Unfinity, the latest Un-set, has been fully previewed, and it brings black borders to the Un-iverse for the first time (outside of basic lands, of course). Like all supplemental sets that don’t have Modern in the title, any Unfinity card that doesn’t have an acorn logo in the stamp spot is technically legal in Legacy, Vintage and Commander.
Commander has always had an odd relationship with Un-sets. While Commander does have an official ban list, what’s ultimately allowed in any given Commander game is solely up to the players at the table. Some silver-bordered cards are not uncommon sights in casual tables, and as long as everyone was on the same page, things could work out just fine.
Legacy and Vintage are different beasts. Both of those formats prize efficiency above almost anything, and while a lot of cards have broken into the formats (especially Legacy) over the last few years from Standard sets and Modern Horizons sets, almost all those cards come at an extremely cheap rate…
…To cast, that is. A lot of those cards can be a bit expensive to get your hands on. Cards like Urza, Lord High Artificer are the exception at four mana, and that card had to be nearly game-breaking to see play in Legacy.
So, today, I’m going to take a look at Unfinity and see whether it has any potential to break through into eternal formats. We’ll take a look at the major mechanics and then drill down to any cards I think might make an impact.
Out of this world mechanics
Mechanic one: Stickers.
Nope. Not gonna happen.
OK, alright, fine — we’ll dig in a bit.
Mechanic one, take two: Stickers
As you can probably tell, I do not think stickers are going to make their way into the eternal formats in a major way. Mechanically speaking, some of the effects you can get out of stickers are…not that bad, actually.
Upgrading the base power and toughness of a utility creature can make a big threat out of nowhere. Some of the ability stickers are impressively bonkers or just straight up powerful.
However, the hoops you need to jump through to get any of this to work make the entire mechanic prohibitive for Legacy and Vintage. You have to devote card slots to cards that get you tickets, cards that let you place stickers of the sort that you want to be using and then you can’t even really control which sticker sheets you get in a given game.
What do I mean by that last part? The way stickers work in Constructed formats is you bring at least 10 (out of the 48 that exist) with you. Then, before you shuffle up and start playing, you randomly select three of them that you will use during that game.
That means you need to find 10 of those sticker sheets you would even want to use with a deck, even though you can’t plan around having access to a specific effect from any of them.
None of that touches on the logistical hassle of trying to use stickers in a tournament setting, or with cards that cost an eye-watering amount of money to begin with. There are workarounds of course (I hear the folks behind Infinitokens might have cooked something up), but all of this adds up to my thinking that stickers aren’t going to show up much in Eternal Magic.
Mechanic two: Attractions
This one is better, but not by much. But maybe it’s enough? Let’s go through it.
First off, attractions have a different version of the same problem as stickers up above. In Constructed, you have a side deck of at least 10 Attractions, each of which must be different — no duplicates at all. You also have to build your deck with Attractions in mind
There aren’t that many Eternal-legal attractions to begin with, and all the ones you can play only have decent effects. Some are marginal, at best, and others, depending on how you’ve built your deck, are essentially blank. Giving all your creatures +1/+1 until the end of the turn doesn’t really do much if you aren’t playing creatures in a combo deck, so there’s a lot of non-starters.
So, if Attractions are going to be a thing, there will have to be cards other than the Attractions themselves that break through. Looking through the previews, I saw two that might have a chance at first blush.
First, the flashier one: The Most Dangerous Gamer. This seems like it has some potential in some kind of Nic Fit (a green/black-ramp based shell that plays a lot of midrange and high-end threats backed up with premium discard and removal). Nic Fit is a deck that goes for a big advantage fast, so adding in a source of incremental advantage to help shore up the deck after it runs out its initial resources seems right up its alley. And this doubles as removal. Right?
Not so much on the removal part. Of the Eternal-legal Attractions, only one (Pick a Beeble) has a prize available at all, and then it sacrifices itself. So, for the removal clause to kick in, you need to get to that Attraction in your singleton Attraction deck and then win the prize before either the Gamer or the Attraction (which is an artifact on the battlefield, after all) gets removed. That’s not impossible, but it’s certainly not anything to bank on. If Gamer is going to be in Nic Fit, it has to be off the strength of getting a creature that can open Attractions over and over again, growing over time as it does so. I can see someone trying it out, but I’m a little skeptical that it becomes a mainstay of the deck.
