Yet Another Unhinged Preview

Posted in Feature on November 11, 2004

By Mark L. Gottlieb

How would you fine folks like an Unhinged preview card today? You wouldn't? OK, on to Plan B.

Although overshadowed by its media darling cousins the kangaroo and the koala, the wombat is one wicked cool marsupial. Notoriously shy, this critter (which is closer to being a living teddy bear than any other animal on earth) lives in burrows and is nocturnal. Talk about avoiding the spotlight! But a spotlight is exactly what you need to see one in the wild, as I found out in the back of a pickup truck barreling along the Outback underbrush…

What's that? You do want an Unhinged preview card? My bad. Today's number is a red enchantment with three abilities.
Ability 1: All creatures have haste. I can handle that. Easy stuff.
Ability 2: Players play with the top card of their libraries revealed. We've seen this before. Nothing wacky here.
Ability 3: Noninstant, nonsorcery cards on top of a library are in play under their owner's control in addition to being in that library. My brain just broke.

Here's the whole card:

Yet Another Aether Vortex

Ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-ght. When it says that permanents on top of your library are in play, that's exactly what it means. If the top card of your library is a Forest, you can tap it for , you can sacrifice it to Lithatog, and your opponent can Stone Rain it. If the top card of your library is a creature, you can attack with it, block with it, play its abilities, or have it get Terrored. If the top card of your library is a local enchantment, state-based effects put it into your graveyard immediately since it's in play without being attached to a permanent.

More rules? When the top card of your library moves to a different zone (you drew it, you sacrificed it, it got destroyed, whatever), its leaves-play abilities will trigger. However, the new card that's revealed as the top card of your library does not trigger comes-into-play effects. Why? Because the FAQ (coming next week) says so.

Even more rules? Let's discuss what happens when a card with an “as this card comes into play” effect is revealed as the top card of your library. Or a card with a “this card comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it” ability. Or one that says it comes into play tapped. Or what happens when a card lets you sacrifice any number of permanents and you want to sacrifice your entire library one card at a time. On second thought, let's discuss wombats some more. The wombat's main defense mechanism is a bony plate located in its rump. This doesn't just act as armor; it serves as a weapon. When being chased by a dingo, a wombat will run into its burrow, get low, and—still facing into the burrow—wait for the dingo to poke its head into the hole after it. At that point, the wombat thrusts upwards with its back legs hard, crushing the dingo's skull beween its butt and the roof of the burrow.

OK, OK, I'll answer your questions.

  • If you put a card on top of your library via Vampiric Tutor or Reclaim, it still doesn't trigger comes-into-play abilities.
  • "This card comes into play tapped," "as this card comes into play, choose a color" and "this card comes into play with counters" abilities all don't work.
  • If you want to sacrifice "any number of permanents," you can't eat a chunk off the top of your library. You can only sacrifice the card on top.
  • If an Equipment is on top of your library, you can pay the equip cost to move it onto a creature. But it's still on top of your library. Don't ask me how. I just write what Rosewater tells me. In fact, if you have any questions about how this dumb card works, don't send them to me. Send them to Mark Rosewater. He loves Unhinged questions. Each one makes him stronger...

You Can't Spell “Aether Vortex” without “The RV”


Hi there.

Yeah, yeah. Unfinished Unhinged unbusiness. Look, this card is broken beyond all belief. It lets you shirk the cost, comes-into-play drawback, and summoning sickness of any ridiculous creature you want. Take away the randomness inherent in dealing with the top of your library and you can do some very unfair things. For example, play Yet Another Aether Vortex. Next turn, play Worldly Tutor to put Draco on top of your library, attack with it (it has haste, remember), then play Erratic Explosion.

Draco might not be good enough, though. It's only a 9/9 flying creature. It needs trample. As long as you're not worried about comes-into-play effects, Eater of Days is a fine choice. Enlightened Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, and Worldly Tutor can all find it and put it into play. (YAAV makes your Tutors better to play during your main phase than at the end of your opponent's turn. Heaven forfend you draw your fatties.) After you eventually perform the unfortunate act of drawing Eater of Days or Serra Avatar or Nicol Bolas, you can put it right back into play by activating Penance. Penance! Concerned that there might not be a black or red damage source for you to choose? No worries—you can choose Yet Another Aether Vortex itself. That thing might damage you! It's a crazy Unhinged card; there's no telling what kind of shenanigans it'll pull! The rules let you choose any red permanent as a potential damage source, so why start playing fair now?

Let's take a different tack. How about a four-card infinite loop of Yet Another Aether Vortex, Mortuary, Hair-Strung Koto, and a creature on top of your library?

Hair-Strung Koto

You tap the creature on top of your library to activate the Koto's ability, targeting yourself. You put the now-tapped creature from your library into your graveyard. Mortuary triggers, putting that card right back on top of your library… untapped. And let the fun begin! There are a zillion choices to exploit this loop. Ember-Fist Zubera will escalate into lethal damage quickly. Wormfang Manta will generate infinite turns, Cathodion will generate infinite mana, Anodet Lurker will generate infinite life, and Symbiotic Wurm will generate infinite creatures. There are plenty of other fine choices. For example, you may have heard of Kokusho, the Evening Star by now. Of course, that loop is more complex than the loop of Yet Another Aether Vortex, Mortuary, Altar of Dementia, and any creature. Now the Altar is your victory condition and your creature doesn't actually have to do anything other than have power greater than 0 (sorry, Ornithopter).

And then there are the support cards. Manipulating the top of a player's library now affects the game state, so Soothsaying and Sensei's Divining Top can be MVPs. Cards like Lithatog or Troubled Healer let you rid the top of your library of lands. Millstone gets rid of nasty surprises on top of your opponent's deck. Reclaim is good. Reinforcements may be better. The combo of Library of Leng with Unfulfilled Desires (with Yet Another Aether Vortex and certain creatures) can get goofy. If you can generate life and mana this way, you can go infinite; otherwise, you just get a bunch of leaves-play effects.

One last thing that I certainly don't want to forget is the mating ritual of the wombat, because it's the funniest damn thing I've ever seen. For roly-poly animals with short, stubby legs, wombats run surprisingly fast. The rarely seen wombat mating dance involves the male chasing the female in circles and figure eights (obviously the female is in on the plan or she'd run in a straight line) while I crack up at the absurd spectacle. If you can imagine two of these things running in circles, rest assured that it's even funnier than you think it is. When the male has had enough dancing, he bites the female on the thigh, whereupon she immediately flops over onto her side and the propagation of the species commences. I just felt you all needed to know that.

And Some Decks

What, No Giraffe?

Download Arena Decklist

Yet More Dementia

Download Arena Decklist

Until next week, have fun with wombats.

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