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Paul’s Perspective
What's your Flavor?
April 16, 2010

Flavor text, the often neglected piece of text at the bottom of your favorite cards. Ever since I saw my first magic card I have been infatuated with this seldom appreciated piece of writing. It can demonstrate moments of unrivaled comedy, it can contain a groan inducing pun as equally often a detailed look at the multiverses of Magic.


The reality is most players forget the utter simplicity and brilliance of a well placed and relevant flavor text. Often time’s players play cards because they are good and tournament staples but fail to see the resonant fantasy and flavor concepts behind the cards. Nowhere is this reflected then in Magic 2010. Cards such as Baneslayer Angel receive unearthly praise and are staple cards for constructed players but there is a smaller portion of cards within the set that appeal to the Vorthos within us all. Meaning creative cards that are flavorful and consistent with the ideology’s of colors. A flavorful card from Magic 2010 would be Protean Hydra; it matches the player’s conceptions of what a Hydra should be as well as providing a fun card to use. Baneslayer Angel while powerful and having a lot of combat abilities is not as flavorful as the Hydra, demons and dragons aside.


Flavor is a powerful and important part of the game for a lot of players not only does it amuse players being able to find cards that make them laugh aloud, but also cards that mold their concepts of colors and themselves as planeswalkers. Black wouldn’t be black if it could straight out counter spells or deal direct damage to a player, things like these are not only flavor relevant but effect the game of Magic as a whole. I recall my first Magic the Gathering booster pack I ever opened, it was already opened and being sold in a Goodwill store, the artwork of the package attracted my attention, that and my experience with the Pokémon trading card game. I immediately being the precocious tyke I was demanded my parents buy it for me. Sitting in the car later I slowly went over my treasure trove of cards. A Phyrexian Hulk, I knew what a hulk was but what was Phyrexia? A Craw Wurm, A Compost, Reflex’s,. I didn’t understand how to play the game, hell I didn’t even know what I was reading, but I was instantly absorbed, It oozed with imagination, flavor, and unparalleled possibilities.


 I was also regularly a subscriber to collectible card game magazines, and after browsing through the Pokémon related items I wandered into Magic. An entire set spoiler, Phrexian Battle flies, combos I didn’t have the slightest idea about how they worked and deck lists and Magic terms, The black Summer, card advantage. My head was spinning and I had to dive in deeper and deeper. My interest lay dormant for a while until I purchased my first theme deck from Odyssey and began to play with my friends. I was instantly drawn towards black and its selfish nature; forget the rest and I will go all out. Lose life to draw cards? Sounds fine with me. Here lies also one of the fundamental brilliancies of Magic; each player is attracted to different areas of the game. Each player loves a certain planeswalker, a certain color, a certain card.

Each player falls under the Timmy, Spike, Johhny, Melvin, Vorthos area of player psychology. Each person brings their unique expectations into Magic which also puts a heavy strain on it, how do we keep the player base happy while making competitive and casually relevant cards that ooze flavor, the task can seem daunting. Fortunately Magic is always growing and evolving new parts are added and old are subtracted, my experience leads me down a different road entirely then my playgroups and that is what Magic, well pardon my pun so Magical. Casting spells and land ratios aside the fun in Magic is allowing yourself to be drawn into other worlds sometimes so far from our own. The triumphs and tragedies of the characters in Magic the gathering universe, being able to summon demonic hordes to do your bidding and generally have fun. Flavor is as important as Magic as it is in cooking; you may have the right ingredients but without flavor its nothing. Every now and then it’s important to windmill slam your card down onto the table and announce triumphantly to the entire group, “Everybody but me.. CHARGE!!!”


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