Last weekend saw the running of the Implicit Maze as people around the globe played with, for the first time ever, Dragon’s Maze, at the Dragon’s Maze Prerelease. I was one of the many lucky enough to run the maze, and not too poorly, and as such, we have a Major Spoilers look at the set after the jump.
Design: Alexis Janson (lead), Mark Rosewater, Erik Lauer, Aaron Forsythe, Shawn Main, Dan Emmons
Development: Zac Hill (lead), Erik Lauer, Mark Globus, Mark Gottlieb, Masami Ibamoto, Sam Stoddard
Officially releasing this Friday, May 3, Dragon’s Maze is the third set in the Return to Ravnica block, and as such had some mighty big shoes to fill. Before the first set, Return to Ravnica, came out I made a few statements of what needed to be done for the Return to live up to the original, and we’ll get to those in a bit, but first general impressions.
For me, limited is what makes or breaks a set, and Dragon’s Maze had some pretty big shoes to fill. First off, both Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash limited were pretty fantastic. Secondly, Dragon’s Maze had to tie both Return and Gatecrash together. Lastly, this is where the original Ravnica block shined, utilizing all ten guilds as a cohesive Limited whole.
I am happy to say that Dragon’s Maze hit the mark on all three fronts. With the ability to go three, four, or even five-color, the environment is ridiculously open-ended. With cycles like the Gatekeepers and the Maze Elementals, decks are taking on new strategies and meaning as to what a player wants to do. The choice of guild distribution in the first two sets also meant that, unlike the original block, you had something to draft in each pack no matter what combo you went. Dragon’s Maze limited is going to be one of the more entertaining environments to exist and I look forward to playing it for some time to come.
For the casual crowd, anything you get your hands on in this set is going to be fun. Dragon’s Maze is chock full of goodies for any casual format you can think of. All ten Maze Runners make for fun Commander cards and many cards, even at common, scream for fun build-around decks. I don’t see how a casual player could be upset opening anything in this set.
So far, I don’t have much on this since it can’t be realized until this weekend, but I have a feeling that both Standard and Modern are going to get a lot from Dragon’s Maze. The next few weeks are going to be interesting to watch as the Standard meta-game morphs around both new cards for existing decks, and more importantly, new decks all-together. I know I have more than a few ideas percolating right now.
BOTTOM LINE: Density pays off
One of the comments that preview articles were making is that Dragon’s Maze is a very dense set. What that means is it had to live up to tons of expectations and bring enough to the party that everyone would leave happy. Well, I’m glad to say that it really has provided way more that most small sets ever could and earns a very deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars. A couple of missteps in some high-profile cards (Emmara we’re looking at you) and some missed opportunities for creature types and fleshing out mechanics just barely pull this down from a perfect score. As for whether of not the block managed to succeed as a follow-up to the best block of all time, I think this may be a tiny bit better.
HAVE YOU PLAYED DRAGON’S MAZE YET? RATE IT!