Taking The “Ow” Out Of “Wow”

Okay, everyone. Get your ESP working overtime. What am I going to suggest in this article?

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Unfortunately, this is not the third account of my quest to search for the true power behind the colors of Magic. You won’t be hearing about how I tried to confront Urza or how he summoned Teferi to take me on a journey across Dominaria to learn about the color blue. Also, my article for last week, in which I tried to relay to you the account of my ethereal sojourn with Multani through Yavimaya, Llanowar, and Jamuraa, was withheld from you.

Why, you ask? The icy hand of business has stricken me and banished my tale. The Powers That Be decided that my article just wasn’t good enough for this site – so, although it was sent in, you never saw it. I apologize to the few of you who would have enjoyed my tale, and I now return to my accustomed position of informing those of you who wouldn’t have enjoyed it. (But then again, much like the old Star Trek when ITS ratings got low, we’re always open to a mad letter-writing campaign by rabid fans – The Ferrett, slightly rabid himself)

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Okay, everyone remembers Chronicles, right? It came out with Fourth Edition and featured cards from Legends, the Dark, Arabian Nights, and Antiquities. Personally, I think this set was great. I had Chronicles cards before I even knew that those other sets existed. When I finally found out about their rarer, black-bordered counterparts, I was too steeped in traded-for Chronicles cards to care. I got four of the five Elder Dragon Legends, Sol’Kanar, the Swamp King, Dakkon Blackblade, and other cards that I thought were really cool.

To summarize, I totally dug Chronicles. I was an exclusively casual player for the first year or so of playing (I didn’t even know of such a thing as "tournaments" in the beginning and when I first attended one, I brought a deck as large as my opponent’s deck – though his cards were sleeved and mine weren’t!), so these cards were great. They were accessible, strong but not broken, and cheap.

Okay, everyone. Get your ESP working overtime. What am I going to suggest in this article? {looks around as he receives psychic messages from the future} Wow. A good 97% of you were right! (As for the other 3% of you: No, I did NOT do anything naughty with Sol’Kanar and Dakkon Blackblade while drunk one dark, rainy night in Dominaria.)

I suggest that Wizards should print another set similar to Chronicles.

Now, I know that a lot of people didn’t like Chronicles; as a matter of fact, serious players probably saw it as a stunt to draw more newbies into the game. (Is it my fault that it worked?) However, now that Magic is much more established (Chronicles was printed five years ago), I think that Wizards would do a really bang-up job. Or, I could be totally wrong. But, I’ll let you see for yourself in my following explanation.

Now, to create this set, Wizards would have to pull from cards of other sets. I would suggest Mirage, Tempest, and Urza’s Saga (to give the set a bit of antiquity without it pulling from all out-of-print, hard-to-find cards). I believe it’s general consensus that some of the most powerful expansions in Magic are Visions, Tempest, and Urza’s Destiny (okay, the whole Artifacts Cycle, but Destiny in particular). Well, in taking from only the main set from each of these expansions, the power cards in Visions (Fireblast, Vampiric Tutor, etc.) and Destiny (Yawgmoth’s Bargain, Treachery, etc.) can easily be avoided.

"But, you put Tempest in the ‘one of the most powerful sets ever’ category – what are you going to do about that?" you say. At least you know me well enough to know that I have a solution. And, this one is rather simple. See, Wizards would be choosing specific cards to go into the set. So, if there were a powerhouse (like Time Spiral or Tolarian Academy) that needed to be avoided, Wizards simply wouldn’t print it.

So, what do we have up to this point? Basically, I’m proposing that Wizards prints a set along with cards taken from Mirage, Tempest, and Urza’s Saga. The set would have white borders (for collectors), the original artwork (for art fans), and updated rules text (as long as it fits on the card) (for serious players). Now why would Wizards even consider such an idea? Read on.

The most important reason is because there are certain cards from these sets that would be AMAZING in the current environment. (Now this set would have to wait a while before seeing the light of day, but we’ll just assume that the current status of the game continues into the future until such a time that this set would be released.) For instance, here are five cards from each of the proposed sets. Just think about how you might incorporate them into your favorite deck.


Celestial Convergence (what multi-color deck?)
Hall of Gemstone (that multi-color deck)
Dissipate (Pyre Zombie, Nether Spirit, Hammer of Bogardan . . .)
Hivis of the Scale & Zirilan of the Claw (Rith. Need I say more?)
Catacomb Dragon (He takes any dragon from Invasion on the offensive and lives.)


Avenging Angel (expensive, strong, and recurring – perfect!)
Verdant Force (Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about this at least once.)
Dismiss (I wouldn’t dare suggest Whispers of the Muse.)
Kindle (Dark Accumulated Knowledge)
Kezzerdrix (beautiful with all the creatures nowadays)

Urza’s Saga:

Presence of the Master (Saproling Burst, Parallax Wave, Fires of Yavimaya . . .)
Child of Gaea (What’s our huge trampler now? Kavu Titan? Phhff.)
Great Whale (It just works!)
Sneak Attack (I shouldn’t have to write anything here.)
Yawgmoth’s Will (What’s to abuse?)

I hope that got you thinking. There are some lands that might go well in the multi-colored environment, like the lands in Mirage that search for basic lands (Bad River, Flood Plain, Grasslands, Mountain Valley, and Rocky Tar Pit), the painlands from Tempest (Caldera Lake, Cinder Marsh, Pine Barrens, Salt Flats, and Skyshroud Forest), and Reflecting Pool – also from Tempest. I would do almost anything to see Gaea’s Cradle again, but that would NOT be good for this environment.

"But, what does the environment have to do with anything?" you ask. Well, naturally, the set would be legal in Standard (of course, the cards would already be legal in Extended).

{Looks at your slack-jawed face as you stare in disbelief, unsurprised.}

Hear me out. If Wizards carefully chose just the right cards for the environment (both the environment into which the card would come and the upcoming environments until the cards went away), then the broken cards could easily be avoided and only the strong but not broken cards would be around. How good would the R/G/w Fires deck be with Skyshroud Elf? He taps for any of those colors and makes all your lands tap for either their regular color, red, or white mana. This card would be amazing in this environment, but not broken.

So, as you can see, with careful consideration, some of the lost favorites of the past could be brought back without too much damage being done. Also, all of those cards that you WANTED to play with but couldn’t in order to keep up with the competition would have a new environment to be tested in.

But Standard play isn’t the only reason why Wizards might want to print this set. Newer players would definitely have a much easier time acquiring these white-bordered versions of cards that might otherwise escape them. One of my biggest peeves with Extended is hard-to-find cards. With this set, that problem would be slightly downsized. Also, they could make foils in the set. If you’ve never wanted to see a foil Verdant Force, please leave the room. That allure might make even collectors go after these versions of the cards. (Or, here’s an interesting idea: The foils might have black borders! Hmm…)

All in all, I think this would be a totally awesome set, especially if it were legal in Standard. If you want to send me in some card ideas, I might print them in a future article. If I get enough responses, I might even extend the whole thing to a major project with a prize involved and an entire set designed. So, if you’re interested, drop me a line. Also, if you have any ideas for a name of the set, let me know. If there’s enough interest in that, there could be a contest right there.

Let me know what you think; if you’re like everyone to whom I’ve told this idea by mouth, you’ll probably flame me out, but maybe you’re different. If you are, please right. It gets oh so lonely being consumed in these fires.

Daniel Crane