Monday, June 29, 2009

Systemic Anomaly: Please Contact Your Supervisor

Grell is currently having technical difficulties. Postings will resume normal schedule shortly.

--Draco, Al Capone (previously Frank)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Card of the Day - Ash Fiend, Numb with Regret, Smog Ruach

Congratulations to lace, the winner of the eighth keyword poll. We're all very proud.

Just so you know, you don't have to vote for the mechanic that's winning. There are other options. Speaking of options, there are two new keywords to choose from - Flourish (which I didn't include in any of the previous polls because I thought I'd already posted a card that had it) and Omit (one of Nameless One's keywords). Get voting.

Lace takes its name (and its function) from the cycle of laces in Alpha. I'm not quite sure what happens if you have two lace cards for different colors in your graveyard. Something exciting, no doubt.

I feel like lace would have been pretty good in Shadowmoor, with its color-matters ideas and its graveyard hate. Keep in mind that Numb with Regret doesn't go to your graveyard until after it resolves, and anyway its target has to be a white creature when you cast it.

Smog Ruach likes being around any cards that change his color, including lace cards. He and Ash Fiend are practically best buds.

Original Art - Ash Fiend
Original Art - Numb with Regret
Original Art - Smog Ruach

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Well How About That?

Frank and I went drafting. I went 3-0. My deck was the most bomb-tastic thing I've ever made in limited.

1 Blitz Hellion
1 Carrion Thrash
1 Charnelhoard Wurm
1 Deadshot Minotaur
1 Deathbringer Thoctar
1 Ember Weaver
1 Gorger Wurm
1 Hissing Iguanar
1 Igneous Pouncer
1 Incurable Ogre
1 Jund Battlemage
1 Jungle Weaver
1 Madrush Cyclops
1 Naya Hushblade
1 Putrid Leech
1 Valley Rannet
1 Wild Leotau
1 Wild Nacatl

Non-Critter Spells(5):
1 Branching Bolt
1 Magma Spray
1 Might of New Alara
1 Sigil of Distinction
1 Yoke of the Damned

7 Forest
5 Mountain
4 Swamp
1 Veinfire Borderpost

This deck was so full of good stuff, it would be hard to pick out an MVP. So instead I'll pick out the LVP:

Not impressed

This gal is my least favorite goldblade. I am not looking for shroud on a 3/2. I am looking for deathtouch or flying or first strike or haste or something useful. Shroud is for things that I actually care about enough to protect (i.e. Deathbringer Thoctar). Naya Hushblade is so expendable it hurts. She's only fooling herself.

You know what's not fooling itself? Sigil of Distinction. That is the sort of card that I want to see in my first pack. There are few cards indeed in Shards of Alara that I would pick over it, and the majority of them are planeswalkers. The Sigil is fantastic.

Round 1 (vs. Bant/Naya)
Game 1 my opponent play creatures. I play better creatures, drop a Sigil of Distinction, and beat him to death.
Game 2 I keep a bad hand, thinking my Branching Bolt can deal with anything. It can't deal with a turn three Wooly Thoctar. I never recover.
Game 3 goes much the same as the first. My creatures are more powerful than my opponents and I beat him to death (without a Sigil this time).

Round 2 (vs. Jund)
Game 1 Necrogenesis nets my opponent a lot of saprolings and he kills my Deathbringer Thoctar (the anti-saproling) before it can go off. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't draw any answers to my creatures and the saprolings can't hold them off forever.
Game 2 I get manascrewed. I almost recover, but almost doesn't cut it.
Game 3 He gets manascrewed. It's a bloodbath.

Round 3 (vs. Bant)
Game 1 my opponent drops a lot of fliers and an Algae Gharial that grows beyond the range I can deal with. Fliers are a problem. A terminal one, apparantly.
Game 2 he drops Gwafa Hazid and starts bribing my creatures. I draw more, including Madrush Cyclops, and he can't bribe them fast enough. Hazid seems like a good way to end a stalemate, but the game wasn't a stalemate. The game was me winning, and he didn't stop that.
Game 3 he gets a fast start with Aerie Mystics, Battlegrace Angel, Steward of Valeron, and Nacatl Savage. I topdeck a forest on turn five, just in time to land Yoke of the Damned and Branching Bolt, destroying everything except the Savage (he was tapped out and couldn't give his guys shroud). The game turns into a stalemate with me at 10 life and him at 28. I kill his 6/6 Algae Gharial by casting Might of Alara on my Gorger Wurm, drop Charnelhoard Wurm, and win.

