CASUAL FRIDAYS #124: Hall Of Fame Tour Guides: The Warriors

This Casual Fridays is packed

With limericks, both made up and fact

With a verse in each Hall

Can he finish ’em all

Before Alongi turns into a hack?

Two quick notes on green’s Hall of Fame last week.

First, Multani does not die to Wheel of Fortune or similar”mid-spell” effects. State-based effects are not checked until a player receives priority. Thanks to the readers who wrote in to remind me of this. I learned the incorrect interpretation from an old-school player I don’t even play with anymore; and I never bothered to double-check it. (Neither did I, but I was dying – The Ferrett) Presumably, Fifth Edition rules had things differently; but whether true or not, Multani withstands the storm. This makes Wheel of Fortune and Windfall good with Multani, not bad. Please build your decks accordingly.

Second, Natalie in Erie, Pennsylvania, where the scientists apparently run rampant, took issue with my disclaimer that plankton was a plant that I would use as an”animal element” for the Hall:

“Plankton is not a plant or an animal. It’s technically algae….

“They’re similar to plants since they do have chlorophyll, but they have enough differences that scientists put them in the catch-all, single-celled kingdom of Protista.”

On behalf of protista (protistae?) everywhere, Natalie, I thank you for upholding the integrity of this fine kingdom. Soon, no doubt, the royalty will bestow upon you a knighthood, just as soon as they figure out how to get their tiny, one-celled hands around a sword so they can lay it on your shoulder. (Please, Natalie, be careful. Make sure these algae are fully trained in the use of sharp ceremonial blades before accepting such honors. I don’t want to read in the Erie Examiner next week the headline, LOCAL TAXONOMIST DECAPITATED BY INEPT PARAMECIUM. Of course, paramecia probably aren’t in the Protista kingdom, but you can’t expect journalists to get all the facts straight. And really, do you expect the algae to take the fall for your murder – I mean, accidental death – at the hands of some random protozoan? Little known fact, folks: The algae don’t just control multiple food chains; they also control a chain of offshore bank accounts for Enron, and the media. You were just in the way of Dick Cheney and his unicellular Mafia, Natalie. Another statistic sacrificed in the pursuit of a selfish national energy policy that may or may not involve increased biomass energy production. Of course, the brutal politics of your local freshwater pond will not allow for a complete revelation of all the facts.)

This week’s Hall of Fame will go through gold cards (represented by Mad Scientists in the title, for their tendency to create explosive hybrids) and red cards (represented by Warriors in the title, for the tendency toward aggression).

For brief reference, here is what the”funky animal” parts mean:

Rattlesnake, for its ability to warn off opponents;

Gorilla, for its impact on an entire board;

Spider, for its ability to bait and surprise into card advantage;

Pigeon, for its feeding off of large groups of people; and

Plankton, for their general willingness to supply the entire animal kingdom with sustenance.

There once was a writer on Friday,

Poems were his spiritual bouquet,

Haiku was last week,

But now limericks we seek,

Will I use a”Nantucket”? Um…no way.


Goblin theme decks aside, you will probably see fewer mono-red decks in a given group than just about any color. Red’s erratic, slash-and-burn method gives it great advantage in duel… But in multiplayer, mono-red typically runs out of gas way too often. While suffering from black’s lack of enchantment removal, red doesn’t get as many options that black has for recurring removal, like Pestilence or Attrition. Red’s primary control mechanism? Land destruction, which ranks with discard and counter-control as one of the most difficult group strategies to pull off.

Add the fact that red’s spot removal is simply inferior to black’s (damage is more easily prevented than -x/-x effects), and you have a color that needs a splash nine times out of ten.

All that said, red has some outright terrifying cards, as well as some neatly subversive ones that belie the myth that red is all about”reckless abandon.” Odyssey and Torment add their share of cards… And there’s one fairly predictable newcomer that comes in very, very high.


