I think the fact that they're design mistakes is lessened by their legendary status -- Valakut
was a menace for what, a decade? It's a cool card, but it's so hard to interact with lands in modern Magic that I don't like this kind of importance being put on their non-mana abilities unless it's a situation like the Zendikar Rising MDFCs where you do
get that ability to interact with them like a normal card. Even more than that, Channel is a pernicious mechanic on lands or otherwise because of its limited areas of interaction. You can't (easily) copy it, you can't (easily) counter it, you can't (easily) redirect it.
As much as I'd like this to finally be Squelch
's time to shine, that's not a broad enough ability for any format (though I still run it in every Blue EDH deck I make).
Between the very specific wording of Magecraft for copying effects, pushed copy spells like Galvanic Iteration
in recent sets, and Channel, I'm surprised we haven't gotten more spells that redirect abilities in red, as was Mark Rosewater's original vision. I'd still kill to have hyper-aggressive cards that change the target of a spell or ability in red, and a greater design focus on "target player draws two cards", even if it's clear that's not the direction the Arena-focused design and development teams have been going. But I am hopeful that they'll make cards that can better interact with Channel in follow-up sets, or else my poor Mirrorshell Crab
is going to be a lone hater of activated abilities in my cube for a while.
Also, on the note of the lands, I love Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance
, but I think the standard art 1) looks way better and 2) actually looks like something that would tap for red mana BUT as I discussed in another thread, I hate hate hate the whole "make the extended version of the art the 'real' one and just crop it for the standard edition" thing WotC art direction has gone for and the 'crucible' in question is part of what's cropped in the art! Losing the rocky details of the mountains to the left and right trashes the framing of the city and makes it lose its sense of scale.
This is one of my favorite pieces of art from the set and also one of the most egregious cases of destroying the artwork with sloppy cropping. The art direction for these extended cards needs
to find a better balance of "here's the standard card size, make sure all the proper elements work here first, and then
" instead of unceremoniously chopping off key details.