I got a Friday Night Magic Mulldrifter. It's pretty nice.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Card of the Day - Dread Immolation

Grell has been not a good person with putting cards up every day. I do not understand him! Why does he fail at his task and come crying to Shore Snapper in a moment of weakness, asking for protection? This is foolish behavior and on Grixis he would have been made into a tasty meal for my hungry stomach! But then I think that he has a trick, for nobody could be so foolish as to approach me asking for help. I will be going along with his plan for this reason until his soft underbelly is exposed and the feast can begin. Hah hah! It is a joke and is not something that I mean seriously. The use of tricks at this time is not a thing that will be appreciated.

Original Art

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Card of the Day - Nobble

Frank just pointed this site out to me. It is all sorts of nuts. It lets you do basically any kind of draft your little heart ever dreamed of. Go check it out.

EDIT: Just spent the last hour drafting triple Portal: Second Age, trying to make a Swarm of Rats deck work. Did not succeed.

Original Art

Monday, June 22, 2009

Card of the Day - Seabed Terramorpher

There were no cards this weekend. My apologies.

Shore Snapper ought to like this one. It does have the capacity to shut down multicolor decks, end even monocolor (given enough lands). Nothing says "you can't play spells" to a green/black deck better than "all your lands are Islands."

Original Art

Friday, June 19, 2009

Land Friday

I'm using the old Multiverse set symbol because the new one is for the second set in the block. You can't have basics in the second set.

Land Friday, what a rebel.

Original Art

Card of the Day - Cavern Spider

This guy needs a more intense name.

FUN FACT: Cavern Spider was the first card I made with bridle and was the reason I created bridle. It's top-down design at its finest - my attempt to turn an Urban Rivals card into a Magic card. Turned out pretty well, I think. Just call him Gibson.

Original Art

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Card of the Day - Carnosaur

Haven't posted any green cards for a while.

Original Art

Wicked Crazy

Apparently Ancient Byzantine Wisdom isn't only about Magic. Who knew?

New Rocket Quest

4.2 - Wicked Crazy

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Card of the Day - Armageddon Herd

I'm not sure if the Herd needs an "if you control it" clause in its second ability or if that's implied. This card isn't meant to be like a Desolation Angel; if you destroy your opponents' lands, you shouldn't get to keep the creature.

Original Art

Monday, June 15, 2009

Card of the Day - Holy Purge

Look at that! Look at how elegant that is!

Exile is such a good thing.

New set symbol for a new rules system. It's a brand new day.

EDIT: Not brand new enough. Holy Purge is both the first ABW card with Magic 2010 wordings and the first ABW card that has already been shown on this site*. My bad.

It's interesting to note that I added 86 cards to my set in between then and now.

Original Art

*Not counting basic lands

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Card of the Day - Beam Crusher

Yes! As I promised...a new keyword!

Assist is based on the Yugioh "union" mechanic and "equip", so you can use the things as well, since most equipments don't do anything else (not counting the ones that do).

I'm not sure if I needed to include the "Assisting creature is still a creature" line in the reminder text, but I just wanted to be sure that people would remember that they're still able to be terrored or molten framed.

So yeah, I intend to use this mechanic more, since it seems like it could be fun.

Original Art

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Card of the Day- Flash of Thought

Hey, loyal ABW fans! It's me, Nameless One, once again taking over the blog for my own. In fact, for the whole weekend! Man, I feel important.

Anyway, onto the card of the day. Flash of Thought looks like kind of a redundant card, right? Wrong. You can either pay 2 and a blue to draw two cards, or pay 2 and a blue to draw one card, but it'll be uncounterable and trigger cycling effects. It's a pretty simple card, but it'd be very useful in a blue deck where you need to draw cards.

'Til tomorrow, loyal fans!
-Nameless One

Original Art
Add Image

Friday, June 12, 2009

Card of the Day - Baleful Metamorphosis

The card called Baleful Metamorphosis is exciting because there is now flavor text on this card. I understand it! The words in this card are funny because they are also true! There was a demon I was knowing and he used to have a saying. The saying of the demon went "It is my way or the spine way." Many people laughed! And then he removed the spine! Grixis is a good place except maybe for people who are alive.

Original Art

Land Friday

At least I still have Fridays.

Original Art

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Card of the Day - Fleshform Hill

Things are not as easy to play as other things. I do not understand that! If you are not able to play the cards that your heart is telling you to play then you must be very sad about this. People who are not bad people I am angry with should not have such a great sadness. Fleshform Hill will make these people have their good level of low sadness and not be like people I have destroyed with fearsome claw attacks. If you have mana of one color this is a good land for you to use and it will give you the two colors of mana you did not have.

