With 2013 coming to a close and the Standard format growing pretty stale, I find myself unable to avoid looking ahead—looking ahead to Born of the Gods, looking forward to the Pro Tour in Valencia, and looking forward to finally making it out of one of the worst years of my life and telling you the entire story from start to finish and then somehow relating it back to Magic.
Just kidding. 2013 was awesome. Plus, wouldn’t that be lame if I used a Magic website to complain about personal issues? Seriously, who would do that?
Instead, I’m going to look gleefully ahead to all of the things I want to happen—but probably won’t—in 2014 . . . because writers are contractually obligated to come up with lists at the end of the year. It’s in our union agreement, right after the clause about doing midyear reviews and before the part about Top 10 lists.
Totally True, Can’t-Miss Prediction #1: Condemn Is Reprinted
I mean, you have your Blood Barons and your monstrous Dragons, so it’s not as though there aren’t ways around it. You can even reprint more protection from white creatures if you want. Just give me Condemn somewhere. Gods Condemn people all of the time.
I mean, I’d love to have Path to Exile, but that was printed in Modern Masters, so I’m not optimistic that it’ll be reprinted any time soon.
Speaking of which . . .
Absolutely, 100% Guaranteed-or-Your-Money-Back Prediction #2: Remand Will Be Reprinted
Limited 2-mana counter? Check.
Beloved by blue mages all over? Double-check (not the discount version) (Also, screw you, Aaron Rodgers, just because).
Hated by everyone else? Quadruple-check!
This was, in my mind, the biggest omission from Modern Masters. Path to Exile, Kitchen Finks, Electrolyze, Lightning Helix, Inquisition of Kozilek, Tectonic Edge, and Remand are easily the most important uncommons in Modern (give or take a sideboard card or two). Of those, the first four were in Modern Masters, and the next two were printed too recently. Only Remand, which now retails for roughly a kidney and two fingers, was left off.
Sure, they could have been saving it for the next Modern Masters, but it’s also the kind of card that can be safely introduced to Standard at some point while also helping to sell a set. Granted, I’m not sure anyone actually wants to see what mono-blue devotion could do with Remand, but in a format with Thoughtseize, it wouldn’t even be the most powerful spell in the format. And while Remand does clamp down on spells that cost too much, it’s not as though anyone is playing much that costs more than 5 these days anyway. Thoughtseize already makes those pretty unreliable.
Mark it down: Remand returns in 2014.
Completely Failsafe Prediction #3: Duskmantle Seer Becomes a Player in Standard
So, here’s the thing. Seer was actually good in Standard when Angel of Serenity, Thragtusk, and a multitude of high-cost things existed (I swear!). Now? Flipping a Frostburn Weird or Doom Blade doesn’t scare anyone and actually helps fuel devotion strategies. Thassa, God of the Sea, while amazing with Seer, also happens to be bonkers against it. So, I’m not optimistic, mainly because . . .
Absolutely-Not-Guessing Prediction #4: Thassa Is the New Sphinx's Revelation No Matter What Is PrintedSphinx's Revelation has been at least somewhat relevant as long as it has been in Standard, Thassa is never, ever going away. It’s that good, and it’s that much better than the other Gods.
Remember how, at various points, all of the Titans were considered “the best” Titan in Standard? And then remember how Primeval Titan was actually the best pretty much all of the time? It’s kind of like that, except Thassa costs 3 mana and is in the best color ever.
2014 is going to be the year of the Sea God. So prepare to get wet.
No-Way-in-the-Underworld-This’ll-Happen Prediction #5: A Modern Masters Reprint . . . Online
There is zero chance of this happening in real life, so we’ll have to settle for throwback Drafts. I know I’ll hold on to the packs sitting in my account, waiting for the day that happens.
Other Things That I’m Absolutely, Positively Sure Won’t Happen in 2014
#6 Serum Visions Will Not Be Reprinted
#7 Deathrite Shaman Will Not Be Banned
#8 Legacy Will Not Grow SignificantlySerum Visions reprint or a Deathrite Shaman banning. Visions seems like it’s close, but I’m willing to bet R&D is still a little gun-shy on 1-mana blue cantrips these days, considering the route from Preordain to Ponder to Gitaxian Probe, coupled with the already-underplayed Quicken.
Similarly, Deathrite Shaman isn’t getting the axe in Modern, no matter how much I’d like to cap whatever knees Jund has any time I can (#banovergrowntomb). It holds down graveyard strategies (which Wizards likes to keep in check), isn’t overpowering, and, I heard, has some pretty damning evidence on Mark Rosewater should it ever get the axe.
As for Legacy, there’re too many barriers for it to grow any bigger, no matter how much StarCityGames wants to keep
shoving it down our throats, encouraging people to buy its Wastelands offering people the chance to play. It is, and will remain, the largest sanctioned niche format around.
On the Other Hand, (Prediction #9) Fetch Lands Will Definitely Be Back in Magic 2015
Plus, for the sake of Modern’s health (a format that’s really growing on me), this just needs to happen.
And while I’m wishing for things, they might as well be the Onslaught fetch lands. Because it’s my list, and I’ll wish for whatever I want.
We Will Absolutely Lose Some Combination of Brian Kibler, LSV, or Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa from
High-Level Magic This Year; I Guarantee It (as My #10 Prediction)
The game will be lesser without them if/when it does happen, but it will happen eventually.
Let’s just hope that, if Kibler quits, he doesn’t take down all of Magic as we know it on his way out (that “joke” had to be made . . . all of the other Kibler-destroys-Magic jokes have already been said. They’re all just as unfunny as this one).
Utterly Selfish Prediction #11: You’ll See Me on Camera at Some Point, Actually Talking
It probably won’t be for very long—they don’t like to let me out of my writer cave—but my thirty seconds on camera giving floor reports last year seemed like a taste of things to come. As we move forward, I anticipate some blurring of the lines as far as Pro Tour coverage is concerned, and possibly a bit more interaction at the Grand Prix level.
Plus, we have to give the females something, and Richard Hagon is already taken. Sorry, ladies.
Completely Speculative Prediction #12: Owen Turtenwald Edges Sam Black for Player of the Year
Thanks to a Pro Tour Top 8
I don’t think either player is done putting up impressive results, but they’ve both done just about as well as possible on their five-GP cap (Owen with two wins, Sam with four Top 8s). The fact that they’re both on the same Pro Tour team and both playing exceptionally well means it’ll take some odd circumstances for their Pro Tour finishes to be terribly different over the long run. I give Owen the edge because, well, for no reason in particular. But the list seemed oddly empty without picking a POY winner. Owen gets the nod because he’s part of the Peach Garden Oath (the Owen/Reid Duke/William Jensen triumvirate of people who are much better at Magic than you are), and Sam isn’t. That’s literally the only edge I can come up with.
Penultimate Prediction #13: A Grand Prix Will Top 3,000 Players
I don’t know when, and I don’t know how, but some Grand Prix will unexpectedly top 3,000 players, and I will, undoubtedly, be there way too late both days covering the madness, as I did with Vegas. I seriously doubt we’ll see the confluence of factors that led to Las Vegas being capped at 4,500, but I see no reason that 3,000 wouldn’t happen in an especially well-liked Limited format. Theros isn’t it, but we have a long season ahead of us.
Indisputably True Prediction #14: Reid Duke, William Jensen, or Owen Turtenwald Will Win a GP
Because I have to get at least one right.