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July 2014

July 26, 2014

[LINK]SDCC 2014: Magic The Gathering Panel Reveals KHANS OF TARKIR Set

by James Prater

Magic the Gathering was the subject of more attention this year than in previous years at San Diego Comic-Con, with the booth's MTG item being one of the hottest exclusives at the convention. But it's not clear if the set of black-on-black Planeswalker cards with new art by Jae Lee, which includes a Nerf Garruk's axe is a sign of growing popularity or the result of growing popularity. It could be that the MTG Hasbro set is just the latest item being flipped by ebay scalpers at the convention, without any care for or knowledge of the game. Either way, players at San Diego Comic-Con attending today's panel got a look at the new upcoming expansion set. The ambitious expansion block will consist of three sets. First a larger set, then a smaller set, and finally a larger set to finish the block. The first of three sets will hit stores in September.

First up is KHANS OF TARKIR. This expansion takes place in a land where Khans, warlords of different clans battle persistently. In this land, dragons are extinct, but each clan worships a unique dragon feature and value a characteristic which that feature symbolizes. For instance, the Temur clan worships the dragon's claw, which symbolizes savagery. The Jeskai clan worships the dragon's eye which represents its cunning. Each clan is comprised of a combination of three colors. The new cards associated with each color wedge will have mechanics that are well suited to the clan’s characteristic.

Here are the clans:

The Abzan Houses: White/Black/Green
The Jeskai Way: Blue/Red/White
The Sultai Brood: Black/Green/Blue
The Mardu Horde: Red/White/Black
The Temur Frontier: Green/Blue/Red

It’s expected that there will be a legendary creature card for each of the Khans. Only one of them, The Mardu Horde's Khan, Zurgo-Helmsmasher, was revealed at the panel.

Naturally, Zurgo Helmsmasher's mechanics are typical of his the color combination.

As is often the case with Magic The Gathering, new mechanics will be introduced to the game. The mechanics are expected to be rolled out in a similar way as with the RAVNICA: CITY OF GUILDS and RETURN TO RAVNICA block, where each color has gets particular new mechanic associated with it. However, one universal mechanic has been revealed to be a part of the new set. The Morph mechanic allows you to play a card face down before playing it outright later on in the game.

Then came the reveal of a new mono colored Commander set. The Commander format is a more casual multiplayer game format for Magic The Gathering than the more serious tournament formats that are played more commonly. That said, now and then a card or two is used in some of the non-standard tournament formats like Legacy or Modern, which involve some of the older more powerful cards. The previous Commander set offered two cards that were immediate Modern staples: True-Name Nemesis and Baleful Strix. Two new Commander cards were revealed at the Con, Ghoulcaller Gisa and Teferi, Temporal Archmage.

Anticipation is building for the new expansion. With the success of the release of the new cores set, MTG developers seem to be ready to add some more power to the sets, which represent quite a shift from the last set, THEROS, which proved to be too limited and some would say boring, with very few truly powerful cards. It'll be interesting to see if the Standard meta game changes after KHANS OF TARKIR is released in September 2014.

You can check out our full gallery of panel slides here.

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