A Trivial Pursuit

Posted in Making Magic on March 23, 2020

By Mark Rosewater

Working in R&D since '95, Mark became Magic head designer in '03. His hobbies: spending time with family, writing about Magic in all mediums, and creating short bios.

Two years ago, I did a trivia column for Magic's 25th anniversary. The column was very popular, so I've decided to do another one. Last time I did a trivia question per year of Magic, plus five bonus questions, for a total of 30 questions. I'm going to again ask 30 questions, but this time, ones about 30 different projects that I led or co-led.

Record your answers as you read through and then compare them with my answers below.

Question #1 – Tempest

Which of these classic cards, first appeared in Tempest?

  • 4892
  • 4745
  • 4641
  • 4777
  1. Coercion
  2. Overrun
  3. Pacifism
  4. Wind Drake

Question #2 – Vanguard

The Vanguard cards altered player's starting life total and hand size. What was the most and least amount of life you could begin with using a Vanguard card?

  1. 38 & 12
  2. 35 & 15
  3. 32 & 16
  4. 30 & 17

Question #3 – Unglued

Which of the following Unglued cards makes a reference to both Ice Age and Mirage?

  • 9760
  • 9747
  • 5763
  • 9780
  • 9844
  1. B.F.M.
  2. Censorship
  3. Clambassadors
  4. Lexivore

Question #4 – Urza's Destiny

Which of the following cards from Urza's Destiny was not part of a larger cycle?

  • 15132
  • 15186
  • 15770
  • 15225
  1. Covetous Dragon
  2. Eradicate
  3. Voice of Duty
  4. Yavimaya Elder

Question #5 – Odyssey

Which of the following instants from Odyssey has art that was originally illustrated for a creature card?

  • 30761
  • 30686
  • 29953
  • 29767
  1. Flame Burst
  2. Peek
  3. Shelter
  4. Tainted Pact

Question #6 – Mirrodin

Which creature type did not premiere in Mirrodin?

  1. Gnome
  2. Human
  3. Myr
  4. Vedalken

Question #7 – Fifth Dawn

His work on the Fifth Dawn design team led which person to getting hired into Magic R&D?

  1. Aaron Forsythe
  2. Bill Rose
  3. Erik Lauer
  4. Mark Gottlieb

Question #8 – Unhinged

Unhinged has a secret message talking about cards that didn't see print. Which of the following cards from the secret message was actually in the set for a playtest?

  1. Celery Stalker
  2. Chump-Blocking Orphan
  3. Disrobing Scepter
  4. Look at Me, I'm Accounts Receivable

Question #9 – Ravnica: City of Guilds

Which of the following guild mechanics from Ravnica: City of Guilds, was created for a different guild?

  1. Dredge
  2. Convoke
  3. Radiance
  4. Transmute

Question #10 – Future Sight

How many futureshifted cards were in Future Sight?

  1. 34
  2. 48
  3. 67
  4. 81

Question #11 – Shadowmoor

Which creature type didn't shift in colors (on monocolor cards) in Shadowmoor from its colors in Lorwyn block?

  1. Elf
  2. Faerie
  3. Goblin
  4. Merfolk

Question #12 – Eventide

What is the most amount of hybrid mana symbols to appear on a single card in Eventide?

  1. 5
  2. 6
  3. 9
  4. 11

Question #13 – Zendikar

Zendikar is the home plane of the Kor, but Zendikar isn't the first time we met this race. In what set did we first meet them?

  1. Champions of Kamigawa
  2. Homelands
  3. Tempest
  4. Time Spiral

Question #14 – Scars of Mirrodin

Of the 249 cards in Scars of Mirrodin, what percentage have a Phyrexian watermark?

  1. 16% (40 cards)
  2. 20% (50 cards)
  3. 26% (65 cards)
  4. 32 % (80 cards)

Question #15 – Innistrad

The double-faced cards in Innistrad were inspired by double-faced cards from another Wizards of the Coast–produced trading card game. What game was it?

  1. Duel Masters Trading Card Game
  2. G.I. Joe Trading Card Game
  3. Harry Potter Trading Card Game
  4. Star Wars Trading Card Game

Question #16 – Dark Ascension

Which color identity does not appear on a card in Dark Ascension?

