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Brian’s Old School Custom Set – White

Brian WhiteHey everyone!  This is Brian, Lead Rambler of The Mana Pool.  I’m here to provide a little background for what you’re looking at today.  If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you might remember that I created a Magic set during college.  This would have been toward the end of Mirrodin block and before Kamigawa was introduced, so around the fall of 2004.  I designed 150 cards to comprise a small set and printed up enough of each (at corresponding rarity levels) to fill around 40 boosters.  I intended for the set to be drafted, although the size of our group since then has made it difficult to get 8 people together.

Looking back the almost eight or so years since I created this set, it’s interesting what I see now in the cards, especially given the ways that the game has changed in the meantime.  The cards in each color focused on my understanding of what that color is capable of and how in particular it allowed for interaction in our games.  That understanding of each color seems almost simplistic in execution to me now- look at white for a prime example.  What does white do in this set?  Other than pump toughness, not much.  Creatures in general seem a little lackluster, but creature power has certainly increased since I made the set.  It’s kind of funny to see a creature I created show up in some form or another in real Magic, like Baby Whale becoming Grayscaled Gharial.

I hope that you enjoy looking through these cards.  I’d encourage everyone to leave their thoughts in the comments section below or in our forums.  Remember, the set was designed to be fun, but even though I haven’t had much opportunity to use them, just the process of designing them was a blast.

First up we have white.  White gets the only new specific keyword in this set: fortitude.  Fortitude gives the creature that has it +0/+1 for each card in your hand, and it does stack (so multiple fortitudes work on the same creature).  This toughness pumping is found throughout the white cards, both expressly in fortitude and in other cards.  Armor Rack is a common enchantment that continues to pump the toughness of your fortitude creatures while still letting you play your spells, at the cost of exiling cards from your deck.  Heroic Sacrifice fills a similar function after it’s been cast or discarded to your graveyard.  Once you’ve got your defenses up, cards like Guardsman’s Armor and Offensive Defense turn your high-toughness creatures into powerful monstrosities.



Armor Rack
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may exile the top card of your library.  If you do, put an armor counter on Armor Rack.
Creatures you control with fortitude get +0/+1 for each armor counter on Armor Rack.

Mike – Nice rack.  Seriously, this is a good card, but I don’t know how I feel about powerful static toughness-pumping effects in general, especially at common in the context of limited.  It sure feels good to have all your creatures be nigh unkillable, but it can really bog down the game if power isn’t also being pumped.

Chewie – Yeah, especially this card, which has the potential to make your fortitude guys stupidly bootylicious.  Whoa, you think J-Lo has fortitude?  Maybe her controller just played some cards in the last several years.


Cloudrunner Falcon
Creature – Bird


Earnest Guard
Creature – Human Soldier
Fortitude (This creature gets +0/+1 for each card in your hand.)


Guard’s Maneuvers
Target blocking or blocked creature gets +X/+0 until end of turn, where X is its toughness.

Chewie – I just like this one for some reason.  It really gives all the guys in this set with big butts some combat relevance.


Hallowed Cleric
Creature – Human Cleric
T:  Prevent the next 2 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.


Heroic Sacrifice
As an additional cost to play Heroic Sacrifice, sacrifice a creature.
Prevent all damage dealt this turn to target creature you control.
As long as Heroic Sacrifice is in your graveyard, creatures you control get +0/+1.

Mike – This is another very powerful static toughness-pumping effect.  All those other words on the card are just a fair cost and minor side-benefit to getting it turned on.


Protect the Weak
Choose one – Target player gains X life, or prevent the next X damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn, where X is the highest toughness among creatures you control.

Mike – When I was editing these for “templating grammar”, I couldn’t find another example of a modal effect referencing an X not defined in a cost.  The only other alternatives I could come up with read horribly, so I left it alone.  There goes Brian, always innovating.


Purification Rite
Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
Draw a card.

Mike – There goes Brian, designing Slice in Twain years before it ever saw print.


Veteran Guardsman
Creature – Human Soldier
Fortitude (This creature gets +0/+1 for each card in your hand.)



Dawn’s First Knight
Creature – Human Knight


Devoted Spiritualist
Creature – Human Cleric
Sacrifice Devoted Spiritualist:  Choose a color.  Prevent all damage sources of the chosen color would deal this turn.

Mike – What up, Fog Bear?


Eagle Sentry
Creature – Bird Soldier
Flying, fortitude (This creature gets +0/+1 for each card in your hand.)

Government Official
Creature – Human Lawyer
W, T:  Tap target creature.
1W, T:  Untap target creature.

Chewie – And here’s where it all started… (For those of you that don’t know, Brian is a lawyer.)


Guard Tower
Creature – Wall
Fortitude (This creature gets +0/+1 for each card in your hand.)


Guardian Knight
Creature – Human Knight
First strike, fortitude (This creature gets +0/+1 for each card in your hand.)


