Magnus recently wrote within his Oldschool-Blog that they will allow Homelands for the next Arvika Tournament in Sweden (really???). I have to say that Homelands is and was always part of my „This is Oldschool“-mindset. As i started the game back in 1994/95, we bought all possible boosters which are available in Switzerland. We did have Revised, 4th, Homelands and Fallen Empires available back in the days. And there was one biiiig rumor around us: „Did you know that there is a card existing, which is called Baron Sengir? That’s a flying creature which can win you the game if it hits the table“… Nobody did know back in the days how „powerful“ Baron Sengir really was and nobody had ever seen one in existence. For all younger readers: Internet was not a thing back in the days 😉
Homelands is often quoted as weakest expansion within Magic overall – for a 14 year old boy like me it was a strong and nice way to expand my collection with more interesting cards. Anyway, lets have a look at the possible Gems within this edition:
Most of the Gems are offered to a White Weenie shelf. The cards are mostly usable together with a fast clock and/or to improve the sideboard slightly:
The Bestiary is a very expensive „Oubliette“ in another color. As W has access to Swords to Plowshares, this could be a fifth removal within WW builds. But again, expensive to maintain. As one can wish for a „removal“ without the gift of additional life-points for the opponent, this can be the situationally game winning card.
The Bureaucrats are maybe in between the „Nay“ and „Hmjay“ fraction. To tap something from the opponent is always nice. Tap a Hypnotic, Storm Spirit, Pixies etc. even nicer. Also the Mana cost is more or less acceptable, W would be to cheap and W2 far to expensive. But would one really be willing to sacrifice an aggressive slot for a defensive slot in WW or W-build?
The Death Speakers are actually really well positioned. A 1/1 for W with pro Black is definitively worth looking at it. Surviving „the Abyss“ and a nice additional treat for Black Disaster can help WW to jump over the edge of Tier 1.7 – again the question would be if one is willing to sacrifice a more aggressive creature with Power 2+ to include a situationally treat.
Green – winner of the race:
Beautiful green – unfortunately, mono G is not a (real) thing at Oldschool Tournaments. I would love to smash a Force of Nature on the table and Trample my opponent to the grounds. Could Homelands help to make my dream come true? i say: YES my friends:
Carapace may look weird – normally „Enchant Creatures“ are not the best thing as you will have a „2 for 1“ if the creature gets destroyed or removed. Carapace could add value because of the second ability – the regeneration. If you enchant a Serra Angel with Carapace, you have a really nice flying beater which cannot be blocked efficiently by most of the creatures (expect for Lord Shivan and Mister Mahamoti of course 😉
Autumn Willow – Hexproof/Shroud in Oldschool. Forget the Abyss, forget Swords, Terror etc. but embrace Giant Growth, Berserk and Carapace ;-), regeneration and the latter. The Lady is a little bit expensive for GG4, but definitively adds more value to a green build.
Primal Order is the biggest thing for Mono Green! Just imagine to slam that beauty in turn 2 on the table and look at the opponents face. A slow (or fast?), painful death – and it is not even an enchant world. So you can also slam the second one on the table without any regrets 🙂 nice!
Hungry Mist is a fast clock and can close deal efficient. Also if removed with a sword the amount of life you get is extraordinary 🙂 Maybe better playable within a GB or GW build, to remove bothersome blockers before their hunger gets quenched with the blood of the opponent. But definitely worth looking at.
I like cantrips and i like manafixing. So within a Gx build, this card could find a home with one or two copies. The fact that you can draw the card makes it (maybe) playable. G2 is a little bit expensive, but at least you can sacrifice a tapped land for it’s effect. So the cost is G1.
Spectral Bears – beautiful Artwork fellow Oldschoolers and a cool play-mechanic included. Another card to brew a „deathlace / something does something to black“-Deck. Maybe just a dream but again – look at that Artwork fellas 🙂
Blue is already one of the most played (if not most played) colors in the format. Homelands will not push blue way forward, but offers some interesting cards, especially as the Gems can be cast with a single U Mana.
