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The Depot #1
By Robert Hilliard
The Depot #1

A little disclosure before I begin – and just in case you all like reading, this gives you more material… This is my take on the Magic community and events within said community. Everything expressed is my opinion, and as such, should be taken as fact. This is called “The Depot” for a reason: Things come, go, load, unload, and are frantically insane around here. Mainly me… But this is where the train(me) always settles in, though only for a while. So sit back, or stand, or hang upside-down, whichever’s most comfortable for you, and allow me to proclaim my madness…

Basically this is a big Rant session I hope to do regularly, but no fiber is needed for this routine…

I’m going to kick it all off with 8th Edition – Core Set. I’m going to give a big thumbs up to one thing in this set – The foils are frickin’ awesome!!!… The way the Foil does not cover the whole card, and only covers portions of the Artwork is great. The fact that the foils are nice and Black Bordered, gives us a glimpse at how nice the entire set could look, if only it were all Black Bordered.

I’m also going to give a thumb up to the contents of the set. This has to be the best set of cards for a base set since Unlimited. We all know what was in Unlimited. Revised had dual lands, and didn’t have access to all the expansions that are in 8th, but that’s all it had – dual lands. 8th has hit the ground running, and won’t stop running. Hopefully I can get my lazy keister up and catch it!… The reprinting of nice cards from each expansion was a great idea.

Other than that, the design stinks. We had our big “Release/Celebration” tourney 7/26/03 – which I judged – and I couldn’t help but feel ill the whole time! Things change. That’s what WOTC tells us. Makes me feel like there are piles of bull manure barricading the promised land of Wizards. Everything coming in, or going out of WOTC, goes through those piles. Magic is the best-selling CCG of all time for a reason, why mess with that? Why make a change not necessary?

Actually… I know why…

To make the 10th anniversary seem “more” special. First they push the release date to mid-Summer when it is usually mid-Spring. Then they align it with Origins and GenCon, which is cool. Then they make it legal for Worlds, which it would’ve been if released in the mid-Spring time period, which has all the Pro-Players unsure of a meta-game for Worlds. I say great!!! Stir things up and watch some 6-year-old win it all!… All to make the new base set “more” special. Though I don’t think the card design makes the game unique. It can now sub cards with Star Trek… Borg ships are now on my “Want” list.

I’ll give them credit where it’s due – Magic has been strong for 10 years! But, just because you reach a 10th anniversary doesn’t mean you go and change things!!!… I won’t get a new wife because we celebrate our 10th anniversary (in 2010…). I didn’t get a new brother or new parents when I turned 10… Don’t think I got anything actually. My daughter won’t get anything but presents when she’s 10 – and some of those won’t be new anyway.

For the sake of sanity…

We have to settle down and accept the fact that Hasbro has WOTC under their pinkie-toe’s toenail. And I have. They paid for WOTC, and put them where they fit best in the Hasbro Agenda. A friend of mine lost their job when Hasbro took over WOTC. And I don’t care what they say – It was a hostile take-over. We are all suffering because of it. So coming to the reality that 8th looks grotesque, except foils, from a design point of view, I guess I can begin talking about the perks that make this such a strong set.

The creature base in this set is better than it has been for any base set – Alpha to Now. Limited Formats are going to be much more competitive with the balance now found in the realm of Magic. The tournament will actually depend on building skill and knowledge and not just luck of drawing the “God” card. (Note to self: After this Depot – I’m writing another on Limited Formats.)

The Newbie can still walk into a store, buy some packs, and not have a hard time learning the game. The vanilla creatures are nice. One in particular – Norwood Ranger – a 1/2 Elf for G. That’s already worth playing in Elf decks. Now if only they’d take a closer look at that and give us a 2/4 Elf for GG – Garfield would be proud! The nod towards multiplayer is a bonus: Sizzle for example. Picture that in Teams, with a Furnace of Rath and Mirari! Smack! 24 points of damage for 6 mana. Both of these are great nods to the Casual Players out there!

Rukh Egg and Underworld Dreams are back!!!… That right there makes this set cool!!!… If you disagree, I’ll send you my address, target practice is at 10:00 AM daily – you’re invited. The thought of running these again in Standard Formats will really shake things up! Counterspell is GONE!!!… That right there is the best thing to happen to Magic since… well… Sneak Attack. (I was going to say me, but that’s too obvious…) Basically a Blue player can’t bluff you with 2 Islands. Of course, Mana Leak is something to be dealt with, but WOTC will see the mistake they made on it and remove it come 9th.

What it all boils down to is that R&D did an awesome job with the card pool, Creative Writing did great with the Flavor Texts, the Artists did an awesome job, the foil imprinting machine is amazing, and the Card Design Team screwed it all up! (Note to self: Send Letter to WOTC asking them to fire the Card Design Team) (2nd Note to self: Fax Resume to WOTC and apply for Card Design Team position.)

Kudos to WOTC for a great, but ugly, set!

Welcome to the Future of Magic everyone…

I’ll stop by to let off excess steam again soon – Limited Formats is on the chopping block!

train.

Read More Articles by Robert Hilliard!

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