This article is all about magic – real magic. This story is awesome. My name is Stijn, and I can’t stop thinking about magic. This game is cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.
Flashback to me trying to persuade readers into thinking that Mox Jet is not round:
“I was called a heretic when I first told this at the Labyrinth – but now I have a number of believers at my side. Together we’re forming the Bulged Mox Jet Front (BMJF). What do you think about it? Is it round, or does it have a bulge on top? Should you find definitive evidence, please let me know. Should you be Dan Frazier, please let me know what you intended to draw. Thank you..”
Well, I got my responses. Not from Dan Frazier himself, unfortunately, but I did definitely get some. Let me try and explain my discoveries to you through my self-made pictures. All the pictures will show cross sections of the Mox, so that it’s relief can be easily scrutinized by the observant. May Dan Frazier forgive me for my poor interpretations.
First, here’s what most people think it looks like:
That’s the easiest way to interpret the picture: A black jet stone set in a gold necklace, with no surprises when cut in half. And I must admit that I also thought the Mox looked like this for a long, long time. But then I noticed the way the light falls on this thing: It made me think of an extra salted piece of licorice. I started thinking that the thing might perhaps look like this.
That would explain the way the light appears to fall and break on this precious jewel, for the light appears to reflect in a circle that’s uniform to the rim of the highest part of the jewel when viewed in the above representation. I thought that to be a very plausible explanation for the lighting… But then some guy named Chris sent me a message, telling me about how he has been drawing orbs and round objects for quite some time now.
He told me how he has been studying the way light breaks on curved surfaces for years, trying to hone his skill in drawing it. He also told me what his thoughts on the matter were:
“In my opinion, the Mox Jet is round, but it’s inset into the gold frame deep enough for the frame to cast a shadow over the side of it. The shadow that you believe is due to a bulge in the middle is too crisp for it to be a bulge. The gold frame is high enough to cast a shadow across the jewel – which seems appropriate as it is the evil Mox.”
He also illustrated his point with some ASCII art, but I upgraded it to real MS paint-art.
I’ll explain it as follows: The golden rims are a lot higher here. I’ve drawn in some imaginary rays of light in a friendly baby-blue color. The rays emanate from the casting cost, which is, of course, zero, so that it coincidentally looks a little bit like a sun. This helps you imagine the source of the beams. The little red dots are the most extreme places where the light beams strike the jet. The site most to the right lights up because the incoming light gives great contrast with the shadow which is next to it. The site to the left lights up because of that too, but also because of some physical reason: When light strikes a glassy object under just small enough an angle, then all the light will be reflected. This is called”total reflection.” Do physicists have great creativity in thinking up names for principles or what?
But no matter how cool some principles are named, I’d like to adopt the latter vision presented here as my own. I don’t believe that Mox Jet has a very high rim so that it casts a shadow upon itself. Thus, I would like to conclude my debate about the shape of this most precious of jewels.
Now on to a strange combo with Future Sight. I wish I owned four copies of that card – but I have none, nil, and naught of them. Now let’s go:
- Future Sight
- Phyrexian Altar
- Skirge Familiar
- Library of Leng
- Celestial Dawn
Furthermore, your deck should contain a Fastbond, a Fervor, a Seize the Day, a Spelljack, a Treasure Trove, and a Soldevi Digger.
Celestial Dawn circumvents colored mana issues for us. When a mana has a color, it has our color. And Library of Leng makes discarding fun: when a card is discarded, it is placed on the top of our library instead. On the top of our library, so that Future Sight allows us to play it. Here’s the deal:
Discard Tarpan to Skirge Familiar, then play it. This has essentially put Tarpan into play for free. While that is in it’s own right very good, it’s getting better all the time: Sacrifice the Tarpan to the Phyrexian Altar. This puts it back on top of your library due to Mortuary. Remembrance then triggers to search you a copy of Tarpan in your library. You need not look far – there should be one on top of your deck. The Tarpan is now back in your hand, one mana of a color of your choice is in your mana pool, and we have gained one life. This can be repeated a lot of times, giving us infinite life and infinite mana, all in one.
And that’s what I call real Ultimate Power!
But we’re only just getting to the fun part:
Due to shuffling after activating Remembrance, we get a new card on top of our library. A card that is known to us due to Future Sight, and that can also be played by us, due to Future Sight. It will be only a matter of shuffling and repeating until a Fastbond appears on top of your library. Play it. Now we can start playing all the land in our library. And since we have real Ultimate Power, we can now play our entire library, all in one turn. Is that totally sweet or what? With a Soldevi Digger, a spell that has been cast can now be cast anew. So the lone Spelljack becomes a very powerful protecting agent of all your activities. It can be dug back with the Digger, ready to serve and protect again.
