The Image Lingers

Posted in Serious Fun on November 4, 2003

By Anthony Alongi

Readers responded pretty firmly to last week's column, which spoke to "imagery" decks that played off of a story. A particular subset of theme decks, imagery decks can be tremendously fun to design, play, and even play against.

So this week, we're just going to kick back and have some harmless – and be warned, fairly pointless – fun. Hey, I'm all for satisfying readers' appetites, but I like doing it on my own terms. I'll throw out three highly random decks I've created. Each is based in a story that ought to be familiar – at least within Western culture. (I apologize if these stories are not familiar to your culture. What can I say – I was born here, and I don't enjoy the sort of household budget or career that would make me intimately familiar with anything else. I encourage those from other cultures to post their own imagery decks on the message boards. Share with us – we'd love to hear from you!)

The "stories" are not necessarily in book form.

I'll start with what I consider easy, and then ramp up the difficulty. DO NOT SEND ME AN EMAIL WITH YOUR GUESSES! Too many people will be able to figure these out! I'll just post the answers next week. I also imagine the message boards will come up with the solutions just fine – these aren't meant to be impossible, so a bit of teamwork will crack 'em pretty quickly.

The themes are based mostly on card title, and function or artwork only when I'm stuck. (For example, the kobolds are the only creatures I could think of that might talk in tiny, unthreatening, high-pitched voices.)

Basic lands, naturally, don't count – they're just there to give the decks that thin sheen of playability. None of these decks will perform well. They're not even Type I legal. Most theme deck nights, your group shouldn't care too much.


Way too easy, eh? Let's try a slightly harder one.


Land (552)
1 Desert 1 Mountain 500 Forest 50 Plains
Other (4)
3 ,000 Nafs Asp 1 Archeological Dig
569 Cards

The trumpets are just in there because I loved the music so much. You heard they're thinking of making a fourth one? Hmm.

Okay, I should at least make you break out a small sweat. Unless you're studying this in school right now, this should at least make you search the Internet for a minute...


4 Arcum's Sleigh
4 Crystal Chimes
4 Alarum
4 Chime of Night
1 Khabal Ghoul
1 Kormus Bell
30 Swamp

Once you readers figure out that last one, you should be able to do much more with it! But I just liked the simplicity of my version, given the separate movements. In fact, I only included the last two cards because I felt I sort of had to – they're great crescendo pieces, which fits with the overall form and theme of the work.

I know today's column has been a bit unusual. But I was a bit tired of Type I legal decks, so there you go. If you don't want to be slaves to my future whims, read on.

Reader Feedback Opportunity

While you're visiting the message boards to guess at the answers, I would appreciate it if readers would post their preferences for what they'd like to see in future Serious Fun articles. I'm having a few weeks coming up where I don't mind what I do, so my natural inclination is to go where you'd like me.

Broad themes are what I'm after – would you like me to respond to reader mail? Post a bunch of decks I use in multiplayer games? Talk over different play variants? Pick specific cards and weave them together? Or something else entirely?

I'll give preference to those ideas that hit the message boards, over an email. I enjoy getting email, but signing up for, reading existing ideas on, and then posting to the message boards suggests a level of commitment that I have to respect. Of course, thoughtful ideas via any medium are welcome.

This offer does not guarantee that I will follow every lead. I am a fickle soul, and may not have any good reason for picking one idea over another. But I can guarantee you that I will read your idea and consider it. Thanks.

Again, please do not email Anthony regarding your guesses to the decks! Nor can he give you deck help, even if you've stuffed 3,000 Nafs Asps into your creation. On other topics, you can reach him at

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