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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Jul 07 2015 12:22pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Despite some drama from Wizards of the Coast (in another installment of what I like to call the weekly Magic controversy) the set is officially spoiled and we're a few days away from the Origins Prerelease.  I've been looking at the set since spoilers began and I'm glad it's fully out so I can start preparing for Grand Prix Dallas.

So today I'm going to be talking about the set as a whole, my first impression of the cards, and what color I'd recommend picking at the prerelease. Before all that happens, I'd first like to take a little time to talk about something called "the vacuum".

"In A Vacuum"

I remember overhearing someone talking about a card from Magic Origins and saying "well, in a vacuum it's good" so perhaps it'll be good in Constructed.  "It could be the next Pack Rat!"

This is a terrible way to think and discuss cards.  You can't ever analyze something in a vacuum because you'll never actually get a good result doing so.  Imagine that you get a card from a game you know nothing about and try to intuit whether or not it's good or not.  Given that you know nothing about the format, the game, and the world that card lives in, how could you ever know if it's a bulk card or the best card in the game?

I recently got into Force of Will, another card game and started looking through some cards without knowing much about the game.  Every single card I looked at felt like a good card. 3 mana 7/7 flying?  That's seems good!  2 mana 5/5 all your fairy tale creatures have hexproof?  That seems awesome! 4 mana 8/8 hexproof?  Cool!  The thing is, I had no concept of what a good or bad card would be like in that game and because the cards seemed much stronger than normal Magic cards all I kept thinking was how good they were.  Of course now that I know a bit more about the game I can tell which cards are tournament staples and which need to be bulked out.  

When I look at the cards in Magic Origins, I look at them individually, but I make comparisons to cards I've played with in the past and what I can expect to see at common, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare from each color.    I then look to see how they would interact with cards I've seen before and what that card would look like in a normal game of Magic and make an educated guess as to how highly to rate the card.  

Context is everything when it comes to defining cards and how you plan to use them.  Formats and metagames dictate how good a card is, not the card itself.  See: Sarkhan Unbroken and Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker in the current Standard meta, the Primordial cycle in Gatecrash, Shorecrasher Elemental/Mono Blue Devotion in DTK, etc.

Magic Origins Set Review

The grading scale for the set review will go as follows: Bomb, Good, Playable, Unplayable, Sideboard.  In Sealed we're not looking to rank them 1-10 or to see how highly they should be picked in a draft.  We can't choose what we get, we can only make do with the hands we're dealt.  We have to play them, so it makes more sense to know which cards are good objectively as opposed to how we would rank them side by side.

Bomb cards are cards that will win the game for you if left uncontested, or win within a few turn cycles.  Cards like Elspeth, Sun's Champion, Jace, Memory Adept, Wingmate Roc, Citadel Siege fall into this category.  Good cards are cards that are strong and can define board states, but don't win the game on their own.  This could also be a good removal spell or a card advantage spell.  Cards like Opportunity, Doom Blade, Lightning Bolt, Abzan Falconer, Mulldrifter fall into this category.  Playable cards are mostly Limited filler or situational cards.  Grizzly Bears is the poster child of a playable card.  Cards that have stories to tell usually are in this category.  Unplayable cards are cards you never want to draw/play with.  Hydrosurge, Fog, Dreadwaters are examples of these cards.  Lastly, we have sideboard cards.  Plummet, Negate, Flashfreeze, Dispel, Combust, those are cards that come out of the sideboard and do powerful things but only in certain situations/matchups.

Color Rankings Magic Origins

The TL;DR version is that if you want to pick the best rares then the pick order is: Green, White, Red, Black, Blue, but if you want a balanced good color the pick order is: Red, White, Green/Black, Blue.  In the end you should choose the color that you feel will give you the most fun possible because that's what the prerelease is all about: having fun.  I'm likely going to choose red or green and will branch into other colors depending on how many flights I decide to do.  It's your prerelease, play it the way you want to play it.

Conclusion

I hope you found the set review useful and I wish you all luck during the prerelease!  I tried my best to be concise as possible so that the videos didn't take too long.  If you felt this was a good or bad thing, let me know in the comments section below.  Next week I'll be back with my first experiences with Magic Origins and will break down my pool(s)

Thank you for reading/watching!