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.