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Opening thoughts on Rise of the Eldrazi limited

April 15, 2010

We are almost there. The last expansion of this season block, Rise of the Eldrazi,  is to be displayed at the prereleases this weekend. And from what we have seen it seems like a pretty cool set.  


What I’m personally looking forward the most is the limited enviroment. As you all probably know Rise of the Eldrazi is a “big” set (i.e. has the same seize as Zendikar) and will be drafted on its own. That means no ZWR drafts here, we will be drafting 3xRotE in the near future.From what we have seen from the set this means that this limited format will play out much different from what we are used to in Zendikar and Worldwake. With the last two sets, the format was really fast and the overall value of “bears” (2/2, 2/1 or 2-drops in general really) was very high. Often it was correct during drafts to pick an average bear over a more powerful 4-drop. But those days seem to be over. Between the level-up mechanic, the mighty large Eldrazis and the wall subtheme the upcoming format looks a lot slower than what we have been playing for the last 6 months.  

Wall of Blossoms!

 Because of all the walls that appears to be in Rise of the Eldrazi the vaule of an average bear will decrease significantly. In Zendikar and Worldwake you would kill for more bears in your deck. Now it looks like cards such as Glory Seeker will be around the 21st to 23rd card in your deck. Might be even so that you pump your fist when your opponent plays a vanilla bear against you.  

Further on there is a lot of other stuff that everyone needs to reevaluate. For example, Reckless Scholar was a pretty mediocre card in ZZW. But I imagine that if the same card would be in Rise of the Eldrazi it would be a very high pick. The format is slower, people need to hit their lands drops to play these giant Eldrazi spells and the games will go much longer.  

Continuing with blue stuff, bounce-effects and counterspells in general will probably get a lot better in Rise of the Eldrazi compared to Zendikar/Worldwake. For example, Cancel was not that great in Zendikar/Worldwake limited. Yeah sure, you played it every once in a while but you were never really happy to. It’s easy to understand why that is too. I stated that the format was all about bears. Now does the idea of a 3-mana counterspell sound like a good plan to combat that format? No?  

But if we switch things around and say that all the stuff that matters in a format costs 4 or more, suddenly the idea of playing Cancel gets way better doesn’t it? The same approach can be done with Whiplash Trap. Whiplash Trap was a fine card in Zendikar/Worldwake limited but never super mega splashy, mostly because you would be bouncing two bears at the cost of 5 mana. But say that you would be allowed to bounce two 6+ drops instead? Or bounce a couple of “level-up” dudes that your opponent has spent countless amount of mana into? That would be incredible.  

And finally I will be ranking evasion much higher in Rise of the Eldrazi limited compared to Zendikar/Worldwake limited. Flying seems like a much more powerful ability when there a bunch of walls and stuff in the way compared of a horde of bears.  

So safe to say that blue as a color seems like it will be much better in this set compared to the last two, doesn’t it? Still it’s only a theory, R&D can make blue suck in other ways too 🙂 .  

Kozilek's Predator

What more have we going on? Well there is the Eldrazi-theme. Cleary R&D wants us to be playing these behemoths in limited which means that you will need to have a sufficient way of fueling them. For starters we have the question of many lands we play in our limited decks. I will probably never be playing less than 18 in this format. It doesn’t seem impossible that 19 or even 20 lands could happen sometimes. If you want to play your spells that cost 7+ on schedule you need those lands in order to do so. But the lands isn’t all we have, there will be some other ways of helping you out with your mana. Take Kozilek’s Predator for example.  

This card appears to be in a cycle that I will at least right from the bat value very highly. They will boost your mana and even if you don’t have something fancy to play right away you still have a nice chunk of dudes to play around with.  

Then there is the Annihilator-mechanic. I can’t say for sure how this is going to be played out but I imagine the Annihilator-mechanic will swing games drastically. I imagine a lot of games in this format coming down to arms raise where the guy who can land their big Eldrazi guy with Annihilator X first onto the battlefield will sooner or later make sure that the other guy can’t answer with a big Eldrazi on his own. Talking about kicking on someone who is already lying down…  

As a final note I want to add that this seems like a Sealed format that might want to draw first in my games. Zendikar was super speedy and the addition of Alara Reborn made that Sealed format a lot quicker but now it seems like it’s time again for some good old card advantage plays.  

Have fun on Saturday/Sunday, may you open a lot of bombs and annihilate many opponents on the day. See ya!

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