A few months ago, I did a podcast (one from Drive to Work, if you've never heard it) about the design of Unglued 2. Note that I'm not talking about Unhinged, but rather a set tentatively called Unglued 2: The Obligatory Sequel that never got made. Interestingly, the design was mostly done and all the artwork was finished. The cards, though, never got laid out.
While talking about the design of the set, I realized that there was an interesting article where I could show you some of the cards along with the art to give a glimpse of what never came to be. I should note that a decent amount of Unglued 2 got used for Unhinged, so what I'm showing you today are things that for different reasons didn't make sense to use in Unhinged. Some of this has to do with mechanical themes while others have to do with flavor that was out of date by the time Unhinged got made. I'm going to walk you through a number of cards and I'll explain why these ones never ended up getting made. Obviously, as the best stuff was moved over, what remains is of below-average quality for what would have appeared in the set.
This is a rare insight into a Magic product that never got made. I also would like to point out that this set never got to editing so the templating is pretty rough. In addition, remember that this product was from almost fifteen years ago, so the templating is out of date as well as often wrong. I've left the original wording for your amusement.
- Aerobics Instructor
Art by Phil Foglio
2W, T: Roll a six-sided die. On a 6, sacrifice Aerobics Instructor. Otherwise, you gain life equal to the die roll.
You will see as we go through these cards some themes. One of them is die rolling. Unglued had a die-rolling theme and Unglued 2 was following in its footsteps. Unhinged chose to not use die-rolling as it had polled poorly in Unglued, so none of these die-rolling cards ported over. I don't remember why Unglued 2 chose to use die-rolling while Unhinged did not, as both sets had access to the same data. Interestingly, I think the lack of use of six-sided dice in Unhinged was a mistake. I believe now that the problem with dice in Unglued was execution, not the use of the dice themselves. I think die rolling can be very fun if used properly.
This card is part of a five-card creature cycle. Each card had you roll a six-sided die and get a benefit based on the roll, but if you rolled a six, the card was sacrificed.
The one other story I remember about Aerobics Instructor was that we had to reject the original sketch because it was drawn from the point of view from behind the aerobics instructor looking out at her class. Let's just say the picture was a little risqué for Magic and we asked for a new version.
- Some Fat Pants
Art by Phil Foglio
Some Fat Pants
Enchanted creature gets +2/+6.
We recommend you speak in the third person.
Whenever you don't speak in the third person, sacrifice Some Fat Pants. (If you don't know what third person is, get a dictionary.)
The reason this card never made it to Unhinged is that it was based upon Magic slang at the time. "Fat pants" was slang for any creature enchantment that increased the toughness of the enchanted creature. "Some" was slang which meant "very" as in we had "some good time." At the time of this set, both were very popular among the Magic scene.
It's interesting looking back to note that the line that makes you talk in third person is not actually in third person. I assume editing would have caught and fixed that. I do, however, really like the reminder text. You'll note as we go through the cards that one of the themes of the set was smart aleck-y reminder text.
- Que Serra Serra
Art by Douglas Shuler
Que Serra Serra
Attacking doesn't cause Que Serra Serra to tap.
During your turn, describe to your opponent how Que Serra Serra is broken and unbalances the game. If you don't, sacrifice Que Serra Serra at end of turn.
Shortly before I started design on this set, Ramp;D as a whole decided that Serra Angel was too good and removed her from the core set. I personally thought this was a little crazy, so I made this card making fun of the decision.
One of the most interesting things about this card, historically, was that I came up with the idea to have full-frame art made for the card. I had been inspired by the full-frame art for the lands we had done in Unglued. The later use of full-frame cards came from me when we were thinking of new gimmicks for promos and I said, "Well, there was this thing I did in Unglued 2."
The other cool thing about this card is that not only did I do full-frame art but I had our art director go to Doug Schuler, the original artist of Serra Angel in Alpha, and had him redo the art as a full-frame card. So if you ever wondered what Serra Angel looked like from the waist down, here's the answer.
The reason we wrote out vigilance, by the way, is that vigilance as a keyword did not exist yet.
Art by Mark Brill
At the beginning of the upkeep of enchanted creature's controller, that player may pay 3. If he or she doesn't, that player gets a poison counter.
