The 2016 Magic World Championship weekend at PAX West was an absolute blast from the very first previews of the upcoming world of Kaladesh to the crowning of the new World Champion, Brian Braun-Duin. We’ll have plenty of time to talk about everything that happened in Seattle this past weekend but first we’re going to break down Amonkhet Announcement Day.

Earlier in the year, Wizards unveiled their new concept of having a semi-annual announcement day on which they would introduce the world to six months worth of product. Each block of new releases coincides with the life of one of the expansion blocks. The last announcement day covered everything beginning with Kaladesh including Kaladesh (Sep 2016), Aether Revolt (Jan 2017), Commander 2016 (Nov 2016), Planechase Anthology (Nov 2016), Duel Decks Nissa vs. Ob Nixilis (Sep 2016), and Conspiracy: Take the Crown (Aug 2016).

The latest announcement included much of the same information. Next two expansion sets? Check. New anthology set? Check. New multiplayer box set? Check. New booster pack supplemental product? Check. New Duel Decks? Check. The only addition this time around was an announcement about an update to Magic the Gathering Puzzle Quest, a match-three mobile game licensed with Wizards’ IP. It will be interesting to see if that becomes a regular feature and reminds me to spend five minutes wondering whatever happened to Duels of the Planeswalkers. But I digress. Let’s break down the announcements!

Modern Masters 2017 Edition (March 2017)

First things first, Modern Masters returns to the “Masters Edition” supplemental-booster-pack set slot in the schedule. It’s fairly safe to say that we’re going to get one of these every other year now and I’m 100% okay with that. It means extra Tarmogoyfs, Dark Confidants, and more coming back into print. One day, yes one day, it will be Damnation.

This time around we’re going to also have an influx of cards from Innistrad block and Return to Ravnica block. That means potentially getting reprints of Snapcaster Mage, Liliana of the Veil, Cavern of Souls, Avacyn, Angel of Hope, Craterhoof Behemoth, and Voice of Resurgence. I hope the draft themes are all multi-color.

Reprint sets are here to stay and that’s great news for everyone because it means more people will get to play Modern and Legacy at a somewhat-maybe-affordable rate. But, this is all made possible by a horribly unregulated market in which prices are easily manipulated. So while Wizards seems committed to treating the symptoms of a problem they’ve created, time will tell if they intend to address the root cause of the problem.

Pretty please?

Bold Prediction for Modern Masters 2017: Damnation will be reprinted.

Bolder Prediction: There will be zero double-faced cards in Modern Masters 2017.

Boldest Prediction: Dark Confidant will not be reprinted.

Duel Decks: Mind vs. Might (March 2017)

I used to think Duel Decks were a fun idea and ten years later they still are but I don’t find myself terribly interested in buying them. However, I know they’re massively popular for two reasons. First, it’s an easily built-around deck for the kitchen table for people looking to get into the game. Second, Wizards is still making these.

November of 2007 was the original release of the Elves vs. Goblins pack and Wizards never looked back. In 2009 the design pattern shifted to having a concept deck in the spring (like Knights vs Dragons) and then a planeswalker deck in the fall (like Sorin vs. Tibalt). That eventually got flipped around and Wizards has messed with that a lot but we still get two of these a year like clockwork.

This was a rare

This was a rare

Bold Prediction for Duel Decks: Mind Control and Might of Oaks get included.

Bolder Prediction: There are no counterspells in the Mind deck.

Boldest Prediction: This is actually fun to play.

Amonkhet (April 2017) and Hour of Devastation (July 2017)

Welcome to Egypt Amonkhet! This is a setting people have asked to see designed by Mark Rosewater for some time now. He’s co-leading design with Ethan Fleischer so who knows, it could be pretty good. We know that Nicol Bolas is returning to the story. We know that there will be five Gods. We know there will be trials for these Gods. We know you’ll need strength, speed, and cunning. We know there’s an afterlife.

So, in short, this is going to be Theros done much, much, better. I hope. Oh good lord Wizards please don’t screw up this concept again.

The second set in the block is called Hour of Devastation so we can only assume that this will end about as well as Alara did for Nicol Bolas. To be perfectly honest, Amonkhet could be a way for Wizards to reboot the concepts of Theros and Alara without ever having to go back to those worlds (sorry Elspeth).

Vengeful of the fact that he’s almost certainly not in Amonkhet

Bold Prediction for Amonkhet: The “God” creature type and the Devotion mechanic are coming back.

Bolder Prediction: Ugin will return to the story for Amonkhet.

Boldest Prediction: A Planeswalker who is not a member of the Gatewatch will die.

Commander Anthology (June 2017)

There’s not a whole lot to talk about here. You can google the contents of the four Commander decks being reprinted and see if you need anything. This is another case of Wizards understanding they need to reprint more cards but not really making an effort to fix the root cause of the problem. Printing more Commander products is great though, especially for people who weren’t around to buy these when they originally came out so long ago. The $165 price tag might make a lot of people think twice about picking this up though.

You can finally afford one of these, maybe

You can finally afford one of these, maybe

Bold Prediction for Commander Anthology: Foil commanders.

Bolder Prediction for Commander Anthology: Foil tokens.

Boldest Prediction for Commander Anthology: Foil Sol Ring.

Archenemy: Nicol Bolas (June 2017)

The first Archenemy came out in 2010 and I think I played it once on Duels of the Planeswalkers 2011? It’s hard to remember exactly how this all worked but some people said it was fun. I think this product is mostly for people who like the wackiest of wacky Magic and plan on using the Archenemy concept in a cube draft format where the cube is full of conspiracies and then Planechase mechanics are put on top of this and everyone gets a Commander. At least, that’s what I would do.

Nicol Bolas the Library would make a great Saturday morning cartoon. Get on it Wizards.

Nicol Bolas the Library would make a great Saturday morning cartoon. Get on it Wizards.

Bold Prediction for Archenemy: No actual Nicol Bolas reprint.

Bolder Prediction for Archenemy: Damnation gets reprinted again (after Modern Masters 2017).

Boldest Prediction for Archenemy: It sells like hotcakes and the secondary price sky-rockets.

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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