Card of the Day - December, 2008
Posted in Feature on December 1, 2008
Scapegoat – Stronghold uncommon. The art of Scapegoat portrays a pivotal moment in the Weatherlight saga, in which Gerrard Capashen believes that he has finally killed Volrath the Fallen, who had once been Vuel, Gerrard's stepbrother (and Sidar Kondo's son). Unfortunately (and this is what's happening on the card), it was a Volrath's Shapeshifter in the form of Volrath, which meant that Gerrard had to spend the rest of Stronghold and Exodus chasing him.
Centaur Archer – Ice Age common. It might seem like a suspicious coincidence that Arna Kennerüd showed up on Magic around the time that Darla Kennerud was in charge of flavor text, but in fact, she did it as a tribute to the man she was dating. She only got Kennerud as her own last name after the character started saying things in Magic continuity.
Dross Scorpion – Mirrodin common. Mixed in among Mirrodin's Affinity cards were a few more traditional combo pieces. Mixing Dross Scorpion with a Cathodion-imprinted Soul Foundry and any way of sacrificing a creature for a useful effect immediately translated into an arbitrarily large life total, mana pool, or damage. This never really translated into big tournament success, because the Affinity cards were so good that even infinite combos couldn't stand up to them.
Crooked Scales – Mercadian Masques rare. The obvious way that Crooked Scales is rigged is that the controller can flip coins more than once, which made it pretty good in a Limited environment where a player could reliably scare up ten mana. However, it also takes advantage of timing rules; since the coin-flipping is part of the effect (instead of the cost), any regeneration or other responses must be decided on before anyone knows what the results of the coin-flipping will be. And because it has two targets, it's legitimate to activate the Scales and respond by bouncing your own creature, thus removing all of the downside from a bad coinflip.
Phage the Untouchable – Legions rare. Before she became Untouchable, Phage was Kamahl, Pit Fighter sister Jeska, Warrior Adept. But after a series of events involving her death, the Mirari, Braids, Cabal Minion, and the Cabal god Kuberr, Jeska was reborn as Phage and eventually battled Akroma, Angel of Wrath in the pits. You can see part of the battle if you put Phage and Akroma's cards side-by-side.
Jamuraan Lion – Visions common. In addition to being the only mono-white card in Magic that keeps a creature from blocking without also keeping it from attacking, Jamuraan Lion sports a nearly unique 3/1 body. The only other 3/1, Mercadian Masques' Ignoble Soldier, actually has a drawback, and in fact, the only other mono-white creature in Magic that has 3 power and costs less than four mana without any drawbacks or restrictions is Blade of the Sixth Pride.
Wormfang Crab – Judgment uncommon. Torment's Nightmare creatures took some resource from your opponent as long as they were in play. Judgment reversed the formula: instead of taking from your opponent, the Nightmares—both the blue Wormfang creatures and the red "Gorgers"—took some resource of your own as long as they were in play. Wormfang Crab neglected an important clause that was quickly added with errata: other than Wormfang Crab.
Twincast – Tenth Edition rare. The distinct but related mechanics of copying spells and changing their targets have engaged in a sort of exchange program between red and blue over the years. Cards such as Goblin Flectomancer and Wild Ricochet show that both colors continue to have a claim on both abilities under the right circumstances.
Bull Aurochs – Coldsnap common. Bull Aurochs is one of three Aurochs creatures in Coldsnap inspired by the original Ice Age Aurochs... which in turn was inspired, you might say, by Bos primigenius, the European aurochs (or urus), an extinct relative of modern domestic cattle. The last known aurochs died in Poland in 1627, 368 years before the release of Ice Age. (Source: Wikipedia)
Rustspore Ram – Mirrodin uncommon. Rustspore Ram represents a mechanical life form native to Mirrodin, and an angry one at that. Unlike many creatures depicted in their art as charging, it doesn't have trample or an especially high power. Instead, it takes out its anger on whatever Equipment gets in its way. The stacks on its shoulders spew rust-inducing spores, and the art clearly shows the swath of oxidation this beast—oh, excuse us, Sheep—has already carved.