2RR, 3/3 Creature. Kicker WW. When Desolation Giant comes into play, destroy all creatures you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all other creatures instead.

Rattlesnake: Very low

Gorilla: High

Spider: Medium-low

Pigeon: Medium-low

Plankton: Medium

“On the edge of the list” since it is not purely red, the Desolation Giant is still one of red’s few unconditional mass creature removal spells. You don’t have to take damage from an Earthquake, or watch all your lands swept away, or any of the other recklessness that comes from red. Plus, it’s one of red’s few solutions to pro-red creatures.

You lose any other creatures you control, of course; but if you’re splashing white, there are solutions to that problem…

There once was a giant who smashed,

‘Til he found that he stood as the last;

When in Parallax Wave

He seemed not to behave

But it did bring his friends back real fast.


2R Enchantment. Instants and abilities requiring an activation cost may not be played during combat.

Rattlesnake: Medium

Gorilla: Medium

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Medium-low

If memory serves, I had this in the very first edition of the Hall. It dropped off quickly, replaced by clearly superior cards. But it is interesting enough to include as the Hall continues to expand, and it can create some excellent situations for you.

Your own creatures should have continuous abilities like trample, or triggered abilities like the younger dragon legends. (That is a triggered, not activated, ability and will work.) You can also use sorceries before the combat phase, of course.

There once were a pair of young fops,

Who each thought that he was the tops.

One pulled out his gun,

The other Overrun,

Which Hand to Hand just never stops.

(Oh, yeah, this is way more fun than counting haiku syllables. What the hell were the Japanese thinking?!?!)


3R Instant. Untap target creature and gain control of it until end of turn. That creature gains haste.

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: Medium-low

Spider: High

Pigeon: Medium

Plankton: Low

Temporary Insanity makes the list as one of red’s real finesse tricks, which is unusual in this color. This card is stolen straight from blue’s Ray of Command, but haste always has a red flavor to it – so I suppose this makes sense.

Anyway, who’s arguing? You can have a chump blocker, or take out an incoming attacker, or even just steal something large and swing with it for fun. This is a card that many players of all stripes will overlook, but shouldn’t.

There once was a man who decided

His brain worked better when less guided

He crossed over the fence,

Announced new allegiance,

And into his shadow collided.


4R Sorcery. Each player sacrifices a land. Threshold: All players sacrifice all lands.

Similar cards: Tectonic Break, Raze, and multiple other land-swipe spells all fit under this entry.

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: High

Spider: Medium-low

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Low

Armageddon, now in the correct color! When we do white, you’ll see the stats much improved for a card that’s less expensive and more reliable.

I understand why Wizards underpowered this card – and I believe this is how Armageddon should have looked from the beginning (or something close to it) – but given the game’s history, it’s hard not to be disappointed with this card.

That said, if you’re in red and not in white, this is the card that may fit your land destruction scheme best. Use heavy self-discard including Gamble, Minotaur Explorer, and such; and don’t forget the madness cards. Get that graveyard filled up; and if you pull this off on turn seven or eight…Well, that’s about the time the green-white mage with Thorn Elemental would have gotten around to it, too.

There once was a card that was white

That caused everybody some fright.

Wizards made it red,

Threshold made it dead,

Now no one will play it all night.


3R Instant. This deals three damage to each attacking and each blocking creature.

Similar cards: Lava Storm does two to each attacking and blocking creature.

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: Medium-high

Spider: High

Pigeon: Medium

Plankton: Low

Don’t you love it when one of your opponents attacks another one of your opponents? If you do, you’ll love using this card on such occasions even more. If the creatures are large, wait until all combat damage is on the stack.

Forcing an attack with Bullwhip or Angel’s Trumpet may become necessary, once your group gets to know what you’re up to in a Warpath deck.

There once was an army abroad,

Whose field general was a fraud.

Every time they attacked,

Their numbers were hacked

By a Trap Runner with a great bod.


