The Orgg's Daily Unhinged Recipe Book
Day 1, Eleven O'clock Sunday Night:
So we finally get to see the first official card from Unhinged, the sequel to Unglued, and the replacement for Unglued II: Magic Unplugged. For many years, we all have awaited the sequel to Unglued; some of us have pined more actively than others. I myself have sent over twenty e-mails to Wizards and Maro himself, begging for Unglued 2's release. To sate my parody set appetite, I also took pains to track down a full set of Havik: The Bothering - barring the Starving Vegan promo card. Finally, after so many years, we now get to see the first true Unhinged card.
The first preview card gives us the tone of Unhinged... And that tone kicks Ass. Not as much Ass as you would have expected from the scant amount of preview material we have seen, but an amount of ass regardless. Ass Whuppin' is quite simply, on the surface of your game, a Vindicate. However, Vindicate was printed many years ago, and in digital sectors it fetches quite a bit. However, this Vindicate is not for the online segment of the game. This Vindicate is for those with a more... Casual bent.
First off, however, let us examine the non-casual bits of the Ass Whuppin' card.
So what do we see here? At first glance, with the new border, it obviously looks like a white card. Angelic figure in the textbox, and a bunch of soldiers standing around - the hallmarks of white. Then, I look at the casting cost. Oops - it's gold! Another joke? The test printing of the Techno-Magic Gold border? Another reason to long for the old border? Wizards knows!
Ass Whuppin' also shows us the indifference to profanity that the set has. We never would have expected a card that cannot be discussed on Magic Online, much less one that may inflame parents as this one might... Then again, the parents that are most liable to be inflamed are those already damaged by over-religious sensitivity to the game's theme. Who all will be offended by an ass? Those who follow the good book knows that Samson slew an army with the Jawbone of an Ass. Smells like a potential equipment to me... Or did they take it out of Unhinged and call it "Kusari-Gama" to avoid the profanity? How fun that would have been, to have that in the same set as fractional damage!
What are the uses of a Vindicate? Well, you can blow up anything... However, since the Unhinged basic lands will not be silver-bordered,* this Vindicate sucks more Ass than its original form. The tournament-favorite play of beating the crap out of someone after blowing up a much-needed basic land is absent - making the set itself less cutthroat for its release events.
Now comes the tricky part of the card.
The text, while Vindictive in nature, is not exactly "Destroy target Permanent." But the card could be read as, "Make every game in the room a political nightmare." The technical question of, "How do I determine if I can see a game?" is reached. What defines a "game" in the normal sense? Is it seeing two hunched figures over a table? Is it the viewing of the pieces of the game being moved? Do you even have to see the card you're targeting, or can you just know of its existence and see where the general location of the card is?
MaRo knows. We do not, as of today. The first thing to realize, however, is that cards in hand are not yet permanents. It's not possible to see your opponent's new Banding fattie in his hand through the security mirror at the store and then give it an Ass Whuppin' for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The interplay of any game being affected makes you want to know who else has an card that affects other games. This Saturday may be littered with conversations like the following:
"Hey, Bob! What is your left hand doing?"
"Swinging for six and a half!"
"I destroy it! Hey, Jerry! What is your right hand doing?"
"Pumping the Fist in Bob's face!"
"Now can you give me five more li-ieef?"
"Sure thing, Mark!"
Each player's will have busy hands, but when their board or position isn't underdeveloped or being regressed, their eye will be even busier. "Can I do this and benefit later?" That's the question that many multiplayer cards ask from Howling Mine to Hired Giant - and many other non-H cards as well. Politics lives in Magic, and Unhinged takes that out of multiplayer and puts it into the hands of those who prefer facing each other one-on-one for an old-fashioned Ass Whuppin'.**
Now, the question remains: Can you play in two games at once while in the release tournament? You're guaranteed to get an Ass Whuppin' at either the door or on Friday when you buy ten or so packs to try to pull a little ahead of the competition. Why not build a deck of Eggs, a few Swamps, a few Plains, an Ass Whuppin' and a Soldevi Digger? Quickly play the deck against itself in a solitaire game, then stop right when you've got the recursion possible. Have that game right beside your game-qualifying round, and then blow everything you don't like out of the way (as long as it has a silver border, of course). If the T.O. says that you cannot play a game against yourself, get a couple of friends to play identical decks, and then destroy your opponent without mercy. And if that doesn't work because you're as friendless as I am... Get the deck together, and find out who is ahead of you. Play where you can see that person/those people's games, and start messing them up totally. A draw instead of a win isn't a good thing - and if you can nudge that into a loss, even better. This strategy is obviously described by a word with the prefix of "Un."
Day 2, Monday Night - fifteen minutes from Midnight.
Yet another card that looks white appears upon my visage. While the first card shown was confusing, this second - the World-Bottling Kit - has the more familiar white-looking border known as the "Techno-Artifact Border." With the cutesy little indentation of the artwork, we also get to see that the card design does flow behind the artwork, allowing us to all visualize the art of other cards to be placed onto the card pallet instead of showing through a little window. While I would have preferred the left side of the card to also have some rounding off to emphasize the card's theme, its continuity balances that out enough. Speaking of enough, enough with non-mechanical implications. Allow us to proceed onto practical uses of this (and three previously printed cards).
