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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Nov 14 2011 1:52pm
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The four Master's Ed sets brought a ton of old cards online, delighting fans everywhere.  But not delighting them enough!  For you see, we won't be satisfied until every old card is printed online, and in the context of their complete, original sets.

It might seem at first that every desirable card from those sets is already featured in either Master's, Time Spiral, or some random duel deck.  Not true!  The tournament-playable ones, yes, but not the casual-playable ones.  And not the ones that are enjoyable for reasons other than playability.  Those are the cards for which we have to reprint these old sets.

"But those sets aren't good for drafting."  Good point.  You're right, they aren't.  Okay, moving on, here are my picks from each set.  Part 1 will have around 40 cards from Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, and The Dark.  Part 2 will have around another 40 from Fallen Empires, Homelands, Ice Age, and Alliances.


Arabian Nights

Abu Ja'far

Good enough for Chronicles, but not good enough for Master's, hmmm?

Well I like this guy, even if he does overlap a lot with Loyal Sentry.  You know why?  Because

  1. Loyal Sentry doesn't do anything productive with Lure effects.
  2. The Magic Lampoon once made fun of this card's original wording by making a card named Abu, and the rules text said "this is the card referred to on Abu Ja'far's rules text."  That's very funny to me and seeing the original card brings back those warm memories.
  3. The artwork is awesome and that isn't debatable.
  4. Even if he's a "creature — human" now and not a "summon leper," the fact remains that canonically this human is a leper and Magic doesn't have enough lepers.


Listen, WotC.  You printed us Desert in Time Spiral.  Don't you think you should give us the weapons to defend ourselves against it??

I'm tired of Desert dominating the MtGO metagame and I need a solution.  And like most of life's problems, the solution should come in the form of an 0/1 with banding.

Walid (in the flavor text) was blessed with a great many camels.  Why aren't we?

I'm really not prepared to call this card strictly worse than Benalish Hero.


King Suleiman

Here are some cold, hard statistics for you.

  • There are 48 djinns and efreets currently online.
  • There are several cards that can change creature types.

This guy has a home, that's all I'm trying to say.


Island Fish Jasconius

This fish has been through it all.  First he was an "island fish," then an "island-fish" (hyphenated), then simply a "fish."

I say we not only print him online, but bring him back as a regular ol' non-hyphenated "island fish."  So he counts as both an island and a fish.  Flavorwise, it would be accurate!  Look at those trees on his back: he literally is an island.

Ruleswise, we would probably have to print him with the tribal supertype, but that's allowable.  We'd also probably have to let you play him as a land drop, Dryad Arbor style, but that's okay too.  If you try to tap him for mana, it's UUU to untap him, and even though he's a 6/8 for no mana, he can't attack every game.

Mark Rosewater is always talking about the importance of flavor.  This is the perfect opportunity.  It could be the next Form of the Dragon!


Sorceress Queen

Come ooonnnn, WotC.  We can have Serendib Sorcerer online but not Sorceress Queen?

We the players demand it.


Stone-Throwing Devils

Boros Recruit is okay.

Tundra Wolves is okay.

Serra Zealot is okay.

Why can't black have its day in the sun?  If black can color bleed into a Darkness, this should be fine as well.

Also, this would increase the number of devils from 5 to 6.  Which tribal decks could use, since Riot Devils weren't really cutting the mustard.


Desert Nomads

Some decks want to deal with Deserts without splashing for white.  I don't think they're wrong for wanting that.

You might wonder what the point is of giving somebody immunity to Desert damage when their toughness is already out of Desert range.  My answer to that is, have you never seen the 4x Desert 4x Vesuva decks??  Combined with the damage multiplication of Furnace of Rath they are nigh-unstoppable.  And they will continue to be until the printing of Arabian Nights.


Arabian Nights Mountain

We already have Mountain online.  And we already have it with this artwork.

But we don't have it with this expansion symbol.  A paper copy of this gets over $30 on eBay.  Does that mean anything to you, WotC?


Problems with Arabian Nights

  • The card Shahrazad is (1) banned in all formats and (2) something that NO casual player wants their opponent to cast.
  • The card Jeweled Bird mentions ante, which is (1) also banned (2) also unfun and (3) possibly in violation of state gambling laws.

Solution: Include them all in the print run, but make them illegal to play with.  Like that Gleemox promo card.


Drafna's Restoration

It's like Footbottom Feast for artifacts.  That's... probably useful, right?


