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Affinity for Numbers: Preview Season


Magic is a game of numbers: sixty cards, 20 life, draw two cards, take 7 damage, and add three counters. There are even more numbers surrounding the game—facts and figures and prices and trivia are everywhere. In Affinity for Numbers, I uncover and highlight some of the more interesting numbers in Magic.

5 Cards

Jeskai is well situated to survive Standard rotation. Mantis Rider, Soulfire Grand Master, and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy aren't going anywhere, and the deck isn't losing many staples. This recent tournament-winning list, for example, will lose only five cards: Stormbreath Dragon, Magma Spray, Stoke the Flames, Temple of Epiphany, and Temple of Triumph.

Those cards are almost certainly replaceable. And that’s good news for the red, white, and blue.

9 Mana

Awaken is a mechanic in Battle for Zendikar that puts +1/+1 counters on lands. Planar Outburst is a new Wrath of God effect in the forthcoming set that, when you pay the awaken cost, turns a land into a 4/4 creature with haste. So if you have 9 mana handy, one of which is in land form, you can start swinging right away after you clear the board.

20 Power

Desolation Twin is coming soon to a Battle for Zendikar booster pack near you. It costs 10 for a 10/10 creature, and when you cast it, you get to put a 10/10 colorless Eldrazi creature token onto the battlefield. The cast trigger, as opposed to an enter-the-battlefield trigger, is important, as you will gain a 10/10 even if Desolation Twin is countered. Yes, either the creature or the token will die to a Doom Blade.

23 Changes

The Magic World Championships had a big effect on the Magic Top 25 Pro Rankings. Twenty of the Top 25 played in the tournament. Those who played well moved up: Seth Manfield (+2 spots to #2), Owen Turtenwald (+4 spots to #6), and Sam Black (+3 spots to #5) for example.

Those who struggled fell in the rankings. Ari Lax took the biggest hit after a 2–12 record, dropping six spots to #13. Many of those who didn't play fell just as far, such as Josh Utter-Leyton (−6 to 22), Ben Stark (−5 to 23), and Matthew Sperling (−5 to 24).


Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is the most expensive pre-order price for a Battle for Zendikar card . . . so far. Ulamog has the edge on all three Planeswalkers and is apparently worth 2.5 Zendikar duals. If you open one at your pre-release event, sell or trade it quick!

30 Slivers

Slivers in Modern with Collected Company? Sure, why not. Adam Bowman did well with it at StarCityGames Open Cincinnati, taking eighth place overall. Here's the deck:

48 Grand Prix

Wizards of the Coast is reducing the number of GPs in 2016 from fifty-four to forty-eight because "the growing number of Grand Prix has created some conflicts that have been detrimental to a few of the events," according to Helene Bergeot.

The GPs will be scattered around the world, as usual. The breakdown will be five Team events, thirteen Limited, eighteen Standard, nine Modern, and three Legacy GPs. Here is more info on the 2016 Organized Play changes.

184 Cards

Oath of the Gatewatch was announced as the name for set two of two in the Return to Zendikar block, the first to use the new two-set block format. It will bring one hundred eighty-four new cards to Magic, and the Standard metagame, on January 22, 2016. The prerelease will be the weekend before January 16–17. The name of the set suggests to me that the Zendikari will defy all odds and come out on top in the battle for Zendikar. If not, what is the gate for, who is watching it, and why take an oath to do so? Here's the announcement.

518,206 Points

Would you trade a Black Lotus for Puca Points? Craig Berry did for over half a million of them. It is the top trade in Puca history. Do you think there was some insurance on that package?

2,451,941 Daily Active Users

Hearthstone has been played by more than thirty million people across a number of different platforms. Mobile-game-metrics company Think Gaming estimates that Hearthstone has around 2.5 million daily-active users on iPhone alone. This seems to vary by day—I've seen anywhere from 750,000 to 3.7 million. Wherever the truth falls, it's a lot for a single platform, and the game's meteoric growth certainly has Wizards of the Coast's attention.

Those are all the numbers I have for you today. If you also have an affinity for numbers and have one you think I should share, let me know on Twitter @MrVigabool.

The Battle for Zendikar is coming. Order singles, booster packs and more at CoolStuffInc.com today!

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