CASUAL FRIDAYS #103: Come To Minnesota, Enjoy Casual Odyssey Cards, Bounce Inside Of Snoopy

With Grand Prix Minneapolis coming next week, some advice on sights to see, and thoughts on rumored cards.

With the last big IBC event taking place next week here in the Twin Cities, I’m looking forward to meeting as many readers and colleagues as want to come up and introduce themselves to me. (You have to figure out what I look like, though…That’s the fun part. And no, I won’t have my dog with me.)

Those of you wondering what you can do during off-hours may find the following guide helpful. This makes for great fodder for my column, as I’m still not quite mentally ready to talk purely about Magic. But to slowly ease back into this column’s regular topic, I will be interspersing thoughts on rumored Odyssey cards throughout this article. These thoughts are based on the most recent spoiler on mtgnews.com. I try hard to use the conditional tense, since Wizards won’t officially tell folks if the spoiler is real or not until tomorrow. But mtgnews.com is typically seen as reliable; so it’s worth one or two musings on a few probable cards.


Site #1: The Mall Of America

Growing up on Cape Cod, I know the value of a good tourist attraction or two. And for several decent (but no outstanding) reasons, The Mall of America qualifies out here in Minnesota.

It’s big, you can buy stuff, you’ll walk a lot, etc. But beyond all that, there are three things I recommend checking out at the Mall. First, the Wizards of the Coast store, if you’ve never been to one, is rather well-done (and you can burn plenty of hours on the computer games there, too). Second, there’s a big Lego area that you can go to and build lots of stuff and tell that really pushy three-year-old girl hey don’t take that blue one that’s mine lego my lego dude oh yeah you want some well here you go hey officer what are you doing…

Um. And third, you can go to the amusement park, which is all indoors and rather ample for any kind of carnival-styled entertainment you want (water ride, roller coaster, bumper cars, games of chance you can’t possibly win, make-you-vomit rides, big inflatable Snoopy but I think we’re all too big for that too, dammit… (We are – The Ferrett, who checked) And a bunch of other stuff).

There are bars, too. They card like demons, so don’t get cute. There are also curfew provisions for anyone under sixteen, I think; but most of the crowd at a Grand Prix won’t have to worry about that.

If you don’t have a car, there are buses, and shuttles, and maybe even helicopters or magical brooms. Ask your hotel concierge; they’ll hook you up with whatever’s available. I’ll give driving directions to anyone who comes up and asks. And if you give me an Odyssey rare, no matter how awful, I will tell you where best to park to get to that Lego area I mentioned above. (I’ll tell you anyway, but don’t you want to give me your bad rares?)

Speaking of bad rares…

Battle of Wits (rare)



At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have 200 or more cards in your library, you win the game.

I have already had two friends ask me if I had anything to do with this unconfirmed card. Folks, this is not the way my mind works. When I feel like I’ve influenced Mark Rosewater, I’ll let you all know. Meantime, go talk to the man with the Question Mark.

This would get banned in 5 color, right? (It already is – The Ferrett) I don’t know what they use for criteria over there on the 5 color board of directo-dudes; but winning the game based on a condition of the format is probably a no-no. (After all, should there be a Type II-legal card that says,”If you have 48 or more cards in your library, you win”?) And serious Pros won’t touch it, in any format. So why on earth would this card exist?

Like I said, go talk to the man with the Question Mark.

No, I will not do a Break this Card contest on this, whether or not it exists.


Site #2: Nicollet Mall And Skyway

Closer to the tournament site than the Mall of America – you walk out of the hotel, you’re pretty much there – Nicollet Mall is the part of Nicollet Avenue that goes through downtown Minneapolis.

There are lots of dinner bars with outside eating areas (might still be warm enough), little interesting shops, etc. It’s also easy to access the skyway from several storefronts here; and the skyway is great if it’s raining or cold.

The further north you go, the seedier it gets. Chad Ellis, you have been warned.

Balancing Act (rare)



Each player chooses a number of permanents he or she controls equal to the number of permanents controlled by the player who controls the fewest, then sacrifices the rest. Each player discards cards from his or her hand the same way.

If true, this would be the new version of Balance. And Balance-based decks, or at least decks built on that philosophy, are rather popular in group play. So expect to see a lot of this card.

Note that it would leave total flexibility to each player as to what type of permanent(s) they lose. This can be both good and bad for the controller.

Yes, I’m choosing spoiler card titles with that have a sly segue from what I just said. How clever of you to notice!


Site #3: The Metrodome

On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings have a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I don’t know what ticket availability will be, but finding out is worth walking seven or eight blocks Sunday afternoon if you’ve scrubbed out and don’t feel like playing any more Magic. This is a division rivalry, and these teams always battle hard against each other.

The Metrodome itself is not exactly full of ambience… But they’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands before I’ll vote for a new stadium.

Buried Alive (uncommon)



Search your library for up to three creature cards and put them into your graveyard. Then shuffle your library.

There are many more impressive black cards on the spoiler; but I just wanted to say that if they did reprint this card, it will be kind of cool. The card is well-costed, has an interesting effect, and can be used in a bunch of different ways. It’s just neat.


Site #4: Minnesota Children’s Theater

There are more adult attractions out there; but you’ll all naturally gravitate toward those. For something fun, how about a performance of Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Don’t let all the six-year-olds fool you; it’s okay for you to enjoy it, as well. Saturday and Sunday performances; call for details. Easy driving distance (long walking distance) from downtown. 2400 Third Ave South, (612) 874-0400.

They even have a pit orchestra!

Kamahl, Pit Fighter (rare)


Creature – Barbarian Legend


T: Kamahl, Pit Fighter deals 3 damage to target creature or player.


Of course we all know this one is true; Wizards released info on this a while ago. What a beast! Shame that Zap wrecks him.

I’ll be looking to buttress Kamahl with white-splash damage redirection cards like Captain’s Maneuver and Kor Chant, or give it protection from red with Cho-Manno’s Blessing.


Site #5: A Bunch Of Leaves And Grass

It’s not that I’m running out of sites here in Minnesota – there really are plenty of things to do to fill a weekend schedule! – it’s just that this is a good place to point out that the leaves are starting to turn, and next to Vermont and western North Carolina, the most beautiful place I’ve been during autumn is the St. Croix River, which separates Minnesota from the barbarians in Wisconsin. (They haven’t figured out how bridges work; to Wisconsiners, such technology seems spooky.)

Best bet, if you have a car and the time, is Afton State Park, not far from my home. (No need to swing by; we’ll have the doors locked and curtains drawn.) Park address and phone is 6959 Peller Ave South, Hastings, MN 55033 (651) 436-5391. It’s about 20 miles southeast of the Twin Cities, and not too far off of Route 94. Maybe it’s a good place to relax on your way home.

New Frontiers (rare)



Each player may search his or her library for up to X basic land cards and put them into play tapped. Then each player who searched his or her library this way shuffles it.

The new Veteran Explorer, now in sorcery flavor! Something like this would be nice, and is even helpful to folks who want to continue playing Invasion cards. No complaints here.

That should get you started. Enjoy yourselves while you’re here, and welcome to Venturaland! Next week… Reader mail on all things Magic.


Anthony Alongi

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