Guardsman’s Armor
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +X/+0, where X is its toughness.

Chewie – And here’s another one to make your dudes with large rear ends not completely pointless. I also like the way this turns fortitude guys into pseudo-Maros.


Life on the Farm
Exile target creature you control.  You gain life equal to its toughness.

Mike – I’m sure there was a time in every Magic player’s career when he would have seriously played this.  I know I would have.

Chewie – I just don’t get the name.  Are you putting a creature out to pasture?  Are you slaughtering said creature and eating it?  But you can’t tell the kids their favorite creature died, so you have to say they were exiled instead, right?



Angel of Splendor
Creature – Angel
Flying, first strike
2W, T:  Creatures you control gain protection from artifacts or from the color of your choice until end of turn.

Mike – Brian really loves cards with tension, and this one is 180 proof.  Very interesting to think about.


Captain at Arms
Creature – Human Soldier
Fortitude (This creature gets +0/+1 for each card in your hand.)


Guard Instructor
Creature – Human Soldier
Fortitude (This creature gets +0/+1 for each card in your hand.)
Other creatures you control have fortitude.

Mike – A first turn 1/7.  Crazy stuff.  I can’t remember if Doran had been printed yet when Brian first designed this set.

Chewie – Not even close.  This stuff came from between Kamigawa and Ravnica.


Hero of the West
Creature – Human Knight
Double strike, protection from black and from red

Chewie – And really, this might be printable at 2WW nowadays.


Mageta’s Wrath
Spend only W on X.
Destroy all creatures with toughness less than X.  They can’t be regenerated.

Mike – The only notable issue I have with Fortitude as a mechanic is the memory issues involved with keeping track of toughnesses as you play cards from your hand, especially since the Fortitude creatures don’t all have the same base toughness.  I can see it being very easy for a player to accidentally wreck himself by miscalculating the true effect of Mageta’s Wrath.

Chewie – Or by pulling a Chewie and forgetting that when you play this, you have to subtract one toughness from everything because it’s no longer in your hand.


Offensive Defense
Until end of turn, creatures you control have first strike and fortitude. (Those creatures gets+0/+1 for each card in your hand.)


Tireless One
Creature – Soldier Avatar
Tireless One has power and toughness each equal to the number of Soldiers on the battlefield.
All other soldier creatures get +1/+1.

Chewie – This would be MAD awesome in my Soldier deck!  Yes I made this comment so I could link back to it, shut up!

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  1. Dylan
    December 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I think “life on the farm” was supposed to be a reference to the card swords to plowshares. and yea, I would have played the card at one point too.
    “I bolt your dude”
    “Psh oh yeah, well, I exile him in response. HA!”

    • Brian
      December 4, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      You are correct, sir! This was designed when I knew that StP was an exceptionally strong removal spell (especially for white) and I wanted a way to invoke the memory of that spell without its brokenness. Hense, only removing your own creature and double the cost. In retrospect, this could probably cost W.

  2. Jars
    December 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Overall, the amount of constantly-fluctuating variables (Xs and hand sizes everywhere!) would probably make my head hurt in here. Haha and the Fortitude guys are almost too difficult to kill in Limited.

    Hallowed Cleric: Preventing 2 damage in common will totally screw up combat math. Especially with Fortitude.

    Dawn’s First Knight: I love the name. How about another card named Night’s First Don (Mafia-themed).

    Lawyer creature type? Lawyer creature type. WOO! 😀

    Angel of Splendor: I agree with Mike re: the tension in this card. Would Vigilance be too cheesy?

    Captain at Arms should probably not be a rare.

    I’m excited for the rest of the set. 🙂

  3. Austin
    December 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Would someone, Mike or Chewie, give clarification on the mana costs? I get W is a White mana, but did you want 4W to be WWWW or 4 colorless and a W? Just a bit of confusion on my part, and you will understand why in the next few days….
    Great set Brian!

    • December 5, 2011 at 12:14 am | Permalink

      The standard way to represent mana costs in text form is to use a letter instead of the colored mana symbol. So 4W is four colorless and a white, whereas WWWW would be four white mana. That’s why Tireless One has two Ws in its cost. 3WW is three colorless and two white. All good now?

      • Austin
        December 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Yes! Thank you, sir! You will be getting something quite soon…. * evil chewie laugh *

  4. ChuChuJelly
    December 13, 2011 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Great to see the set finally rolled out somewhere, I was always eager to take a look.

    Though I must say, thoughness pumping effects and other defensive effects like damage prevention have always been some of my least favorite, so white is not all that appealing to me. It might stem from the time when I started playing. My friend played blue white with damage prevention and toughness pumping clerics and walls, bogging down our games. Ugh. Nothing personal, just personal taste. Or should I say personal trauma…

    Oh well, hoping to see more. I’ve been wondering what Kitchen Fire (WHOOO!) does for a couple of years now!

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