Magical History of Common Fatties (Casting Cost of 4GG)

If you’ve been around older players, you’ve probably heard them discuss how big [scryfall]Craw Wurm[/scryfall] was back in the day. I mean 6/4 with no drawbacks… we didn’t have many of those back in the day. And at common no less!

How far have we come from those days… Actually, not as far as one might think.

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Magical History of Shocks

[scryfall]Lightning Bolt[/scryfall] is very powerful. Indeed, it’s too powerful to put in most formats. Being able to deal with quite a few threats with only one mana is extremely efficient and makes many creatures basically unplayable, which in turn makes designing sets more difficult, as any creature meant to be constructed playable than needs to dodge the Bolt or be very cheap.

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The Magical History of Mythic Rare Instants (updated 9th of December 2023)

If we focus on the cards that were originally mythics, there aren’t many. Can you name them all? There’s actually quite a few that have been reprinted as mythics. There’s even a version of Impulse from a From the Vault that has the telltale orange in the logo, even though it has been printed as common on multiple occasions. I’m leaving out everything that was of lower rarity initially, as well as everything that has an Adventure on it that is an instant. Also, Alchemy and silver-bordered don’t count.

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The Magical History of Color Shifting Planeswalkers

Planeswalkers have been around since Lorwyn, so it’s been more than 10 years. There’s 107 of them currently in circulation. During that time with that many planeswalkers, some of them have changed their outlook to life. Sometimes quite radically. They are major characters in the story, so it should be expected of them to have some sort of an arc, which might affect them mechanically as well.

We did learn in Amonkhet that the colors of a planeswalker doesn’t necessarily limit what they can do, because Nicol Bolas doesn’t seem to have any limitations on colors of spells.

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Magical History of Hydras

Another green topic? Yes. Although, actually they were red at first.

The hydra of greek mythology was about growth. When it lost a head, two more sprung up. While that was exactly what the early versions went for, this proved quite difficult from design point of view, so they are more about +1/+1 counters and often scaling up when the game goes long.

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Magical History of Blue Grizzly Bears

Continuing this voyage of weird corners of the Magic design, we come to [scryfall]Grizzly Bears[/scryfall], but I’m limiting this to a very specific subgroup of blue.

Why blue? Because it’s the only color that hasn’t received a true [scryfall]Grizzly Bear[/scryfall] yet, meaning a 2/2 vanilla creature with a casting cost of 1U.

There’s a total of 204 2/2 creatures with a casting cost of 1C (including Un-Cards). Each other color has some of them and has even creatures that are strictly better than that. It took a while for black and red to get to that point, but here we are and now they aren’t even interesting any more. But blue is still making it’s way towards that goal and I’m not sure it will ever reach it. (Although it should be noted that in order to be truly strictly worse or better than something, the cards should be of the same color.)

Blue only has ten Grizzly Bears throughout the history of the game, and I’m going to leave out the Un-Card, which leaves us with nine total, meaning that they are quite rare.

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Magical History of Switching Power and Toughness

Swithing power and toughness isn’t something that happens a lot in Magic. Usually, because it’s hard to find cards where it’s interesting. Of course, there have been cases in which it was done simply for the sake of doing it, but it was quickly found out those cards didn’t do much for the game as they are quite situational, so the newer iterations were either pushed or R&D tried to do something more interesting with them.

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The Magical History of Mirrored White and Black Knights

We saw the first knights in Alpha. White Knight was a strong and efficient card by the standards of those days and still is for an uncommon. But there was also it’s dark counterpart, the Black Knight. A flavor-win certainly, except that of course they could never actually fight due to their Protection abilities. Both saw some tournament play (I certainly played with both back in the day) and both have seen a number of reprints. White and black have also been pitted against each other in a similar way quite a few more times, often through knights.

This is specifically for white and black. There are other similar mirrors in white and red, but we’ll forget about those. Since the mirrors don’t sometimes come to be in the same set, I’ve placed these mirrors where the latter part was first printed. White has plenty more knights than this, but we are specifically interested in these pairs here. Black has some other ones as well, especially in Ixalan, but again, not interested in those.

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Magical History of Green Ramp Spells

Each color has its distinctive features and one of the features for green is its ability to ramp. Sure, all colors can produce extra mana in some way or another, but green is definitely the master of this, having several ways of doing it in most sets.

However, since I don’t want to go through all the ways green can do this (mana elves, doubling effects), I’m limiting this to noncreature cards that put lands into play from your library and are green (there are some white and colorless ones that do this as well). I’ll probably do a separate one on creatures at some point. I’ll also omit all the spells, that don’t actually add lands, but rather change the ones you already have into different ones, like Scapeshift which could be used to produce more mana in many ways, but generally isn’t.

This is up until Ixalan.

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