Another major theme of Unglued 2 was poison. Poison had originally been a major theme of Tempest but Ramp;D decided at the time to phase poison out of Magic. This all happened while Unglued was being made, so when Unglued 2 rolled around, I figured silver border would be the perfect place to blow out poison in a set.
I also wanted the set to have a theme, much like Unglued had a chicken theme, but something that was a little more substantial. I chose animated vegetables, which I picked to be the poison creatures (more on that in a moment). This card's flavor played into the idea of tainted vegetables—spinach if you look at the art closely.
Another thing I did with the vegetable theme was to ask every artist to hide a vegetable in his or her art, so while you're looking through all the cool art in today's column, see if you can find the hidden vegetables. Note that some of the art from Unglued 2 was used in Unhinged, so there are also some hidden vegetables in the art of Unhinged.
- Little Teapot
Art by Kev Walker
Target player may stand up, sing for everyone's amusement "I'm a little teapot, short and stout," form a teapot handle with one arm, sing "here is my handle," form a spout with the other arm, and sing "here is my spout." If he or she doesn't you may do so to win the game.
When I started work on Unhinged, a member of the brand team sat me down and asked that I not do anything that forced the opponent to act silly. I could make cards where players could opt into being silly but I wasn't supposed to force silliness upon players who might not want to be silly. Well, that guaranteed this card was never making it to Unhinged.
This card came about because I thought it would be funny to make Magic players sing the "Little Teapot" song. I was also very excited to get Kev Walker to draw a monster doing the "Little Teapot" pose. In other words, even though this card never saw the light of day, its existence makes me smile.
- Time Walk on the Wild Side
Art by Mark Tedin
Time Walk on the Wild Side
Remove Time Walk on the Wild Side from the game. Return the game to the state it was in at the beginning of the turn as much as possible except Time Walk on the Wild Side is still out of the game. (Ripped up cards are still out of the game and text scratched on scratch cards can't be reused.)
One of the wonderful things about silver-bordered cards is that we can do stuff that maybe doesn't technically work but that players would have lots of fun trying to make work. This card creates a lot of chaos but it was fun in playtesting. In the end, I chose not to move it over to Unhinged at the time because its chaos level was high even for a silver-bordered set.
Unglued 2 played around a lot with parodying famous old cards of the past and this obviously was me parodying Alpha's Time Walk.
And yes, you did read "scratch cards." I'll get to that.
- Bantam of the Opera
Art by Heather Hudson
Bantam of the Opera
2B, T: Choose target creature and roll a six-sided die. If you roll a 6, sacrifice Bantam of the Opera. Otherwise, that creature gets –X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number rolled on the die.
Unglued had a chicken theme. After the set came out, someone at Wizards (and I wish I remember who) said to me, "Hey, I hear you're making another Unglued. Well, I've got a chicken card for you—Bantam of the Opera." Then and there I knew this card would be made. Sure, there was no chicken theme in Unglued 2 but I figured it couldn't hurt to give the chicken deck a new card.
I chose to show you this card mostly so you can see the art, because it cracks me up every time. You can see that this card is in the same creature cycle as Aerobics Instructor. As the original chickens in Unglued had a die-rolling theme, it fits right in.
- Gangrene Pepper
Art by Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Swampwalk (You know what it means.)
I knew I wanted to do poison and I had it in my head that animated vegetables would be funny, so, of course, I combined the two ideas. My thought was Unglued 2 would have a poster that said something like, "Not every vegetable is good for you." The next step was to make puns involving vegetables and Magic tropes. I'm not sure why Zombie isn't a creature type on this card (it probably would have been) but the flavor of this card is a zombified animated vegetable.
For poison, I chose to keyword it with a number. What this meant was when this creature dealt combat damage to you, you got that many poison counters. I'm not sure why this isn't spelled out in reminder text but it most likely would have been if the set had been edited (which I should stress again, it was not). "Poison: N" would later be redone as Poisonous N in Future Sight. During Scars of Mirrodin design, we tried to make poisonous work as a major mechanic and ended up changing the mechanic into infect.
My one last note is that one of my favorite parts of Unglued 2 is the snarky reminder text.
- Skeletons in the Closet
Art by Randy Gallegos
Skeletons in the Closet
2B: Regenerate Skeletons in the Closet
BB,T: Exchange votes of two target players. Play this ability only after a vote has been called but before voting has started.
