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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Mar 19 2019 1:00pm
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ICYMI, here's volume 5. Onward to 6!


Free Rice
(Named after and inspired by the vocabulary challenges on

Following are some uncommon words that have never appeared in a Magic card title but are synonyms with ones that have. Pair each word to the card whose title is closest in meaning. For example, you might pair Disinter with this card or Lusus with this card.

♦ Easy ♦

1. Quarrel







Task Force


2. Quietude



Grim Reminder






♦ Medium ♦

3. Choler





 Sparring Collar






4. Benison


Curse of the Cabal




 Feast of Flesh


Gang of Elk

5. Ablution




Muddle the Mixture



Remove Soul




6. Prestidigitation


Time Warp








Sleight of Hand

7. Adjure




Word of Command


Dutiful Return



♦ Hard ♦

8. Tocsin




Hail of Arrows


Vial of Poison


Hearth Charm

9. Lochetic


Waiting in the Weeds


Sea Monster




Acidic Soil

10. Formic (Queen)


Ant Queen


Coffin Queen



11. (Righteous) Effluvium


Righteous Authority


Righteous Blow


Righteous Aura


Righteous Indignation

12. Pococurantism


Syphon Life


Miraculous Recovery


Silence the Believers





Eye Witness

You're a detective, investigating a series of murders. In each case, you have an eye witness describing the suspect, which is a Magic card from the game's first six years. The clue they give might describe the card's function, art, name, or flavor text. For instance, the testimony "The killer was wondering whether they looked fat" points to the flavor text on this card, and "The killer was Albert Einstein" points to the art on this card.

    Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom (BBD)
This card is not the answer to any of these. It was just meant to evoke the idea of an eye witness.

"I've seen a lot of strange fellows in my day, but this one takes the cake. He left the scene of the crime with four squirrels following him!"

"I don't know if you'd call it a murder, exactly. The guy didn't kill him, he just turned him into a sheep. Real old guy, he was. Long beard, like so." (Gestures.)

"The killer was no man at all, but rather a pile of leaves. It swallowed the victim whole. When I got there, all I saw was an anguished face and a hand sticking out."
"I'm going to need a little more than that," you say.
"After claiming their first victim, the leaves attached themselves to a second victim, then a third, and so on."
"That doesn't sound very good."
"Nah. Good flavor though."

"Both of us saw it happen. The murderer was huge, maybe 10 feet tall—"
"5 feet at the most."
"—with huge, rippling muscles."
"Small ones."
"Covered in leaves,"
"That I agree with."
"thick wooden tusks,"
"and dark, steely grey eyes."
"I guess what they say is true: no two people see this thing the same."

"The killer was sure grisly looking. It was the shape of a human head, but all made up of random viscera and scales and wormy things. It had teeth at the top of its neck, and an eyeball inside a mouth on the back of its head."
"That's... horrifying," you gasp.

"I can describe the killer exactly. He was about 20 years old. He had a stature of even length. He was also a wonderful speaker, and quite strong."
You blink at the witness a few times. "What?"
"Also his arm was all deformed looking, he was startlingly ugly, and he traveled with a masked horse."
You're starting to remember. "Was he being given something?"
"I don't know how he managed to kill anyone—but I know who it is."


Grammar Time

Let's use Magic cards to explore some grammatical principles!

1. What is the grammatical error in this sentence?

My favorite lands are Prahv, Spires of Order, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and City of Brass, as a matter of fact.

2. It's become acceptable to say "two sphinxes." What was the original way?

Consecrated Sphinx  Sphinx of the Steel Wind



a. two sphinx

b. two sphinces

c. two sphinges

d. two sphinxi

e. two spheenx

3 & 4. It That Betrays is a pretty cool Magic card. How would you word it in a sentence if, rather than a towering Eldrazi, you were speaking about Joven?

It That Betrays     

3. I just spoke with Joven __ betrays.

     a. that

     b. which

     c. who

     d. whom

4. In the previous sentence, would there be a comma before the word you chose? Highlight for a hint: The fact that Joven is legendary affects the answer.

     a. yes      b. no


5. Your deck has a full playset of Skullclamps, while your opponent's has __.
     a. less
     b. fewer

6. I have an __ Carrion Feeder.
     a. Eldrazi-eating
     b. Eldrazi eating

7. I be crackin' Mind Stones __.
     a. everyday
     b. every day

8. Does Stasis __ lands?
     a. effect
     b. affect

9. Please don't target __ with that Rolling Thunder.
     a. Jace Beleren and me
     b. Jace Beleren and I

10. Channel __ Fireball quite nicely.
     a. compliments
     b. complements

11. Solitary Confinement will __ that you never take damage again!
     a. assure
     b. ensure
     c. insure

12. My collection goes __ than theirs, containing not only every Fallen Empires card but every Homelands card as well.
     a. farther
     b. further

13. My opponent's Shelldock Isle makes me worry they __ slamming an Emrakul later on.
     a. maybe
     b. may be

14. My opponent cast a Sorin's Vengeance__ however, I cast a Mana Drain.
     a. ,
     b. ;
     c. :
     d. .

15. My box of Elf tokens __ probably worth $20.
     a. are
     b. is


Movie Magic

On the left are nine real movies, seven of which are also Magic cards.

