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My take - Magic's Mistakes
By Robert Hilliard
Spoof on “ Make no Mistake – by MaRo”

The greatest mistake, is putting an island or blue mana-producing object in the in-play zone while sitting across from train.
- Ertai, The Whupped

#1 - Biggest Mistake - Card Design – Silver Artifacts

Recently we all felt the shell-shock of viewing our Magic cards in a different light – first with new card design, and then a new color scheme for Artifacts. WoTC did something they though would make more sense with artifacts – Make them a silver color instead of the original “brown” we were all used to. Needless to say, unless you pull a foil artifact, it takes some work in discerning what you pulled from the pack. The example below is a little lame, but pretty much sums it up.

White Weenie Lover - “Is it white?”
WWL stooge - “I can’t tell by just looking at it…”
Shop Owner, Magic Expert – “If it has a white mana symbol in the top right hand corner on the face of the card it is white.”
WWL – “Then this must be an artifact….”

They tell us this will be improved upon… We’ll see…

#2 - Biggest Mistake - Card Development – Beta

Originally this portion dealt with Urza’s Saga… but I think Saga was developed to perfection… except for that Tolarian Academy thing… anyhow… After the release of Alpha, WoTC didn’t have much time to release more cards to feed the growing popularity Magic was receiving. They corrected a few things not previously in Alpha, Volcanic Island being the one they should have left out. Either way – There is no set more open to being “broken” than Beta. Urza’s was fast, but not as fast as recursion on the first turn… Kill first turn – anyone can do, perpetual was another story…It took work to trade Shivans for 5 moxes and a lotus… But once you had them, Recursion was yours…

#3 - Biggest Mistake - Concept - Too Strong – Countering Spells

This is the part where I tell you how horrible the concept of countering spells really is… It’s worse than cutting a man a million times with a razor, all over his body, and sliding him into a pool filled with alcohol… It’s worse than tying a man’s private parts to a bolted down table, and handing him a plastic knife, then setting the house on fire daring him to get out alive…

It’s just plain wrong!

Countering a spell says one thing – I’m a control freak and the only spells that should be allowed in Magic are Blue countering spells. It may also sound like: I decide which of your cards actually make it into play, because I play Blue.

It basically sends a signal that anyone wanting to be creative in this game needs to toss those ideas in the trash, because your opponent has 2 Islands untapped. Blue not only kills spells, it kills the playing of the game…

I know you all agree with me… so we’ll move on…

#4 - Biggest Mistake - Mechanics - Too Weak - Band with Others

That was Mark’s original topic for this section, when, in all actuality, Banding is much stronger than LANDHOME!!!… What was WoTC smoking when they thought that up?!!!… Does it make sense – not even a little!!!… Let’s put it this way… LANDHOME is so bad, it’s not worth wasting anymore time writing about…

#5 - Biggest Mistake - Mechanics - Too Confusing in the Rules - Licids

MaRo’s spill discusses how much of a headache these things caused… All I have to say is that they are one of the most efficient blocking enchantments I’ve ever known… They just need to be demonstrated properly and noobs will be all over them…

#6 - Biggest Mistake - Card Design - Overpowered - Yawgmoth's Will

Okay – this title is wrong again… Island is the most overpowered card… without it there would be far fewer sorces of blue – and even those would be limited to 4 per deck… nuff said...

#7 - Biggest Mistake - Card Design - Underpowered – Sneak Attack

Originally this was Sorrow’s Path – unfortunately, though it is one of my favorite cards of all time, Sneak Attack is greatly under-powered. The Text on Sneak Attack should read like below:

R: Draw a Card, Add R to your mana pool, Put a Creature card from your hand into play. That creature has haste, and must be returned to your hand at the end of turn.

That right there would stop Sneak Attack from being so under-powered.

#8 - Biggest Mistake - Card Design - Poorest Fix - Tinker

I have to agree – It’s Blue…

#9 - Biggest Mistake - Card Design - Rules Problems - Humility

Actually I think Ivory Gargoyle can cause more problems than Humility – unless Opalescence is involved…

#10 - Biggest Mistake - Card Mix in Packaging - Legends

I’ll disagree here and say Homelands and Fallen Empires – after getting away from the no “rares” bit they resorted back to an all uncommon system… Hi, I’m train, remember me? I’ve been your Coat dealer for a few years now…