2R Sorcery. This deals three damage to each opponent.

Similar cards: Flame Rift does four to all players, including you.

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: Medium-low

Spider: Medium-low

Pigeon: High

Plankton: Medium-low

A fairly solid staple in many red multiplayer decks, Sizzle is a direct way of putting yourself ahead of the table in life. It can be dangerous to stick your neck out with two or three of these in a row; but the benefit for three mana (twelve damage across four opponents, eighteen across six) is hard to deny.

There once was a game that I played,

Where my teammates were truly afraid,

That I’d break out a Sizzle

That would turn out to fizzle

As Reflect Damage worked out in spades.


R Enchantment. Sacrifice this: This deals two damage to target creature or player.

Similar cards: Shock Troops is a 2/2 creature that acts like a Seal; Barbarian Lunatic is a cheaper 2/1 that takes mana to activate for the same effect. Cinder Elemental can also give instant-speed (and potentially much higher) damage for sacrifice. Pyromania from Torment represents damage that you can do any time, for a card, just like the Seal. Even Kamahl, Pit Fighter works along similar lines, since it often gets targeted for removal and forces your hand.

Rattlesnake: High

Gorilla: Medium-low

Spider: Medium-low

Pigeon: Medium

Plankton: Low

Cheap and beautiful, the Seal is almost always better than Shock, and typically better than Lightning Bolt, in multiplayer. This is the basic example of the”rattlesnake” factor. It’s solid in the early game, and gets amazing in the late game, especially in multiples, as your opponents look glumly from their life totals to the Seals you have on the board – and go attack someone else.

There once was a lonely red seal,

Who wanted greater sex appeal,

He took a short bath

In the Death Pits of Rath

And then landed Tsabo – what a steal!


2R Enchantment. At the end of each player’s turn, if that player didn’t play a spell that turn, this deals two damage to him or her.

Similar cards: Another spell”pacing” card is Impatience’s direct opposite, Spellshock.

Rattlesnake: Negative/reverse

Gorilla: High

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Medium

Plankton: Medium-high

One of the few lines I will use over and over again in past, present, and future editions of this Hall with a card: Be careful what you wish for!

If you want spells, you will get them: Rancor on an Endless Wurm, weenie after weenie in your general direction, sorceries and bounce that always seem to come at you, and so on. I’m not saying don’t play Impatience – I believe in strong cards with strong signals. But you had better be backing this up with some heated defense… Think of”high rattlesnake” cards that can perhaps offset the complete reverse signal sent by Impatience itself.

There once was a game that went on,

And just when I started to yawn,

A player lost patience

And broke up the defense

And found he was quite beat upon.


4RR, 4/4 Creature. Flying. 1R: This gets +2/+0 until end of turn. This can’t be blocked except by two or more creatures. It may block one additional creature.

Similar cards: This slot represents the anti-blocking instincts of red. The Dragon is a flying Goblin War Drums machine. Also similar, but a bit further afield: Invasion Plans, which lets attackers choose the blocking schemes; Bedlam, which disallows blocking altogether; and Demoralize, which is a one-off of either Goblin War Drums or Bedlam.

Rattlesnake: Medium

Gorilla: Medium-high

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Low

The red dragons are represented on this list by this champion, which looks better than just about any of its kin in a multiplayer game. How often, exactly, does your group see games where every player has two block-ready flyers? The Two-Headed Dragon is at least equal in threat size to a Penumbra Wurm, which got the same medium-high”gorilla” rating.

Of all the enhancements I’ve suggested for this card in the past, I think my favorite would be Yare, which would let it block four incoming creatures, probably kill them all, and still possibly survive.

There once was a dragon two-headed,

Who had some evasion embedded.

Don’t let it roam free,

Skip echo (2B),

And watch as that sucker gets shredded.


2R Sorcery. Each player discards his or her hand and draws seven cards.

