Cardsmith Blog

CCC: Hidden Treasures

We're excited to continue Coast to Coast Casual (CCC), a blog series written by East2West, published on MTG Cardsmith.

Howdy folks and happy November! On this, the month of caring and sharing feels with your friends and family, I wanted to take some time to talk about my favorite designs. (Both official and unofficial). I've spent the last few weeks trawling my cards as well as the pages of Cardsmith for a total of nine lesser known cards that really inspire me in my own design space. I'm glad to present to you dear reader, my nine favorite lesser known designs in Magic.

First up let's start with the five cards printed by Wizards themselves before moving on to the four taken from the site.

Archangel's Light

This often overlooked and hated on Mythic was the centerpiece of a draft deck I made that, despite going 2-2, is one of my favorite draft decks ever. The goal was to use Mirror-Mad Phantasm to dump as much of your deck into the grave as possible, then use Archangel's Light to gain a massive amount of life to stall out the game. This plan only came to fruition once, and it was beautiful. Archangel's Light is, objectively, a terrible card. It costs 8 and unless you jump through a lot of hoops, the life it gains you will be pretty easily taken away. The reason it's here is because it's a great example of a tinker card, a total Johnny's paradise. These are the kind of cards I like to make cards that dare you to build around them in crazy and new ways! When most people look at Archangel's Light they see a totally worthless mana sink. When I look at it, I see 60+ life.

Cosi's Trickster

Cosi's Trickster may be the second most known card on this list. For those of you unfamiliar with it please take a second to just absorb what the card says. Done? Cool. So Cosi's Trickster is exactly the kind of cards that spark my fire. It cares about a part of the game that next to other cards really care about. There are really only 40ish cards that interact with shuffling outside of searching libraries and shuffling things into them. Of those 40 cards there really aren't any others that do quite what Cosi's Trickster does. The card as a whole represents what seems to me like an archetype that Wizards decided to never really finish. We see cards like Psychic Surgery and Psychogenic Probe that would support a shuffles type deck, yet it never really came together. I love Cosi's Trickster because it looks you dead in the eye and says "Do it, build what was never meant to happen." And damn if that isn't cool!

Hunger of the Nim

This card represents something important to the crafting of a card, ambiguity of effects. What I mean by that is, looking at Hunger of the Nim, it doesn't seem like a black card. It pumps a creature, that's mainly a green effect. Then it cares about artifacts, that's a blue or red thing. It's effect doesn't match the conventional ideas of the color, yet it fits perfectly for a couple reasons. A card like Lightning Helix combines white and red to do something that is normally black, Hunger of the Nim is kind of the opposite. It takes something that black does on occasion, pumping, and combines it with something that isn't strictly nonblack, artifacts matter. This creates an effect that's very unique yet not out of place. Nowadays, I think Hunger of the Nim could be shifted into red very easily but it still remains a great example of how to bend colors without breaking them.

Dark Temper

Remember I was just talking about cards that bend colors? Well how about a kill spell in red. Dark Temper is so unexpected, I've gotten so many surprise kills with this in EDH. Imagine playing Rakdos and having all your black mana tapped, your opponent thinks it's safe to swing in. Suddenly you tap three mana and boom, their big beater just got vanquished. If you play any commander that involves black permanents and red mana I cannot recommend this card enough. The design here is so original, there's not really anything else like it. Cards like this keep your opponents guessing and the game as a whole interesting.

Seed Time

Color pie? Never heard of her. Seedtime spits in the face of everything you hold dear as a magic player. Ever wanted to cast Time Walk in a mono green commander deck? Well now you can! Seedtime has everything I love about Dark Temper but cranked all the way to eleven. In multiplayer formats it's common to be countering spells, cantripping, or casting any number of blue instant effects on others turns. Seedtime lets you have a super interesting counterplay in a color that, unless they expect you to have the card, doesn't really have tricky effects like this. Seedtime is another amazing example of how to break the color pie in interesting ways that don't make the game any less fun or interesting. Seedtime is a gem I think every smith out there can look too as an inspiration.

 

The criteria I followed when picking the cards from Cardsmith is that they had to have less than five favorites. Some of my favorite designs on the site are cards that have well over 20 or even 40 favorites, that means we're all pretty much aware of them at this point. Instead of showing off cards you'd all be familiar with, I want to take this time to present for you cards that I think are just as interesting but don't get quite the love they deserve.

