Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"The Spark Wars begins"

"The Spark Wars begins"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

Spark Wars. A new format that has been discussed in the last couple of days in the Magic forums. Taking its cue from the last Commander 2015 products where Planeswalkers were being used as Commanders for the first time Spark Wars is taking the game into a more limited and challenging space. 

So to start things off this particular format only utilizes cards from these particular blocks as well as the core sets that were released in between them.

Lorwyn Block
Alara Block
Zendikar Block
Scars of Mirrodin Block
Innistrad Block
Return to Ravnica Block
Theros Block
Khans of Tarkir Block

The limit that was set here is to remove overpowered cards from the card pool. Legacy and Vintage cards adding into EDH and Tiny Leaders favors long time players or players who have the time and finances to acquire these strong cards. With the limitation set to Lorwyn to Khans of Tarkir some strong staple cards like the Pacts or Force of Wills are removed but this is not to say that there won't be any abusive combos still coming out of the wood works. There has been a banned list of sorts that have come out with the format but I expect that there will be more as Magic communities around the world build around this particular format. 

On a side note here Lorwyn was probably chosen because this was where the original planeswalkers surfaced. It seemed like a very unlikely block to have planeswalkers but it just went to show during that time that Planeswalker are everywhere even in a pastoral plane such as Lorwyn.

Now on to the format itself. Spark Wars is really like EDH and Tiny Leaders combined. The number you are looking for here is 61. 60 cards plus your Commander which should be a planeswalker. The rules are the same no cards with the same name except for basic lands and the color identity of the deck is based on the mana colors of your Planeswalker commander.

The other rule is that there should be no other Planeswalker in your deck.I think that this is a great rule because having access to different versions of one planeswalker means that you could take advantage of the latest Legendary rule. The one where you could cast a planeswalker , use an ability and cast another one to be able to use that "fresh" planeswalkers ability and let the other one explode. Since your Commander is a planeswalker you always have one handy and could be sacrificed if need be creating so many complications.

This format is exciting because it gives players another venue to channel their creativity. A limited card pool means that most of these cards are relatively cheaper to come by than cards coming from the older Blocks like Onslaught or Mirrodin. Players could also create new interactions based on the cards that they already have lying around their homes. Maybe even discovering new combos and interactions along the way which in my mind is one of the greatest draws of this game.

I guess the only downside that I see is that the new Flip Planeswalker cards are included in the banned list since their casting costs are way too cheap and are considered to be overpowered. I guess I would just have to put my PR foil Liliana , Heretical Healer in some other deck. So now it is time to ignite your spark , create your Planeswalker deck and on to the Spark Wars.

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