Card of the Day - November, 2013

Posted in Feature on November 1, 2013

By Mike McArtor

Mike first played with Ice Age and became the copy editor for DailyMTG.com in December 2011. Before DailyMTG, he was an editor on D&D's Dragon magazine for four years.

Free-Range Chicken
Free-Range ChickenUnglued. According to Mark Rosewater's feature article, "Get It?," "The chicken in the art of Free-Range Chicken is just about to swing on a vine like Tarzan. The artist was trying to show that it was a wild jungle chicken." Mark has a lot more Unglued trivia, like ninety-nine more, in that article.

Anvilwrought Raptor
Anvilwrought RaptorTheros. Thanks to Jurassic Park , the word "raptor" is pretty frequently used to mean Velociraptor but its older meaning is "bird of prey." It got that name from the biological order Raptores, which has since been split into several other orders.

Bronzebeak Moa
Bronzebeak MoaDragon's Maze. Moa were flightless birds in New Zealand that largely (or completely) went extinct by around 1400 CE. Our armored Selesnyans here aren't the first moa immortalized on a Magic card, though; that honor goes to Hunting Moa, from Urza's Destiny.

Raven Familiar
Raven FamiliarCommander (2013 Edition). There are eighty-one Birds in blue, six of which let you look at cards on top of your library. But only our little familiar here lets us actually put one of them in hand. Thanks buddy!

Baleful Strix
Baleful StrixCommander (2013 Edition). Here's a fun bit of trivia for you: Baleful Strix is a reprint from another set, but despite that it has never been legal in Standard. How is that possible? Because it was originally printed in another ancillary product, in this case Planechase (2012 Edition). Test your knowledge of other Bird trivia in this fun Arcana from last Friday!

The Cheese Stands Alone
The Cheese Stands AloneUnglued. In Future Sight, this was remade for black-bordered Magic as Barren Glory. But it almost made it into regular Magic for Eighth Edition. Almost. You see, for Magic's 10th anniversary, Wizards decided to reprint in the core set at least one card from every set published to that point. Every. Set. That included sets like Portal but couldn't include silver-bordered Unglued. Mark Rosewater explains why in this article.

Blue Sun's Zenith
Blue Sun's ZenithCommander (2013 Edition). The blue sun in this card's name refers to one of the five "suns" of the plane of Mirrodin (which is now New Phyrexia, which still has the suns). In case you aren't familiar with it, the plane is orbited by five small satellites of pure mana (its suns), one for each of the five mana colors. These orbits are irregular, so it’s possible for any number of the suns, from zero to all five, to be overhead at any given place or time on the world.

Sealock Monster
Sealock MonsterTheros. That first ability of Sealock Monster has appeared on twenty-eight creatures in Magic's history, only most of which were sea creatures (looking at you, Zhou Yu, Chief Commander). The ability is half of what was flavorfully called the "landhome" mechanic (or in blue's specific case, "islandhome").

Breeding Pool
Breeding PoolGatecrash. Despite the Simic Conclave's continued use of these breeding pools, it remains dedicated to its new Holdfast Principle. In short, the principle "advises guild members never to stray so far from nature that they become 'adrift'—a veiled warning against the excesses and ambitions of the guild's previous iteration." That previous iteration resulted in the highly destructive Experiment Kraj, which turned public opinion against the Simic and nearly broke the guild.

Keepsake Gorgon
Keepsake GorgonTheros. Obviously, all the myths and stories out of Ancient Greece are relatively old, but evidence suggests the myth of the gorgon was ancient even in Hellenistic times. Reliable interpretations of the myth go back to the fifteenth century BCE, with outlier estimates pushing back millennia. In Magic, this Standard season has been really good for Gorgon tribal, but the subtype reaches back nearly to the beginning of the game, being introduced in Legends.

Etched Monstrosity
Etched MonstrosityNew Phyrexia. This is the third in a line of Etched artifact creatures on Mirrodin, showing a progression on that plane from one of relative peace, to one of outright war, to one that is compleat. These creatures share other ties as well, such as the subtle mechanical connection each has to the five colors of mana (and, thus, the five suns of Mirrodin).

