So, this weekend the WotC coverage team at PT: Gatecrash stunned the Magic world with the announcement of a new From the Vaults set, FTV: Twenty, celebrating twenty years of Magic in one box set full of foils. This is a pretty cool idea (and I honestly was wondering what they’d be doing to celebrate 20 years of MtG, so this is a good idea on their parts), and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in the set.
Hence, much like I did for Commander’s Arsenal, I figured I’d make some bold predictions. Here we go!
With this FTV set, we know a few things already that were revealed at PT: Gatecrash.
-This product is packed with 20 cards instead of the traditional 15 cards from previous From the Vaults;
-The product is also going to feature a card from a winning deck from each year of Magic existence. Some of these cards will be in foil for the first time ever.
When the coverage team were talking about this, they mentioned that this would likely mean that it would include a card from the very first winning deck ever, Zak Dolan’s deck:
Zak Dolan - 1st place, first World championships:
And while his deck was… eccentric, to say the least, his sideboard continues that trend:
1 Chaos Orb
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Copy Artifact
1 Diamond Valley
1 Floral Spuzzem
1 In the Eye of Chaos
1 Magical Hack
1 Power Sink
1 Presence of the Master
1 Reverse Damage
1 Sleight of Mind
1 Winter Blast
Zak Dolan’s deck is very random (I’ve always loved the very odd inclusions of Floral Spuzzem, singleton Birds of Paradise and Clone, In the Eye of Chaos, etc). There are a lot of odd cards here, and for the most part, none of them seem like they’d be very good as a reprint in a high-profile set like a FTV.
…Except for one card: Mana Drain.
Given the one piece of art they’ve shown (an old woman with blue energy coming from her hands to her head) I’m willing to believe that the this reprint is Mana Drain with that alternate art, giving EDH and Cube players an opportunity to grab an alternate-art one in foil.
Mana Drain would be a huge reprint. It is not banned in EDH, meaning any blue deck can run it; and of course, it is a fantastic counterspell/mana accelerant, so it’d be a fantastic addition to a blue EDH deck. (If I still owned some, I know I’d have them in my blue EDH decks, that’s for sure). Mana Drain is a super-strong Cube card as well, so I definitely could see it as the high-profile card from this FTV set.
This would be an exciting reprint for Magic’s 20th anniversary, and players would jump all over this set for a chance to get one. Thus, Mana Drain is my first prediction.
From here, the clues indicate that there will be one card from each World Championship-winning deck. You can view these decks here:
Here is a quick rundown of the cards I consider iconic from the winning World Championship decks, by year:
1994 – Zak Dolan’s Angel Stasis deck: Howling Mine, Icy Manipulator, Mana Drain, Birds of Paradise, Armageddon, Disenchant, Serra Angel, Swords to Plowshares, Wrath of God, Stasis, Clone, Control Magic, Black Vise
My pick: Mana Drain
See my reasoning above.
My pick: Hymn to Tourach
It’s fantastic in Legacy and Cube, two super-popular formats, and has never before been printed in foil. Legacy and Cube players love foils, and a foil of Hymn would be hugely popular. As with most of my picks here, I think that its desirability what will drive this card’s inclusion in this FTV set.
My pick: Serra Angel
This pick is for pure nostalgia reasons. For years, Serra Angel was one of the faces of Magic; she was an iconic card that everyone recognized, and loved the art for. Thus, though she has been since outclassed over the years, I can see her being the pick from this deck, just for pure nostalgia.
My pick: Man-o’-War
The Jellyfish is an interesting pick here, with so many other good cards in the deck. It is a great Cube card, and one that I’ve always liked. It has been printed in foil before (as an FNM foil), so Cube players do have one to choose from; not one in the modern frame, however. For its playability in Cube, the Jellyfish is my pick.
My pick: Recurring Nightmare
Ordinarily, Survival of the Fittest would have been my pick here, just due to how good it is in Cube and EDH. However, it’s already been reprinted once as a judge foil with alternate art, so I’m pretty sure the pick here will actually be Recurring Nightmare. Much like Survival, this is a card that is great in Cube (and has never been foiled before). It’s not legal in EDH, but I think that its casual appeal, plus its desirability for Cube, makes this a lock here.
My pick: Cursed Scroll
Another card that is fantastic in Cube and has never been printed before in foil, Cursed Scroll is a fantastic de facto red card, and I think it is the easy pick here. City of Traitors is close (it has seen off-and-on play in Legacy), but Cursed Scroll is better overall for Cube, so it’s my pick.
My pick: Grim Monolith
A fringe Legacy card, I picked Monolith here over Metalworker and Tinker just because it does occasionally see play in Cube and EDH. Tinker and Masticore, two other key cards in Finkel’s deck, have already had FTV printings. Tangle Wire was my other thought, but I’m going with Monolith.
