Card of the Day - October, 2006

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Card of the Day - Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Skirk Alarmist

Legions rare. Red has had haste since The Dark but those early haste creatures were usually just attackers as opposed to utility creatures. As time went on, however, R&D experimented more and more with putting haste on creatures with tap abilities as well to allow haste to have other strategic uses. It's no secret Mark Rosewater loves the design of Sneak Attack, so it's probably no surprise that this guy's playtest name was "Sneak Attacker".
Card of the Day - Monday, October 30, 2006

Rayne, Academy Chancellor

Urza's Destiny rare. From time to time the designers will have a card they like that doesn't end up getting much attention from the public, so they try to find some other way to make the effect more interesting. The idea behind Rayne was to take the effect from Reparations and make it more powerful by tying into the block's enchantment subtheme.
Card of the Day - Friday, October 27, 2006

Coal Stoker

Time Spiral common. Coal Stoker began as a nostalgic reference to Priest of Gix, and as such originally generated Red ManaRed ManaRed ManaRed Mana when it came into play. As expected that turned out too powerful, so the card was scaled back to Red ManaRed ManaRed Mana instead. That change also made it something of a reference to Coal Golem, which was taken into account when the card went through concepting by the creative team.
Card of the Day - Thursday, October 26, 2006

Verdant Embrace

Time Spiral rare. Urza's Saga featured a set of creature enchantments called the "make me" cycle by R&D, because each enchantment made the creature into something more like an iconic creature of that color, such as Serra's Embrace (Serra Angel) or Shiv's Embrace (Shivan Dragon). In retrospect, R&D felt like they'd let the green member of the cycle down, so Time Spiral was a great chance to take another shot, creating the Verdant Force "make me" enchantment.
Card of the Day - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sage of Epityr

Time Spiral common. Sage of Epityr references two different cards from Magic's past. Its name comes from Tablet of Epityr, a card from Antiquities. ("Epityr" is a town in Dominaria's Karplusans, and contains the Temple of Serra.) The ability comes from Sage Owl, first printed in Weatherlight.
Card of the Day - Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fathom Seer

Time Spiral common. Most players realize this guy is a reference to Gush, but did you ever notice the gold in those bubbles and wonder what's going on? The card this art was originally intended for was actually a tweak on Dream Cache! The card was killed late in the process, so the art was used for Fathom Seer instead.
Card of the Day - Monday, October 23, 2006

Momentary Blink

Time Spiral common. Though a lot of players probably didn't realize it before the start of Pro Tour-Kobe, this card creates the unexpected ability to remove a token creature from the game but then have it return! (State based effects aren't checked while the token is removed from the game, so you actually get the token creature back.)
Card of the Day - Friday, October 20, 2006

Wheel of Fate

Time Spiral rare. A version of this card actually began its design life in the Guildpact design file. While the Time Spiral designers were trying to come up with a good red member of the no-casting cost suspend cycle, a card called "Izzet Wheel" turned out to be too good and got cut by Guildpact development. As soon as the Time Spiral team heard the card had been cut by Guildpact development, they snatched it up for their own set instead. Thanks to suspend, the card was finally able to see print.
Card of the Day - Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pull From Eternity

Time Spiral uncommon. The philosophy behind how to treat the removed from game zone has undergone a lot of debate in R&D over the years. Though the "RFG" zone originally started as a place to just put things actually removed from the game, such as Swords to Plowshares, the advent of other cards that interact with the zone, such as the Wish cycle from Judgment, changed it to a place from which cards could actually come back. Suddenly "removed from the game" didn't mean the card was necessarily gone from the game! The inspiration for this spell was pulling suspended cards into an opponent's graveyard before they could fire, but it was made much more interesting by applying it to nearly all RFG cards in a game. Whether cards like this open the RFG zone to too much interaction, or that the zone is simply the victim of an outdated name, still comes up for debate from time to time.
Card of the Day - Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Curse of the Cabal

Time Spiral rare. Called "Blessing of Braids" during design, the suspend side of this spell was designed as a reference to the popular Odyssey card Braids, Cabal Minion. The final name was chosen as a hint toward the black legend.
Card of the Day - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Errant Ephemeron

Time Spiral common. A 4/4 flier for common is a very rare occurrence. Not counting Fog Elemental (which is basically a one-shot creature), the only other two printed so far are Illusionary Forces (Ice Age) and Breezekeeper (Visions).
Card of the Day - Monday, October 16, 2006

Nantuko Shaman

Time Spiral common. This is the only card where the suspend cost (2 ManaGreen ManaGreen Mana) is higher than the card's mana cost (2 ManaGreen Mana). (Cards like Ancestral Vision don't count, since they don't have a mana cost.) It's a twist on the normal suspend idea, as it's an average-costed creature but offers an additional benefit in return for suspending it instead.
Card of the Day - Friday, October 13, 2006

