Thursday, March 19, 2015

kill reviews: innistrad block

The main difficulty of writing an Innistrad review is that I wrote one already. I was fairly measured at the time, mostly shocked at how Wizards had managed to create such a good format, while taking note of how it contradicted Rosewater’s stated ideologies about How To Make A Good Set. The analogy that comes to mind is when an album comes out and reviewers immediately love it; they’ll even give it as high as a 8.8 or 4.5/5-star review. Then, ten years later, the album’s reissue causes them to state what we’ve known that entire decade: it’s a 10/10, and one of the best albums of the generation. But it’s only hindsight that gives us the capability to distinguish between being pretty good, and being a stone classic.

Innistrad isn’t just a well-designed limited format. It is the best limited format. The set is so tightly designed that I’d rather play six-pack Innistrad sealed than draft almost any other set. And when you actually draft it… holy god, there’s nothing better. I can’t do my usual “well this is good, and this was bad” shtick, because nothing in it was bad. The best I can hope for is to deconstruct the set to find out what makes it so brilliant.

Monday, March 16, 2015

kill reviews: scars of mirrodin block

When Scars of Mirrodin first came out, I didn’t think much of the set. It seemed to be a bunch of half-hearted callbacks to a not-very-far-gone era that I didn’t particularly want to remember. It’s only more recently that I can look back and see something different: it’s a block not of misty-eyed remembrance of an older set, but a schoolyard bully taunting you by offering you your favorite action figure, only to gleefully destroy it as you watch. This made me reconsider the merits of the block, as I aspire to nothing greater than enjoying the misery of Magic players.