July 30, 2010

Indestructible gold star

The latest kerosene poured on the community bonfire: emblems. It's a new thingie to clutter up the command zone representing an in-game rules change. The only card that produces an emblem is Elspeth, Knight Errant. But ... what does an emblem look like? An emblem must have a visible, physical representation. What happens the next time I ultimate my Elspeth? Do I add a penny, a peanut, a scrap of paper with emblem scrawled on it, to my command zone? I have no frickin' idea how I will remember that my stuff is indestructible! AAaaaaaahhhh!!!!

Hush. The Looter has it covered:

Elspeth says Nice Job!

You did it, buddy! Thumbs up!

Gold star for ya!

Here's a high-resolution PDF, so that you can print a big, gaudy emblem for all of your Elspeth-maxing needs. And if you ever slap this thing down in a game, please take a photo of your opponent's bewildered expression and send it to me.

Otherwise, I had the opportunity to be breathed upon by 150,000 fellow nerds ...er, popular arts enthusiasts ... at this year's San Diego Comic-con, and particularly enjoyed the Magic panel. Alex Shearer posted an excellent summary (with photos) of the numerous announcements and spoilers. On the qualitative beat, I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the Wizards guys. It should come as no surprise that they love the game but to see their excitement about upcoming products and their obvious concern for the player experience in person reinforced my feeling that this game is in good hands. And I was similarly impressed by the players who asked reasonable questions throughout the audience Q&A, traditionally a brutal, unbearable, awkward component to panel presentations. Shearer noted the support group confessional way that all of the questioners introduced themselves, giving their names and personal Magic histories up front. This was hilarious but also somewhat heart-warming. Everyone there had a lot invested in Magic and great respect for the guys on stage. Except for all of the bored significant others fiddling with their smartphones. And those of us seething with EMBLEM RAGE.

July 20, 2010

Bash Brothers

Bash Brothers
Manic Vandal and War Priest of Thune

I'm highly appreciative that the official MTG style guide now mandates enter-the-battlefield destroy effects be depicted with spiked bats. And like some other Bash Brothers, these two seem to have ingested some powerful, uh, dietary supplements. Can't wait to play some M11 limited with these sluggers.

See the original card art for Manic Vandal by Christopher Moeller and War Priest of Thune by Izzy.

July 15, 2010

My other phylactery is a dirty Econoline van.

If you're seeking a bold t-shirt choice for an upcoming Magic event, allow me to suggest the following design:

Black Mana

Get it here.

July 07, 2010

Keep Magic weird



An Alpha original is back in M11 with new art and flavor text. Good ol' Juggs ... it sets me rolling on a destructive trip down memory lane.

When I started playing, back at the dawn of this game, cards were not readily available. I was lucky enough to purchase the last three starter decks in town and for a while my friends and I cobbled together games with that extremely limited pool. Eventually more cards were printed and I was able to play against a friend with cards of his own. New cards I'd never seen before! In those days there was no visual spoiler. In fact, Magic debuted a couple years before web browsers became widespread. Imagine that! Sure, I tried to trawl UNIX-based message boards for card info, but the card pool beyond my own was essentially mysterious. So I was mentally unprepared when my pal paid 4 to drop a relentless machine that bashed away quarters of my starting life total until there was none left. It was a formative moment, a stark lesson in price, power and tempo. We played the hell out of Juggernaut for years.

When I saw that there was new Juggernaut art I had to turn it into a real moment. Poured a beverage, dimmed the lights in The Looter's Grotto, put on an appopriate playlist (Judas Priest, Turbonegro, Andrew WK, etc), and called up the Magic Arcana with Juggy's new face. After soaking it in for a while I concluded that I don't get what is being depicted and I love that! A pinecone and a VW Bug had a baby in a zombie mosh pit. Weird and awesome!

I have a lot of affection for the art of Alpha. The riot of styles, straight-laced depiction alongside bizarre abstraction, and the seeming lack of overall direction made for a scrappy, memorable experience. After the game's initial success there was an effort to sand off the rough edges and standardize the look. This led to sets with more traditional fantasy art, restricted palettes ... boring. There were still highlights, you know, Mark Tedin never went away, but my memory of those middle years is of muddy, bland card art.

But then someone in charge got it and a beam of hot light parted the gray. That period gave way to the current era of strong art direction married to risky, fun, and weird art. Each new set blows me away. Beautiful painting! Art that tells stories! Humor! But the key for me is: weird. Give me those images that perplex, disturb and stick in my memory. Keep Magic weird!

Thanks to Wizards of the Coast and Mark Hyzer for this crazy, new Juggernaut.

Want the original drawing?

Looters draw but they also discard, so I'm giving away the pen/ink drawing for the Juggernaut piece above. How do you win?

1. Follow me on Twitter.

2. Post a comment below including your Twitter name and some original flavor text to go along with the drawing. Whatever you think goes best with the drawing. Humor is not mandatory but will probably help.

If I like your flavor text suggestion the best I will send you the drawing. Contest ends July 16 at noon PST. Any questions?

Juggy drawing