The general rumor consensus seems to be that its a wedge block, meaning it will be based around a color and its two enemy colors. Lets go with that.
Role of Commander in the Block
Lauri had an interesting thought: MaRo said – in the interview by Richard Hagon aired between rounds during Pro Tour Journey Into Nyx – that the block is going to be the standard three set fair, but with the structure of big-small-big we saw back during Innistrad block, and there will be something totally new about the block. So, Lauri suggested that perhaps the Commander set due out in the Fall will be tied into the block.
Think about it: I wasn’t around for Alara, but from what I hear, the mana was attrocious in limited. So, perhaps WotC isn’t looking to put that many triple colored cards into the sets. After all, people are unwilling to first pick two-colored cards because they don’t want to commit themselves into two colors that early. If so, they definitely want to stay away from three-colored ones.
However, there’s a big demand for Commanders from wedges. I know this very well myself. I would like to play more BUG, but I feel I can’t get much more out of the three Commanders available to me.
Of course, they could put these legendary creatures into mythic, but I don’t think they want to do that, because they don’t want to overdo the emphasis on Commander in a set, which is supposedly designed mostly for drafts and standard (generally rare and mythic are the rarities where the good standard cards are put). If they have the opportunity to put these into circulation outside of the usual block and core sets, why wouldn’t they.
On the other hand, if they are doing Commander annually now, they need to distinguish those sets from each other. They need have their own identity. So, that will require work from the creative (the part of the R&D that’s responsible for the flavor of the world).
Thus, making Commander part of the block (although not legal in Standard or Block), they can take pressure away from both the higher rarities of the sets themselves, and the creative. Why wouldn’t they.
Which brings us to the next point…
Perhaps this is wishful thinking, because I like tribes, but still.
Of course, the block is going to need more of an angle then multicolored. We’ve seen that. Obviously, we are going to see color-combinations which were largely unexplored previously, but I don’t think that will be enough. So, we have the khans. Khans are rulers. So perhaps they rule over some tribe (in MtG lingo).
This could tie in with the previous speculation. Tribes would be a nice angle for the Commander decks.
Of course, previously we’ve seen societies, which have ascended race (such as the guilds of Ravnica), so perhaps I’m wishing for too much. Also, MaRo has said that they will do tribal in the future, but won’t go as far as they went in Lorwyn/Shadowmoor, but they will go further than in Innistrad.
Of course, Innistrad wasn’t too far away, so they might not be ready to go there just yet.
Back in the day, each new block would swing very far from the previous one. Now they try to ease Standard into a new focus. The new block doesn’t do everything differently, they do it just differently enough to make a difference. Some cards will play nicely with both the previous and next blocks, while there will also be answers to both the previous and next block, so that gameplay won’t be stagnant.
So, now that we have Devotion, I’d like to see Standard going further into monocolored. The way to do that, somewhat paradoxically, is going hybrid. The reason for this: Hybrid lets you have more choices in limited. Also, if they really want the three-color feel, they could lessen some of the mana problems by using plenty of hybrid. I don’t think they want to go as far as they did back in Shadowmoor/Eventide, but that would be a good direction.
Also, with hybrid, they could create a feel for three-colored without fully committing to it.
After studying the Conspiracy I’m now thinking that Dethrone might show up in the Commander set. Quite likely it will not be seen in Khans but on the other hand it would make thematic sense.
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Plenty of speculation that the thing coming back may well be Horsemanship. I sincerely hope it isn’t Horsemanship.
I doubt it will be Horsemanship. Since they still have fliers in Standard (and if the blocks theme will involve dragons, there will be even more fliers), having two abilities, which are basically the same, but make blocking even more awkward is highly unlikely.
Also, they like to have all creatures with wings on the art have flying, so that players don’t get confused. In a similar vein, they would have plenty of people on horses, who wouldn’t have Horsemanship. They might be ok with that in additional products, but they don’t want that in their major formats. At least I think so.
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