The first thing to note is the similarity of this card to Apocalypse Chime, City in a Bottle, and Golgothian Sylex. I once proposed an article on these three cards to a Magic site, and that article was shot down. However, with Unhinged, we must erupt from the box that site was in and explore the more... destructive areas these three cards (and today's preview card) can take us to.
First off we must figure out which card World-Bottling Kit is most like. In my original article, for reasons you will see below, I declared Golgothian Sylex the best of the three to abuse, while declaring City in a Bottle as the most difficult to use effectively. Why? With the tips listed below, Golgothian Sylex simply blows things up over and over. This is a very cool thing. Granted, City in a Bottle does the job better, but we don't just want to make use of the card - we want to abuse it. Why do we want to abuse it? Human nature.
"Just because you're bottled up, you gotta get unbottled up!"
Here's a good strategy to affect as many cards as possible: Get a potato. No, not Mike Turian - an actual potato that can be cut. (Well, no... Mike Turian still does not count.) My original article suggested cutting the potato in half and using an exacto-knife to make a very detailed version of the Antiquities or Arabian Nights expansion symbol in the potato wedge, and then remove the blank space around it. Since you get two wedges on each potato, one potato will give you a suite of A-expansion stamps to go with your City in a bottle and Golgothian Sylex. Once the stamps are made, note that the cards are worded so that they destroy anything with the expansion symbol - and that the cards trigger off the expansion symbol, not the actual list of cards from the set in question. This is important.
Here's your first method of abuse using the potato stamp: Get a bit of black ink. Lightly rub it onto the upraised portion of the potato half, and then with caution and patience press it onto one of your opponent's cards.*** Now, the card in question has the chosen set's expansion symbol on it, it can be destroyed by the City or Sylex. An alternate method that is even more questionable involves printing out a bunch of copies of one of the expansions in question onto sticker paper, then sticking those stickers onto the cards you want to affect. This is debatable, however, as the expansion symbol is technically on the sticker and the sticker is on the card... Not the actual expansion symbol. It's a technicality, yes, but one to keep in mind if this technique is used on you.
The second question comes into play now: how do you protect yourself from your own World-Bottling Kit when you activate its ten-mana Nevinyrral's Disk effect? Well, make sure you don't have any cards featuring an expansion symbol. This sounds easy enough with Alpha through Fifth Edition (and Starter 2000, to an extent) not having an expansion symbol - but why limit yourself to just those sets? It's so much easier to simply customize your own cards to work as you need them to - and it's DCI-legal, too, as long as you can still read the Card Name, Mana Cost, Card Type, Card Text, and Power and Toughness.
The way that is easiest on the nose, eyes, and state of mind (but not the pocketbook) is an electric eraser.**** With patience, a normal eraser can be used, but at a significant time investment. (Wizards of the Coast shared this ink removal technique with its readers about a year ago.) This is the technique I recommended for use with Golgothian Sylex so many years ago; once the expansion symbol was gone, the card would not destroy itself and effectively would read "1, Tap: destroy all unmodified Antiquities cards."
If you are not the lucky owner of an electric eraser, there are two other methods for de-expansioning your cards in preparation for a World Bottling. The next works for both foil and nonfoil cards, and is fairly well-known as a Foil customization trick. Acetone, the chemical that allows fingernail polish to work, will take the ink off of a Magic card while killing both your wrist and your brain cells during its use. Rub hard enough with a cotton swab dipped in this chemical, and you will find after half an hour that the walls are made of jelly and the expansion symbol on the card in question has disappeared, only to be replaced by a scent that reminds you of pears.
The third and sharpest way to abuse the World-Bottling Kit and its golden days ken is with an Exacto Knife. This is, apart from the brain-destroying ("target brain may not be regenerated") acetonal method, the riskiest way to remove an expansion symbol. Simply get a new, sharp, and clean Exacto-Knife at your local Hobby Shop that still carries Hunks of Plastic to Assemble. Remove the protective tip carefully, and then gently cut a square around the chosen card's expansion symbol. Be very careful, as it is easy to cut right through the card, right through the table underneath - or, if you're not quite as bright as most, your finger underneath. After there's a scratched box around the expansion symbol, gently raise one of the edges of that square up and slowly tear off the expansion symbol. Voila! A Joven's Ferrets card that can shrug off an Apocalypse Chime!*****
While most of these techniques work on older cards, there is one improvement with World-Bottling Kit - it can hit any expansion. Do you have a stamp of a regular star shape? Guess what? The Starter expansion had a very generic tilted star as its expansion symbol. Since obviously the positioning of an expansion symbol does not matter, assuming that World Bottling Kit set to Unglued destroys a Giant Fan******, any generic star stamped onto an opponent's card could be taken as the expansion symbol for the Starter set. This would save you time (and smell) of making the potato stamp set for Arabian Nights and Antiquities.