“Aha, but what happens when the Spelljack – or another conditional targeted spell, for that matter – appears on the top of your library when you’re trying to play your entire deck through your future sight?”
“Well, we then go ahead and draw it with Treasure Trove. And if we do not have our Treasure Trove out yet, we just shuffle our library again and again until we find one.”
“Aha, so we do have real ultimate power?”
“Yes. Roughly nine out of ten Ninjas think this combo is totally sweet.”
I hope that you have all taken Rizzo’s survey, with which he hopes to make a profile of the average Magic player. Or, more accurately, as I see it, the average Rizzo-reader. There are some wicked questions in there.
“By the pricking of my thumbs / Something wicked this way comes.”
William Shakespeare, MacBeth
27) Five favorite Magic cards:
Well, doesn’t that just change every day? Of course, most player have a soft spot for a certain card. Or for two certain cards. But now we have to name five. Most of the times, three cards immediately jump to mind. But how are we to fill in the remaining two slots?
“Oh, Reins of Power is a cool card!”
“Yes, but so is Wheel of Fortune. And Craw Giant. And Master of the Hunt. And Balance.”
“Damn – that’s five more, and I had only two slots left…”
Do you see what I mean? I answered with this, but I don’t even agree with it anymore – not wholeheartedly, anyway.
That’s one card of each color; this makes choosing your options a lot easier, since you need not decide whether you will pick the Royal Assassin or the Reins of Power as your last pick. The Assassin automatically qualifies because he’s black.
That sounds just like those positive discrimination policies over at them fancy corporations:
“We had two solicitants for the position, but we went with that guy because he’s black.”
Today, and I filled this in only three days ago or something, I would change the Wood Elves into Regrowth and the Royal Assassin into Shauku, Endbringer. Land Tax might just get replaced by Reconnaissance. It’s a whirling and twirling world.
By the way, here are my little brother’s choices: He quit playing just about when Homelands was released, but he has participated in all Tribes Tournaments, so he still knows something about the newer cards.
Did you see that? He is obviously the destructive type, trying to pummel the opponent into oblivion without his opponent being able to do something about it. And the Elves and the Elder were justified by speeding up the development or just steadying it while giving card advantage. These are the choices made by a player unspoiled by the influence of the last Pro Tour’s metagame developments: He is unspoiled by the release of Starstorm, because he doesn’t know it exists. Unspoiled by the fact that Swords to Plowshares neuters four of his five choices.
Of course, Swords to Plowshares also kills four of my five choices. Unless the Doppelganger is morphed into a Zephid, of course. But we don’t get that here very often. And of course, the Elves have already given their advantage when they are in play, so the Plow would not bother you as much. (The same possibility holds true for the Yavimaya Elder – but hey, let’s obscure that fact so that I look better as a result.)
60) Favorite swear word:
28) Five least favorite Magic cards:
Lap. How do you answer such a question when you try to break and abuse every single card, or at least do so in your mind? The first card came to me pretty easy.
Goblin Air Raider
That’s such a stupid reprint. Bird Maiden was quite stylish because it was a Bird Maiden; it was a part of the Arabian Nights culture. The card made sense, because how is one to depict a bird maiden in any other fashion? And it had a pretty picture as a kicker.
But how am I to love Goblin Sky Raider? It’s just a stupid one power, two toughness flyer for 2R. That’s not especially broken or something like that. In fact, it’s quite stupid. So stupid, that every time I see one, I feel the rising urge to try and swallow a Frisbee whole. Of course, I’d have to fold the Frisbee first, and I’d have to be really super pissed to do so.
Sandskin: Same story here. Gaseous Form was cool. Your enchanted creature, or your opponent’s, of course, became immaterial and incapable of dealing damage because it became gaseous. The picture was, once again, by one of the Foglios – and I suspect that it was Phil, in this particular case. But Sandskin is a perversion of its predecessor. It has a generic picture, which cannot be enjoyed. And the ability has been done before. Blah.
Coat of Arms: Why is everyone so obsessed about coat of arms? All it does is make some creatures larger – but it doesn’t do that in a funny way! And still people praise it like it was a gift from their gods.
“Yeah, I’m going to build a deck with Coat of Arms. That would be funny and exciting!”
I wish a Ninja would totally flip out and kill everybody who has ever said something like that. It’s a stupid artifact that costs five mana, so it is unwieldy. And it is an artifact, so it is the hardest kind of card to search for in your deck. And all it does is boost some creatures. Not even in a sweet way.
Maybe I’m not just averted by what the card actually does, but by the way most people tend to like this card. Last week at the Spellenspektakel, I had at least five peeps coming up to my stand, asking me whether I still had some Coats of Arms up for sale. I was glad that I had to tell them I didn’t bring any. But why do these people want to play with that wretched card? Why don’t they use another, more groovy artifact? I wish that they wanted to buy Smokestack or Knowledge Vault instead. Or Temporal Aperture. Now there’s a shaggadelic piece of machinery.