The Sea Sprites look very decent with their protection from red. But in reality most of the time one will chose the famous flying men because it is just cheaper. And pro red is not very important nowadays as Goblins will Mountainwalk through your blood mooned duals and other red creatures are not heavily played (despite the angry troll of course – but the disk will eat the sprites).
I like combat tricks – and in Oldschool the combat tricks are underplayed in my point of view. Chain stasis adds for the tricky mage another tool into his repertoire. Either its useful to tap down opponents creature or to untap multiple of yours – both seems decent to do to win the game. It’s definitely worth playing as one or two copies in the proper aggro-midrange deck.
Merchant Scroll – not much to say about it despite the fact that this will receive an instant restriction if ever played within the format -not?
Aether Storm is most of the time worse than a well timed psionic blast, but as it can be casted „into the blue“ against any creature deck and it will save you the loss of 2 life, so it could be taken into consideration. Unfortunately, it cost 1 more than Psi Blast – but that is the price for the live saving i assume.
If you Memory Lapse a random Sol Ring in Turn 13, this will most of the time act as reverse time walk. I am not sure if this scenario is relevant but can definitively win you a game if the opponent cannot draw anything useful.
Most of the Red cards in Homelands look very decent with their abilities (Chandler, Joven, Eron) but they are just to expensive to make them a thing (5 Mana for a creature? does it fly and has vigilance? not? forget it…) But there are two cards which seem to be worth at least looking at them:
Retribution looks like not a big thing as the opponent chooses the order. But -1/-1 IS a big thing in Oldschool. The best creatures have 4 or 5 toughness (Serra, Sengir, Ernham, Serendib, Juzam). Imagine they are currently into bolt range or have only 2-3 power. Literally, you play bolts in a red Deck (yeah, really you do). The only one in this club which is not so much affected is the glorious Juzam. So retribution is a thing in red.
An-Zerrin’s ruins – Pay, play, announce Djinn or Efreet, be happy 😉 (also works for Goblins, Troll’s and Merfolk etc.)
Beautiful Black offers nice things within homelands. It even fuels sacrificial strategies for the black mage with two decent cards. So maybe Lord of the Pit Decks become a thing?
Ihsan’s Shade captured my full attendance the time i opened him in a booster – 5/5 for 6 Mana which cannot be removed from Swords and survives Bolt. Best. Creature. Ever. (i believed). But also in the current Oldschool enviroment it would be a nice addition to any black Deck and i think also these days the opponent will be like „o shit“ if he hits the table.
headstone. I still like cantrips and also ruin any players regrowth strategy. So not more to say about this – or is it?
Let’s look into sacrificial-strategies. Drudge Spell and Sengir Autocrat both offer cheap minions to sacrifice. Drudge Spell even creates „Drudge Skeletons“ – so nice 🙂 Also those creatures can fuel any „Bad Moon“-Black strategy to beatdown the opponent even faster. Therefore good additions in specific decks.
Grandmother Sengir’s is very expensive to cast but offers a great ability. As previously mentioned, -1/-1 is a BIG thing within our format. And a recurring way to interfere into combat is a great thing. Therefore within the proper Deck (maybe even in Troll Disco?) the Grandmother could see the battlefield.
And last but not least the great, evil, ultra expensive Baron Sengir. 8 Mana is definitively way to much but come on – this flavor, this artwork, this 5/5 flyer. Just fall in love an play this fella 🙂
Not much to say about Serrated Arrows’s – still -1/-1 is a thing and the Mana cost of 4 offers also opportunities for transmute artifact. Definitely playable and disrupting.
Overall i would love to see this expansion as part of the format. Maybe as an addition to the „Atlantic“-Format which is currently in discussion. What do you think about the cards? completely rubbish or nice addition? let me know.
Christian aka Lord M of Legion Urborg