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: Medium-high

Spider: Medium-high

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Medium-high

A victim of my more understated ranking scheme, Wheel of Fortune has a high impact on people’s hands, but virtually none on the board. It can be a nastier surprise or tastier treat than just about any other sorcery, since even veterans expect to keep what they have in their hand until they’re ready/able to play it.

Above all, Wheel of Fortune is a means to replenish your own hand. While you might decide to use it to flush other hands, it’s a risky strategy. And since Wheel of Fortune is restricted in Type I (and therefore in many casual play groups), it’s hard to depend on a card like this as a path to victory. But while we’re in restricted territory, spare a thought for Library of Alexandria, which works better when you’re back up to seven cards in hand.

There once was a mage with few cards,

His enemies had all nine yards,

He topdecked a Megrim,

Then went out on a limb

And sent all those held bombs his regards.


2RR Enchantment. Whenever a creature comes into play, this deals two damage to it.

Similar cards: Aether Sting penalizes a creature’s caster with one point of damage.

Rattlesnake: Medium-low

Gorilla: High

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Low

The more I see this card, and the more I see cards that can outmaneuver it (regenerators, pro-red, fat, etc.), the more conditional it seems to me. This used to be a top ten card in my book, I think. It will likely always be in the Hall; but like Impatience, it feels more comfortable down here.

There once was a weenie who said,

“I wish I was born a pro-red.

Because each time I enter

I need a burn center

To tend to my wounds – then I’m dead.”


3R Enchantment. R: Put a creature card from your hand into play. That creature gains haste. At the end of turn, sacrifice the creature.

Rattlesnake: Very high

Gorilla: Medium

Spider: Medium-low

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Low

The first card on red’s list to get a”very high” ranking in any animal element, Sneak Attack is a card that looks like it should have only one deck style, but in fact can be the centerpiece of a dozen or more different strategies.

Most often, it is used to bring out amazing fat – Devouring Colossus, Nicol Bolas, and so on – for single shots of heavy damage. It can also be used to support permanent board presence, when follow-up creatures like Llanowar Sentinels, Dracoplasm, or Phyrexian Dreadnought come out to replace whatever was going to be sacrificed anyway.

It’s also an Aluren-style resource for comes-into-play effects such as Bone Shredder and Crater Hellion. You can even see it as a defensive weapon, throwing out Radiant’s Dragoons to block a lonely attacker.

Speaking of white cards, if a creature brought out by sneak attack leaves the play zone, and then returns, it has no memory of how it first entered – and so it will not be sacrificed to Sneak Attack at end of turn. Think Parallax Wave and Liberate. (217.5c”Whenever a card enters the in-play zone, it’s considered a brand-new permanent and has no relationship to any previous permanent represented by the same card”… I normally don’t quote rules, but after the Multani error last week I’m being extra careful!)

There once was a card for 3R

That worked like a fat cookie jar,

With colossus-chip treats,

And phoenix repeats,

And an elder legend chocolate bar.


R Sorcery. The next instant or sorcery spell you play this turn cannot be countered by spells or abilities. Draw a card.

Rattlesnake: Very high

Gorilla: Conditional

Spider: Medium-low

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Low

While very narrow in scope – this is simply a cantrip if you aren’t facing any blue at the table – the Overmaster is a spectacular dare that sets up your win condition. This is a nasty, nasty surprise for the fellow who has his own win condition ready with a Counterspell backup, because now he must choose between disrupting your win, or ensuring his own. How delicious.

Fragile combination decks of just about any color scheme that absolutely must push the next spell through can rely on this splashable card; and if you have enough red in your deck, you can even count on it to help get you through a tough draw streak.

There once was a spell that would win,

But that Counterspell mage had a grin.

So I dropped this for one,

And had unspoiled fun

When that blue mage took ten to the chin.


5R, 5/5 Creature. haste. When this comes into play, tap all other creatures.

Similar cards: the more Aluren-friendly Shrieking Mogg.