Hythonia the Cruel
Hythonia the CruelTheros. If you'd like to put together a Gorgon tribal deck, and really benefit from Hythonia's monstrosity ability (as well as that of the smaller Keepsake Gorgon), you'll be happy to know that as of Theros there are twelve Gorgons in Magic . There are also a couple of noncreature "Gorgon" cards, as well Gorgon-themed cards like Gaze of Granite, Killing Glare, Treasured Find, and (of course) Vraska the Unseen.

Colossus of Akros
Colossus of AkrosTheros. As a creature without flying, our big Golem here is susceptible to being hit with an Earthquake. No matter how much mana gets pumped into that X spell, though, the Colossus's indestructible will keep it around. Why mention such a basic rules interaction? Well, surviving that huge Earthquake spell is a lot better than what happened to the Colossus's real-world inspiration, which was brought low by an earthquake in 226 BCE (fifty-six years after its completion).

Fleecemane Lion
Fleecemane LionTheros. As you might have guessed, yes, Fleecemane is indeed a top-down design based on the Nemean Lion. Much of the fun of reading Multiverse developer notes comes from finding little gems of levity in them. In this case, the final note for Fleecemane Lion states "Erik likes GW 3/3s. :)" The Lion didn't start off as a 3/3 for two, though. Multiverse reveals that its casting cost (and monstrosity cost) were the last two aspects of the card finalized, as noted by aforementioned lead developer Erik Lauer.

Shipbreaker Kraken
Shipbreaker KrakenTheros. Release the Kraken... to lock down opponents' creatures! There are lots of ways to tap one or more creatures in Magic and prevent them from untapping, usually until their controllers' next untap step. I mean, lots. Dungeon Geists and Tidebinder Mage are the first creatures to lock down others like this when they enter the battlefield, but the Kraken is the first to have that ability affect multiple creatures.

Winged Coatl
Winged CoatlCommander (2013 Edition). While it perhaps doesn't carry the same power as "poison arrow" in translation, the word "coatl" comes to us from the Nahuatl (one of the major Aztec languages) word for "snake." The Aztec coatl didn't have wings (being an ordinary snake) like the Alara one does, but Quetzalcoatl did! In 1976, the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual included the winged-snake version (spelt "couatl" there), which has been a part of coatl lore ever since.

Nemesis of Mortals
Nemesis of MortalsTheros. There are thirteen Snakes with power and toughness 3+ in Magic, and three of them are from Theros. Of all Snakes, Nemesis of Mortals is the largest. The inspiration for this enormous serpent comes from Ladon, a myth from the Archaic Greek period (c. 800–480 BCE). The stories about Ladon conflict a bit, but the one thing they agree on is that Ladon coiled around a tree bearing golden apples that granted immortality, acting as a sleepless guardian.

Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe ElderCommander (2013 Edition). The orochi of Kamigawa are four-armed anthropomorphic snakes divided into three tribes. The Sakura tribe is connected with orochi shamanism and spiritualism. Here on Earth, "orochi" is a shortened form of Yamata no Orochi, or "eight-headed giant snake" or "eight-headed dragon."

Nessian Asp
Nessian AspTheros. As if being a huge snake wasn't enough by itself, the Nessian Asp is also polycephalic (i.e., it has more than one head). Polycephalic creatures are not uncommon in world mythology, and Ancient Greek mythology has a number of examples. For a humorous look at the Nessian Asp and a discussion about its multiple heads, check out LoadingReadyRun's video, "The Trial."

Ophiomancer
OphiomancerCommander (2013 Edition). Ophiomancer is not the first time we've seen "Ophi–" on a Magic card. Indeed, the first was Weatherlight's Ophidian (a fancy New Latin word that means "snake"). If you're interested in brewing a snaky deck, you'll be happy to know there are currently sixty-four Snakes (four with deathtouch), five noncreature Snake cards, and a few thematicallyappropriate cards as well.

Curse of Predation
Curse of Predation – Commander (2013 Edition). From the Commander (2013 Edition) Release Notes :

A Curse spell targets the player it will enchant like any other Aura spell, and a Curse stays on the battlefield like any other Aura…. The ability won't trigger when a creature attacks a Planeswalker controlled by the enchanted player.

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