White Witch of the Black Forest by LadyBlackJack

Let's start off with a small entree. White Witch of the Black Forest is a legendary creature created by LadyBlackJack, a smith who only ever made 11 cards and who hasn't created anything since almost a year ago. At first glance WWBF isn't anything revolutionary, it's basically Kykar, Wind's Fury with some slightly different effects. However, I want to point out. WWBF was made on November 28th of 2018. Core Set 2020, the set Kykar was printed in, came out in July of 2019. On top of this WWBF's second and third abilities are, to me, as interesting if not more interesting than Kykar's. I would love to print out a WWBF and sleeve up an Esper Crowslinger/Aristocrats deck. (I don't know if the crow tokens would be errata'd to bird but really either way I'm happy.) So please, so the WWBF some well deserved love.

Tune of Ages by Baron-777

This card is so flavorful and so perfectly green! The mechanic Upturn creates a very interesting economy with this card's cost. If you were to activate the Upturn ability the turn you play this, you'd get the colorless mana you spent to play Tune of Ages back, making this effectively a Giant Growth. However it's the choice to save it that makes me love this card. Something that Magic players love is choice and Tune of Ages gives you one of the most interesting choices I've seen on a card. It lets you do so much yet doesn't feel broken. It's a wonderful example of how to give a player choices without making an inherently complicated or broken card.

Snatching Youth by TenebrisNemo

This card is like a sort of proto-Gingerbrute. Snatching Youth does something elegantly that it's very easy to screw up and that's complicating the rules. Magic's rules are complicated, making new categories and mechanics can sometimes serve to just make everything harder to understand and slow down play. Snatching youth however, makes a new category that's so easy to remember. When you think "What keyword mechanics would be considered fast?" haste, first strike, and double strike are the first that come to mind. The card itself too doesn't abuse it's abilities and even has reminder text for what constitutes a fast creature. There's not really anything here that isn't a great example of how to make a complicated new category/mechanic without confusing the player.

Behead by Lastjustice

I wish they would actually print Behead. Planeswalkers are a pain the butt to remove and play against and having redundancy for Dreadbore/Hero's Downfall in decks would be a welcome addition. The reason I love Behead is because it's simple, it doesn't feel a need to fill it's text box. It's straight to the point, realistic, and something that player's would rejoice to see printed. There's not much else to say on the matter, Behead is a great reference on how to make a simple and believable design.

That's all for this month, if you have any lesser known cards (Printed or smithed) that inspire you let me know in the comments below. You can fine me on twitter @East2Westmtg. And as always this has been East2west with CCC, I'll see you guys on the battlefield.

Nov 17, 2019 by East2West
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Get Ready To Feast... Again!

The Return of the Feast of the Month Club


Some of you may remember the very first Feast of the Month Club way back in 2017, and some of you may not have been around for it... well as you may have already surmised... It's Back!!


Feast of the Month

November and Feasts go hand in hand, and now with the introduction of Food Tokens, we thought this was the perfect time to bring back the Feast of the Month Club!

Show us your best NEW "Feast" cards and you just might find that card as a FEATURED CARD!

The Return of the Return of the Return of the 404 Contest

Deep down inside, you knew it was coming... and now it's back... again!

The Return of the Return of the Return of the Feast of the Month Club!

Featured Cardsmiths

We love to feature some of our Cardsmiths who have been around for a good amount of time, and Blazin_Biscuit is just that! This featured Cardsmith has cards dating back to 2016 and is still crafting custom cards to this day! If you want to see some fantastic cards, check out Blazin_Biscuit's catalog of custom cards... just ignore those EVIL Bidoof cards if you don't mind!

sajaya666 aka Fallen_Lord_Vulganos, is the current Circuit Challenge winner. He loves to enter forum Challenges almost as much as he loves developing characters in forum Sagas. We've selected a few cards for you to look at, but you're always invited to check out more of sanjaya666's cards!

Each month we're excited to highlight just a couple of Cardsmiths that have helped make MTGCardsmith the best interactive online Card Creator. We hope you'll take some time to check out their creations!

Nov 03, 2019 by Corwinnn, & Tomigon
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CCC: Interplanar Lifestyle

We're excited to continue Coast to Coast Casual (CCC), a blog series written by East2West, published on MTG Cardsmith.

