Born in the great gaming state of Wisconsin, Jason was fated to be a gamer. Too young to drink Beer (well, not anymore) and lactose intolerant so he couldn’t eat the cheese, Jason turned to AD&D (1st edition). After that, many systems were dabbled in until he found his home in piles of cardboard. Since then he played at least 6 CCG’s and may be learning to play Harry Potter if he finds some free time and a few bucks (donations welcome).

His gaming habits run parallel with his life. He reads Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Non-Fiction, Horror, Westerns, Philosophy, and the Classics. He listens to Jazz, Classical, Heavy Metal, and the band Brother. He has switched majors many times starting his college career in Environmental Studies, then moving to English, Theology, Communications, and now Psychology.




Card Price Guide

MTG Fan Articles
Single Card Strategy 
Deck Tips & Strategies 
Killer Deck Reports 
Peasant Magic 
Featured Articles

Featured Writers
The Helpdesk
The Dragon's Den
Rumblings From The Ass
The Southwestern Paladin
The Heretic's Sermon
Through The Portal

Deck Garage
Aaron's School

Message Board 
Magic League

Contact Us

Pojo's Book Reviews


 Through the Portal 
with Jason Chapman

How many

Well, now that I start in on my second article I find that I simply can't keep my promises. First, since I will be reconstructing a deck, I won't be able to include the text of every card. 20 cards or so is doable, 100+ is not. Also, I will again begin with a fairly long section at the start of my article that is not required reading. In this case, I simply want to say a word about the changes here at Pojo, then talk about math, and finally talk about how I reconstruct decks. If you are like me you would rather not read this article than read about statistics and hyper geometric distribution; if that's the case simply skip down to the start of the real article and ignore the top half of my writings instead of hitting the "back" button on your browser. Let's get ready to rumble.

Bill, thanks for putting up and maintaining a great website here at You have done a great service to a lot of players out there by giving them a voice. I hope you continue with your superb work on the rest of the site. I especially look forward to revisiting the Harry Potter section (what can I say, I'm a huge fan of English juvenile fiction, I don't know why). Fletcher, I wish you the best as you begin to streamline the Magic section of Pojo. While I know it's early, I look forward to the new higher quality Pojo content. I just hope I can contribute in a way that is useful both to you and the readers. Thanks, both of you guys and good luck with your new endeavors.

Now, we come to a rough section: math. Let me start out by saying I hate math. That's a lie; I fear and loath math. But, I'm a gamer and one thing that gamers must understand is math, specifically probability and statistics. Every time we shuffle cards or roll a die we are involved with math so if we want to keep playing we have to learn a little bit. I won't pretend that I knew all the math that I'm about to lay out for you, I had to do research. I strongly encourage those of you who want or need to know about any aspect of the game to research it. You never know when it comes in handy. As an example I recently got extra-credit for knowing where Serendip was and how we got the word serendipity. I only knew about this because when I was still a youngster I was curious as to how the Serendib Efreet got his name. You never can know when you will need to know.

Anyway, here is how I got the numbers I used in this article. I sweat a lot and I used an equation to determine hypergeometric distribution. While I won't define that big long scary word, I will say what it does. Basically it finds the likelihood of a given event happening within a series of samples taken from a group without anything being replaced into the group the sample is taken out of. If that was still hard to understand maybe this will work: if I want to know the probability that I will draw 1 Lightning Bolt in my opening hand when I'm playing my red deck I use a hypergeometric distribution. The big scary equation looks like this:


M = number of Lightning Bolt in deck (Population Size)

x = number of Lightning Bolt's I want in my starting hand (Sample size)

N = number of cards in my opening hand (Number in Sample)

n = number of cards in my deck (Total Population)

The important thing to remember about using this equation is that it only tells you the probability that you will get exactly 1 Lightning Bolt in my opening hand. I would have to rerun the equation for and replace M with 2, 3, and 4 and then add the final results together if I wanted to find out the probability of having at least 1 Lightning Bolt in my opening hand. If you don't want to run this for yourself, you can use my charts below.

