Wizards designs cards for the different psychographics that enjoy playing Magic. They also pick spoilers to cater to each of these player types during the weeks leading up to a new set release. It’s important for Wizards to hit all the different corners of the Magic community in order to make sure everyone comes together for the pre-release and ultimately to buy new packs. Today I’ll share the thinking behind spoilers for each of the five main psychographics and pick the top spoilers so far. Don’t agree with my picks? Take to the comments!

Origins for Melvin

Melvin is one of the more difficult psychographics to both design and spoiler cards for. There needs to be an elegance or subtle symmetry in the cards that Melvin is attracted to. The mechanics are the hook, line, and sinker for Melvin. The oft-provided example of a perfect Melvin card is Firemaw Kavu, with its synergy between Echo and its leaves-the-battlefield ability complimenting each other with much elegance. For Origins there have been a few top-quality Melvin cards, but one really stands out for its mechanical beauty in decision making and form.

As the Melvin player reads this card they get to the first line of rules text and find a set of choices, something Melvin is inclined to enjoy already. Then they read the choices and find some subtle synergy between the second and third choice. Finally they get to the last bullet-point, and smile, and re-read it, and understand the enjoyment fully. While Vorthos can certainly appreciate the flavor of making a pact with a demon, Melvin truly appreciates the design put into the clever mechanics of Demonic Pact.

Honorable Mention: Archangel of Tithes, Avaricious Dragon

Origins for Vorthos

To be honest, the entire nature of this set is appealing to Vorthos. One need look only to the five double-faced planeswalker cards to see that flavor is king in Magic Origins. Now, it would be easy enough to pick these five creatures-turned-planeswalkers as the top Vorthos spoiler, but really they’re a spoiler for everyone, meant to show off various things but ultimately the main conceit of the set. So let’s instead look for some flavorful cards that are just for Vorthos. Sometimes this comes in the form of story moments like Crux of Fate. Other times it can be found in the flavor of a character such as Narset, Enlightened Master. This time however it is neither of these things (though Origins has plenty to choose from). Instead we went for pure, unadulterated flavor.

Enough said.

Honorable Mention: Pia and Kiran Nalaar, Tainted Remedy

Origins for Timmy

Timmy just wants to have fun in the most exciting ways whether it’s win, lose, or draw in the end. Timmy wants to know how quickly they can get their Siege Rhino into play, or their Polukranos, or whichever other huge beater they can use to do something flashy. Of course, this doesn’t always mean they want a big creature. Sometime’s it’s a spell like Comet Storm or Cruel Ultimatum that shines for Timmy. In the case of Magic Origins so far however, we went for one of the biggest, baddest dudes spoiled.

What are you going to do about that? This is the question asked by the Timmy player as they slam this card on the table, turn six, in your draft pod. Six mana. Six power. Six toughness. It’s almost a Vorthos dream as the number of the beast is subtly found on this, one of the most vile of demons.

Honorable Mention: Rhox Maulers, Kytheon, Hero of Akros

Origins for Johnny

Johnny actually tends to be the easiest psychographic to pick spoilers for. So many Magic cards have so many possibilities tied to them. The spoilers that really stick out allow Johnny to do some really cool tricks which means we’re looking for complex interactions which can build up to overwhelming board states. Some people think Johnny is just looking for a quick thrill with a card like Splinter Twin but it’s really the cards like Helix Pinnacle and Doran, the Siege Tower that get Johnny’s blood pumping. The best Johnny spoiler for Magic Origins so far is just this sort of card.

If there’s anything Johnny likes it’s one-card combos, or it’s graveyard recursion combos, or it’s invoking a classic combo kill-card like Opalescence. Starfield of Nyx manages to hit all of these high marks and surely gets the Johnny player’s mind turning over the possibilities.

Honorable Mention: Flameshadow Conjuring, Jace’s Sanctum

Origins for Spike

Last but not least we get to the least common and often maligned psychographic: Spike. This player wants to show that they can win games of Magic. The cards that excite them are the ones they can put in decks to crush the opposition. To that end, spoilers for Spike tend to fall into two varieties. First are new cards that have incredibly high power level for their cost or provide some kind of great advantage. These are cards like Damnation and Baneslayer Angel which, when spoiled, evoked an immediate response from the Spike community. The question with these cards is not if they’re playable but how dominant they can become.

The second kind of Spike spoiler is the reprinted tournament staple from the past. These cards sometimes end up being flops but they still get a big reaction from the Spike community. Somewhat recent examples of this kind of spoiler are Reflecting Pool in Shadowmoor, and Nantuko Shade in Magic 2011. Our winner for best Spike Spoiler so far is one of these reprints.

For those of you who may not remember, Goblin Piledriver was one of the key components in Legacy goblin decks when the format was very young. Along with his buddy Goblin Lackey, this little guy caused big damage and couldn’t be stopped by cards like Chain of Vapor. Spike gets a great kick out of this kind of spoiler because they can reminisce about the tournament they won with this card back in the early 2000’s, dust off their copies from Onslaught, and speculate about how they can break it again in the new Modern or Standard.

Honorable Mention: Day’s Undoing, Languish

The Quick Hits

  • In honor of the Core Set coming to a finale, Abe Sergeant lists his top 10 cards that debuted for the first time in a Core Set [Gathering Magic]
  • The votes are in and the MTG Judge Hall of Fame now has a 2008 class to go with its inaugural members [Magic Judges]
  • Mike Linnemann looks at a controversial piece of artwork that has been revealed for the upcoming Magic Origins set [Gathering Magic]
  • Check out Kelly Digges’s latest work to find out how Jace Beleren managed to lose all of his memories before arriving on Ravnica [Uncharted Realms]
  • Josh Silvestri breaks down the pros and cons of the PPTQ system and makes some suggestions on how to improve the system (some of which I talked about above) [Channel Fireball]
  • Matt Sperling wants more information about where the breakdown that 38% of Magic players are women comes from [Sperling Grove]
  • Mark Rosewater clarified the source of his 38% breakdown for how many women play Magic [Blogatog]
  • Ross Merriam dives deep into the practice of self-analysis and self-reflection [StarCityGames]
  • Sam Stoddard walks through the developer’s perspective on putting reprints into Magic Origins [Daily MTG]

Wallpaper of the Week

Teenage Jace is pretty boring if you ask me but the landscape of Vryn is spectacular. It’s almost like something out of Mad Max if Mad Max had massive mana rings. Hopefully we get some more looks at Vryn as more of Origins is spoiled.

Grade: B+

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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