I have the pleasure of editing the wide variety of content we produce here at Hipsters of the Coast year after year, and 2019 was one for the record books. As you relax for the end of the year holidays, take a look back at some of our most memorable articles of the year.

Urza Takes You Higher

Everyone’s favorite historical powerhouse created new competitive archetypes in Modern. Urza, Lord High Artificer might not be the “chasest” of mythics from Modern Horizons—a certain two-mana planeswalker claims that crown—but Urza is the most broken. Our correspondents were on the case early and often. While we offer brand new Urza designs this week, the two articles below provide historical context and sharp insight.

Urza dumps Tron for Grixis, by Harlan Firer: Who needs Urza’s lands when you can play the legend himself? Travel back in time to June to see the origin story.

Modern Brewing: An UrzaDox Story, by Urchin Colley: Paradoxical Outcome is no longer relegated to the hinterlans of Vintage. In October we covered the emergence of a new Urza-based Modern deck.

Whither Limited?

Once upon a time, I wrote a weekly column dedicated to the 40-card arts. As competitive Limited receded into the past during 2019, Zach Barash kept the fires lit with two of our best articles.

The Elusive White Whale, by Zach Barash: Why has the color White sunk to the bottom of the power rankings in so many recent Limited environments? Will that trend reverse in 2020?

Ethereal Absolution by Eric Deschamps.

Ethereal Absolution and other Mega-Bombs, by Zach Barash: How to do you defeat the indefatigable? How can we classify the transfinite realm of broken bombs? Why are do many of the best cards discussed in this article require white mana to cast?

Commander Before the Deluge

The year ahead promises to be a watershed for the Commander format, with many new products coming down the pike in 2020. Savor the before times with some of our best Commander content from 2019.

The Five Commander Decks You Should Eventually Own, by Travis Norman: Where to start? If you don’t know how to build out your arsenal of decks, this is a good place to start.

How to Play More than 100 Cards in Commander, by Kristen Gregory: Are you getting the most value out of each card slot in your Commander decks? Learn how to unlock value with repeatable engines like Glorybringer and versatile sweepers like Merciless Eviction.

Deep Analysis 2, by Ryan Sainio: In before the Grave Upheaval hot takes next year. Ryan will keep you appraised of the best hidden gems of the format. While this article is a prime example, you can get new nuggets of wisdom from him every week!

War of the Design Imbalance

War of the Spark brought an unprecedented assault of planeswalkers into the battlefields of Magic, and the game may never be the same. From breaking news to chronicling history, we were on the beat for you.

War of the Spark Will Have 36 Planeswalkers and 1 Planeswalker in Every Pack, by David McCoy: If you had “WOTC prints a Standard-legal set with a planeswalker as-fan of one” on your raffle ticket, come down to claim your prize!

The 36 stained-glass planeswalkers of War of the Spark.

The Most Important Cards in Standard, by Daniel Roberts: Remember the days before all Standard cards became 3/3 Elk? Back in June there was a different problem walker named T3feri, but other cards saw play too! Command the Dreadhorde? Don’t mind if I do!

Trouble on the Curve: The History of Three-Mana Planewalkers, by Rob Bockman: Oko, Thief of Crowns may steal the headlines these days when it comes to broken three-mana planeswalkers. But War of the Spark started it. Teferi, Time Raveler and Narset, Parter of Veils headline a class of mental missteps.

Getting Better All the Time

I am especially proud of the platform we provide for emerging Magic stars. If you have plans to burst onto the scene in 2020, start by writing a column for us!

Improving Your Game, by Ally Warfield: You may not have been familiar with Ally at the beginning of the year. Here she provides some simple advice for improving at Magic, which she spent the rest of the year backing up with impressive results.

Guiding You Through the Shadows: A Mardu Death’s Shadow Primer, by Michael Rapp: Mike has become quite the authority on Death’s Shadow. Here you can see a time when Mardu was the Shadow deck of choice.

Why Do I Like Pretty Things?

We’ve been overwhelmed with alternative art an special set releases all year, from Mythic Editions to Collector Boosters to Secret Lairs. If you ever wanted to buy new shiny versions of your favorite cards, this was the time. If you felt your pocketbook shrinking and your decision fatigue blossoming, that too became a recurring theme of 2019.

Why it’s Time to Address FOMO in Magic, by Kristen Gregory: It’s okay to miss out on new Magic products. You don’t need to pay attention to everything, or spend all your money on new cards. Even if you are the target audience, you can give yourself hexproof from time to time.

Behind the Brush: Seb McKinnon, by Donny Caltrider: Our resident chronicler of all things Magic art has been pumping out gorgeous articles all year long. Nothing compares to the sheer beauty of this exploration of new art by Seb McKinnon.

Aminatou’s Augury by Seb McKinnon. Digital.

Wizards Reveals Magic/My Little Pony Crossover Promos, by David McCoy: Ponies: the Galloping. Yes, that was one of the biggest news events for Magic in 2019. You might have thought that Lavinia, Azorius Renegade would be the most memorable legendary creature printed in 2019 with an UW mana cost. Maybe not:

What can we say about the strange year of 2019? Perhaps Princess Twilight Sparkle said it best: “Friendship isn’t always easy, but there’s no doubt it’s worth fighting for!”

Brendan McNamara is Editor-in-Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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