Today I will attempt to entertain you with my first ever From the Vault review as we look at Magic the Gathering™’s newest “From the Vault” set – Annihilation. This is the seventh From the Vault set and was released in August 2014 with an MSRP of $34.99. Annihilation contains 15 board sweepers that are supposed to be on theme with mass destruction and annihilation. In the opinion of this author a little more than half of these cards fit the theme but some inclusions really have me scratching my head.
Since all of these cards are reprints, I will focus most of my thoughts on Artwork, MTG Finance, Availability and Theme of the Set. They will be evaluated by The Good, The Meh, and The WTF. At the end will be a quick summary and whether or not I think Commander/EDH players should purchase From the Vault – Annihilation. Let’s get to it!
From the Vault Annihilation – The Good
Smokestack: Yes, this can be an “unfun” card. But for those of us that use it “responsibly” for control and not broken things, it is okay to get excited about the reprint. Smokestack also makes a nice substitution for the Braids, Cabal Minion who was recently added to the September 2014 Commander Banlist.
Living Death: Perhaps Magic the Gathering’s funnest boardwipe. Having all players switch the dead to the living and the living to the dead can turn games around in the most desperate of situations. The fact that commander players can now pimp their deck with a foiled Living Death is muy bueno.
ARTWORK: Although I really dig the new art for Living Death, I am still a huge fan and prefer the older, Tempest version of Living Death
Wrath of God: The original in which all other “wrath effects” were derived makes another appearance. This time as a promo in the From the Vault Annihilation series. Although the oracle text of Wrath of God has changed over the years from Alpha’s “All Creatures in Play are Destroyed and Cannot Regenerate” to 5th Edition’s “Bury All Creatures” to the “Destroy all Creatures. They can’t be Regenerated” we see today, one thing stays the same. Wrath of God is still first in our hearts for clearing critters off the board.
ARTWORK: Heliod throwing a temper tantrum and destroying everything and everyone in his path? Yes, this art kicks some serious ass and I am glad to have this foiled version of Wrath.
Rolling Earthquake: It’s open season on Portal Three Kingdom cards as another high dollar, low-print-run P3K rare gets a reprint. For those of us that use Earthquake effects in Commander this is a powerful addition to our arsenal. This card is one of the best of the bunch as it hits all creatures (assuming that the Horsemanship ability does not resurface in the near future). Yes, I own this card and am tickled red to have this in my Tajic Boros-Earthquake EDH deck.
MTG FINANCE SPECULATION: The Portal Three Kingdom version of Rolling Earthquake spiked at about $200 in April 2014. After the reprint, the original still commands over $125 on TCGPlayer.com. Out of the 15 cards in the Annihilation set, I believe that this card will be the one for investors to own and could easily see a skyrocketing value within the next couple of years.
Martial Coup: An interesting choice for this From the Vaults set. But, it makes it more affordable to for Rhys and other token players to add some bling to their decks.
Terminus: A great EDH card for tucking troublesome commanders. The same artwork that was previously available in a foil version from Avacyn Restored. With that being said, having more foiled/promo copies of a strong EDH cards is good for those of us that like affordable shiny cards.
Child of Alara: Sometimes the different foiling process used in the From the Vault sets are just awe-striking. I am sure the sharp foily look and ease of availability of this five color kid will bring more Child of Alara Commander decks to the EDH table.
From the Vault Annihilation – The MEH
Fracturing Gust: This card does meet the theme of the “destroy” or “annihilation” set. Fracturing Gust is a good way to clear the board of annoying enchantments and artifacts. Meh. Okay. Who plays this though? Is this card awesome in Commander? Please comment below!
Armageddon: Land destruction. Making opponents blood boil since 1993. If you play land destruction in your local, casual playgroup then I am assuming that you are quite excited about obtaining a new art promo. If you use ‘Geddon for an immediate win condition it isn’t too bad, but if you intend to draw the game out for another couple of hours there is a good chance that one of your buddies may rip your shiny new land destruction spell in half.
Cataclysm: Having this competitive voltron staple available in a Foiled version for the first time is sure to make some Kaalia players happy.
Burning of Xinye: I have never seen this card before now. Does anyone play this? With this being a hard to find P3K card and an $80 price tag most of it’s life, I am guessing not.
Decree of Annihilation: Since it has the word Annihilation in it’s name, I can see why Decree of Annihilation is included in the set. The primary function exiles a ton of stuff, but it can also destroy all lands with cycling. I’m okay with this being included.
From the Vault Annihilation – The WTF?
Firespout: I am sure there are a few of you out there that play this card in EDH, so for you, congrats on being able to easily obtain a foiled version with down right gorgeous artwork. Firespout earns a “WTF?” designation because I do not consider 3 points of damage to each creature as “annihilation”. It is simply damaging creatures and maybe taking out a few of them with low toughness. Terrible include for this set.
Virtue’s Ruin: Destroy all White Creatures? Well, definitely the most racist inclusion in the set – laugh out loud. But seriously folks, WTF is this doing in here. Worthless.
Upheaval: Great. I now have a foiled card that I cannot play because it is banned in Commander. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer it on the banned list, I just wish there was something else in this spot. Since it is totally unplayable in Commander, I give Upheaval the vote for suckiest card in the set. I understand that the “From the Vault” series encompasses the entire realm of MTG, not just us Commander players. With that being said, I don’t care, still the worst card included.
Here is my final report card for From the Vault – Anihilation
FINANCIAL INVESTMENT: B-
CARD CHOICES: B-
ON THEME: C+
Glaring Omissions: In addition to Damnation, I think that Wizards absolutely whiffed on the chance to include playable, on-theme board wipes such as Oblivion Stone or Jokulhaups. I understand that in order to keep the price affordable and closer to MSRP that some lower value cards needed to be included. Then why not give us another reprint of Day of Judgment, Supreme Verdict, Cyclonic Rift, Nevinyrral’s Disk, Plague Wind or Life’s Finale?
Should I Buy From the Vault Annihilation?: Unlike previous From the Vault sets, Annihilation has not skyrocketed to double or triple its MSRP price. Although it is bubbling at about $49.99 on Amazon.com. I was able to obtain my box for $40.00. I will use about 7 of these cards in my Commander decks and will try to trade the remaining cannon fodder or sell them online. I do believe that this set is worth purchasing for your collection and will go up in value within a year or two of no longer being in print.
For further information on From the Vault, I recommend giving Tolarian Community College’s YouTube video Is it worth it to buy From The Vault? a quick watch.
What are your thoughts on Annihilation? Please comment below!
On to the Next!