Previews at PAX East

Editor's Note: Greg and I wanted to provide a clean recap of all of the previewed information from PAX East 2012, as well as some background on the speculation Greg's been providing. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this type of content (spoilers, speculation, and event recaps), so please share them in the comments below! Thanks!

At PAX East this weekend, a special panel was held to discuss upcoming Magic products. The main focus of the panel was the upcoming set Avacyn Restored. Those featured on the panel included senior creative designer Brady Dommermuth, development manager and Pro Tour Hall of Famer David Humpherys, developer Dave Guskin, and brand manager Paul Levy.

The panel revealed the main set mechanics and explained the outline of the set. The mechanic that will help bridge the gap between Innistrad/Dark Ascension and Avacyn Restored is undying, which returns on several cards.

They went on to explain that the creative scope is that the humans have been reinvigorated by the return of Avacyn, so they are now 'banding' together. This is shown in the new mechanic of soulbond. This mechanic 'pairs' two creatures together, giving both creatures a significant benefit as long as both are on the battlefield.

Avacyn's return is being seen by the people of Innistrad as a miracle, but the power of Avacyn actually empowers the genuinely miraculous. The miracle mechanic will be printed on a number of spells: when you draw a card with miracle, if it is the first card you drew in the turn you can choose to cast it immediately for a discounted cost. These cards also have a special card frame to help players avoid missing the chance to pay for the miracle.

According to the panel, Avacyn rules over three flights of angels. Each of the flights is represented in the set by a legendary angel: Sigarda was spoiled at the panel, and she leads the Heron Host.

Demons will be out in force, and Griselbrand will be making his presence felt. However, some creatures are no longer enemies. The werewolves have been converted to “Wolfir” by Avacyn. Half wolf/half human creatures, they are no longer feral beasts and enemies but allies to the human cause.

The panel ended with the announcement that the fall 2012 set codenamed as “Hook” is Return to Ravnica. An image of Jace standing next to Niv-Mizzet was shown as a teaser.

 
Aside from the spoiler-laden panel, the Magic booth featured giant Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker horns, which were given away for people to wear. A promotional image for Magic 2013 was on display that showed Nicol Bolas as being one of the planeswalker cards in Magic 2013, making it the first gold card to be printed in a core set.
 

 
Whether more gold cards will appear remains to be seen, though given our Return to Ravnica the timing for gold in the Core Set makes sense.