Chandra, Pyromaster – Magic 2014. Before we jump in Theros previews this weekend, we wanted to shine a spotlight on Magic 2014's focus Planeswalker, Chandra Nalaar. Back in July, Gavin Verhey reconstructed a deck that featured not just Chandra, Pyromaster, but most of the cards from this week as well. Check it out!
Chandra's Outrage – Magic 2014. Before we jump in Theros previews this weekend, we wanted to shine a spotlight on Magic 2014's focus Planeswalker, Chandra Nalaar. Including the Outrage, there are ten red common instants with a converted mana cost of 4 that deal damage. Of those, only Chandra's Outrage and Magma Burst (if you pay the kicker) are "guaranteed" (as much as can be in Magic) to deal 6 points of damage, and both spread that damage over two targets.
Chandra's Phoenix – Magic 2014. Before we jump in Theros previews this weekend, we wanted to shine a spotlight on Magic 2014's focus Planeswalker, Chandra Nalaar. There are nine Phoenixes in Magic, all of them in red, and all of them with some form of recursion (as you'd expect!), with Firestorm Phoenix, from Legends, being the first.
Pyromancer's Gauntlet – Magic 2014. Before we jump in Theros previews this weekend, we wanted to shine a spotlight on Magic 2014's focus Planeswalker, Chandra Nalaar. The M14 FAQ states, "If damage is being dealt to multiple players and/or permanents at the same time, the damage being dealt to each one is increased by 2."
Young Pyromancer – Magic 2014. Before we jump in Theros previews this weekend, we wanted to shine a spotlight on Magic 2014's focus Planeswalker, Chandra Nalaar. What better way than with one of her biggest fans? A few weeks ago, Hall of Fame Elect Luis Scott-Vargas wrote about a deck wherein Young Pyromancer was a central element. What kinds of decks have you built with this Human Shaman?
Starke of Rath – Tempest. In his article "Rosewater Rumble," Mark Rosewater says, "Tempest shifted how we made [blocks]. It was the first set to really interconnect story with mechanics. It was the first set to start to tie together the different mechanical components synergistically. It was a big leap forward." Read even more about this influential set!
Sigil of the Empty Throne – Planechase (2012 Edition). Before Alara cracked apart into shards it was watched over by an archangel known as Asha, who ruled over the world's angels. And then came the Sundering, during which Asha sacrificed herself for the good of the plane. And although her throne remained empty after her departure, the angels who once obeyed her continued to protect the shard of Bant, even as Alara itself was reborn.
Dragon Egg – Magic 2014 . Hatching a creature from an egg has been a part of Magic since its first year, with the release of Rukh Egg in Arabian Nights. Half of these six eggcelent cards are red, half have appeared in core sets, and half are uncommon, but only Dragon Egg meets all three of those criteria. Eggciting trivia for you!
Huntmaster of the Fells – Dark Ascension. "Fells" is a fun word because it means a mountain or wild high place. Our Huntmaster here is standing on a slope, but "fell" also means the fleece or hide of an animal… including that of humans. Considering the Huntmaster can take down most Humans (1083/1488 as of right now) when he transforms… well… it's probably a good guess he doesn't limit his hunting to canids.
Winter's Chill – Ice Age. If you haven't been playing since Coldsnap you might not be aware of what a "snow land" is. It's, well, a land, with the snow type. There are thirteen snow lands available: Snow-Covered versions of the basic lands introduced in Ice Age and eight others introduced in Coldsnap, including the frighteningly fun Dark Depths.
Cruel Ultimatum – Shards of Alara. It would not do to present this card and not mention its most famous moment: the "called shot" from Hall of Famer Gabriel Nassif, done on camera. It is also of note that Cruel Ultimatum is in From the Vault: Twenty, along with nineteen other famous cards from Magic's history.
Supreme Verdict – Return to Ravnica. Leonos, aka Obez Murzeddi, aka previous guildmaster and last grand arbiter of the Azorius, is a human male of approximately seventy years. Fearing the corrupting influence of power that led to Augustin IV's crimes, he sought to put in power a longer-lived being as guildmaster. His efforts paid off when Isperia agreed to lead the guild as its supreme judge.
Stolen Identity – Gatecrash. This great art is a little hard to see and fully appreciate at card size, so let's talk about what's going on! The art description includes, "Show a Boros knight kneeling within a magical symbol on the slick stone floor. The symbol is done in the Dimir style." The "Dimir style" includes a visual cue of "three sharp elements in a row," which you can see throughout the image, hinting at this clone's true allegiance.
Fade from Memory – Onslaught. Otaria (as mentioned in the flavor text) is a continent on the plane of Dominaria and the setting for both the Odyssey and Onslaught blocks. The memories of magic and power exist in the very land itself, and, as Doug Beyer once wrote, "Some Planeswalkers report that it feels as if Otaria itself yearns for its own past, aching to revisit times gone by."
Royal Assassin – Limited Edition Alpha. There are thirty-four Assassins in Magic and twenty-two cards (including three instants or sorceries) with "Assassin" in their name. Their effects vary a bit, but Royal Assassin was the first and set the flavor precedent of assassinating only tapped creatures, which is seen on five cards.
Black Lotus – Limited Edition Alpha. For 20th Anniversary Week, we asked R&D for the most important cards in Magic's history. What better way to end the week than with some Power? James Sooy picked Black Lotus, calling it "the icon of legendary cards among all card games."
Kavu Titan – Invasion. For 20th Anniversary Week, we asked R&D for the most important cards in Magic's history. Ken Nagle chose Kavu Titan and explained by saying, "[it] began a crusade to make green creatures stronger." It climaxed in Odyssey with Wild Mongrel, Basking Rootwalla, Call of the Herd, Arrogant Wurm, and Roar of the Wurm showcasing that, yes, it's possible for green to have the best creatures.
Necropotence – Ice Age. For 20th Anniversary Week, we asked R&D for the most important cards in Magic's history. James Sooy and Worth Wollpert both picked Necropotence. James explained his choice by calling it "the original boogeyman of Constructed tournaments."
Man-o'-War – Visions. For 20th Anniversary Week, we asked R&D for the most important cards in Magic's history. Ken Nagle and Shawn Main picked Man-o'-War. Ken said, "Uktabi Orangutan, Man-o'-War, and friends showcased the 'enter the battlefield'-with-a-spell effect, creating powerful creatures for tournament play thanks to their warm bodies being relevant all the time, even if the Shatter effect was not. Magic sets nowadays are full of 'enters the battlefield' abilities."
Ajani Goldmane – Lorwyn. For 20th Anniversary Week, we asked R&D for the most important cards in Magic's history. Worth Wollpert and Shawn Main picked the first Planeswalkers. Shawn explains, "Ajani Goldmane and the rest of the Lorwyn 5 represented a huge boon to the game. Planeswalkers had been central to the game's story from very early, but finally they had the opportunity to become part of the game."
Tenacious Dead – Magic 2014 Core Set. There are 37 Skeletons and 386 Warriors in Magic. The first (of five) Skeleton Warrior appeared in Magic 2011 . After Warrior, the next-most-common Skeleton subtype is... Bird! But there are just as many legendary Skeletons, which might be of interest to you if you play Commander!
Black Knight – Limited Edition Alpha. Although the most famous modern black knight comes to us thanks to Monty Python, the black knight as an Arthurian trope has existed at least since the Middle Ages. There were also several historical figures who bore the moniker: James Stewart, Zawisza Czarny, and the Knight of Glin. History is a little unclear on who had first strike or pro white, though.