This weekend was the annual festival of geek culture known as the San Diego Comic Con. This four-day festival is a celebration of all things nerdy from the most mainstream (Marvel Comics) to the most niche (use your imagination). Among the many panels over the course of the convention, one is very important to the people reading this site: the Magic the Gathering Panel. Today we’ll break down all the goodies revealed in San Diego.

San Diego Comic Con 2014

Khans of Tarkir

Let’s get right into the good stuff here. Khans of Tarkir will be released in September and will be an enemy-colored wedge set. This means that the set will heavily feature cards in the colors of the wedges inverted from Alara block. In case you’re still not sure what’s going on, here’s the breakdown of those wedges and their new clan names:

  • White-Black-Red – Mardu
  • Blue-Red-Green – Temur (formerly known as RUG)
  • Black-Green-White – Abzan (formerly known as Junk)
  • Red-White-Blue – Jeskai (formerly known as American)
  • Green-Blue-Black – Sultai (formerly known as BUG)

First of all, those names do not roll off the tongue nearly as well as the shard names from Alara. Perhaps it’s because we’ve all gotten used to them over the past few years, but Esper, Grixis, Jund, Naya, and Bant just sound so much more elegant than Mardu, Temur, Abzan, Jeskai, and Sultai. I’m willing to give it some time, but I don’t know if a lot of folks are going to switch from RUG and BUG to Temur and Sultai.

Moving on from the clan names, it’s important to note that only Khans of Tarkir will be an enemy-wedge colored set. The rest of the block, meaning the Dewey and Louie expansions, will not have this theme. The overall theme of the block is time travel. The Wizards team has been a bit ambiguous about what this means, but they say it’s based on the draft structure which works as follows:

  • After Khans: Khans/Khans/Khans
  • After Dewey: Dewey/Khans/Khans
  • After Louie: Louie/Louie/Dewey

This is a big change from the way Innistrad worked, which was also a large-small-large block structure. Since time travel is going to play a part in this, it seems safe to say that Dewey is going to be a set that focuses on time traveling and bridges the timelines of Khans and Louie. This will hopefully make for an interesting drafting experience. I don’t believe there was any word on what the format will be like for sealed deck.

Speaking of sealed deck, they also addressed everyone’s growing concerns over the format of prereleases. The past few experiences have had a problem in that one of the five colors you can choose from has been grossly overpowered. In Magic 2015 this color was black. The seeded rare was simply better than any other color. To solve this for Khans, instead of a guaranteed rare in your color, you will get a random rare among eight options. This should balance things out, hopefully.

Finally, the last thing I’ll touch on is the return of Morph as a mechanic. This was last seen on a few cards in Time Spiral block, and was one of the main mechanics of Onslaught block. Morph is when a creature can enter the game as a 2/2 with no abilities for three colorless mana. Then, it has a cost that allows you to flip it over for some effect. The mechanic has a lot of design space and has given us some great cards like Willbender and Gathan Raiders.

The problem with Morph is that it is also incredibly complicated for new players. The interactions play oddly with the stack, an experience that already can cause problems for new players. We could be in for several months or even years of an increased learning curve for those new to the game. Let’s hope the design team has really nailed down this mechanic. If they have, then we’re all in for a real treat.

Commander 2014

One of the juiciest pieces of information this weekend came in the form of the Commander 2014 announcement. The annual multiplayer set, which releases on November 7th, will feature five mono-colored Commander decks. What’s more exciting though is that each one will include a pre-mending planeswalker that can also serve as the commander of your deck. Take a look at Teferi:

That is a sweet planeswalker. Mark Rosewater and Doug Beyer confirmed that this is a) part of a cycle and b) representative of Teferi before he lost his spark in the mending. This means he is an old-school walker and perhaps we’ll see four more. If we do, I’m personally hoping for Jaya Ballard in red, Freyalise in green, Lord Windgrace in white, and Leshrac in black.

From the Vault: Annihilation

Last but not least, Wizards revealed four cards from this fall’s From the Vault: Annihilation. They are Wrath of God, Rolling Earthquake, Living Death, and Cataclysm. This seems like a fine start to the list, especially the inclusion of a card formerly only available in Portal. Cataclysm, which was only ever printed in Exodus should also be a nice addition to cubes and commander decks.

Pro Tour Update

Top 25 Update

One more time, there are no updates to the Top 25 rankings. This is because there have been no events due to the release of Magic 2015. Expect a few minor shifts this week as a result of the below Grand Prix tournaments. Pay no attention to those changes because Pro Tour Magic 2015 will change everything up in a week.

Grand Prix Taipei & Boston-Worcester

I’m not going to lie. Ever since the re-design of the Wizards website it’s become increasingly painful to read through event coverage. I wish it were easier, but it isn’t. I had a long weekend at GP Boston-Worcester and this week we’re just going to redirect you to Wizards’ coverage of the weekend’s Grand Prix events:

The Quick Hits

  • Dr. Cat, a professional game designer and programmer on the Wizards forums, posted a rational look at the flawed mindset of whoever is driving the digital design decisions within Wizards of the Coast [Wizards Community]
  • Alexander Hinkley reviews Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015. In case you’ve missed all the news in the past week, this game is flat out not good [StarCityGames]
  • Josh Claytor also reviews Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 and also, shockingly, recommends you do not buy this game [PureMTGO]
  • Matt Sperling is at it again and this time he’s taking a stab at people losing their minds over MTGO v4 [Sperling’s Sick of It]
  • Brian Kibler has been re-visiting Hearthstone after the announcement of a world championship. Perhaps all those people disappointed in the new Duels of the Planeswalkers will be in the market for a free online game [BMKGaming]
  • Danny West presents a poignant look at some of the things he’s learned about the Magic community at large [StarCityGames]
  • PVDDR also wants to help Magic players who are interested in Hearthstone, so he wrote this fantastic guide to learning the game from the view of a Magic player [PV’s Playhouse]
  • The 2014 Community Cup Team has been announced, reminding all of us that this event still exists [Gathering Magic]

Wallpaper of the Week

Ajani Steadfast is one of the most gorgeous pieces of planeswalker art yet, or possibly any art so far. The original art sold recently for a five-figure number which is normally unprecedented for a piece of Magic art for a card with no tournament performances. This piece speaks for itself and you should all take the time to enjoy it gracing your desktop.

Grade: A

The Week Ahead

Next week is Pro Tour Magic 2015. The best of the best will be tearing it up in Portland, the home of the hit series Portlandia. We’ll finally find out if that Nissa, Ral Zarek, Chain Veil combo is a real thing. Spoiler: It’s not. Make sure you check out all of the coverage over at the mothership. We’ll have a full recap next week of all the news from Oregon’s first Pro Tour.

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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