From the Vault: Annihilation Announced for Magic: the Gathering | Fanboys Anonymous

From the Vault: Annihilation Announced for Magic: the Gathering

Posted by Eric Minton Wednesday, February 12, 2014
From the Vault is an annual series of limited print run card sets, released in late August of each year, that reprint powerful cards from across the 20-year run of Magic: The Gathering trading card expansions. Wizards of the Coast has put out a press release describing this year's From the Vault set. It's called Annihilation, and the theme matches the name:
Harness the savage power of fifteen of the most brutal Magic cards ever unleashed. These limited-edition, black-bordered superweapons are legal in many tournament formats. Sweep the battlefield clean with this powerful arsenal and blast the opposition into oblivion.

Magic the Gathering FtV 2014
Many of these cards are very expensive on the secondary market. While each From the Vault set has had a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $39.95, the combination of extremely small print runs and high demand—generated by the reprinting of glossy foil versions of hard-to-find cards with new art—means that these sets sell out really quickly, even when retailers jack up the price. If you want a copy, your best bet is to arrange a preorder with a reliable retailer.

Magic the Gathering Annihilation glowing cyclone birds
As to which cards will be in the set, that info has yet to be spoiled. All we have is the brief description above and a dramatic illustration of some sort of magical cyclone. Naturally, the Magic community is theorizing madly as to what cards you'll find in the set. Discussion tends to center around the idea that every card in the set will be a board-sweeper. Others theorize that specific word choices in the set description hint at card names, such as inferring that the phrase "blast the opposition into oblivion" refers to the powerful spells Opposition and Oblivion Stone.

As for my own theories, I figure that while From the Vault: Annihilation will focus on spells with a destructive theme, it'll cover the gamut of detrimental effects, such as targeted removal, global sweepers, and direct damage. I also wouldn't expect it to include any cards reprinted in the last year or two in compilation sets such as Modern Masters or Commander 2013. Here's my list of 15 cards that I'm guessing we'll find here:

Magic the Gathering colorless sorcery sweeper
All is Dust: The Rise of the Eldrazi set held a number of powerful colorless spells that haunt Magic games to this day. While not as brutal as the three legendary Eldrazi boss monsters, All is Dust is nothing to sneeze at, as it has the potential for a one-sided blowout that destroys all of your opponent's non-land permanents while leaving your key board elements intact.

Armageddon: Wrath of God's badass land-destroying cousin hasn't seen print since Sixth Edition due to a move away from land destruction as a generally un-fun play style. Nonetheless, it's an iconic powerhouse that still sees play, which makes it a perfect fit for a From the Vault set.

Black Sun's Zenith: This standard-defining sorcery from Scars of Mirrodin block can be absolutely brutal, sweeping away even indestructible creatures and then returning to your library to be cast again. It's not as pricey on the secondary market as it was in its heyday, but it's still scary when it hits the table.

Blasphemous Act: Not every card in Annihilation is going to be from really old sets or super expensive on the secondary market. Blasphemous Act is a quirky damage-based sweeper, which makes it more likely to show up than yet another Wrath of God variant.

Magic the Gathering multicolor legendary creature
Child of Alara: This ridiculous multicolored bomb has the potential for lots of recursion or indestructibility shenanigans. It's also a legendary creature, and thus a boon to Commander players looking to try a five-color deck.

Damnation: A powerful black sweeper that's only been printed once so far in 2007's Planar Chaos. Speculation about a Damnation reprint has been rife for years, and the community raged at its absence from the recent Modern Masters set. A set based around big destructive spells seems like its natural home.

Magus of the Disk: Normally I'd expect to find the classic destructive artifact Nevinyrral's Disk in here, but it was reprinted just a few months ago in Commander 2013. However, its cousin, the Magus, is fair game, especially as the set could use a few creatures to break the monotony of sorcery after destructive sorcery.

Merciless Eviction: This spell's flexibility gives it an important place in any collection of sweepers, while the ability to exile rather than destroy makes it all the more dangerous. And then there's its precision. Most notably, Merciless Eviction is the only modal sweeper that can be tuned to hit nothing but planeswalkers.

Magic the Gathering black sorcery discard X-spell
Mind Twist: An oldie-but-goodie discard spell, Mind Twist can be absolutely backbreaking early- to mid-game. While its dominance has been usurped by narrower spells such as Hymn to Tourach and Thoughtseize, and discard in general isn't quite as effective as it used to be due to graveyard recursion, Mind Twist is still a spell to be reckoned with.

Nemesis of Reason: Okay, I admit that this one is a stretch; but I anticipate that there'll be at least one mill card in the set, and this unholy monstrosity is both fun to play and has a drastic impact on the board. Placing your opponent on a five-turn clock that can't be stopped by chump blockers or Fog effect can put a damper on all sorts of game plans.

Pernicious Deed: A powerful, flexible sweeper that's most effective in the hands of a mana-heavy ramp deck. A similar effect appears in the more recent Gaze of Granite, but the Deed is far more flexible; you can cast it in the early game and leave it hanging around until you need it, and, unlike Gaze, you can activate it at any time, including in the middle of combat or on your opponent's turn. Appearing only in the Apocalypse set, it's ripe for a reprint.

Rolling Earthquake: An absolutely ridiculous Earthquake variant from the obscure Portal Three Kingdoms set, which was printed primarily in Chinese and has very few English copies. As the Horsemanship mechanic on the card doesn't appear in any other set, the spell basically reads, “Deal X damage to each creature and each player,” which is dynamite in a red burn deck. And with Wizards reprinting a few creatures with horsemanship in Commander 2013, the door is open for other spells that reference the ability!

Magic the Gathering blue white sorcery sweeper uncounterable
Supreme Verdict: A key player in the Return to Ravnica block, Supreme Verdict has a name flashy enough to fit the Annihilation theme as well as the power to back it up. An uncounterable Wrath can be absolutely devastating, even if it does allow regeneration, and the eternal formats love it because it can be pitched to pay the alternate cost of Force of Will.

Terminus: Tucking creatures onto the bottom of the library is far more devastating than death in a game rife with reanimation spells. Terminus is slightly harder to cast than its predecessor Hallowed Burial, but it's more likely to appear here due to its more violent flavor.

Vindicate: Among the most valuable and effective spot removal spells in the game. The ability to destroy any one permanent is incredibly useful, especially for only three mana. As it's never been reprinted, it currently averages over $20 on the secondary market, which should draw players and speculators alike in droves.

What crazy-powerful spells do you think will be included in Annihilation? Is it worth sinking $40 or more into the set for fifteen cards, even if they are as devastating as advertised? Share your comments with the community below!

If you would like to join the team as a contributor or are interested in sponsoring a post on this site, purchasing an ad, becoming an affiliate, or taking part in any kind of promotional opportunities, please use this contact form to send us an email and we will get in touch as soon as possible with more information.