When you sit down to play Magic you become an all powerful ultra being whose powers surpass that of the gods! If you wielded the powers a deck of Magic cards give you, I'd be surprised if there was a problem or monster you couldn't beat. That's the thing though, you don't have those powers (or at least you do but hey, what do I know). So let's say for a minute that you weren't born here on Earth, but instead somewhere out there in the multiverse. You're not a planeswalker, you're not a great legendary hero. As far as anyone's concerned you're barely a Citizen token. What plane would be best to live on for your average magical Joe? That's what I aim to answer today.

Real quick before we start, the planes we'll look at today will only be the ones visited explicitly in sets, sorry Kaldheim. I'll also be dividing single planes into separate entities based on any transformations the may have undergone, so Mirrodin and New Phyrexia will be ranked as seperate places. Planes will be ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 with those rankings meaning the following.

  1. NO! DO NOT LIVE HERE!
  2. Mmmmmmaybe keep looking
  3. Hey this place ain't half bad!
  4. Now we're getting somewhere.
  5. Prime real estate baby!

With that out of the way, let's get down to business!

Dominaria - 3

Oh Dominaria, so close yet so far. For all intensive purposes Dominaria actually seems like a nice place to live. There are enough cities and heroes to keep an average person safe from the planes natural dangers, it's natural resources are plentiful, and the whole plane is currently experiencing a great period of relative peace and growth. Here's the thing though, Dominaria never really stays simple here. Every couple years there's another disaster that threatens all life. Whether it's the Phyrexians, another Ice Age, or even time rifts there's always something just waiting around the corner to ruin your otherwise perfect life. Overall not the worst option but only a place you should consider if you're prepared to face the consequences.

Rabiah - 2

Technically Rabiah was visited so, by my own rules, I do have to go over it. Rabiah is one of those planes where even though it's been explored in a set, there's not really much to go on. The bad news is that what little there is points to it sucking as a potential home. Most of the plane is a vast and deadly desert that features randomly appearing rifts to other worlds. There's also a plane directly connected to Rabia known as Dark Rabiah that is referred to as, and I quote, "As evil a place as even Phyrexia." THAT IS A MASSIVE RED FLAG!!!! It's not all bad, but trust me, there's much better out there.

Ulgrotha - 2

Another of the planes that was technically visited, Ulgrotha has almost the opposite problem that Rabiah does. Where for Rabia we had very little lore, Ulgrotha actually has a large amount of it, only problem being that most of it points to the whole place kinda sucking. As of the last time we saw Ulgrotha it was controlled by Baron Sengir and his legions of vampire soldiers. As a human with tasty blood this should be a massive deterrent to moving there. If becoming nothing more than a glorified gusher wasn't bad enough, the plane has only had two planar visitors in recent history (I use the world recent lightly here) and those visitors happened to be Leshrac and Nicol Bolas, y'know, only two of the most evil beings to ever exist.

Phyrexia and New Phyrexia - 1

Are you stupid? Don't go here.

Shandalar - 2

When I first started looking at the lore of Shandalar I was all for this place to be at least a 4, I thought most of the bad stuff was in the past. Plus the abundance of mana here means even a citizen like you and I could learn to use magic easily. My hopes were high, that is, until I saw the word that changed everything. Slivers. There are Slivers on Shandalar, if you don't know what those are look them up. Those goddamn things will make your life miserable (and probably short). On top of the Slivers this plane is also the origin of the Chain Veil, so you bet there are more cursed as hell things just laying around for an unsuspecting townsfolk (you) to pick up. Oh, and the real deal breaker is that there's an extremely prevalent demon cult that is big on human sacrifice.

Mercadia - 4

Unless a lot has changed since we last saw Mercadia, it just might be the best place for your average person to settle down.The whole plane used to be rife with war, assassins, and interplanar tomfoolery. Good news is, when last we saw it, the corrupt government was overthrown and all was looking up! Mercadia is home to a truly fabulous array of places to live from the city life of Mercadia City to the rustic port of Rishada, there's a little something for everyone. Also it's got one of the coolest creation myths ever, it's a whole thing about this awesome magic robot dragon, look it up sometime.