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: High

Spider: Medium

Pigeon: Medium-high

Plankton: Low

One of the most distinctive and celebrated red creatures in the game. (Go ahead and ask that smarmy question:”Do people really celebrate creatures?” You bet you do, if you really need to punch through for five and topdeck this.) A medium rating in”spider” and high in”gorilla” are both very strong for a creature; since this comes with haste and devastates all defense for a turn, this horse deserves it.

Note how much this creature loves the players to your left (if that’s how you’re doing turn order), since they untap first and keep beating on the unfortunate souls to your right. Never sit to the right of a red mage. This lesson will be taught again, higher on this list.

Obviously, Thundermare goes well with untapping cards like Vitalize. Less obviously, it goes with instant-speed creatures and creature generators like Defender of Chaos and Goblin Warrens.

There once was a horse made of fire,

Who wanted to feel like a flyer.

She stayed on the ground

But still managed to pound

As she made all the defense retire.


3RR, 4/4 Creature. Attacking does not cause this to tap. 1R, Tap: This deals damage equal to its power to target creature. That creature deals damage equal to its power to this.

Similar cards: Molten Hydra is slower and probably more fragile, but also potentially more powerful since it can also hit a player.

Rattlesnake: Very high

Gorilla: Medium

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Low

Tahngarth is the sort of creature that works effortlessly with many red schemes. He seems to combine most effectively with white (for damage prevention during his ability, and since white provides its own set of complementary non-tapping attackers); but green will get you Fires of Yavimaya and pump, black will get you a stiff offense that Tahngarth can support, and blue will get you protection for this key creature.

There once was a sore minotaur

Whose attack phase was truly bizarre,

He’d kick ass with one hand

Then, at Gerrard’s Command

He’d punch butt #2 to Myanmar.

(Formerly Burma.)


1RRR Instant. This deals four damage divided as you choose among any number of target creatures and/or players. Madness 1RR.

Similar cards: Distributable damage is a common theme in red. Arc Lightning used to hold this slot. Arc Mage, Shower of Coals, Pyrotechnics, Shower of Sparks, Rolling Thunder, Flameshot, Fireball, and Magma Burst are all in the same family as the Eruption, which looks pretty much like the champ of the group under most group play conditions. (It looks really, really nice when you pay Madness for Eruption while feeding the Arc Mage’s ability.)

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: Medium-high

Spider: Very high

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Low

In the swirl of talk about how Torment is the”black” set, Violent Eruption may somehow look less amazing than it actually is. This can bring down a single fattie, or serve as a machine-gun to bring down multiple weenies. (Speaking of machine guns, how about feeding it to a Masticore to pay for the artifact creature’s upkeep?) You hate to see a Lashknife Barrier or Hypochondria come out against this; but otherwise, you’ll have free reign over which creatures live and die.

There once was a nasty quartet,

All 1/1s but still quite the threat,

During Mongrel discard,

All four were quite charred,

And the dog swung for three, sans regret.


2R Sorcery. This deals one damage to each player for each land he or she controls.

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Medium

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Nonexistent

One of the unfriendliest cards in existence, Acidic Soil violates one of the most understood but least articulated principles of multiplayer games: People should play their lands in peace. It is, nevertheless, an astounding finishing move.

Acidic Soil is almost always found in red-white decks, where the options for preventing damage to oneself are as boundless as they are unimaginative: CoP: Red, RoP: Red, blah, blah blah, blah blah. Can you decode my true feelings for this card?

This card is one of the uglier reasons why diversifying your mana base (to artifacts and/or creatures) and holding back lands you don’t need are both good strategies, in general.

There once was a deck made of cheese,

Preventing damage as it pleased,

Until one mage, feet planted,

Saw CoP disenchanted,

And the combo freak fell to his knees.

(Okay, I worked a little too hard on that one. Limericks get rougher, the more you think about them. Let’s move on.)


