A look back at the Future (Sight) Part 2
In that set there was a subset of cards that were billed as from potential future sets, so I wanted to take this milestone to look back and see which of those futures have come to pass, which we’ve gotten close to, and which haven’t happened (yet). While doing all that, I figured I might as well talk about how likely the things that haven’t come back are to come back, and throw some opinions about the cards in there too, just for good measure.
One quick caveat to that, I mostly play commander, so my most of my opinions on these cards will be from the lens of that format. I’ll try the context I like cards in, and what I might do with them, but in general commander playability will be lense I am looking at these cards through.
With that, let’s get back into it, starting with an interesting cycle to see in the future-shifted sheet:
Despite these cards having no text box, there is a actually a decent amount to talk about here. First of all, two of them have come back, Nessian Courser was in Theros, and Mass of Ghouls was in Tenth Edition. As Tenth Edition was a core set that was 100% reprints, you can decide if that counts as Future Sight pulling it from some possible future or not yourself.
Next, let’s look at that lack of text box.
The first full-frame cards were the basic lands in Unglued and then again in Unhinged. The unglued seem like a half way step to full-frame to me, as they were the first, and still contain both the tap, and mana symbols, but there is still no actual text box.-
Despite all of that though, these 5 cards are still the only creatures to be printed as full-frame.
I like using this feature for vanilla creatures, as they don’t have rules text anyway, but I’m guessing that Wizards has decided to back off the use of full-frame for everything save lands, as we haven’t seen any non-lands with this treatment since the Magic Player Rewards program went away in 2010, but we are still seeing full-art promos for things like Game Day.
If this is the stance they’ve taken, I can understand as cards without rules text can be tough for new players (and even for some not so new players) to know what the cards do, and they either have to look them up, or just believe their opponent, neither of which is great to the flow of a game. By restricting this feature to basic lands you still use it, but don’t have those issues.
The final thing to talk about is the creature types of three of these.
Blade of the Sixth Pride was far from the first cat, or the first rebel, but it is currently magic’s only Cat rebel. Most of the previous rebel cards were either Humans, or Kor, as those were the big groups who were rebelling in the sets where this creature type really showed up. There are a few other races of creatures that showed up in those sets, such as the horse rebel, Trenching Steed, but I think Blade of the Sixth Pride was a glimpse of a possible future where we got to a plane that brings back the rebel mechanic, and is also populated by cats who are, in fact rebelling against something.
At this point in time I think that future set is very unlikely, Mark Rosewater has said that the rebel mechanic is a 9 on the stormscale (a 10 point scale to express the likelihood of a mechanic bring printed in a new standard legal set), which is described as “I never say never, but this would require a minor miracle”. I know there are some people who love rebels, but Mark said that overall the mechanic is unpopular, overpowered, and involves lots of shuffling, all of which are big marks against it.
Fomori Nomad is the most recently printed Nomad (at least as a new card, a couple were reprinted after this was first printed), so it’s like a look at an alternate future where that creature type continued to get support, rather than fading like it did in our timeline.
Nessian Courser is a like the flipside of Fomori Nomad. Centaurs are a creature type that didn’t get a lot of support in early magic, there are two total centaur cards until Odyssey Block, Citanul Centaurs, and Jolrael’s Centaur. Wizard’s then decided to mix up all the traditional creature types in Odyssey block, so they went with Centaurs over elves, but that was then switched back for Onslaught block so we didn’t get anymore centaurs until Ravnica had a couple.
Nessian Courser I think was a view of a set that brought them back like Odyssey did, and we actually got that a few years ago in Theros Block, a block inspired by Greek mythology, so it too eschewed elves for centaurs.
It’s ability is a variation of the Prodigal Sorcerer mechanic, which was a card first in Alpha, but that ability started to get moved to red, including a time-shifted printing in Planar Chaos, in Prodigal Pyromancer. Probably the closest card to Bloodshot Trainee before it’s printing was Spikeshot Goblin, though Bloodshot Trainee is locked into a specific number, and requires you boost it’s natural power to even be able to use the ability, making it much more work to activate, and more limited in it’s usefulness than the aforementioned goblin.
Still, it’s neat, and I’m glad something odd like this found a home. When Wizard’s was working on the game’s return to Mirrodin they must have decided that a world known for its equipment, and one that contained a creature so close to Bloodshot Trainee would make a good home for it.
While the Warrior creature type was used well before this, this is only the second card to actually to do some lord type thing for the creature type, and the first was printed right before this block, on Lovisa Coldeyes in Coldsnap.
That support for warriors has popped up a couple more times since this was printed, including a number of cards right alongside Boldwyr Intimidator in Morningtide, like Bramblewood Paragon and Brighthearth Banneret, and some support in Khans of Tarkir block, such as Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale.
The other noteworthy part of Boldwyr Intimidator is it is still the only card in the entire game to mention the creature type “Coward” in rules text. Apparently even it showing up in the future wasn’t quite enough for that creature type to really become a thing in the game, but we’ll see maybe something will come of it eventually.
Bonded Fetch is a card that I like probably more than I should, but I don’t care. In practice it’s just an expensive Merfolk Looter, it loots on the same turn, but it just costs 1 more mana. I suppose it having haste does mean it’s not on the board for a full turn before you can use it, but these aren’t really high value targets, and even if someone does take time and resources to take out your Merfolk Looter you are probably up on the exchange, even if you never got to use it’s ability.