Assembly-Worker

Time Spiral uncommon. Normally modern cards don't use hyphens in card names this way, and in this case the hyphen is even grammatically incorrect. Despite that, the card name was allowed anyway so that it could match exactly with the oracle text of Mishra's Factory, which can become an Assembly-Worker. Why the hyphen there? So the card doesn't create separate creature types "Assembly" and "Worker". (We're looking at you Hazezon Tamar!)
Card of the Day - Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pendelhaven Elder

Time Spiral uncommon. This card is actually part of a three-card cycle of Pendelhaven references, spread across rarity. The common, Thrill of the Hunt, is a little more subtle, but veterans will get tipped off by the giveaway +1/+2 bonus, while the "rare" of the cycle is actually Pendelhaven itself. During playtesting, this card was called "Wendelmaven of Pendelhaven".
Card of the Day - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ironclaw Buzzardiers

Time Spiral common. In Magic's past Orcs were often printed as cowards, with drawbacks that kept them from blocking anything that could kill them off. Though that kind of flavor doesn't get quite as much print these days, for Time Spiral it was decided that if you're going to bring back Orcs it's more fun if you bring the whole package along. (Not that that's the only thing Orcs can do, as Orcish Librarian is quick to point out, around mouthfuls of book and/or paste.)
Card of the Day - Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Paradox Haze

Time Spiral uncommon. Whether it was parallel evolution are inspiration that waited in the back of some designer's mind, the idea behind this card was actually first offered up as part of a You Make The Card poll (see You Make The Card 2 - Step 5, Mechanic H). A different mechanic got more votes so this one had to wait, but it's probably for the best given we may be coming up on one of the most interesting times ever for exploring extra upkeep steps.
Card of the Day - Monday, October 09, 2006

Icatian Crier

Time Spiral common. Though it may not be obvious at first glance, each of the set's common spellshapers are actually "casting" spells from the game's past. Whereas almost all of Time Spiral's nostalgic references are to spells from before the game's card frame change, two slipped in which refer to more recent cards: Icatian Crier is casting Raise the Alarm from Mirrodin, and Bonesplitter Sliver also references a card from that set. During playtesting, this card was called "Raise the Alarmist".
Card of the Day - Friday, October 06, 2006

Lord of Atlantis

Time Spiral Timeshifted card. When Goblin King, Elvish Champion and Lord of the Undead were reprinted in Ninth Edition, they were given a new template that allowed them to share the same creature types as their followers. By getting reprinted as part of Time Spiral's "timeshifted" cards, Lord of Atlantis was able to get in on the change as well!
Card of the Day - Thursday, October 05, 2006

Gemstone Mine

Time Spiral Timeshifted card. Tempest was the first design team for Mark Rosewater and Mike Elliott, and was the first design set for Richard Garfield since Arabian Nights. Given how prolific those three designers would turn out to be, it's no surprise that Tempest ended up with way more cards and mechanics than it could use. Gemstone Mine got moved from Tempest to fill a hole in Weatherlight. Echo and cycling were two other Tempest ingredients then ended up in other sets instead.
Card of the Day - Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Vhati il-Dal

Time Spiral Timeshifted card. The second part of Vhati's name, "il-Dal", indicates that he is out of favor with the Dal. This naming convention shows up on many Tempest-era cards, where "il" shows someone out of favor (like Drifter il-Dal), and "en" shows someone in favor (such as Chieftain en-Dal). And, it doesn't have to be just the Dal, as Paladin en-Vec, Mage il-Vec, Looter il-Kor, and Warrior en-Kor would point out.
Card of the Day - Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Avalanche Riders

Time Spiral Timeshifted card. Created by Darwin Kastle, this was the first card created by a winner of the Magic Invitational (then called The Duelist Invitational). Including the player's face in the art hadn't been thought of originally, but by coincidence Mark Rosewater was the person in charge of the art descriptions for cards in Urza's Legacy. So, when he realized the card would have a prominent figure, he came up with the idea of including the winner's face in the art. Since then, all Magic Invitational winners have had their likeness worked into their cards.
Card of the Day - Monday, October 02, 2006

Spitting Slug

Time Spiral Timeshifted card. "Slug" is a rare, older creature type that had been phased out with Mirrodin's Molder Slug, which was printed as a beast. Since then the creature type has made a comeback, appearing on Thermopod, Rocket-Powered Turbo Slug, and now the reprint of Spitting Slug with the original creature type. All told, five creatures have slug in their name. (The last one not mentioned yet is actually the game's first slug, Giant Slug from Legends.) Slug-lovers have R&D member and slug fan Mike Turian to thank for getting this one onto the timeshifted list for Time Spiral.
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