Original Art

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Card of the Day - Scourge of the Bottomless Sea

People for some reason do not like horrors. I do not understand these people! Horrors are a very nice type of creature. There was one time that I met a horror and she was very nice and did not tear my flesh off at all except for just a little. It grew back after a few days so everything was okay even though I do not talk very much with that horror any more. When at the same time we are walking across the mire of unbearable torment my head is lowered and I do not go on the same side of the mire as her. Sometimes things do not work out.

Original Art

Magic 2010 Rules Changes

If you haven't read this article over at then you really need to do that now. Even if you don't care about the rules changes, read it for the Magic 2010 preview cards. Go ahead. I'll wait.

I'm not happy about some of these changes, but I understand and support them. Except for parts of change #5. I'll get to that in a bit.

Change #1 - Simultaneous Mulligans. This is good stuff. Not a huge change, but I approve.

Change #2a - In-play zone now referred to as the battlefield. Probably a good idea. It's just going to take some getting used to, and I know I'll be inadvertently saying things like "comes into play" (as opposed to "enters the battlefield") for quite some time. But then, that's true of all the terminology changes.
Change #2b - You cast spells again instead of playing them. The term "play" is now reserved only for playing lands and playing cards that might be either a spell or a land. Wizards is cleaning up the muddle surrounding "play" and that's good stuff. Now if they could only tackle counters...
Change #2c - RFG (removed-from-game) now referred to as exile. This is the one change that I'm really enthusiastic about. I taught several people Magic during Time Spiral block, and the removed-from-the-game aspect was really hard to explain. Exile is so much easier, and so much more flavorful. And I love that it's also a verb, just like bury used to be.
Change #2d - "At end of turn" changed to "At the beginning of the end step." This change should have been made a while ago. I'm kinda miffed that you can still pull Rootwalla shenanigans, but not terribly. At least they're easier to understand now.

Change #3a - Mana pools empty at the ends of both phases and steps now (as opposed to just phases). I was wrong about this one before and am glad the update has changed that. Here's when mana pools empty now:

Untap Step
Upkeep Step
Draw Step
First Main Phase
Combat Phase
* Beginning of combat step
* Declare attackers step
* Declare blockers step
* Combat damage step
* End of combat step
(They might empty again for the end of the combat phase. I'm not sure about that one.)
Second Main Phase
End Step

Change #3b - No more manaburn. I can understand why they would get rid of it, but that doesn't mean I like the change. No longer will I be able to use mana to burn, as Valleymaker (or Bustling Port) let me do. I remember games where my opponents have manaburned themselves to avoid Hidetsugu's Second Rite. I remember games where I manaburned myself to manipulate convalescent care. I remember a deck Benny made that used manaburn in conjunction with Children of Korlis, Deathrender, and Enduring Renewal to gain infinite life. But that's all those are - memories. Goodbye, manaburn. You will be missed.

Change #4 - Tokens are now owned by the player under whose control they entered the battlefield. I didn't know there were unintuitive tricks in the old system, but there were and they're gone now. This is a good change.

Change #5 - Combat damage no longer uses the stack. This is the big one. I can't make a list of memories like I did with manaburn because the list would be too damn long. I'm so bewildered by the immensity of this change that I'm probably just going to accept it. All but one part. I despise the new way assigning chump-blocks works. Here's a situation:

I attack with a Hill Giant(3/3). You block with Llanowar Sentinel(2/3) and Windborn Muse(2/3). That's how I order them. Under the new system, I have to assign lethal damage to your Sentinel (and thus no damage to your Muse.) Damage is assigned and resolves, killing my Giant and your Sentinel. Muse takes no damage.

What if I had pyroclasm in my hand? I can't split the damage and then pyroclasm to take out both your creatures.
What if I had Mephidross Vampire in play and the extra +1/+1 counter would have won me the game or at the very least saved my Giant's life?
What if you had a Hissing Iguanar?
What if you had a Mortivore?
What if I knew you had an Avatar of Woe in hand and there were eight creatures in the graveyard already?
What if I wanted to play Avatar of Might and killing one of your creatures would leave you with an excess of only three?
What if your creatures were Zubera, or Sojourners, or one of the literally hundreds of creatures in Magic that care about being put into a graveyard from the battlefield?
What if I was already losing and just wanted to die in the most spectacular way possible?

The reason isn't important. What is important is that you can no longer split damage among blockers unless you are dealing lethal to all or all but one of them. And that pisses me off.

Change #6 - Deathtouch is now a static ability. There goes a card idea. It was a 1/1 and it had deathtouch three times. It was stupid, and I'm not too upset to see it go. The damage splitting is not a problem with deathtouch, but a problem with the new combat damage system.

