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  • erobert

SPOILER: The Forecast looks... Auspicious

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Working with the first expansion for Mythgard, and I can only imagine the team at Rhino feels similarly, feels rather daunting. Not only have I spent a lot of time with the core set and watched it evolve for over a year and half, but I have considered how growth generally occurs in any card game, and how the delicate balance of new cards coexists with the utter excitement of their arrival. While many card games have worked to perfect this balance, my primary experiences are with Magic: The Gathering, and, as you will not be surprised to hear, this seems like the operative consideration in my mind.

For the first couple of years, there was just Magic and this wild west of ante cards and wildly unbalanced effects was managed by a Bans and Restrictions. In 1995, there was split to two formats, one eternal and one rotating, called Type I and Type II, now recognizable as Vintage and Standard. While some cards from the Banned and Restricted list were playable in the new Type II, many simply were not included in the pool of playable cards, and would get farther and farther away this format as new Sets were introduced. We could note that without rotation of any kind, there is a considerable risk that unless you are capable of printing new cards that are precisely at the power level of existing cards, which seems unlikely, you will either see cards that are weaker than their predecessors or stronger[1]. Between Power Seep and Power Creep, there is no obviously good choice: either you alienate new players whose new cards will never compare to the overpowered treasures of the past, or you create an escalating set of powers that eventually lead to sufficiently high power levels that the game may never escape turn-1 combo kills or impenetrable control prisons.

While obviously Mythgard has a ways to go before it is worried about toppling under the weight of increasingly powerful Expansions, I find this exercise, considering what the future should look like to be a valuable part of what I have found most exciting about Rings of Immortality. While there will obviously be exciting new cards to play, the majority of all cards playable are still in the Core Set. Because we are far from needing to consider rotation, the coexistence of these cards with the Core Set relies on how they activate synergies that already exist and which may benefit from more attention, or reconfigure what we what to get from our favorite Core Set cards that always feel like they might benefit from a little something extra!

Now For Necrodaddy's Favorite Part

Speaking of classic Magic, the ability to return vicious beasts from their graves always existed in Magic,[2] the creatures which provided the best value for doing so would only grow as the pool of card grew too. There are no doubt exciting high end beaters and utility Minions which will surely be falling into Boneyards near you come Expansion time, but there are even more Boneyard synergies which Rings of Immortality can unlock, especially with today’s spoiler:

You’ll recognize our friend Fanatical Phantom from Dreni Diehard, and while Auspicious Forecast[3] doesn’t give you a body on the board, it more than makes up for it by giving you a lot of Phantoms. While dumping bodies into your Boneyard with Disk (or Dora if you’re incredibly brave) and pulling them with a turn three Hopeless Necromantic will surely still provide a lot of reasons to play Necromantic, filling your Boneyard with a simple spell provides new synergies to consider and build around.

To start, Green has a lot of existing Spell synergy. Mothmara, Spellflux Cauldron, even the new Media Autocam, will all be happy to see this new cheap spell with an interesting effect. Your Boneyard Abomination can get +4/+4 with the push of a button! You can even just have a sturdy pack of statsticks locked and loaded, ready to be pulled by Hopeless Necromantic, Nameless Poet or even just good, old-fashioned Journey of Souls!

Blue Aggro Necromantic

My mind perhaps unsurprisingly went straight to our more aggressive Necromantic decks, like the low-to-the-ground Red Necromantic[4] which really fought to develop specific synergies with the new, and much needed, restrictions on the villainous Rush enabler, Dashing Ringmaster. While the Red deck exploited powerful Minions which skirted just under Ringmaster’s 4 Strength limit, giving Rush to fearsome beasts like Cerberus Unchained and Sideshow Chimera, this feels less than synergistic with the Phantoms I could bring back with Nameless Poet, and a hoop to jump through that might make this synergy less elegant.

Image courtesy of Hollow Tiger

I had already been having fun experimenting with the same concept in Blue, a more aggressive necromantic deck that could fit everyone, living and dead, in a Freki Sidecar, smashing through blockers with an undead Blacked Jotun or Volkov Heavy, but it felt like it could use something new. Fitting the usual suspects in a Sidecar—Kara Mourningwives, Tyr Monomund, Zmey Hydra—is awfully appealing, but doesn’t always require the Hopeless Necromantic, as a curve of aggressive Minions in Blue and Green up to five Mana.

Stacking your Boneyard with convenient statsticks while also building an aggressive curve provides more flexible curve as you continuously escalate your attack, and provide a rotating cast of Minions to return to play and run opponents down with the help of your convenient Rush enabler. A Rushing Necromantic pulling a Phantom which also gets to ride along in the Freki Sidecar is a fun stunt, but pales in comparison to the stunts that Nameless Poet offers. Having a healthy supply of Spirits in the Boneyard means that you will have something good to pull with Poet’s power, a beefy 6/6 Warded, but Freki Sidecar ensures that you can hit for 3 or win a trade then pull your 6/6 Warded then attack with that! While the Phantoms may routinely slip under the Strength restriction of Ringmaster, they will always fit into a Sidecar, and while you’re playing blue, you can go ahead and put those Fanatical Phantoms on the highway, letting Demolition Speedway turn them into hulking 8/6 Overrun Warded juggernauts!

While I am very excited for the community as a whole to play with new cards, and experience something novel and fun, I am even more excited to see how they will take existing synergies and archetypes, and build around them differently, or even reinvent the wheel, breathing new life into Core Set cards that deserve a second look!


[1] This is a bit tricky when considering Core Set of Magic, as while some cards were outrageously powerful, on average they were not very good, for every Black Lotus, there were multiple *laces and Ironclaw Orcs. Future sets smoothed out these power levels while slowly rising over time, which is a very interesting story, but probably one for another time. [2] though Type I players probably would have loved the opportunity to use Disk of Circadia to dump cards from their hand, rather than not play a Land on turn one and discard their Force of Nature or Lord of the Pit!

[3] L0gick and Eolis both have lamented that it is not called Auspicious Fourcast but life is full of little disappointments


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