After two weeks of online spoilers and the PAX East panel, we’ve seen all that Wizards has to offer us in Journey into Nyx. Spoiler season is Wizards greatest marketing tool and is, essentially, like Christmas for the Magic community. We’ll take a look at the response to the spoilers and see how Wizards approached this season of gift-giving.

Journey Into Nyx Spoiler Season

Spoiler season is the best time of year for the Magic community. For one or two weeks, depending on what product is being spoiled, every member of the community is focused on the new cards being introduced for the first time. This is, for the most part, a unique occurrence in a community that is very diverse. Magic is not designed for any single group at any time. Products and even individual cards are often targeting a Venn Diagram of subsets of the Magic world.

Each circle in the Venn Diagram is important to the designers and marketers of Magic the Gathering. The spoiler season is a chance to engage everyone and Wizards often aims to do precisely that. Some cards can hit all of the major chords in one brushstroke. One of these was revealed only three days into the two-week spoiler season:

The new Ajani has broad appeal to a wide range of the community. Constructed players always key into new planeswalkers as they tend to be on the higher side of the power-scale. Limited players also enjoy seeing what ridiculous things they can do with a mythic rare in a 40-card deck. Casual players and collectors will similarly be drawn to planeswalkers for a variety of reasons. They are very popular in casual formats such as Commander, and planeswalkers are often the jewels of a player’s Standard/Modern collection.

Other spoiler cards are meant to target specific subsets of the community, narrowing down the Venn Diagram to a small sliver. Here are some examples of narrow-target spoilers from Journey Into Nyx:

While all three of these cards can appeal to the wider community, they seem to be targeting specific groups more than the community at-large. Desperate Stand has a lot of potential in limited formats where it can be an end-game finisher that a lot of mana can be sunk into. It’s constructed value is far less due to its low efficiency. As an uncommon it has virtually no appeal to collectors. The game-day full-art promo of Dictate of Kruphix, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of Desperate Stand. The casual and limited players will have little interest in promos and rares like this. Spike players, however, will be very interested because it is the prize for game-day and it is potentially a powerful Standard-constructed card. Finally, as a promo it has value to collectors.

Master of the Feast is a powerful card. Black has a long history of trading some kind of advantage for immediate power. Master of the Feast inherits this legacy from Juzam Djinn which traded life for power. Master of the Feast trades card advantage, which allows it to cost even less. This kind of spoiler is pointed directly at the spike demographic of the community. It was previewed by legendary competitive pundit Mike Flores who isn’t sure the cost is worth it. However, it’s clear that Wizards wants spikes to consider sliding it into already-powerful black devotion decks. Also, it helps activate the last card I want to talk about.

Some spoilers are just meant to make people say “wow” and that’s exactly what Athreos, God of Passage did when he was revealed at PAX East. Jaws dropped when a 5/4 indestructible creature with a relevant ability was previewed for only three mana. I won’t go into the countless ways to abuse Athreos here, but I’m sure just looking at him has your brain churning out clever ways to ruin your opponent’s day. I know mine was. That’s exactly what Wizards wants. This is a card that makes people talk about the set, and that’s the best kind of spoiler you can get.

This season was a good one for Wizards and had a healthy mix of spoilers for all facets of the community. You can check out some of the responses collected by Heather Lafferty over in The Spotlight. Now the whole set has been spoiled so you can study for the upcoming prerelease events and get your new Standard and Modern decks ready.



Journey Into Nyx wasn’t the only thing spoiled during its own spoiler season. Something very interesting appeared at the end of the PAX East videos and I have to admit that I missed it entirely. Lucky for all of us, the Reddit community misses nothing. It turns out that Dack Fayden, the planeswalker protaganist of the IDW-published Magic comic books will be appearing in Conspiracy. The fine folks at Gathering Magic have also helped piece together the puzzle.

Dack is a thief in the stories and it looks like he’ll be the latest blue/red planeswalker. So far we know that he’ll be both colors, and that he’ll have three abilities. The first, at +1 loyalty, looks to be some kind of card-advantage ability. The second, at -2, is a theft ability. The last, a whopping -6, looks like it gives an emblem, and my guess is that emblem gives you a reusable Misdirection-like effect.

Only time will tell, but expect the search for the full Dack Fayden spoiler to be very exciting.

Pro Tour Update

Top 25 Update

In a few weeks this could get completely turned upside-down.

In a few weeks this could get completely turned upside-down.

As expected, the Grand Prix events in Nagoya and Philadelphia last weekend had a modest impact on the top-25 rankings. The biggest mover was (10) Shi Tian Lee who’s top-16 finish in Nagoya was good enough to push him up a whopping five spots in the standings. Meanwhile, Huey Jensen fell out of the rankings but no one took his place. This is because last week there were 26 players, with Jensen and (22) Kentaro Yamamoto tied for 25th with 37.29 points. Yamamoto finished in the top-32 of Nagoya was able to move ahead of Jensen who became a victim of the five GP limit despite his top-8 finish in Philadelphia.
Some of this may be moot, because in a few weeks at Pro Tour Journey into Nyx everything could change fairly dramatically. With almost a thousand pro points to be grabbed up in Atlanta things could really heat up after the second Pro Tour of the year.

The Quick Hits

  • John Dale Beety takes an in-depth look at the fictitious religions of the Magic multiverse [StarCityGames]
  • Brian Kibler recounts his youthful gaming origins and the path that brought him from video games to Dungeons and Dragons and finally to Magic [BMK Gaming]
  • Here’s an update on the MTGO Beta Client from Chris Kiritz. You may notice that he is very proud of the enhanced stability and performance of the Beta Client. Maybe no one told him that the PTQ and MOCS events are still unavailable [Daily MTG]
  • Xger has a brilliantly detailed analysis of the ongoing discussions around the reprinting of fetch-lands in a Standard-legal expansion, such as “Huey.” At this point I think we can all agree that it’s no longer a question of “if” the fetches (all of them) will get reprinted, but “when” [PureMTGO]
  • Colin Crusott breaks down the keys to running a successful gaming store [LegitMTG]
  • Inside the Deck interviewed artist Cynthia Sheppard, the illustrator of several pretty well-known cards [Inside the Deck]
  • Harry Corvese talks about the gradual increase of Grand Prix entry fees. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a triple-digit entry fee in the near future for an event like GP Vegas [StarCityGames]

Wallpaper of the Week

Sorry, we were looking for the god of Revelations. Must have made a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Sorry, we were looking for the god of Revelations. Must have made a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

I really enjoy Magic-themed artwork that isn’t from any specific card(s). This week’s wallpaper is a gorgeous Journey Into Nyx-themed piece illustrated by Tyler Jacobson. It features the heroes of our story, Elspeth and Ajani, facing off against the recently deified Xenagos. I really enjoy the mood of this piece and the juxtaposition of the massive god of revels against the tiny planeswalkers that dare oppose him. I believe this is the third or fourth time we’ve had Xenagos as a wallpaper and this is easily the best of them.

Grade: B+

The Week Ahead

The time has finally come for Journey Into Nyx prerelease events! Find a store near you and play with the newest cards for the first time ever! If you’re in the New York City area, I will actually be partaking in this event. That’s right, I’ll be playing Magic for the first time since the Theros prerelease. That’s how exciting this set is. I’ll be at Twenty Sided Store at 9:00 AM on Saturday morning if you want to try your luck against my rusty sealed deck skills.

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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