Under the Masque

Posted in Latest Developments on February 25, 2005

By Aaron Forsythe

Many months ago, I took a tour through the sparse Multiverse records of the Urza block (“Skeletons in R&D's Closet”). This week, I'm diving back into the vaults for a look at the more tame Masques block (Mercadian Masques, Nemesis, and Prophecy). Development was definitely on the upswing, and the people working on the set did a better job of identifying the power in the set than in the previous block.

In the spirit of my previous list of Multiverse comments from Darksteel (“Which Ten Cards?”), I'm not going to tell you what cards I'm talking about… you have to guess. Some are easier than others. Often times the comments tell the whole story, but sometimes the developers—Henry Stern, Bill Rose, Mike Elliott, Charlie Catino, Mark Rosewater, and former employees William Jockusch and Paul Peterson—start rambling or go down a strange path (as we all often do), and you have to extract the important info.

Each card is from Mercadian Masques, Nemesis, or Prophecy. Good luck.


CC 2/8: Cool card. Is this supposed to continuously update, or should we say it is a 0/0 creature with X +1/+1 counters on it, where X equals the number of creature cards in their graveyard? Don't like continually updating when the card text is not even seen in the game.
ME 2/12 Probably is more interesting and easier to keep track of if they update.
Bill (3/6): I believe the easiest way is if this is an enchantment and power and toughness constantly changes. The treefolk token go away if the enchantment does.
WJ 7/8: Think about this card in extended where it is easy to fill up graveyard.


CC 7/6: Make it even wackier by letting the Zombie tokens have “pay 1 life: regenerate”?
PP(7/13) test with the sac a creature, all your creatures get +2/+0 Alt CC
ME 7/14 After attempting to test: can't think of a deck to put it in.


HS(2/23) This guy is now more of a spellshaper helper.
WJ 3/5: 1 mana constructed card
WJ 7/23: block constructed


HS (11/20) recosted to 6 (was 4)
WJ 3/5: constructed card
WJ 3/10: Mana in activation? Issue
MR: (3/15) Combo issues
CHANGE(3/16) added “at end of turn”


PP(11/17) This is garbage. Get some balls. Creature or player.
Bill (1/5): First, it takes balls to make a bad card. I think this is as good as it gets because of Fireblast.
WJ 3/19 1 mana quota 1/2
WJ 7/23: block constructed


WJ 7/29: Probably overpowered -- hitlist
PP(8/11): Seems good, but not too good. Specter cards with no evasion ability are MUCH harder to use.
WJ 8/13: Tested (at 2B, 2/1, B: Regenerate, Abyssal ability) in a mono black deck; went 6/0 vs. touchstones.


MR (1/12): Is a 4/4 instant creature in flavor for white?
PP(1/18): As opposed to 3 2/2's? I think this is fine.
HS(1/22) I like the idea of white having an altcc creature kill spell but I'm not sure this is it.
Bill(1/28): Feels very white to me. I like this card.


WJ 2/22: I think this is still better than tranquility. Sorcery makes it more reasonable than it was, though.
PP 3/30: The only time this will EVER be better than tranquility as it is is MAYBE against a control deck that has an annoying enchantment out.
WJ 4/8: Paul, it would be a lot easier to take you seriously in power discussions if you didn't make absurd statements like that one. Just as a for-instance, what if you want to tranquility and you only have 2 mana available?
WJ 4/20: 0/1 mana constructed card
WJ 4/21: Mons rated at 8. Henry at 3. Robert at 5. Mike at 6
WJ 7/7: Top 10 tournament cards


Blinking is extra strong in 6E rules.
Bill (1/4): This card needs to be uncommon. Blinking Illusion in Legacy (and 7E) is rare. This card is too close to be common.
HS 1/19 There is nothing about this card that seems uncommon? Doesn't blinking illusion fly? and isn't it 2/1?
Why does that make this card need to be uncommon?
WJ 3/5: Constructed card

CARD #10

HS(3/3) This is a boring mechanic. I don't think it belongs on a single card, much less two.
CC 3/12: Disagree. This mechanic may be boring on the smaller version, but it is not boring on this card. And I do not think it is boring on the little one either.

CARD #11

HS (2/2), Cool effect, but keep in mind this is actually much worse (in general) than control magic. It should cost o2oUoU.
ME 2/15 not sure how cheap you want to make an effect that discourages people from playing big creatures.

CARD #12

ME 2/15 This card seems fine not counting itself. William beat me up a couple times in sealed with his quadruply enchanted Tarpan.
WJ 3/4 Yes, at least in sealed, it's still pretty good at 2G, not counting itself.
WJ 3/5: constructed card

CARD #13

PP(6/18) maybe it should have the Pestilence “goes away if no critters” drawback?
BR (6/18): Too close to the red one?
Team 7/28: We do not think so.

CARD #14

MR (4/19) - We have three different effects so far in MM and EU that are white enchantments that gain you life whenever X happens. Once for when creatures die, once when your creatures deal damage, and this. This might not be too many, but I just wanted to point this out.
Also, this seems like just a weak version of Orim's Prayer.

CARD #15

PP(8/11): The only combo I've been able to make at all effective with this is Groundskeeper, and that turns this into 2G Draw a card, put a land back into your hand. IT's OK.
CC 8/23: Make this better so we have 1 iff-biff card that is good/fringe in constructed?

CARD #16

Bill (2/17): This is an interesting creature without being a searcher rebel. Consider deleting second ability.
ME 2/18 without the second ability it is Abu Jafar, which we have already done in the past at W.
HS Not as a Rebel.
Bill (3/2): Do we need to delay the destruction until end of combat? Make the destruction happen immediately.

There you have it. As a tool for checking yourself, here's a hint box. Pieces of the art from each of the sixteen answers are shown below. Use the Gatherer card database to help!

I'll go over the answers in my March 11 column.

Last Week's Poll:

How hard to pronounce do you consider card names in the Kamigawa block?
Not difficult to pronounce 6517 63.6%
Somewhat difficult to pronounce 2987 29.2%
Very difficult to pronounce 739 7.2%
Total 10243 100.0%

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