Rishadan Pawnshop #10 Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen

Rishadan Pawnshop #10 – Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen

Though Zendikar has yet to be completely spoiled, players are already pushing and shoving to get in line to pre-order. Warren Instigator and Day of Judgment definitely have people excited, but the cards producing the most buzz are without a doubt the new cycle of enemy fetchlands.

There are a few things we know for sure. They are some of the most anticipated cards to be printed since Onslaught (and the original fetchlands). They are going to have an impact on formats across the board, from Vintage to Standard and everything in between. And they are definitely going to be worth a lot of money. However, today I'm not going to sit and talk about things we already know. I'm going to talk about reasons why I think that the enemy fetchlands were a bad idea.

First of all, the introduction of the enemy fetchlands will prevent growth in value of many cards and hurt the price of even more. Standard provides a difficult basis for comparison since a majority of the significant lands are already rotating out (the [card Flooded Grove]filters[/card], [card Vivid Creek]vivids[/card] and [card]Reflecting Pool[/card]). However, one format that will see the effects of the introduction of these lands is Extended. Without fetchlands, decks would have to lean more towards two colors, or three maximum, to still be able to assemble consistent manabases. This means that players would be playing more four-ofs of the [card Stomping Ground]Ravnica block duals[/card]. In addition, to fill out the manabases, deck builders would have the potential to test [card Twilight Mire]Shadowmoor block filters[/card], [card Rootbound Crag]M10 duals[/card], and maybe even [card Arcane Sanctuary]Alara block tri-lands[/card] or old school [card Underground River]painlands[/card]. This increase in demand for other lands to compensate for the lack of mana-tutoring brought on by the loss of the Onslaught fetches would push the prices of these "substitutes" up.

However, the re-introduction of fetchlands into the format will significantly hinder the possibility of this price increase as M10 duals, tri-lands and painlands will probably never see Extended play. Instead of leaning towards four-ofs for consistency, players can get away with running two or three and just fetching the color they need when they want it. Filter lands, which saw some play last Extended season, will not be given the full opportunity to shine because fetches will still exist. The lands that were waiting to make their Extended debuts will never be able to, and will rotate out of the format before fetches ever leave. Their prices will sink with the rotation and will likely remain there. The mana advantage that the fetches provides is just too good to make you need to run anything else.

Sure, there are a few cards that will gain some value with the new lands entering the format. [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card], for one, has the possibility of seeing Standard play. Also, cards with the new landfall ability will shine with the fetches in the format. I'm sure there are other cards that I'm just not thinking of off the top of my head that have the opportunity to gain value with the introduction of the fetches, but overall there are too many cards that stand to lose or be prevented from gaining value for me to think this is actually a good idea. It's not just the "other" rare lands either. With Faeries and other decks unable to easily splash R/G for [card]Ancient Grudge[/card], Affinity stood a legitimate chance of being a tier one deck again in Extended. With Affinity being good, [card Kataki, Wars Wage]Kataki[/card] would rise in value as well. The viability of decks that can easily splash Kataki (like maybe [card Doran, the Siege Tower]Doran[/card] or White Weenie/X) would open up opportunities for many other cards to gain value from the trickle down. As you can see, the re-introduction of fetches affects more than just the price of substitute manabase pieces.

I mentioned that the mana advantage from running fetches was just too good to make you need to run anything else. In Extended, fetches combined with Ravnica duals allowed for some really dumb splashes to exist. How would you feel facing a three-color aggro deck that actually runs all five colors and five-damage, two-mana [card Tribal Flames]burn spells[/card]? Or facing a "mono blue" aggro control deck that splashes a [card Ancient Grudge]red spell[/card] with a green flashback to shore up one bad matchup? Two color decks with a splash aren't that out of the ordinary, but four and five-colors "splashes" shouldn't come so easily. I remember the days of Mirrodin/Champions Standard when color-fixing was green and three-color decks were the extreme. Fetches and duals make manabases way too easy to build and the combination is almost a crutch. You think of what the most powerful cards you can add to your deck are before the question of, "Can my manabase support all this?" even crosses your mind. I was very much looking forward to an Extended season with cleaner decklists and simpler Magic, but alas, my hopes are dashed.

