“Now let’s talk about the fetch lands. Can we talk about the fetch lands, please, Mac? I’ve been dying to talk about the fetch land reprints with you all day, okay?” –Every Modern and Legacy player ever
Last week, I casually mentioned my own personal thoughts on Twitter about the subject of if and when Wizards will introduce the Onslaught fetch lands (Polluted Delta, Windswept Heath, Bloodstained Mire, Flooded Strand, and Wooded Foothills, for newer players) into Modern, or even Standard. For those interested in reading the opinions of the other members of the conversation, here’s a link to the Twitter page. Also, every person in that conversation is worth following. Twitter is one of the best places on the Internet for Magic financial updates.
If you don’t feel like reading the thread, I’ll summarize my thoughts here. I personally believe that we will not ever see the Onslaught fetch lands in Modern or Standard, but there may eventually be a supplemental product (such as a Commander-esque set) that contains them. As for Zendikar fetches, I think that the most likely candidate for delivering them lies in the unannounced, yet probably soon-to-come Modern Masters 2. This still leaves them out of Standard, but helps the Modern, Legacy, and EDH demand. If you feel like I’m on something other than cardboard crack and want to close the browser without reading further, I won’t judge you. However, I’d like to take a few moments of your time and utilize the next few paragraphs to explain my reasoning, since I couldn’t fit everything into 140-character bursts.
Crack, Fetch, Take Two Minutes, I’m Wasting Time
In these articles, and numerous other minor internet posts that I remember seeing but was unable to locate (convincing argument, I know), the people who make our card game have publicly announced their dislike for the amount of time wasted by too much needless shuffling in a game of Magic. At a casual level, it’s not a big deal. Kitchen table players have all the time in the world, and generally don’t worry about cutting the deck or having opponents shuffle.
However, at a competitive level, matches are timed. We have 50 minutes to play up to three games of Magic, and sometimes even that’s not enough for drawn out control mirrors. Taking up several minutes throughout the match to perform a mundane game action that isn’t really “playing Magic” is definitely not an optimal use of our time. I think it’s a large factor that Wizards is willing to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to reintroduce any fetch lands into Standard, or the Onslaught ones into Modern.
Does it Matter When we Have Shocks?
When discussing Modern, players often make the joke that “Modern is a 17 life format.” This is because there are so many games that start out by using a fetch land to grab a corresponding shock land, bring it in untapped, and cast a vital turn-one spell. Misty Rainforest, Stomping Ground, Noble Hierarch, go. Four-color decks are already easily viable in the format. Does adding the Onslaught fetches really change much, when we’re already just using shock lands to smooth out our mana? I don’t see how resurrecting Polluted Delta would be at the forefront of the minds of Wizards when there is tons of unexplored land space waiting to be used.
There’s the argument that it is unfair for enemy colors having the ability to fetch basic lands as opposed to the allied colors, but I honestly don’t think it’s that big of a deal to omit the Onslaught fetches from Modern. Historically, Wizards has shown a massive preference towards allied colors in land cycles, and some incomplete cycles have shown to be more successful then others. I have seen zero requests to finish a Grove of the Burnwillows cycle, even when that card is just as expensive as Arid Mesa. No blood has been shed over the lack of finishing the River of Tears cycle either. My point is that it’s ok to have “incomplete” cycles sometimes, even though our human minds crave patterns and want things to look finished.
But We NEEEEED Reprints!
Technically, I don’t think we need Flooded Strand reprints at all. Other than the occasional Land Tax unban and intentional tossed bone in the form of Deathrite Shaman or Abrupt Decay, it looks like Wizards has all but given up on Legacy. The Reserved list prevents the company from supplying dual lands, keeping a ceiling on the actual number of people able to play the format. We get approximately one Legacy grand prix a year, and it’s not a PTQ format. Like Vintage, Legacy is headed down the road to being a “privileged” format where only people who have excessive disposable income or who have been sticking with the game since its origin can afford. And that’s okay. Not every person can afford every format. This is why I believe that if we do see Onslaught reprints, they’ll be in the form of a supplemental product, like Conspiracy (they almost certainly won’t be in Conspiracy, but a future similarly designed product could hold them). This keeps them out of Modern and Standard, but still sells product like wildfire and douses the price to a degree.
On the other hand, we do need more Scalding Tarns in the market. It’s not okay to have a single card cost $80 in an FNM-legal format for an extended period of time. If we listen to Aaron Forsythe’s discussion on the BSB podcast a few weeks ago, it’s evident that demand exploded before Wizards had time to react. I believe that we’ll have to wait out that delayed reaction time a bit longer, because Wizards does work 18 months in advance. Back then, fetches weren’t even close to their current prices. Modern Masters was testing the waters, but I think it’s clear that it was an overall success, and the company would be foolish to not repeat the concept and increase the print run slightly. Until then, I think we’ll have to suck up having expensive fetches, and we won’t get any until a whole year from now.
Bring the Comments
I know that this is a hot topic, so I’m very interested in sparking a discussion and listening to what you readers have to say. Is there anyone else out there who agrees with me, but for different reasons? There are definitely other factors in this debate. Do you think I’m a complete idiot, and that we’ll see Windswept Heath with the new border that’s being debuted in M15? Regardless, it’ll definitely be an interesting year going forward, and seeing the course of action that WOTC decides to run with. Until next week!
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