Card of the Day - January, 2009
Posted in Feature on January 1, 2009
Chicken à la King – Unglued rare. The flavor text for Chicken à la King, which is a reference to the phrase "running around like a chicken with its head cut off," is Mark Rosewater's favorite flavor text in all of Unglued.
Chord of Calling – Ravnica: City of Guilds rare. In the art for Chord of Calling, three Selesnya druids have summoned an enormous creature. It is therefore logical that the Extended Elves! deck that took Pro Tour–Berlin by storm would frequently power it with Heritage Druids and Birchlore Rangers!
Rings of Brighthearth – Lorwyn rare. The Brighthearth Flamekin acted as ambassadors to non-elementals, trying to build a bridge of understanding and tolerance by performing useful fire-related tasks.
Triassic Egg – Legends rare. Originally, Triassic Egg didn't name the type of counters it used. When it was decided that counters should be something specific (which helps distinguish between "+1/+1" and "-1/-1"), it started making Hatchling Counters. Those were later changed to "Incubation Counters", possibly because no matter how many counters it has, it only ever makes one hatchling.
Swans of Bryn Argoll – Shadowmoor rare. The Swans of Bryn Argoll are a reference to the Irish folk tale "The Children of Lir", although the "Bryn Argoll" is Welsh for "Lost Hill". More or less.
Bird Maiden – Arabian Nights common. Every card in Arabian Nights has its roots in the stories of The Arabian Nights. Some are more recognizable than others (Aladdin), but even the Bird Maidens were mentioned offhandedly in a few stories.
Miss Demeanor – Unglued uncommon. Before the creature types from the Un- Sets were removed from the Comprehensive Rulebook, Mistform Ultimus had some very odd types, including "Lady-of-Proper-Etiquette". Since that's gone, though, the Ultimus and its Changeling cousins can be as rude as they like.
Lord of the Pit – Tenth Edition rare. When Lord of the Pit returned to a core set for the first time since Fourth Edition, the readers of magicthegathering.com got to vote on the final art. They (you!) chose Michael Sutfin, but you can check out this page to see what Dave Allsop's sketch looked like.
Talruum Piper – Visions uncommon. Tahngarth, Talruum Hero is not the only member of the Talruum tribe of minotaurs. There are also Talruum Champion, run-of-the-mill Talruum Minotaur, and, of course, Talruum Piper.
Goblin War Drums – Fallen Empires common. According to the flavor text on one of the four versions of Goblin War Drums in Fallen Empires, the drums were sometimes made out of Serra Angel skulls. Frankly, this seems unlikely.
Lightning Greaves – Mirrodin uncommon. Originally, Lightning Greaves granted Vigilance instead of Shroud; the flavor was that the boots made you so fast, you could attack immediately and rush back fast enough to defend.
Crush Underfoot – Lorwyn uncommon. In Lorwyn block, sorceries, instants, and enchantments gained creature types for the first time. One example is Crush Underfoot, which is a "Giant" card for the flavorful reason that you're using a giant when you cast it!
Curse of Chains – Shadowmoor common. Although Curse of Chains is normally used as a straightforward Pacifism variant, it also had the potential to provide extra uses for creatures with the mechanic.
Sylvok Explorer – Fifth Dawn common. Sylvok Explorer only looks at mana created specifically by lands. If there's a Dawn's Reflection in play, that won't affect the Explorer's mana options.
Headstone – Homelands common. Though we may take it for granted now, removing opposing graveyard cards from the game didn’t come around until The Dark. That set introduced Eater of the Dead (creatures), Grave Robbers (artifacts), and Tormod’s Crypt (everything must go!). Headstone was the first time an instant was printed with the ability to remove a card from the opponent’s graveyard.
Man of Measure – Unhinged common. The person in the lower right of the text box of Man of Measure is, of course, Napoleon Bonaparte, the famously short general.
Infinite Hourglass – Ice Age rare. Harold McNeill, the artist for Infinite Hourglass, also did 27 other cards, including all the Tempest Circles of Protection.
Barbed Sextant – Ice Age common. Barbed Sextant was very nearly reprinted as Chromatic Sphere, which lets the card get drawn right away. Chromatic Sphere itself was timeshifted into Chromatic Star.
Vedalken Orrery – Fifth Dawn rare. During the second You Make The Card contest, the most submitted idea was "a card that lets you play sorceries as instants." None of those submissions made it to the second round, because Vedalken Orrery was already in the set!
Etherium Astrolabe – Shards of Alara common. An astrolabe is an astronomical instrument used to calculate the positions of the planets, stars, and other celestial bodies. The vedalken of Esper find them very useful in the etheric calculations they're making at all times.
Island Fish Jasconius – Arabian Nights uncommon. The Island Fish Jasconius is taken from two classic tales. The "Island Fish" part is from "The First Voyage of Sindbad," in which Sindbad's sailors discover that the island they've lit a fire on is actually a gigantic fish. The fire wakes up the fish, all the sailors are in danger of drowning, and so on. The "Jasconius" part is the name of the whale that Saint Brendan is said to have accidentally camped on in the sixth century, with similar results.
Clearwater Goblet – Fifth Dawn rare. While straight life gain has not always been a Tier One strategy, Clearwater Goblet was a key element of tournament-winning Prismatic decks on Magic Online. In more casual play, it could get extra counters and gain its controller even more life per turn, although that strategy usually involved a Mizzium Transreliquat or something equally convoluted.