Announcement Day

Any discussion on the news of the last week would be doing a disservice to the reader if it did not start with Announcement Day. The biannual release of upcoming products, the Friday, May 17 edition was heavily focused on four upcoming releases.

First, we found out the setting and name for the two Standard releases coming after Core 2019. We will be going back to Ravnica for not one set but rather three. Despite having just moved away from block structure, the next three sets—Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, and third set (name unreleased)—will all be taking place on the megapolis plane. The plane of Ravnica is focused on guilds, represented in the game by two color pairs. Guilds of Ravnica will release on October 5, 2018 and will focus on Selesnya (green-white), Boros (red-white), Golgari (black-green), Izzet (blue-red), and Dimir (blue-black). Ravnica Allegiance will release in January of 2019 and will focus on the other five guilds: Azorius (white-blue), Rakdos (red-black), Gruul (red-green), Simic (green-blue), and Orzhov (white-black).

These two sets will be the run up to the conclusion of the Gatewatch’s current arc. The driving force of the story since Magic Origins, the plots of Nicol Bolas will come to fruition and we will see some resolution in the third set taking place on Ravnica.

Coinciding with Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance, a new product will hit the shelves. Guild Kits will feature a 60-card deck centered on the appropriate guild, as well as some additional “swag” like pins and and spindown life counters. The Guilds of Ravnica kits will release on November 2, 2018 while the Ravnica Allegiance edition will be available in February, 2019.

Battlebond

The upcoming Two-Headed Giant Limited focused release Battlebond also got some press this time around. The set, which releases on June 8, 2018, had a major mechanic revealed. The set will feature a twist on the partner mechanic. Originally from Commander 2015, Partner lets you have two commanders. While the new legends from Battlebond will also be legal to be paired in the command zone, in Two-Headed Giant they will allow target player to search their library for the named partner and have it go to their hand. Thanks to updated printed technology, the correct pairs will appear in the same booster pack.

We also got some updated information as to why Wizards reduced the number of packs needed to play Battlebond. The set will require less product in an effort to make it easy to play. By lowering the entry threshold, Wizards hopes to encourage people to play with the new cards. To facilitate this, the designers cut out many of the weaker commons that would normally be excluded from main decks.

Global Series

The planeswalkers from the first Global Series were revealed. Global Series: Jiang Yanggu and Mu Yanling will be headlined by two planeswalkers of the same name and will be released in Chinese (Simplified) and English. The Chinese versions can be ordered online while the English language decks will be available on June 22.

Of note, the unique cards from these will only be Standard legal in mainland China. This decision was made to avoid the feel bad of having hard-to-acquire cards be part of Standard outside of the target market. Global Series: Jiang Yanggu and Mu Yanling was designed to integrate traditional Chinese mythology and help players from that market become acclimated to Magic, and having them be legal for Standard in the target market is a logical conclusion. The unique cards will be legal in Legacy and Vintage, but not in Modern.

Buy-a-Box Promos

The Buy-a-Box promotion that started with Dominaria, featuring Firesong and Sunspeaker, will continue for the “foreseeable future.” The program, deemed a success, will see boxes of sets be available at their prerelease. These prerelease boxes will come with a “mechanically unique” promo.

This decision was not without controversy. Some elements of the community felt that the vocal, negative feedback to the promo was the only such feedback. Others felt that this violated a promise of avoiding unique cards outside of booster products. Mark Rosewater addressed both points on his tumblr.

Heroes of Dominaria

Interested in trying out the Heroes of Dominaria board game ahead of its official release? WizKids will be showcasing the game at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham, United Kingdom June 1-3. The game will also be also have the demo available to play at Origins Game Fair June, 13-17 in Columbus, Ohio. This article also provides (not yet final) game images as well as a look at the Karn, Chandra, Teferi, and Jhoira game pieces.

Grand Prix Vegas

More information about special celebrations at Grand Prix Las Vegas are being revealed. In addition to the special promo lands, 25th Anniversary playmats will be available. There is more, however. Players who register for the Diamond VIP package will receive a special foil playmat.

Yes, that’s right. A foil playmat.

Grand Prix Toronto

With Pro Tour Dominaria only two weeks away, the Grand Prix circuit found itself in Toronto for Team Trios Constructed. Team Trios sees players configure themselves in a team of three with each player selecting either Standard, Modern, or Legacy. Then they play the appropriate player of the opposing team. Two match wins for a team equate to a match win for the round. There are no other deckbuilding restrictions unlike Team Unified Modern, where each deck must contain completely separate cards from the others on a team (aside from basic lands).

Ending Day 1 as the lone undefeated team, Morgan McLaughlin, Chris Harabas, and Lucas Siow defended their home turf and won the Grand Prix. They did not have the easiest path once they reached the Top 4. First up, they had to defeat the team of Oliver Tiu, Oliver Tomajko, and Noah Walker. All three of those players are accomplished but their accolades paled in comparison to the team the hometown heroes took down in the finals: Brad Nelson, Seth Manfield, and Brian Braun-Duin.

Only two former World Champions, a Pro Tour Champion, and more Pro Tour Top 8s than you can count on one hand.

Undaunted, the team that tested in Siow’s basement emerged triumphant, keeping another Grand Prix Toronto trophy north of the border.

White-Black Vehicles

Morgan McLaughlin, 1st place at Grand Prix Toronto (Standard)

Humans

Chris Harabas, 1st place at Grand Prix Toronto (Modern)

4-Color Control

Lucas Siow, 1st place at Grand Prix Toronto (Legacy)

Looking Ahead

Next week the Grand Prix Circuit moves to Washington D.C. for Team Limited featuring Dominaria. Then it’s a few days and a short trip to Richmond, Virginia, for Pro Tour Dominaria featuring Standard and Booster Draft.