In the long run, manabases that put themselves together can't be good for the game. If I wanted a deck with free mana of any color I'd play World of Warcraft or Vs. System or some nonsense like that. But I don't want to play those games. I want to play a game where every aspect of how I build my deck matters. Not only what expensive money cards and what role players I choose to fill in, but color choices and specific land counts as well. By making manabases so generic, Wizards is dumbing down a part of the game that is makes it unique.

Lastly, I don't know if it's just me, but I am sort of getting the feeling that Wizards is running out of things to print. Time Spiral block was nice. We got to see a huge chunk of old reprints, favorites like [card Akroma, Angel of Fury]Akroma[/card] and [card Char]Psionic Blast[/card]. We also saw older cards in new colors like [card Wrath of God]Damnation[/card]. More recently, in Shards of Alara we had [card Disenchant]Naturalize[/card], [card Counterspell]Cancel[/card] and [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] reprinted. In M10, a set that claimed to have a bunch of new cards, we got [card Elite Vanguard]Savannah Lions[/card], [card Runeclaw Bear]Grizzly Bears[/card], [card Essence Scatter]Remove Soul[/card] and a bunch of other cards reprinted, just with different names. Zendikar spoilers are claiming that [card]Demolish[/card], [card]River Boa[/card] and [card]Mind Sludge[/card] are all going to be reprinted as well. As if any of these cards are going to have a real impact on Constructed?

I was really hoping to see something different with Zendikar. The land theme had me very excited for a new cycle of dual lands. Would it be like [card]Nimbus Maze[/card]? Maybe like [card]River of Tears[/card]? Maybe something new that we haven't seen before. Nope. Instead it's the same old thing just in different colors. Again.

I know this sounds very rant-ish and not everyone would agree. Bottom line is, though I'm not going to quit playing Magic, I am a little disappointed that Wizards actually caved and printed the enemy fetchlands. Maybe it was their plan all along? Maybe they just couldn't say no to the consumer demands any longer? Or maybe it's just another gimmick to sell more product? Either way, I just wanted to provide an alternate point of view in this sea of "Omfg I love Zendikar so much I want to have its babies" articles that have been flying around and will continue to be around for the next few weeks. Zendikar will be an awesome set and will be very significant, both in terms of financial value and competitive play. However, not everything that glitters will help your trade binder become gold, help you become a better deckbuilder or is necessarily even anything new. Agree, disagree, or have something to add or ask, make sure you sound off in the comments section. Thanks for stopping by the shop this week.


46 thoughts on “Rishadan Pawnshop #10 Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen”

  1. River Boa could totally be relevant for Constructed.

    …admittedly, my only idea how with the creature curve nowadays is “he regenerates from your own Day of Judgment”, but still.

  2. I see what you are saying about the fetches .. But they were some what necessary if they wanted to make landfall powerful.

    It is always nice to see cards in a new set that will impact old formats as well as new formats. This set will make your trade “gold”- especially if you get your hands on a Lotus Cobra! 🙂

    Deckbuilding? What’s that? I mean lets get real here – who really builds decks in the competitive circuit anyway? It’s all a bunch of netdecks that are passed down from the magic brain-trust.

    It’s late I will ramble in your comments more later 🙂

  3. I totally agree. I was so ready for Extended to rotate and get back to a fairly normal format, but now its just going to be the same 5c shenanigans as last season. Not to mention ruining Standard…


  4. This was just a rant. However i agree with some points, but usually I read this article to look for hidden gems that give me more insight into the magic card market. All this was, was complaints about cards that wont gain value. How about we talk about the best way to handle the fact that this set will be huge, and how to make money because of it. Really an article not worth reading, yes they are printing new fetchlands, now how can we make some money because of it? Or hell, talk about some “sleepers” that we’ve seen already. Maybe the fact that Ob Nixilis sold out on your site already?