6RR, 6/6 Creature. Flying. If any opponent controls seven or more lands, this costs 6 less to cast. R: This gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

Similar cards: Direct lineage to the Shivan Dragon.

Rattlesnake: Medium-low

Gorilla: Medium-high

Spider: Medium-low

Pigeon: Very high

Plankton: Low

The more players there are, the more chances that someone will have seven lands out by turn seven. They’re even more likely to have them out if you play Horn of Greed to encourage them a bit, or Howling Mine to help them get to their lands. Drop this for two and save your mana for the protection this creature will need.

Do be careful of such boutique tricks as Backlash, Mirror Strike, Captain’s Maneuver, and Agonizing Demise. Red’s fatties are not very tricky, and fall hard for such schemes.

There once was a man with six swamps,

Who laid just one more with a *thomp*,

His opponent released

A magnificent beast

Who went on to apply some mad stomps.


4RR, 6/6 Creature. Echo. When this comes into play, it deals four damage to all creatures.

Similar cards: Many. Crater Hellion is a fixed, all-creatures Earthquake. From there, the lineage is impressive and extensive. From Tremor, you can get Subterranean Spirit, Fire Ants, Warmonger, and Ashen Firebeast. Pyroclasm and Steam Blast are also cousins to this card.

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Medium

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Medium-low

The best red creature for multiplayer save one, Hellions are terrific mothers for hatching Rukh Eggs. As I mention with one or two other red cards (and should for many more), Reflect Damage is bad news for the caster of this beast.

There once was a 6/6 for six,

Who hit the board harder than bricks,

If you fail his echo,

He’ll die like a gecko

But pay it, and you’ll get more kicks.


2R Enchantment. Whenever a player taps a land for mana during another player’s turn, that player sacrifices that land.

Rattlesnake: Medium-high

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Medium-low

Pigeon: High

Plankton: Medium-low

I really like cards that make hard multiplayer archetypes a bit easier. In this case, land destruction just got a modest boost. But you don’t need to be running land destruction for Price of Glory to be great in your deck: Why not just Price of Glory, Dingus Egg, and a bunch of strong creatures and sorceries? Go ahead and be obvious, for once.

Price of Glory is red’s version of City of Solitude (which you shouldn’t bother playing in the same deck, by the way), and has an obvious anti-blue tinge to it. But it should also devastate players using any kind of clever instants or abilities, and they’re all over all colors. For a group that has seasoned players who understand the stack and how important instants are, this is a great metagame call, and the highest-placed card in red for Odyssey.

There once were some lands of concern,

Since they tapped when it wasn’t their turn.

So a neat trick did make

Every bad turn a quake

And the lands never did quite return.


2R Enchantment. R: Target creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

Similar cards: The Cry is a global version of Crown of Flames and Firebreathing.

Rattlesnake: Very high

Gorilla: Medium-low

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Medium-high

Like the lower-ranked Warpath, the War Cry looks niftiest during a combat that has nothing to do with you. You can pick and choose any number of creatures to pump, if you have enough mana. Select those with first strike, haste, trample, or flying for best effect – and consider a Phyrexian Splicer to get some of those abilities where you need them.

There once was a puny young elf

Who didn’t think much of himself.

But once when he fought,

The muscles he brought

Seemed bought off a hardware store shelf.


2R Enchantment. Whenever a player taps a land for mana, that land produces one additional mana of the same type.

Similar cards: Mana Cache is a more complex version that may or may not build up colorless mana that anyone can use on their own turn.

Rattlesnake: Medium-low

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Very high

Decks with one or two colors and even-costed spells are the name of the game, here. X spells are, of course, ridiculously good, which is why this is a red card and not green. (Wizards sort of fixed the flavor of this card when they made it Overabundance.)

Opponents should almost never try to prevent this card, since it should benefit them a great deal. Instead, focus on whatever the controller of Mana Flare tries to cast with his increased mana… And pray it’s not Urza’s Rage.

