Sunday, July 29, 2007

Crucible of Worlds: a great new 10th Edition card

Here's the first of the promised 10th Edition card highlights.

Above is a picture of Crucible of Worlds. I have available copies of this card in both normal and foil formats. The card was originally introduced in the Fifth Dawn expansion set, and has been imported into the Core Set with 10th Edition.

Crucible of Worlds is an Artifact that simply allows you to play Land cards from your graveyard. While this may not seem like much (especially to the Magic non-initiate), there are all sorts of very amazing uses that this allows for.
First of all, it's great defense against a Land-destruction deck. Has your opponent Stone Rained your only Island? No problem - just play it from your graveyard next turn and you're back in business.
Secondly, it's great for retrieval and re-use of Lands that require sacrificing to use a special ability. For example, in 10th Edition there is Quicksand, a Land that can be sacrificed to give target Creature without Flying -1/-2 until the end of the turn. After you've sacrificed it, it's in your graveyard. Now with Crucible of Worlds you can play it again next turn. Or if you REALLY want to get nasty, sacrifice it for its ability before you play a Land, then play the Quicksand from your graveyard and sacrifice it a second time! Now you've given that poor Creature -2/-4, thereby killing the majority of Creatures in the game. It's also great with Archaeological Dig from Invasion - a Land that can be sacrificed to add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Great combo with the Crucible in a multicolored deck.
Thirdly, there are several Spells and Abilities that require you to sacrifice Land(s) as a cost. Again, retrieving them is no problem with the Crucible. Like the Arcane Spyglass from Darksteel that allows you to sacrifice a Land to draw a card (and put a charge counter on the Spyglass - removing three charge counters also lets you draw a card). Just keep feeding the same Land to the Spyglass once a turn, and bring it back again next turn!
Fourthly, they work great with the Cycle Lands from Urza's Saga or Onslaught. Cycle that Barren Moor to draw a card (this sends the Barren Moor to the graveyard), then play it from your graveyard with the Crucible.
Finally (and these are just the uses I came up with off the top of my head), this is great for using Land cards as discards when a Spell or Ability requires discarding as a cost. Discard the Land, then play it from your graveyard. For example the lovely counterspell Foil from Prophecy allows you discard an Island and another card instead of paying its mana cost. Sneak in the Foil to counter an opponent's Spell, then rescue your Island from your graveyard next turn!
Really, the card is incredibly useful, and it's no wonder that it has proven so far to be one of the most popular of all the cards in 10th Edition.

Tenth (10th) Edition is Here!

Well, the brand new Core Set, 10th Edition, has arrived. The big release party was back on July 14 (that's the day of the Scavenger Hunt if you remember my earlier post on that - I'll have an update on the results of those sales later), but the two boxes of booster packs I had Pre-ordered didn't arrive until Friday this week. My son and I feverishly opened packs and sorted cards, and as of this morning all my 10th Edition Rares, Uncommons and Foils are up at eBay and all the Commons are up at Don's Magic and Sundry.

I'll talk about some highlights of the set here, and write a few more entries over the next couple of days focusing on some of the cooler (in my opinion, anyway) aspects.

The first big thing to jump out at you about 10th Edition is the appearance of the cards. First of all is the black border. This is the first Core Set since Beta Edition back in 1993 to have black borders in all languages (normally they get black borders only if it's the first time the cards have been printed in that language). Wizards of the Coast decided to do something special since it is the 10th Edition, and next year marks the 15th anniversary of the game. Secondly there's the Edition symbol - a roman numeral 10 (X) was chosen but an almost 2/3 majority of online voters at over continuing with the same style of symbol used for 8th and 9th Editions (a stylized hand of cards with the number 8 or 9, respectively, in the center). The Edition symbols were first used in 6th Edition, when they used a roman numeral (VI), then changed to a fancy font 7 for 7th Edition. Then it seemed they settled on this new method for 8th and 9th, so I was quite surprised when I found out that the roman numeral would be coming back for 10th.

The next cool thing is the booster packaging - 5 different wrappers, one in each of the colors of Magic. Very nice.

And then there's the 16th card...normally a booster pack has 15 cards in it: 11 Commons (or 10 commons and a basic Land card for 8th/9th/10th); 3 Uncommons; and 1 Rare. For the last couple of sets, if there is a Foil card inserted, then it takes the place of one of the Commons (previously it would take the place of the same level card as it was, so a Foil Uncommon would replace a normal Uncommon). But in 10th Edition there's a 16th card - a special insert card that has an advertisement of some sort on the back and either a Token Creature or a "Tips & Tricks" message on the other. I plan to write entries talking more about these later so look for them over the next couple of days.

Another surprising thing (to me, anyway) is that the set actually includes cards from the Time Spiral block (Time Spiral, Planar Chaos and Future Sight) - the most recent expansion sets. Since boosters from these sets are still readily available, I didn't think they'd be considered for use in the Core set until 11th Edition. Of course I wasn't really actively buying when 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th Editions were released so I can't (without some research) say whether they contained cards from the current expansions when they came out.

Overall I was very pleased with the cards that I got in the two boxes. Some great cards include two Crucible of Worlds (one Foil - extremely rare and VERY popular), two Serra Angels (which will not be sold - they get added to my Serra Angel collection), a Paladin en-Vec a Pithing Needle (remember this card from an earlier post? It made it into 10th Edition!), a Troll Ascetic and several Pain Lands (yes, my prediction that the Pain Lands would be replaced by the dual Guild Lands from the Ravnica block did not come true, alas).