Some new school in your oldschool

Two new articles have gone up on the Magic site with some announcements of note.
First, this article tells us that the following things are happening with the next block:

  • Set sizes are dropping, with a 249-card core set, and two 145-card expansions
  • A fourth rarity level is coming in, with the name “Mythic Rare” (coming in at 1 Mythic Rare in 8 Rares)
  • Boosters will now contain a basic land

I’m confident people are already freaking out about Mythic Rares. To this I saw, well, whatever. It wasn’t a problem in Mechwarrior, and, as Mark Rosewater points out in the second article I’m going to mention, the meaning of “rare” is quite variable across sets. A “Mythic Rare” in a large set would be equivalent to any old random Rare in the current Tenth Edition, for example. As Mark tells us, having four rarity levels is now expected in TCGs (or, more broadly, in TXGs of any kind — Star Wars minis has four rarities). Or, to put it another way, all those kids leveling up from Naruto or crossing over from WoW think Magic is weird ’cause it only has three rarities.
My sole complaint might be the name. “Mythic” Rare? Really? Star Wars has Rare and Very Rare, which I prefer as terms, although the ideal would be to have a new term that doesn’t include a word from one of the extent terms. The thesaurus is no help here, offering words like “sporadic.”
“I’ll trade you two rares and an uncommon for that awesome sporadic you just pulled.”
No.
Mark also previews a new planeswalker from Alara, by way of showing off the Mythic Rare expansion symbol (which seems to be a sort of rich, orange-gold color):
SarkhanArt.jpg
Multicolored planeswalker — seems like a natural progression. I’m not fond of the art, although it’s apropros for the color spread.