On the right are nine Magic card descriptions, seven of which correspond to the titles on the left.

Match the seven Magic movies to their correct descriptions!




 a. damages all creatures and players

 b. deals damage equal to damage dealt

 c. stops forestwalk

 d. prevents all combat damage

 e. returns a dying creature to hand

 f. creatures lose flying

 g. prevents X damage

 h. counters black spells

 i. double noncombat damage



— ♦ — Solutions — ♦ —

Free Rice

1. A (Quarrel = Brawl)

2. C (Quietude = Tranquility)

3. C (Choler = Anger)

4. B (Benison = Blessing)

5. D (Ablution = Cleansing)

6. D (Prestidigitation = Sleight of Hand)

7. B (Adjure = Word of Command)

8. A (Tocsin = Alarum)

9. A (Lochetic = Waiting in the Weeds, intending to ambush your prey)

10. A (Formic = pertaining to ants)

11. C (Effluvium = aura)

12. D (Pococurantism = apathy)


  • If you thought #4 was D, you were thinking of "venison."
  • I really wanted to use "caterwauling" for one of these, until I realized it already appears in Caterwauling Boggart. What a great word though.
  • If you too would like to learn words so obscure that they're unusable in conversation, I recommend Foyle's Philavery and The Thinker's Thesaurus. They're both... mirific.



Eye Witness

  1. Deranged Hermit
  2. Ovinomancer
  3. Kudzu
  4. Maro (see the flavor text)
  5. Horror of Horrors (original Legends art)
  6. Squire (see the flavor text and art)


Grammar Time

1. If the items in your comma list themselves have commas, use semicolons between 'em!

2. C
"Sphinges." Rhymes with hinges. Strange but true.

3. C
Joven's a person, so he gets "who."
(If you thought "whom," that's for the sentence's object rather than the subject. "Who betrayed Joven?" is correct. So is "Joven betrayed whom?")

4. A
Since there's only one Joven we could possibly be referring to, we can use a nonrestrictive clause to add information about him. "Joven, who by the way betrays."
Contrast this with a nonspecific creature, like Eager Cadet. If you say "I just spoke with an eager cadet," they'd say, "Which one?" Then you can add information with a restrictive clause.
"The eager cadet who betrays."
"Oh, that one."
No comma needed.

5. B
Use "fewer" for countable things (fewer cats, fewer pencils) and "less" for noncountable things (less anxiety, less money).
(If you're thinking "But money is countable," people don't say "I have 4 money." You can have fewer dollar bills, but not fewer money.)

6. A
Google "compound adjectives" for more information.

7. B
Only use the single-word "everyday" as an adjective. Contrast these two sentences, both correct:
"I crack Mind Stones every day."
"Cracking Mind Stones is an everyday event for me."

8. B
E-ffect when a noun and A-ffect when a verb! "The effect of Stasis affects lands."
Two corner cases: the reverse is true if the word means "cause" (My Stasis will effect a change in this game) or "demeanor" (After I cast Stasis, my opponent displayed a sullen affect).

9. A
A lot of lazy and/or misinformed teachers tell people to always use "__ and I," but that's only true if you're both in the sentence's subject. In the object, it's "__ and me."
You don't need to know about subjects and objects to master this rule though. Just use whichever word you'd use if the other person weren't in the sentence. You wouldn't say "Don't target I with Rolling Thunder," you'd say "Don't target me," and adding Jace into the sentence doesn't change that.

10. B
"Compliment" means praise and "complement" means match. Your sweater complements your pants, which earns you compliments.

11. B
"Assure" is what you do to a troubled friend, "ensure" means guarantee, and "insure" is the financial one.

12. B
Use "farther" for literal distance ("My car traveled farther than expected") and further for everything else.

13. B
If you can replace it with "might be" and it still makes sense, "may be" should be two words.
"I might be casting Fog next turn" > sounds right; "may be" would be two words here.
"Might be I will cast Fog next turn" > sounds terrible; "maybe" would be one word.

14. B
Everything before the __ is an independent clause (it could be a complete sentence on its own), as is everything after the blank. We need to either use a semicolon or make it two sentences. If you put A, your teachers are going to be writing "comma splice" on your papers. C is just ridiculous, and as for D, "however" wasn't capitalized.

15. B
It's tempting to say "tokens are," but the verb goes with "box," not "tokens," and of course "My box are worth $20 is wrong." Gotta be "is"!


Movie Magic

a. Cyclone
b. Eye for An Eye
c. Deadfall
d. Darkness
e. Puppet Master
f. not depicted
g. Guardian Angel
h. Lifeforce
i. not depicted


Stay puzzled! ♥ Cotton