Haunting Wind

Green/red currently has the monopoly on this sort of effect, with Burning-Tree Shaman.  It's time we brought it back to its black roots.  So says CottonRhetoric.

Problems with Antiquities

  • It would seem that all of Antiquities' interesting cards have already been reprinted.

Solution: Whatever, print it anyway!  At least we'll have some duplicates to drive the Mishra's Workshop prices down a little.


Clergy of the Holy Nimbus

These guys are just cool!

They fit in pretty well with the Masques block's Rhystic mechanic.  And I know the rules programming would work since Knight of the Holy Nimbus was printed.

Why can't these guys show their faces?  What's the function of the crystal ball on the left?  How can it be night in one window and day in the other?

If Legends isn't printed online, I fear we may never know the answers.


Enchanted Being

Its ability is narrow, I admit, but it at least tides you over while you wait to get that Song of Serenity online, am I right?

In the meantime, let's examine a few issues.  Why is she called "enchanted being" when, gameplay-wise, she isn't the one who gets enchanted?

Why did they update her creature type from "being" to "human"?  I don't believe she is a human (or even a human being).  Just plain "being" sounds more ethereal, like maybe "avatar" would be a closer analogue.

Then again, she's sparkling.  Maybe she's a vampire....


Indestructible Aura

It's basically Death Ward that doesn't cause your guy to tap.  But that's not why I want it online.

I believe the presence of this card will increase players' intelligence.  Because as they look at the card and puzzle over its many mysteries, they will be exercising their cognitive abilities, as they would with any word problem or puzzle.

Why is there a merfolk with human arms and a bird head?  What do the orange and blue beams represent?  Why is the creature making metal hands?  What does any of that have to do with being immune to damage?  Is this creature the same person as Theodar, who in the flavor text is striding the battle lines snatching swords with his bare hands?  Does he have a bird head while he does that?  Because maybe that's why everyone's cowering before him.  I know I would.  I've read the original Grimm's Fairy Tales; I know what birds do to people's eyes.


Keepers of the Faith

I don't want this to come online because it's playable.  It isn't, even now that it's tribally relevant to both humans and clerics.

I want it to come online because

  1. I swear that floating box matches the artwork on some other card (maybe a Weatherlight artifact?), and printing this online will bring attention to the issue.
  2. When WotC eventually prints an equipment named "Sword of Faith," the throwback won't be nearly as poignant if the public isn't aware of the call-out on this card's flavor text.


Kaboosh!  What a hoser!

Great to quote the flavor text of while playing it.


Presence of the Master

We have this card online thanks to Urza's Saga, but we don't have it with the Einstein art.

Question: when it comes online, should we digitally remove Pluto from the bottom-right of the arc?  Not because we don't consider Pluto a planet anymore, but because IT WASN'T DISCOVERED UNTIL 23 YEARS AFTER EINSTEIN DIED.  He would never have heard of it, much less wanted it floating around his head!

As for whether Einstein should be on a Magic card... I know WotC fights the real-world referents, but it makes perfect sense to have a few in my opinion.  Why would planeswalkers travel to all these different planes but never the one we live on?  I bet if Ajani did come to Earth, he'd just love to kidnap Einstein and make him fight for him.


Remove Enchantments

If you take the three minutes to parse this card's rules text, you'll at the very least see its synergy with Enchantress decks, who would love to recast all of those enchantments you just returned to your hand.

And if you complain about the artwork, armor can too be an aura.  Armor of Thorns!


Wall of Caltrops

Here is my list of demands, WotC.

  1. Reprint Wall of Caltrops
  2. Leave the flavor text on the same line as the rules text.
  3. Leave the italicized "and" in the rules text.
  4. Add reminder text explaining that you thought the players were too stupid to understand the "and" clause unassisted.
  5. Print a card in the next block that references Wall of Caltrops in some way.  For instance, it could be a 1W creature named Knight of Caltrops that gains banding if it blocks an attacker with a wall and no other non-knight, non-wall creatures block that attacker.  And the flavor text would be "Ow! Ow ow ow! Oooh, ow, OW!"
  6. Finally reveal who the speaker of that quote is.  (It seems a little too witty to be Jaya Ballard, Task Mage.)

Enchantment Alteration

To my knowledge, this is the only Magic card in which somebody is wearing aviator sunglasses.

Sunglasses of Urza doesn't count because they're the wrong style and aren't being worn.

