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By: Cheater Hater, Vincent Borchardt
Apr 07 2015 12:00pm
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Remember when I said this week's article would be a catch-up article? Yeah, Wizards decided to throw that all out the window by releasing the Tempest Remastered set list this week. As such, I get to introduce what I plan to be a regular feature of the column: the Reprint Set Report Card. As a reminder, here are my previous articles on the set:

Overview

Commons

Design Spreadsheet

While I never did get another version of Tempest Remastered out (mainly because I didn't expect they'd give us the set a month ahead of time), I am going to take the two rarity swaps I mentioned in the article into account (Wasteland/City of Traitors, Survival of the Fittest/Oath of Druids). As such, I've put the entire set into a spreadsheet, both so I can get a picture of the set as a whole (especially since Tempest Remastered isn't on Gatherer as of this writing), and so I can grade myself on what I've gotten right. For convenience, I've linked the spreadsheet here:

Final Set Spreadsheet

I'd also recommend reading the feature article on the Wizards site where Adam Prosak and Ian Duke talk about their decisions, as I'll be referencing it a lot during my analysis. Let's start with the major, overarching themes of the set, and where they differ from my predictions:

Thalakos Scout Spike Colony Spirit en-Kor

  • Shadow, Spikes, and en-Kors are at common
    As I mentioned in my original articles, keeping Shadow out of common was something that was going to either make or break my set design, and unfortunately it broke it. Still, my thoughts weren't entirely baseless; only two Shadow creatures were in each of the Esper colors, along with some support cards like Heartwood Dryad and Wall of Diffusion. The Spikes aren't too different from my design at least: only one Spike was at common, but it was the more-relevant Spike Colony rather than Spike Drone. The one real surprise is that en-Kors are at common, including the powerful Spirit en-Kor.

  • All mono-colored Slivers are at common, but not all are in the set

    This is one I should have seen coming; the CMC 3 Slivers are certainly common-worthy, especially if you're trying to support Slivers as a theme. The bigger surprise is that some Slivers are actually missing: Talon Sliver, Mindwhip Sliver and Heart Sliver are all missing from the set. Of those three, the most surprising is Talon Sliver, especially when you consider that in the article Adam and Ian said their original plan was for Slivers to be in Bant colors. That makes me think that Slivers might actually be good in this set, if they needed to downgrade them a bit.
  • Each color has 19 commons and 12 uncommons, down 1 common and up 1 uncommon from my prediction

    This mainly has to do with the distribution of colorless cards; most importantly a common cycle of artifact creatures I didn't account for. I don't think the set needed so many colorless cards, but maybe it did for limited reasons.
    Selenia, Dark Angel Vhati il-Dal Dracoplasm
  • The cycle of enemy-colored rares was added

    This surprises me—I get that Selenia, Dark Angel and Vhati il-Dal should be reprinted, but is that worth the rest of the cycle? I honestly don't know if Dracoplasm was any good in its day, but I guess we'll find out if it's good now.

Next, we'll start going through the colors, counting how many cards of each rarity I got correct, as well as how many cards I got correct overall. Those numbers won't add up to the same amount though, since for the overall number I'll count cards I got the rarity wrong on, but for the individual rarities I won't. I'll also any highlights of the color, whether they are cards I got right or wrong.

Pacifism Paladin en-Vec Humility

White:

Common: 10/19

Uncommon: 3/12

Rare: 4/8

Mythic: 1/2

Overall: 27/41

I did pretty well here, considering how much the lack of common Shadow and en-Kors hurt me. I also hit a bunch of the rarity shifts, most notably Pacifism to uncommon (even though I doubted that after it showed up in Dragons of Tarkir at common). The curve seems really weird here, though—there are 8 2-drops between common and uncommon (although one is a Wall and doesn't really count), which might explain why Talon Sliver got cut. I'm also surprised at how much color hate made it into the set—not only did Soltari Monk and Soltari Priest both show up at uncommon, the classic Paladin en-Vec is at rare as well. I'm also surprised Soul Warden didn't show up, since that's a relevant card for Constructed (even if it is a common). Finally, for mythics, Humility makes sense once you assume the legend cycle isn't needed to be Mythic (and in fact Orim, Samite Healer shows up at rare).

Legerdemain Fighting Drake Dream Halls

Blue:

Common: 12/19

Uncommon: 2/12

Rare: 5/8

Mythic: 1/2

Overall: 27/41

While I got the exact number of cards in the set right as I did with White, the spreadsheet tells a much different story. On one hand, I did really well with the commons, only missing three cards if you count the rarity-shifted cards as hits. On the other, I completely punted with the uncommons, only getting four of twelve right if you count the rarity-shifted cards. A lot of these choices are weird, though—I mean I obviously missed Curiosity, but why Legerdemain? In addition, cards like Fighting Drake and Dream Prowler feel like rarity upgrades only for limited, though they still feel out of place. As for the mythics, I can understand switching Ertai, Wizard Adept for Dream Halls (the latter was left out of my set entirely), but leaving Ertai out of the set entirely? I'm assuming having an easy lock at rare was dominating limited too much.

Death Stroke Thrull Surgeon Dark Banishing

Black:

Common: 12/19

Uncommon: 4/12

Rare: 2/8

Mythic: 1/2

Overall: 26/41

I'm pretty consistent on hitting on about 60-65% of my predictions at least, but this one is a little worse than it looks. I'm surprised at a lot of the cuts here, especially at common where things like Scare Tactics and Enfeeblement were cut. Some of this was touched on in the article though, where they mentioned that there were a lot of double-cost cards, and how they needed to manage them in order to make the mana work. While we've seen pieces of this in the earlier colors (like how Counterspell was moved up to uncommon), Black is where this hits most, when Foul Imp, Death Stroke, and Enfeeblement are three of the premier commons. This is where a lot of the iteration helps figure things out—I've had about a month to work on this, while design on the actual set ended before VMA even was released. Other than double-color concerns, the one surprise at common is Dark Banishing, especially since Pacifism was upgraded earlier. As for the rest of the color, there isn't much to talk about, with one big exception: Grave Pact is missing. While it's not quite as important to reprint online as in paper, I think it actually could point to it showing up in MMA2 in a couple months.

