Suffering Suck-O-‘Tache (Part One)

Ah, but it’s that time of year again – is it really a year since my esteemed pal and patisserie-obsessed compadre Gabriel Minty-Fresh Gung-Ho Margerine-Soaked Sneeep provided his own vision of all things Planeshift?


Ah, but it’s that time of year again – is it really a year since my esteemed pal and patisserie-obsessed compadre Gabriel Minty-Fresh Gung-Ho Margerine-Soaked Sneeep provided his own vision of all things Planeshift?* It hardly seems like yesterday!

Unfortunately, the goodly Professore recently met his untimely demise when his cravat caught on some dough-hooks and he became, literally, ‘brown bread.’

(respectful pause, during which someone ALWAYS coughs or blows their nose)

Still, it comes to us all; time flies by when you’re the driver of a train** and the first expansion for Odd-Block is now among us.

Side-note (it’s a quickie, so don?t be alarmed, sweet-stuff): Wasn’t it cute of Wizards to release a Magic expansion in 2001 called Odyssey? Delightful.

I plan to attend some sort of Prerelease/Sneak Preview/Robbed-from-Wizards-stock-cupboard, back-of-a-lorry Peek in the coming weeks – not that I’m desperate for a ‘special’ Prerelease card – these things are dime-a-dozen a month later! I can trade one of a ‘kid’ for tuppence, presently.

Side-note (an even quicker quickie – so stop sweating, love-lumps): Name a pre-release card that’s been of any use whatsoever!


Today I shall be using the Cheese Scale as a measurement device. For those unfamiliar with card grading in terms of fermented curd products, this is the key:

  • Blue-Veined

    Like a well-rotted Stilton, or a St. Agur left on the radiator overnight, these cards are the strongest, most simultaneously repellent/tasty pieces of CCG smackerel one could hope to encounter. Best served with crackers, vintage port, and a Regional Qualifier.”From age” to age, this is the bees knees cheese!

  • Mature

    Processed or unprocessed, when these cards go past-yer-ize you’ll be keen to grab ’em.

  • Mild

    Not to everyone’s taste, cards of this hardened-milk variety go with lots of things, are tolerated by most, but add nothing to the experience. You’re better off eating your toe-nails.

  • Tasteless

    Can’t think of a cheese-based pun; let’s just say ‘they’re crap.’ (Rennet? – The Ferrett)

In addition, I shall be attempting to grade the cards based on their usefulness in (as is usual) Limited and Constructed environments, which shall be referred to (respectively) as JANET and JOHN.

Finally, I am assuming you?ve already read the spoiler and know what I?m talking about. If you haven?t seen it yet and want to follow what I?m wittering on about, go to www.brainburst.com

The Biznuz

Torment helpfully introduces a couple of new mechanics to the environment – and if they’re anything the mechanics in my local garage, they’ll chain-smoke and all be called ‘Lance.’ Actually, they?re not called Lance ? they’re called madness and nightmare.

Madness is so bloody confusing! There, I said it! Something about making a spell cheaper to cast if it’s cast while you’re discarding it? Now my head’s really beginning to hurt. It took me a while to work out how Circular Logic is of use, but that’s only if you got a Wild Mongrel. Oh, I’m not a strategist – I’ll wait until Zvi builds a killer deck out of this mechanic and, like the rest of you card-flopping whores, I’ll copy it. Still, this is a curious mechanic (no such equivalent in the automotive world, unfortunately) and will fill many a fingernail with scratchy head-skin over the coming months, of that I have no doubt.

Nightmare is? Lose or gain something when a creature comes into play; that something is returned when that creature leaves play. That’s as near as it comes, dammit, yeah? Not very exciting, is it?

What Do We Think Of The White Cards In Torment?

Why do these review things always start on the White cards? It’s not even alphabetic! I’d object, but you should only try to change the things that can be changed; everything else is expulsion of water-soluable sodium in a gale.

Angel of Retribution

Janet = Blue-Veined, John=Mild

So many Angels in the game now… Well, apart from Angel of Islington, Angel of the Morning (Angel), or Angel, Buffy’s Love-Meat (now there’s a card that’s sure to be ‘pumpable’). Who can argue with a 5/5 Flying First-Striker at a Monday-night draft? Not me, and not you either. Positively Danish?

Aven Trooper

Janet=Mild to Tasteless, John=Tasteless

Filler, yuh-folluh? A Flying 1/1 for 3W? I hope the picture is nice; otherwise, bin it straight away. Not even worth last-card drafting in its foil form.

Cleansing Meditation

Janet=Tasteless, John=Tasteless

Unless, of course, combo comes back in and you?re likely to have mirror match-ups – mind you, you’d both have this in your ‘board, wouldn’t you? Just toss a coin – it takes less time, and it’s more entertaining for spectators.

Equal Treatment

Janet=Mature, John=Mild

I like this. It’s one of those”Ooh, this must be good” cards that only benefits from the actual ‘tasting’ (let me carry the food metaphor forward a little). So pick up some water biscuits and spread a little E.T? The olive is optional (as always)***

Floating Shield

Janet=Gotta be Mature, John=Floating who?

Not as good as Cho-Mannos Blessing… But what ever could be? Surely you can all see how sneaky and sexy this little creature enchantment is? Move along, move along now.