This guy on the other hand was enchanted with some angel wings, which he used to fly up to heaven, only to have his wings stolen by some oaf.  He attempts to turn around and scold the oaf, but without his wings he comes plummeting to the Earth before he can react.  He lands on his stupid spiral hat and dies.

The Urza's Saga artwork doesn't imply any of that.


Energy Tap

What a cool card!!

If you've got a Serra Sphinx in play, you can attack with it, then tap if for Energy Tap, and get a super Dark Ritual in blue!  It only works late game, so it's hardly broken.  It's a lot less effective than High Tide, 90% of the time.  Yet it works better in multicolor or non-basic land decks.

I'm pretty sure this is that training ball from the first Star Wars movie.


Field of Dreams

I don't always want to wait for Wizened Snitches mana before I can get my Predict off, okay?



It's like Arrest with a lower cmc, a higher cost to keep it active, a whole lot of triggers, and a very annoyed opponent!

I am sure there is a market for this.



Flavorwise, I'm confused, because a quagmire is a swamp.  So how would having one swamp prevent someone from walking through your other swamp?

Artwise, I'm enamored, because the gentleman in the picture appears to be doing the Thriller dance as he drowns.

He's using his last moments on earth to reenact a 1980s music video.  It isn't synergistic in a zombie deck mechanically, but the artwork more than makes up for it.  (Strangely, it isn't the only reference to Thriller in Magic.  Have you seen the artwork for Cemetery Gate?)


Blazing Effigy

I've been joking around a little, but I genuinely, earnestly, legitimately want this card to come online and would absolutely play with 4 of them all the time.

At the absolute worst case, it gains you life (effectively, by chump blocking) while dealing 3 to the creature of your choice.  That's what Lightning Helix does.

At the best case, it's... actually, that was also the best case.  The ability makes it sound like they stack, but they really don't.  If you read carefully, and think about it, it can only deal 3 damage per effigy, so using three of them to deal 9 all at once really isn't better than having 3 die separately.

Still.  It's a monocolored Lightning Helix.  Only it sometimes gains you more than 3 life.  I'd play with it.


Glyph of Destruction

What an amazing card!!!

How else can you get 10 points of power for a single mana?  I'm not talking about casting Berserk on an Eldrazi; I'm talking about something you can do on the second turn with no acceleration.

Or, if you wait until the third turn, you can cast Fling to deal 10 to your opponent's face.

And if you want to combine this card WITH Berserk, or a second Glyph, that would be 20 in one shot.  I would say it's broken but it does after all require you to cast a wall AND BLOCK WITH IT.  Plus it's a four-card combo.  I think the metagame could handle it.


Land's Edge

We already have Seismic Assault, but

  1. We could go for the 8x
  2. This is easier to cast in multicolor decks
  3. It lets you discard ANY card, thereby enabling madness (and randomly saving you from a Black Vise or something
  4. It's symmetrical, occasionally leading to exciting surprises
  5. What amazing art!
  6. At age 15 I won a tournament using this, Land Tax, Scroll Rack, Kird Ape, and Savannah Lions.  So the nostalgia's pretty heavy for me.  (This doesn't apply to much of the customer base, I'm aware, but it would still be nice!)

Shelkin Brownie

"Removes banding," you might be saying, "that sounds great!"

But then you look closer at the card and see it only removes "bands with other."  Which makes you say, "That sounds useless!  Who uses bands with other?"

Don't be so hasty.  Remember that, not long ago, WotC for some reason changed the functionality of bands with other.  It used to be that "bands with other legends" would only let you band with other legends that themselves had "bands with other legends."  But now they can band with any legend, period.  So the ability's a lot better, you see, and it needs hosing.

I'm not here to argue that WotC's change completely violates their policy of trying to restore cards to their intended functionality.  Even though it does.



They reprinted so many gold Legends legends in ME3.  Why not Johan?

Unlike most of the other ones, he actually has an ability!  One that discourages you from attacking with your 5/4, but one nonetheless.


Kasimir the Lone Wolf

I don't especially want him reprinted, I just want to point out that the "lone wolf" is neither lone nor a wolf.



Wow, he can like, never be killed in combat!

If there's a Familiar Ground in play, that is.

And if you think his non-changing power of 1 isn't impressive, just imagine him next to a Doran, the Siege Tower.


The Adventurer's Guildhouse cycle

Why not?

Seriously, why not?

Problems with Legends

There's this certain card with a certain bit of artwork...

