Monday, July 11, 2016

So, how about them new cards?

Hello, dear readers. As most of you know, I used to do these big EDH set reviews here, but I haven’t done one in quite a while. I liked writing them, but they took a lot of time, and I just kinda got tired of doing them after a while. A lot of cards just come down to saying boring things like “This is basically unplayable” or “this is great in [insert specific niche commander here], but not so much elsewhere”, etc. I toyed with some ideas on how to do it differently so I didn’t wind up reviewing a lot of cards about which I couldn’t think of anything interesting to say, but no solutions came to mind that felt right to me. So, in the absence of any better ideas, I just kinda… quit doing them.

But, the thing is, new set spoiler season and the time around a set release when you get to put all those new cards into decks is one of the most exciting parts of Magic. I constantly have excited discussions with my IRL friends about new cards and what I can’t wait to jam into whichever deck, etc. Because of this, it feels really strange to not share some of this excitement and speculation with you all as well. I just don’t have the time or the motivation to do the big set reviews with pictures and all that, the way I used to, but I’m going to try and figure out a new format for me to discuss new and upcoming cards/sets with you all, in a way that doesn’t burn me out or take too much time.

I tried the idea of a “Top 10” list once before, but it was really hard to pick just 10 cards… even though I dismiss a lot of cards as “garbage”, I tend to like more cards and want to believe things are playable far more often than many of my peers. I love undeniably powerful cards like Consecrated Spinx and Cyclonic Rift, but I also adore “jank” rares like Kessig Cagebreakers or Mitotic Slime. I especially love it when a card that even I thought was bad suddenly becomes a must-have for some new deck. Point being, even though I recognize the fact that some cards are good while others aren’t, there’s a part of me that WANTS every card to be good, and that bias makes it really, really hard to leave any card that I think has even a small amount of potential off any list or review I write.

I also try to evaluate cards with as little bias toward my own playstyles and metagame factors as possible. In other words, I try to make my set reviews general enough that they are useful to people with different playstyles and different metagames, but at the end of the day those biases do influence my opinions somewhat. If I only talk about the cards I specifically see myself playing, or only those that I think are good in my metagame, it really narrows down the target audience. But then it gets tricky trying to balance what I am personally excited to play versus what I think the larger EDH-playing crowd will be excited about.

But, perhaps I’m overthinking it. I don’t know. All I do know for sure is, it feels weird and awkward to NOT talk about new sets and new cards, but the old way I was doing things just won’t work for me. So I have to find a new format, a new approach. For now, at least, I think it would be a good idea for me to get the ol’ Top Ten list another shot, and maybe try to worry less about my biases and just focus on what’s exciting specifically to me.  Eldritch Moon, I think, is a great set to start with because there are a handful of cards I’m VERY excited about, but the quality drops off fairly quickly after that, so I think I can narrow the list down to 10 with maybe an honorable mention or two. So, I will work on that, and hopefully, I’ll be back in just a day or two with that list.


  1. Well, my guess is you're overthinking things too much. If the top 10 article format appeals to you for its brevity, please go with it. As a reader, I really don't care much if your list of relevant cards includes 6 or 14 cards from the set or if that number were to vary from reviews.

    Just write about the cards you like and do not be too concerned about the numbers. ^^ Set a maximum number of cards by review (idk, maybe 15-17 max?) for time issues but do not feel obligated to systematically attain this number. Be flexible with your writing. ^^

    Of course, if you were to follow my advice, you couldn't call your set reviews "top 10 cards from x-y set". Maybe naming them "Edh shout outs from x-y set" is the way to go? That's for you to decide, I'm happy to read you nevertheless. :)

    1. Thanks for the input. I probably am overthinking things, but at the same time, it's more of a feel thing. It just "feels" weird to me to cherry pick cards to talk about while ignoring others. I was always comfortable skipping over commons, unless a common was particularly worth talking about. But only talking about the Rares and Mythics that I felt were worth talking about just never sat right with me.

      Ultimately that's the most logical solution, but something about it just doesn't work for me. Not sure why.

      But, I'll figure something out one way or another.

  2. I agree with Immiuhra. Just make a top x list if that's what you want to do. X can change every set based on the number of cards you want to talk about.