There once was a four-color deck,

Whose builder bemused,”What the heck.

I’ll put in four Flares,

And then say my prayers.

That’s great anti-mana burn tech.”


6RR, 6/6 Creature. R, Sacrifice this: This deals six damage to each creature and player.

Similar cards: In addition to the Crater Hellion and its own similar cards, Bloodfire Colossus has a more extreme cousin in Inferno. Bloodfire Kavu and Bloodfire Dwarf have similar sacrifice mechanics. I list the Colossus separately from the Hellion because it works quite differently… And, I think, just a wee bit more effectively.

Rattlesnake: Very high

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Low

Plankton: Medium-low

The top of red’s multiplayer army, the Colossus is a costly but tough weapon to use as a threat, a board-clearer, a fattie… Or all three. It is very hard to find a more effective and versatile one-card end game, in any color.

Blended with tricks like Dawn of the Dead, Sneak Attack, or some of the other cards you’ll see down below, the Colossus can be an incredibly valuable tool.

There once was a 6/6 for eight,

Who loved to go from State to State.

After saying farewell

He would leave a hotel,

And increase their vacancy rate.


1RR Enchantment. Whenever a creature is dealt damage, this deals that much damage to that creature’s controller.

Similar cards: Repercussion makes everything a Jackal Pup.

Rattlesnake: Very high

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Medium

Plankton: Medium-high

A really, really mean card, but fairer than its ugly cousin Acidic Soil since it penalizes creatures – which, after all, are optional in Magic, right?

There once was a spell that could crackle,

It turned every creature to Jackal,

A Fault Line did show:

“Hey, whaddaya know?”

The creatureless player did cackle.


RR Sorcery. As an additional cost to play this, discard X cards at random from your hand. Each player sacrifices X lands. This deals X damage to each creature.

Similar cards: Wildfire does a fixed four and four.

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Medium

Pigeon: Medium-low

Plankton: Low

Red has more global sweep cards than just about any other color in the Hall, which shouldn’t surprise any of us. (We’re going to see a lot of gorillas at these latitudes, mates. Crikey, what a corker!”) I did up a whole deal on Devastating Dreams over on magicthegathering.com; but it’s enough to say here that the Dream series was built more effectively than just about any series of Odyssey block cards for interaction with madness, flashback, and threshold. Build your decks accordingly.

People are going to whine about the random discard. Allow me a pre-emptive strike: In a multiplayer game, when the chance for card advantage is absolutely insane at two mana, you don’t mind dropping a card or two into the graveyard that might have been nice to hang on to. Like I just said: build your decks accordingly, and you shouldn’t care.

There once were four cards in a meeting

Whose handler was taking a beating.

“Two red, discard three,

And then we shall see

The wonders of induction heating.”


6RR Sorcery. This cannot be countered. Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and lands. They cannot be regenerated.

Similar cards: Jokulhaups is the (counterable) original.

Rattlesnake: Medium-low

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Medium-low

Plankton: Low

The wide-ranging gorilla effects of both Devastating Dreams and Obliterate are enough to offset their rather low rankings in other elements. How does it get more impressive than wiping the board?

Of course, both cards suffer from nailing lands, which isn’t exactly what makes a multiplayer game memorable, except in fairly specific situations. Those situations include: Having a Penumbra Wurm on the table, having four Seals (any of the five from Nemesis will be fine) on the table, or having Exploration on the table. This may not be a complete list, but it’s close.

There once was a new Jokulhaups,

Whose caster would pull out the stops.

But once on Sacred Ground

His enemies found

That instead of winning, he flops.

Incidentally, any one of the next four cards could arguably be sitting at #1. Their ranking reflects my personal philosophy, even more than the rest of the Hall does.


4RRR Sorcery. Set aside all permanents. You choose one of those cards and put it into play tapped under your control. Then your opponent [going in play order] chooses one and puts it into play tapped under his or her control Repeat this process until all cards set aside this way have been chosen. (Local enchantments with no permanent to enchant remain removed from the game.)

