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Lorwyn, I bid you farewell…

September 5, 2009

It’s September and we are at that time of year when it’s time for this big ol’ rotation in Standard (and Extended for that matter). The powerhouse of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor is about to leave Standard when Zendikar is released a month or so from now. Many people are happy that Lorwyn/Shadowmoor with it’s relatively high power level is leaving Standard while some are not. It’s always like that. Remember Kamigawa? Some people liked that the format was defined by Umezawa’s Jitte and some thought that Jitte just wrecked that Standard format. Whatever you liked Lorwyn/Shadowmoor or not, today I’m going  through a couple of tidbits from the past 2 years we had Lorwyn/Shadowmoor in Standard.

I liked Lorwyn/Shadowmoor overall. I agree to what many people say that the block had a very high power level but I had no problems with that. There is a couple of things in the block I thought R&D could have made better, like changing so Bitterblossom wasn’t a Faerie, Reveillark only triggering when it goes to graveyard and the vivid-cycle should only have 1 counter. Off course this is easy to say with the key in hand, but just small changes like that would have made both Standard and Block more stabilized. I really hated Lorwyn/Shadowmoor Block Constructed at the end of the block season, every deck either played 4 Windbrisk Heights, 4 Bitterblossoms or 4 Reflecting Pool. That was pretty much the whole format. The Reflecting Pool-decks varied very much but the concept was always the same, just play a bunch of good cards which isn’t very funny from a deck creation standpoint. Standard right now is not that different either… The release of Zendikar will hopefully be a breath of fresh air for Standard.

I think it’s funny how format warping Cryptic Command is and how it stands out from the rest of the cards in Standard and the fact that it took 3-5 months before people really caught on the CC-Train. It was Profane Command that got all the hype at the beginning. I remember people thought it was odd that Kotaro Otsuka had Cryptic Command instead of Profane Command in his UB Mannequin deck and not everyone had 4x Cryptic Command in Faeries right off the bat.

Another interesting with Lorwyn/Shadowmoor is where the “power” of the set is located. Lorwyn and Eventide is pretty weak sets in general compare with the power of Morningtide and Shadowmoor. Both Morningtide and Shadowmoor revolutionized Standard (and Block for that matter) with their release. Morningtide brought out Reveillark and Bitterblossom, which have both warped and defined Standard right off the bat. Shadowmoor came on down with Reflecting Pool and some very good RDW cards. Both Reflecting Pool and Demigod Red warped Standard and is still today a bigger factor in Standard.

I would also like to point out how much different both Standard and Block Constructed would have been if Bitterblossom wasn’t printed. It’s just ridiculous how Bitterblossom have pushed out cards and interactions that is completely bonkers in a vacuum (Reflecting Pool+Vivid land, Windbrisk Heights+Spectral Procession and Reveillark).

Whatever you liked Lorwyn/Shadowmoor or not, it’s time in the spotlight is about to end and Zendikar will enter the scene shortly. What to expect of Alara-Zendikar-M10 Standard? That is of course very hard to say at this point. But I can almost guarantee that a Cascade Control deck will be one of the decks to gun for in October. I will talk more about Zendikar and cards from that set in the upcoming weeks.

As I final note I would like to say that I’m really looking forward to a fetch-less Extended (as long that the evil little rumor that Zendikar will have a new fetch-cycle is false). That is going to be the biggest change in Extended for a while and I’m psyched about how PT Austin is going to play out. Until next time…

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