Saturday, March 12, 2011

Luke's Favorite Magic Cards: The Reckoning

So, I realize that I'm still very new to Magic. Some might call me a n00b, even. I've relied primarily on Alex for all of my deck building and card buying, and I don't have the years of exposure to the game that many who read this blog do. That said, I love making lists and I got extremely jealous when Alex rolled out his post on favorite sorcery spells. I don't have the knowledge base to compile separate lists for the various types of spells in Magic, but I feel like I know enough to at least make a list of my favorite cards more generally. Thus, I humbly present a concise list of my all-time favorite magic cards, based not on how "good" the cards are but just on how much I love them.

Soul Warden. For serious Magic players, I assume Soul Warden is "whatever" to laughable. But for me, Soul Warden was basically the first card I found myself liking after Alex introduced me to the game. I have a fairly passive personality, and defensive-heavy game play strategies appeal to me. When I found out that a creature could just gain me tons of life by simply existing, I was sold.

Day Of Judgment. Again, I love defensive game-play. Plus I get a huge thrill out of sitting back and annoying everyone I'm playing with. This card satisfies both of my primal urges. Also, this card harkens back to memories of the days when I would play against David and his swarm of vampires, and I would take great delight in foiling his plans. Slapping down creature-heavy decks with mass removal is the best. Honorable mention goes out to Fracturing Gust for reasons that should be obvious.

Putrefax. Putrefax is a cutie. When I see him I want to hug him. Can't you just imagine laying in bed cuddling a sweet little Putrefax? Yeah, I'm not gonna lie -- I like this card mostly for the artwork and its name. Though I also like the poison mechanic in general, largely because I suck at combat and tend to rely on alternate win strategies. Putrefax is special because it's like, "BAM!" You just got Putrefaxed!" And then he dies. Awww.

Boon Reflection. The only thing better than gaining life is gaining twice that much life instead. I only wish there were a Boon Reflection for every color.

Beacon of Immortality. Spoiler alert: life gain is my favorite thing about Magic. Alex and I recently played a game in which I finished with over 1000 life. It was awesome. So let's say, hypothetically, that I have 150 life or so and then I happen to play Beacon of Immortality. I can only imagine how infuriating that would be to my opponent, which is why this card makes the cut.

Sleep/Exhaustion. By writing this post, I'm starting to realize that I'm somewhat of a Magic troll. I find myself loving cards that serve mostly to irritate the other players in the game. These two cards especially lend themselves to such annoying abuses. Sure, I can envision a situation where I'm close to death and I play either Sleep or Exhaustion to buy myself some time. But the real thrill comes when playing these cards out of revenge or, even worse, for no real reason whatsoever. I have both of these cards in my Time, Space, and Mind deck, and I will not hesitate to use them back-to-back on the same opponent.

Reliquary Tower. Hands down, this is my favorite land in the game (followed in a very close second by Inkmoth Nexus). I should be permitted to have as many cards in my hand as I want. Always. (Honorable mention goes to Venser's Journal for both allowing me to have as many cards as I want and gaining me tons of life; it fails to make the official cut only because everyone hates when I play it and it's usually immediately destroyed). Over the past year I've constructed six EDH decks, and each is running this land. I realize that maximum hand size isn't a big issue for most players. I, however, find this card absolutely necessary in light of another card that I'm running in all six of my EDH decks:

Howling Mine. This was an early love in my Magic learning adventures, and I remain always loyal. Alex persistently stresses to me how important and great card drawing is. It's not that I don't believe him or feel otherwise, but I definitely tend to avoid putting a bunch of stand alone card-draw cards in my decks. I guess I just feel like card-drawing cards take up crucial spaces, preventing me from maximizing my health gain and creature destruction. Howling Mine, however, provides a consistent flow of extra cards, is inexpensive, can be played on the second turn, is a one-time commitment, and no one ever destroys it because it's amazing and benefits all who behold its glory. I can think of zero negative consequences of running this card in every deck I ever make ... forever.

Repercussion. This card has the potential to be both incredibly mean and incredibly fun. I'm currently running Repercussion in my Angry/Revenge deck (formerly the Natural Disaster deck). The deck's theme is basically burn, and its purpose is to punish opponents for the slightest perceivable infractions committed against me. "Oh, you attacked me for two? Well, in response, I Comet Storm you for 12." With Repercussion out, my deck's burn-based creature sweepers deliver a double whammy of incinerating pain. With enough Mana, Repercussion can outright win me the game.

Hallowed Burial. In addition to being an amazing board wipe, this card is especially delightful in EDH when your opponents have their Generals in play. Goodbye, Azusa, ALEX.

I don't want anyone to do anything to hurt me. I want to sit back, gain life, burn you, prevent your damage, put your creatures to sleep, and never be attacked. Please just leave me alone and let me win the game with Felidar Sovereign or Test of Endurance. Is that really asking too much? Be reasonable.

Rites of Flourishing/Oracle of Mul Daya. Just as I am opposed to limitations on the number of cards I can have in my hand, I'm also opposed to limitations on the number of lands I can play per term. There isn't really a whole lot to say about these cards given their self-evident super powers. Though I wasn't originally all that pumped about green as a Magic color, cards like these have made it more appealing.

Decimator Web. It could be simply that I'm still experiencing the euphoria of playing a card that I (Alex) only recently discovered, but I just really like this card. It's not like it's a particularly "good" card (or so I assume), but it simultaneously does three really mean things. How fun.

Time Reversal. And to close this segment of my homage to Magic, I present to you Time Reversal. This card was the inspiration for my blue/red Time, Space, and Mind deck, and I love it because the artwork is cinematic and beautiful. I love space, planets, and destruction, all three of which are prominently featured. Plus, forcing everyone to get a new hand in the middle of a game is ridiculous. Ridiculousness in Magic is part of what makes the game so fun.



  1. I knew that fucking Soul Warden would be on your list. I WILL DESTROY YOU!

  2. Essence Warden sucks.

    Alex, never give Luke a mother of runes.

  3. How DARE you, Zach. Essence Warden and Soul Warden are lesbian lovers, forever entwined in the quest for perpetual youth. They must never be separated, and many horrors will befall those who seek to disrupt their bonds of eternal love.