Day 3, Tuesday Night, 11:00 Central Standard Time
From 10:55 onwards I begin hitting reset, my appetite whetted thoroughly by my first two glimpses into Unhinged. I've heard the promo talk, and I've seen the banner at the top of the magicthegathering.com page. One visage now stares back at me I know and wish I knew more of - Doctor Richard Garfield, the legendary man who created our beloved game, a man who to many of us is closer to a member of the Roman Pantheon than someone we might someday meet on the street or share a cup of coffee with. When my Refresh hits paydirt, the first thing I see is the legendary purple hippo above Mike Flores' name. "This is it," I think to myself. "We're finally going to see what Doctor Garfield believes his Power and Toughness is." I click on the link and hold my breath.
I see the top of the card load. The background calls forth memories of seeing the Arabian Nights proposed background, and the five mana symbols look like an image pulled directly from the Earthquake card game. The image loads completely, and inside awakens memories of a long-dead but beautiful card game: Guardians. There, in the middle of the card, Doctor Richard sits Garfield in a pose worthy of saints, enshrined in majestic glory. "If this card doesn't bring back Michel J. LaRue, I don't know if anything can," I think to myself. If only all the Techno-Bordered cards looked like this, the game would be perfect.
After basking in the digital presence of a near-deity for several minutes, I distance myself and finally look at the card from top to bottom. The pseudo-religious imagery is there - but I push that away to focus more upon the card itself. The power and toughness are disappointing, as a beatdown strategy isn't really that feasible with Doctor Garfield's tame two power. (Two's being generous - The Ferrett) The beauty of the card is made apparent by its highly versatile text. What it reads to your opponent, effectively, is "I play Mental Magic. You don't."
"No need to look, he's not in the book. This Doctor's not an M.D, and what he does this time he does for free."
The game of Mental Magic is has been enjoyed widely. It tests our strength of memory and our wit - and sometimes our patience when we just cannot think of a 4G card other than Panther Warriors. It is the root of the memory game "Magic Dominos," and only takes fifteen minutes to learn. Without restrictions, however, it becomes pure abusiveness. I shudder to write those words, as it seems so wrong to be writing about abusing Doctor Richard Garfield. Abuse potential, however, is definitely there.
Getting to a rules prospective, we must note the card text - or at the very least the last portion of the card text: "You may play each card once." No infinite Ancestral Recalls. No infinite Time Walks to continue the entire turn unabated by anything. No infinite Force of Will tricks... Or is that true? What costs the same amount as Ancestral Recall? A nice little trick called Unsummon. Blue's only mana acceleration, Retraced Image. What costs only one colorless more than Ancestral Recall? The new Unsummon: Consuming Vortex. The Uber-Unsummon: Aether Burst.
But how does this help us with abusing the good doctor? Simple: A card removed from the "in play" zone to another zone forgets its identity. If you Unsummon Richard during your turn, then re-cast him, he forgets all of the spells you have cast with his ability this game. You can feel free to Ancestral Recall up a few more cards to use to bounce him with an Unsummon or Retraced Image. From there, play that two-mana spell as a Time Walk - and if you've got nine mana instead of eight, go ahead and Unsummon Doctor Garfield again, whether by his ability or by a natural bounce spell. On the next turn, play him again, and take another turn with an Aether Burst. Continue this until you're tired.
With enough Equilibrium, two copies of Doctor Garfield could pull this trick by themselves by bouncing each other - and the Equilibrium doesn't even have to be in the deck! The infamous Capsize can do its own work for the deck before the second copy of the good doctor arrives, and then the dirtiest work is done by the Ph. D. himself from that point on. This is the best option to abuse Doctor Garfield, and leaves much less of a filthy feeling in your mouth than the other method.
Another way to reset Doctor Garfield's memories is by... By killing him!******* Once removed from play, the Doctor forgets everything. Zombifying the Doctor then would allow another round of your most abusive spells available. Multiple ways of eliminating the Doctor exist, from the methods used to get rid of Academy Rector (Cabal Therapy, cough cough) to simply playing of a second copy of the good Doctor. This method, depending on your deck's contents, may be easier - however, since Blue is not the color of reanimation of things (other than instants and sorceries, of course), this route only to be undertaken by a more sadistic player - a player who collects the Invitational cards, only to place them in a deck to specifically demean and dishonor the players whom created them. A deck played by a notorious villain like "Mad Dog" Sean Roney, or simply a depraved individual like Peter Szigeti who would gleefully push his soiled posterior into the famous faces of the game. Green and/or Black would make best use of destroying Doctor Garfield for its own growth or for its own decay, bringing the bumbling yet improved version into play when it suited them.
The last method of use of Doctor Garfield is one that I feel he would want to see the most - a simple wish of "have fun." Doctor Garfield wishes to see people have fun, not be combo'd out with one of the seven other Dream Halls in the deck, not with the TimmyJohnnySpike infinite Time Walks, not with a Nu-Necropotence combo deck - but with things like Psychic Battle or Bazaar of Wonders. Search up what we need with Parallel Thoughts, and set up something fun for us to tinker with. A power of two does not speak with the force of violence.
