration of Kaladesh (Plane, Places, People and Planeswalkers).  Today, we have for you summaries of some important places on the Plane of Kaladesh -

Kaladesh is a plane where Aether is more manifest than on other planes, being present in the atmosphere.  Kaladesh is an ethnically diverse plane where natural mages are rare. Work that would be done with magic on other planes is instead accomplished through devices. The automatons, thopters and other artifact creatures of the plane are fueled by √¶ther, which is heavily trafficked. Artifacts are built as much for beauty as for function. Fire magic is strictly banned, and pyromancy punishable with a death sentence, since pyromantic magic interacts dangerously with the aether in the air.

Ghirapur is the largest city on Kaladesh. It is a massive cogwork machine that comes alive with the power of aether. The city extends from the port district of Bomat, located at the confluence of Kaladesh's three major rivers, through a multitude of varied and distinct neighborhoods, including the bustling Eleven Bridges market district, the aviaries of Freejam, the metalworking zone of Weldfast, the cosmopolitan greenbelt of Kujar, and the artist colony known as Giants' Walk. Ghirapur was founded on the spirit of invention, and today it is home to the Consulate government, which strives to uphold the founders' principles of optimism, creative freedom, and hope.

Lathnu is a remote settlement in the far north perched high on the Devra Cliffs, in the plane of Kaladesh. It can only be reached via vertical rail track, or a very long and strenuous climb. Lathnu's economy is based around mining and smelting the metals found in the mountains, which inventors throughout Kaladesh depend on to build their wondrous devices.

The wild forest of Peema spans tens of thousands of acres in the plane of Kaladesh. Peema is home to a population of elves who are deeply connected to the flow of aether. Daily, aether streams dip from the aethersphere to wind through the flora and imbue the fauna. The plants and trees are more vibrant in Peema, and the creatures are stronger, faster, and livelier than their counterparts elsewhere on Kaladesh.


Vahd is an expansive region in the plane of Kaladesh that was once solely devoted to farming. Vahd took on a new identity during the Great Aether Boom, becoming a hub of the aerowright industry. The wheat fields surrounding the villages of Panka, Cambi, and Maranjapur were cleared away to make room for runways, hangars, and workshops, and many farmers trained to become aerowrights and test pilots.


Kaladesh Previews 8-29

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Yesterday, WotC story guru Doug Beyer posted to his Tumblr account 'A Voice for Vorthos' about the next Magic: the Gathering set, 'Kaladesh'.  Specifically, the note was that the Kaladesh storyline was to start "soon".  Unsuspecting fans around the world, like us, were rather surprised to find a lot of content posted to the mothersite today.  We mean a "LOT" of content.  We've already posted several times to our Tumblr Blog (over here).

The sort of content which includes previews for the Plane, Places, People and Planeswalkers which are typically reserved for reveal at the annual PAX West Convention in Seattle at the 'World-Building' panel includes this sort of preview.  Instead, this morning we were greeted on the mothersite with a story, and content loaded to the Kaladesh home page, including a full biography of a new Planeswalker.  We should catalogue all these links for your convenience -

Kaladesh Story - Episode 01: Homesick  

Kaladesh Story / Planes Page
   * Legendary Creatures
   * Cities 
      - Ghirapur
      - Lathnu
      - Peema
      - Vahd
    * Races
      - Humans
      - Elves
    * Planeswalker Visitors
      - Dovin Baan (illustration by Tyler Jacobson below)
      - Chandra Nalaar

Explore Kaladesh splash page
   * Kaladesh Inventor's Fair
      - Inventors
      - Benefactors
      - Judges
      - The Public
      - Architecture
      - Aether Science
      - Weapons
      - Animal Constructs   
   * The City of Wonders
      - Eleven Bridges
      - Freejam
      - Greenwheel
      - Weldfast

'Notable Citizens' and 'Inventions' are future installments to the Kaladesh splash page.  Expecting much more to be filled in over the next few weeks as well - example - we know for certain that Vedalken is another race on Kaladesh.

For now, here are some of the basic land arts we can expect for Kaladesh.

Plain, illustrated by Clint Clearly
Island, illustrated by Yeong-Hao Han
Swamp, illustrated by James Paick

Mountain, illustrated by Eytan Zana

Forest, illustrated by Chase Stone



Kaladesh Spoiler 8-26

Happy Saturday MTG peeps,

We need to catch up with an important bit of Magic: the Gathering news from yesterday - a right proper spoiler for this fall's set, Kaladesh.  With Kaladesh prerelease events set for September 24–25, 2016, not very much is known about the Plane of Kaladesh so far other than what we know from when it was first introduced in Origins as the home plane of Chandra Nalaar.  Natural magic is scarce and denizens turn to create artifact devices fueled by aether.  
We have been introduced to Saheeli Rai is a human planeswalker from the the plane of Kaladesh and the below key art is used widely by Wizards of the Coast.

