Bazaar of Wonders

Posted in Feature on March 30, 2005

By Adrian Sullivan

Form of the Dragon is always the card I think of first when I think of flavor. Here's a card that makes you into a Dragon. Island Sanctuary was another flavorful card – you would sit in seclusion on your private island sanctuary (losing out on some knowledge), and only fliers or swimmers could get at you.

Bazaar of Wonders holds the same kind of flavorful goodness and packs in with it a really cool idea. When you're in the Bazaar, you live in a world of uniqueness. Nothing can exist in this world unless there is nothing else like it. In terms of card design, this card really stands out in the creativity department. My hat is off to whoever made this little gem.

Bazaar of Wonders

When Bazaar first came out, I tried my best to make a deck for it in Standard and in MirVisLite (as we called it back in the day). My Standard deck was okay, but nothing to really be scared of, and in Block it simply couldn't hang with the big boys. Now that we have Legacy, there might just be a home for the card.

Hating the graveyard, but then loving it

Graveyard decks are out there. Block decks have had reanimation, Psychatogs like to nibble on it, Wonder and Genesis like to be in the grave, and heck, even Worldgorger Dragon can be scary in it. There is a reason that graveyard attack exists out there.

One of the nifty little things that Bazaar does as it comes into play is nix the entire graveyard. There's more in your deck than that Bazaar (at least I hope there is), and so if you can make it to the point where you're casting the Bazaar, any graveyard troubles you may have had are nixed. The whole point of the graveyard removal text on the card in the first place was as a balancing measure – they didn't want a Bazaar to drop on the table in the midgame and completely shut down every opponent.


Scrabbling Claws
Still, though, once you've gotten out the Bazaar, you're going to want to have cards in your opponent's grave to help lock them out of the game. You can always simply let them slowly fill up their own grave, but why not help them out instead? Millstone, Whetstone (for the desperate), or Grindstone all fill up the opponent's graveyard quite nicely. With each activation, you can watch your opponent slowly go mad as the stones relentlessly grind them away. If you don't like to wait, Traumatize them instead. Since you're already in Blue, Countering spells should come naturally as well. Anything you counter once might as well be Quashed. It's gone for good.

Of course, Bazaar of Wonders works its wonders on you as well. One of the really clever ways to get around that problem is a little bit of graveyard management. A Psychatog can eat any copy of a card that you want to play. A Scrabbling Claws can play the same trick, as well as working as graveyard defense in the game before the Bazaar hits. When it comes to truly fantastic graveyard management, try a card like Yawgmoth's Agenda. The Bazaar counters spells that are in the graveyard, but if you're playing it from the Agenda, it is gone for good. For permanents already in play, there are a lot fewer ways to dodge. A card like Frenetic Efreet or anything that has been Reality Rippled can be out of play for a wee bit to allow you to drop a second one. Otherworldly Journey can pull off the same trick. There are still plenty of other ways to avoid getting hurt by the Bazaar.

There can be only one

With a Bazaar, it can be well worth your while to play Singleton – only one of any card – or at least pretty close to it. There are so many cards in Magic now, you can often play multiple “copies” of a card without playing the same card at all! Here are a couple of simple examples:

Giant GrowthWild Might, Briar Shield, Echoing Courage, or Armor of Thorns
CounterspellMana Leak, Force of Will, Miscalculation, Power Sink, or Mana Drain (in Type 1)
Lightning BoltIncinerate, Fire/Ice, Magma Jet, or Chain Lightning
Uktabi OrangutanViridian Zealot, Viridian Shaman, Thornscape Battlemage, or Verduran Emissary

There are, of course, plenty of other examples. You don't need to run Highlander with some cards. Sometimes a card is just so good that you want to run more regardless of whether or not you might get stuck with it. You can still play with the graveyard manipulation stuff or Phasing-type cards to allow you to play a second one.

Another option is just to have something to do with the extra cards. Pitch them to something. The many “pitch” cards out there, from Force of Will to Sickening Shoal to Cave-In all are really fine options. With these cards, they have the added bonus of not negating future “second” cards. If you think you might need to draw that Psychatog later in the game, tossing it to a Force of Will won't stop you from playing it later. Most of the Red cards that you could pitch cards to are a bit too dangerous (they tend to have a random discard element, which could come back to bite you), but there are other options. Compulsion works well, as does a card like Volrath's Dungeon.

Another super easy cheat comes with graveyard effects. Pyre Zombie, Call of the Herd, or Death Spark can all dodge the Bazaar nicely. All of the Beacons dodge the Bazaar as long as they resolve. Just don't walk into a counterspell or you'll see the end of all your Beacons of that name for good.