  5. I am not sure if it is bad or good to make more fetches. Splashing many colors is possible, but it still comes at a price. The broken 5 damage for 2 was barely played last year compared to the more consistant and more life friendly 3 color zoo variant. Affinity will never be tier 1 for more than 2 weeks at a time and the fetches did not change that. Instead of a fae deck splashing r and g for grudge, they would just splash white for kataki and possibly path to adapt. Shadowmoor filter lands will still see play, the b/g one saw play last year with fetches still in extended. It can also be argued that the better mana makes the game less frustrating becauase who complains of getting color screwed in ext and beyond? Being able to play many colors also brings MORE innovation to the table. Look at 5 color control in standard, it was the most popular deck in the format, yet articles were created to tell the audience not to net deck it. The deck had so many options that the most popular archtype changed weekly because of the amount of different spells it can play. I can also build decks that feature all of my favorite cards in one deck. That sounds pretty good for the game to me. That happens to be my favorite way to build decks. Giving the set more hype and making the packs worth more may have a negative connotation for some reason, but it makes magic stronger. The company makes more money and we have packs that we can be excited about. They also have a relevant theme in the block, wizards put some thought into this. Landfall will be a better ability because of this. I hate when new mechanics are introduced and are unplayable in constructed formats.

  6. My playtest group spent a week spamming each other’s Facebook walls with “FETCHES?! F*** STANDARD! FML!!!”

  7. Seeker – he was also, traditionally, a good blocker for mid-range or control decks, one with the option of going aggro in the mirror. Plus, he used to wear a Rancor really well.

  8. was really hoping to see exploration, in all honestly…..

    i particularly don’t like how you have to play lands that come into play tapped that have no synergy with each other with 2 friendly colors, with no other options. not even some rubbish like city of brass or tendo ice bridge.


  9. First of all, awesome title.

    Second, it’s a good point. I wasn’t planning to play Extended any time soon anyway, but it does look like this was specifically timed to _avoid_ changing the format. Which I don’t think is what they should be doing.

    And I see your point about “running out of idea” but what gets me more is that they seem to be on a path to make the obvious play the correct one. Continuing what happened in Alara block, I don’t see a lot of openings to surprise or outmaneuver your opponent. I don’t see flexibility requiring a bluff of your hand or a read of the opponent’s. In short, I don’t see tricks.

    Landfall may be very powerful, but it happens at sorcery speed and the exception – fetches – are things you see coming. None of the traps so far seem Constructed-playable. The most interesting card I’ve seen is Vines of Vastwood. And if I’m hoping for Giant Growth to save the format, then I’m clearly digging deep.

  10. Hey, Great Title, and great article.

    I personally love the enemy fetch lands, they’ll help cube, edh, prismatic, 5-color and other alternative formats. As a foil collector, I can’t wait to get my hands on them and Zendikar, as you said, is going to be an awesome set. As a dealer, we’re getting preorders cases at a time, very exciting.

    Your article raises a lot of interesting points. I’m glad M10 provided some new cards, and I am going to argue that Elite Vanguard being a soldier is going to end up being relevant and deserves to be printed as a different name. Essence Scatter…crap! There was no reason to do that, even if the creative talents where that unhappy with the name (the only reason to print things like that I suppose).

    I agree, the fetch lands are trouble, especially for extended. Extended has been a varied, interesting format in the past, even with the original fetch lands. I think our players have this format nailed down, and the fetch lands leaving would have shaken things up quite a bit. I’m not happy to see these coming in. It’s going to be a repeat season of last year.

    Rosewater mentioned this being his plan 5 years ago, so I think enemy fetch lands have just been in the pipeline longer then the past 2 warped extended seasons with the super decks that came out of it.

    For standard, I think they will impact the format but it won’t be warping.

    Overall, kudos for a great, well written article.

  11. “How about we talk about the best way to handle the fact that this set will be huge, and how to make money because of it. ”

    Uh, buy some of the product if you can and resell. There, I just helped you out. I mean this is pretty much the most obvious set to gain value from. Buy product and crack if you feel lucky or hold onto it and resell 90 dollar boxes at 110-120 a few weeks after the set comes out. Thanks to WOTC allocating product, odds are good everyone will run out in a mad craze to get fetches.

  12. 3 Colors or more in a Deck usually don´t make it more fun, they make it boring. If i can play every Spell in the Format the identity of the colors is lost. In 5CC almost all Spells feel sort of colorless. Spells do not feel “blue” or “URB” anymore in this archetype and that is what makes it incredibly boring. If there are no restrictions on Deckbuilding in regards of color, there will be less need to innovate. There will be less Tier 2 Decks because the Tier 1 Decks can too easily adapt by changing the splash(es) or just adding cards they should not be able to cast in the first place.