And during the course of in-game violence, what if we forget what that Twiddle is? Is it Soothsaying? A veiled creature? Perhaps a Mystic Remora? What if we truly cannot remember, nor can our opponent? Does it change? The card was played as one thing... But can it become something else? This rules trickery, even though it is outside of the DCI's net thanks to it being Unhinged and all, should be avoided in honor of Doctor Garfield. Little slips of paper should note the cards that you've played, and strips of paper should lie atop those cards to avoid such confusion. Abusing Doctor Richard Garfield, Ph. D. by abusing your opponent's memory should be avoided in honor of the game itself. If the game has no honor, what does that say of its players?
Day 4, Wednesday Night at a minute until Midnight.
The first reaction to this card? Nice! Mark Gottlieb is going to have the coolest card, because he's chosen the best cards to preview nearly each set!
And yet my actual reaction to seeing the card? Yawn. This card is in an Un- set? Why isn't this in Betrayers of Kamigawa? What's it mess up, rules wise? Equipment? Disappointment - and then Forbidden Ritual arose in the mind. "Heh. It breaks Forbidden Ritual. That's a first. Oh, look. A Giraffe. That wouldn't have been in Kamigawa block, so maybe it'll be alright. Oh, wait... This won't be online, either. Excrement. Oh, look... a Silence of the Lambs allusion in the flavor text... that's clever, but a little dark for a Magic card... Oh. Now I see the joke. 'fla-vortex-t.' Clever."
Really, with a card this uninspired after Future Sight, all you can do is build a deck around it. This means for the reasons of the Unhinged release, this is the same as opening a two-land pack. So it goes.
But how do you break it with Forbidden Ritual? That's easy enough. To dig for the kill cards, we also need most of the deck to be air, or cards that function as though they were not there. Cantripping artifacts work the best in this situation, and Cycling cards would work just as well... But we can't use Cycling cards, as none of them easily remove themselves from the top of the deck, right? There are very few Cycling cards that immediately sacrifice themselves for some effect. However, Old Doctor Wombat provides us the answer: Local Enchantments with cycling. How many are there? Only four - but that's an easy sixteen cards that turn into air when in our hand. Sicken, one of the four, also doubles as slight creature removal while we dig for the Aether Vortex.
Sixteen air cards apart from land just isn't enough for a deck to run, though. Looking through the self-sacrificing artifacts, we come to Urza's Bauble - a card we will never see with the modern day text of simply "draw a card." In it goes. Conjurer's Bauble, the Urza's Bauble of the millennium, slips in right behind it, as does Chromatic Sphere for possible color-fixing and additional air. Twenty-four empty slots should allow us to sally forth through our deck and into the combo pieces we need.
The final consideration is how to cast and cycle our cards before getting down to the Forbidden Ritual. That's easy enough. Invasion brought us lands that sacrificed themselves for two mana, as did Fallen Empires. Odyssey also has some lands that can be sacrificed for mana of any color as an added bonus, though it only produces one mana when sacrificed. A mix of Invasion and Fallen Empires lands are handy.
But we still must find a kill. Obviously, it's Vortex and Forbidden Ritual, so we have a nice two-color mana base... But to abuse each of these, the deck needs to be almost all permanents otherwise, as will be a few of the Oddy lands. To round off the mana base, four Lotus Petals ease in the deck because it's already not tournament-legal. If you've got one, slip in a Black Lotus in the place of a Ravaged Highland, too. Now the potential problem of this deck. If you've got a chunk of mana in your pool, have found the Forbidden Ritual, and are steadily sacrificing cards off the top of your deck... and you come to Forbidden Ritual number two. You have now stalled. Can you restart?
Yup. Hopefully, you've been getting black mana off of any Chromatic Spheres you hit, and have remembered to draw the cards from the various cantrips as you burned your way towards a Forbidden Ritual. Simply play and activate a card-drawing artifact other than Urza's Bauble, draw the Forbidden Ritual, and start comboing off of it once again. If you hit another, I hope you've got enough mana floating in your pool to draw it and start going again, otherwise you might find yourself waiting for the next turn. It may be advisable to get 4BBBB in your mana pool with Yet Another Aether Vortex's deck deconstruction before playing your first Forbidden Ritual and wait until you've got at least one card drawer in your hand to draw the next Forbidden Ritual. Just don't wait too long, because the more cards your opponent has in hand or in play the more difficult it is to combo them completely out.
"Well, you better take the rap, dying under daddy's cap, dying under daddy's cap. Shrivel Up!"
To round off today's section, of course I need to supply a decklist.
(NOTE: As I have not seen the official FAQs for these cards yet, I make no claims as to the legality of these decklists. Judges may well trash the ideas behind them, so check our forums. They sure sounded good when I edited them, though! - The Ferrett)
500 Black Lotus
500 Wheel of Fortune
Day 5, Thursday Night At A Half-Second Until Eleven O'clock.
I am frantically reloading, over, and over, and over while chatting on a private channel on Magic Online, tossing back idea after idea about what Mr. Forsythe's card will be. It'll have to be something with twisted rules - much more twisted than those we've seen so far. It'll be tricky, or maybe not work at all if taken completely literally - much like Common Courtesy in Unglued. I hit reload. I see the new articles are up, I right-click on them to open them in new windows, and I rush back to MOL and type in "It's UP!"