The other important thing to remember is that just because something is likely it doesn't mean that it will happen. Even if you have a 99.9999% chance of success that still means you can fail. Also, the number of times you try something doesn't increase or decrease the probability. If I'm flipping a coin, and it has come up heads once before, I have an equal chance of getting heads or tails. Even if I had flipped the coin 100 times and it had been heads every time I would still have a 50/50 chance for either side on my next flip. The reason is that each flip is a different independent trial. Don't get confused by this. When you are playing Magic your odds of pulling a specific card do increase as your deck gets smaller, but the odds of any one card in your deck being the top card are exactly the same. Here come some charts (all numbers rounded to nearest):

The probability of drawing 1 of a card (drawing exactly 1 Lightning Bolt in a 60 card deck)

Turn Number

# in deck 1 2 3 4 5
1 12% 13% 15% 17% 18%
2 21% 24% 26% 28% 30%
3 28% 31% 34% 36% 38%
4 34% 36% 38% 40% 42%

The probability of drawing 2 of a card (drawing exactly 2 Lightning Bolt in a 60 card deck)

Turn Number
# in deck 1 2 3 4 5
2 1% 2% 2% 3% 3%
3 3% 4% 5% 7% 8%
4 6% 8% 9% 11% 13%

The probability of drawing 3 of a card (drawing exactly 3 Lightning Bolt in a 60 card deck)

Turn Number
# in deck 1 2 3 4 5
3 .1% .2% .3% .4% .5% (Basically 0%)
4 .4% .6% .9% 1% 2%

The probability of drawing 4 of a card (drawing all 4 Lightning Bolt in a 60 card deck)

Turn Number
#in deck 1 2 3 4 5
4 .01% .01% .03% .04% .07% (Basically 0%)

The probability of drawing at least one of a card (drawing 1 or more Lightning Bolt)

Turn Number
# in deck 1 2 3 4 5
1 12% 13% 15% 16% 18%
2 22% 25% 28% 31% 34%
3 32% 35% 39% 43% 46%
4 40% 44% 49% 53% 57%
In order to use these charts simply find the number of cards in your deck on the vertical axis and the turn that you would like to have that card (or multiples of that card) on the horizontal axis and then find your percentage. Usually you will want to use the last table to determine how many of a card should be in a deck. Sometimes, though, you will wish to use the other charts to make sure you aren't including too many of any one particular card.

The probability of playing 1 land every turn with no extra land in hand

Turn Number
# of land 2 3 4 5
12 31.65% 18.26% 8.06% 2.84%
14 33.31% 23.06% 12.44% 5.47%
16 33.11% 26.74% 17.04% 9.00%
18 31.37% 28.96% 21.29% 13.12%
20 28.50% 29.60% 24.67% 17.37%
22 24.92% 28.76% 26.79% 21.21%
24 21.01% 26.67% 27.45% 24.16%
26 17.08% 23.65% 26.67% 25.81%
28 13.39% 20.08% 24.61% 25.99%

Simplified version of probability of playing a land every turn

Number of Turns
# of land
12 1
14 2
16 2
18 3
20 3
22 3
24 4
26 5
28 5

Use these charts to help figure out how many lands are needed in a deck. The top chart only shows the probability that you will play a land during each turn without having any lands left over in your hand. This is most useful for decks with lower mana curves (simplified definition is that a mana curve is the average casting cost of a deck) that don't want to draw land when they could be drawing and playing a useful spell. The second chart is more of a general guide. Simply look at the number of turns in a row that you wish to play a land (column 2) and then look at column 1 to find the number of lands to play in your deck. More aggressive decks should generally use fewer lands to speed up the deck while control decks tend to use more lands to maintain consistency.
Well, the math is now over. I hope that wasn't too bad. Before I go on, I want to say one thing about how I will reconstruct decks that are submitted to me. First, I can't fix every deck. I simply don't have the time and it really isn't the focus of my column. Having said that I think I will do things differently than most other writers when they critique a deck. I will not try to make a deck do something for which it wasn't intended. Even if the strategy isn't the best I will try to stay close to what I feel the original intent of the deck was. I will also avoid any type of expensive cards if at all possible. That means that even if a rare card may be the best choice I may use a common or uncommon if it is strong enough to fill the position. I do this because I hope that many of those reading my column are younger players and I realize that they are often working on a limited budget. I want these decks to be a learning experience and I want you to be able to build them.

How Many?

One of the hardest questions to answer in deck building is the question of "how many?". More experienced players often go by feel or simply go by the number of a certain card that were in a past deck. Then, after a lot of testing, they find that their intuition was wrong. New players often don't even have this past experience to draw upon so they make some mistakes. To help me teach this lesson a little bit easier to understand I will use a deck that was submitted to me by a brave soul.