  1. White-blue
  2. Black-red
  3. Green-blue
  4. Black-blue-red

Question #17 – Gatecrash

What does not appear in Gatecrash?

  1. Artifacts
  2. Basic lands
  3. Planeswalkers
  4. Sorceries

Question #18 – Theros

Which mechanic appears on the most cards in Theros?

  1. Devotion
  2. Heroic
  3. Monstrosity
  4. Scry

Question #19 – Khans of Tarkir

Each of the clans in Khans of Tarkir were associated with a different part of a dragon. What dragon part is associated with Jeskai?

  1. Claw
  2. Eye
  3. Scale
  4. Wing

Question #20 – Battle for Zendikar

How many lands in Battle for Zendikar also appear in a Zendikar Expeditions version?

  1. Zero
  2. Two
  3. Five
  4. Ten

Question #21 – Kaladesh

Which keyword action was introduced in Kaladesh?

  1. Create
  2. Die
  3. Exile
  4. Fight

Question #22 – Amonkhet

Which of the following does not appear on an Amonkhet punch card?

  1. -1/-1 counter
  2. Brick counter
  3. Exerted reminder
  4. Flood counter

Question #23 – Ixalan

Which of the following creature types was part of the initial pitch for the plane of Ixalan?

  1. Dinosaur
  2. Merfolk
  3. Pirate
  4. Vampire

Question #24 – Unstable

How many different cards had more than one version? (This means they shared multiple card components, but there were different versions where one or more elements changed.)

  1. Eight cards
  2. Ten cards
  3. Twelve cards
  4. Thirteen cards

Question #25 – Dominaria

Which card type has the least number of legendary cards in Dominaria?

  1. Artifacts
  2. Enchantments
  3. Lands
  4. Sorceries

Question #26 – Guilds of Ravnica

How many different versions of art exist for each guildgate in Guilds of Ravnica?

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
  4. Four

Question #27 – Ravnica Allegiance

Which creature type does not get a 1/1 token in Ravnica Allegiance?

  1. Goblin
  2. Soldier
  3. Spirit
  4. Thopter

Question #28 – War of the Spark

Most of the planeswalkers in War of the Spark have a spell which uses their name in the possessive (Ob Nixilis's Cruelty, for example). A number of the Gatewatch have two or more because they appear in the Triumph cycle (the five original members of the Gatewatch have a sorcery cycle mirroring their Defeat cycle in Hour of Devastation) and/or have a Planeswalker Deck. There's only one non-Gatewatch member that has two different spells with their name in the possessive. Who is it?

  1. Domri Rade
  2. Dovin Baan
  3. Nicol Bolas
  4. Vivien Reid

Question #29 – Throne of Eldraine

How many cards in Throne of Eldraine have a subtype of Food?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

Question #30 – Unsanctioned

Which of the following isn't something we know for sure the Surgeon General Commander likes?

  1. Augmentation
  2. Creative templating
  3. Fluffy animals
  4. Teatime

Once you've finished all thirty questions, click below to see the answers.

Click to reveal the answers

Answer to Question #1 about Tempest – b. Overrun

Coercion first appeared in Visions, Pacifism first appeared in Mirage, and Wind Drake first appeared in Portal. Overrun was designed as "Giant Growth your team." Trample was added to give it a little more oomph. The card appeared in the file pretty early in design and never left. I think development changed it from a 4GG spell to a 3GGG spell, but other than that left it as it was designed. Overrun has gone on to be printed in a bunch of other Magic sets and products.

Answer to Question #2 about Vanguard – a. 38 & 12

These were all actual numbers. Gix increased your life total by 18, and both Ashnod and Takara reduced it by 8. Eladamri increased your life total by 15, and both Hanna and Titania reduced it by 5. Sidar Kondo and Orim increased your life total by 12, and Squee, Tawnos, and Lyna all reduced your life by 4. Finally, Urza raised your life total by 10, and Sisay and Volrath reduced it by 3.

Answer to Question #3 about Unglued – a. B.F.M.

