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Wizards of the Coast & MTG by Andrew Lee

It seems today that Wizards of the Coast thinks little of neat cutting edge strange mechanics and humorous creatures. Today I'd like to take you for a walk down memory lane and look at some card archetypes that are missing in today's magic scene.

Before I begin let me tell you a little about myself and why and what I like in this game.

I first began playing shortly after Fallen Empires came out and I was a very naive newbie. I bought a white deck from a store and it consisted of all the worst commons imaginable. Squire Being a wonderful example.

I lost interest quickly and phased back out of the game during Homelands, but not before I got 1 of the only 2 good cards from the set (Autumn Willow).

I returned to the game for snippets here and there but did not start collecting big again until tempest. I was much happier with the game at that point and built up quite a collection. Buying the leftovers of a few friends sets. I stopped playing again in Urza's Destiny because I was upset by the creature type change and the color of the set symbol's relation to rarity.

Recently, after seeing a spoiler for Mirroden I was relieved to see that magic had been redeeming itself slowly and thus began to play again.

So as you can see, I have experienced most of magic's history and have a plea for Wizards of the Coast, as well as an eye opener for the new player.

Older sets usually contained at least one amazing new mechanic that was just loads of fun and very "out there", as well as a really funny card or 2 as well.
Today I would like to introduce you to a few classic cards I hold onto (sometimes) not for play value but for sheer enjoyment of the card.

Alpha, Beta, Unlimited:

First card here that I want to mention is a little harder to get than most "just for fun" cards, but I hold onto mine just to be able to say I have one:
Chaos Orb. Now there is a truly Ingenious mechanic.
What's that you say? Chaos orb's Rules too confusing?
Not really, The confusing part is the desperation of type 1 players not to loose. If wizards would just make a rule that after the orb has been activated no player may move any cards, and require all cards to be on the table then this cards isn't even overpowered.
It only effects permanents in play and only if it is flipped in a complicated manner. Also, the maximum number of cards you are going to possibly hit is like
4 so its really not that overpowered (certainly not the stuff of power 9 +1 [Library of Alexandria]).
now that I'm off my soapbox we will continue.

Arabian Nights
In my opinion the most brilliant magic set ever made.
Every card was useful, innovative or hilarious.
Some of my favorites Include what I like to call the "little 5" Which is a very loose cycle of hilarious weenies that includes, Stone-Throwing Devils, Flying Men, Naf's Asp, Kird Ape (or Ali Baba), and Camel (Or Abu Jafar). Here's why I love these weenies. They are all cheap, flavorful and really fun to say. Flying men, Camel, and Stone throwing Devils are just kooky to begin with. Naf's asp is a toung twister, Ali Baba is fun to say, Kird ape is a killer monkey and Abu Jafar's summon line says Leper. This is a hilarious set.

The introduction of ornithopter was certainly a funny thing, but there were other gems in antiquities. New mechanics were all over the place. Think of cards like Mishra's workshop, giving mana usable in only one fashion. Mishra's workshop was overpowered, but the idea behind it was what I believe to be brilliant.

This continued throughout time until somewhere around Mercadian Masques. The cards began to look more like Fallen Empires again and even when the power level began to come back up, the mechanics were excessive overuse of old sub-themes. Kind of like a good movie with a really funny joke, and then the sequel comes out and that joke is hyper focused on. It totally ruins that joke. Take Austin Powers for example. Dr.
Evil's Shhhh run telling Scott, his son, to be quiet, was hilarious the first time around. However, the gag was done again in Austin Powers 2 with zip-it this time. Not nearly as funny. Goblins and merfolk (and maybe a tiny bit zombies) were the only tribal cards early on, with the consolidation of creature types, as well as a block with a tribal theme, tribal decks were over done and no longer a commodity. I believe part of the reason that the original "Lords" were not a creature of their type was for a reason. This along with the excessive use of many creature types prevented cards like goblin king and other tribal enhancers from becoming ridiculous. Now, some sort of tribal effect is always in magic. Even in Ravnica, which I believe to have redeemed the horrific Kamigawa block, has continued consolidating and using creature types in excess. More spirits than normal appear, continuing spirit craft (a pseudo-tribal ability) in precious standard.

My final point is this. It seems that with the amazing success of the pro-tour and professional Magic play, the casual players are left behind. Some cards that could just be used for fun skyrocket in price for a couple of months when they are still in standard and then plummet when they cycle out, making casual players wait for their copy, or loose money to buy it while its new.
Wizards, as well as a large quantity of the Magic community seems to forget that Magic is a GAME it should be played for FUN and not just for profit and to win.

Andrew Lee

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