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Card of the Day

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Tolarian Academy 
Urza's Saga Rare

Reviewed April 23, 2004

Constructed: 4.4
Casual: 3.7
Limited: 2.1

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating

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Card of the Day Reviews 


* game store owner in CA, ShuffleAndCut

As I started to write this review, I realized one thing... I was writing the same thing everyone else was on Academy.  So instead of saying the same thing the rest of the crew is, let me give you the key words:

  • Broken
  • Abuse
  • Crazy
  • Game breaking
  • Banned
  • Mana Engine
  • Dumb
  • Absurd
  • Wicked
  • Sick
  • Wrong

Now take this puppy and Combo it with any X spell (the classic is Stroke of Genius, though about any X-spell will do).  Throw it in your casual Affinity Ravager deck.  Beat the holy crap outta something.

'Nuff my crewmate's reviews for the meat of it.

Constructed: 5
Casual: 5
Limited: 2.5
   Current Price:
Tolarian Academy - Urza's Saga - $19.17

   Combos Well With:
Stroke of Genius - Urza's Saga - $11.18

Judge Bill

*Level 2
MTG Judge

*game store employee

I know Wiards is hesitant to ban a card in type 1, for the simple fact that many casual groups follow the type 1 banned/restricted lists when building their decks. However, if you ban this card, you could probably take a look at the following cards for unrestriction:
Crop Rotation
Frantic Search
Grim Monolith
Lotus Petal
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Mind Over Matter (though not if you unrestrict the fast mana)
Stroke of Genius
Plus, it's eating into valuable design space. A definite highest rating.
In casual and limited, you usually don't have as many ways to abuse this card, and so, it gets a lower rating.
Constructed - 5
Casual - 3.5
Limited - 2


* game store owner (The Game Closet - Waco,TX)

* pro tour player

* Scrye writer since 2002

This is one of the most obviously broken cards of all time.  If this card were available with Mirrodin block around, it could have been even more crazy.  Imagine what ravager could do with this.
Casual players love making lots of free mana.  It's funny though because they don't use the mana in the same game breaking way.  I'm still not sure if that is good or bad.  Either way, I know that in limited, this card just gets skipped over a lot.
Constructed: 4.5
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 2

Jeff Zand

5 Time Pro Tour

Level 2 Judge

Tolarian Academy
At Tolarian Academy, the dress code is strictly blue. This card was the
primary mana engine of an incredible combo deck back during the spring and
summer after Urza's Saga was released. Eventually banned, it's fun to think
about how sick this powerful land would be if it had been reprinted in the
Mirrodin block.
CASUAL:            4.0
LIMITED:             2.5

 Van Zandt

Tolarian Academy
I'm glad this isn't still around.  If it hadn't gotten banned,  it probably
would have fallen to the wayside with some of the other bannings anyways, 
but with this new block... and affinity... and so many extra free
constructed 4
casual 4
limited 2

Ray "Monk"
* Level 3 DCI Judge
*DCI Tournament Organizer
*Game Store Owner (Gamer's Edge)

Tolarian Academy


Boy is this card broken. One of the things we joked about a lot on this card is how, in play testing, the card only made colorless mana, and it was broken then! So what happens to it, they make it better! Urzaís Saga was one funny set, let me tell ya.


Constructed:                 5

Casual:                         1

Limited:                        1


* Level 1 DCI Judge

*game store employee

* gaming for over 15 years
Tolarian Academy

BROKEN. That about says it all. This is a card that should have never been printed. The amazing thing about the card is that a whole group of Research and Development people didnít figure out that this card was too good. If you reprinted this card today it would still be broken. There just isnít a way to balance this card. Make it come into play tapped and you would most likely loose on the next turn. Make it cause you to lose life when you tap it and you would laugh as you kill your opponent. Its just a dumb card to have every made. The flavor text should say ďI am broken abuse meĒ as if we didnít know that. Here is my tip for playing it in casual. Play it with lots of artifacts and fireball, blaze, stroke of genius or some thing that has X in the cost and does lots of damage.

Constructed 5

Limited 4

Casual 5


2 Grand Prix Top 8's

Multiple Pro Tour appearances

Tolarian Academy


Dumbest.  Card.  Ever.


Combined with the free mechanic, this was absolutely absurd.  Even without it, the number of painfully ridiculous things you could do makes this card do boggles the mind.


I donít see this making a lot of sense for casual players, but anything this powerful makes an impact on people.  Good for Mental, group games, whatever else you can think of, thereís a place for this.


About the only format where this isnít good is limited, simply because there are not enough solid artifacts in Saga-block to capitalize on the brokenness.  Print this in Mirrodin and the world as we know it ends.


Constructed:  5.0

Casual:  5.0

Limited:  1.5


Tolarian Academy is/was wicked. Even back in the day there was always potential to whip out a bunch of cheap artifacts, half of which produced mana, and then gain a ton of colored mana to play with. In today's environment it would be sick and wrong and I am so glad that it has been banned in every format. Having said that, if you play casual and don't need any friends consider some of the things you could do by introducing this card to Affinity and Arcbound.

Constructed - Well you can't use it anymore so - 1.0

Limited - If you are drafting and get one of these guys hope the other packs are all Darksteel or Mirrodin. The more artifacts in the draft set the better this card gets - 1.5+

Casual - Just sick and wrong but you could go and build some sick Affinity based decks with this card. Don't forget the X spells and cheap artifact mana too (totally out of flavor for casual though) - 4.0


Secret Squirrel on the

Tolarian Academy

What is there to say about Academy that hasnít been said already? Gets lots of mana then win with whatever you want. Obviously capable with killing turn 1. Banned/restricted in every format it would be legal in. Was supposed to be colorless mana, but was changed to blue so it would ďfit into a cycleĒ. More like putting it in the universe of broken cards.

So, broken in constructed. Not too sure about limited. Probably bad cause US didnít have too many good artifacts. But Iíd pick it anyway.

In Casual, if you want. Obviously broken in Type 1, (the only format itís legal in). I guess you could get lots of mana if you want, but there are other ways.

Constructed: 5
Casual: 3
Limited: 2?

Copyright 2001


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