In the fall of 2004 between Mirrodin block and Kamigawa block, Brian tried his hand at set design with a set of 150 cards. Other than updating to use modern templating and keywords, these are exactly as Brian created them. It’s a look back at Brian’s take on old school set design. Chewie and Mike added some commentary just for good measure. You can also read the White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green cards. We hope you enjoy this trip back as much as we do!
Finally, we’ve got the artifact, multicolor, and land cards. Each and every artifact (except Goblin Prototype, who is just weird) is essentially based around a pre-existing card, not necessarily an artifact. Can you guess all of them? The common land cards are probably too good; New Benalia is proof of that. Nevertheless, scry always had a lot of potential to me in a limited setting, and I thought the lands were a way to give each player access to library manipulation regardless of color. I was always curious as to where they would fit in a draft pick order. Frozen Plane was another attempt at a card with constructed applications. All of the multicolor cards were fun to design, but the rares were especially so. Spirit of Rage is particularly vicious; good thing I’ve never been attacked by one. Hope you enjoyed the set. Let me know what you think of it, and thanks for reading!
Mike – I’ll refrain from adding my own guesses, and leave it up to the readers to have fun doing it.
Chewie – Oh yeah, you reader-type people should definitely do this in the comments.
Box O’ Bugs
Box O’ Bugs enters the battlefield with 2 bug counters on it
3, T, Remove a bug counter from Box O’ Bugs: Put a 1/1 Wirefly artifact creature token with flying onto the battlefield. At the beginning of the end step, if there are no bug counters on Box O’ Bugs, destroy all Wireflys.
Chewie – This gets the nod from me as best name in the set. Makes me giggle every time I read it.
At the beginning of your upkeep, if Cursed Headstone is in your graveyard, you lose 2 life.
T, Sacrifice Cursed Headstone: Draw 2 cards, then discard a card.
Mike – At the beginning of your upkeep, if you didn’t combo out last turn, you lose 2 life.
Chewie – What Mike said.
2, Sacrifice Fog Machine: Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn.
3, T: Target creature loses flying until end of turn.
Thran Powerstone Shard
T, Sacrifice Thran Powerstone Shard: Add 1 to your mana pool.
Mike – I think Brian out-clevered himself with the trickiness of some of these cards. Or maybe they’re just so clever that they’re completely over my head.
Chewie – You know, pay one now so you can get one later! Once. I get it, I just don’t think it’s any good.
Whenever a creature without flying an opponent controls attacks, you may untap target creature you control.
Mike – I think this adds way too much strategic complexity to be an uncommon. Because the same creature can be targeted by multiple triggers, there can be some hard math to do in relatively common situations.
1, Discard a card: Prevent the next 2 damage that would be dealt to Armored Sentry this turn
Goblin Prototype enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it.
3, T, Remove all counters from Goblin Prototype: Reveal the top card of your library. If a nonland card is revealed this way, put a number of +1/+1 counters on Goblin Prototype equal to that card’s converted mana cost. If a land card is revealed this way, sacrifice Goblin Prototype.
1: Omnithopter gets -0/-1 and gains flying until end of turn.
Chewie – The new state of the art Omnithopter can do anything! It attacks for no damage! It flies! It blocks! Uh…it gets sacrificed to some Atogs! Hmmm…Open the Vaults brings it back? I think this might be a misnomer.
Artifact Creature – Snake
Whenever Silver Cobra deals combat damage to an opponent, that opponent gets a venom counter.
At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, Silver Cobra deals 2 damage to each opponent for each venom counter he or she has.
Mike – Wow, that’s a lot of damage. I like it.
Chewie – Holy crap that says EACH player’s upkeep! If you hit someone once in a multiplayer game, they’re gonna be almost dead before their next turn!
1: Untap Deactivated Sentry
3, Sacrifice Deactivated Sentry: Draw 2 cards.
6: Deactivated Sentry becomes a 5/6 artifact creature until end of turn.
Mike – The fact that the first ability is even on this card makes me think there’s something else Brian wanted to put on here but never did.
