Card of the Day - vendredi 29 février 2008
Ashes to Ashes
The Dark common. Targeting was part of Magic from the very beginning, and Alpha classic Fireball even introduced the concept of multiple targets. The Dark, however, was the first set to feature spells and abilities with exactly two targets: blowout common Ashes to Ashes, its artifact-hating counterpart Dust to Dust (referenced by Time Spiral's Return to Dust), and the activated ability of the regrettable Sorrow's Path.
Card of the Day - jeudi 28 février 2008
Portal Second Age common. The Portal sets—the original Portal in particular—are much-maligned for their attempts to make the game easier to learn. While the dagger and shield symbols next to power and toughness didn't stick, and the substitution of the word "intercept" for "block" was confusing at best, there was one important innovation in Portal that's often overlooked: Portal creatures, in 1997, were the first to feature the word "Creature" on their type line, and Portal Second Age, in 1998, used "Creature — [type]" technology nearly a full year before it was introduced to the wider Magic world in Sixth Edition.
Card of the Day - mercredi 27 février 2008
Lorwyn common. Known in design, rather straightforwardly, as Kithkin Balloon Team, Kinsbaile Balloonist started life as a Scout rather than a Soldier. The implied flavor was that the kithkin takes others up in his scouting balloon. Scouts, however, proved not to be a supported class in Morningtide, so it was mechanically preferable for the card to be a Soldier. The art concept came to the rescue, getting both ideas into one piece: "Show a kithkin balloon pilot reaching a hand down to a kithkin scout on the ground. The pilot is giving the scout a lift." That scout, of course, could be anybody—from Amrou Scouts to Axegrinder Giant.
Card of the Day - mardi 26 février 2008
Lorwyn uncommon. In many societies, hurling hot tar at a returning comrade would be considered rude, even hostile. Lorwyn's boggarts, however, consider new sensations more important than basically anything else, and as such, are eager to share an exciting new experience—such as being hit in the face with hot tar—with others of their warren, particularly a respected Auntie. In fact, not doing so would be considered a crime. For more about boggarts, read Doug Beyer's Bog is for Boggart.
Card of the Day - lundi 25 février 2008
Order of the Golden Cricket
Morningtide common. There are many flavor reasons in Magic for cards to temporarily gain flying, from Flying Carpet to Goblin Balloon Brigade to Stone Giant. Coldsnap's so-called "Jump Knights" (Stromgald Crusader and Order of the White Shield) are simply shown riding flying mounts, but Order of the Golden Cricket, like the older Vodalian Knights, hearkens back to the flavor of one of the very first cards to grant flying until end of turn: Alpha's Jump.
Card of the Day - vendredi 22 février 2008
Morningtide rare. Lorwyn's boggarts are famed for many things—their unusual weapons, their sensory mania, their amusing stories, and of course their wacky shenanigans. Above all, however, as Auntie's Snitch demonstrates, they are a race of truly outlandish—often living—headgear.
Card of the Day - jeudi 21 février 2008
Time Spiral common. Like many cards in Time Spiral, Amrou Seekers is a nod to not one but two older cards. "Amrou" refers to Legends' Amrou Kithkin, the first of its kind, while "Seeker"—along with the card's "white fear" ability—refers, of course, to Seeker, also from Legends. Like Time Spiral's other Kithkin, Amrou Seekers is also there to help provide cross-block synergy with Lorwyn.
Card of the Day - mercredi 20 février 2008
Lorwyn common. Boggart Sprite-Chaser encourages playing with a tribe other than its own—specifically, a tribe that overlaps colors with its own tribe. Devin Low, in his article Like a Bridge Over Tribal Waters, calls them bridges. During Lorwyn design, cards like this (particularly ones with power / toughness and/or keyword bonuses) were called "Outriders," after Legions' Beast-loving Goblin Skirk Outrider.
Card of the Day - mardi 19 février 2008
Keeper of Kookus
Visions common. Keeper of Kookus forms a "combo" with, you guessed it, Kookus. Unusually for such combos, it's the big, splashy rare care that calls out the common you'll need to make it work. Usually the cards that call out these combos are of equal rarity (Urza's Tower, Shield of Kaldra) or lesser rarity (Dark Supplicant, Urborg Panther, Sift Through Sands). Rohgahh of Kher Keep is the other notable exception—a rare that explained the otherwise bewildering Kobolds of Kher Keep. For more on these "designed combos," see Mark Rosewater's article Combo Platter.
Card of the Day - lundi 18 février 2008
Onslaught rare. In the Onslaught storyline, the Grand Coliseum was set up by the Cabal after Chainer destroyed their original base of operations during the events of Torment to hold bigger and better pit fights, hosting such legendary fighters as Silvos, Rogue Elemental, Arcanis the Omnipotent, and Phage the Untouchable. Although the Cabal itself was thoroughly, unequivocally black-aligned, the Coliseum's nature as a gathering place for people of many different lands infused it with all colors of mana.
Card of the Day - vendredi 15 février 2008
Infernal Spawn of Infernal Spawn of Evil
Unhinged rare. Given the popularity of the original Infernal Spawn of Evil in Unglued, a follow-up in Unhinged was virtually inevitable (and, of course, the name was a freebie). In addition to the obvious links between the cards, there's also an interesting gag on the type line. Poking fun at the moratorium on demons in Magic, Infernal Spawn of Evil had "Demon" on the type line crossed out and replaced with "Beast." By the time Unhinged was released, the ban had been lifted, and Infernal Spawn of Infernal Spawn of Evil made the same joke in reverse. For more about why demons left and why they came back, read Mark Rosewater's Where Have All the Demons Gone?