My pick: Rishadan Port
There is already a foil version of Port available (from its original printing in Mercadian Masques), however, like most Masques foils, it is not widely available and goes for large sums of money. Port was the defining card from Masques block, and has seen play in Legacy Goblins and Cube, so it would be very popular.
My pick: Fact or Fiction
Arguably the most powerful card (certainly the most played card) from Invasion block, this unassuming uncommon powered the most powerful blue decks of the day. Thus, I give it my vote over Psychatog, who was Odyssey block’s defining creature.
My pick: Mirari
If Commander’s Arsenal hadn’t just had Mirari’s Wake, that would be my pick for this slot. As is, Mirari was the focus of the Odyssey/Onslaught storyline, and has always been a reasonably popular casual card, so it is my pick here.
My pick: Akroma’s Vengeance
A powerful sweeper in EDH (and one I’ve also seen in Cube), Vengeance does everything you want it to do. It’s either a potent Wrath variant, or you can cycle it to draw something else. A great card for EDH, so I think a version with alternate art would be perfect for this set.
My pick: Umezawa’s Jitte
An excellent Cube and Legacy card, there are several versions of Jitte already in foil (including a Grand Prix foil with alternate art). However, Jitte was a defining card of Kamigawa block, so I feel that WotC will want to include it just because of that. That this is also a key Cube and Legacy card makes this a great pick as well.
(I really wanted to have Loxodon Hierarch as my pick here, since I played that guy a lot back in Ravnica block, but I’m pretty sure Jitte is the right pick).
My pick: Remand
Remand has already been done in alternate-art foil (as an FNM foil), but I don’t really like any of the other choices here. It could be Lotus Bloom (since it has seen play in Modern), but I feel that Remand was one of the iconic cards of the original Ravnica block (it was played in everything back then!), so it gets the nod here.
My pick: Doran, the Siege Tower
This was a tough pick, and I had odd reasoning behind it. I feel that WotC will want to put at least one legendary creature in this FTV (to draw in the EDH crowd); Doran fits that criteria. However, there are two very classic creatures in Uri’s deck — Birds of Paradise (who would look pretty slick in modern border with Alpha art) and Hypnotic Specter. Both have been a big part of MtG’s history, so I could see either one in this slot. I am sticking with the big tree, though, as my pick.
My pick: Bitterblossom
Simple enough reasoning here: I expect all of the other cards to be reprinted in Modern Masters. Bitterblossom was one of the defining cards of Lorwyn block, and is good in Cube and EDH, so I expect it to be in here.
My pick: Lightning Bolt
Baneslayer Angel was, for all intents and purposes, the face of Magic 2010. So why pick Bolt over her? Bolt is the most classic of all burn spells, and is the gold standard against which every burn spell printed is measured. Hence, the red player in me had to go with it.
My pick: Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Because really, could there be any other pick here? Foil Jaces from Worldwake currently sell for a metric ton of money, so this is the easiest way for them to sell this FTV set. Jace is instantly recognizable to any player who’s been playing for the last few years, is a Legacy and Cube staple, and is the most popular planeswalker they’ve printed. He’s Jace; what more reason do you need?
My pick: Solemn Simulacrum
A simple enough pick here, since Solemn Simulacrum is fantastic in EDH, and Primeval Titan is, well, very banned. Again, I considered picking Birds, but I think they would want something geared for EDH, so the sad robot it is.
My pick: Bloodbraid Elf
Though banned in Modern, Bloodbraid has seen enough play lately in Legacy that I think this will be the pick here. A defining card of Shards block, this Elf was dominant enough not only to win the Magic Players Championship, but also to be banned in Modern. For that, I feel Bloodbraid Elf is a lock.
To recap, here are my picks:
1. Mana Drain
2. Hymn to Tourach
3. Serra Angel
5. Recurring Nightmare
6. Cursed Scroll
7. Grim Monolith
8. Rishadan Port
9. Fact or Fiction
11. Akroma’s Vengeance
12. Umezawa’s Jitte
14. Doran, the Siege Tower
16. Lightning Bolt
17. Jace, the Mind Sculptor
18. Solemn Simulacrum
19. Bloodbraid Elf
Now, there have been only 19 World Championships, so what will be the 20th card? I’m going out on another limb here with this pick:
20. Force of Will
The 20th anniversary of Magic is the perfect time to reprint this classic counterspell in foil with the modern border; it is a card that Legacy and Cube players have wanted in foil for basically forever, so I feel now is definitely the right time for it. Force has never won a Worlds event, but it certainly has been featured in many winning lists over the years, so I think that would fit the criteria enough for me.
Conclusion: So there you have it, those are my 20 predictions for this FTV. In August, when this is released, I’ll be taking a quick look back at my predictions, to see what I got right and wrong. Thanks for reading!