Now you might be thinking "what creepy looking ghosts," but when you look back at the name of the card, "Invoke Prejudice"... well....

It's pretty clear that this is another instance of a planeswalker coming to Earth.  Now why Jace Beleren (for instance) would want to travel all the way here to pick up some Klan members is beyond me.  But the UUUU casting cost for the marginal effect at least means he probably doesn't do it all that often.

Solution: Print the card as-is, and donate an amount of the set's profits to the Institute of Race Relations to offset any damage done.

Problem #2 is Falling Star, but whatever, just give it the banhammer.  That's how we handled it in real life.  Maybe you could incentivize its trading by turning the card into an avatar or something.

The Dark

Blood of the Martyr

The effect is unspectacular, and certainly unworthy of WWW, but most people who have been playing since the mid-90s would list this among their all-time favorite pieces of card art.



The intersection of Armageddon and burn!

In a deck that's both aggressive and full of life gain, this could become very one-sided.  And white decks should have no problem satisfying both at once, whether it's a Nip Gwyllion wearing a Bonesplitter, or a Lone Missionary wearing nothing.

No matter what your opponent chooses, they're in trouble.  It's kind of like a Browbeat (and about as mediocre, honestly, but every bit as fun in the casual room).


Deep Water

People complain about this card, but I don't know why!

Let's say I have the UU to cast this card.  That doesn't mean I can find the UUU for my Patron Wizard.  Or the UUUU for my, uh, Invoke Prejudice.

The simple fact is, if you want to play with cards that cost a lot of blue mana, the logical way to build your deck is with only a few blue sources, and then 4x of an enchantment that helps you get more blue mana, and just hope to draw one every game.

I'll probably put it in my Sanity Grinding deck.  The one with all the lands that don't make blue mana.  In fact I'll rely on a Manamorphose to get the Deep Water out in the first place.


Electric Eel

Not so different from Putrid Leech.  Not really.



Jokes aside, this one legitimately is playable.

I'd say it's a killer in draft, but we've already establishd that these early sets aren't intended for drafting.  Still, in the casual room, it could easily shut down a creature or two, whether you combine it with Royal Assassin or not.  It's more expensive to use than an Icy Manipulator, but a whole lot cheaper to get out.  Has a home in defensive decks that take a while to set up.


Water Wurm


It's a terrible card against most of the field, but if your opponent is playing blue, it skyrockets into the realm of mere unplayability.

I wouldn't play with this card in a Wurm tribal deck.

I wouldn't play with this card in a Ron Spencer deck.

I wouldn't play with this card if it appeared at random in a game of Momir Basic!  0 stars out of 5.  (I do like the artwork though, genuinely.)


Nameless Race

I'm pretty sure this is the only creature whose oracle type update was the result of a joke.  But past that and the weird art (where are that second dude's arms, and why does a nameless race look so completely human?), it's not a bad card.

Compare it to Minion of the Wastes, who's 3BBB for that same deal.  Your opponent has to be playing white, and it's unlikely you can make him a 20/20 very often, but I still like it.


Goblin Hero

I used to play Quest For Glory 2, and in it, the blacksmith makes fun of you in a way that's relevant to the discussion here.

You proudly tell him of how you saved a race called the Kattas not long ago.  He says, "Hero of the Kattas, huh? Only a Katta would call you a hero."

Well back in 1995, my brother and I looked at this worthless Gray Ogre of a card, and then at its name, Goblin Hero.  And then at the Goblins that were in print at the time (mostly 1/1s).  And we started thinking of that QFG2 quote....

I'm not sure if WotC had a similar gag in mind when they named this vanilla 2/2, but it seems too perfect not to be true.



We've already got Taunting Elf online.  And this thing is better than deathtouch.  They just have to meet in combat, not deal damage.

It was a super iconic card back in the day.  And as Inquest magazine would tell you, it's a combo with another 1GG enchantment, Lure.

How about it, WotC.

Problems with The Dark

None!  The Dark is a perfect set.


Join me next week, when I'll be doing the same thing for the remaining four pre-Mirage sets.



Agree x1,000,000!!! I say a by GainsBanding at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 16:02
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Agree x1,000,000!!!

I say a one-shot Alliances draft should be our prize for winning the Community Cup next year. If we lose, make it The Dark.

Your comment about Quagmire by Lord Erman at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 16:08
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Your comment about Quagmire really made me laugh out loud. Thanks for doing this and looking forward to the next one.


