What feels like mere moments after the hype and anticipation of Avacyn Restored finally subsided with that set's release, we move right along into the next spoiler season. This time, it's for Planechase 2, this year's Summer Multiplayer/Casual product.
Here's a bit of basic info, first, in case a few of you haven't been paying close attention.
- As usual there are four decks. Each deck has 8 new Planes and 2 new Phenomena.
- Phenomena are cards similar to Planes, that go into the Planar deck, but when you planeswalk to one of them, it has an immediate and drastic effect that tips the game state on it's head.
- Like last summer's Commander product, Planechase 2 has brand-new cards.
- There are 21 new cards in all, including a number of multicolor Legendary Creatures.
- The names of the 4 decks are: Chaos Reigns, Night of the Ninja, Primordial Hunger, and Savage Auras
We'll start with the original spoilers that WotC gave us back when they announced the product.
This is an example of one of the new Phenomenon cards for the Planar Deck. I'm guessing when you 'walk to one of these Phenomena, you enact whatever effect is printed on the card, then put the Phenomenon on bottom of the Planar Deck and 'walk to the next Plane right away.
Time Distortion is a pretty good example of how to NOT enable rewarding, sociable play. Why? Because it's probably going to ruin one player's day whenever it hits. The person to the left of whoever walks to Time Distortion, assuming it's a standard 4-player free-for-all game, will have already sat through three opponent's turns, and is expecting their turn to go next. Suddenly, Time Distortion! Now that player has to sit through two more turns as the turn order goes back the way it came before finally returning to that player.
Worst case, this could outright cause that player to lose the game without being able to do shit about it. Best case, it just causes that player to have to sit and twiddle his thumbs for 20 to 30 minutes longer, if Time Distortion crops up later in the game, when the board is complicated and every play desicion matters gravely. I just simply don't ever see any scenario where someone flips this card off the top of the Planar deck and the whole table errupts in riotous laughter, something these products are usually meant to evoke.
Another disappointing aspect of this card is that it literally does NOTHING for the person who actually 'walks to the Phenomenon. That person takes their turn as normal, then gets their next turn 3 turns later as they always would have. It doesn't hurt that player either, but it's lame that the person who actually triggers this effect winds up being utterly unaffected by it either way.
So, to sum up, 'walking to Time Distortion has zero impact for the player that 'walks to it.
It will likely have a devestating and ruinous effect on the game for the person to that player's left, while the two players to that player's right will get all of the benefit from 'walking here.
That fucking sucks. I will NOT be including this Phenomenon in any planar decks I build. Terribly unfun design. Let's hope they can do better than this with the other Phenomena.