Playing Magic With Oversized Cards
by Jeff Zandi
11.05.04 One of the great things about
Magic: the Gathering is that the game can be played so
many ways. Recently, me and a friend got bored and
started looking at my oversize card collection, and we
decided to play a game with them.
These cards are roughly 9 inches by 6 inches and have an
oversized card reprinted on one side with a traditional
Magic card back printed on the back. Also on the back of
each oversize card is the printed warning ďNOT FOR PLAY
USEĒ. Well, as Wizards of the Coast have themselves
proven time and time again, rules are made to be broken.
Although seventy-nine different oversize cards were
created, my collection contains over one hundred
including a lot of reprints. I am missing just a few of
the oversized cards that have been produced. These cards
were produced as promotional items and have appeared in
all sorts of places, from Arena league giveaways and
prizes to magazine inserts. One oversized card, Answan
Jaguar, was even included in the Magic computer game
from Microprose all those years ago. Answan Jaguar is a
card that was made up for the early computer game
version of Magic.
This oversized card is unplayable in a regular game.
Several oversized cards were produced reprinting cards
from Unglued including Blacker Lotus, Squirrel Farm,
Incoming! and Infernal Spawn of Evil. I donít have any
of the oversized Unglued Cards. The first oversized
cards appeared in 1995, and included Black Lotus, Serra
Angel (featuring the original Doug Shuler art) and
Hurloon Minotaur (he was still the corporate trademark
for Wizards of the Coast back then). The oversized cards
were discontinued in 1999 as the Arena league was slowly
discontinued by Wizards of the Coast, a program that
would soon be replaced by Friday Night Magic for all
intents and purposes.
During the July Fourth weekend of 1999, at the last
Origins convention in Columbus, Ohio, to include the
U.S. Nationals tournament, there was an opportunity to
play with the oversized cards. Among the serious players
and highly competitive DCI sanctioned Magic tournaments,
there were two free spirits (I forget who they were)
playing actual games with the oversized cards. It was
only at this late date that basic lands had finally been
printed in the oversized card format, making actual play
with the giant cards possible.
We made a stack of 90 cards including no basic lands
(but PLENTY of non-basic lands Iím afraid) and
one-on-one drafted them (some people call this
Ďcontinuous draftí). Both players first review the pile
of cards to be drafted. After shuffling the cards up,
the first player draws four cards, drafts one of them
(without showing what he drafted to the other player)
and then reveals the remaining three cards to the second
player. The second player then selects two of the
remaining three cards, and the first player receives the
last card. Player two then draws four cards, drafts one
card, allowing player one to select two of the remaining
cards, leaving player one with the last card from that
group of four cards. This process continues until the
entire stack of cards is reduced to only two cards. The
two remaining cards are randomly distributed, giving
each player one of the remaining face down cards.
Here are the two SICK decks that were drafted.
OVERSIZE DECK ONE
Juzam Djinn x3
Shivan Dragon x3
Solíkanar the Swamp King
Chaos Orb (point and shoot rules)
Black Lotus x3
Wheel of Fortune
City of Brass x2
OVERSIZE DECK TWO
Juzam Djinn x2
Ernham Djinn x2
Serra Angel x5
Chaos Orb (point and shoot rules)
Swords to Plowshares
Black Lotus x3
Library of Alexandria
City of Brass
Hereís what happened when Kent and I let these two silly
decks loose against each other. (Kent is my oldest
friendship outside of family, weíve been friends since
the first day of 5th Grade in September 1974. Kent was
into Magic for the first couple of years after it
arrived in 1996, but now plays only casually and only
very occasionally. However, Kent is a very experienced
gamer and old school Magic player and was very familiar
with the cards in these two decks, although neither of
us ever played with multiple Black Lotuses before.) My
deck is the black/red deck with the tiniest ability to
splash blue for Solíkanar the Swamp King. My deck looks
tighter, but the Black Lotuses and the multiple colored
lands seem to solve most of the problems of Kentís four
T1 Jeff plays first keeping Mountain x2, Black Knight,
Juzam Djinn, Earthquake, Ivory Tower, Chaos Orb. Plays
Mountain, Ivory Tower.