    I know enemyfetches are what the community cried for the most, but in my opinion the should have waited at least one more year. Extended should get a chance at being different from the years before but instead its the same old story again. Now we got three more boring years of “fetch, shockdual” ahead of us. And i must admit i do not like it very much… And after that they probably bring some sort of Duals back…

  13. Not too mention we just got a cycle of 3-basics fetchlands (Panoramas) in Shards. IMO Landfall could have made Panoramas potentially playable in Standard, which would have been interesting. Not to mention a nice piece of that cross-block synergy Maro is always banging on about.

  14. @Jeremy: OMG I love the title of this soooooo much. Just terrific.
    @Amarsir: I wonder if Harrow will see competitive play. It seems a little loose, but maybe it will have a home.

  15. Most of the community are kind of self-destructive people, so giving them what they’re yelling about seems to be a bad idea on principle.

    Give them what makes them happy, sure, because thatls what they need. But giving them what they are upset about seems done, because they don’t get upset for good reasons, and they’re kind of upset all the time.

  16. I’m a Legacy player (although I have always hated the name of the format) and I can attest that there are MANY misconceptions about the format considering the ability players have to make whatever manabases they want to fit their deck. It’s not that easy! You have Wasteland to worry about; you have Stifle to worry about; there’s Blood Moon and Magus of the Moon to keep in mind; Back to Basics, Sinkhole and Rishadon Port are all cards you have to at least consider when building a deck. Despite how many advocates there are out there for playing 4 and even 5 color decks in Legacy, decks with that many colors rarely do well in the format, especially in large tournaments, and they never last long. It’s too easy to be cut off from your colors.

    That said, all these arguments about “Extended is too deep to have enemy fetchlands” are asinine to me. It’s not too deep. IT’S NOT DEEP ENOUGH!

    I personally feel that Wasteland should have been reprinted in Conflux to help keep standard in check, let alone Extended. Honestly, it was only logical to me that if you are going to have a set that’s going to reward you for playing Domain that punishing people for NOT running Domain in the same set would follow the same goal.

    The printing of enemy fetchlands was very good for the game, and especially for Legacy where even having three color manabases is tough enough. This will actually add diversity to Legacy, and if it comes at the expense of Extended (which I can’t see how it does because it essentially changes nothing in the format) I’m okay with that.

    So here’s my approach, instead of complaining about something that’s already done, why don’t all the unhappy people contact WotC about the “problem” and ask for effective “solutions”? Both the problems and solutions exist in Legacy and it is the single most vibrant and diverse format there is because of it.

  17. They’re probably printed just so nobody has to bother dissembling their extended decks.

    If they’re continuing this plan it would really help me out if they just printed:

    Astral Landslide 2W
    Landfall: Exile target creature, return it to play under it’s owners control at the end of turn.

    Then I could just swap them in for my slides, and use £10 notes as proxies for new fetchlands.

  18. “I was playtesting Extended for Austin with some friends and having so much fun trying to figure out what would a nice Doran list look like, tuning Affinity to overcome the hate that was still viable, and finding ways to make Blue good without Riptide Lab. Then I stumbled upon Arid Mesa. FML.”

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  20. I was just going to comment that dissing Zendikar for putting powerful expensive cards in seems kind of pointlessly contrary, since if it were underpowered, we’d all be bitching about that instead. After all, with us magic players and power levels of sets, is the porridge ever juuuuust right?

    No, and that’s an old sad sad joke.

    Then Cobra Lotus was spoiled as a Mythic, so now I’m in your camp.

  21. About the claim that wizards is running out of ideas because they are doing a few reprints:

    They reprint cards in almost every set regardless of whether it is core or an expansion. Even if they don’t, there are a good number that are tweaks on existing cards.

    About filters & other non-rav duals never seeing play in extended (and also about Fetches in standard):

    Without duals to fetch, the fetches are not amazing. They are definitely good, but they only ever make 1 color of mana. When the ravnica duals rotate, the filters will get their chance to shine. In standard, I’m glad that wild nacatl finally will have the opportunity to see some play thanks to the fetches.

