The Magical History of Fact or Fiction

Fact or Fiction is very strong. It dominated during its time in Standard (or Type 2), while still being a favorite in Commander, Conspiracy, Vintage Masters and Eternal Masters. It made its way into FTV20 as well, which was a collection of 20 cards that had dominated tournaments during each of the first 20 years of Magic’s history and its in pretty good company. Its very popular, but hasn’t been reprinted in Modern, but it has a few cousins.

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The Magical History of Black Draw Spells

Since the early days of the game, black has been secondary with cards with blue being the king. Still, while blue’s history with this is all about changing costs and not much more, black has a more detailed history, which gives us clues into how WotC views different resources and their values.

The benchmark these days seems to be Read the Bones, which is quite strong, seeing plenty of Standard play. But how did we get there?

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Evaluating Card Draw

Back in Alpha, there was a well-known cycle of instants with a casting cost of one and they all gave you three point of something. Healing Salve is much derided (rightly so) as being very weak, while Giant Growth still sees some constructed play when legal in Standard, Dark Ritual is now way too powerful to see its way back into Standard (the effect is now in red, pulled back into sorcery territory and the rate you get is much worse), and Lightning Strike is a cornerstone of the format in both Modern and Legacy. These were all common. And then there was Ancestral Recall. One mana, draw three cards. Jury is still out on whether Recall or the iconic Black Lotus is the most powerful card in the game. Recall was also (rightfully) rare.

Since then drawing spells have been nerfed. Recall just went into every deck that could possibly play it. If a deck couldn’t play it, you were probably doing something wrong. Since then things have become more complicated.

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