War is here! Well, War of the Spark is, at least. The latest set—still nearly two weeks from its official release—dominated the world of Magic: The Gathering last week.

War of the Spark is here!

War of the Spark is a set not like any other. The entire set was revealed last Friday in the run up to the perelease. We also got a look at every token and emblem that cards in the set create. Over three weeks, the story of War of the Spark unfolded as cards were spoiled. War of the Spark has been described as an “event set” due to the fact that it focuses on a single overarching occurrence—in this case the battle between the Gatewatch and Nicol Bolas—as opposed to being plane and character driven like many other releases.

War of the Spark will also be the featured Limited format at both the Mythic Championship and the Grand Prix at MagicFest London. While some Grand Prix have featured Limited formats early in their life cycle, recent Mythic Championship level events have been a few weeks removed from a set’s release. With MagicFest London only a few days away it will be interesting to see how the format takes shape during what is essentially its prerelease weekend.

War of the Spark will be officially released on May 3rd, 2019. But a number of products will be available beforehand. The Buy-a-Box promotion will be taking place again, with boxes of the set available at local game stores during the prerelease. This set’s Buy-a-Box promo is Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge. The prerelease also marks the first day that the Planeswalker Decks for the set will be available. If you are not able to make it out to a tabletop prerelease, War of the Spark events will come to Magic Online and Arena on April 25.

War of the Spark Story

While the plot of the set is told through the cards, there is much more to discover. The War of the Spark novel, by Greg Weisman, will be released on April 23rd. But there is still more. Starting May 8th, six chapters not featured in the novel will be released on the main Magic website. Also written by Weisman, these chapters will help to flesh out the story of the war on Ravnica.

War of the Spark Mythic Edition

Back for a third time, Mythic Edition will return with War of the Spark. This prestige product will contain 24 booster packs of War of the Spark, with eight clearly marked packs containing alternate full art premium planeswalkers. This time around the planeswalkers getting the treatment include:

War of the Spark Mythic Edition will be sold via Hasbro’s eBay store starting May 1st at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. There will be a two-item limit per person. The Mythic Edition will retail for $249.99.

Signature Spellbook: Gideon Jura

The next edition of Signature Spellbook has been announced. This spoiler laden article from Polygon (seriously—it is full of spoilers for the story of War of the Spark) shows off every card from Gideon Jura’s Signature Spellbook, as well as the fantastic art commissioned for the product. Out of respect for those wishing to avoid spoilers we will not be discussing the full card list, but be sure to check out the link for the inclusions if you are so inclined. No release date for Signature Spellbook: Gideon Jura has been provided at this time.

Grand Prix Yokohama and Niagara Falls

There were two MagicFests in Yokohama and Niagara Falls this weekend. While one featured the same Constructed format as the upcoming Mythic Championship in Modern, the other reached further back and showcased Legacy.

First up was the Modern Grand Prix in Yokohama. In the run up to Mythic Championship in London, concerns about the health of Modern as a format have been numerous. Recently, Arclight Phoenix decks have helped to label Faithless Looting as a “problem card”. The Top 8 in Yokohama did feature four Faithless Looting decks, but none of them had Arclight Phoenix. Instead, there were three copies of Dredge and one Izzet Drakes  (which featured four copies of Nix).

At the end of the day it was another 1 mana sorcery that stood above the rest. Ancient Stirrings has also been cited as a potential problem standing in the way of Modern’s health and Takahito Kobayashi took it all the way to the finals in Hardened Scales Affinity. Rounding out the Top 8 was an Esper Control, a Jund deck, and a copy of Bant Spirits. Hardened Scales took down all three on Takahito Kobayashi’s way to the winner’s circle.

Hardened Scales

Takahito Kobayashi

5 Forest
1 Blinkmoth Nexus
1 Horizon Canopy
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Llanowar Reborn
2 Pendelhaven
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Arcbound Worker
4 Hangarback Walker
1 Metallic Mimic
4 Walking Ballista
4 Animation Module
4 Mox Opal
3 Throne of Geth
3 Welding Jar
4 Hardened Scales
4 Ancient Stirrings

Sideboard
3 Damping Sphere
3 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Spellskite
1 Torpor Orb
1 Welding Jar
2 Dismember
4 Nature's Claim

Meanwhile in Canada, just under 1,000 players arrived in Niagara Falls to battle in the Legacy Grand Prix. While not featured at an upcoming Mythic Championship (that we know of), Legacy has a dedicated player base. Legacy aficionados are not afraid to tune a preferred deck or try an off the wall brew (backed by one of the format’s powerful engines) in the pursuit of victory.

The Top 8 was closed to the well defined side of the format than the off the wall aspect. While Edgar Magalhaes brought a 4-color Leovold, Emissary of Trest deck to the elimination rounds—a feat in it of itself without access to Deathrite Shaman—the remaining Top 8 decks conformed to much of the Legacy metagame with two copies of Death and Taxes, one Grixis Control, a copy of Miracles, one Grixis Delver, a Sneak and Show deck, and a copy of Stoneblade.

It was that last deck—Stoneblade—in the hands of Daniel Goetschel that sliced through the competition. Goetschel did not lose a match he played all weekend. He only conceded in round 15 to position himself with better matchups in the Top 8. It worked like a charm. Goetschel leveraged two copies of Palace Jailer in the sideboard as a way to become to monarch and pile on the card advantage on his way to victory.

Stoneblade

Daniel Goetschel

1 Arid Mesa
4 Flooded Strand
6 Island
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Plains
1 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Tundra
1 Windswept Heath
3 Snapcaster Mage
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 True-Name Nemesis
1 Vendilion Clique
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Batterskull
4 Brainstorm
2 Council's Judgment
2 Counterspell
4 Force of Will
4 Ponder
2 Spell Pierce
1 Spell Snare
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Umezawa's Jitte

Sideboard
1 Celestial Purge
2 Containment Priest
1 Disenchant
1 Engineered Explosives
3 Flusterstorm
2 Palace Jailer
2 Supreme Verdict
3 Tormod's Crypt

Looking Forward

The next Mythic Championship is upon us! Starting Friday we get our first look at War of the Spark Limited. We also get to see some of the game’s very best attempt to tackle and break Modern. Will a Faithless Looting or Ancient Stirrings deck come out on top? Or will something new emerge to take the top slot? We’ll know soon enough.