Raise Your Standards – Hodgepodge Edition

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Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards.  Now that all of Amonkhet is nearly spoiled, I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about a few things Magic related that aren’t meaty enough to fill a full article.  Let’s start by talking about the amazing new Gideon planeswalker in Amonkhet, Gideon of the Trials.

 

Gideon’s Fate in Amonkhet

When the storyline from Aether Revolt wrapped up, a lot of people online began speculating about what would happen during the Amonkhet storyline.  One popular theory that was bandied about was that the Gatewatch would get into some sort of scuffle with Nicol Bolas and one of their members would die.  The leading candidate for this fate was Ajani.  Well, now that the spoilers for Amonkhet have nearly finished, I believe that one of the cards that has been spoiled indicates that a different member of the Gatewatch will meet an untimely end.  That person, which you may have guessed by reading the heading for this section, I believe will be Gideon.

Gideon of the Trials

The reason I think Gideon may end up pushing up daisies is based on his second 0-loyalty ability.  It states that you get an emblem with “As long as you control a Gideon planeswalker, you can’t lose the game and your opponents can’t win the game.”  I believe this is a literal hint as to the fate of the Gatewatch.  As long as Gideon remains on the team (i.e. alive), the Gatewatch can’t lose.  However, if Gideon should die, the Gatewatch will no longer ‘control a Gideon planeswalker’ and will lose in a fight with Nicol Bolas.

However that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of old Gids.  Based on the Magic Story from this week (The Writing on the Wall), I believe Gideon could return from the land of the dead.  The story tells us that in Amonkhet, what is dead, if it hasn’t decomposed, will rise.  That is the Curse of Wandering.  So, if Gideon were to die, when we eventually return to Amonkhet, we could get a new version of him, Gideon the Wanderer.

 

Planeswalkers in Standard

My next topic is concerning the number of planeswalkers in Standard.  When Wizards of the Coast decided to roll back their idea for quicker set rotation, it created a time period where Standard is going to be inundated with too many of the same planeswalkers.  When Amonkhet releases, we’ll have four different versions of Nissa, three different versions of Liliana, and three different versions of Gideon.  We also have three different versions of Chandra.  So, once Amonkhet releases, there will be 26 planeswalkers, a full half of which emcompass only four different characters.

Recently in his Blogatog on Tumbler, Mark Rosewater did address this issue and he stated that in the future they will not be releasing as many versions of planeswalkers in the Gatewatch as they had been, so they are aware of the situation.  I’m hopeful that they will be able to showcase more varied and interesting planeswalkers starting with Hour of Devastation and that in the future of Standard we have no more than two versions of any singular planeswalker in Standard.

 

New Ruling on Split Cards

I would like to applaud Wizards of the Coast for the recent ruling update which changes the converted mana cost (CMC) on split cards to equal the combined CMC of both halves of the card while the card is anywhere on the stack.  The ruling goes on to clarify that the CMC of a split card is equal to whichever half of the card is being cast while it is on the stack.  So, for once, I can actually make sense of the way split cards work.

Now, while I like the ruling, there is one change to it that I would have made.  The rule as it currently stands works well for split cards with Fuse, however for cards without Fuse, the ruling could have been that the CMC is equal to the highest CMC of either side of the card.  I believe this change would have still solved the problem of having the higher costing side of the card being cast by cards which were looking at the lesser costing side like Goblin Dark-Dwellers, and would have also acknowledged that cards with Fuse can cast both sides of the card simultaneously.  I know this solution is nit-picky and might have ended up being more confusing than the current rule change, however.

 

Banning Cards

The final topic I’d like to talk about is the banning of cards.  The most recent round of bannings for Standard has left a bitter taste in some player’s mouths.  Many players were upset because cards that they had paid high prices for were suddenly unplayable.  They were fearful to invest into other high-priced Standard cards due to worrying that those new cards would be banned during the next banned and restricted announcement.  As such, I would like to propose to Wizards of the Coast that any for future bannings that may take place, they avoid banning rare or mythic rare cards at all costs.  If a particular deck is becoming too oppressive, take a look at the deck in order to determine if there are any uncommons (or even commons) that could be banned, even if it increases the number of cards being banned.  That would help to mitigate any perceived monetary losses that happen when cards get banned, as even the most expensive of uncommon cards rarely rises above the $5 mark.

 

Conclusion

That’s all I have for this week’s column.  I would love to hear your thoughts on these topics.  Do you agree with me, or do you have a differing opinion?  Let me know by leaving me a comment below.

Also, starting this Sunday, April 16th, I’ll be presenting my review of the cards in Amonkhet.  I’ll release new review articles each day of the week lasting until Friday, April 21st.  As such, there won’t be a new episode of Raise Your Standards until the following week, April 28th.  So, for those of you participating in pre-releases next weekend, I wish you good luck!  I hope to see you back here in a couple of days for the Amonkhet reviews.

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Mike Likes

Mike started playing Magic back in 1994, but gave it up at the end of 1995. He came back to the game during the Lorwyn block and has been playing ever since. Around this time, he opened and ran his own comic & game store, while also raising his newborn daughter. After 8 years, he sold his business and moved to Wisconsin with his wife and daughter. With the debut of Kaladesh, his entire family became regular Magic players. He now has hopes of competing alongside his wife and daughter at a Grand Prix or similar event in the future. #MTGDad

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