The other Attraction enabler that caught my eye was the “Lifetime” Pass Holder. The mana efficiency is there, the graveyard recursion is there and there are plenty of strategies in Eternal formats that want a small, cheap creature to sacrifice for one effect or another.
But while Pass Holder has a shot, it’s only if the incremental value of Attractions end up being worth the effort. Cards like Ichorid and Gravecrawler already exist and are a little easier to work with, so the Pass Holder needs to overcome the randomness of its recursion to find a place.
Stand out cards
This section just includes a few cards that jumped out to me as having a good shot at finding a home in Legacy, at least. Although, who knows? Maybe they could find a place in Vintage. I also touch on one bonus acorn card which I just think would be neat, so let’s talk about that one first.
Sole Performer is just the right kind of silly, and it makes perfect sense from a rules standpoint if you turn your brain off juuuuuuust enough. It just gives a resource to pay for something in an alternative way. Tapping a creature for an ability with a tap symbol is just a cost, after all.
There is absolutely no way I see this ever being actually Eternal-legal, as this is more broken than Memory Jar ever was, but it’s my favorite, silly effect that could technically work normally without balancing cards on your head or other kinds of Un-set silliness.
With that out of the way, I think Exchange of Words could see some sideboard play to combat Show and Tell or Reanimator style decks. Let your opponent go through the hoops of actually getting some huge monster onto the battlefield and then just switch it out with your vanilla token’s text box.
It notably does not exchange power and toughness, so that Emrakul is still a 15/15. But it’s now much easier to otherwise deal with, you have a token with annihilator six and you certainly get style points if you can actually pull this off.
That brings us to the two cards that will see play in the main deck of at least one Legacy deck archetype each — and yes, I’m confident enough about that to throw in zero qualifiers.
Pair O’ Dice Lost has some actual potential in combo decks, especially since the variance built into the card can be completely worked around in those formats. What Past in Flames is for instants and sorceries in storm decks, Pair O’ Dice Lost is for artifacts like Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lotus Petal and (in Vintage) Black Lotus. That’s because, no matter what you roll, you can return all of those cards to your hand.
Double Lion’s Eye into Pair O’ Dice technically only nets you one more mana, creating a total of seven rather than six — but you are also adding three spells to the storm count, which can absolutely be significant.
Returning zero-cost artifacts is just the floor, too, as you can return any card type to your hand. That gets you multiple uses out of Dark Rituals, Cabal Rituals, discard spells, tutors or even just buy back some fetch lands. I don’t know that this will go into every variant of Storm, but I am one-hundred percent certain it will see a lot of play initially as folks go about testing to see just how useful this card is.
Meanwhile, others have already noted that Embiggen is one of the better pump spells printed for a Legacy Infect deck, and I absolutely agree with them. For those unaware, there was a creature-type errata update a bit ago that added “Phyrexian” to the type lines of a large swath of creatures — including Infect mainstays Glistener Elf and Blighted Agent.
That change gives them both four different things for Embiggen to count. Glistener Elf, for example, is a 1) Creature, 2) Phyrexian 3) Elf 4) Warrior. So, for a single green mana, both of those creatures get +4/+4, which means this straight up replaces Might of Old Krosa as an option in these decks.
There’s an even better target than those two creatures for Infect already in the deck as well. An activated Inkmoth Nexus is a 1) Land 2) Artifact 3) Creature 4) Phyrexian 5) Inkmoth, making Embiggen a +5/+5/ pump at instant speed for a single mana.
Not bad, I think. Embiggen and Pair O’ Dice Lost tie as the Unfinity cards most likely to show up in Legacy and maybe even Vintage. That said, I’m certain there is a subsection of folks who will fully try to make Attractions and, yes, even Stickers work in the Eternal formats.
If you’re one of those folks, or if you want to get your playset of Embiggens (or if you just want to have a silly draft with some friends), pick up all the Unfinity you need over at cardkingdom.com!
Chris is the Associate Media Producer at Card Kingdom. He would like to apologize to his son for not holding onto more cards from when he first started playing, as that likely would have paid for college. He enjoys pretty much all formats of Magic, but usually ends up playing decks that make other people dislike playing those formats with him.