This week, I would like to discuss the upcoming Onslaught Fetchland reprint that will happen in Khans of Tarkir. Wizards of the Coast finally decided to give those of us who had been lobbying in a disorganized manner for reprints of staples something over which to drool. I would love for this article to foster some community discussion and talk. Standard players: Are you excited for fetchlands in the format, even without those Ravnica shocks? Legacy/Vintage players or those looking to break into the format: Are you finally stoked to finish your mana base without breaking the bank? It would be sweet to just share my opinion here, then have the community continue the discussion in the comment section or on Reddit.
These five power players have been a crucial part of the eternal mana base since they were printed. Unlike the notoriously Bad River, which did see play before the printing of these, the Onslaught fetch lands come into play untapped and can find a dual for the low cost of 1 life. Fetch lands make Brainstorm a power house card, improve the quality of Sensei’s Divining Top spins, and allow for easy color fixing in demanding mana bases. Zendikar saw the printing of the enemy-colored fetchlands, which are the only fetches currently legal in Modern until Khans reprints the allies.
So, a staple reprint. There are ups and downs to such a thing, but fortunately I believe that in this case, the reprint is more beneficial than not.
The reprinted copies will be four times cheaper than those printed in Onslaught. Thank goodness, because $80.00 US for a Polluted Delta (in paper) is quite steep. Even online, Deltas run at 25+ tickets, which is not an insignificant amount for most people. This lowering in price will open up new people to the eternal formats who before perhaps could not afford the crazy mana base that most tier 1-2 decks use. This coupled with the recent release of Vintage Masters with the dual reprints means that come September 26, there will hopefully be many new players jumping into the most expensive formats in the game.
Even though the Onslaught fetches are the ones being reprinted, their reprinting will cause the price of the Zendikar fetch lands such as Scalding Tarn to drop. This may seem odd, but the answer is simple. If I am playing a High Tide deck in Legacy, I need to use blue fetch lands for perfect brainstorms and deck thinning. Normally, I might use Misty Rainforest and Scalding Tarn because they are a little bit easier to get than the Onslaught blues Polluted Delta and Flooded Strand. However, the reprinting will make the Onslaughts more accessible (Delta’s Onslaught printing has already started to crash, even with Khans deltas on pre-order only), and this will mean that I no longer need to use Misties and Tarns for the job. In other scenarios, players might use fetchlands that are not perfectly on-color, i.e. using a Bloodstained Mire to find a Steam Vents in a Twin deck, all of which will reduce the demand for Zendikar fetches. Modern Jund decks have been known to play Marsh Flats as a black fetch due to lack of Bloodstained Mire and Wooded Foothills as perfectly on-color lands.
In a nutshell, prices will drop and more people will want to play eternal formats as a result.
Unfortunately, I forsee an issue with the reprinting of these wonderful money cards. I am afraid that this will drive the price of other staples such as Wasteland, Dark Confidant, and even lowly Lightning Bolt up. This is due to the simple fact that more players attracted to a format because of the accessibility of one type of staple will put more demand on the others. As great as it will be to have cheaper fetches, the new player base will be putting demand on those other cards that have not seen reprint in recent memory. But why Lightning Bolt? Because Burn is a fairly budget deck that benefits from cheap fetch lands for deck thinning. This is the only real issue with the reprint.
NOTE: This section, while it falls under cons, is NOT technically a con. It is just me ranting at Wizards for the reason behind the reprint.
Let us be perfectly honest. Wizards of the Coast is NOT reprinting fetchlands to crash their prices and make other formats more accessible to new players. I will give one word as to the real reason for the reprint: Modern. That’s right, the lovely new format that was made to “replace” Legacy as a more budget option is the reason these cards are seeing print. Wizards wants to promote the Modern format and expand its player base by making it more like Legacy and making Modern decks and mana bases more powerful. More Modern Players = More Money for WOTC because they can make more from events like the World Champs, which are now Modern. I’m not the biggest fan of Modern, because Wizards killed Extended to “make room” for it, which was totally unnecessary and alienated a large portion of Magic fans.
Modern is not the best format. Arguably, there is no “best” format at all. It may be your favorite, but it’s not mine, and I do not agree with reprinting something in a Standard (and therefore Modern) legal set just to promote a format. I would not mind a dual-land reprint in a special set like Commander, which is not legal in Modern, but WOTC doesn’t really want to give us that carrot yet… Or at all.
Alright, enough ranting! I want to hear from you now. Please, leave comments and ideas about the reprint and its effects on other formats. I know very little about Standard at the moment, and would love to know what kind of impact these cards might have.
Thanks for reading, and hope to see you next week!