Creatures (14):
1 viashino sandstalker
1 phantom monster
1 clay statue
1 phantasmal mount
1 thalakos mistfolk
1 reef pirates
1 air elemental
1 manta riders
1 prodigal sorcerer
1 zuran spellcaster
1 wayward soul
1 apprentice wizard
1 clockwork beast
1 glacial wall
Enchantments/Artifacts 12:

2 flight
1 backfire
1 contempt
1 giant strength
1 orcish oriflamme
1 mystic veil
1 thirst
1 flood
1 enchantment alteration
1 goblin war drums
1 fountain of youth

Spells 15:
2 unsummon
2 remove souls
2 spell blast
2 brainstorm
1 portent
1 about face
1 sonic burst
1 impulse
1 deluge
1 peek
1 reckless charge

The first thing that sticks out is the fact that the deck contains only about 1 copy of any individual card. This creates some awful problems while playing any deck regardless of the color. Sometimes players do this to try to make their deck a "Swiss army knife". Many players try this since they are looking for "the deck" that can win every game. It simply won't happen. Every deck has strengths and weaknesses and building focus and consistency into your deck means that you are trying to optimize your strengths. Building a "Swiss army knife" means you are weakening your overall deck to try to blunt the strength of your opponent's deck. Optimizing strengths is a proactive approach, protecting weaknesses is a reactive approach. Proactive = good; Reactive = bad. After you have a good deck that is focused and consistent then you can work on minimizing it's weaknesses. There are at least three more reasons why playing one of a lot of cards isn't always the best strategy.

First, it is a fact that some cards are better than others. If a deck contains only 1 or 2 of any one card then some spots that could be taken up by good cards are taken up by mediocre ones. Another way to look at it is that if there is a really good card that you want to draw chances aren't very good that you will get to use it if there is only a single copy of it in your deck. Even in decks that use multiple spells for the same situation it is likely that there is a best spell to fill the slot.

You are building a White deck and decide you need some enchantment removal. Originally your deck had 1 Erase, 2 Ray of Distortion, and 1 Disenchant. If you knew every deck you were facing had 4 Rancor, no artifacts and no other enchantments then Erase would be best and you should include 4 (because Erase would remove Rancor from the game). If you knew that every deck you would play was a heavy counterspell deck then you might be best off with Ray of Distortion (Flashback is a good ability against counterspell decks since even if they counter it you can cast it again later in the game). However, you can be sure that if you play a group of games every deck will be a little different and you are best with 4 Disenchant. Including a mix means that you may draw Erase when you need to destroy an artifact or you may draw Ray of Distortion and lack the mana to cast it. Disenchant solves both of these problems.

W, Instant, Urza''s Legacy Common
Remove target enchantment from the game.
Perception is more pleasing than truth.
Illus. Ron Spears

Ray of Distortion
3W, Instant, Odyssey Common
Destroy target artifact of enchantment.
Flashback 4WW (You may play this card from your graveyard for it's flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)
Illus. Carl Critchlow
1W, Instant, Urza''s Saga Common
Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
""Let Phyrexia breed evil in the darkness; my holy light will reveal its taint.""
Illus. Donato Giancola

G, Enchant Creature, Urza''s Legacy Common
Enchanted creature gains +2/+0 and trample.
When Rancor is put into a graveyard from play, return Rancor to owner''s hand.
Hatred outlives the hateful.
Illus. Kev Walker

Second, consistency is always important. Since we have already determined that you want to play with good cards in our deck it would make sense that you want to draw those cards as often as possible. As an example, again let's say I have decided that I need to play Disenchant in my deck.

If you only play a single Disenchant, which is a very good card, then the chances are that you will never draw it when you need it. By adding multiple copies you increase the chance that you will draw it when needed (just take a look at the charts up above). Of course, it is possible to take this too far but we will deal with that later when we analyze my version of the deck.

Third, deck focus is important. Really this is a combination of the first three and the thought process goes like this:

If there are 5 "best" creatures for my deck and I have 1 of 20 different creatures in my deck then I only have 4 of the "best" creature. If I have 4 of each of the 5 "best" creatures in my deck I have 20 of the "best" creature.

If I have 20 of the "best" creatures then my chance of drawing my "best" creatures is better than if I have 4.

