ost (Voice Over): Two hundred and eighty-five cards joined together to partake in the greatest reality show the multiverse of Dominia has ever seen. The goal of the game is simple. Each card starts in the first edition of the game. The card that stays continuously in the base set the longest wins. With twelve years, nine editions and thousands of potential replacement cards, the game is just getting interesting.
Host (VO): It began innocently enough twelve years ago as two hundred and eighty five cards came together to make trading card game history. But as all the cards would learn, no one was safe. Not even as the game began.
Circle of Protection: Black
: Most of the cards showed up the night before the show began. So a bunch of us decided to go hit some of the local bars. This is where I met Vi (Volcanic Island). She had this smoldering sexuality you seldom see in a dual land, yet she seemed quite smart. I was instantly smitten.
: I'm not the kind of dual land that dates Circles. Don't get me wrong. I like enchantments, but normally I'm much more likely to hook up with an Oriflamme or something Phantasmal. I don't know what it was about Black, but he seemed like the kind of card that wouldn't be afraid to stand up to Lord of the Pit.
Circle of Protection: Black
: So one thing led to another and the next thing I know the sun's up. Fine, I should have set an alarm. But whatever. It wasn't like no one knew we were coming. There are four other circles and nine other dual lands. Someone would obviously speak up, right?
Circle of Protection: Red
: Last I see, Black's leaving the bar with a dual land. Come on, a dual land? They can't even commit to a color. So I yell to Black not to be late. Too bad I wasn't a Circle of Protection: Profanity.
: So the event is a minute from starting and I realize that Vi hasn't shown up. I tried telling other cards, but to be honest back in those days no one really paid much attention to me.
Circle of Protection: Black
: We show up four minutes late and the producers tell us their hands are tied. That's why we we're not in Alpha. They couldn't hold the show for four stupid minutes. Four minutes! How is white supposed to deal with black? I guess wait for Beta.
: Yeah, it hurt to be the first ones out. Tundra teased me about it for years. Like he could even get a date.
Host (VO): Within the first minute, two hundred and eighty five was cut to two hundred and eighty three. After the early controversy with the missing cards, the cards of Alpha settled down for what all expected to be a long ordeal.
: Fine, I'll go on record. Right now, I am promising victory. That's right, day two and I'm promising to win the whole thing. You know why? Because no one stops a Raging River. Okay, maybe a bunch of industrious beavers. But I don't see any beavers here. What, is Twiddle going to stop me? I don't think so.
: I think the realistic cards understand that this is going to be a lengthy fight. That's where a little thing called versatility comes into play. You want to stay in the game, you gotta get into decks. And the way I see it, the more decks the better.
: Man, all the power cards are puffing up their chests. This isn't a game of power. This is about persistence. You want to stay in the game? You can't be seen as a threat. You have to be low power. Like me. Draw three cards? Pfft. How about get three mana? That's not going to scare anyone.
Forest: I want to know why basic lands can't play. I'll take anyone on.
“UNLIMITED” (AKA SECOND EDITION)
Host (VO): The game's first big twist came as the game entered its second base set.
: So we were all awaiting for the results of the first jury. And I'll admit I was nervous. I knew it was just a matter of time before R&D figured out that I wasn't supposed to be printed. But then came the shocker. R&D voted to not knock off anyone? We were all going to make it to the next set. Which was quite a relief because with a set named “Unlimited” you know it's going to be around a while.
Plateau: It's funny how the media has to find something to write about. While R&D was voting, I spilled something on my art. I realize that it's hard to tell with a Drew Tucker piece, but I've always been a little self-conscious about my appearance. I chalk it up to my white half. So, I change my art. But then nothing happens so the media treats my art swap like a little girl fell down a deep well.
: The alliances started almost immediately. The first thing I did was get together with Mesa Pegasus. I've picked my horse.
: Even in the first round, diplomacy is proving invaluable. You just have to know when to take control.
: The competition really makes you look at yourself. Which personally isn't very easy to do, if you know what I mean?
“REVISED” (AKA THIRD EDITION)
Host (VO): While R&D proved kind during the second edition, the third edition ended up much bloodier as thirty-three cards were voted out of the game.
