Wizards of the Coast announces Dragons of Tarkir and Duel Decks: Elspeth vs. Kiora.
Over the past few days, there have been a bunch of announcements and unveilings of new products for Wizards of the Coast's Magic the Gathering. We got out first look at cards from Fate Reforged, the next set to be released, along with announcements of the last set in Khans block and a new Duels Deck featuring Elspeth and Kiora.
At PAX Australia, WotC spoiled the first cards for the upcoming Fate Reforged set, and while there are only two cards there's a lot of good details that can be mined from them. Ignoring the text box, Yasova Dragonclaw isn't that much better than Khan's limited mainstay Alpine Grizzly, but a 4/2 for three starts looking a lot better when you give it trample and a repeatable Act of Treason effect. Now all that's great at making Yasova Dragonclaw quite the limited bomb, but the real reason to be talking about it is that it spoils the return of hybrid mana. We recently had a bunch of hybrid cards rotate out when the Return to Ravniva block left, but for those unfamiliar they are mana symbols that can be paid for either indicated color. The other card, Crux of Fate, is about the closest we're going to get to a Damnation reprint any time soon. While this is pretty miserably to have while getting beaten down by say both Stormbreath Dragon and Polukranos, World Eater, there's some opportunity to build around the clauses. It's also an important confirmation on the lore front. It was basically impossible to miss the signs leading up to it, but this does cement that Fate Reforged will be about Ugin and Nicol Bolas.
Speaking of dragons, the ongoing community rumor was that the final set in Khans block would be Return to Zednikar, maybe not in that exact name but you get the idea. WotC has instead announced today that the final set is going to be Dragons of Tarkir. Dragons of Tarkir will be a large set release in late March of next year, the Pro Tour is in Belgium, the draft format will be DTK/DTK/FTR and yeah there be dragons - as seen by some badass artwork courtesy of Jason Chan. Obviously there's not a ton of info available at this time, unless you obsess over who from R&D worked on it, but more is certainly to trickle out after Fate Reforged comes out.
And finally, another announcement in the Duel Deck series will pit Elspeth, Sun's Champion vs. Kiora, the Crashing Wave. Duel Decks are standalone products featuring a central and defining card, with the decks built around them. They are designed and balanced primarily to play against each other, but are often used to either spoil some new cards or to get some reprints of important cards into market. It's not hard to imagine that Elspeth's deck will be token based along the lines of Raise the Alarm and Intangible Virtue, and Kiora's will mostly likely be green fatties with maybe a lands matter or ramp sub theme ala creatures like Rampaging Baloth. Duel Decks: Elspeth vs. Kiora will release late February 2015.
All in all, a bunch of cool new Magic products on the horizon and Commander 2014 is even just around the corner. WotC has set the bar really high lately with Khans of Tarkir, so I'm hopeful they'll be able to maintain that momentum.