On Friday, redditor dafunkee had posted an image of the Kaladesh Launch Promo card featuring Saheeli.  Dafunkee indicates that a member of the local player's Facebook Group (likely in the Arizona area) had originally posted it to the group.  The image looks like it could be part of the regular Wizards of the Coast / Wizards Play Network mailer to a store for September as it looks to have the FNM promo for October 'Rise from the Tides' and a Kaladesh poster.

There is not much doubt this is real but we do, as always, warn you to only rely upon official WoTC previews.  Anywhoos, here it is -

Saheeli's Artistry, 4UU
Sorcery, Rare
Choose one or both —
* Create a token that's a copy of target artifact.
* Create a token that's a copy of target creature, except that it's an artifact in addition to its other types.
"From the first touch, I know exactly what the metal wants to be."

At first glance, it seems a bit over costed at a converted mana cost of 6.  Furthermore, a double-blue in this cost is suggesting a build heavily invested in blue.

Personally, we would cry if we cracked it open for sealed play - BUT - dang! - for Commander format, this looks to be on the road to a potentially epic play, especially when one would be able to pair it with an artifact creature, especially with a card such as Wurmcoil Engine to maximize both modal spells.


Conspiracy Draft Archetypes

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

Conspiracy: Take the Crown is landing in a local gaming store near you this very weekend and Magic: the Gathering players who are fans of this draft-game format are looking forward.  For those out there, who like us, are not tip-top outside of constructed format, there are some good resources out there to help make this and following weekends fun.  First and foremost, pop on over to the mothersite to read Marshall Suttcliffe's really solid and helpful article 'First Look at Drafting Conspiracy: Take the Crown' for tips 'n' tricks.  Otherwise, scroll on down to the bottom for a nice summary we've found online.

For now, we want to bring you attention to the Ultra PRO product line-up for Conspiracy: Take the Crown set to keep your awesome pulls protected and looking slick while playing at the games table.

Playmat versions 1 - Queen Marchesa

Playmat versions 2 - Summoner's Bond

Playmat versions  - Grenzo, Havoc Raiser
Deck Protector / card sleeves - Kaya art
Deck Box - Queen Marchesa

Righto - back on track to drafting Conspiracy -

In limited, we've always thought of building sealed pool / draft akin to building our own game table monster - starting with creatures as the skeleton and other spells as 'fleshing' out the rest.  Beyond this horrible analogy, we're quite useless at strategy but we do know that certain colour combinations lend itself well to evasion, whether it is W/U flyers or Aggro Ramp with R/G.  We have noted in this set, there are a fair number of cards in black / white which lends itself more to becoming the 'Monarch' at your table and the benefits of additional card draw that come with that designation.

Redditor 'CountryCaravan' had put together a very decent guide over here which provides a decent primer and suggestions for colour archetypes to consider when drafting this set.  Good luck to all those gamers cracking Conspiracy packs this weekend.



Full Conspiracy 2 set

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

The entire 'Conspiracy: Take the Crown' set (aka Conspiracy 2) is now up on the mothersite.  You can pop on over to the card image gallery over here to review, which may be helpful before you start drafting this set when it releases on Friday 26th August.  There are 221 cards in total with 90 at common, 67 at uncommon, 50 rare and 14 mythic rares.  This includes a total of 12 'conspiracies', which add a whole new level of cool during game play.  In addition to this, there are also 12 token cards - 11 token creatures / artifacts and 1 'crown', which 'The Monarch' gets to wear.

With new terms like Monarch, and keyword abilities such as Council's dilemma, Hidden agenda, Double agenda, Melee, Goad, and Monstrous, it would also be beneficial to review the handy Release Notes linked here posted today before we head into this weekend.

We are pumped to get our paws on some of the reprints and new cards for Commander, such as Kaya, Ghost Assassin (being able to blink and reset the loyalty counters), and the new 'Imperial Recruiter' - now in white as 'Recruiter of the Guard'.

We'll yatter more about Conspiracy: Take the Crown later, but for now, we want to draw your attention to our buddy Mike Linnemann's article (@VorthosMike) on Gathering Magic today - 'Easter Eggs Galore'.  When we saw the new Conspiracy art 'Expropriate' showing Leovold we saw a few very cool things hidden in the illustration from artist Zack Stella - namely, True-Name Nemesis and some Moxes, but Mike pointed out some more for us !