Mirrodin - 2

Mirrodin isn't a bad place per say but I've had the same question ever since I saw the place, what the hell do they eat? Seriously, all the animals and plants are metal to some extent so what are the humans even able to eat? All I'm aware of is something called Gelfruit and let's face it, that's not the most appetizing name. Other than that, the main problem I see with Mirrodin is that there's not really a safe human civilization anywhere on the plane. The Vulshok have those metal bits shooting out, unless you have those too I'm like 80% sure they'll attack you on sight. The Sylvok seem alright but you're pretty much forced into their druidic religion. The Moriok will probably eat you, and if they don't the gas that surrounds where they live will literally rot your brain. The Neurok are slaves but also way smarter than you so unless you want to get strung out on Blinkmoth Serum they're out. And finally the Auriok, these guys are actually your best bet, they're more willing to accept outsiders and make peace with them, the only issue is that they're nomadic as hell. If you're not willing to pack light and move constantly, this is not the place for you.

Kamigawa - 4

Now we're getting somewhere! When we last saw Kamigawa it's main threats, the violent spirits, were quelled and the war that ravaged the plane had ended! That means the only thing you'd ever have to worry about are the occasional ogre, demon, or spiteful spirit! To be fair, we haven't seem Kamigawa in such a long time that I'm genuinely unsure if it remains as safe a place as I think it is. If things are back to being similar to pre war Kamigawa, this place rules! Everything has some sort of spirit that, with some convincing or offerings, will totally help you out! There's a great education system to enter (The Minamo School) where even an average person can learn to be a great caster. Kamigawa seems pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

Ravnica - 3

I feel like this might be the most controversial ranking but bear with me here. On Ravnica odds are you wouldn't be in a guild or, if you were, you wouldn't be a high ranking member. No matter what guild it is the lower ranking people kinda get shafted. In the Izzet they get blown up, in the Orzhov they're slaves, in the Boros they're basically squires, etc. The other option though, being guildless, also sucks. We've seen from the cards that reference guildless people that they're lives are constant fear of getting sucked into guild conflicts, whether they like it or not. Comparatively it's fine, definitely not the worst world, but I would keep looking.

Lorwyn - 1

You're a human, most races on this plane are pretty xenophobic so good luck not getting killed or enslaved.

Shadowmoor - 1

Same as Lorwyn but with the added worry of being not just killed or enslaved, but likely eaten. Alara - 2

Back when the shards were separated, this would've been an easy 4, just stick to Bant and you'd be fine, but now since they've been brought back together it's down to a 2. The general citizenry of every other shard except Bant has a horrible life and now there's a war going on so you can bet you'd be drafted into it since Bant society sees warfare as an honorable act. If you were on Grixis you'd be killed then frankensteined, on Jund you'd be eaten, on Naya you'd be sacrificed or eaten, and on Esper you'd get straight up roboticized. There goes the neighborhood.

Zendikar - 3

I want to rank Zendikar higher actually since it seems pretty nice now, we'll have to wait for Zendikar Rising to get a more accurate number here. As of now however Zendikar seems totally liveable. The main threat, the Eldrazi, have been more or less taken care of, the whole plane seems to have come to a sort of peace since they were all equally devastated by the war and are all helping each other rebuild. Normally this would be a straight up 4 if not for the honestly staggering likelihood that the Eldrazi will come back again. I mean I don't want them too, and I'm sure it won't be on the same scale, but they will probably be back soon enough.

Innistrad - 1

Remember, you come to this plane as you are now, that means you're a tasty snack to 90% of this world's population. Sure, Emrakul's gone and so are most of the demons, but you still have to worry about zombies, cannibals, werewolves, vampires, or one of the hundreds of other monsters looking to take a bite out of you. Don't move to Innistrad unless you've got a deathwish.

Fiora - 5

Okay so we actually don't know too much about Fiora but from what we do know, it seems pretty sweet for your average commoner. All the fights are kept to the upper class and political spectrum. As long as you don't run afoul of the wrong politician you'll be fine. In fact, more than fine. The laws are magically binding meaning it's harder to break them, if you don't want to live in the city there are plenty of smaller (safer) towns, and the wilderness is almost completely unexplored so there's a way to fame and fortune ready for you if you're bold enough. Fiora has my vote.

Theros - 5

We are just pumping out the fives! Theros has some of, if not the, safest settlements for you to live in. Both Setessa and Meletis are both shown to have thriving academic culture and a military that doesn't use a draft system. You could so easily fly under the radar of the gods and monsters and just become a philosopher or teacher. Given there's the constant threat of someone doing something to piss off someone and then you're whole city's just gone, but hey that's not so bad considering some of the other choices! I believe that you could not only survive on Theros, but thrive. Just stay out of the spotlight though.