T1 Kent keeps Plains x2, Library of Alexandria,
Fireball, Stormbind, Juzam Djinn and Serra Angel. Draws
Swamp, plays Library of Alexandria.
T2 Jeff gains one life from Ivory Tower (21-20) Draws
and plays City of Brass. At end of turn, Kent activates
Library drawing Serra Angel.
T2 Kent draws Shivan Dragon, plays Plains. Discards
T3 Jeff gains one life from Tower (22-20). Draws and
plays Mountain. Plays Chaos Orb, activates Orb targeting
Library of Alexandria (21-20), Kent responds by tapping
Library to draw Vampiric Tutor.
T3 Kent draws and plays Brushland. Discards Shivan
T4 Jeff draws and plays Black Lotus, Mountain,
sacrifices Lotus for black, plays Black Knight, Juzam
T4 Kent draws Balance. Plays Swamp. Plays Balance
keeping Juzam in his hand.
Jeff sacrifices both creatures and one Mountain.
T5 Jeff draws and plays Mountain.
T5 Kent draws Serra Angel.
T6 Jeff draws and plays Icy Manipulator (19-20).
T6 Kent draws and plays Mountain.
T7 Jeff draws Mirror Universe.
T7 Kent draws and plays City of Brass, Serra Angel
T8 Jeff draws and plays Swamp.
T8 Kent draws Black Lotus, plays Juzam Djinn (19-18),
Serra tapped by Icy
T9 Jeff draws and plays Solíkanar the Swamp King (18-18)
T9 (14-17) Kent draws and plays Cursed Scroll. Attacks
with Serra (14-17) and Juzam blocked by Solíkanar.
T10 Jeff draws Incinerate. At EOT, Kent targets Jeff
with Cursed Scroll naming Fireball (only card in his
T10 Kent draws Black Lotus, plays Lotus. Serra tapped.
T11 Jeff draws and plays Swamp. At EOT, Kent targets
Jeff with Cursed Scroll naming Fireball (only card in
Kentís hand) 10-17.
T11 Kent draws Ernham Djinn. Sacrifices Lotus for three
red mana, plays Fireball for seven targeting Jeff (3-16)
T12 Jeff draws and plays Juzam Djinn, concedes KENT WINS
GAME ONE ON TURN 12
T1 Jeff plays first keeping Juzam Djinn, Swamp x2,
Balduvian Horde, Icy Manipulator, Jesterís Cap, Drain
Life. Plays Swamp.
T1 Kent keeps Swamp x2, Karplusan Forest (RG pain land),
Cursed Scroll, Ernham Djinn, Lhurgoyf, Fireball. Kent
draws Brushland (GW pain land), plays Swamp, Cursed
T2 Jeff draws and plays Swamp.
T2 Kent draws City of Brass, plays Karplusan Forest.
T3 Jeff draws and plays Mountain.
T3 Kent draws Serra Angel, plays Brushland.
T4 Jeff draws and plays Swamp, Juzam Djinn. At EOT, Kent
targets Jeff with Cursed Scroll naming City of Brass but
T4 Kent draws and plays Black Lotus, Swamp, sacrifices
Lotus for three red mana, plays Fireball targeting Juzam
T5 Jeff draws and plays Mountain, Balduvian Horde
discarding Drain Life at random.
T5 Kent draws Mountain. Plays City of Brass, Serra Angel
T6 Jeff draws and plays Swamp, Icy Manipulator, attacks
with Horde (20-14).
T6 Kent draws Ernham Djinn. Plays Mountain, Ernham Djinn
(20-13). Serra tapped by Icy.
T7 Jeff draws City of Brass, plays Swamp. Attacks with
Horde (20-8) Plays Jesterís Cap, activates and
sacrifices Cap to remove Chaos Orb, Balance and Swords
to Plowshares from Kentís deck.
T7 Kent draws and plays Juzam Djinn. Serra tapped by
T8 Jeff draws and plays Swamp. Taps Juzam with Icy,
attacks with Horde blocked by Ernham Djinn.
T8 (20-7) Kent draws Black Lotus, plays Lhurgoyf (20-6),
attacks with Serra Angel (16-6)
T9 Jeff draws and plays Juzam Djinn.