How many MTG card references can you spot ?



Conspiracy Spoilers 8-18

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

Magic: the Gathering news on tap again today is all about those Conspiracy: Take the Crown previews.  We are fans of the storyline and think Wizards has done a tip top job of creating the world of Fiora.  Yesterday's story re-introduced Daretti and as expected from the story, we have Grenzo back in the story and on a card for Conspiracy 2.

We're fired up with today's previews, so lets get to them now -

Berserk - Awesome reprint is awesome - great combat trick for pushing lethal damage through.  Everyone should fear a single untapped forest.

Dragonlair Spider - Reprint - a lot of players like this but this never really floated our boat.

Garbage Fire - What's that smell?  It's the Card from yesterday's story art.  Fun card.

Grenzo, Havoc Raiser - He'll leave the burning to the arsonist-loving minions while he pillages. Ain't too bad with some decent conditional abilities for 'goad', and a take on that 'Daxos of Meletis' ability.

Illusionary Informant - very sneaky bird will sneak a peek a what is being drafted.

Skyline Despot - Damn powerful card - delivers you the crown and the chance to puke dragon tokens to help keep that crown.

Spire Phantasm - another injection of fun during draft that may net you a card draw.

Volatile Chimera - cool card but perhaps too random for our tastes.



Conspiracy Spoilers 8-17

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

We were not going to post to MTG Realm today as we were all completely engaged in a new publication titled 'Cogwork Autonomy: A Comprehensive Treatise on Constructing Mechanical Life' we had recently acquired from a rather shifty-looking goblin just this morning. 

Seriously now - we suggest you make tracks over to the mothersite to read today's Magic Story titled 'Bloody Instructions', by Shawn Main and Mel Li.  Without giving away too much, former Academy member Zadrous Fimarell is visited by two familiar goblins - Daretti and Grenzo.  No 'Conspiracy 2' card previewed for Grenzo, but there has been a new Planeswalker card for Daretti you should note.  Also of note, Grenzo may yet have a part to play in the story going forward - he does hold a number of keys and there has been a falling out with the new monarch, Marchesa.  

Anywhoos, let's get to today's offering of Conspiracy: Take the Crown cards -

Burgeoning - solid one-drop green enchantment to ramp.

Confiscate Riches - a question of 'time or money' is the council's dilema.

Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast - now a radkos coloured Planeswalker and all about artifact synergy.

Duskmantle Seet - reprint with shift in rarity - nice multiplayer card.

Entourage of Trest - able to deliver the crown and help defend it.

Exotic Orchard - because mana is important.

Keeper of Keys - becoming monarch is cool, having an unblockable team is even cooler.

Leovold, Emissary of Trest - Another Elf from Trest but the other side of the Edric coin.

Sanctum Prelate - human cleric with a measure of control.

Serum Visions - everybody likes card advantage and deck filtering.

Spy Kit - equipment gives +1/+1 pump and  . . . what?  Some pretty crazy 'n' cool things could happen (eternal format may want to pick this up).

Weight Advantage - conspiracy card disguised as Doran in an Assault Formation.

Wild Pair - always had been a solid card for commander players wanting to hulk aggro.



Conspiracy Spoilers 8-16

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

As you may have guessed, Conspiracy 2 ('Take the Crown') official previews are on tap again for today.  Before we take it there, we want to draw your attention to our recent post on our sister site, MTG Realm on Tumblr.

To find our more as to what is inside, pop on on over to Tumblr.

Righto - let's get on to today's Conspiracy: Take the Crown previews !  There is some damn fine flavour in today's cards too - Recruiter is recruiting and the Desertion counterspell is having a spell desert to your side.  On the other hand (or foot), Phyrexian Arena is a bit weird in this set - have the folks on Fiora even heard of Phyrexia ?

In other news, Burning Wish is broken, and the boros-coloured legendary creature, Adriana, is having a melee party !

Conspiracy card : Hired Heist (Hidden Agenda)

Phyrexian Arena
Recruiter of the Guard
Wings of the Guard
Adriana, Captain of the Guard
Throne Warden
Custodi Lich
Hallowed Burial
Desertion 11 hours
Protector of the Throne
Burning Wish
Ballot Broker
Thorn of the Black Rose

BIG Magic Japanese language preview (rough translation) - 

Protector of the Throne, 5W
Creature - Giant, Rare
When Guardian of the Throne enters the battlefield, you become the monarch.
If damage would be dealt to you, you may instead have that damage be dealt to Protector of the Throne.




