We’ve already finished another spoiler season, and this one has some more interesting impact then some of the past, at least for standard. This is a small set being released after a ban, after the format has already had a chance to adapt some. Seems likely that Hour of Devastation may have more impact than a typical small set.
The defeat cycle is an interesting cycle, since it provides some much needed answers in standard. Personally I love powerful sideboard answers. Choosing how to properly prepare a sideboard with these non-generic, but powerful solutions leads to some fun discussion and tough deck building choices, which is a good thing for Magic as a whole. I’m quite confidant that all will see standard play at some point, with a couple probably cracking eternal formats!
Gideon’s Defeat is kinda boring and EXTREMELY restrictive. Having a creature be attacking or blocking AND be white is not going to come up all that often. However, the arguably best card in standard that hasn’t been banned yet is Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which means this defeat will probably find a home. It will be interesting to see if players adapt to the Defeat existing and start playing Gideon as more of a value engine and pull back the reins on attacking with him. After rotation, if Gideon of the Trials takes off, then Gideon’s Defeat will still be a solid sideboard choice, but that will depend on a lot of factors down the line.
Jace’s Defeat will probably be a two-of in every blue sideboard, especially if a new Jace gets printed soon (and since we’re discussing the Gatewatch, that is likely). Gainsay with rare, but substantial upside is a good card, and I could see this being a key card in control mirrors. An interesting thought is if Jace, the Mind Sculptor ever gets unbanned in modern, would this potentially find a home there? Unlikely, but discussion is fun!
Liliana’s Defeat has me excited for modern more so than standard. While this will see occasional play in standard, in modern this may be the answer to Grixis Death’s Shadow we’ve been waiting for. Defeat kills EVERY creature that sees regular play in the deck except Snapcaster Mage. Not even Fatal Push or Lightning Bolt can claim that. It can also hit the occasional Liliana planeswalker that sometimes comes in from the board. Furthermore, Liliana’s Defeat has applications in other matchups as well, such as Jund, Abzan, Dredge, Living End, and Abzan Coco decks.
Chandra’s Defeat feels like it will be depending on one of three things happening in standard to be good: Red Deck Wins becomes a deck, Chandra, Torch of Defiance becomes more popular, or Glorybringer starts bringing all the glory. At least one of these things happening seems likely, so I’m in on Chandra’s Defeat. It is worth noting that her defeat does deal with Kaladesh Chandra even after upticking once.
Nissa’s Defeat is by far the weirdest one. Destroy a forest, green enchantment, or green planeswalker? Talk about covering a wide spread! This is my least favorite of the defeats, but it still should not be underestimated. Against a green deck, this basically says “pick one: Stone Rain, Demystify, or Hero’s Downfall minus the creature text. That is not a horrible amount of flexibility. And since two cycles of duals in standard have the subtype forest in two fifths of them, Nissa’s Defeat may be cutting players off of more than just green mana in standard.
These defeats rang true with me recently. As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t written much at all recently. The truth of the matter is, in terms of Magic, I was facing defeat. Between moving, starting a new job, and my family suffering from a medical emergency (all within a few days), I was overwhelmed. Thinking about how to sequence spells and how to do proper combat math seemed unimportant to me and was so far down the priority list that my time as a competitive spellslinger seemed over. Was I probably overreacting? Sure, but hindsight is 20 / 20 and the struggle was real.
However, like any good gamer, I adapted. Major hats off to the amazing support group I have around me (specifically my girlfriend Rachel), they dealt with me being stressed and still tolerated me. Having friends and family being supportive of your passions is key to a happy life. Also, my family is doing better!
Keeping with the defeat theme, during my time away, I was on the verge of selling my collection, but fortunately I didn’t. I hear a lot of people kicking around the idea of selling their stuff lately, mostly due to excessive bannings or burn out. If you fall into this category, please take a few things into mind before pulling the trigger:
Wait at least three months
Why three? Three months is a good amount of time to just chill on the game and it is probably more than enough time to reignite the spark if it’s at all possible. Three months also means a new set will be out. Sometimes all it takes is a sweet card or deck to make you want to jump back in. Also, with the exception of a surprise banning (which you should keep your eyes out for even if you’re “away from the game”) your collection will not lose much value in three months, heck some cards might even go up! The exception to this rule is stuff that will be rotating out of standard soon, but granted you should be parting with that stuff anyway if they’re not being played.
Play some other games (especially TCGs)
During my time away I played some Hearthstone per the recommendation of my roommate. Hearthstone is an awesome game, but after playing it fairly regularly for about a week, I learned something very important: It’s not Magic. To the Hearthstone fans I want to stress that I DO LIKE Hearthstone! The game does some amazing things and I am a huge fan of Blizzard products (love me some Overwatch!). But Magic won out as my main gaming love, because Magic is just so well designed. It has lasted for 25 years! I also played some Persona 5 which helped scratch the strategy itch and I got lucky that it came with a great story! I’m still playing that one actually!
Run the idea past your Magic friends
On financial matters, your advice trumps everyone else’s, including friends and some schmuck who wrote an article give his input, but having the advice of others can be quite beneficial. Your friends may be able to offer you a better a deal than websites or shops, help you find a great deal, or help reignite your fire by jamming some games of commander while trying to talk you out of it!
All in all, I hope you guys liked my comeback article! I know it was kinda all over the place, but I had a lot to share! I plan to active on Twitter again now, so please follow me @CloudRunner172. If you have any questions, please tweet them at me or email them to me at MTGDeckTechs!