B.F.M. is wearing earrings. One is Polar Kraken from Ice Age, and the other is Phyrexian Dreadnought from Mirage. They were chosen because, at the time, they were the biggest creatures in Magic (11/11 and 12/12, respectively), and we wanted to show off how big the 99/99 B.F.M was. Censorship uses art that was cropped from the art used on Keeper of the Mind from Exodus. Clambassadors's art and flavor text are making fun of the card Reparations from Mirage. Lexivore's flavor text is making fun of a flavor text convention we used a lot at the time.

Answer to Question #4 about Urza's Destiny – d. Yavimaya Elder

Covetous Dragon was part of a three-card creature cycle (along with Emperor Crocodile and Tethered Griffin) that you had to sacrifice if you didn't have a particular permanent type. The cycle referenced all the non-land permanent types that existed at the time. Eradicate was part of a five-card cycle (along with Scour, Quash, Sowing Salt, and Splinter) that got rid of a certain card type and then let you search that player's hand, graveyard, and library for all copies of the card. Voice of Duty was part of a four-card cycle of 2/2 white Angels with protection from each of the four other colors. Two cards from the cycle (Voice of Grace and Voice of Law) appeared in Urza's Saga, while Voice of Duty and Voice of Reason appeared in Urza's Destiny. Yavimaya Elder used a mechanic from the set, what we referred to in R&D as "cycling from play," but it wasn't cycled out in any way, appearing on black, green, and artifact cards (Brass Secretary, Heart Warden, Marker Beetles, Plague Dogs, and Slinking Skirge).

Answer to Question #5 about Odyssey – a. Flame Burst

Here's the art as it was turned in for the card Aven Smokereaver, a 2/3 flying blue aven with protection from red. Although the aven wasn't actually being harmed by the blast of red magic, it seemed a lot of us in the office liked that it was about to be, so we decided to move it to a red direct spell instead. We flipped it upside down to focus a little more on the blast and a little less on the creature.

Answer to Question #6 about Mirrodin – a. Gnome

The Gnome creature type first appeared on a red creature card named Quarum Trench Gnomes in Legends. Gnomes would go on to become an artifact creature type. The first artifact Gnome was Ersatz Gnomes in Mirage, although it didn't have the creature type yet as artifact creatures didn't have creature types back then. The first artifact Gnome to be printed with the Gnome creature type was Patchwork Gnomes in Odyssey. (I was one of the people who pushed hard to make it so that all artifact creatures got a creature type.)

Answer to Question #7 about Fifth Dawn – a. Aaron Forsythe

Aaron was hired originally to run the Magic website. We put him on the Fifth Dawn design team so that he could write an article about what it was like to be on a Magic design team. Aaron did such a great job, including designing scry and sunburst for the set, that we ended up hiring him in R&D. Bill Rose, Erik Lauer, and Mark Gottlieb were all hired directly into R&D, although Mark Gottlieb started as an editor.

Answer to Question #8 about Unhinged – c. Disrobing Scepter

Disrobing Scepter

I used to have a humor piece in The Duelist called "Extra Pulled" where I showed cards that "didn't make it." One of the cards I had there was a card called Disrobing Scepter which acted like Disrupting Scepter, but the opponent had the option to remove a piece of clothing rather than discard a card. As a joke, I put the card in an Unglued file for a playtest with the brand team. I then took it out and put it in the secret message as one of the cards we couldn't print. I then put it in Unhinged for a playtest as it seemed like it being in the set and then being removed was tradition. It was then put in Unhinged's secret message stating that it was removed again.

Celery Stalker was an actual card in Unglued 2, the Un- set that never got made. One of the major themes of the set was animated vegetables that gave poison counters to players when they dealt combat damage. Chump-Blocking Orphan and Look at Me, I'm Accounts Receivable were just in-jokes from the design.

Answer to Question #9 about Ravnica: City of Guilds – b. Convoke

Convoke was created by Richard Garfield for the Boros. I really liked the mechanic, but it felt like a better fit for Selesnya, so I moved it from red-white to green-white.

Answer to Question #10 about Future Sight – d. 81

For each set in Time Spiral block, we had a timeshifted sheet, that is a series of cards that played into the past, alternate present, or future theme of the set, with a frame different from the rest of the pack. Time Spiral had 121 timeshifted cards using the original card frame that had a single slot in the booster pack. Planar Chaos had 45 timeshifted cards using an alternate card frame that each had a single slot in the booster pack. Future Sight had 81 timeshifted cards using a "future" frame that was mixed in with the other cards, meaning it did not get a designated slot per pack like the previous two sets.