Frantic Purification

Janet=Mild, John=Mild (General) to Mature (Block)

Madness is such a, well, ‘mad’ mechanic – Disenchant with steel toecaps. Hate the name, though; sound’s like R&D were given a Thesaurus for Christmas, but couldn’t work out how to use it.


Janet=Mature, John=Tasteless

This is the sort of irritating nonsense that you meet in single-elim draft finals and costs you the ranking points you’ve acrued so far and the prize boosters. It’s uncommon, and for a good reason. Prepare to be ‘bugged’ (ha ha).

Major Teroh

Janet=Mild, John=Mild (General) to Blue-Veined (Block)

A Flying 2/3 for four mana snot to be sniffed at… But yet another Legend? *Sigh* It?s a busy old multiverse and no mistake ? so many standout characters. Why must they always be fighting? Why can?t the different races just get along? I mean, we could have a United Nations expansion set where they bring back banding, and lots of ?skip combat phase? cards, and the new win condition of:

Neighbours Becoming Good Friends



(Rare, obviously)

Whenever you prevent, or reduce to zero, damage assigned to an opponent or an opponents creature(s) put a Buddy counter on ~. If you have 20 or more Buddy counters on ~, you win the game.

Militant Monk

Janet=Mature, John=Tasteless (General) or Mature (Block)

Another white card I like. I?m not a big fan of the colour, generally ? it tends to be namby-pamby and wishy-washy****; though I did steer a relatively straight path through the 2000 UK Nationals with Bear-Go. This is just such a punchy little bugger.


Janet=Mature, John=Mild (General) to Mature (Block)

Kills threshold. Lives in your sideboard. A mouse lives in my sideboard ? and he?s got a higher limited ranking than me.

Mystic Familiar

Janet=Mild, John=Tasteless

Dull as dull dishwater viewed in a dull light. Expect nothing and you won?t be disappointed.

Pay No Heed

Janet=Yawn, John=Sigh

Take its advice (I wonder how many pensive, worthy analyses of Torment will include this particular phrase?)

Possessed Nomad

Janet=Mature, John=Mild up to Mature (but not too mature, nutty and tangy and little bit of an aftertaste on the palette)

Reusable removal is great, obviously ? you know this already, so I?ll add something new to the mix: This card was originally called Possessed Monda, but was mis-typed during set-up at Carta Nomad, Belgium.

Reborn Hero

Janet=Mature, John=Mature

What a wonderful weenie! How often have you heard that phrase, eh? Someone build a weenie deck, quick! Be the first to post it and take all the credit (or argue interminably about the credit until we all get bored and start calling you ?Tosser? and ?Stumpy?).

Spirit Flare

Janet=NO, NO, NO, NO, and NO!, John=See Janet

Dirty pants.

Stern Judge

Janet=Mild or Mature (depends what your opponent?s playing), John=Mature in Block, surely ? everyone?s going to be playing swamps ? er, that means we?d be damaging ourselves, too…?

Harsh, but fair. Cruel, but (in the long run) kind. Hairy but Ox.

Strength Of Isolation

Janet=Mature, John=Mild/Mature

Nice little bit of lunacy to up the surprise stakes. Unimaginatively, I can see the gorgeous Wild Mongrel gain +1/+1, changing colour, and then benefiting for cheap madness +1/+2 and Pro Black bonusage ? that makes him a 4/5 for W ? how friggin? slippery is that?

Teroh?s Faithful

Janet=Mild, John=Mild

Everyone knows lifegain is rubbish. So that means this is rubbish, right? Dirty pants with nuggets in the gussett.

Teroh?s Vanguard

Janet=Mature, John=A tasty end to a well-cooked meal. Belay the blancmange, make way for the cheese.

It?s big, it?s a surprise, it?s uncommon. I bet it has a huge part, too. Delicious, but fattening.


Janet=?, John=???

The wording on the spoiler?s a little vague ? it says whenever you ?lose life? ? is taking damage the same as losing life? I thought they were distinct terms with distinct advantages and disadvantages? If that is true, then it?s Worship-like without the creature drawback and, therefore, broken! Warning! Danger! Alert! Broken card ahoy! Call out the DCI! Ring Jamie Wakefield and tell him to not bother coming back to Magic, that is if he was thinking about it ? which he probably wasn?t! Sell your cards and get into Lord of the Rings!

(Period of calming down, accompanied by whale song and a stiff lentil bake)

Vengeful Dreams

Janet=Mature, John=Mature

It?s so strong it?s beginning to stink the place out? A bit like this review?

Final Thought: None of these cards actually matter, as most will be superseded and made to look foolish by the forthcoming ‘summer’ set (name eludes me, but not you, my gentle shag-lambs)

Ciao bambinos ? next time I?ll be looking at Blue?

Tony Boydell

[email protected]

* – Yes it is, Tony y’spanner

** – Standing on the footplate, there and back again – under bridges, over bridges to our destination?etc

*** – When I was a student in Liverpool, my landlady was a large matronly woman called Olive. She was married to a thin, pickled-in-Guiness fellow called Stan and side-by-side they made the numbers 10 or 01. Stan and Ollie? The coincidence didn’t escape me even then? No sign of any pianos, though.

**** – Two characters from CARRY ON BEING POLITICALLY INCORRECT (EMI 1971)