During a casual EDH game last week, a friend was gushing over my revised Savannah. “That’s an expensive one”, he said, a bit enviously. I pointed to his Scalding Tarn that he had so casually thrown into the graveyard, fetching up a Blood Crypt, and said “yeah, well that one costs almost as much.” He was left speechless and I waited. I knew the conversation coming, and how it would start. My palms were sweaty with anticipation and loathing. And he finally got around to saying “Well, it’s time. I think they are going to reprint the fetches. Probably in Khans.” Nooooooo!
Ah yes. the dreaded fetches conversation. Like the “sex talk” with your parents at puberty and the “Magic Addiction” conversation you have monthly with your significant other, the “fetches speculation” talk leaves me feeling the same way, awkward with no real sense of closure nor enlightenment. And a little angry.
For those of you new to the game, “fetch lands” are lands that can be sacrificed to search their controller’s library for a land of a specific type or specific types and put them into play. This allows you to thin your deck, giving you a better percentage of drawing fire instead of a land. But no one really cares for a terramorphic expanse reprint, nor the Mirage fetches, nor the panoramas. It’s all about the Onslaught and Zendikar Fetches.
Onslaught fetches make the current legacy format, with Flooded Strand and Polluted Delta being the go to fetches For the current Delver shell that is top tier right now. Delver is driving their prices up to and past the $100 mark. But Delver is also driving up the prices of Misty Rainforest and Verdant Catacombs close to the bill mark as well. Of course Modern is always running all the Zendikar fetches, which keeps them constantly gaining in price. And that will be the reason we will eventually see reprints.
Wizards is very much aware how modern has shaped the lasting base of the game. They are doing much to control the price and availability of Modern staples without destroying collector investments. Hence the printing of Modern Masters saw some staples return, Goyf, Vedellion Clique and others. And with RTR we got our shockland base, M14 with Mutavault and Theros gave us Thoughtseize. This Slow progression is what is keeping Modern prices down and ultimately alive. Few can afford Legacy, and I don’t think Wizards is interested in Modern failing due to overpricing.
Since the reprint of shock-lands, not a week has gone by without someone bringing up the subject of fetch reprints. The conversations are the same speculative dribble that drives the hype up and the prices. As Theros was spoiled, the talk on the blog-o-sphere was all about fetches. The thing that no one thought about was the fact that Fetches and Shocks in the same block would be bad. Well, not bad, but awesome. Too Awesome. The current standard would look like modern, and totally destroy the format. As someone put it, “Printing fetches too soon would disrupt Standard. Printing fetches too late would disrupt Modern.”
Needless to say everyone at Wizards development knows the fetch land conversation is happening. Mark Rosewater has been answering questions about it since 2013 on his blog, saying about reprinting them “I’d say it’s a possibility.” Yeah not much to go on but MaRo is extremely tight-lipped about upcoming sets. Director of R&D, Aaron Forsythe, When asked if the dev teams saw Fetch land popularity coming, commented “I mean, they did take off kind of out of the blue it felt like. Pretty recently. And obviously our turnaround time on doing anything is not instantaneous. So any plans that we have to put more fetchlands out there will take some time to execute on. But we are definitely aware of, you know, what cards people need to build decks to play Modern and what cards they’re after. So we are going to do what we can.”
All this seems pretty well understood, yeah we will get them eventually. Patience. But the internetZ no haz pashuns, so wild speculation abounds. Proofs and theorums about how and when the reprints will happen are flooding every main Magic outlet on the net. Every little word is over-analyzed for the elusive fetch reprint. “Oh they are going to be in M15” ot “they are definitely getting printed in Khans of Trokir”, or “If you acetone wash your Sphinx of Uthuun, there is a fetch printed under every third one!” A sensible person would know that these are all wrong, except the Sphinx one (I have quite a few of these and I am hoping to drive the price up, so help a brother out and spread this rumor!) The real chances is that we will not see them until at least M16, or the Fall set code name “Blood”. They will not be silly enough to print them in MM2 if they want to keep modern viable (more on that in later posts).
And There I go speculating. See how easy and dangerous it is? I sound like those fools on the interwebs that kept saying “Oh, In RTR, Niv-Mizzet is going to ascend to a planeswalker! My proof is that Mark Rosewater said “Blah, blah, blah”, and its totally vague and utterly proves my point”. Yup. And my belief is that MaRo listens to that blather. And while the whole community was clamoring for Fetches in Theros, he handed us the flaming-bag-of-dog-poo duals, which to me was his way of saying “Scry away, oh minions, with your duals that enters the battlefield tapped, and be happy you have that. I am the designer overfiend, not you, and I will give you fetches when I good and gods damned want to, and no sooner! But am I not benevolent as well? Here, I will bestow upon your ungrateful, undeserving souls Mana Confluence. It is cool.”
And while I wait I will enjoy Mana Confluence.
And don’t talk to me about fetches. Ever.