Answer to Question #11 about Shadowmoor – b. Faerie

Faeries were the one creature type of the tribes Lorwyn block mechanically cared about to stay in the same colors in Shadowmoor, blue and black. (There were a couple hybrid white-blue Faeries, but all of them fit in a blue-black Faerie deck.) Elves were in black and green in Lorwyn block and changed to green and white in Shadowmoor block. Goblins were black and red in Lorwyn block and changed to red and green in Shadowmoor block. Merfolk were white and blue in Lorwyn block and changed to blue and black in Shadowmoor block. There were a number of hybrid cards in Shadowmoor that were the Lorwyn color combinations for each tribe, but all the monocolor cards followed the color combinations I've laid out.

Answer to Question #12 about Eventide – d. 11

The card with eleven hybrid mana symbols is Figure of Destiny.

Answer to Question #13 about Zendikar – c. Tempest

In the Tempest story, Rath is an artificial plane created by the Phyrexians as part of their plan to invade Dominaria. Creatures from other planes were pulled against their will into Rath, including the Kor from Zendikar. We have yet to see the home plane of any of the other Rathi races (the Vec, the Dal, the Soltari, the Thalakos, and the Dauthi).

Answer to Question #14 about Scars of Mirrodin – a. 16% (40 cards)

Scars of Mirrodin was meant as a return to Mirrodin where the Phyrexian threat was being noticed, but not yet a huge problem. That changed quickly in Mirrodin Besieged when the Phyrexian mix was up to 50% as the war for the fate of Mirrodin occurred. Then after they won, the Phyrexian mix went up to 90% in New Phyrexia.

Answer to Question #15 about Innistrad – a. Duel Masters Trading Card Game

Duel Masters is a trading card game Wizards makes exclusively for the Japanese market. Duel Masters tends to push mechanical boundaries a lot more than Magic (it has used Un- sets as inspiration numerous times). Tom LaPille had worked on a Duel Masters set right before being on the Innistrad design team, and when we were looking for a solution to making cool Werewolves, he suggested the double-faced technology that the Duel Masters team was using. I was skeptical at first, but after one playtest, I was all aboard.

Answer to Question #16 about Dark Ascension – d. Black-blue-red

Dark Ascension has two white-blue gold cards (Drogskol Captain and Drogskol Reaver), two black-red gold cards (Falkenrath Aristocrat and Stromkirk Captain), and a green card with a blue flashback cost (Tracker's Instincts). The set has no three-color cards or cards optimized using three colors.

Answer to Question #17 about Gatecrash – b. Basic lands

Instead of basic lands, each of the Gatecrash boosters had a guildgate.

Answer to Question #18 about Theros – d. Scry

Theros has 29 cards with scry (three white, ten blue, one black, five red, one green, one white-blue, one black-green, one artifact, and five lands) plus one card that cares mechanically about scrying (in red). It has eighteen cards with heroic (five white, three blue, two black, three red, three green, one white-blue, and one red-white), and sixteen cards of both devotion (two white, two blue, five black, two red, four green, and one land) and monstrosity (one white, two blue, two black, four red, four green, one red-green, one green-white, and one artifact).

Answer to Question #19 about Khans of Tarkir – b. Eye

The Jeskai (blue-red-white), being about cunning, is the eye of the dragon. The Abzan, being about endurance, (white-black-green) is the scale of the dragon. The Sultai (black-green-blue), being about ruthlessness, is the fang of the dragon. The Mardu (red-white-black), being about speed, is the wing of the dragon. The Temur (green-blue-red), being about savagery, is the claw of the dragon.

Answer to Question #20 about Battle for Zendikar – c. 5

Battle for Zendikar had five dual lands (Prairie Stream, Sunken Hollow, Smoldering Marsh, Cinder Glade, and Canopy Vista), which also appeared with new art and frames in Zendikar Expeditions.

Answer to Question #21 about Kaladesh – a. Create

Kaladesh was the set to introduce create. Die premiered in Magic 2012, exile first showed up in Magic 2010, and fight appeared first in Innistrad.