What I really love about Bonded Fetch is that it has a fundamentally defensive ability, and a fundamentally offensive ability, and is accomplishing something that is neither of those. This is a utility creature, like the aforementioned Merfolk Looter, or like a Sigiled Starfish(though this one’s 3 toughness makes a better defensive creature and a good utility creature). You cast these not to attack or block, but rather to slowly gain you advantage over the long term. Which is what makes me like these kind of cards.
There are a number of examples of using creatures with Defender being utility creatures or even offensive creatures, both going way back before Bonded Fetch with things like Tinder Wall, and then going forward to things like Vent Sentinel, and Thermo-Alchemist, so Bonded Fetch looks more like Wizards playing with haste in the future, rather than them playing with Defender.
I have only found 1 example of a creature with Haste being not aggressive, and that example is Beastcaller Savant. So there is a little bit of a call back there, though what I loved about Bonded Fetch was the apparent contradiction in abilities, still it’s cool to see that bit of design space being played with.
It’s hard to say how likely Bonded Fetch itself is to be printed. I’m going to guess there isn’t a good chance though, because it is potentially color pie warping to put an ability like Haste in blue, even if it is for utility things, not attackers. Also, I don’t think the game gains a ton out of using Haste that way, while it has potentially more to lose in confusion among players, especially newer players, about color identity, and what tools each color has, especially when you can get cards that are very close to this without having to do the color bleed with something like Geist of the Archives.
On the other hand, it’s possible we’ll see a little more exploration of it in a color like green, that tends not to be as aggressive as red, and green has Haste as a tertiary ability, while Blue doesn’t really get it at all.
This was the first card to have the Tribal card type, which came back in Lorwyn, the very next set after Future Sight. The card type was mentioned on another card in the Future-shifted sheet, but I’ll talk about that when I get to it, as it’s got some other stuff going on too.
At this point in time I am positive this card won’t show up in standard as it not only features the Rebel creature type, which, as I mentioned above, the original Rebel Mechanic is a 9 on the stormscale, but this card also features Tribal, which is a card type Wizards has publicly said they won’t support on new cards going forward.
So it’s a bit like this card is from an alternate timeline where Lorwyn contained rebels, or perhaps one where neither of those mechanics went away.
Bridge from below does something interesting, though it wasn’t the first thing that worked in your graveyard, Nether Shadow was in Alpha, and Ashen Ghoul was in Ice Age. There is even Haakon, Stromgald Scourge, which was printed in Coldsnap, right before Time Spiral block was printed.
Bridge from Below goes beyond having an ability in the graveyard, and even beyond only being castable in the Graveyard. This is a card that only functions in your graveyard. You can totally cast it from your hand, but it does nothing for you on the battlefield. It’s still the only card to do this, and will probably remain that way. It let’s legacy dredge decks do very odd, and broken, things, and Mark Rosewater thinks that development in Magic R&D would rather not mess with bringing this card back. I suppose that doesn’t preclude some other card coming back that does this thing, but I would guess that, as it would be so niche, and also liable to do busted things, I am pretty confidant that Wizard’s will simply avoid this design space.
Centaur Omenreader has not yet been reprinted.
Like many other cards in this block, there are a lot of elements to look at for this card. Let’s first look at it’s creature types.
I talked about Centaur above with Nessian Courser, but this card is also a Shaman. Shaman is a creature type that showed up here and there in early magic, but it never hit a very high density, nor did it have any lord type effects until Kamigawa block, with Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro, which was just two blocks before this one. Then it got a lot more support in Lorwyn block, so this could have been a small glimpse into the immediate future where this creature type more fully entered the games repertoire of creature types.
Next, this creature also has a super-type that we don’t see often. It’s a snow permanent. Snow first showed up on basic lands in Ice Age, and was used very sparingly in Alliances. It received a much deeper treatment in Coldsnap, which, as I said above, was the set right before the Time Spiral block. I always thought this was an odd card on the future-shifted sheet for that reason, as it seems like a look back, rather than a look forward.
Then I realized there aren’t any Centaur in the Ice Age block, so this is more of a look forward to a new set with Snow, a cold world that also contains Centaur.
Snow, by itself, is a 7 on the stormscale. Mark defines that as “It’s unlikely to return, but possible if the right environment comes along”. That alone makes this a fairly unlikely reprint, but then the world also has to have centaurs, and Centaur Omenreader also has another ability on it.
I think it’s a cool one, especially now that we have vehicles as a way to tap creatures without them having to attack, but it’s likely that Wizard’s R&D will want a block to care about tapping things to reprint this card, so that it actually fits in better. So, a reprint seems pretty unlikely. Still, it’s a cool card, and I really hope we do see a snow world with centaurs, and maybe some Sled vehicle cards to tap this and other creatures.
That seems like a good place to stop. I’ll be back again, with more cards from Future Sight.
@alexandernewm on Twitter
Moltenronrick on Tappedout.net
I started playing Magic when I was 8, and Revised had just been released, and have been playing on and off since then.
I like to write, and I like magic, so writing about magic was a natural step.
I live in Minnesota, USA where it's pretty cold, then fairly hot, and then pretty cold again.But at least we don't get Earthquakes, hurricanes or *that many Tornadoes.