Conspiracy Spoilers 8-15

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Today is the first day of a week-long run of official Conspiracy: Take the Crown previews on the mothersite.  Conspiracy: Take the Crown is a booster-based set designed for Conspiracy Draft releasing on August 26, 2016.  Those who like this draft format, like it a LOT.  Although we are not huge fans of draft here at MTG Realm, we do love Commander, which is an 'eternal format', where any card with a black or white border is good to go.

Let's get to today's Conspiracy 2 previews from the motheriste and around the web -

Monarch is a new concept for Magic: a designation that a player may have during the game. The game starts with no monarch. There are 3 ways a player becomes the monarch - (1) stated ability on a card, (2) dealing damage to the current monarch, and (3) when the current monarch leaves the game, the next player becomes monarch.

Besides monarch and colored conspiracy and Draft-matters cards, the set has three other new mechanics.

Whenever this creature attacks, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each opponent you attacked with a creature this combat.  Creatures with this mechanic get +1/+1 until end of turn for each different player you attack. This encourages players to diversify and interact with a wide variety of other players rather than just attacking the weakest or the strongest.

Until your next turn, that creature attacks each combat if able and attacks a player other than you if able.  Whenever a creature is goaded, it's forced to attack on its controller's next turn. It must attack someone though other than you. 

Counsel's Dilemma
Conspiracy had a mechanic called will of the council, where cards came with one of two outcomes and the players voted which one occurred. Counsel's dilemma is a tweak of will of the counsel. There are still two effects, but now a single player's vote makes a choice happen. Council's dilemma cards all follow the same basic pattern: First, starting with you, everyone votes. Players will know the votes of previous players before voting themselves. Then, you carry out the first effect, followed by the second effect. 

Conspiracy (card type) - Conspiracies start the game in the command zone, where their abilities affect the game.
Hold the Perimeter (Rare)
Natural Unity (Common)
Sovereign's Realm (Mythic Rare)
Summoner's Bond (Uncommon)

Other Cards -

Common - Lieutenants of the Guard (Council's dilemma), Jeering Homunculus (Goad), Crown-Hunter Hireling, Deputized Protester (Menace & Melee), Animus of Predation

Uncommon - Illusion of Choice, Besmirch (Goad), Domesticated Hydra, Knights of the Black Rose, Summoner's Bond

Rare - Paliano Vanguard, Capital Punishment (Council's dilemma), Inquisition of Kozilek, Queen Marchesa



Conspiracy 2 Kaya Spoiler

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

MTG Realm is still catching up with Magic: the Gathering news hanging over from the vacation we took last week, while at the same time scrambling to catch up with our day jobs as well.  We are presently tuning our standard constructed decklists to sleeve-up with some Ultra PRO for Eldrtich Moon Game Day for this weekend's events at our local gaming store OMG! Games, here in Barrie, Ontario.  

Before we get to the first Conspiracy 2 spoiler, previewed on the mothersite, take a moment to catch this cool article over at Hipsters of the Coast, where Matt Jones asks the critical question of 'What if . . . Bob Ross painted the full art Unhinged Lands'?  

Righto!  Let's look at the official preview from yesterday's Magic Story, penned by one of our fav staffers Alison Luhrs, titled 'Tyrant' - 

Kaya, Ghost Assassin, 2WB
Planeswalker - Kaya, Mythic Rare

[0]: Exile Kaya, Ghost Assassin or up to one target creature. Return that card to the battlefield under its owner's control at the beginning of your next upkeep. You lose 2 life.
[-1]: Each opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
[-2]: Each opponent discards a card and you draw a card.

As suspected from last week's story when the character was first introduced, this Planeswalker is Orzhov colours of Black and White.  CMC of 4 mana for a 'Walker with 5 loyalty ain't bad at all, but how is the rest of the card?

First ability at zero blinks Kaya and a target critter.  If you target a creature with Kaya's zero ability, you choose on resolution whether to exile that creature or Kaya.  The minus one ability is similar to a Syphon Soul effect while the minus two ability is similar to a Syphon Mind ability.

For those loving the vorthos / flavour of the card, there is some very cool cleverness WotC has provided - there is no plus ability as Kaya the assassin is loyal to none, while the the other two abilities may be akin to signing (in blood) a contract with her.

Anywhoos, we strongly suggest reading this week's Magic Story article, the second in the continuation of Conspiracy.  In this short story we witness the assassination of the ghost king Brago by Kaya, the ascension of Marchesa and the reaction of Adriana, Captain of the Guard.

 Both arts by Chris Rallis