Chewie – Or maybe he just wanted to give it some kind of pseudo-vigilance…no wait. Maybe I transcribed it wrong. I’ll go check.
Chewie – Nope, I copied it down correctly. Um…I don’t get it either.
Neutralizer is indestructible.
Creatures lose flying, haste, fortitude, fear, and trample.
4 and 4 life: Shuffle Neutralizer into its owner’s library. Any player may activate this ability, but only during his or her upkeep.
2, T: Search your library for a land card and put that card onto the battlefield. Activate this ability only if an opponent controls more land than you.
Field of Glass
Field of Glass enters the battlefield tapped.
When you play Field of Glass, Scry 2.
T: Add W to your mana pool.
Mike – These were some of the cards in our “draft” pool the one time Brian implemented the set, and they’re really great stuff.
Chewie – Yeah they were! And these were WAY before New Benalia.
Junk Head enters the battlefield tapped.
When you play Junk Heap, Scry 2.
T: Add R to your mana pool.
Peaceful Glade enters the battlefield tapped.
When you play Peaceful Glade, Scry 2.
T: Add G to your mana pool.
Pool of Filth
Pool of Filth enters the battlefield tapped.
When you play Pool of Filth, Scry 2.
T: Add B to your mana pool.
Sea of Mirrors
Sea of Mirrors enters the battlefield tapped.
When you play Sea of Mirrors, Scry 2.
T: Add U to your mana pool.
Chamber of Echoes
T: Add 1 to your mana pool.
2, T: Scry 2.
Mike – Uncounterable Crystal Ball before it was even a thing.
Chewie – And the only thing that that had repeatable scry back then was Eyes of the Watcher, and you had to jump through hoops to make that work. Nice job seeing into the future (scrying, as it were) Brian!
Frozen Plane does not untap during your untap step.
T: Add 3 to your mana pool.
Mike – I have plenty to say about this card, but it would all end up coming out as incoherent shouting, so I’m just gonna leave it alone.
Tomb to Ones Past
1, T, Exile a card in your graveyard: Add two mana of any color to your mana pool.
Chewie – Wow, this seems pretty awesome. Not as dumb as the one above it of course, but still good.
Until end of turn, lands you control have “T, Sacrifice this land: This land deals 1 damage to target creature.”
Return target creature you control to its owner’s hand. At the beginning of the next end step, put a card with the same name as that creature from your hand onto the battlefield.
Gain life equal to the number of lands you control.
Chewie – We won’t hold it against Brian that Nature’s Blessing was printed back in Alliances, because it’s not that good. However, after multiple searches in Gatherer, I can’t find this card anywhere. Has this effect really not been printed?
Destroy target land.
Mike – This card sounds pretty crazy and terrifying, right? Keep in mind this was designed at a time when Wizards was still comfortable printing multiple one-color 3-mana LD effects over and over (sometimes in the same set), and the pool of good multi-lands available was pretty thin.
Target opponent discards a card at random.
Draw a card.
Chewie – For some reason, I really like this. That is all.
Creature – Angel
Blessed Seraphim cannot be sacrificed.
Creature – Wyrm
You may pay 2 instead of W or R when you cast Dormant Wyrm.
Trample, haste, protection from blue and from black.
Chewie – Here’s the hybrid mana years before it actually showed up. The mana cost for this card after hybrid mana would be 2GG(2/W)(2/R), like the Reaper King forgot what he was doing partway through. But he’s got lots of abilities for 6 mana in three colors, or he’s a tad expensive at 6GG for what he does. Either way, I like it. Holy crap I didn’t even see that it had haste!
Mike – It has haste?!
Spirit of Rage
Creature – Elemental
Whenever Spirit of Rage deals damage to a creature, that creature’s controller loses life equal to the damage dealt.
Whenever a creature dealt damage by Spirit of Rage this turn dies, that creature’s controller loses life equal to that creature’s toughness.
Mike – Whenever Spirit of Rage becomes blocked by a creature that can’t trade with it, defending player is an idiot until end of turn.
Chewie – Dies to Dismember! Sorry, I couldn’t resist…