Here is how that thought process works in action:

The deck that has 1 of 20 different creatures has 2 with swampwalk. The other deck, with the 20 "best" creatures have 0 with swampwalk. I'm playing a black deck with the 4 of each deck. I may not have any swampwalking creatures but I'm still happy because I still have 18 creatures that are, on average, better than anything in the other deck and I know I have a better chance to draw them.

Since focus is so important in a deck I have to provide another analysis as well:

The "Swiss army" player knows that he's ready for anything so his strategy is to just stay alive until he can draw that one right card. This means that he is forced to keep a conservative strategy and wait for the right cards to come(reactive = bad). The player with a focused deck knows how many cards of what type will become available to him. He can then adapt his own strategy and take a proactive approach to the game. Thus, even if my Deadguy Red deck (aggressive red deck) is losing the creature battle I can still afford to attack with my creatures, even if I will lose some, since I know that my next draw will be either a creature, a spell to eliminate a creature, or a land (which wouldn't help but the probabilities are still in my favor). This is important since consistency lets you play your game and not your opponents. Proactive = good; Reactive = bad.

Having made light of the reasons why a player would include multiple copies of a card I will rebuild the deck and then make a few more points. As I said above, I want to try and stay faithful to the intent of the deck. However, when a deck contains few copies of a great number of cards it tends to lose focus (yes, this is another reason to include multiple copies of a card) and this makes it harder for me to divine the deck's intent. Still, I think that one of the neater possible themes of the deck above is evasion (the ability of a creature to avoid being blocked) and the fact that it uses a number of rarely seen cards. This deck looks like it could be fun to play so I will also try to make sure my deck will be fun as well. I will also try to build a deck that illustrates some of the circumstances where a player would include 1 ,2, 3, or 4 of a particular card.
Creatures 18:
3 Phantasmal Mount
4 Spark Mage
4 Thalakos Dreamsower
3 Thalakos Scout
4 Razorfin Hunter

Card Drawing 3:
3 Curiosity

Evasion 6:
4 Shadow Rift
2 Goblin War Drum

Creature Control 4:
1 Immobilizing Ink
3 Backfire

Counters 7:
3 Miscalculation
4 Memory Lapse

Mana Sources 22:
3 Chromatic Sphere
7 Mountain
12 Island

Well, let's start in with the creatures. Because the original deck contained so many unique creatures, there was a lack of coherence which I tried to correct. The evasion theme could have been carried out by the old standby Dwarven Warriors. Instead I choose to throw in Phantasmal Mount. Part of the reason was that the Mount was in the original deck but also because it gives a creature +1/+1. Since most of our creatures have a toughness of 1 this boost could be important. They can also combo with Immobilizing Ink although this isn't the Ink's strongest combo (more on that later). The Spark Mage (could also be Dwarven Vigilante but they are more expensive as far as casting cost) is there to fulfil a role the original deck lacked, They take advantage of the evasion theme by allowing you to destroy creatures when they aren't blocked. This also enhances the Goblin War Drums since it helps to limit the number of creatures they could block with. Another creature that will limit your opponent's blockers is the Dreamsower. They also have evasion so they keep with the theme. The Thalakos Scout take the place of the Mistfolk in the original deck. Both of these cards are good since you can keep them from dying but the Scout's are generally better since they return to your hand, this way they don't clog up your card drawing. Last but not least is the Razorfin Hunter. They have the ability to pull off a major combo in this deck plus they are simply a good card. They fit a secondary theme of this deck, which is combat tricks, and they should be useful.

Now we come to the real point of this whole article; how did I decide how many of a card to put into the deck? For the Razorfin Hunter I included 4 since they are generally a good card and also since they are part of my combo (more on that later). They are also one of my few 2 casting cost creatures so, by including 4 of them, I give myself a little better chance of having a useful permeant out on turn 2. As an additional reason to include 4, they can be used as creature control which is something that this deck needs. The other two creatures that appear in my deck 4 times are also there as creature control. The Phantasmal Mount and the Thalakos Scout appear only 3 times since they are both useful and round out the deck but aren't a part of any key element of the deck. It is an important distinction to draw when you are building decks; theme vs. necessity. Creature control is a necessity in a deck, but evasion is just a nice bonus.