Tarkir (Khans Era) - 4

Tarkir during the reign of the khans wasn't too bad. If you were in any clan except the Mardu or the Sultai your life was pretty sweet. The Temur just chilled in the mountains unless they needed to come down, the Jeskai also chilled in their monasteries, and the Abzan had sweet strongholds where the civilian populace could live out their peaceful lives. The main problem here is that no matter what clan you were in, there was a constant threat of all out war with the others, that's pretty bad if you're just trying to get by in life.

Tarkir (Dragons Era) - 1

Hey kids, can you spell SACRIFICED TO A DRAGON???? All of the dragonlords are kinda dinguses. Silumgar sees humans as pathetic little slaves, Atarka and Kologhan see us as yum yum tasty snacks. Sure Ojutai is sorta down with them, but he's a historical revisionist in the worst way (also he killed like, a lot of people). Dromoka also took a thriving culture that respected their ancestors and said "Nah" torchin their sacred place and killing off all it's practitioners. These are tyrants my dude, baaad place to live.

Kaladesh - 5

DING DING DING, bigggg winner over her folks. Kaladesh was a sick place to live for the average joe before the rebellion and it just got better. Sure the consulate sucked before the rebellion but they pretty much just restricted inventors. If you were just like, an accountant, or something you'd be totally fine. And now, after the Consulate got thwacked, life's even better since all this sweet new tech will definitely be making life way easier and way cooler. Two thumbs up for Kaladesh baby!

Amonkhet - 1

This plane empty, YEET!

Ixalan - 3

Ixalan has potential, I'm not sure how things are outside of the factions we've seen but I'm sure there's a place for you. Only problem though is that the factions we know of kinda suck for the normal citizen. Sure the Merfolk and Sun Empire won't really impact your day to day, but the pirates and vampires might. Pirates suck if you're just trying to make your living trading or sailing and the Dusk Legion, for all that they try, still drink the occasional citizen. It's just an okay place to settle down, certainly not somewhere I'd try.

Kylem - 5

We don't know much about the general day to day for a citizen of Kylem (the setting of Battlebond) but we do know that the tournament is specifically nonlethal meaning I doubt the culture is very violent. From what we see it's a fun place to live with constant entertainment and people streaming in from all planes! You'd get to meet people from every other place in the Multiverse, all from the comfort of the stands as you watch a grand sporting event. That sounds pretty sweet to me. Kylem is definitely a plane I wouldn't mind making my home.

Eldraine - 4

Our most recent addition comes in swinging to our list, beating out some classic planes. On Eldraine the five courts have a general peace and the danger is mostly found in the wilds. There are plenty of small towns to settle down in and just spend your days, no adventure and no death. There are two reasons Eldraine isn't a 5 though, the main one being the ever present fear of being unknowingly sucked into a fairy tale. Witches and Warlocks would be totally happy to torment a small time yokel like you. The other, less present, reason is disease. I know it's a world of magic and all but it's still the middle ages, I highly doubt the doctors are that good.

There you have it folks. The East to West travel agency certified rankings for every visited plane. If you think I missed one or want to tell me where you'd like to live, leave a comment. I can also be reached on twitter @East2Westmtg. As always this has been East2west with CCC, I'll see you guys on the battlefield.


East2West is an aspiring writer from NJ currently seeking fame and fortune on the internet. She's been playing Magic since Zendikar block (the original one) and is a commander player with one deck for each two color pair and one for each single color. The only non EDH deck she plays is her own personal Pauper brew, Pauper Eggs. Follow her on her newly created and probably soon to be underused twitter @East2WestMTG.

Oct 09, 2019 by East2West
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Darkness Ascending



October is finally upon us! Traditionally, this is the one month of the year that we celebrate all things scary, and we're not looking to upset the rotten apple cart any time soon! This October we're looking for your scariest black creatures that can return from the graveyard to the battlefield or your hand! Show us why no one should ever walk the cemetery at night!


Featured Cardsmiths




Tommia has been around MTGCardsmith for quite some time, You may know him as JBYT_LoadedTommy, JBYT_EarthRealm or one of a myriad of other Aliases he has used over the years. Currently Tommia is the mastermind behind his Stitia Saga on our Forums. If you get time, go check it out, along with these cards by Tommia that we thought you'd like to see!





shadow123 is our second Featured Cardsmith for October. shadow123 started his Cardsmith career making bunny cards and has since become a respected member of the Cardsmith community, whose cards we always look forward to seeing! We hope you'll take some time and check out some of the cards this Pacific Northwestern Cardsmith has crafted, a few of which we submit here for your viewing pleasure.



