Khans of Tarkir was released last Friday, and everyone is talking about it. Brewers are salivating with all kinds of tasty prospects for the new standard, drafters at the prerelease have said good things about it, and I for one am very excited about the reprint of fetchlands, as covered in a previous article. So, here is another speculation for you! Instead of talking about economic prospects, or the burgeoning of a new standard, I’d like to look at the potential for Khans in the Eternal Formats. And by potential, I mean lack thereof.
The only reason I would ever see myself purchasing Khans of Tarkir would be to acquire fetchlands, and purchasing boosters or booster boxes looking just for fetches is a losing game. When they come down to $10-12 a piece, it will be more efficient to buy them as singles than to search through droves of packs to find a few rares. No creatures seem appealing, and the new mechanics are not powerful enough to see Legacy play. This is, of course, only a summary of my opinion, so let’s take a closer look at what the set will likely not bring to the Eternal party.
There are literally no Legacy-viable creatures in Khans of Tarkir. While the general trend of Magic is true, that older spells are more powerful and have gotten weaker recently, and older creatures sucked but have become more efficient with newer sets, creatures from Khans do not fit the bill for Legacy material. Let’s compare.
Ah, here’s our good friend Delver of Secrets! He is a perfect example of a Legacy creature. A 1-mana 1/1 that is potentially a 3/2 flyer that is attacking on the second turn. There is nothing truly special about this guy; he isn’t overloaded with crazy abilities or anything. It’s all about efficiency. A one mana investment into Delver can potentially deal 9 damage in the first four turns of the game. All that is needed is a spell on the top of the library, and away we go with evasive damage. There is clearly a reason that several Legacy decks are called “(Insert color scheme here) Delver.”
Here is Mantis Rider, another three-power flier that was just printed in Khans. He is also fairly efficient; a 3/3 with flying, haste, AND vigilance for a mere three mana seems pretty good. However, even hasty he can only deal 6 damage in the first four turns of the game. He also is the turn three play, whereas Delver lets you play stuff on turns two, three, and four while beating down. The cost is also a pain. While fixing is not a problem with fetches and duals in Legacy, the fact that fixing is necessary for a Mantis Rider makes it less efficient. No unnecessary fetches need to be popped to get extra colors for a Delver of Secrets.
The same argument can be made for these two. Nimble Mongoose is easy to turn on in the right decks, and costs a mere one mana, while Sagu Mauler requires either a two-time mana investment for a turn-5 6/6 trample hexproof or a one-time investment to attack on turn 7. Mongoose is clearly superior and capable of doing much more damage in short order.
When people think “Legacy,” they usually also think “Force of Will.” This is for a good reason, as the card is very powerful and universally known. I see no meaningful counterspells coming out of Khans of Tarkir. FoW is on a whole ‘nother level compared to Stubborn Denial, which in comparison is terrible. But not all spells are counterspells, so let’s look at something else.
It’s very easy to compare these two. Utter End is great removal for anything outside of a land for a decent cost of four mana. Vindicate can remove anything, just not exiled, for one less mana. Instant vs Sorcery speed does make a difference, but in Legacy the reason to prefer Vindicate will be the fact that it nukes lands and costs less mana. Cards like Maze of Ith wreck some decks, and being able to deal with it without a Wasteland is huge. Also, many decks run with extremely low curves that sometimes will not have more than three or four lands on the field for the duration of the game.
Some of you may be thinking: “Woah! That card’s totally sweet, and will own in Dredge and stuff!” It won’t Well, Dredge will never play it because it will always cost at least , and no one is going to craft a Legacy deck around this one “game winning” spell. Fireblast is practically more “game winning” than this card. Besides, quite a few Legacy decks have this lovely answer to Empty the Pits (which conveniently also answers Empty the Warrens):
There’s not much to say here. The fetchland + dual recipe is so beautiful that is has not been tampered with in years. RUG Delver is not going to start playing Frontier Bivouac; it is slow and superfluous in comparison, and doesn’t come with the lovely shuffle-effect bonus. The new life gain Guildgates aren’t going to do much outside of Draft and Pauper. The fetch reprint is the only important thing landwise for the set, and the only thing that will impact any Eternal format.
Of course, all of this speculation is only my opinion. Are you an Eternal player planning on modding you decks to fit Khans cards? If so, please leave a comment! I would love to know what you guys think will happen to Legacy when Khans hits modo. Thanks for reading, and hope to see you all next week!