  22. More than “rant-ish” — this was a straight up rant. I think there were three main points: good mana devalues second tier cards, fetch lands keep the Extended format the same as it’s been in recent years, and Wizards is running out of ideas.

    I’d love to see more discussion of the first point with examples from the past to illustrate how this actually works. I’d also like to know if this is really a bad thing from a value perspective as a trader (because I’d think there are ways to take advantage of this somehow).

    I’m also disappointed about the lack of a shake up in Extended, but I don’t play Extended. I just take a passing interest in it when it becomes a PT format. I’ve heard some people who actually do play Extended express relief at the announcement of the new fetches because they make Extended a unique format instead of just Standard 2005 vs Standard 2007. Personally I think Wizards would have liked to let Extended exist for a little while without Ravnica duals and fetchlands, but Standard and Block trump Extended and the fetch lands are a much better fit with Zendikar’s mechanics than any other dual cycle printed so far.

    The third point seemed a bit random. Ever since Wizards reduced the set size and acknowledged that new players actually start playing by buying the latest expansion rather than the core set, they’ve tried to make the expansion sets a bit simpler especially at common. Part of this new philosophy has involved reprinting some clean card designs at common (eg Unsummon, Oblivion Ring, etc).

    I think it’s fair to start criticizing Zendikar already, but I’d go with an argument more along the lines of Amarsir’s.

  23. If someone is complaining about the reprinting of “oblivion ring”, “cancel”, etc. that’s exactly the reason why they are NOT in charge of WOTC. Reprintings happen because of so many obvious reason, including Flavor and Mechanics. A LOT of players enjoy playing Limited, so some cards get reprinted to shine in that format. Because without Oblivion Ring, counterspell and direct burn are the only reliable way Planeswalker can be handled. But not everyone is playing blue, so?
    Point is, I think WOTC has done a great job and I’ll love the new fetchland because I have never had the experience to play it! I have only played since Ravnica and haven’t played extended. So yeah, I think there’s a lot of new players out there too and I think this is the perfect time for even first time players to jump in. With M10 and Zendikar, I think WOTC has done great to attract new players without even sacrificing the older players.

  24. I think the fetchlands have cool interactions with the landfall block mechanic. The effects on extended are unfortunate but not worth blowing the opportunity to allow interesting intra-block interactions. I agree with that guy above that a wasteland reprint would be good (or back to basics. I would be elated to have back to basics…back)

  25. I dont mind reprints at all as long as its only a few cards per set. I can especially get behind a reprint if it makes for a better limited experience (like O-Ring) or serves as a nice sideboard option in constructed (like the color hoser cycle in m10). What I dont get is why they’re reprinting demolish. Why reprint a card just so it can be a 14th pick? At least give us pillage.

  26. I disagree about River Boa, Demolish and Mind Sludge. I really like reprints. I’d like more of them maybe 10% of expert level sets. Obviously R&D are running out of good ideas. Ally creature type is really lame and perfect example of that. Also i expect River Boa to see much play in Standard.

  27. i agree wholeheartedly. Now we have another cycle of 4-5 color decks with 500 dollars worth of chase cards in them, and it’s boring and wrong.

    You shouldn’t be able to play the most powerful cards in EVERY color without any penalty, it’s made the game require zero IQ and the latest netdeck.

  28. Yup, im one that disagree’s with you…i think enemy fetches were long overdo

    i do admit that i was curious as to what the new extended would like without fetches… but to be honest, i dont think it would be pretty for numerous reasons

    love the new enemy fetches, haven’t been excited like this in a long while….thanx WOTC

  29. @ everyone complaining about 5CC

    You guys realize that the m10 duals are not Basic right ?
    Even with fetches, there’s no way to play 4-5 colors in standard with the actual manabase.
    Maybe 3.. and I’m not even sure.

  30. @harakiri

    I think that the new ally tribe is a pretty good way of handling the “adventuring party” that one would expect in the massive dungeon delve that is Zendikar. Something that hasn’t been done in that fashion before (a tribe that all have EtB abilities that hinge on the number of them in play) is also a very poor example of wizards running out of ideas.

