A New Plane of Wonder
Magic: The Gathering has come a long way since I was a pre-teen buying a pack of Unlimited or Arabian Nights and playing in tournaments at comic book stores. With each new iteration of the classic game, the world of this worldwide deck-building card game transitioned from pimple-faced geeks whispering to robust gentlemen who operated their card store out of their mother’s basement to something that transcends social groups. No longer are tournaments the site of inhalers, poorly selected clothing, and questionable dietary habits. They are lucrative networking opportunities for fans and vendors alike. The question becomes: has the game finally turned a new corner?
Planeswalkers were offered as a new game mechanic not that long ago and now we are given something to make Mount Olympus shake: Gods. With monikers like God of Deception and God of the Polis, we can only imagine gladiatorial figures better cast as marble statues than denizens of some murky world. Carved of granite with personalities and voices we would expect from Benedict Cumberbatch, the world begins to take on a form––to enter a new plane of wonder.
Born of Gods offers much more than the gold-rimmed Gods of Theros: it has dynamic new cards from all across the board. While most players may be quick to talk about what this set offers as part of the entire universe, the great experience that comes with a new set is that short-term explosion of fascinating cards that give the game nuance where it might not have otherwise had it. Astral Cornucopia, which looks like something H.P. Lovecraft drew while contemplating Alice in Wonderland, reminds us of mana-mining resources in the past. A brilliant edition to a white deck––especially if you’re like me and you miss the days of Savannah Lions and Serra Angels––is Brimaz, King of Oreskos. Looking like a lion-faced version of the Rock, this card will make cat lovers the world over froth at the mouth––just think of all the muscle-bound cat memes. Revoke Existence harkens back to the hippy-looking Swords to Plowshares that was a staple back in the 90s––though, so were a lot of things. Spirit of the Labyrinth, in its best attempt to be a buzzkill, is the anti-milling option. Remember Counterspell, boys and girls? Welcome Nullify to the table, a return to form to those nasty blue decks that were built to frustrate. Flame-Wreathed Phoenix may not be a Shivan Dragon, but it offers an interesting resurrection mechanic that reminds us of one simple idea: speed kills. Searing Blood is truly a two-fer whammy that not only damages a creature of your choice, but it also bites the hand that feeds. Courser of Kruphix and Satyr Wayfinder provide a double-punch of cheap life-giving awesomeness that I have come to expect––and sorely miss––from green decks. Kiora, the Crashing Wave, a new Planeswalker addition to the set, allows you to release the Kraken after as few as five turns––the pirate in me is quite proud.
Prerelease tournaments are what a lot of us live for, so let’s not forget to cover all our bases. You can easily hop over to http://locator.wizards.com to find a tournament near you. So what do you need to know? Let me break it down for you:
What's going on?
- You get to play with the new cards. Neat, right?
- What do I get?
What can I win?
Each Born of the Gods Prerelease Tournament will include Born of the Gods booster packs. You’ll want to contact your nearest location for information.
Is there anything I can do?
Open dueling might be an option. Check with your location!
While I would love to dazzle you with my deck-building strategy and prowess, this analysis is hardly befitting of the word. It would be best described as a glorified cursory overview punctuated by big words and a few quips. The take-home message is pretty clear from where I am sitting: Magic is here to stay, better suit up.