Each month we're excited to highlight just a couple of Cardsmiths that have helped make MTGCardsmith the best interactive online Card Creator. We hope you'll take some time to check out their creations!

Oct 01, 2019 by Corwinnn, & Tomigon
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CCC: Impact

We're excited to continue Coast to Coast Casual (CCC), a blog series written by East2West, published on MTG Cardsmith.

Despite it's fantastical origins and settings, Magic can have a massive impact on our world. This can come through the bonds we make by playing with other, inspiration striking from the flavor or ability of a card, or even the ways we take the lessons we learn in the game out into the real world. This month I'd like to share with you the six(ish) cards that have had the greatest impact on my life, whether it be the Magic part or the rest.

As a quick honorable mention there's a card that I wouldn't say "impacted" me as much as it has glomped itself into my collection with excessive force. This card is Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp or more specifically the draft weekend promo of Zahid. See in my hometown there's a hobby shop with an owner who stopped really giving a damn quite a long time ago. He noticed that no one was taking the promos of Zahid and so he decided to just throw out a sizeable stack of them. I happened to be there at the time and asked if instead, I could have them. From this I got maybe, 15-30 of them. After that, however a different game store in New York allowed me a similar deal. I currently have a total of 62 and I'm always looking for more.

With that out of the way onto the actual list.

Number six: Arcane Savant (Foil)

So if you're a veteran reader then you might remember I did an article on cubes a while back. Something I didn't mention in it was why I wanted to build a cube in the first place, and that is where Arcane Savant comes into play. I love Conspiracy and it's sequel, they were and still are some of my favorite sets to draft. Through my rampant drafting of Conspiracy: Take the Crown I was rewarded with a foil Arcane Savant. If you haven't seen a "draft matters" card in foil I highly recommend finding one, they're beautiful. Thing is, Arcane Savant is only good in a draft, it's stats kind of suck otherwise. So, now armed with a cool card to put into a cube, I began down the path that has led my current cube (Which I'm quite fond of.)

Number five: Stoneforge Mystic/Mother of Runes.

To explain the tie here, let me take you on a trip to the summer of 2016 (I think, it might've been 2017). I was attending a sleepaway summer camp in New Hampshire and it was rife with Magic players. Some were super new, having learned at the camp that year. Others however towered above the casual likes of myself in strategy and deck skills. From this rank of players came one of the best people I've ever met, a judge named Seth. This guy is the kindest person I've met and is 900% one of the main reasons I still play to this day. During that summer I had with me a collection of kitchen table decks, nothing great but nothing terrible. Seth however was packing heat in the form of a legacy Death and Taxes list. My goal that summer was to somehow beat his deck with one of mine! So of course I got my ass handed to me in every game, but he was never rude about it. Seth showed me that losing isn't a bad thing and he taught me to be courteous whether I won or lost. So the two cards I remember losing too the most, Stoneforge and Mother of Runes, hold a special and equal place in my history.

Number four: Japanese Jace/Chandra

Another tie, but this one might make more sense to those in the know. See before there was a scramble to get the japanese alternate art cards from War of the Spark, there was a japanese duel deck that had similar alternate arts. Japanese Jace vs Chandra. Currently the full duel decks will run you $90 and just the two walkers will run you $42. I love anime so for obvious reasons, they had to be mine. I picked up the Jace at my first ever GP (back when they were called that) from a guy who I definitely over traded to get it. Sadly though, he didn't have the Chandra and that seemed to be the general thing. The Chandra is the more wanted of the pair and costs almost double what the Jace did, I legitimately though I'd only ever have one half of the set. Fast forward to christmas, my friend group had decided to do a secret santa. The whole thing was really sweet, everyone was given a gift unique to the friendship between the giver and themself. A friend of mine named Rock was also a Magic player and had been there at the beginning of my quest so when he pulled my name, he knew what he had to do. I happy cried for almost the rest of the day, thanks to him the set was completed.