Reborn Hero – Torment rare. Here's some "rerun" trivia for you: did you know that "This was almost the first card to have "creatures blocked by ~this~ lose trample until end of turn," but simplicity ruled the day and it was replaced with "doesn't tap to attack," leaving enough room for its threshold ability in the text box." was the very first Card of the Day blurb?
Enduring Renewal – Ice Age rare. When Enduring Renewal was printed as a Timeshifted card in Time Spiral, R&D playtested it with Soul Warden and Wild Cantor to see if it was too risky. Players did them one better, replacing Wild Cantor with Saffi Eriksdotter and Crypt Champion to generate infinite life.
Eternal Dominion – Saviors of Kamigawa rare. Two quick facts about Epic: 1) The playtest name for "Epic" was "All-In." 2) The teaser advertising campaign for Saviors of Kamigawa showed the art for Epic spells along with the question, "If you could only cast one spell for the rest of your life, what would it be?"
Rewind – Urza's Saga common. The "untap up to X lands" mechanic proved to be more powerful than R&D had anticipated. Once players combined it with lands that could generate more than one mana (like Tolarian Academy), there were cases of people playing Frantic Search and not even bothering to draw and discard, just so they could untap lands.
Time Walk – Limited Edition Alpha rare. The spooky skeletons on Time Walk eventually returned on the art for Time Spiral's Walk the Aeons.
Rafiq of the Many – Shards of Alara mythic rare. This week, Card of the Day has been composed of references to Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. You've got the Genesis Device, the Mind Maggots, the Wrath of God of (Sar)Sarkhan Vol (Vol), and Rafiq, who reminds you that Rafiq of the Many outweighs Rafiq of the Few or the One.
Sarkhan Vol – Shards of Alara mythic rare. Planeswalkers require a lot of development work, especially when it comes to all the numbers on them. At one point, Sarkhan Vol made four 5/5 dragons instead of five 4/4s, but it was changed so that it could use the same tokens as Broodmate Dragon.
Wrath of God – Eighth Edition rare. Kev Walker's art for Wrath of God is great, but at card size, the little people being destroyed aren't all that easy to see. Luckily for you, there's a wallpaper version!
Mind Maggots – Exodus uncommon. Mind Maggots works very similarly to Shards of Alara's Devour mechanic. The only difference is that the maggots are devouring cards before they're even played. They must be hungry!
Genesis – Judgment rare. Genesis works wonders in a reanimation deck for two reasons. First, it works from the graveyard instead of being in play or in a player's hand where it's more vulnerable to attack. Second, if it runs out of targets, it can always return itself to be played again.
Goblin Mountaineer – Shards of Alara common. Jund goblins have the same short lifespans as most other goblins in the multiverse. The difference is that on Jund, they die on purpose, aspiring to nothing more than to be eaten by a dragon.
Jund Battlemage – Shards of Alara uncommon. Jund is the only shard to contain both green and black mana. And since the battlemage stands poised between life and death, he can cause either one, reducing a player's life total or bringing forth Saprolings.
Predator Dragon – Shards of Alara rare. Although the Predator Dragon normally dines on Goblins, Pro Tour–Berlin showed that it's equally happy to feast on Elves. Tomoharu Saito's dragon version of the Elves! deck got him to third place.
Kresh the Bloodbraided – Shards of Alara mythic rare. Kresh's braids are tokens of success in the hunt, and he has more than anyone. Although he is not the leader of his tribe, he is universally recognized as the greatest human warrior alive.
Sangrite Surge – Shards of Alara uncommon. Sangrite is a red crystal fround on Jund, which realeases life energy when its crushed. Its precise origin is not known, but its effectiveness is unquestioned.