I rush back and Devour Aaron Forsythe's article. Ooops. That's not the Unhinged preview (though it tells us what the lands look like and what their origin is). They don't flow as well as the Unglued ones, though.
Well, I wonder if Building on a Budget will have a clever and neat card? Probably not, as Nate's decks are usually fairly predictable. Wonderful - another droll card coming up. I switch to his page and look at the card. I was right.
"Trouble multiplied, the crowds begin to cry for some common sense."
The Unhinged card is simply a Void retread - but with certain differences that make it so much worse. Void, when played in MachineHead, usually hit the biggest and baddest cards in your opponent's deck and play area because they shared the same casting cost slot. If you played Rare-B-Gone, you'd hit the same cards and maybe blow up a few lands. Considering that it hits your hand as well, and that to make proper use of it you cannot have drawn another copy of it, Rare-B-Gone smells much like Teferi's Response and Tsabo's Web. In other words, this is the rarest of Magic designs: The Silver Bullet card.
Popular in less developed collectable card games, the Silver Bullet hits only certain deck strategies or cards that have proven to bend the game away from what it should be. All Magic silver bullet cards have failed in the past because of their narrow application. Rare-B-Gone fails in Limited because its application is only able to hit five or six cards your opponent has in his card pool, many of which will be like Yet Another Aether Vortex - clever, but nothing that will help you win a sealed deck or draft pod.
On the occasion that there is a rare to destroy, Rare-B-Gone might come in from your sideboard - assuming you're playing its two colors. Otherwise, it's a wasted slot in your Sealed pool that just plays up to the less-than-Timmy population that screams because of their losses and makes an excuse for why they lost. "He had more rares than me!" "He had expensive cards!" "He's rich and shouldn't play because it's not fair." "I could build decks like that if I had his cards!"
We've heard it many times, and the phenomenon is even worse online. While some may take the card's overall flavor as a big joke, to me it looks simply like rot beginning to infest the Magic community.
Day Six, Friday at Lunchtime
"The Only Rare You'll Ever Need... Not really" from today's official card sums it up perfectly. Rares are not the cornerstone of playing the game, as these five cards have shown us - only two-fifths of the cards previewed this week other than the basic lands have some use in Sealed, and one of them only because it is removal and not because of its wackiness. The other is simply an overcosted Nevinyrral's Disk that you can protect yourself from by defacing your cards. Wacky? Yes, but not overtly so. This set's keys will be common, as those are the cards that will see the most play next Saturday. Since we know none of the commons, we can't plan for Limited. All you can do is know the little tricks available through each card so as to make the best use of them as you can.
I debated waiting for eleven again tonight so I could check the rules leak - but considering that each of those columns had two mistakes when first posted*********, I'll assume the leaked card will be accidentally left off and let The Ferrett get down to editing this.
"We Must Repeat! O.K? Let's Go!"
Day Six, Friday At Close To Midnight.
Saturday School. A very fun column for those of us who have more rules knowledge than a skunk in a bucket, as we get to stay up late and look for those oh-so-funny mistakes. Carter made one today - but unfortunately it's no longer a mistake due to errata.
One thing he did not screw up, however, is the preview. Cheatyface is clearly the most original Unhinged card previewed so far, or the most abusive. The tricks to put the 'face into play are nearly endless, from the spectrum of slight of hand to the blatantly obvious outcry of "That dog has a puffy tail!" coupled with a finger pointing to the outside of the playing area.
The first thing newer players will probably think of is playing Cheatyface as if it was a Morph card. This, without Illusionary Mask, does not work. The card does not have a Morph cost - so if the Efreet gets flipped face-up, you get a game or match loss. You cannot play a non-Morph creature as though it had Morph.
The second thought will be the "four Jacks on the top of the building" kind of slight-of-hand. If you're not familiar with the card trick, it requires you to show some Jacks and hide a few non-jack cards behind them, then put them down. If you're still lost, I mean you play a land on your first turn, sliding the Cheatyface that's in your hand underneath the land. At the end of your opponent's turn, you slide the land off of Cheatyface and swing for two next turn. This could also be done with a creature you cast - or, in fact, another form of permanent.
The third obvious way to play the card is to be blatant about it. Tap some lands, put Cheatyface down, and then put down a card using the remaining mana. Depending on the way "immediately" is defined in the FAQ (which has yet to be revealed), the playing of the second creature may allow Cheatyface to stay in play. Sneaky? Fairly, but not as much as this box-crushing method that comes next.
Be blatantly obvious to a degree of amazing stupidity. Have a stack of ten Cheatyfaces face up in front of you while shuffling your deck. When your opponent presents his deck to you, show him the top Cheatyface and ask if he's seen the card. Make a joke about it and yuck it up with your opponent. Then sit the beater back on the pile of ten. When you start your first turn, spread out the whole stack and attack for twenty. Tooth-gnashing abounds... Just don't try this more than once a match unless your opponent is stoned or is mute.
The biggest thing to note about Cheatyface is that Cheaty does not say "from your hand." Hell, you don't even have to have a single island in play!