Having said that, let's move on to the evasion aspects of the deck. My favorite card here is the Shadow Rift. This card is useful in so many ways that there simply aren't enough good things to say about it. The most obvious use is to give your Spark Mage shadow so they can't be blocked by your opponent. Less obvious, you can target an attacking creature of your opponent's that doesn't have shadow. Then you can block it with your Thalakos Scout and then return the Scout to your hand (this is an example of a combat trick). Thus, this card can double as creature removal. The other benefit of the card is that it's a cantrip (a card that lets you draw another card when you play it). This accelerates your deck and allows you to gain card advantage over your opponent. In fact, if you need a draw bad enough paying 1 mana to draw a card isn't a bad deal and you can do that by targeting an inconsequential creature with Shadow Rift. Since this is a long laundry list of good stuff I have included 4 in my deck since the utility (ability to be useful in multiple situations) is so amazing.

Also, this deck contains 2 Goblin War Drums, a card which was in the original deck. There are only two copies of the card for a number of reasons. First, multiple copies of the card are useless. Second, since it's an enchantment as opposed to a sorcery or instant it will stay around turn after turn. This means that once one is in play you don't want to draw a second one. Finally, this card only really aids the Spark Mage since everything else has good evasion abilities already or isn't a creature that you would be attacking with. After all that you may wonder why there are any in the deck or why I don't have just 1. The reason is that the card can be useful, and more important than that this card can break the game if I need it to. In this deck (unless I pull off the combo) there isn't anything that can really let me come from behind or overwhelm an opponent. While Goblin War Drums isn't ideal, if played carefully it can almost guarantee that at least one attacker will get through. With this deck that can be enough to swing the game. Because of this, this is a card I will be looking to draw at some point every game so I include 2 to make my chances realistic.

Card drawing is important in every deck so I made sure to include a source for this one. The original used instants as a way to draw cards. What I decided to do was use a lot of cantrips and then include Curiosity. This card is amazing and since it allows you to draw a card whenever the opposing player takes damage it is a natural fit for an evasion deck. Although I would normally include 4 in a deck I opted for 3 in this one. That is because I have 2 creatures that probably won't be attacking (the Dreamsower and the Mount). I also have the Scout which, since I will return him to my hand frequently, isn't friendly to creature enchantments. A possible replacement could be Costal Piracy but that would up my mana curve and I also think it's more expensive to buy.

I will throw in a quick note about card drawing here. Other than the fact that drawing cards is good (and I mean good enough to be the single most powerful effect in the game after mana production), card drawing engines allow you to include fewer copies of a single card in your deck. This is because you will be seeing a greater number of cards during the game and your probability of drawing the needed card will increase as your library decreases.

A card I really liked in the original deck was Backfire. It is a card that is seldom seen and seldom played but it can fit in the right deck. The deck it needs is a deck that is aggressive and it can also be helpful if the deck encourages an opponent to attack and thus speed their own demise. The big bonus here is that it costs only 1 blue mana so it can take care of early creatures like Phyrexian Negator or Goblin Cadet. Also, they are one of my few forms of creature control that are effective against the big stuff so that increases the number I will need. Unfortunately, between the Spark Mage and the Dreamsower I hope my opponent won't have much big stuff to attack with so I decided to include 3 instead of 4.

After my points about why not to include one of a card in a deck you probably noticed the single Immobilizing Ink. This spell is definitely on the jank list (a sub-optimal card that gets you laughed at). Normally this card wouldn't make my deck but it has the ability to pull of an impressive and deadly combo. If I am able to cast Curiosity on my Razorfin Hunter and then cast the Ink on the Hunter I can cycle through my library and deal damage to my opponent as long as I have mana available. This will win you the game if you can make it work and if you have mana available. It also works, although not as well, with the Phantasmal Mount since I can then use its ability multiple times to pump up my creatures with 1 toughness (oh yeah, that's all of my other creatures). This isn't as good and you won't want to do it every game but it could come in handy. Last, but not least, I can use it to control an opponent's creature if I need to. Bottom line is this card gives me some interesting possibilities but overall is not a strong card nor would I want/need multiples in play; thus I included only 1.