Index: I know I’ve seen, through the black backed mirrors in sanity, people playing this card in Constructed events. Three-letter acronyms crossed my mind then. Acronyms like OMG, WTF and LOL. Why would a person play with such a card? I’m almost tempted to teach Dr. Hannibal Lecter the game of Magic, so that he can try and explain to me why some disturbed individuals attempt to put this card to good use.
Quid pro quo, Stijn…
All right, I’ll get you a can of Fava Beans.
They try to dominate the opponent.
But why do they do it in such a non-card-economic way?
Quid pro quo, Stijn…
All right, I just happen to have a good bottle of Chianti here.
They just don’t know any better. And now for another game of type I!
Quid pro quo, Hannibal…
All right, I’ll teach you how to bite out people’s tongues without getting your clothes all stained and blooded…
Every time you play with Index, a Ninja flips out and beheads a baby kitten, for no reason at all. So please, don’t.
But I’ve you’re thinking that Index is a mark of how low a card can go, then you’re wrong. There is an even worse card. Allow me to quote myself:
“The moon, she hangs like a cruel portrait and soft winds whisper the bidding of trees, as this article starts with a shattered glass hearth and the midnightmare trampling of dreams: Tahngarth’s Glare is no fun at all.
“I once slipped this into my sealed deck in a casual game after the real round of the tournament, hoping it would be a fun experience to play the card. So I drew it in my opening hand and cast it on the first turn. And what happens? I change nothing in my opponent’s library order and my opponent lays my Gaea’s Skyfolk two places lower. That’s not funny! I felt so betrayed. When R&D makes a crappy card like the Glare, I at least expect it to be a fun card to play with, but the Glare isn’t. Never use it. Stop the madness.”
I feel like I got it eloquently enough back then, more than a year ago. Luckily, Tahngarth’s Glare is more widely rejected than Index. That’s because the Glare is even worse than Index. Other people dislike the Glare almost as much as I do. My friend Mark said that he saw a Ninja totally uppercut some kid just because the kid played with Tahngarth’s Glare.
45) Have you ever cheated during a tournament?
Not that I was aware of.
But there’s an interesting story behind this sentence. It took place during the prerelease tournament of Mercadian Masques. (By the way:”33) Least favorite expansion: Mercadian Masques”) I had a black and green deck, with Crooked Scales and Notorious Assassin. And a small Mercenary chain that was made from a Cateran Kidnapper, a Cateran Summons to find it, and three 1BB costing guys to search for. Those guys were two Alley Grifters and a Bog Smugglers. This made the Cateran Summons effectively a Demonic Tutor for B, because I would almost never look for anything else than the Largest Mercenary.
That’s because I thought that they were really card-advantageous: Search your library for a merc and put in into your hand. Yes, into your hand, not into play. I really and honestly thought they were to be put in my hand. Every game, I would search for guys and then put them in my hand. That’s cheating, because you have to put them into play. The rules say so. Keeping them in your hand is not legal. But my opponents seemed not to mind, and I just didn’t know better.
Looking back to that, I feel quite ripped off by my opponent’s keeping their mouths shut. I mean, they all read the card. Why didn’t they point out to me that I was to put the creature into play? But it didn’t matter all that much, since at a certain moment I was standing 4-0. Then I played against a friend of mine, who was also at 4-0. I looked for a mercenary during his end step, and laid the creature down in front of me for him to look at while I went about shuffling my library. He read it and laid it back. I replaced my library and thought:”Let’s let the smuggler remain in play so that I can attack with it next turn, just to see whether he notices or not. I’ll put it back in my hand as soon as he makes some remark about it.”
So let it be written, so let it be done. I untapped, drew, and declared that I wanted to go to my attack step. The opponent passed priority back to me and I swung with my Smugglers, dealing two damage because mister defending player controlled a Swamp. He took two and started writing it down. Then I told him my scam:
“Sander, Look, I fooled you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I left the mercenary lying after the table after you read it!”
“I should have to cast it first, and then it would still have summoning sickness.”
“No, that’s not the case. All rebels and mercs are put right into play.”
reading the card again…
“Dang-nab it! All those previous opponents tricked me!”
“Well, at least you’re winning this game…”
So I tried to cheat, as a joke, once… But then it turned out that it wouldn’t have been cheating after all. But as we have a saying that goes like”It’s the thought that counts,” I still feel like I’ve attempted to cheat. As a joke.
It also taught me a great deal about anonymous opponents.
1. Opponents are mammals.
2. Opponents fight you all the time.
3. The purpose of the opponent is to flip out and kill you.
Q and A:
Q: Why is everyone so obsessed about opponents?
