Sip of Hemlock – Theros. As befitting a plane based off Greek mythology, Theros is home to numerous oracles (including the Oracle of Theros), as mentioned in the flavor text. Part 2 of the "Planeswalker's Guide to Theros" talks about Meletian and Setessan oracles, as well as the sphinx, Medomai. Uncharted Realms also presented a story about Iris, "The Oracle of Ephara."
Frozen Shade – Fifth Edition. Building a Commander deck with all twenty-six Shades will require three colors: twenty-four Shades are mono-black, one is black-red, and one is white. With one exception, Shades can be pumped up by feeding mana into them. This usually comes in +1/+1 increments until end of turn, but sometimes it's +2/+2, and in one case it's +1/+1 counters.
Goblin Snowman – Ice Age. This isn't the only Ice Age card that features a quote from the goblin tactician, Ib Halfheart. In fact, there were five cards he talked on, with a sixth added in Coldsnap. Later, in Time Spiral, Goblin Snowman was reprinted as a "Timeshifted" card—a subset of reprints unique to that set—and was joined by Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician, who finally got his own card.
Winter's Chill – Ice Age. At its release in 1995, Ice Age was the largest set ever, with 383 cards, and the game's first true standalone expansion. It was also the first set to have an official Prerelease—just one, which took place in Toronto. The set came out before the concept of blocks had formalized into the three-set model, so while Alliances made a great sequel, it wasn't until Coldsnap, a decade later, that the Ice Age block officially gained its third set of the block.
Hold at Bay – Born of the Gods. Odunos is no place for the living—it is a necropolis filled with greedy, violent, resentful Returned and stands in stark contrast to the dull but generally peaceful Asphodel. The art description emphasizes that by calling for a lone Meletian to be surrounded by Returned. It says: "They stand as if waiting for the spell to disappear so they can strike down the warrior." And of the mood: "Eerie. 'I have to get out of here.'"
Sisters of Stone Death – Ravnica: City of Guilds. The sisters were once the guild leaders of the Golgari, but the elven shaman Savra sought to challenge them for the position. With Return to Ravnica, both the sisters and Savra were gone, replaced in the role by Savra's brother, Jarad.
Spellweaver Helix – Mirrodin. The combination of Worldfire and Spellweaver Helix first came up during Magic 2013 previews , and it reappeared in a Modern-legal deck just this past December. The card has been appearing in decks for years, though, including another From the Labs article and one from House of Cards. It even appeared in a couple competitive decks written about by Jacob Van Lunen.
Lightning Helix" – Ravnica: City of Guilds. Lightning Helix is most famous for its appearance at Pro Tour Honolulu, in 2006. In the Top 8, eventual finalist Craig Jones had to defeat Hall of Famer Olivier Ruel in the semifinals. His victory there came with what is called "Topdeck of the Century." In Game 5, Ruel was going to win if he had another turn, but Craig was able to deal lethal damage by drawing a Lightning Helix right when he needed it most.
Helix Pinnacle – Born of the Gods. The eighteen cards like Helix Pinnacle—called alternative win conditions—reward players dedicated to their difficult-to-achieve prerequisites with automatic victory. Among tournament-legal cards, Battle of Wits was the first to include a hundreds-number numeral (in that case, "200") in its text box, and so far, Helix Pinnacle is the only other card to do so.
Warleader's Helix – Dragon's Maze. The Warleader here is Aurelia, leader of the Boros guild. While her Helix sees some discussion, she sees more. Aurelia has been mentioned in numerous Uncharted Realms stories—"Krenko, Mob Boss," "The Greater Good," "Battle for the Ninth," and last week's " The Gorgon and the Guildpact "—and Gavin Verhey also previewed her card for Commander in this ReConstructed article.
Retraction Helix – Born of the Gods. The flavor text here mentions "Æther," something in the name of thirty-six cards (including Witches' Eye – Born of the Gods. On Monday, we talked about Eye Gouge, which was designed for Theros but moved back to Born of the Gods. Today's card went the opposite direction, starting in the design file for the later set but being plucked into the earlier. As Sam Stoddard explains in " The M Files: Theros ," it was put into Theros to help the blue-red Limited-deck archetype activate Flamespeaker Adept more easily.
Gods' Eye, Gate to the Reikai – Betrayers of Kamigawa. Reikai means "spirit world" (霊界). It's a nod to the original name of the block and setting, Inreikai (as revealed here), or "World of Shadowy Spirits" (陰霊界). (Special thanks to Ron Foster, premier play TO manager [formerly Japan territory manager], for today's entry.)
Eye of Ugin – Worldwake. Eye of Ugin – Worldwake. Not only was it the first mythic rare land, Eye of Ugin also presented the first mention of Eldrazi in the game... the set before the first Eldrazi cards saw print! Read more about the card's creation in "Commonly Large" and about the story of the Eye in "The Eldrazi Arisen."
Eye of Doom – Commander (2013 Edition). Eye of Doom's "destroy each permanent" effect is similar to, but not as limited as, that of Oblivion Stone, from Mirrodin—which uses fate counters instead of doom counters. There is one other card that places doom counters. That card? Armageddon Clock, from Antiquities, although its effect is quite different from that of the Eye.
Eye Gouge – Born of the Gods. For a fairly low-powered common, there is a lot written about this flavorful card. The " Born of the Gods Release Notes " clarify its rules thusly: "If the target creature is a Cyclops, it will get -1/-1 before it's destroyed." Mark Rosewater explains its design in "Born to be Compiled, Part 1." And Sam Stoddard references the card's Multiverse discussion in " The M Files: Born of the Gods ."
Reaper King – Shadowmoor. Scarecrows (obviously), Changelings, and Mistform Ultimus—the original "every creature type" creature—are all permanent-destroying enablers that also benefit from the King's +1/+1 buff. As you might imagine, Reaper King sees play in Commander, as Gavin Verhey has shown in his column, ReConstructed, but the King also saw play in the first Modern Pro Tour—Philadelphia, 2011.
Altar's Reap – Innistrad. Even before Avacyn was drawn into the Helvault, creating the conditions introduced to us in Innistrad, the demon-worshipping Skirsdag cult existed on the eponymous plane. Volpaig was a minor bishop in the Church of Avacyn, and as the time of Avacyn's absence lengthened, he became increasingly open about his membership. Read more about Volpaig, the Church, and the Skirsdag in "A Planeswalker's Guide to Innistrad" and "The State of the Faith."
Reaper of the Wilds – Theros. There are currently thirteen Gorgons in Magic. Every Gorgon is at least black, and five are multicolor in the colors of Golgari (black and green), with one of those five (Damia, Sage of Stone) also being blue. Read more about Magic's Gorgons and the creatures of myth in this Arcana.
Reaper of Sheoldred – New Phyrexia. The reaper is part of Sheoldred's vast network of spies, scouts, blackmailers, and informers. Sheoldred herself is a Praetor of Phyrexia, although her hold is tenuous thanks to the machinations of the other six Steel Thanes. The Seven Steel Thanes rule the Phyrexian faction associated with black mana. Learn more at "A Planeswalker's Guide to New Phyrexia: The Steel Thanes."
Reap What Is Sown – Born of the Gods. A few weeks ago, Trick Jarrett looked closely at this card's art and talked a little about the long tradition of farming-related cards in Magic. There are enough such pastoral cards in Magic to build a Commander deck, as Adam Styborski found out in this Command Tower article.