That's my outfit!

If you're just playing with the same group of people all of the time, Bazaar of Wonders gives you the chance to be just a bit nasty. There are plenty of cards out there that let you dump cards into your yard. Play a few copies of the key cards for your opponent's deck, and then just dump them into the yard. With Careful Study, Gifts Ungiven, or Fact or Fiction, it can be a cinch to get them there. Intuition is especially good at this. One way to make this even more effective is to build your deck so that it is actually built to make use of these cards so that drawing them isn't pure dead weight.

Bizarre? How about Weird?

In the right deck, a Bazaar of Wonders pairs beautifully with a Zur's Weirding. With both players suddenly having perfect information of everything because of the Weirding, you can make really good decisions on denying your opponent cards to have the Bazaar of Wonders shut them off forever. Certainly your opponent can do the same thing to you, but if you're playing certain cards, you should be fine. A Convalescent Care can force more Weirding onto your opponent and let you continually deny any card that the Bazaar doesn't already stop. A Pulse of the Forge or a Pulse of the Fields can help get that life back in line to keep the Weirding going. Flashback cards and other graveyard cards also let you dodge the Weirding/Bazaar combo as well.

Wrapping Up

I tried to build this deck a long time ago back when Weatherlight was legal in Standard. Unfortunately, there were not nearly enough good burn or counterspells to fill in the blanks, so making a pseudo-Highlander Bazaar-Hammer deck was just a little weak. This isn't a tournament winner level deck, but it is solid nonetheless.

Legacy Bizarre Counter-Hammer

Download Arena Decklist


Shard Phoenix
There are so many quality burn spells available, it's really quite easy to simply fill up the deck with a bunch of it. There are plenty of counterspells to be had as well, but you'll need to double up a little bit if you're going to want to be highly stocked on countermagic. With Bazaar of Wonders to stop any of the redundant cards that your opponent is likely to be playing (most decklists include plenty of 4-ofs), even a smattering of counters can keep off the really scary stuff while your deck goes into Counter-Phoenix mode. That single Intuition can find the Bazaars or get Hammers and Phoenixes.

If you want, you could streamline the deck a little more, making use of less singleton cards and throwing in more Shard Phoenixes (with Compulsion to turn it into card advantage) and a few more alternate cast counters like Foil. It's still probably worth running cards like Scrabbling Claws, just so you can play multiple copies of pure counters like Counterspell. If you do find yourself in a control war with both a Compulsion in play and a Bazaar of Wonders, it is a very easy fight to win. When your opponent casts a counter, ditching the appropriate counterspell to the yard with a Compulsion automatically counters it. I hope you like the deck – there is a lot of room to personalize it if you want to try something like it.

Before I say goodbye, a couple of notes on last week's article, Mirror Gallery. Last week, I asked everyone whether or not you wanted to have a Reader Challenge for the wonderfully open-ended Mirror Gallery. I know that because of the nature of the card, I was very much looking forward to the creative juices I expected to see flowing in all of you with this card. Before we find out whether there will be a Reader Challenge, I wanted to definitively confirm Brothers Yamazaki gives all other copies of Brothers in play +2/+2. Last week I was looking at the Brothers Yamazaki on Gatherer and I mistook a period for a comma. Sorry about any confusion in last week's article that mistake may have caused.

Do you want a Reader Challenge on Mirror Gallery
Yes, I would like a Reader Challenge on Mirror Gallery. 2488 55.2%
No way! You and Mark Gottlieb have it covered enough already! 2017 44.8%
Total 4505 100.0%

As I expected, we're going to have a Reader Challenge for Mirror Gallery. Long time readers already know how this works, but for anyone not as familiar with the Challenges, I want to review how they work. Send me an e-mail with your decklist exploiting the Challenge card, Mirror Gallery. Creativity is key here; in previous Challenges, I have had hundreds of decklists to dig through searching for those special gems that get featured in next week's article. Of course, I have to figure out some way to decide who wins… I go by these guidelines:

  • Focus on doing something and doing it well.
  • Have that special dash of something that sets you apart from a similar deck.
  • Get it in quick – In a tie, the deck submitted first is the winner.

Watch out, some people have already sent in their decklists. I guess they expected the Reader Challenge vote to be a big yes.

That's all for this week. Just to remind everyone, I'm always really happy to take suggestions on future articles. If you send me a good way to use that card, I'll be sure to mention you in the column. Until next time!

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