Rolling Thunder Craven Giant Shard Phoenix

Red:

Common: 9/19

Uncommon: 4/12

Rare: 3/8

Mythic: 1/2

Overall: 21/41

So much for that consistency—my average took a big hit with red, and I don't even have Shadow at common to blame my failings on. Honestly, a lot of choices look really weird here, and I'm not sure I like them at first glance. I feel like a lot of the problem comes from the nerfs Red required, and the different approach I had to the actual set. While I just upgraded the rarity of a lot of the cards (and Wizards did this with some, like Rolling Thunder and Flame Wave), Wizards just cut a lot of the most powerful cards out of the set, like Jackal Pup, Fireslinger, and Shock. To compensate, Wizards kept a lot of the power in other places, like upgrading Flowstone Shambler to Craven Giant or Raging Goblin to Mogg Conscripts. They also put a lot of weird cards in, like Spellshock, Magmasaur, and Mogg Infestation that I hadn't considered at all. At least I hit with Starke of Rath as a mythic, though Wizards did find Shard Phoenix to pair with him.

Endangered Armodon Overrun Hermit Druid

Green:

Common: 13/19

Uncommon: 6/12

Rare: 4/8

Mythic: 1/2

Overall: 29/41

After the overall miss that was Red, I was much better on Green, even hitting the Endangered Armodon archetype as a major part of the color. A lot of my misses were due to two quirks of the Wizards design: no green one-drops (not even the relevant Skyshroud Elite) and no fog effects at all. I'll be honest, this makes no sense—I understand how Spike Weaver and Constant Mists can lead to repetitive gamestates, but not even including Respite seems like a really bad idea, considering Overrun is still in the set at uncommon. I'm also surprised at how both Lowland Basilisk and Hermit Druid both got moved to uncommon, even if for vastly different reasons—are they trying to push some kind of BG reanimation/value archetype with cards like Hermit Druid, Mulch, Death's Duet and Reanimate? I also don't know if completely cutting Eladamri, Lord of Leaves was a good idea, even if both Survival of the Fittest and Oath of Druids deserve the mythic slots more.

Multicolor:

Uncommon: 5/5

Rare: 0/5

Mythic: 1/1

Overall: 6/11

Not much to say here, since I covered this in my general overview; I'm just including the stats here for completeness.

Grindstone Lotus Petal Erratic Portal

Artifact:

Common: 1/6

Uncommon: 1/3

Rare: 1/6

Mythic: 1/3

Overall: 8/18

These numbers look really bad, but my fate was sealed when the rarities shifted so much from my skeleton. That's not to say I didn't do a ton of things wrong—putting Cursed Scroll and Grindstone at mythic makes a lot of sense (though to my credit, I did say Grindstone should be at mythic in my original article), and the Medallion cycle was an awful use of five rare slots (though you could say those became the enemy-colored rare cycle). The only things I did hit were the obvious moves: Mox Diamond at mythic, Lotus Petal to uncommon, and Metallic Sliver at common. Still, that's not to say there weren't a couple surprises—for instance, Erratic Portal appears to fit the repetitive boardstates idea that Wizards was trying to avoid, especially since Scroll Rack is waiting on the sidelines. Ensnaring Bridge is another surprise omission, and unlike Grave Pact this is actually worth something online as well as paper—I'll be shocked if this isn't in MMA2 now.

Caldera Lake Wasteland Volrath's Stronghold

Land:

Uncommon: 10/12

Rare: 1/2

Mythic: 1/1

Overall: 14/15

My numbers look really good here, though hitting on all ten dual lands being uncommon helps a lot in the raw numbers. Still, I had even more lands that didn't make the cut, and both Reflecting Pool and Ancient Tomb could have been in. I can understand Ancient Tomb getting cut since its price isn't that high since its VMA reprint and Wizards not wanting two two-mana lands in the set, but this would have been the perfect place to put Reflecting Pool, since it already got a paper reprinting in Conspiracy. Still, there are a lot of colorless rares, and something had to give I guess.

 

Totals (not counting Basic Lands):

Common: 57/101

Uncommon: 35/80

Rare: 20/53

Mythic: 7/15

Overall: 158/229

Overall, I hit just under 70% of the cards in the set correctly, and I even put over 50% of the set at the proper rarity. Still, this was the training round, with only 629 cards to choose from, and many of them being obvious chaff (like the pure color hosers, the Licids, and the clearly underpowered cards). Still, we can see how a lot of the archetypes are shaping up even at a first glance, including Slivers, an UR Instants/Sorceries build (with Scrivener/Anarchist), the BG reanimation theme I mentioned above, and a WB Shadow Aggro build, just to name a couple. This is the one flaw of my approach; I have limited time and manpower—my goal with the first draft of Tempest Remastered was just to get my creature curves in a good place, and I'm sure with more time I could have seen things like that moving Shadow to common was the right move, or that more Slivers could be common (though I don't know if I ever would have moved Hermit Druid to uncommon even given infinite time). That's where a long-term project we could start now (like Mercadian Masques Remastered, which I plan to start soon) could do better—with more time, I could test more and figure more things.

 

Next time I think I'll have the next update for Modern Masters 2015 ready, so you can look forward to that.

 

Vincent

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