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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Card Releases Coming Soon to a Hobby or Retail Store Near You!

Hey guys!
  I haven't posted about upcoming new releases in a while, so let's jump right into it, eh?

From the Vault: Legends
This year's installment of From the Vault releases tomorrow (August 26th). From the Vault: Legends contains 14 Legendary Creatures throughout most of Magic's last 11 years along with a couple of Portal: Three Kingdoms Legendary creatures.

Also included is one Innistrad preview, similar to how they previewed Hellkite Overlord in FtV: Dragons before Shards of Alara or last year's Scars of Mirrodin preview Sword of Body and Mind in FtV: Relics.

Here is a link to the article showing all 15 cards in the set: http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/774

For those too lazy to hit the link, here are the 14 reprints:
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir (new art)
Kresh the Bloodbraided (new art)
Progenitus (new art)
Doran, the Siege Tower
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker (new art)
Sun Quan, Lord of Wu
Cao Cao, Lord of Wei
Captain Sisay
Omnath, Locus of Mana
Oona, Queen of the Fae
Rafiq of the Many (new art)
Sharuum the Hegemon (new art)
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Visara the Dreadful (new art)

And finally, we have the Innistrad preview, which I'll just post right...down...here...NOW!

Image from DailyMTG Article on FtV: Legends

Mikaeus is interesting, I think. I don't know if it'll ever see competitive play, but I like the idea. You put a certain amount of +1/+1 counters on him, then you can start semi-Proliferating more +1/+1's on each other creature you control. And when you start running low? You can either tap Mikaeus himself to put another counter on or you could use cards like Contagion Clasp or Tezzeret's Gambit to refuel him AND add more +1/+1 counters to every other creature you have.

I like him for casual play, but we'll see how he does competitively. I doubt he'll make much of a splash, but those +1/+1's add up pretty quickly...just sayin'.

From the Vault: Legends is another all-foil mini-set. All 15 cards, including Sun Quan, Cao Cao, and Mikaeus, have the usual From the Vault foiling on them. The set's MSRP is $35, but you know most stores are jacking the price up because 1) it's a very limited release (like all other From the Vault sets) and 2) Sun Quan and Cao Cao are seeing print for the first time in years and in foil. I was able to snag a couple at $60, but if you can get them for MSRP I'm sure you can turn a profit just on Sun Quan, Cao Cao, and Progenitus.

Duel Decks: Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas
The next release coming up, this time for regular buying (as in Wal-Mart or Target kind of regular) is the next in the Duel Decks line, Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas.

Set on the plane of Alara, this Duel Deck is meant to chronicle a struggle between Ajani Vengeant against Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker.

Ajani's deck is more tuned to be a beatdown theme, utilizing Naya's shard to its fullest extent. Ajani's deck also includes new artworks for Ajani Vengeant himself (in foil, as all Planeswalkers in these decks are), Lightning Helix, and Behemoth Sledge.

Nicol Bolas' deck is more of a control deck, meant to stall the field and accelerate his mana until he can get his biggest weapons on the battlefield, namely himself. New artworks are included for Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker himself (in foil, as all Planeswalkers in these decks are), Counterquall, and Deep Analysis (which, btw, will be Deep Analysis' first time in the current frame non-foiled).

Deep Analysis brings up an interesting speculation for Innistrad. When Deep Analysis first appeared in Torment, it was a Common. It's had a promo printing since then, but there's no official rarity for promos. Normally, when a card is re-released in a deck, it gets its most recent rarity attached to it. Deep Analysis, though, is marked as an Uncommon in the deck.

Why is that big news?

Innistrad is known to be bringing back Flashback (thanks to some Duels of the Planeswalker game leaks). And the decks were known last year to have preview cards (Duel Decks: Elspeth vs. Tezzeret gave us Kemba Skyguard and Contagion Clasp as early preivews for Scars of Mirrodin). It's suggested this is a bit of a sneaky "preview card" without being so obvious that it's a preview.

These deck lists don't look like you'll get too much of a return on investment, but seeing as how Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is now hitting $17 for a regular one, it may be worth the $20 to pick up the decks just to get Nicol Bolas. :)

The deck lists can be found here in this Arcana: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/783

The decks release September 2nd. If you're a fan of either Planeswalker, I'd suggest picking these up just for the Planeswalkers. If not, and you're looking at the financial aspect, I'd either pick one up and keep it sealed or just skip over it.

Duel Decks: Venser vs. Koth
Not much is known about the next Duel Decks to be released after Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas. What is known is they're switching up the order of how they do Duel Decks.

Instead of getting a tribal- or otherwise-themed Duel Deck in the Spring and a Planeswalker deck in the Fall, they're switching up the order starting next year. A Planeswalker Duel Deck will release in the Spring, while a Tribal- or otherwise-themed Duel Deck will release in the Fall close to the next new block to come out.

Why is WotC changing this up? With tribal-like themes in each set, WotC feels a tribal-themed Duel Deck will bring more energy to the release of a new block. This way, players can get a feel for certain tribes before they're released in the upcoming block.

As for the actual Duel Deck in question, not much is known aside from the story aspect. Venser and Koth are both trying to save the plane of Mirrodin from the Phyrexians. However, they have their own ways of saving the plane. Venser wants to find Karn, knowing the plane is doomed without him; but Koth won't abandon the Mirrans and would rather die in battle than seemingly give up on them.

This Duel Decks set will release on March 30, 2012, and retail for $20. The Arcana announcing it can be found here: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/779

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