Over the weekend, Magic Arena launched their “Mirror, Mirror” event. This event was meant to be a reimagining of some of the cards that are on the Historic banned list, with alterations to the cards to be, in theory, more balanced than their banned counterparts. We got an early look at the cards ahead of the launch date, so players had some time to prepare some decks, and generally, there was some exciting around the event. Now that the event has effectively come and gone, was the event a success?
No Best of 3
Once the event launched, one of the first criticisms of the event was that there’s no Best of 3 queue, but instead only Best of 1. Considering that one of the cards on the “rebalanced list” was really meant to be a sideboard card, the omission of Best of 3 games felt like a clear misstep.
The Rebalanced Cards
When we talk about rebalancing a decent sized selection of cards with the power level of the ones that we’ll be looking at, there’s bound to be some cards that fall short of balanced, and the curated list of rebalanced cards is no exception. We’ll talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of these cards.
The cards that are in this list are ones that felt like the balance changes made the card much more fair, and such that if the card was reintroduced back into Historic in this way, they wouldn’t need to be rebanned.
This one was odd. Oko, Thief of Crowns actually feels fine now. It was busted before, but it now feels strong but fair. Making the first ability only +1, and the Elk ability a -2 brings Oko on line with the design of other planeswalkers. Were this to come back in this fashion, Oko would most likely slot into some style of Bant Control deck, along side our next card.
The cards in this category are cards that were not adjusted enough, or were nerfed to the ground that they’re no longer playable.
We’re going to start off with Omnath, Locus of Creation here. The changes to this card was that you only scry 1 instead of draw 1 when it enters the battlefield. Everything else is the same. This card was not nerfed enough. The power behind this card was not the “draw a card” ability, but the landfall abilities. I played quite a few matches with this card, and very consistently, I was casting multiple Genesis Ultimatums in one turn, where one match, I cast all 4 in one turn. I think that really the issue here is that there is very little that can be done to rebalance this card and maintain the spirit of the original design.
The… EhVeil of Summer was a card that we really can’t evaluate how good it is because we don’t have best of 3 in this event. This card is really a sideboard tech card against control decks, and it isn’t really something you want to put in your main deck in a best of 1 setting. Ultimately the changes on this card are fine with just a 1 mana increase. I don’t know that it changes enough of the card, and I think that honestly the state of Historic is such that this card could probably come off the banned list.
The changes to Wionta, Joiner of Forces was that you only get to look at the top 4 cards instead of top 6 for her triggered ability. This card really shouldn’t have been banned in the first place. Winota really died for the sins of Agent of Treachery. That being said, even with the nerf to this card, it still is very strong and got some new tools. I think that this version of the card is definitely more balanced than the old and could be brought into the format.Nexus of Fate got changed to not shuffle back into the library when it was put into the graveyard, but rather get exiled instead. The order of importance of abilities on the old Nexus was Shuffle, Instant Speed, and then Extra Turn. With the shuffle ability gone, this becomes a rather bland extra turn spell. In Historic, the only extra turn spell that really saw any play as of late is Time Warp which got a very quick ban. I don’t think that Nexus of Fate really has a home any longer in the format without the old Wilderness Reclamation.
So was the “Mirror, Mirror” event a success? I think that it was a well intentioned event, but I feel that the power of Omnath really overshadows a lot of the cards that were changed and the lack of Best of 3 doesn’t give us any potential at counter play. It overall was really fun to play with some of these cards again, but I don’t know if there was enough testing or changes done to really make this successful. What are your thoughts? Did you get to play in the event? What decks did you play and what was your favorite card to play with again from the rebalanced card list? Let us know in the comments!