Change #7 - Lifelink is now a static ability. Good. This was one of the most irritating things to the new players I taught. When they have a creature with lifelink, they expect it to actually gain them life before they die.

I do not intend to go back through the archives of this site and errata all the cards, but I am going to do that for all my cards in Magic Set Editor and would suggest that other ABW contributors (i.e. Nameless One and Shore Snapper) do the same. Starting next Monday, all ABW cards will be made in accordance with Magic 2010 rules. Even change #5.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Card of the Day - Hellfire Battalion

There are creatures that have flying. I do not understand these creatures! They are difficult to hit with normal attacks of hellfire because they are not on the ground. Why is this so? Sometimes I catch and kill these creatures when they have stopped flying. I ask them who is the flying one now but it is not any of us because they are dead. My jaws are very strong!

Original Art

Monday, June 8, 2009

Card of the Day - The Stalkersworn

Nightstalkers do not have swampwalk. I do not understand this! If they stalk in the night they must stalk also in the swamp. It is what makes sense! When I make a nightstalker it will have this ability. If you have both a nightstalker and a The Stalkersworn in play your The Stalkersworn will be not as much of a less powerful creature. I have been told that haste is good but I do not understand this. What is the rush for attacking on the first turn? It is just able to be blocked. However The Stalkersworn cannot be given islandwalk or another also more powerful ability because it would become broken.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Card of the Day- Nightzone

Hey readers! It's me, Nameless One! I have taken over the blog!

Nah, just kidding, I'm just on the team now. Here's my first card: Nightzone.

It's quite useful in a mono-black deck where you're running a lot of non-basic lands that produce colorless mana when you need black mana. For example, in my zombie deck, I'd put night counters on my Unholy Grottos for when I don't need to bring stuff back.

Awright, that's it for today. See you guys around!

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Card of the Day - Thoughtpurge

As requested in the comments for Hermitage, although I made a few changes. Couldn't use the name "Purge" as that's already taken. I upped the cost and made it multicolor because this is a seriously powerful effect. I also threw in the "nonbasic" clause so that it doesn't rip all your opponent's basic lands out. Perhaps I should have made it simply "nonland" instead. Either way, it's an incredibly powerful card.

EDIT: Turns out this card has already been printed. It's called Haunting Echoes. It does the same thing, but only costs [3][B][B]

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Card of the Day - Hermitage

Anyone remember Hermit's Hovel? I do, but not fondly. Didn't like the name, and only sorta liked the art. So I've updated it.

Come to think of it, didn't like the set symbol either, but that got fixed a while back.

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Land Friday

Never enough fervor.

Original Art

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Card of the Day - Liguri Skyknight

One of these days, I should put fervor on a creature that has a tap ability. One of these days.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Card of the Day - Darkskull Tactician

The Darkskull ogres make really shitty citadels. I mean wow.

Also, IMPORTANT ANCIENT BYZANTINE WISDOM NEWS: I would like to introduce the newest member of the ABW team, so please give a warm welcome to Shore Snapper! After his stunning debut yesterday, he's going to be dormant for a little while. Don't worry, though. He'll be back next week, hosting Card of the Day Monday through Friday.

The excitement is almost too much.

Original Art

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Attention, People of Earth


Card of the Day - Darkheart Shade

It's possible that the tribute to dark heart of the woods and darkheart sliver is flawed because the sacrifice ability doesn't gain you three life. However, you can gain three life from it, and tying the life gained to the power of the creature makes for a more interesting (if perhaps less powerful) card.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Card of the Day - Wearer of Forms and Changeling Blade

Don't worry, oblation fan. You'll get there eventually.

Meld could never work as a keyword. It's incredibly complex. Keeping track of abilities gained cannot appear on too many cards in a set, or at any rarity other than rare (or mythic). Besides, meld is pretty much exclusively a blue ability. To be a keyword, meld has to be vague, using phrases like "permanent that shares a card type." This means that it cannot, in its current form, even be used as a one-of ability on a rare card in a set. However, this version can:

Whenever a creature comes into play, CARDNAME becomes a copy of that creature and gains this ability.

So why don't I use that for meld? Because meld is too riddled with problems for me to put that much effort into fixing it. Because it doesn't work with legendary permanents. And because of this:

What do you do when your creature is equipped with something that suddenly stops being an equipment? Or is enchanted with something that suddenly stops being an aura? I have no idea. Changeling Blade has to keep its old abilities, so it needs the wordy version of meld.

All meld cards are essentially the same. The only thing that varies is their card type. Meld is a cool idea, but a flawed and narrow mechanic. We won't be spending a second day on it.

Original Art - Wearer of Forms
Original Art - Changeling Blade