Considering the absence of specifics on the card, Cheatyface never really is dead, or useless. Removed from the game? Put it up your sleeve and try again later. None in your sideboard? Pay a buck each from the store and bank on them helping you win the tournament. Have a decoy stack of Cheaties that your opponent focuses on, then skulk one or two in on another side of the board. Stick a stack under your elbow if you've got the room (I do), and shift the elbow into play a turn, and lift it the next turn. Those of you with a non-CCG Magical card background will probably have eighty other methods - all of which require finesse, concentration, and well-developed finger muscles.
Day 8: Sunday Night When The Moon Is Right About... Err, At Eleven O'clock Or So In The Sky
Mark Rosewater - the indefatigable MaRo - will have a cool card today. I can feel it. Then again, I was wrong last Friday, wasn't I? I click on Scott Willis' article first to test my hypothesis. Yup - he's got the card this week. Damn.
"You are SO big... there is so much of you... to love (love, love LOVE!)"
Fat Ass is an obvious card for abuse, and Scott does an excellent job up to a point. He suggests abusing the Adkinsonian Ass with Everlasting Gobstoppers. I don't know if the Gobstoppers of England are different than their US counterparts, but I'd assume so. Considering the size of a Gobstopper, I'd say England's was the inch-diameter size that Lemonheads/Cherry Chinamen/Apple Apes were about seven years ago, and not the green, pea-sized sweets we now have. However, give the protein-packed diet that the Convivial Carnivore has in front of him, I'd say he's got a good idea.
If you're at the Mississippi tournament for Unhinged, ask to suck on some of my nuts. I'll bring a baggie with a few walnuts, some pecans, and probably some peanuts. Candy quickly becomes nothing in the saliva bath this card calls for.... But nuts will remain in your mouth as long as you refrain from biting them, spitting them out, or swallowing them. Sit there and suck on a nut or two in your mouth and your Fat Ass is a five-mana 4/5.5 while in play. Don't ask for the Brazil nuts, though, as those are the ones that I can call upon to keep me from swallowing until a better time.
If you want to bring your own peanuts, you might want to bring a small amount of salt to substitute for the saline solution you will suck off of the legumes in short order. Keeping a baggie to quickly spit your mouthful into might be helpful as well, since if you start laughing with a mouthful of peanuts, well... There are places they could cause considerable concern, such as your windpipe.
I click upon the Nature Elemental's article for a nice treat behind Unhinged, and chuckle at several jokes. One joke, however, was well crafted and led to another Unhinged dish. "Rocket-Powered Turbo Slug," the Dominiarian equivalent of the .33 Bookworm.********** How good is this card in Sealed? If there's any possibility of missing your land drop or losing a land, quite terrible. Four mana buys you two Lightning Bolts, assuming the card stays in play. No Trample, no First Strike. Half of the time the card will be dead before you have to pay its mana cost, making a distraction fatal. Whatever I do, I will not play with this card in Sealed deck.
"Nowhere are we safe from the power of, from the reach of, from the appeal of..."
With that said, if you are lucky enough to do an Unhinged draft and open this card, keep in mind that four of them are a turn 2 kill if your opponent has no blockers, and their speed is remarkable to a degree. If you win on the turn you're supposed to pay 15RRRRR, it doesn't matter. A 1/1 for one and four Slugs are a near-guarantee of winning when you're going first. Pick this up first booster and draft with the Slug's speed in mind. You'll probably be able to pick up every Slug in the draft, and with a little luck win your games in under a minute each.
Day Ten***********, Tuesday At Two Minutes After Twelve O'clock
Searching through the titles of the articles, it's obvious that Jay has the card for the day, and that his Magic Online spiel will include an announcement about an Sass Ass avatar for participation in the Unhinged release events - and maybe even the Basic Lands will be included in some promotional form. I open up the page, and take a look at the card. Quite a neat effect. Demonic Tutor seduced Shahrazad, and Into the Dungeon was born.
While ineffective in the Release events, where you won't get enough time for a subgame, the card is quite fun in a more casual setting. The effect, much like Yet Another Aether Vortex's, seems so tame compared to what has come before. Shahrazad had a huge life swing for the losers, but Into the Dungeon has a decent card advantage bestowed upon the winner of its game.
The key is to find a table that makes the game hard for your opponent to play under, and easier for you to play under. If you've got a bunch of TV trays pushed together for a table, or possibly those schooldesks that have very little room under the overhang, you might want to find another place to put your cards before playing Into the Dungeon so that your opponents are frustrated by their table, but you are mostly unaffected by your own. A card with a lot of potential fun - and a lot of potentially gummy hair, courtesy of those ignorant slobs that still do not believe that gum functions as insoluble fiber if swallowed, and that it can glue their insides together for seven years.
"I know I let you tell me what to do..."
In Limited, if your deck is quick enough to deal five damage in the first few turns, this might be a decent card drawing mechanism - assuming you've got a heavy black commitment. Two cards of your choice can break wide open any Limited game, and having to crouch your bulk (or, if you're lucky, the lack of bulk) under a table to get those two cards is a decent tradeoff. If you plan on using this technique, bring a flashlight so you can see under those tables that have the nice felt put around them for style points. Don't let your opponent borrow it, either. When they go above the table to see what they drew, either yell that they're not obeying the card, or sneak into play a stack of three Cheatyfaces. Easy two-mana double Demonic Tutor for the Card Advantage++, yo!