As for the counterspells (no caps means I'm referring to any card that allows me to counter a spell as opposed to the actual spell Counterspell). I included 7 total. This really isn't as many as I would like but in a deck like this counterspells aren't the focus. I pretty much put the rest of the deck together and then see how much room I have left. That room either goes to smoothing out my mana curve, card drawing effects, or counterspells. You may notice that my choice doesn't include the best of all the counterspells which is Counterspell itself. The reason I chose to eliminate this card from the deck is that it costs two blue mana. Since this is a two color deck that doesn't use any dual-lands (lands that produce 2 colors of mana, can also refer specifically to the cards that produced two types of mana without any drawbacks that were published in the first few printings ) I want to keep colored mana costs to a minimum.
To replace Counterspell I choose Memory Lapse. Many players dislike this card. They are all wrong (okay that's my opinion) and while it's true that many experienced players still don't like this card I believe that seeing the uses of this card are something that separates a greenhorn from an old hand. Having said that I will let you work that puzzle out on your own (or you can research it on the web, in fact you don't even have to leave Pojo). The bottom line is that Memory Lapse is more flexible than my other counterspell (since it doesn't allow my opponent to tap mana to get out of the effect) so I put 4 in. The Miscalculation are good because they also only require 1 blue mana and I can cycle it to draw a card if I want/need to. Again, this card drawing is a good thing and lets me get away with playing only 2 or 3 copies of some cards.
Another odd addition is Chromatic Sphere. This card is another one that doesn't see much play. It's good because it helps smooth out your mana distribution since it will let you cast any spell in your deck even if you don't have the right colored mana. It also lets you draw a card. I don't remember but I think I may have mentioned that drawing cards is good. Back in the day, actually not that far back, I used to play with Barbed Sextant in my decks and people used to laugh at me. Now I play with the Sphere and people still laugh at me but I still like the card a lot. Also, if I never get a chance to write an article about it (I was intending on doing it) both of these cards are great in decks that use Threshold because they let you draw a card (this gives you another spell to cast that could end up in your graveyard) and they get sacrificed so they go to your graveyard.

The last thing we need for this deck is land. To determine the amount of land that I will need I have to look at my nifty chart. I will want to find what number of lands give me a good chance of having 3 mana (the amount of mana I need to cast all the important cards in my deck) as soon as possible (that is on turn 3). I just looked it up and I was told that I need between 18 and 22 lands. I settled on 19 since I have so many cantrips (cards that replace themselves in your hand when cast) that allow me to draw extra cards and since I have the Chromatic Sphere to help even out any problems I have because I can't find the right color of mana. Since I have more blue spells than red and since they are generally more important than my red spells I included a larger number of Islands than Mountains.

Well, that's all folks. Okay, you caught me in another lie: that isn't even close to everything about the subject. These are guidelines. In time you will develop your own intuition about these things and you will also find that there are many more subtle reasons to change the number of a given spell in your deck. As for the deck I made, don't write me and tell me it's not the best (because I know it isn't). Still it's a good casual fun deck that uses cards most people don't play with(which is fun in and of itself) and it should be quite cheap and easy to put together if you want to. If you can't find the cards e-mail me and I will find you more common and/or cheaper cards to replace them with.

If you want to design a really good blue/red deck do some research on the history of Counter-Burn or Counter-Phoenix decks and work from there. Another good blue/red deck is a tempo deck (tempo decks are fast aggressive decks that try to win by laying a few early creatures and then controlling the short remainder of the game with bounce or direct damage) that uses Jilt, Curfew, and creatures with haste (not affected by summoning sickness), it can also be made mostly from commons and for just a few bucks. Last but not least since I know from the e-mails I have already received that many of you started around Prophecy, you can have fun with the Rhystic cards (blue has some good common ones) and red's land destruction effects.

Well, let's try this again. That's the end folks. That's all I wrote this time around. Be good, play hard, and do some math before you build your next deck. Decks aren't built by shuffling your cards together. You have to think about why each and every card is in your deck and what it will do for you. Good luck and I'll see you again in a week or so.

Jason Chapman
Phantasmal Mount
1U, Summon Phantasm 1/1, Ice Age Uncommon
T: Target creature you control, which has toughness less than 3, gains flying and gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Other effects may later be used to increase that creature''s toughness beyond 3. If Phantasmal Mount leaves play before end of turn, bury the creature. If the creature leaves play before end of turn, bury Phantasmal Mount.
Illus. Melissa A. Benson

Spark Mage
Card Color: R
Mana Cost: R
Type & Class: Creature - Dwarf Wizard
Pow/Tou: 1/1
Card Text: Whenever Spark Mage deals combat damage to a player, you may have Spark Mage deal 1 damage to target creature that player controls. Flavor Text: The Pardic Mountains are known for their spicy cuisine.
Artist: Paolo Parente
Rarity: U

