As far as card games go, Magic: The Gathering does everything bigger and better. Except, the online player experience, but Magic is designed to be enjoyed in person, at live events, and with your friends in your living room. The designers at Wizards of the Coast recently announced that they were changing the structure to Magic’s iconic block expansions. I will miss the previous expansion system, which created some great themes and stories.
Up until now, Magic: The Gathering has released blocks of two or three expansions that built on the same themes, similar card mechanics, and motifs. Now they are playing fast and loose with their plans, they will release one bigger core set during the summer, and then follow it up with three other expansions throughout the next three seasons (fall, winter, spring). These can be one-offs, build on the previous set, or anything the designers believe will be cool. Well it got me to write an article, so something must be working. Here are my favorite Magic expansions from the game’s long history.
Ice Age (1995)
I have a soft spot for this expansion. I first learned about Magic: The Gathering because of this set and I have purchased a number of classic booster packs from this set. I could not resist the urge to keep them sealed. I mostly enjoy this set because of the ice theme, there weren’t too many overpowered cards, but it did have some great land artwork. Some of the lands were even covered in snow, which gave them specific interactions with other cards.
Mirrodin Besieged (2011)
I started to play Magic with my college roommates during this expansion. I loved the focus on Infect and Proliferate. So many decks were focused on life-gain, whether through white spells or life-linking creatures, but infect ignored all of that. It effectively gave the players an alternative way to defeat their opponents. I have always been a fan of green cards and this deck provided a great way to build powerful creatures with infect and win games quickly. The first time I started using the mechanic I thought I misunderstood the rules because it seemed so overpowered.
The storyline of this expansion made it rise to the top of my list. The designers imagined a new plane, Innistrad that was being torn apart by dark forces. The second expansion within this block made it seem like the whole plain was going to be destroyed by demons, until Avacyn the angel restored peace to the land in the third set of the block. This storyline kept me motivated and reading all of the flavor texts from the cards. I also went to my first prerelease tournament for Avacyn Restored. Innistrad included the new Transform ability which focused on vampires and werewolves gaining power due to certain conditions. Devler of Secrets was one of the best common cards from the set, and skyrocketed in price because it was included in so many deck lists. Snapcaster Mage also made a huge splash on the pro scene and made big plays even more exciting.
I am interested in the next phase of Magic’s evolution and I never stop following the new releases and news. I really should have gotten into the Egyptian themed set, but oh well I can still create a Modern deck masterpiece.
Which Magic: the Gathering cards are your favorite?
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks