A new core set is released for the year 2014 with some new twists and more.
Set Name: Magic 2014
Game: Magic the Gathering
Release Date: July 19, 2013
What’s this set about?
Magic 2014 is the first set to adapt to the new rule change. It will also be the first core set to not include dual lands in a long while. The dreaded slivers tribe are back and upgraded. Veteran players know all too well how ridiculously overpowered this tribe is.
Predatory Sliver, Galerider Sliver, and Manaweft Sliver: There are more Slivers but these Slivers stand out the most. They are upgraded forms of Muscle Sliver, Winged Sliver and Gemhide Sliver respectively. They are upgraded in that their abilities are no long global but only affects your Slivers.
Dark Prophecy: This card makes sure you gain something whenever a creature dies. It belongs only in mono black decks though.
Burning Earth: While not spectacular in Limited format, Burning Earth can wreck effectively any decks in the Standard format what with the overuse of nonbasic lands.
Young Pyromancer: An Izzet deck’s dream creature. If you play enough spells, Pyromancer can quickly produce enough 1/1 Elemental tokens to overwhelm the opponent.
Is this set worth my time?
Sliver fans are definitely going to want this set. Others will feel it is just an ok core set.
It is a steady core set. Two planeswalkers (Chandra and Garruk) received new versions. While they are more powerful, I felt they don’t stand out in design but I welcome the extra option. A new Llanowar Elves is printed in the form of Elvish Mystic giving Elf players an extra mana generator in the future. The card choices and reprint choices are sound. Looking at the cards, it seems as if the core set wants to reset the metagame back to mono color decks. It has more mono color intensive color exclusive cards and multicolor hate cards. New effects further establish the color pie.
The Slivers tribe is the main problem of the set. With their new upgrades, they are now harder to beat. Slivers alone are a problem tribe unless you include board-wipe effects. Even worse is that Mutavault is printed in the same set potentially creating chaos in the Limited Format. As much as I like them, they cause some balance issues and I predict they’ll be among the top decks in future tournaments which is why I don’t feel they should be in a core set (I don’t approve of their new look either). Other cards are either plain/generic to include or questionable in rarity status (like Darksteel Forge with little artifact support and now being in Mythic Rare.)
For any ordinary player, just picking off singles is enough. Sliver players would want to buy more boosters to get the Sliver they want. Making a Sliver tribal deck or preparing anti-Sliver strategies early on could be one of the best move to do for the upcoming Standard metagame. Years from now, I can imagine remembering this set as the Slivers Core Set. Overall it is a fair set but I feel Wizard’s core set design is diminishing in creativity over the years. Hopefully Theros in October will pick up the slack.