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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

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- Alpha/Beta

Reviewed July 7, 2014

Constructed: 3.13
Casual: 3.88
Limited: 3.75
Multiplayer: 3.38

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

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Card of the Day Reviews 


Deck Garage


Our editor is a big fan of old-timey monoblack.BMoor This is why the "deck mechanic" clip-art he uses has a picture of Juzam Djinn superimposed on the car. Had you noticed?

Nightmare used to be all you needed to win. Play black, kill the other guy's creatures, drop Nightmare as a big flyer, swing and win. Plan B was Corrupt, I imagine. If you can believe it, Nightmare was pretty scary even in two-color decks at one point. Figure it this way-- by the time you have six mana in a two color, you'll have on average three Swamps, right? Maybe more. If you end up with less, then you just don't cast Nightmare until you draw a few more. Usually topdecking lands in the lategame is bad, but when you've got this guy, it's good! He keeps getting bigger! These days, though, six mana needs to get you so much more than that. I'd still consider it in monoblack, since most of the big black flyers are Demons and maybe I don't want a drawback. And it still gets reprinted in Core Sets sometimes, where it's a solid bomb in Limited. But as my finisher in a monoblack control deck? I feel like I can do better.

Constructed- 2.5
Casual- 3.5
Limited- 4
Multiplayer- 3.5

David Fanany

Player since 1995


In Dungeons and Dragons, the nightmare (which, just for interest, looked almost exactly like Magic's Nightmare) was a powerful outsider originating from the lower plane Hades. In addition to its own abilities, it could often be found in the company of night hags, liches, and other such dangerous beings.

In Magic, though, the Nightmare is tied more strongly to actual physical swamps; the intention behind it seems to have been to act as a sort of lord of corrupted lands, though it lacks the sort of spell-like abilities that we have seen on a lot of expensive creatures recently. Nonetheless, I think it fills the intended role quite well. Its potential power and toughness are limited only by the number of lands in your deck - even after twenty-one years, there are not too many creatures that can say that, and there are still not that many things that can kill it efficiently. While there is much more choice at this mana cost now than there was in 1993, Nightmare is still spectacular, still evocative (try it as the centerpiece of a "Swamp matters" deck with Tendrils of Corruption), and can still beat dreams into despair with shocking efficiency.

Constructed: 3/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 3/5
Multiplayer: 3/5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Nightmare which is a six mana Black creature with Flying and power and toughness equal to the number of Swamps you control. This has always been a powerful card for Black and even played early with a Dark Ritual was still a serious threat as a 4/4 with evasion. Other cards may take the top end creature position in mono-Black, but Nightmare is still a solid option in some formats.

In Limited this is far stronger in mono-Black, but even in a two color deck with half the lands as Swamps this is a 3/3 or higher with evasion that can get stronger with an otherwise dead land draw. Technically splashable with just one Black mana symbol, this works well enough in Sealed and is a solid first pick in Booster.

Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 4.0
Multiplayer: 3.5

Michael Sokolowski

The Nightmare!

The raw power of Nightmare is a fearsome thing to behold. When you're playing mono-black, this thing makes an excellent finisher. At it's worst, it's a 6/6 with flying for 6 mana. The longer the game goes on, and the more Swamps you play, the more Nightmare is able to feed off your opponent's terror and grow even stronger.

"But Michael," I hear you say, "what if I don't play mono-black? Is Nightmare still the right finisher card for me?" Absolutely, anonymous Internet reader with shockingly good spelling. Why? Because of one card.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.

There, now you're sort of playing mono-black after all!

One of the best things about Nightmare is that it has no built-in downside. Usually with some powerful black cards, demons and such usually, they have a cost or penalty built in to make up for their great power. Losing life when you attack, having to pay mana each turn, sacrificing creatures, or in the case of Abyssal Persecutor literally making you unable to win the game until you get rid of it.

The only downside to Nightmare is that it costs 6 mana. And that's not a small amount, but the beatstick you get in return is generally worth the cost. And that's what Nightmare is in the end. A beatstick. It is a bit slow, so more suited for a finisher in a control deck than an aggro deck. Aggro decks don't care for running things that cost 6 mana, they want to win or practically have won the game by the time someone gets to that amount. This is a card that will make the bad day your giving your opponent even worse.

It's straightforward, it's powerful, and it's iconic. Nightmare has been in the game since Alpha, and was in every core set all the way from Alpha to Magic 2010, before it took a short break (probably exhausted from being so awesome) until it returned in Magic 2014.

Fear the Nightmare.

Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 3.5


I know I haven't reviewed an MTG card in ages.  But we needed a 5th favorite card for the week and I figured I'd chime in with my favorite.

I consider myself a real old-school collectible card game player, as I was actually playing collectible card games in the late 1970's.  The main game I played was Strat-O-Matic Baseball.  I was in a draft league with about 20 other players. We would draft cards every Spring, and form teams with them, and play Strato every Monday night all summer long.  We even had an 81-game schedule (1/2 of a real baseball season), and played 6 simulated games each night.  Starting pitchers even needed 4 day's rest.  Players could get injured and go on the D.L.  It was a great league.  Every Spring, I couldn't wait for a new season of cards to come out, along with a new draft! (Richard Garfield said Strato was a strong influence for creating MTG if you are not aware of this).  I played in Strato leagues for many years.  I still have all the teams I've drafted rubber banded in my drawer of my desk.  Jim Rice FTW!  (Here's a fun article in Forbes about Strato if you want to get side-tracked a bit).  I think Strato declined in popularity due to Fantasy Baseball, MTG, and video games.  But they still do make it today. 

Anyway, Fast Forward to the mid 90's, and I see teenagers in my neighborhood playing MTG on their driveways during a dog walk.  I was like WTF is this?  I watched. I sat in for a game. I was mesmerized.  I ran and bought some boosters from a hobby shop and joined a Saturday league there.  But I was getting spanked.  There was so much to learn.  (Necropotence ... Exile a card? .. WTF does that mean?!  ... It meant I was going to lose again). The internet didn't have a whole lot of MTG strategy at the time, but there were dozens of books on MTG strategy, and I started reading all of them.  I had read so many MTG Books, I decided to put up reviews of them online ... this was a bit before Pojo, but I posted them here for historical purposes.

To change my losing fortunes, I finally decided I would focus on one strategy and learn to do it well.  I decided to play mono-color decks and eliminate mana-screw.  I toyed with red, but settled on black.  For me, focusing on one color and making simple tweaks made it easy to play, and easy to sideboard.  I eventually become internet friends with Jamie Wakefield, and we would share ideas on Fat Black decks in the late 90's.  I remember he was toying with cards like Necrosavant, Commander Greven il-Vec, and others as finishers.  Not sure why, but I just loved having at least one Nightmare in the deck.  Jamie wasn't a huge fan of it (and he might have been right), but it helped me finish off a lot of opponents. 

Nightmare became a card I really grew to love then.  I love the original Nightmare's card art.  The artist, Melissa Benson, also did the artwork for the original Shivan Dragon. They're both Alpha/Beta icons in my book.  Nightmare is still my favorite card to collect.  I have Nightmare Beta's in a variety of languages.  And I even have an old MTG Nightmare Denim Jacket.  ;-)

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