Day Ten, Tuesday At Twenty-Two Past Eleven
I see the giant brain when I open up magicthegathering.com, and am filled with joy. Gleemax, a joke that's now been running for longer than The Duelist ran, has come to Magic. A giant brain in a jar that controls all functioning of Magic. Fun, fun, fun - and funny, too.
Gleemax originally let you control your opponent's turns, but that mechanic was pulled off of it and put onto a one-shot effect called Mindslaver. I know all of this, and the knowledge rushes to my head when I see the bottled brain above Adrian Sullivan's name.
"Gotta Swelling Itching Brain! Swelling Itching Pain Banging In MY Head!"
I click the link, and am immediately disgusted with the card. It's impossible to play in a Limited environment other than Scourge - and impossible even then, due to the lack of Cycling. (Hello? Urza Block with Tinker? Quite possible, if you were lucky enough to draw it - T.F.)
Overcosted? You bet. The effect it has, whether it be the top card of your library or playing an actual card, or having only one target to change the played spell or effect upon, costs at most five mana if permanent. Conditionally, the effect isn't that amazing by itself, as it cannot always win games. It can help, but it usually will not win. Both the Flagbearers and Psychic Battle have proved this. An aggressively-costed, non-triggered effect such as Gleemax's should cost eight mana - and if that's too worrying, twelve mana at most. And if Gleemax was priced at twelve mana, the ability should say "Whenever a spell or ability is played, you choose the targets for it." Why? Because then it can get around a Counterspell by casting an instant along with the spell they want to counter. If you suspect a Counterspell, now you must play the spell you don't want countered, and then in response (and before you know what is in your opponent's hand), play the instant to target with the Counterspell. If the ability was triggered, the instant wouldn't need to be invested - only played in response to the counter.
Now that the disadvantages of the card have been outlined, what are the benefits? I'm afraid that I do not know nearly as much as Mister Adrian Sullivan, whom wrote an excellent piece on Magicthegathering.com that included not only nearly everything I could think of (other than Psychic Battle itself), but also slipped a sublime homage to The Princess Bride into the card review as well. I salute you, Adrian, and tell any other readers to simply check out your article.
Day Eleven, Wednesday At One Minute Past Eleven
Well, Mark Gottlieb previewed a card last week, so I've got to check the ugly chick************ with the cell phone for the Unhinged preview. I click the link and view the opening paragraph, and expect a very fun card that's broken in half. I then see a very-near reprint of Demonic Consultation that can occasionally misfire.
Joy? Not hardly. The only thing this is good for in limited is killing your Ass Whuppin' side deck when you've got the Digger/Ass Whuppin' in your hand already and are ready to go off on the opponent you're playing in the other game. Any other use is just as risky as using a Demonic Consultation.
Should you play with Demonic Consultation? Not unless you've got a game-winning bomb that will guarantee your victory. Are there some of those in Unhinged Limited? Not that I've seen from the Wizards previews in these past two weeks. The best advice on this card is to look up Demonic Consultation, and then see if the deck can use four additional Aesthetic Consultations because the key cards are by singular artists. This can be a very fun card, but is much more difficult to avoid hurting yourself with than Demonic Consultation. In a limited environment, I'd avoid this more than the Rocket-Powered Turbo Slug. In Constructed, I probably wouldn't build a deck around it, but might throw it into a deck that could randomly use it.
I then open Doctor Wombat's article for some reading funtime - and lo and behold! Up pops an Old Fogey with the old green border and a bevy of abilities, some of which I've missed greatly in the Autocard window. Now this is a card that I like, for both humor and for nostalgia reasons.
In Unhinged Limited, this is a fat character that'll be with you every other turn at an upkeep of 1GG, 2GG, and 3GG before dying - unless he dies before then. With a consultation of the Jack-In-The-Box of Insight, though, we see that two of his non-drawback abilities are ineffective. Homarids are not in Unhinged, and anything bigger than 3/3 doesn't need Fear 99% of the time anyway, and Snow-Covered Lands also don't exist - not even the Plains. Occasionally, the abilities will be useful, but only in the most casual of games.
The other abilities - Rampage, Flanking, and Bands With Other Dinosaurs - I'll explain, and then I'll tackle how the upkeep abilities function, with some rules quotes.
The most useless of the useable abilities will only come into play with another Old Fogey card. "Bands With Dinos" doesn't mean that all dinosaurs can ban with the Old Fogey as though they had Banding, as nearly nobody will remember I tried to campaign for a few years ago. Nope; it means that the card can ban with any number of creatures with "Bands with Other Dinosaurs" on the textbox, even if that creature's type is not Dinosaur.
Yes, that is terrible.
The up side is that a regular band of creatures can attach a full band of Banded with Other creatures to itself as the one creature without banding. See the Rule of Law on Banding for more information on how one of the first abilities in Magic works.