#11 - Biggest Mistake - Art - Functionality - Tempest Circles of Protection

I’ll go out on a limb here and say ELVISH RANGER(female version), and for one CPA member – Quirion Ranger… The functionality of this card was simple – pure – unadulterated CARDBOARD PORN… WoTC was struggling from Ice Age Sales and had to come up with something… Autumn Willow wasn’t doing the trick – so out comes this almost nude, glistening, tone-bodied elf that just beckons you to stare at her, and buy more and more Alliances packs just to have more of her…

I bought 7 boxes of Alliances – I’ll leave it at that…

#12 - Biggest Mistake - Art - Representing Flying - Whipoorwill

Again, I have to break the mold here and say Serra Angel(Cleavage Shot)… She wasn’t a flyer - she was another version of CARDBOARD PORN so let’s not get me started…

#13 - Biggest Mistake - Art - Misunderstanding the Card's Title – Elvish Ranger

It was Elvish “I dare you to find a way into this cardboard and tear me apart” Seductress - Nuff said…

#14 - Biggest Mistake - Art - Misreading the Card's Title - Sunweb

Sunweb didn’t look like a SunWEB – It looked like a dragon – that’s greatly MIS-READING something… MaRo may have missed the mark on this one… though he did mention Alchor’s Tomb…

#15 - Biggest Mistake - New Card Frames - The Artifact Border

Not just the artifact border MaRo – New Card Frames PERIOD.

#16 - Biggest Mistake - On The Pro Tour - Terry Borer's "Do You Have Any Fast Effects?"

I’ll leave this one alone… As originally posted by MaRo

There have been a number of classic blunders on the Pro Tour. Marco Blume's playing of a Covetous Dragon when he had no artifacts in play at Worlds '99. Mark Justice's concession to Mike Long in the finals of PT Paris when Long had no way to win left in his deck. But the king of all screw-ups belongs I believe to a young Canadian named Terry Borer.
The moment in question occurred in the quarter-finals of PT Atlanta. The event was the one and only pro tour to use a pre-release limited format. (Mirage being the soon to be released set.) Borer was playing against fellow Canadian Darwin Kastle. Terry had the win in his hand. All he had to do was attack with a number of creatures. And then after blocking was assigned, he needed to play Grave Servitude from his hand on an unblocked creature (and Borer had more attackers than Kastle had blockers) and he would win. Attack. Play Grave Servitude on an unblocked creature. Win the game and the match and advance to the semi-finals. But Borer decided to be tricky. After Kastle declared his blockers, Borer asked "Do you have any fast effects?"
The question sounds innocent enough but head judge Charlie Catino understood its importance. When Darwin said no and Terry attempted to play Grave Servitude, Catino stepped in. You see, by asking the question, Borer had passed priority. When Kastle declined to play a spell, the opportunity to play spells had passed. Borer's little tricky question made him miss his window for playing the Grave Servitude.
Surviving the attack, Kastle was able to win the game on his next turn. But wait, it gets worse. Because Borer made that mistake, he lost that game. Because he lost that game, he lost the match. Because he lost the match, he didn't advance to the semi-final round. Because he didn't advance, Borer did not get the extra pro tour points. Because he didn't get the extra points, he later lost the Pro Player of the Year race to fellow countryman Paul McCabe. One tricky sentence cost Borer the game, the match, possibly the Pro Tour and the Pro Player of the Year title. Ouch.

#17 - Biggest Mistake – MaRo’s Column - Using Kamahl and Phage

I’ll also leave this one alone…

As I talked about up above, I have a fine history of making blunders in my columns. Probably my biggest mistake was an aside in my column on the creation of Phage ("Phage of Enlightenment"). In the column, I relayed a combo from R&D developer Elaine Chase that used Phage in combination with Volrath's Shapeshifter and Kamahl. The problem was that neither Elaine or I realized that Phage's ability only works with "combat damage" making the little combo not work. (Note that then editor Aaron Forsythe quickly changed the example to Rorix to fix the mistake.)
I chose this mistake as it was the one that generated the most mail and discussion in other articles and on the bulletin boards. The lesson here is to always check the card in question. And to get the article in early enough so my editor has time to proof it.

Well – That’s my take on some of Magic’s greatest mistakes…

‘til next time


Read More Articles by Robert Hilliard!

 - Thursday (May 17, 2018)
 - Tuesday (Aprl. 24, 2018
 - Monday (Apr. 16, 2018)
 - Friday (Apr. 6, 2018)
 - Wednesday (Apr. 4, 2018)
 - Monday (Apr. 2, 2018)
 - Friday (Mar. 23, 2018)
 - Thursday (Feb. 15, 2018)
 - Thursday (Jan 25, 2018)
 - Wednesday (Jan. 17, 2018)

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