T9 (16-5) Kent draws Vampiric Tutor. Attacks with Serra
Angel (12-5). Jeff taps Kentís City of Brass at EOT
(12-4) T10 Jeff draws and plays Incinerate targeting
Kent (12-1) Jeff taps Kentís City of Brass with his Icy
Manipulator (12-0) JEFF WINS GAME TWO ON TURN TEN
T1 Kent plays first keeping Plains, Mountain, Juzam
Djinn, Fireball, Cursed Scroll, Zuran Orb and Serra
Angel. Plays Plains, Cursed Scroll.
T1 Jeff keeps Swamp x3, Mountain, Black Lotus, Solíkanar
the Swamp King, Shivan Dragon. Jeff draws Juzam Djinn.
T2 Kent draws Serra Angel, plays Mountain.
T2 Jeff draws and plays Mountain, Black Lotus,
sacrifices Lotus for three blue mana, plays Solíkanar
the Swamp King.
T3 Kent draws and plays Swamp.
T3 Jeff draws Necropotence, plays Swamp. Attacks with
SolíKanar (20-15) At EOT, Kent targets Jeff with Cursed
Scroll naming Serra Angel and revealing Serra Angel.
T4 Kent draws and plays Chaos Orb, activates and
sacrifices Orb targeting Solíkanar the Swamp King.
T4 Jeff draws Chaos Orb, plays Swamp, Necropotence.
Draws Earthquake, Fallen Angel and Swamp with
T5 Kent draws and plays Swamp, Juzam Djinn.
T5 Jeff plays Swamp, Chaos Orb, activates and sacrifices
Chaos Orb targeting Juzam Djinn. Draws Icy Manipulator,
Wheel of Fortune and Juzam Djinn with Necropotence
(12-15) Discards Wheel of Fortune.
T6 Kent draws and plays Plains, Serra Angel.
T6 Jeff plays Icy Manipulator. Draws Swamp, Shivan
Dragon with Necropotence (10-15).
T7 Kent draws and plays Mountain. Jeff taps Serra with
Icy. Kent plays second Serra Angel.
T7 Jeff plays Shivan Dragon. Draws Ivory Tower, Black
Lotus with Necropotence (8-15).
T8 Kent draws and plays Brushland. Plays Zuran Orb. One
Serra Angel is tapped by Jeffís Icy.
T8 Jeff plays Ivory Tower. Draws Mountain with
Necropotence (7-15). At EOT, Kent targets Jeff with
Cursed Scroll naming and revealing Fireball. (5-15)
T9 Kent draws Vampiric Tutor, plays Fireball targeting
Jeff. (0-15) KENT WINS GAME THREE ON TURN NINE
Building these decks, it was impossible to guess how
explosive they would be. While three Black Lotuses in
each deck hinted at the possibility, the inclusion of so
many mana intensive and relatively expensive creatures
in each deck made Kent and I wonder if any of these big
creatures would ever get into play. Other than the Black
Knight in my deck (which probably shouldnít be in there
anyway!) the cheapest creatures in either deck cost four
mana. Both decks could probably have been built better.
Now that we have seen the kind of power that can be put
into play so quickly by both decks, there are changes to
the decks each of us would like to make.
The jury is still out on whether Jesterís Cap is good or
not for these decks, each deck had multiple copies (this
oversized card was widely distributed and is one of the
few in the less attractive white bordered
design) in the sideboard. Both decks are a little low on
removal cards, and this could make the Caps really good
for removing the few answers that the opponent does
have, but the Cap is kind of expensive and felt slow in
the one game where it was played.
Before we played, I questioned whether Incinerate would
actually be useful, since in itself, it would be unable
to destroy ANY of Kentís creatures. In the match
detailed above, it was a terrible late draw in game one,
but was the game winning card draw in game two.
In game three, Necropotence got into play quickly enough
on turn four, but proved to be too expensive in life
loss. It still seems like there are a lot of possible
draws that could include Necropotence, Ivory Tower (why
greedy?) and at least one land and at least one Black
Lotus. Draws like these would be difficult to beat for
even these two SICK decks.