Flanking is an ability I've missed a bit, but Bushido functions about like Flanking did originally, but works on blocking as well. The difference, though, is this: When a non-flanker blocks a flanker, each blocking creature gets -1/-1. The more creatures that block a flanker, the more creatures that get the P/T downer. Flanking on a blocking creature does nothing except prevent it from getting flanked.
Flanking works well with the Rampage ability, an old version of the "this creature gets +x/+x for each creature that blocks it." The ability doesn't trigger, though, unless more than one creature is blocking. So if two creatures are blocking Old Fogey, Rampage will give it +2/+2.
Now to the difficult part.
"Hidden motivations buried in the past still give us strength."
The crazy part of the card is the unexpected interactions of all the different upkeep costs and Phasing. To give you the gist of Phasing, you flip the creature over at the beginning of your untap phase to indicate that it's out of the game (unlike morph), and flip it back face-up on the next untap.
That's the easy part. The interaction that's going to confuse people is the way the Phased Out zone works. To post the relevant rules with the important parts in bold:
217.8 - Phased-Out
217.8a - Permanents that phase out are placed in the phased-out zone. (See Rule 502.15, "Phasing.") [CompRules 2003/07/01]
217.8b - Face-up objects in the phased-out zone may be examined by either player at any time. Face-down objects in the phased-out zone are covered by the rules for face-down creatures. (See Rule 502.26, "Morph," and Rule 504, "Face-Down Spells and Permanents.") [CompRules 2003/10/01]
217.8c - Phased-out objects are not in play, so they do not count as tapped or untapped, nor are they controlled by anyone. However, an object in this zone "remembers" the state of the permanent as it phased out and returns to play in the same state as when it left. (See Rule 502.15, "Phasing.") This is an exception to Rule 217.1c. [CompRules 2003/07/01]
217.8d - Tokens in the phased-out zone cease to exist. This is a state-based effect (see Rule 420, "State-Based Effects"). Any phased-out local enchantments or Equipment that were attached to those tokens remain phased out for the rest of the game. [CompRules 2003/10/01]
502.19 - Echo
502.19a - Echo is a triggered ability. "Echo" means "At the beginning of your upkeep, if this permanent came under your control since the beginning of your last upkeep, sacrifice it unless you pay its mana cost." [CompRules 2003/07/01]
502.19.Ruling.1 - The Echo payment is required if you gained control of the creature by any means, such as putting it into play from the graveyard, taking control from another player, or having the card phase in. [D'Angelo 1999/05/01]
What's that mean? It means the GG has to be paid every upkeep the Old Fogey phases in. So you'll be paying the two green if you put out the Old Fogey. In Limited play, he's a middle-of-the-road fatty that probably will take out two or three of their creatures while costing you a boatload of mana. So it goes - and considering the cards previewed this week (skipping today, of course, since I'm not psychic) it's in the top five Limited cards of Unhinged.
Looking forward to the Release Events? I know I am!
Proud Member of the Casual Players' Alliance
"The Orgg" or similar nearly everywhere online.
"CPAlliance The Orgg" on Magic Online.
Creator of Mr. T vs. Magic: The Gathering and Mr. T vs. Johnny Bravo, Audo Style.
(Unstarred footnote on multiple quotes: All song quotations are copyrighted by the Band of Devolution)
* - Without a little bit of silver nail polish, however, this may be changed. The question remains, though, of how much of the border must be silver - can it have a little speck of silver on the border, or must the entire border be solid silver? If the latter is true, after some fair amount of play, many Un- cards will also not be legal targets for Ass Whuppin'.
** - How the hell am I suppose to punctuate this if I didn't have the asterix? "Ass Whuppin.' "? The British " Ass Whuppin'."? Good thing I stole this workaround from Terry Pratchett, like The Ferrett did so many years ago.
*** - This trick works best when you're bigger or more imposing than your opponent. May cause injury and/or abuse depending on the card utilized on. Use this technique at your own risk.
**** - Some examples of this rare item can be found (and presumably ordered from) this site here.
***** - Impromptu use of this technique could be reproduced by folding a card gently and biting off the expansion symbol, but this may cause the card to become marked (and thus unusable) during the Release event. A pair of nail clippers can also be employed in emergency use - but just like the biting method, it may cause the card to become unusable. It may be possible to scrape the expansion symbol off with just your teeth, but after practicing, I was only able to use this technique without marring a card's back about two in five times.
****** - But only a villain would use a Giant Fan on anyone!
******* - This was quite hard to write. I wish Doctor Garfield a very long and productive life, so this method just feels... Depraved.
******** - Yes, this is an old joke. So is Sosumi, but it's been used in places from Ray Stevens's music videos to the Ultimate Muscle anime.
********* - I'll probably check at that point to put my judging skills to work and for the humor value the flubs allow for.
********** - The .33 Bookworm is the fastest creature to be witnessed alive on the Discworld of brilliant author Terry Pratchett. The fastest, the Ambiguous Pzuma, cannot be seen unless deceased. In deceased form, the Pzuma is usually a blotch on a well-placed rock.
*********** - For what its worth, there was almost no day nine at all in any way, shape or form.
************ - The official abbreviation for Champions Of Kamigawa is CHK, pronounced like Check - which sounds exactly like "Chick" in a deep southern United States dialect.