Answer to Question #22 about Amonkhet – d. Flood counter

The Amonkhet punch card had "Embalmed" and "Exalted" reminders and -1/-1 and brick counters. While the set has one card that uses flood counters (Bounty of the Luxa), it was not at a high enough volume to make the punch card.

Answer to Question #23 about Ixalan – d. Vampire

When Jenna Helland first pitched Ixalan, she sold it as a Meso-American-influenced world with Vampire conquistadors. When we put Ixalan on the schedule, I asked for the Creative team to turn it from a two-sided conflict into a three-sided conflict. They did so by adding Pirates. Dinosaurs came about as they fleshed out the world. I then chose to focus on them as a tribe. The merfolk got added when we realized we needed a fourth tribe.

Answer to Question #24 about Unstable – d. Thirteen

There are four commons with alternate art, four versions of each (Amateur Auteur, Extremely Slow Zombie, Target Minotaur, Beast in Show). There is one common with alternate flavor text but not alternate art, four versions (Novellamental). There is one card with alternate watermarks, five versions (Secret Base). There is one card with alternate names, four versions (Curious Killbot, Delighted Killbot, Despondent Killbot, Enraged Killbot). There are six cards with alternate rules text, six versions each (Knight of the Kitchen Sink, Very Cryptic Command, Sly Spy, Garbage Elemental, Ineffable Blessing, Everythingamajig). That adds up to thirteen cards.

Answer to Question #25 about Dominaria – c. Lands

Dominaria has six legendary artifacts (Blackblade Reforged, Helm of the Host, Mox Amber, Thran Temporal Gateway, Traxos, Scourge of Kroog and Weatherlight), four legendary enchantments (In Bolas's Clutches, Lich's Mastery, Oath of Teferi, and On Serra's Wings), and six legendary sorceries (Jaya's Immolating Inferno, Kamahl's Druidic Vow, Karn's Temporal Sundering, Primevals' Glorious Rebirth, Urza's Ruinous Blast and Yawgmoth's Vile Offering), but zero legendary lands.

Answer to Question #26 about Guilds of Ravnica – b. Two

Each guildgate has two illustrations—one of its main front entrance and one of a more secret entrance.

Answer to Question #27 about Ravnica Allegiance – b. Soldier

Goblin Gathering creates Goblin creature tokens; Ethereal Absolution, Knight of the Last Breath, and all the creatures with afterlife create Spirit creature tokens; and Dovin, Grand Arbiter and Deploy create Thopter creature tokens. There are no cards that create Soldier creature tokens in Ravnica Allegiance. There were a number, though, in Guilds of Ravnica.

Answer to Question #28 about War of the Spark – d. Vivien Reid

Vivien has Vivien's Arkbow and Vivien's Grizzly.

Answer to Question #29 about Throne of Eldraine – b. 2

The two artifacts that have a Food subtype (as Food is an artifact subtype) is Gingerbrute and Golden Egg.

Answer to Question #30 about Unsanctioned – d. Teatime

Surgeon General Commander's flavor text reveals his like for augmentation, fluffy animals, and creative templating. He might like teatime, but we don't know for sure.


Now it's time to add up your correct answers and see how you did:

  • 1–9 correct: You have a lot to learn about Magic trivia.
  • 10–15 correct: You've obviously been paying some attention.
  • 16–20 correct: You're starting to show some Magic trivia potential.
  • 21–24 correct: Decent. You've got Magic trivia chops.
  • 25–27 correct: Very good. I'm impressed.
  • 28–29 correct: You have mad Magic trivia skills.
  • 30 correct: I bow down to you.

Very Quizzical

That's all the time I have today. I hope you enjoyed all the trivia. As always, I'm eager to hear your thoughts on today's column. You can email me or contact me through any of my social media accounts (Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram).

Join me next week for a trip through the history of Humans.

Until then, may you play a lot of Magic so you can learn a lot more trivia.

 
#723: Theros Beyond Death Cards, Part 1
#723: Theros Beyond Death Cards, Part 1

47:48

This is the first part of a series (of five) of card-by-card design stories from Theros Beyond Death.


 
#724: Theros Beyond Death Cards, Part 2
#724: Theros Beyond Death Cards, Part 2

40:49

This is the second part of a series (of five) of card-by-card design stories from Theros Beyond Death.

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