  31. @Bob
    “Even with fetches, there's no way to play 4-5 colors in standard with the actual manabase.”

    People were playing 4-5 color decks in Alara Block Constructed w/o fecthes or M10 duals. It really isn’t that hard…

    Just goes to show how much people leaned on their assortment of Vivid lands.

  32. I don’t understand this nonsense of “WotC is running out of ideas” since there is zero evidence to that effect. Ally creature type fits perfectly with the theme of the set, Landfall is amazing (although I think Lotus Cobra is overrated and perfectly balanced. Honestly, when was the last time a previewed card was totally busted wide open? It dies very easily) and there are large portions of the game that have never been explored beyond a very few select cards, if any at all.

    If even I can think of things that can still be done for enough sets to last at least 3 years, I’m sure WotC can do it for at least 10 (if for no other reason than the fact that I’m only one person and they are many).

  33. @Zaiem, Harrow, that’s interesting. I had dismissed it because it was an also-ran in Tempest. But there could be potential here. Harrow plus Lotus Cobra means you spend 3 mana to get 4 that turn – instant and permanent acceleration.

    OK so that’s probably bad, but Mike Flores will love it. 🙂

    Regarding reprints – I really like when old commons are rotated back in to make the set interesting, especially if they can be viewed in a new way. I even like the fact that it provides art options. However, when the same common is in adjacent sets, it doesn’t do anything interesting at a Standard level or higher. And for draft/block, those new formats would much prefer a new (or oop) variant. They’ve even so much as admitted that sometimes reprints are laziness, so they can save good ideas for later. So I can’t relaly defend that.

  34. Yeah,I totally agree. I mean,I GUESS the new fetch’s are relevant because of the new landfall ability….but wow,just when I thought extended might get a little less hectic,they throw the new ones out there… joy.

    and btw. Landfall is pretty lame anyway…. Mark rosewater and his whole f***ing team should be molested by angry wombats!

    …and also… wtf is up with saying that lotus cobra was “the most broken card since minds desire!”? Did anyone else read that? I did…I waited up to see it on the spoiler at midnight…I ended up on the phone till 3:00 am ranting about how bad it was. lol I mean,ok….being able to drop a broodmate dragon on turn 3(with a little help from harrow)is kinda cool…but no way can that card be considered broken…or anywhere close to it.
    Once again…I would like to kick Mr. Rosewater square in the ding-dong for getting us all hyped up……and for what? Another design team turd!!

    However……… the new trap subtype is pretty cool…I just hope they get around to making some better ones..

    oh well..

    Great title….Great article. keep up the good work.

  35. I know I’m going to LOVE Zendikar…haven’t a lot of MTG players been waiting for a set like this? If you have played Magic for a long time then you’ve been waiting for a set like this. Yeah, this set was probably printed as a BIG cash grab for WOTC, but aren’t they running a %*^&^*ing business here. Damn, stop all the whining and enjoy it while we can get it. I’m pretty sick of hearing the whining about mythic rares, I like the fact that they add some collectibility and value to the hot cards. If you can’t take the heat, you know what they say…get off the toilet? Anyway, if these things really bother you guys that much, then just QUIT playing Magic and shut up with the complaints. The enemy fetches should have been printed during the Onslaught block anyway, like they printed all of the colored duals during Ravnica block. Its just LONG overdue…

  36. I think the fetches are fine. Building 3-4 color decks will continue to make the game interesting. I have been experimenting on 1 and 2 color decks and I find they may be just as viable and powerful as multicolor decks. I think we may have a good balance of powerful budget decks and expensive decks which will be good for beginners and vets alike. Yeah I would like a playset of Cobras but I’ll do fine without them playing stuff like MBC or BW “Metakilla”.

  37. Maybe it’s just me, but i think the draw of extended as compared to standard is the powerful mana bases. Wizards realized this and went oh crap! we need new fetches, but i dont want to reprint the old ones. Then they thought well, if we are going to use them we might as well jump the shark and make the whole set about them! Overall i think that it is a good move, but i am not excited about the price tag that will be on them. Seems like a very exepsive set for singles.

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