A: Opponents are the ultimate paradox. On the one hand, they don’t give a crap, but on the other hand, opponents are very careful and precise.
Q: I heard that opponents are always cruel or mean. What’s their problem?
A: Whoever told you that is a total liar. Just like other mammals, opponents can be mean or totally awesome.
Q: What do opponents do when they’re not sideboarding or flipping out?
A: Most of their free time is spent testing, but sometime they draft. (Ask Mark if you don’t believe me.)
Thus concludes my short essay on opponents. On with sharing some of my Rizzo answers with you.
18) Dogs or cats?
Cats. I mean, c’mon, Savannah Lions just totally own Wild Dogs, don’t they? And Jungle Lion eats Ghost Hounds for breakfast. And Glittering Lion could flip out and chop the heads off of Zodiac Dogs all the time. And Mageta, the Lion, tag teams with Jareth, Leonine Titan, to completely obliterate any canine resistance left. And then I haven’t even mentioned all the Panthers and the Lynxes and stuff. On the other hand, Wolves are better then all these creatures summed up here altogether. But that might just be because I love my Wolf-Tribes deck with four Masters of the Hunt and four original Wyluli Wolves and four original Lesser Werewolves.
10) Five favorite songs:
Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones
Have you ever looked at my archive? There’s a short bio there. That bio is a rewording of the first few lines from this song. This song got me into the stones, and now I have a lot of their songs, all bought and for real, on CD. Pleased to meet you.
Inno a Satana – Emperor
I suppose that this is not well known, and I can understand that. But Should you ever catch me writing about the Spirit of the Night (Bringer of Awe and Derision) then you will notice that there’s always a line behind it, in parentheses. That line seems to be a fantastic descriptor of the spirit, but when put together, all those lines form the lyrics from this song, which is some kind of a reversed Pater Noster (qui est in caelum). I started this tradition in my fifth article, and almost the entire song is included in there. And since I seem to mention the Spirit of the Night (He who swayeth every plague and storm) quite often, I’ve more than been through it at least once. But since I suspect none of you to remember every single word I write, I feel like I can get away with the double use of descriptors.
Where Dead Angels Lie – Dissection
Just more Black Metal. Once again, quite obscure, with nobody else knowing about it except me, I fear. The picture of Remembrance reminds me of this song every time, though.
The dress is white, with crystals of Ice, and frozen roses so red.
Roses of blood from an Innocent Soul, on the plain lies an Angel dead.
Girl – the Beatles
Just go and read the first sentences of my eleventh article,”Playing with the cards that should have been in Unglued.” Replace all instances of”Magic” or”Deck” or”Play” with things like”Girl” and”Want,” and you have just read some Beatles lyrics. There are a lot of Beatles lyrics hidden in my articles, and that’s because hiding known sentences in your own scriptures is mighty fun. I once hid all the titles of the songs of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band in a single paragraph. In the right order. It was in article 14, Drow Conspiracy. It’s the fourth paragraph before my final decklist.
Nobody ever notices me hiding entire songs or titles, but at least it keeps the writing fun to do. (I did – but that one was an easy one – The Ferrett) It gives me the feeling that I’ve really accomplished something when sending my stuff in to the Ferrett. There are three lines of Cradle of Filth up here in this article somewhere. That band name doesn’t really sound like its lyrics belong here at a family website like this… Yet I’ll get away with it, for it doesn’t show. I looked at my last five articles here, the five before this one, and they’re all laden with songs! This is what I found while just scanning them until I found the first musical line:
part 16: Don’t tread on me – Metallica
part 17: Hard knock life – Dr. Evil
part 18: A day in the life – The Beatles
part 19: Mother’s Little Helper – The Rolling Stones
part 20: Euphoric Puritanical Mysanthropia – Dimmu Borgir
And any recognition? Don’t think so. But then again, this is a magic site, not a”find the song” site.
Fantaisie Impromptu – Chopin
I felt that I had to represent classical music here somewhere. Bach and Rachmaninov were already among my favorite musical artists, so Chopin had the privilege of being named with one of his masterpieces next to his name. I twist my fingers into knots at every possible moment, trying to reproduce this piece on my own piano – or on the organ over at the University. I feel like it’s the most difficult piece of music that I can play. I spent the entire summer trying to master it, and it’s still not perfect, and I know it will never become so. But in my head, I have the melody as it should be, and that’s an exhilarating feeling, or something like that.
48) If you do roleplay, do you think you’re a nerd?
No, I do not. I mean, I killed a blue dragon only five days ago, together with my girlfriend, a Gnome Druid. How can somebody who can kill dragons possibly be a nerd?
Now I’m jumping away to go and wail on my guitar. Have fun trying to find all those hidden gimmicks by writers all over the world out there, while my guitar gently weeps.
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping…
Stijn van Dongen,