It's been a while since I've updated the Battle Boxes on this site. In the meantime, many new sets have come out and many cards were screaming to be included.

So I decided it was time for an update article. I update my Battle Boxes more or less continuously but I find it not very helpful to publish every little change on the site. Instead, I let the changes pile up a little and then publish them in one big batch. Below are the changes to the regular Battle Box, the Commander Battle Box and the Nostalgia Battle Box (in that order). I have included a short explanation of the changes, although the focus is on which cards were changed. Of course, you can find all the updated project lists in the different project pages.

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Battle Box

Unlike the previous Battle Box update, when I overhauled the entire Battle Box experience, there was no large overarching issue this time. The Box plays well in general, so the updates are mostly to include fun cards from new Magic sets (as well as old cards that were printed with a modern border for the first time). The cards I took out are the cards I felt to be the most underwhelming, although sometimes they were too strong or dominating as well. And sometimes cards just ended up on the chopping board because something needed to be cut. I took out most of the manifest cards because I found them to be disappointing too often. The changes:

Cards Out:
Ambush Viper
Angelic Armaments
Angelic Gift
Anger
Anger of the Gods
Baloth Woodcrasher
Branching Bolt
Cloudfin Raptor
Cloudform
Crime // Punishment
Dack's Duplicate
Dissolve
Giant Growth
Hinder
Hour of Need
Jalira, Master Polymorphist
Lightform
Managorger Hydra
Mortify
Myth Realized
Nevinyrral's Disk
Press the Advantage
Putrid Leech
Ravaging Blaze
Rout
Shockmaw Dragon
Sleeper Agent
Snake Umbra
Spikeshot Elder
Spirit Bonds
Squirrel Nest
Stalking Yeti
Tainted Sigil
Temur War Shaman
Valakut Invoker
Wall of Denial
Wall of Tanglecord
War Cadence
Wildcall

Cards In:
Baloth Null
Battle Squadron
Bearer of Silence
Behind the Scenes
Blessed Alliance
Bygone Bishop
Corpse Churn
Dance with Devils
Dark Salvation
Deceiver of Form
Eldrazi Displacer
Eldrazi Obligator
Exotic Curse
Flameblade Angel
Geistblast
Goblin Dark-Dwellers
Hanweir Militia Captain
Hydroblast
Immolating Glare
Jori En, Ruin Diver
Kessig Prowler
Matter Reshaper
Murderous Compulsion
Niblis of Frost
Prodigal Sorcerer
Pyroblast
Reckless Bushwhacker
Roar of the Wurm
Sanctifier of Souls
Savage Alliance
Sifter of Skulls
Spatial Contortion
Stormchaser Mage
Tireless Tracker
Topplegeist
Triskaidekaphobia
Tyrant of Valakut
Unsubstantiate
Vile Redeemer
Vindicate
Werebear

The land sets were also updated. I took out the Coldsnap snow lands for a set of Battle for Zendikar tap lands (just because I like the cleanest solution best). I also added a set of Wastes to allow for the addition of some colorless mana cards. This also means the total mana curve is extended to 11, but in practice this does not impact the game that much in the standard Battle Box (where mana curves are relatively low).

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Battle Box: Commander

The Commander Battle Box has always been built to provide what I felt was the spirit of the Commander format: Battle-Cruiser Magic with huge creatures and powerful effects. The cheat I inserted to start each player with five lands in play was supposed to counterbalance the abundance of high casting costs. And while it does that up to a point, I felt the Box lacked cheaper and slightly more focused spells. A game that is just an exchange of one-spell-per-turn plays and board sweepers doesn't offer enough variety. So, the changes I made were partly to include new cards and partly to streamline the Commander Box. I swapped some expensive cards for cheaper combat interaction and I swapped a portion of the board sweepers for pinpoint removal. The changes:

Cards Out:
Akroma's Memorial
Akroma's Vengeance
Arashi, the Sky Asunder
Avatar of Woe
Bane of Progress
Blind Obedience
Broodbirth Viper
Caller of the Pack
Colossus of Akros
Dack Fayden
Dawnbreak Reclaimer
Dissolve
Displacement Wave
Dragonlord Atarka
Dualcaster Mage
Duneblast
Earthquake
Flametongue Kavu
Ghastly Conscription
Giant Adephage
Gideon's Avenger
Gift of Immortality
Gigantoplasm
Hamletback Goliath
Hammer of Purphoros
Homura, Human Ascendant
Hooded Hydra
Karmic Justice
Kothophed, Soul Hoarder
Languish
Molten Primordial
Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
Ojutai Exemplars
Perplexing Chimera
Profound Journey
Prophetic Flamespeaker
Quicksilver Amulet
Rage Reflection
Reign of the Pit
Scourge of Kher Ridges
Serpentine Spike
Skarrg Goliath
Soul of New Phyrexia
Sword of Fire and Ice
Synthetic Destiny
Tragic Arrogance
Valorous Stance
Vedalken Orrery
Volcanic Vision
Vraska the Unseen
Whisperwood Elemental
Wrath of God

Commanders in Commander Pool:
Odric, Lunarch Marshal
Maelstrom Wanderer

Cards In:
Anguished Unmaking
Assemble the Legion
Aurelia, the Warleader (from Commander Pool)
Baleful Strix
Beast Within
Blessed Reincarnation
Boros Charm
Cauldron of Souls
Centaur Chieftain
Collective Effort
Darksteel Mutation
Deadeye Navigator
Decimator of the Provinces
Elder Deep-Fiend
Ever After
Fires of Yavimaya
Ghoulcaller Gisa
Glen Elendra Archmage
Hull Breach
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Kiora, Master of the Depths
Kor Chant
Krosan Grip
Lightning Greaves
Living Death
Maelstrom Pulse
Mirrorweave
Mortify
Mother of Runes
Nim Deathmantle
Phantasmal Image
Profaner of the Dead
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Putrefy
Reanimate
Relic Crush
Ruthless Disposal
Sin Prodder
Sneak Attack
Snuff Out
Soul Swallower
Spellskite
Starstorm
Subjugator Angel
Terminate
Time Warp
To the Slaughter
Ulvenwald Tracker
Vindicate
Wolf of Devil's Breach
Word of Seizing
Xenagos, God of Revels (from Commander Pool)

The land sets were also updated. I found the Transguild Promenades to be a little complicated, and the Command Towers too unfair, so I decided to simplify the land sets and just include a Mana Confluence in each set instead. This way players still have access to three colored mana if they need it, and the cost of paying one life is easy to process and not too steep in a format where players start off with 40 life. Of course, it also means there is only 11 mana in the land sets, so the maximum cost to cast a Commander is reduced to 11.

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Nostalgia Battle Box

Obviously no new nostalgic cards were published. Still, I made some small changes to the Nostalgia Battle Box. I found the World Deck was fun, but only if the cards were not too oppressive. Cards like The Abyss only led to frustration. I also decided to expand the World Deck a little to prevent repetition. The cards I took out to make room are mostly expensive Legacy cards that didn't pull their weight. I have no principal issue with having a $200 card in my Battle Box, but when that card is Eureka, a card that sounds cool on paper but doesn't really lead to fun play patterns, I feel the Box is better off without it. The changes:

World Cards Out:
Arcane Laboratory
The Abyss

Cards Out:
Eureka
Ivory Tower
Mirror Universe
Rootbreaker Wurm
Show and Tell

World Cards In:
Aluren
Antagonism
Dingus Staff
Invasion Plans
Oath of Scholars
Planar Gate
Total War

Those were all the changes. I'll be back in a couple of weeks with the Conspiracy 2 review. Based on what has been spoiled so far, it promises to be interesting. Until then, happy Battle Boxing!