Below is a list of all seventy-nine of the oversized
cards that have been printed by Wizards of the Coast to
Abeyance Instant 1W White
Adarkar Wastes Land
All Hallow's Eve Enchantment 2BB Black
Aswan Jaguar 2/2 Creature 1GG Green
Autumn Willow 4/4 Creature 4GG Green
Balance Sorcery 1W White
Balduvian Horde 5/5 Creature 2RR Red
Baron Sengir 5/5 Creature 5BBB Black
Black Knight 2/2 Creature BB Black
Black Lotus Mono Artifact 0 Artifact
Blacker Lotus Artifact 0 Artifact
Blinking Spirit 2/2 Creature 3W White
Brushland Land Land
Cadaverous Bloom Enchantment 3BG Gold
Chaos Orb Mono Artifact 2 Artifact
City Of Brass Land Land
Crimson Hellkite 6/6 Creature 6RRR Red
Cursed Scroll Artifact 1 Artifact
Dark Banishing Instant 2B Black
Deflection Interrupt 3U Blue
Disenchant Instant 1W White
Dissipate Interrupt 1UU Blue
Drain Life Sorcery 1B Black
Earthquake Sorcery XR Red
Enduring Renewal Enchantment 2WW White
Erhnam Djinn 4/5 Creature 3G Green
Fallen Angel 3/3 Creature 3BB Black
Fireball Sorcery XR Red
Force Of Nature 8/8 Creature 2GGGG Green
Forest Land Land
Greater Realm of Preservation Enchantment 1W White
Guardian Beast 2/4 Creature 3B Black
Hurloon Minotaur 2/3 Creature 1RR Red
Hurricane Sorcery XG Green
Hydroblast Interrupt U Blue
Icy Manipulator Mono Artifact 4 Artifact
Incinerate Instant 1R Red
Incoming! Sorcery 4GGGG Green
Infernal Contract Sorcery BBB Black
Infernal Spawn Of Evil 7/7 Creature 6BBB Black
Island Land Land
Ivory Tower Artifact 1 Artifact
Jester's Cap Artifact 4 Artifact
Jokulhaups Sorcery 4RR Red
JuzŠm Djinn 5/5 Creature 2BB Black
Karplusan Forest Land Land
Lhurgoyf */* Creature 2GG Green
Library Of Alexandria Land Land
Meditate Instant 2U Blue
Mirror Mirror Artifact 7 Artifact
Mirror Universe Artifact 6 Artifact
Mountain Land Land
Natural Balance Sorcery 2GG Green
Necropotence Enchantment BBB Black
Nether Shadow 1/1 Creature BB Black
Order Of The White Shield 2/1 Creature WW White
Personal Incarnation 6/6 Creature 3WWW White
Plains Land Land
Pox Sorcery BBB Black
Prosperity Sorcery XU Blue
Pyroblast Interrupt R Red
Pyroclasm Sorcery 1R Red
Recall Sorcery XXU Blue
Serra Angel 4/4 Creature 3WW White
Serra Angel [alternate art] 4/4 Creature 3WW White
Shatterstorm Sorcery 2RR Red
Shivan Dragon 5/5 Creature 4RR Red
Sibilant Spirit 5/6 Creature 5U Blue
Sol'kanar the Swamp King 5/5 Creature 2RBU Gold
Squandered Resources Enchantment BG Gold
Squirrel Farm Enchantment 2G Green
Stormbind Enchantment 1RG Gold
Swamp Land Land
Swords to Plowshares Instant W White
Vampiric Tutor Instant B Black
Vesuvan Doppelganger */* Creature 3UU Blue
Wheel Of Fortune Sorcery 2R Red
Zuran Orb Artifact 0 Artifact
Next week, look for a detailed review of the Champions
of Kamigawa sealed deck PTQ being held in Dallas
tomorrow, November 6th, 2004. I will be running that
tournament, which will feature the best combination
tournament Magic and poker player in the world, Mr.
David Williams. Iíll bring you all the news right here
on the Pojo next Friday.
This weekís story was all about just having fun with
Magic. After more than a month of intensive limited
practice with Champions of Kamigawa, it really felt good
to play some totally casual Magic with these crazy giant
cards. I tend to take the game of Magic pretty
seriously, playing with the Big Cards this week reminded
me that Magic is a game. Games are supposed to be fun.
Sometimes I forget that Magic is FUN.
As usual, Iím always interested to know what YOU think.
Level II DCI Judge
Zanman on Magic Online