Similar cards: Illicit Auction lets players bid life for control of a creature.

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Medium

Pigeon: Very high

Plankton: Ultimate

NEVER SIT TO THE RIGHT OF A RED MAGE! This card extends any given multiplayer game by at least thirty minutes, but it shortens the lifespans of those who untap last considerably. For one extra mana (floated in your pool), you can use Brand or Vitalize to look especially smart.

A finesse move with this card is to have permanents that have global effects so that no matter who has them, they still affect the whole board (Powerstone Minefield, Helm of Awakening, Zur’s Weirding, Marble Titan, and so on.)

This is about as nice as the red mage can bother to be to everyone else, so it gets the ultimate ranking for”plankton.” Mana Flare was a close second option, but the Auction really gives people the chance to reforge the board in a way otherwise impossible. (Remember green, with all the nice plankton cards? What a difference a week makes!)

This is also about as effective as red can get in controlling enchantments like Propaganda and CoP: Red.

Players’ patience can run thin with a long auction. Use well, but judiciously.

There once was a fine auction block

Whose proceedings wore down the clock.

Each land you distribute

Can only contribute

To wanting to gag on a sock.


3R Enchantment. Whenever any creature comes into play, that creature’s controller may choose to have it deal damage equal to its power to target creature or player.

Similar cards: Brawl is an instant sort of Pandemonium, since creatures on the table can tap to do damage to each other.

Rattlesnake: High

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Low

Pigeon: Ultimate

Plankton: High

Two things you may not already know about Pandemonium, unless you’re a faithful fan of the Hall: First, it gets around protection from red, since the damage source is the creature you play. (Just don’t play mono-red, ya moron!) Second, it is an absolute horror for creatureless decks, and you can essentially ignore any player with such decks unless they have an obvious and immediate way of getting rid of Pandemonium.

After many versions of the Hall, I still find the following creatures to be most effective: Pangosaur, Timid Drake, Jackalope Herd, Penumbra Wurm (the most recent addition), and the Viashino in-and-out clan (Sandscout, Sandstalker, Cutthroat). There are other interesting moves with Sneak Attack and Hunted Wumpus.

There once was a beast whose arrival

Caused quite the storm-ridden revival.

A dark Pangosaur

Will do damage galore;

But an Ivory Mask means survival.


Similar cards: One reader pleaded with me to leave Fork separate. Phllllllllbt. (Hey, what can I say? I have limited space in the Hall, and this”similar card” thing is the best idea I’ve had in 124 columns. I’m gonna use it!)

Rattlesnake: Low

Gorilla: Ultimate

Spider: Ultimate

Pigeon: High

Plankton: Medium

Do I really need to explain why this card is here? The most amazing card with Radiate is Ice – so amazing, in fact, that you have to be careful not to deck yourself with a mere seven mana. (Who decks themselves with seven mana?!?! This card is so sweet! I am still holding out hope that some clever Constructed enthusiast will find a way to win a high-profile tourney with this.)

I have my Seize the Day/Radiate deck up and running, and may report on it in the future. (Note that you need non-tapping creatures for this to work as well as we’d all want.)

I’m also considering another multiplayer deck with this absolutely amazing card…

There once was a Temporal Spring

Which, Radiated, caused a swing.

“Here’s your next twenty draws,

And you’ll meet Santa Claus

‘Fore anyone else plays a thing.”


1RRR Enchantment. Double all damage assigned to any creature or player.

Rattlesnake: Ultimate

Gorilla: Very high

Spider: Medium-low

Pigeon: Medium

Plankton: Very high

Simple. Horrible. Swift.

There once was a game cut in half,

The impact’s not easy to graph.

Maybe I can show

Next week: Gold cards, and the results of the Cephalid Vandal Break this Card contest!


Anthony Alongi

[email protected]