This card hints at another theme of the set—voting cards. This card was meant to manipulate votes, but my inexact templating makes it hard to understand what it's supposed to do. Let me explain: There is a cycle of voting cards. Each vote gives every player one vote and then spells out how people can get additional votes. This card was supposed to swap between players the number of votes allotted. For example, let's say we're taking a vote and I have one vote while you have two. Skeletons in the Closet can change it so I get two and you get one.
With many years of experience under my belt, I realize what this card really wants to do is give you extra votes in a vote rather than mess around with swapping votes, which is a bit confusing. I do love the pun and the art of this card, though.
- Heads Up/Tails Spin
Art by Mike Raabe
At the beginning of your upkeep, flip a coin. If you flip tails, rotate this card 180 degrees.
Creatures you control get +2/+2 and gain first strike.
At the beginning of your upkeep, flip a coin. If you flip tails, rotate this card 180 degrees.
All your creatures get -5/-0.
This card is a little confusing so let me explain how it worked. The card was laid out on its side with each illustration facing a different direction. This meant if you faced the card one way you got Heads Up and if you faced it the other way you got Tailspin. Yes, I made the first flip card years before Champions of Kamigawa. (I believe this was another time where I said, "Well, I did this thing in Unglued 2.")
The idea of the card was that you flipped a coin each turn and if it was heads, the card became Heads Up and if it was tails, the card became Tailspin. Heads Up was good to have and Tailspin was bad. Also, with years of experience, I wish I had made Heads Up great and Tailspin okay so that either way you got a bonus but one was a bigger bonus. This would still make you want to have heads but would make you feel less bad when you got tails. I also believe it would make you play the card more.
- Bob from Accounting
Art by Heather Hudson
Bob from Accounting
When Bob from Accounting comes into play, roll a six-sided die. Put the die with the rolled result on Bob from Accounting.
1R,T: Instead of rolling a six-sided die, use the result on Bob from Accounting. Then reroll the die and put it back on Bob from Accounting.
The reason this card never made it to Unhinged is two reasons. One, it involves dice. Two, it involves Bob from Accounting. That either makes you chuckle or makes you say, "Who's Bob from Accounting?" To help those of you in the latter group, watch this:
That is my all-time favorite Magic commercial and this card was meant to give a nod to it. By the time Unhinged rolled around, the commercial was very dated, which is why I didn't make a new card to go with the art.
- Hot Picks
Art by Melissa A. Benson
Three of the following are on the card:
1) Hot Picks deals 3 damage to each creature.
2) Destroy all nonbasic lands.
3) Creatures can't block this turn.
4) Each player sacrifices four lands.
5) Hot Picks deals 5 damage to each of your opponents.
6) Creatures you control get +2/+0 until end of turn.
7) Put four red 1/1 goblin creature tokens into play.
8) Destroy all artifacts.
9) Creatures you control get mountainwalk until end of turn.
10) The next die you roll this turn is a 5. (You need not roll the die.)
There's out of the box and then there's OUT OF THE BOX. Unglued 2 was doing a lot of wacky things but probably none wackier than this. Hot Picks was one of our scratch-off cards. You heard me—scratch off. The idea was that we'd have a sheet of scratch-off cards so you'd get one in every booster pack. Each card would have three scratch off lines on it and each time you cast it you would scratch one line off.
The problem we ran into and the reason we ended up not using these in Unhinged (well, that and some logistical issues) was that we couldn't get past the problem of players knowing what was coming. We tried to hide it a bit by having numerous versions, but in the end we could hide the second scratch off some of the time and we could never hide the third scratch off if you were aware of what cards were printed.
The theme of these cards was we had the art look like scratch off lottery tickets. There were two in each color.
- Mad Beetdown
Art by Mike Raabe
Mad Beatdown cannot be the target of spells or effects.
Another poison creature, another vegetable/Magic pun. This was one of my favorites, as I love the animated beets with spears.
You can tell from the poison creatures I'm showing off that I never really cracked a lot of the issues with poison. If you mixed and matched poison creatures with nonpoison creatures you still tended to kill opponents with damage before they could get the necessary ten poison counters. Also, not a lot comboed with the poison creatures other than ways to give them evasion.
Like Que Serra Serra and vigilance, Mad Beetdown doesn't have shroud because the keyword was many years from existing.
- Portal Elf
Art by rk Post
Instants are played as sorceries.
Artifacts and enchantments cannot be played.
Activated abilities cannot be played.