: Oh my goodness! Power cards seemed like they were dropping over left and right. I don't even know how I'm still here. I am in Third, right?
: As anyone who watches the show knows, the powerful players are always the first to leave. But this was a great experience and I met a lot of cards. I'll always think fondly of this game. I hope one of the boons is able to win. If power continues to be the factor it appears to be, my money's on Healing Salve. He's not scaring anyone.
: I'm a mystifier? That's %$#$&^! What's so hard to understand? Yeah, yeah, Oracle had to come up with that stupid “east” “west” thing, but it's not that hard. It's not like I'm Illusionary Mask or anything.
Host (VO): R&D chose to cut cards in three major areas. First was power. Second was confusion. And third was a grouping of cards that they said they planned to return someday.
: I'll be back. I don't know how long it will take, but one day you'll crack open a pack and I'll be there.
Blaze of Glory
: A little anti-climatic. I'd always expected to leave in . . . well, you know.
: I was already dead, so not a big deal.
: What the… Yeah, I'm real dangerous. Ooh, look at me, I'm winning the game in twenty turns provided whoever plays me bothers to put in some life gain.
: Who are you talking to? There's no one here.
Host (VO): One card that wasn't cut found the entire situation quite humorous.
: You'd think that being banned or restricted might make people see you as too powerful. Maybe we've been kicked out of the game (as in banned) for a reason. Perhaps reprinting us is just a bad idea. But no. My theory is that R&D is afraid of us. Bring it on, I say. Bring it on!
Host (VO): The cards learned that R&D was treating this game very seriously and the axe was only going to get sharper. In all, thirty-nine cards had their torches snuffed, leaving two hundred and eleven cards in the game. As to the R&D selection process, several things seemed clear.
: It was pretty clear from early on that an ante card wasn't going to win this game. The way we've been treated over the last year, you'd forget we were part of Garfield's “original vision.” It's not a good environment to be an ante card. I've heard the stories of cards being ripped in half when they're cracked open in a pack. It's not even like I'm a threat. Contract from Below? Okay, he's a little nutty with power. Come on, can you even imagine a format that doesn't ban him? Or at least restrict him? He'd just dominate the entire format. But that would never happen. Me, on the other hand? When's the last time I won a game? When have I dominated a format? Heck, when has someone last put me in a deck? I'm not a threat.
: I honestly didn't see it coming. Us dual lands are about as popular as cards come. You open one of us and you high five the guy sitting closest to you. I don't get it. Okay, I'd admit we're on the good side, but what's so wrong about diversifying mana? When did that become a crime?
: Oh, I know who put my name down. I was a little too threatening to the "rules". I gave someone a little too much job security. But this isn't the last you'll see of us shapeshifters. Just remember that you seldom see us coming.
: I knew it was just a matter of time. They've been cracking down on a lot of the cards that mess with mana.
: I don't get why everyone is so scared. I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm not that good. Yeah, I seem good when you drop me early with a Mishra's Workshop but guess what? I'm the sane part of that combo. So yeah, I'm upset. If one more wall cracks a joke about it, I might just lose it.
: If R&D had just given me a little time, I think I would have had a better chance. I tend to grow on people.
: I don't get it. I'm not a threat. I prevent damage for goodness sake.
: Let's just say shock wasn't one of the emotions they entered my mind when I heard the news.
: Oh, I'll be back. Death is never really the end.
: I actually asked R&D to vote me out.
Host (VO): Several of the remaining cards also had a few thoughts.
: Hello. R&D, is anyone home? The DCI thinks I'm very scary.
: R&D's afraid of us, I'm telling you.
: We're banned. People can't play us in tournaments. I see that as sort of a clue.
: You just don't mess with the dark magic that is the Mind Twist.
: I'm part of a two-card first-turn kill. For three mana.
: You guys need to chill out. Enjoy the ride. We're just “innocent” little cards.
: You may not have been banned yet, but you're worse than Mind Twist. You're Mind Twist, Wrath of God and Armageddon all rolled up into one.
Host (VO): The game's intensity went up another notch as Fifth Edition brought twice the eliminations of Fourth Edition. Sixty cards fell victim to R&D's latest tribal meeting. One hundred and fifty one cards remained.
: Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.
: The official word was that I was cut for power reasons. I'm the most iconic creature in the game and I'm given the axe because I'm over the curve. While at the same time, R&D puts in Necropotence. Necropotence! I'm too powerful? How many Pro Tours have I won? Wait, how many Pro Tours have I shown up in? In decks with winning records? Yeah, a little less than Necro.
: Put Necro in and take me out. Nice move R&D.
: Yeah I'm a bit surprised. Who didn't enjoy seeing a cycle of super narrow rare cards? You do realize that my effect doesn't end of the end of the turn. It didn't really make that clear in my text box. When I make a card white, it stays white. You know, unless it leaves the game and comes back. But other than that, it's white, baby. And that can matter. I was cool with Martyr's Cry. I mean, I got you a card. To replace me. Okay, maybe I wasn't the best card, but “bad” cards have a place too. Don't they? Don't they?
: Yeah, yeah they claim it was power level, but I know the truth. I was just stealing too many cards. Not in game. Outside of games. You think you need to be an ante card to gain possession of another card permanently?
: Gee, I'm out and Flight's still in. Couldn't have seen that coming. I tried explaining that I'm an instant and that I had surprise on my side, but even I didn't believe that. I guess I knew this was coming. I was thinking of getting some cantrip work done and then reapplying. That would be good, right?
Swords to Plowshares
: Ironic, huh? Guess it's time for me to go farming.
: I guess it was a little easier with the whole gang going. I'll miss the game. I really did enjoy the protection racket.
: Well, another boon hits the dust. I guess it's time to move on. I'm sure I'll find some work in some of the older formats. Three to the head is always fun. D.R., G.G., H.S. – I wish you guys the best of luck. And I really think Healing Salve can win the whole thing. In some ways, H.S. has almost been my foil. But I'm sure hoping he pulls it out.
Host (VO): As usual, the remaining cards had a few words.
: It's interesting to see how this whole game is playing out. I think simplicity and utility are the key. You have to do something interesting but fundamental. I'm a modest card, but I do feel that I have the qualities that should take me far in this game.
: I've spent the last few sets jockeying for position. I've tried uncommon, but my gut tells me common is the place to hang out.
: The game as I see it is to basically stay in R&D's blind spot. What I mean by that is avoid being too powerful or too weak and you can coast from set to set. That's my strategy, anyway. If R&D never focuses on me, I'm golden.
: You know why I'm still in this game. Because I'm an average bear. I'm not smarter than the average bear. I am the average bear. With no rules text. That's important. The more R&D has to read the worse off you are. I don't know whether I'm going to win or not but I do believe its going to be a vanilla creature. I was surprised though to see Gray Ogre go. He seemed to be the poster child for a three mana 2/2. Oh well. If one vanilla 2/2 gets to stay, I guess I'd rather it be me.
: Sure I've made sacrifices to be here. I mean yeah, there's nights that I think about my pentagram. But you know what? I want to win and if I have to give up an ambiguously dark symbol to do so, when then that's what I gotta do.
: I have no clue what I'm doing. So far it's worked out well.
Host (VO): Many cards felt that R&D would have to eventually let up on their mad cutting frenzy. Little did they know that R&D was just getting warmed up. Seventy-two cards were cut at tribal council leaving just seventy-nine vying for the role of last survivor.
: When I came to play the game, I promised myself just one thing. That I'd play the game with banding. And I feel I did, so I don't feel any shame in the fact that my love for banding is what got me thrown out. If loving banding is wrong, then I don't want to be right.
: You know, back in the early days, I was something. Players clamored to get their hands on me. I can't explain it other than to say that obviously they recognized something deep within. Something deep enough that shallow R&D couldn't find it.
: This game is all about numbers. My mistake was to think that I could play it alone.
: I don't know what happened. I'm seemed golden for a while. I was Wizards' unspoken spokescreature. I guess one day someone must have actually looked at my stats and just realized I sucked. Big time. Oh well.
: I was fine until tribal council when Jeff kept asking me about why I fight. I mean I can explain why a plague spreads or why a field burns, but I told him not to ask me why I fight. I told him.
