Following the recent lul after the release of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, MTG is all go again this week. In just a few days’ time, spoilers for Commander Masters commence delighting reprint-loving MTG players and Commander fanatics alike. Before then, however, there are a pair of MTG Arena anthology sets for players to get excited about.
Designed to spice up formats with interesting, needed, and niche cards, Anthology sets are a much-requested addition to MTG Arena. This is especially true for Explorer Anthologies, which are hugely important in Arena’s path to pioneer. Unfortunately, however, despite the incredibly useful potential of these micro sets, once again, players have been left disappointed.
Off to a Bad Start
When first announcing the latest pair of Anthology Sets on MTG Arena, Wizards didn’t exactly excite players. Spoiling a sextuplet of cards that don’t see play in Pioneer, or any competitive format for that matter, it seemed the latest anthologies would be more of the same. Great potential but ultimately disappointing chaff that’ll never get played.
Obviously, considering these first impressions were made after six cards had been seen, they, hopefully, were a little premature. After all, Wizards still had 44 cards left to spoil! That’s plenty of room for genuine Pioneer playable and Historic delights! Thankfully, over the weekend, MTG Arena players got just that, with some genuinely exciting cards getting spoiled!
Between Xenagos, God of Revels, Worldspine Wurm, and the recent spoiled Thespian’s Stage there are definitely a few cards for MTG Arena players to be excited about. Unfortunately for some MTG players, however, these few enticing and useful spoilers don’t do nearly enough. Subsequently, despite the sets not entirely being spoiled just yet, the complaints have already started in droves.
Kicking off the discussion on Reddit, over the weekend, u/FalloutBoy5000 stated “Explorer Anthology 3 spoilers extremely disappointing so far.” The reason behind this, as is surprisingly common for Anthology releases, is the latest cycle of rather lacklustre lands. First seen in Battle for Zendikar, the affectionately named Tango lands aren’t played extensivity within any Pioneer deck. Despite this detail, however, Explorer Anthology 3 is seemingly included all five of them.
As you might expect, considering Anthology sets only contain 25 cards, this is a decent chunk to be effectively wasted. Subsequently, many MTG players are understandably rather disappointed by Explorer Anthology 3 already.
“I was pretty sure we would get delve spells or lotus cards now, and the others at the end of year. But with those 5 trash lands as rare I have no idea what to expect. I only hope for at least Chained to the Rocks or Bring to Light.”u/R4ndom_Passerby
“We’ll be lucky to have Pioneer in 5 years at this rate, and I doubt it will ever be true pioneer with them putting every legal card on Arena. It’s honestly pathetic how badly they water down every anthology. Like of all Pioneer legal cards and of all cards that exist in Magic this is what they choose to add to Explorer and Historic?”u/filthy_casual_42
It’s Not All Doom and Gloom
At the time of writing, 15 out of the 25 cards from Explorer Anthology 3 have been spoiled, or assured. While five of these are disappointingly included lands, there’s still nevertheless a lot of space for other needed cards. Subsequently, the doomsaying from many MTG Arena players may be rather premature.
Considering the pattern of spoilers set by Explorer Anthology 2, Wizards may be about to knock it out of the park. Right when everyone’s hopes had been squashed, last year, at the last minute, Wizards spoiled Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Mana Confluence. In an instant, this turned the appeal of the anthology set around. Sure, the majority of the set’s cards weren’t Pioneer playable but there were just enough to make it worthwhile.
While it may just be wishful thinking at the moment, there’s a very real chance the same could happen again this time around. Following the recent spoiler of Thespian’s Stage, this seems all the more likely to some players. As pointed out by u/FalloutBoy5000 in their post, this land could tease the imminent arrival of the Lotus Field Combo.
One of the most interesting, complex, and best Pioneer decks available, this combo has obviously been a highly-requested addition. For the longest time, however, Wizards has avoided reprinting needed cards such as Hidden Strings. If this changes, however, the latest Explorer Anthology may be saved once again. So much so, in fact, that u/FalloutBoy5000 vowed to delete their post should Wizards reprint Hidden Strings and Bring to Light.
The Wait Is Almost Over
Thankfully, while there are still fifteen cards from both Anthologies yet to be spoiled it’s not long before all is revealed. According to Wizards of the Coast, the set’s spoiler season should conclude on the 10th of July. In case you’ve not looked at the date yet, that’s today, so these MTG spoilers should be arriving imminently. Hopefully, whatever gets spoiled will turn Explorer Anthology 3 into a set to be celebrated, however, we’ll just have to wait and see for that.
At the end of the day, while the remaining spoilers could provide a lot of good, MTG Arena definitely needs an Explorer Anthology 4. If we’re lucky, this may release later on in 2023, however, there’s been no confirmation of this just yet. In any case, whenever this next set releases, it should obviously provide even more much-needed Pioneer staples.
In theory, creating Explorer Anthology 4 shouldn’t be a difficult task, as the missing Pioneer cards are exceedingly obvious. Thanks to this, an ideal Explorer Anthology 4 may be all that players need! Unfortunately, however, it seems that Wizards may drag out Pioneer’s implantation.
As suggested by u/DiscountParmesan since Delve is a new-to-Arena mechanic, Wizards may be holding off on implementing it. Rather than pushing it in an Anthology, WotC may instead want to release a Khans of Tarkir Remastered set. While this would delight players with new cards and a compelling Draft experience, remastered sets definitely take a long time to develop, further delaying Pioneer’s arrival on MTG Arena.
For better or worse, the next MTG Arena Remastered set has not yet been announced. Subsequently, as with the remaining spoilers, MTG players will just have to wait and see what happens.