This card is another one that didn't make it to Unhinged because the joke was too dated by the time it rolled around. This card is making fun of a set called Portal that we put out long ago as a means to teach Magic to beginners. Portal was a simplified version of Magic that had a lot fewer elements in it. What this card is doing is making the normal game of Magic like Portal. You see, Portal didn't have instants or artifacts or enchantments or activated abilities.
The art was also us making fun of Portal. In it, the elves ride animals and there are guns (well, in Portal Second Age, the second version of Portal). That is why the elf is riding a moose carrying a wooden Uzi.
Art by Daniel Gelon
Creature—Legendary Dog Man
When Poodleboy comes into play, flip a coin. If you win the flip, remove Poodleboy from the game and search your library for a creature card. Put that creature card into play then shuffle your library. If you lose the flip, you're stuck with Poodleboy.
This is another card referencing a Magic commercial. This one:
This is from the same series as Bob from Accounting. The reason this didn't move over to Unhinged, other than the dated reference, was that everything about this card could actually be done in black border. I'm not saying that we would do it, but nothing about it really forces it to be silver border other than the commercial reference.
- Treehouse of Dr. Moreau
Art by Ron Spencer
Treehouse of Dr. Moreau
T, Sacrifice Treehouse of Dr. Moreau: Put three 1/1 green Squirrel creature tokens into play for each poison counter you have.
All Squirrels gain Poison: 1.
In case you thought I'd forgotten about the squirrels. Interestingly, a story about squirrels infected with the plague showed up just a few weeks ago, so this card is as relevant as the day it was made. Obviously, as Unhinged didn't do poison, this card couldn't have been ported over.
So, you might ask, why did I abandon my quest for poison between Unglued 2 and Unhinged? The answer is I didn't, I just had a higher goal. With time, I believed I could actually bring poison back to black-bordered Magic, so I gave up trying to put it in silver-bordered sets because my fear was if I did, I might cement in everyone's minds that poison wasn't a black-bordered thing. For good or bad, I obviously would later accomplish my task.
- Shameless Plug
Art by Tom Wänerstrand
Sacrifice Shameless Plug: Choose a Magic card pictured in the latest Duelist. Until end of turn, you may play as though that card were in your hand. Play this ability only if you have the latest copy of The Duelist with you.
At the time I was leading Unglued 2's design, I was the editor-in-chief of The Duelist and I was intent on finding a way to involve it in the set. I was very proud of this card because it both involved The Duelist directly, making players want to always have the most recent issue, and had a cute joke-within-a-joke playing into the idea of product plugs.
By the time Unhinged rolled around, The Duelist was no more, so this card made no sense. I had thought about involving the website in a similar way, but we were years away from smartphones that would make it easy to access the Internet during play.
- Dead Bunny Isle
Art by Tom Wänerstrand
Dead Bunny Isle
T, Receive a poison counter: Add W or U to your mana pool.
This card couldn't go into Unhinged as it involved poison. I did, though, try to get a card like this (although technically the blue-black one) into Future Sight as part of my cycle of future land cycles. Development was not a fan of poison as a resource so they nixed it. I chose the white-blue one to show you because this one had my favorite name. There was, of course, a five-card cycle of ally dual poison lands in Unglued 2.
- Un-til Next Time
That's all I have for today. I'm curious what you all thought of this little jaunt through the one Magic set that never made it to print. If you like what you see, there's more to look at, so please let me know if this is a topic you might want me to revisit again in the future. As always, you can contact me through me email, the thread to this column, or on my social media (Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+).
Join me next week when I put my professor cap back on.
Until then, may you remember your failures as well as your successes.
- Drive to Work #46—Instants and Sorceries
This week is another podcast in my meta series on card types. This week I talk about the two non-permanent spell types: instants and sorceries.
- Episode 46: Instants and Sorceries (12.9 MB)
- Episode 45: Meet My Dad (10.0 MB)
- Episode 44: Making Magic (11.8 MB)
- Episode 43: Mirage, Part 3 (12.5 MB)
- Episode 42: Mirage, Part 2 (11.4 MB)
- Complete Drive To Work Podcast Archive
Making Magic Archive
Working for Magic Ramp;D since October, 1995, Mark Rosewater is currently the head designer. His hobbies include spending time with his family, talking about Magic on every known medium (including a daily blog and a weekly podcast), and writing about himself in the third person.