Helm of Chatzuk
: The major reason I'm shocked to get removed is that I didn't think any one in R&D remembered what I did.
: I feel I played a good game, but if one more person jokes about how I had it coming to me, or says “Oh, what irony” I'm going to deck them, I swear.
: I honestly understand removing banding from the game. I see why protection needs to leave the base set. But trample? Come on. They get it. I'm big, I trample over the little guy. This blows.
Lord of the Pit
: I guess in retrospect, eating my allies wasn't the best game decision.
Host (VO): The cards that made the cut had a few interesting observations as well.
: The goal of this game is to be invisible. If no one thinks about you, you've won half the battle.
: Sometimes I stop to wonder if anyone notices that I'm a fiery horse on a black card.
Glasses of Urza
: I can see the writing on the wall. I am a pair of glasses, after all. It's not like I didn't notice Telepathy when it came out. I noticed. I understand my time is coming to an end.
: The real power is what I refer to as “grandfather power”. Yeah, my abilities aren't all that green. But I was made at a time that it didn't matter so much. And now my age and my fame is warping design around me. If I existed in the old days then green by definition has grandfathered in that effect.
: You… win…some…; You… lose… some.
Host (VO): As the numbers dwindled, R&D started pulling back on the cuts. This round saw only nineteen cards packing their bags.
: I see my name isn't on the list (the one to stay in the set). So, of course, I assume there's a mistake. I'm Armageddon, baby! But then I got the bombshell: R&D thinks I'm “too far over the line”.
: As I'm being escorted out of the game, I look around. I had assumed the other lords would be joining me. But no. I'm all alone. Turns out that it's not lords that suck, it's just me. Ga'Ark isn't going to be pleased.
: I wish Lure all the luck in the world. We teamed up early in the game and he's never let me down.
: The day I first laid my eyes on Dark Banishing, I knew he'd be trouble. He made it obvious that he wanted my spot.
: Yeah I'm pissed. “Tokens aren't appropriate for the base set.” Poppycock! I was an early fan favorite and I deserve better than this kind of behavior.
: I'm not at all surprised. I knew going in I was one of the best cards. And hey, you destroy a lot of creatures, you start drawing attention to yourself.
: You haven't seen the last of me.
: Well, three down, two to go. G.G., I'll save a seat for you.
Host (VO): As always, a few survivors wanted to pass along a message of their own.
: When you play me, everyone wins. What's not to like about that?
: If you asked anyone back in the early days, you know during my short stint on the restricted list, if they thought I'd make it this far, they'd have laughed in your face. But I've made it. I don't know if I'm going to win this whole thing, but just getting this far is quite an accomplishment.
Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
: I like to contribute my success to my long name. The way I see it, whenever R&D thinks about booting me, they lose interest somewhere around ”Pearl”.
: There really is nothing to fear but me. I'm taking all of you down.
: The game's definitely notching itself up. No one's feeling carefree anymore. R&D has proven they'll cut just about anyone. You know, except the base stuff like Disenchant and Counterspell.
Host (VO): Just when everyone was finally settling into the game R&D proved once again that you never know what to expect. Twenty more cards were cut leaving just forty cards in the game.
: I'm speechless. I don't know what else to say.
: They got me. R&D got me. I didn't see it coming. I mean in retrospect, maybe Naturalize should have been a hint. But I didn't have a clue. Good game, R&D.
Howl from Beyond
: This last round was brutal. Everyone saw R&D messing with the power curve. But the color pie? I mean one day you go to sleep and you're a black ability. Then you wake up and you're red. It's disconcerting to say the least.
Lord of Atlantis
: I don't like playing the race card, but it's just got to be said. R&D has some issues with merfolk. You know why I'm going home? Because I have gills, plain and simple. You don't see the Goblin King gathering up his belongings. Oh, no. Goblins fit right in. But just live underwater and suddenly you're not appropriate for land based fighting.
Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
: Lord, it's okay.
Lord of Atlantis
: No, it's not. This has to be said. What they're doing to the merfolk is disgraceful. Disgraceful! You don't see this kind of attitude towards the elves or the zombies. This doesn't end here.
Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
: He's a little upset.
: Man, I thought iconic imagery was important. I'm a castle. What's more iconic to fantasy than a castle? Yeah, yeah enchantments aren't supposed to be tangible objects, but come on. You couldn't make an exception for a castle?
: Game over, I guess. Uh no, I don't have anything else to say.
: So they read my name and I'm like “what?”. I figured there has to be a mistake. I mean really. I'm Tim. Tim! So then the psychologist has to sit me down and explain that direct damage isn't blue. And I'm like, uh, Pirate Ship, Mawcor, Rootwater Hunter . . . seems blue to me. Then she's like. “Not any more. You have to learn to accept that.” Damn, I was sure I was going to win this thing.
: I think I was undone by my alliance with Hurricane. I always knew direct damage in green, especially to the player, had some long term issues. Yet, I never backed away when people grouped us together. I'm sure R&D felt a n eed to pull Hurricane and felt like if he went I had to go.
: I really thought I'd snuck under the radar. But then I go before all the other lucky charms. I don't get it.
: Of course it hurts to lose, but the worse part was that it wasn't R&D that took me out. My own players did it. What kind of hypnotic charm does that stupid bird have?
Host (VO): The remaining cards had quite a bit to say.
Birds of Paradise
: “Mess with the bird and get BOPped.”
: Me win! Me win! Me lord of lords!
Wrath of God
: Everyone keeps thinking that I'm the next to go. But I'm still here baby. Cause you don't mess with the Wrath of God.
: I don't die. That's what I do.
: I think things are going to start getting serious.
Host (VO): And that brings us to Ninth Edition. R&D has continued their unrelenting pace, taking out sixteen more cards. This leaves only twenty-four cards to take home the ultimate prize.
: I guess the lucky charms' luck finally ran out.
: I was sure I was going to win. At least among the boons. I'm damage prevention. You don't get much weaker than that. Giant Growth has seen tournament play. I barely get played in sealed. Ironically, I was undone by being modal. “No common modal spells.” That's what they said. Congrats GG.
: I've always reveled in the destruction of others. It's interesting to finally see the other side.
Wall of Air
: Well, it's nice to know I made it as far as any of the walls. Stupid defender.
: I didn't see it coming. I mean, who doesn't like drawing cards? Good luck to everyone else. I hope an artifact wins.
Host (VO): We're going to end today by giving each of the remaining cards a chance to talk.
: The other elementals have come and go, but I'm still here. And I plan to be here until the very end.
: Landwalkers are sneaky by nature. No one's going to notice when I walk away with the victory.
Circle of Protection: Red
: I did it. I'm the last Circle standing.
Circle of Protection: Black
: I was four minutes late!
: There's twenty-three players left to discard.
: Still here. Try to kill me.
: There's nothing to fear but me.
: I'm just happy to make it to being an aura. Make sure to check in “Latest Developments” this week where a special guest author will tell you everything you wanted to know about auras but were afraid to ask.
: Keep your eye on me. I know a little something about surprise.
: I'm good at stopping my opponents. In game, out of game; doesn't matter.
: I'm a goblin! I'm a goblin!
: Vanilla to the end!
: Everyone likes drawing the cards. Keep me around and I'll keep doing it.
: I don't know why no one ever notices I'm out of flavor. But I don't care. Top twenty-four!
: I understand a little something about pain. That means I'm willing to do what it takes to win.
: Slow and easy wins the race.
: I keep coming back. Surprised?
Rod of Ruin
: To be honest, I don't k now why I'm still here. But I am.
: With Healing Salve gone, I think I can take damage prevention the distance.
: I'm the poster child for “under the radar”.
: The secret to my game is to suck early. But no so much that no one will play you. If I had cost , I'd have been gone many sets ago.
: The key to this game is being short and simple. Three words!
Stream of Life
: Last X spell standing!
: As long as enchantments keep getting printed, I think there's always hope.
Wrath of God
: As I said, you don't mess with the Wrath of God.
Host (VO): There you have it. One of these twenty-four cards is going to become our ultimate survivor. That's it for tonight's episode. Join us next time when we show why pictures are worth a thousand words. Until then, may your candidate win.