""But those sets aren't good by Gardevi at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 17:56
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""But those sets aren't good for drafting." Good point. You're right, they aren't. Okay, moving on"

Wait, what? How are these cards going to be widely distributed if they aren't going to be drafted? Seems rather important to discuss rather than just brush off.

Einstein and Pluto... by Fred1160 at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 18:55
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You said, "Question: when it comes online, should we digitally remove Pluto from the bottom-right of the arc? Not because we don't consider Pluto a planet anymore, but because IT WASN'T DISCOVERED UNTIL 23 YEARS AFTER EINSTEIN DIED. He would never have heard of it, much less wanted it floating around his head!"

Pluto was discovered in 1930. Einstein died in 1955.
Fact checking is tech!

..........................who by CottonRhetoric at Tue, 11/15/2011 - 08:10
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apaulogy's picture

But these would be horrible in sealed and drafts.

I would still play them, but, well, just awkward.

Great article.

"Kasimir the Lone Wolf I by Paul Leicht at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 20:47
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"Kasimir the Lone Wolf

I don't especially want him reprinted, I just want to point out that the "lone wolf" is neither lone nor a wolf."

How do you know this? The art implies that the wolf is Kasimir. :d And the type gives us no clues. And it looks like Kasimir is about to leap on that hapless axe wielder!

I kid. As per usual a nice treatment of a fun subject. Keep writing Cotton!

The flavor text! He used to by CottonRhetoric at Sat, 02/24/2018 - 09:20
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The flavor text! He used to be a holy man.

Well I guess he could have turned into a wolf after he stopped being a holy man. I guess we'll never know.

Since you're still wandering by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 02/24/2018 - 13:50
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Since you're still wandering around this article 7 years later, and I've just re-read it, it might comfort you to know we now indeed have a great many Camels in the game. Well, we have 7. The original one is still not online, though.

Also, the Devils are now 20.

Also, Desert decks are now a real thing! O tempora o mores!

Great listing...I think we by deluxeicoff at Thu, 11/17/2011 - 04:01
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Great listing...I think we may see Sorceress Queen or the Devil's in the next set or two...

QFG! by Phroggie at Thu, 11/17/2011 - 21:04
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Sweet - someone else who loved QFG2 :) I loved that entire series from Hero Quest... but QFG2 was always my favourite.

Have you seen/played the updated fan-based VGA re-release? Should be able to get it free online, it was really good and perfectly true to the original with some nice little improvements.

The Dark was the first set I collected in full, it was great but so many cards that I can see as amazing now weren't obviously amazing when first released.

Haha I did play the vga by CottonRhetoric at Sat, 11/19/2011 - 01:34
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Haha I did play the vga remake -- after about 8 years of anticipation! It was good, especially the upgraded combat system. I do kind of wish they had actually redrawn each screen instead of just tracing the originals and increasing the colors/resolution. Like what Sierra did with their official qfg1 remake.

This article dropped off the by GainsBanding at Sat, 11/19/2011 - 03:35
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This article dropped off the main page too quickly for how fun it is.

Some ideas:

Maybe they can airbrush out the hoods on Invoke Prejudice the same way they airbrushed out the pentagram in 4th Edition Unholy Strength (btw, that art needs to come online, too, in order for everything to be complete).

How about one more Masters Edition to get the last valuable cards online, then anything that's left you can buy directly from WOTC at 27c each (the cost of a card in a booster).

Not sure why you are leaving out the three Portals, two Starters, and six core sets. We don't have enough Air Elementals online.

One time drafts of these sets would be really fun holiday things and would make these cards worth something due to scarcity. Einstein Presence of the Master in a Masters Edition set: 4 cents. That same card from Legends if it was only draftable for two weeks: maybe a dollar!

Or Momir-style drafts for these. You don't draft the cards, you just start with a handful of land. During your draw step, you get a random card from the set. You can play a land and cast a spell from your hand or at random Momir-style, but the random one you get will be from the set as well. At the end of the game, you walk away with the random cards you got. This would actually make ante cards playable online, as you could steal cards that didn't actually belong to your opponent yet.

Can't wait for part 2!

Great read by mullaccm at Tue, 11/22/2011 - 04:38
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You made me dig up my favorite WoC site article:


I loved this article, made me by Mooncalf at Tue, 11/22/2011 - 13:29
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I loved this article, made me lol several times. I also loved these cards and want them online too. For me personally its about original art/frame/symbol, like Blood Moon from The Dark or Sulfurous Springs from iceage.