After a surprisingly large amount of nothing, Wizards of the Coast has finally properly revealed Shadows over Innistrad Remastered. Revealing the entire card image gallery with little fanfare, MTG Arena players now know what they’re in for. As hoped and expected, thankfully, there are a lot of needed reprints that pushed Explorer one step closer to Pioneer. Unfortunately, however, it’s not all good news for MTG Arena’s Explorer players, as a few essential reprints are miraculously missing. As you can imagine, considering the purpose of Shadows over Innistrad Remastered, MTG players aren’t too happy about this revelation.
A Ruined Remaster
Going into Shadows over Innistrad Remastered, MTG players were understandably expecting to see the best of block’s cards returning. In fact, prior to the set’s spoiler season, if you can even call it that, there were only lingering doubts about one card. Unsurprisingly, considering their ability to take control of your opponent Emrakul, the Promised End was this problematic card. Somewhat remarkably, however, Wizards of the Coast recently announced they somehow managed to get this ability to work. That’s right, against seemingly all odds, Emrakul, the Promised End, is coming to MTG Arena this week!
Following this revelation, MTG players were now expecting Shadows over Innistrad Remastered to have everything MTG Arena needed. After all, it was promised that following the set’s release, Explorer would contain 95% of the cards from Pro Tour ONE. Unfortunately, however, it seems that not every Shadows over Innistrad card made the cut, despite being played in Pioneer.
The worst offender to be bafflingly excluded is the card Behold the Beyond. Most frequently found within Pioneer Lotus Field Combo decks, this high-cost card allows players to effectively find their combo pieces. Since the Lotus Field deck utilizes plenty of fast mana, Behold the Beyond is an obvious and powerful inclusion. So much so, that, according to mtgdecks.net, 866 Lotus Field Combo decks use the card.
For better or worse, on MTG Arena, the Lotus Field Explorer deck isn’t on par with its Pioneer counterpart yet. While this prevents the absence of Behold the Beyond from being an absolute travesty, it’s nevertheless disappointing. The same is true for Open the Armory, which was also excluded from this remaster. Only seeing minimal play within Boros Equipment decks, Open the Armory’s absence isn’t completely devastating, however, it’s still frustrating.
“It is so f*cking wild to me that they’re putting in draft chaff but not cards that have actually / might actually see play. I can understand combining the two sets from a block into one set (actually I can’t, but whatever) but I can’t believe they keep releasing remastered sets that are lacking cards the original sets had.”u/Cow_God
It’s Not All Bad News
Thankfully, while missing pioneer payables aren’t ideal, the overall reception to Shadows over Innistrad Remastered has been relatively positive. The set includes plenty of reprints that MTG Arena players have been longing for, after all. Alongside Emrakul, the Promised End, the most prized reprint is arguably Spell Queller. As a staple in Spirit-focused decks, this reprint has practically been requested non-stop by MTG Arena players since Explorer’s inception. Thankfully, this isn’t the only powerful reprint coming to Arena, as Thing in the Ice and Sigarda’s Aid both made the cut.
Alongside reprints aplenty, the Shadows over Innistrad Remastered set has also downshifted several previously rare and mythic MTG cards. Primarily, this will have been done to balance the unique Limited environment, however, it’s nevertheless a huge win for players. Not everyone has an abundance of rare and mythic wildcards to burn on every set, after all. Due to this, the cycle of Reveal Lands shifting from rare to uncommon has unsurprisingly been lauded by the community. Similarly, the rarity reduction on niche jank cards such as Lupine Prototype is incredibly welcome.
Unfortunately, while there’s plenty to be excited about, players aren’t entirely happy with all the Shadows over Innistrad Remastered reprints. This is thanks to MTG Arena’s lack of duplicate protection for reprints, which leads to wasted wildcards and pack value. While this typically isn’t the end of the world, for Shadows over Innistrad Remastered, this is more of a problem than usual due to the density of reprints. As pointed out by u/Mnoya, the set contains nine rare cards that are already on Arena. That may not seem like a lot, but that’s potentially 36 wasted packs for dedicated players.
But Wait! There’s Less!
Following the recent deluge of spoilers, Shadows over Innistrad Remastered wasn’t the only set fielding complaints about reprints, or rather the lack thereof. The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set, for instance, also drew ire due to supposedly missing Fetch lands. When previewing the set, Weekly MTG host Blake Rasmussen debuted Mount Doom, which quickly caused plenty of speculation. Before things could get too out of hand, however, Rasmussen went on to state, “this is a Land that was specifically designed to represent Mount Doom. This is not part of a five-card cycle. This is just Mount Doom.”
Despite speculation being almost immediately shut down, players still murmured about potential land reprints the set could include. These theories, however, were similarly quashed by Rasmussen later on during the Livestream, thanks to a much larger reveal. After fielding a question from the audience, Rasmussen stated, to their knowledge, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth won’t include many reprints within the main set. If this is indeed the case, this obviously means Fetch lands, among other Modern staples, likely aren’t coming to MTG Arena.
“So the Commander decks do have reprints in them. Yes, the answer is, there are reprints in the Commander decks […] but they do have Lord of the Rings art. The main set… I am not 100% sure if there are any reprints in the set. There may be some here or there, but I’m not 100% on that.”Blake Rasmussen