Card of the Day - jeudi 14 février 2008
Mother of Runes
Urza's Legacy uncommon. As a one-mana 1/1 with a board-dominating ability, Mother of Runes played a key role in White Weenie decks in Standard and Extended when it was legal, making it very difficult for opponents to attack, block, or play targeted or damage-based removal. Mother of Runes appeared in Extended as late as PT–Columbus in 2005, this time wedded to Gabe Walls's Rebel-subthemed White Weenie. Not bad for a nice old lady sipping tea.
Card of the Day - mercredi 13 février 2008
Homelands rare. In the Homelands storyline, the Sengir family was the result not of normal familial ties but of Baron Sengir's twisted sense of humor. Grandmother Sengir was in fact the mad wizard Ravi, ringer of the Apocalypse Chime. It was the Baron who named her Grandmother, just as he adopted (and vampirized) Irini Sengir, the daughter of a dwarf king who opposed the Baron. For more about the Sengir "family," check out Matt Cavotta's The Royal Bloodline.
Card of the Day - mardi 12 février 2008
Wort, Boggart Auntie
Lorwyn rare. Among the boggarts of Lorwyn, the term "auntie" carries no connotations of gender or relation—it's the word used for any boggart who leads a warren. Like everything Lorwyn boggarts do, becoming an auntie is messy, random, chaotic, and wildly variable from warren to warren and boggart to boggart. The exploits of both Auntie Wort and Auntie Grub feature in beloved tales that are told, retold, and often emulated by lesser boggarts.
Card of the Day - lundi 11 février 2008
Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
Champions of Kamigawa rare. Magic R&D is understandably reluctant to make nonbasic lands that have extra abilities and no drawback compared to basic ones. The cycle of rare legendary lands in Champions each had an ability relating to legendary permanents in addition to a mana-producing ability, balanced by the drawback of being legendary themselves. They soon began to appear in tournament decks as one-ofs because, well, why not? But then a funny thing happened: people started playing the most popular ones as one-ofs even with no other legendary permanents—sometimes when they weren't even running the appropriate color—using the legendary "drawback" to occasionally get in a pseudo-Wasteland on an unsuspecting opponent.
Card of the Day - vendredi 8 février 2008
Helm of Chatzuk
Fifth Edition rare. It's interesting to note that while Magic has had its fair share of helms—including Coral Helm, Helm of Awakening, Helm of Kaldra, Helm of Obedience, Helm of Possession, Horned Helm, and, at least by implication, Ghosthelm Courier—as well as other parts of armor, including one pair of greaves and many shields both physical and metaphysical, to date there are zero Magic card titles that include the word "helmet."
Card of the Day - jeudi 7 février 2008
Sentinels of Glen Elendra
Lorwyn common. Sentinels of Glen Elendra was called "Faerie Defensive Back" in design for its ability to "drop into coverage." This led Jake Theis (then a developer on loan from Brand, now the creative manager for Magic) to remark in Multiverse, the Wizards card database:
JT 8/22: Props for name. Go Deion Sanders.
In retrospect, Jake says he wishes he'd gone with Ronnie Lott, but "you can't change history, man."
Card of the Day - mercredi 6 février 2008
Hit // Run
Dissension uncommon. Like all split cards, Hit // Run (usually pronounced "Hit and Run") can cause some weird things to happen. Because split cards that aren't on the stack give back both answers when another card "asks" them about any of the qualities of which they have two, Hit // Run's converted mana cost is both three and five. This makes it the only card in Magic that can be fetched by Sunforger (because it is a red instant card with converted mana cost 4 or less—and weirder, you can play either side) that will also cost you 8 life if you reveal it with Dark Confidant (well, technically you'll lose 3 life and 5 life, but 9 out of 10 players can't tell the difference in a blind taste-test).
Card of the Day - mardi 5 février 2008
Time Spiral common. Originally designed as an "instant creature" and called "Right Guard," this card was later given flash (then called "surprise") when "instant creature" technology was nixed, and its placeholder name was changed to include the word "Foriysian" when it was decided that the design and art concept would reference Two-Headed Giant of Foriys rather than the other frontrunner, Wall of Glare (which would probably have called for a slightly different design) Foriysian Interceptor thus joined Weatherlight's Foriysian Brigade and Time Spiral uncommon Foriysian Totem in referencing what began as a pun and became an established part of the Magic mythos.
Card of the Day - lundi 4 février 2008
Legends uncommon. From Kudzu to Infectious Rage to Nettlevine Blight, Magic has made a few stabs at the flavor of a slowly spreading infection. Takklemaggot, however, has its own unique twist: after turns and turns and turns of flipping around like an evil Hot Potato, slowly strangling creatures under piles of -0/-1 counters, it settles down as a regular old enchantment and starts the weakening process again—this time on the unlucky player left holding it when the last creature died.
Card of the Day - vendredi 1 février 2008
Lorwyn rare. Okay, this week has been all about Lorwyn cards that got more exciting with the release of Morningtide, but does Hostility really need the help? Well... not really, but there are still ways to amp up this "humble" 6/6 token factory with haste. Brighthearth Banneret and Primal Beyond, along with Lorwyn's Smokebraider will help you get it into play. Morningtide has lots of burn, of course, from the repeatable Release the Ants to the probably-doesn't-need-to-be-repeated Titan's Revenge. Rage Forger after a burn spell can make your 3/1 Elemental Shamans bigger and meaner (but the attack trigger isn't a spell, so don't expect more of them). If you still don't feel you're doing enough damage, there's always Shared Animosity to make sure your team of Elementals hits as hard as possible.