The countdown to Ixalan is coming to a close! This article is geared towards bringing back former Magic: the Gathering players and why Ixalan is the perfect time to return to the game that they once loved. Newer players, or veterans that have never been to a prerelease, may benefit more from reading Wizards of the Coast’s Prerelease Primer article that was released earlier today.
If you are already a Ready to Role follower, you should already know about my gaming background from my very first article back in March of this year. However, I have a feeling that since this is our first MtG article, you may not. I started playing MtG in 1999 when I was in Sixth Grade (11 years old). Urza’s Destiny had just been released and boy was the Urza’s Block a tumultuous time. Seriously. There was some wacky, busted stuff. The Urza’s Block holds the record for the most cards banned from tournament play: sixteen!
Type I Vintage and hung out at themanadrain.com to varying degrees of success until I quit at a Darksteel prerelease in 2004. However, I couldn’t quite shake the bug and played on-and-off during college through the Alara, Ravnica, and Time Spiral blocks until I quit “for good” at a Zendikar prerelease in 2009. Eight years older and none the wiser, the itch is back (and don’t do the math to find out how old I am). I don’t feel too bad about it, though, because Ixalan looks to be sweet. It has a lot for everyone and reminds me of a lot of my favorite cards “from back in my day.” So sit down, sonny, and let me tell you why Ixalan reminds me of simpler times and why us old-timers should get out of our rocking chairs and show these kids how it’s done.
#1. Ixalan is the start of a new block.
The start of a new block brings a new playing field. Several sets I have never heard of are gone and I’ll probably never hear of them ever again. So that’s, like, one thousand less cards to catch up on. But it’s more than just that. The start of a new block is something to get excited about. Nobody knows what the set will bring. That half-anticipation-half-apprehension makes you feel like you are a part of something. It’s social. I look forward to gossiping with current players about what we think the new hotness will be. That feeling of inclusion makes you feel like you are a part of something larger: the vast MtG community coming together to celebrate a change. Be reborn and rise like a phoenix (too soon?) from the ashes of the Battle for Zendikar block.
There are freaking feathered-dinosaurs, pirates, merfolk, and vampires in this set. It’s like playing a card game based on Kung Fury. “Tribes,” or creature subtypes, have been around since the beginning and should give you a sense of nostalgia. Don’t you remember how much fun it was to make a Sliver deck during the Tempest block? Or an Atog deck during Odyssey? Or enemy colors during Invasion? Or three-allied-color decks during Ravnica? I do. And those times were great.
Tribes are also helpful because they give you a core concept to latch onto during deckbuilding. It can be overwhelming to decide what type of deck to build and what cards should be in that deck. Making tribes an efficient and powerful concept should give you direction and make it a lot easier to focus on playing “Goblins.dec” and having fun instead of fretting over whether you should build “Astral Slide” or “7-Up(heavel).”
#3. Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks
I don’t mean us, I mean the cards! When I briefly skimmed through what has been spoiled so far, I immediately recognized how similar Kitesail Freebooter (heh, booty) and Siren Stormtamer were to cards that I used to love. These cards are somehow both refreshingly new and comfortably old at the same time. It looks like I’m already building a pirate deck…
#4. The Fun of Nostalgia.
I always thought prereleases were fun. They were so fun that even if I had “quit” playing MtG, I would still do them. I “quit” at Mirrodin, Darksteel, Guildpact, Alara Reborn, and Zendikar prereleases. Even when I was done with MtG, it was fun to shake the rust off at a prerelease. It always felt like a time machine. I was a kid again. Staying up all night memorizing the spoilers. Cracking packs and hoping to get that bomb rare. We stream a lot of Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, League of Legends, etc. I’m average-at-best when it comes to MOBA or FPS games, but I’m addicted to cracking open lootboxes. Also, who doesn’t like free swag!?
I hope that you’ll consider coming out of retirement to field some pirate-vampires or dinosaur-riding-merfolk.
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