Dwarven Vigilantes
2R, Summon Dwarves 2/2, Visions Common
If Dwarven Vigilantes attacks and is not blocked, you may choose to have it deal no combat damage this turn. If you do, Dwarven Vigilantes deals an amount of damage equal to its power to target creature.
Some dwarves can only be pushed so far.
Illus. Pete Venters

Thalakos Dreamsower
2U, Summon Wizard 1/1, Tempest Uncommon
Shadow (This creature can block or be blocked by only creatures with shadow.)
You may choose not to untap Thalakos Dreamsower during your untap phase.
If Thalakos Dreamsower damages any opponent, tap target creature. As long as Thalakos Dreamsower remains tapped, that creature does not untap during its controller''s untap phase.
Illus. Susan Van Camp

Thalakos Scout
2U, Summon Soldier 2/1, Exodus Common
Shadow (This creature can block or be blocked by only creatures with shadow.)
Choose and discard a card: Return Thalakos Scout to owner''s hand.
Illus. Daren Bader

Razorfin Hunter
UR, Creature ---- Merfolk 1/1, Apocalypse Common
T: Razorfin Hunter deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
No one knew if they''d been lurking under the sea all along, or if they''d been created by the Phyrexian overlay.
Illus. Jeff Easley

U, Enchant Creature, Exodus Uncommon
If enchanted creature damages an opponent, you may draw a card.
All Mirri wanted to do was rest, but she couldn''t ignore a nagging suspicion as she followed Crovax''s skulking form.
Illus. Val Mayerik

Immobilizing Ink
1U, Enchant Creature, Odyssey CommonEnchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step.
Enchanted creature has 1, Discard a card from your hand: Untap this creature.
Illus. Darrell Riche

Shadow Rift
U, Instant, Tempest Common
Target creature gains shadow until end of turn. (This creature can block or be blocked by only creatures with shadow.)
Draw a card.
Illus. Adam Rex

Goblin War Drums
2R, Enchantment, Fifth Edition Common
Each creature you control cannot be blocked by only one creature.
""Goblins charge with a deafening war cry. The cry doesn''t mean anything----it just drowns out the drums!""
----Reod Dai, mercenary
Illus. Dan Frazier

U, Enchant Creature, Fourth Edition Uncommon
Backfire deals 1 damage to target creature''s controller for each 1 damage dealt to you by that creature.
Illus. Brian Snoddy

1U, Interrupt, Urza''s Legacy Common
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 2.
Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
Illus. Jeff Laubenstein

Memory Lapse
1U, Instant, 7th Edition Common
Counter target spell. Put it on top of its owner''s library instead of into that player''s graveyard.
""Eri phar phesta . . . um, phistor . . . er, phistara . . .""
Illus. Tristan Elwell

Chromatic Sphere
1, Artifact, Invasion Uncommon
1, T, Sacrifice Chromatic Sphere: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Draw a card.
""Let insight and energy be your guides.""
----The Blind Seer, to Gerrard
Illus. Luca Zontini

Dwarven Warriors
2R, Summon Dwarves 1/1, Alpha/Beta/Unlimited Edition Common
Tap to make a creature of power no greater than 2 unblockable until end of turn. Other cards may later be used to increase target creature''s power beyond 2 after defense is chosen.
Illus. Douglas Shuler

Phyrexian Negator
2B, Creature ---- Horror 5/5, Urza''s Destiny Rare
Whenever Phyrexian Negator is dealt damage, sacrifice a permanent for each 1 damage dealt to it.
They exist to cease.

Goblin Cadets
R, Summon Goblins 2/1, Urza''s Saga Uncommon
Whenever Goblin Cadets blocks or becomes blocked, target opponent gains control of it. (This removes Goblin Cadets from combat.)
""If you kids don''t stop that racket, I''m turning this expedition around right now!""
Illus. Jerry Tiritilli

Barbed Sextant
1, Artifact, Fifth Edition Common
1, tap, Sacrifice Barbed Sextant: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Play this ability as a mana source. Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn.
Illus. Amy Weber

1U, Instant, Apocalypse Common
Kicker 1R (You may pay an additional 1R as you play this spell.)
Return target creature to its owner''s hand. If you paid the kicker cost, Jilt deals 2 damage to another target creature.
""You''re not my Hanna!""
-Gerrard, to Yawgmoth
Illus. Terese Nielsen

U, Instant, Urza''s Saga Common
Each player chooses a creature he or she controls and returns it to owner''s hand.
"". . . But I''m not tired!""
Illus. Randy Gallegos