Number three: Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind

Ah, get ready for another callback. In the over a year old article about Tiny Leaders I mentioned my Niv-Mizzet commander deck but I never really explained the story behind it, and there is a story. See I first learned how to play Magic from a neighbor of mine who was an avid player but has since moved on to other things (He's in med school). Along with him some of the other older kids on the blocked played it, one of them was this total jerkwad who scammed me out of all my good cards early on in my Magic career. I actually saw him at a Battlebond event when that came out and I learned that he hadn't changed at all. But this isn't about him, it's about the one good thing he ever made happen. One day, when he wasn't really paying attention, I managed to trade him for a small stack of legendary creatures. This was amazing to me, these were special, I could feel it. Thing is though, as time went on, most of them turned out to be completely unplayable. Except for one, Niv-Mizzet. The minute I learned that Commander was a thing I sleeved up my favorited dragon and got to playing. Ever since I've self identified pretty hard as a Blue and Red player (Splashing Black on occasion) and all of the decks and fun I've had through that stems from a jerky teen scammer and a single card I snuck out under his nose.

Number two: Lorthos, the Tidemaker

Okay, last callback I promise. In my first article ever, the Kitchen Table one, I made a deck around Lorthos but I didn't mention why that deck was my first idea. Flashback to 2009, I was just coming down from a really high fever, a fever that had kept me from my yearly atttendance at New York Comic Con. My Dad and my sister had gone without me, at this point in time they knew I had a passing interest in Magic so when they saw the free decks you used to be able to get at the Wizards booth, they grabbed me one. That deck, the Unstable Terrain deck, meant so much to me. I knew the bare minimum about the game, just what the neighbors had taught me, but I had heard tell of booster packs. I made my way down to my LGS with the money I had been saving for NYCC and forked it over for a stack of five boosters. I took them over to the neighbor's house (the one who's in med school) and there, in his living room, I opened the first of many packs to come. I forget most of what it contained but the two cards I remember were a Hedron Crab (Pointed out to me by the neighbor as "busted") and of course Lorthos. In the history of Magic Lorthos has never cost more than two dollars, he's never been played in a competitive deck, and for a guy named Lorthos he's barely in the Magic story. However that same Lorthos I opened that day will forever be one of, if not the, most treasured Magic card I own. (And I do still own him.) Genuinely if you were to offer me a Black Lotus for that Lorthos I would say no, because that beautiful octopus wrapped his tentacles around my heart and opened to doors to a game that has shaped me. Also I'd have a lot of questions about why you'd offer that deal.

Number one: Spire Golem

I know right, how in the hell did this weird common from Darksteel make number one over Lorthos? Well I've talked about how I got into Magic but never how it was introduced to me. Lorthos was the catalyst for my investment in the game but he wasn't what actually lit my fire. That card, weirdly, is Spire Golem. Let me explain. The year is 2008, a whole year before I cite my beginnings in the game. I'm a lot younger but some things were still the same. My whole life I'd loved fantasy, the real world was cool and all but dragons, cyborgs, and superheroes were what occupied my mind. The scene is a 4th of July party, hosted by the same neighbor I've been mentioning this whole article. I had already played with all the other kids outside to the point where I almost puked and the adults were all chatting like boring adults. It was then that I heard loud yelling from their basement, I decided to investigate. What I found was better than upstairs but still boring to me, all the teens had gathered to play video games. There weren't enough controllers for me but I did see something in the corner, a large plastic box labeled Magic. I asked if I could go through it and was given the go ahead. I opened the dusty black top and found a jumbled sea of colorful cardboard. I went through stack by stack, reading every line, taking in every gorgeous piece of art until I'd gone through the whole box. I had set aside my favorite one, the one thatI thought had the coolest words. I asked if I could keep it, he said no and I was crushed, but I will always remember that card. Of course, that was Spire Golem. Without Spire Golem, there would be no CCC. I would never have had instant common ground with Seth, my interest in game design may never have been realized, and many of my friend group would probably look much different.

That concludes this edition of CCC. If you take anything away from this I hope it's that one card, one action, one person can make a massive difference in someone's life. If you have any cards that impacted you I'd love to hear about them in the comments below or wherever you may find me. As always this has been East2west with CCC, I'll see you guys on the battlefield.


East2West is an aspiring writer from NJ currently seeking fame and fortune on the internet. She's been playing Magic since Zendikar block (the original one) and is a commander player with one deck for each two color pair and one for each single color. The only non EDH deck she plays is her own personal Pauper brew, Pauper Eggs. Follow her on her newly created and probably soon to be underused twitter @East2WestMTG.

Sep 10, 2019 by East2West
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