Re-Skin for the Win 2 -
The latest re-skinning palaver focuses on some old school cards. While our last foray was into the recent RTR block, some of the most heinous crimes against flavourtude reside in the misty past of the game where all sorts of strange things emerged from the alchemical printing presses.
The act of re-skinning is a form of creative mercy killing and involves taking a stupid, lame, overly bizarre or generally objectionable card and changing its flavour elements to make it completely awesome. The following is a handful of cards that, while they are very powerful or staples in older and eternal formats, are really stupid for one reason. Let the flaying begin.
CANDELABRA OF TAWNOS
Terrifyingly powerful? Check. Massively expensive? Check. Lame beyond words? Double check.
The Candelabra is one of the kitten-punchingly powerful cards from Urza
's era, part of all kinds of huge mana shenanigans. It costs a bomb in sheer dollarpounds and powers some broken eternal format decks. It's also almost completely lacking in flavour. It's a candelabra that somehow messes around with your lands, a complete break in cause and effect, and it's not even particularly cool in its own right because it's an inanimate object that plenty of people have in their house without thinking it in any way remarkable. The art is very pedestrian even for an everyday piece of furniture and the flavour text, while not awful, is similarly lacking in pizazz. It's a classic munter.
Sub Type: Character
Artist: Mark Tedin
Text: 3: Urza deals one damage to target creature or player.
So, what can be done? It's an artifact which means it can be just about anything, without any colour restrictions, so there's plenty of scope for what it might be. What object can untap lands? Something to actually do with lands would be a start. The first image in my head was a tree so I stuck with that, but not a regular tree – no, a tree wrought from precious metals by a wizard (wizards always did it) that sends its roots deep into the earth to infuse the land with its magic.
I try to stay away from names for fantasy things that include the word 'of', as it's overused and is frequently followed by either 'Darkness
' or the name of an unpronounceable character. I decided to keep this one as simple as possible to reflect the bluntly impressive scale of its power.
Artist: Harold McNeill
Text: Creatures attack and block as normal, but none deal any damage. All attacking creatures are still tapped. Play any time before attack damage is assigned.
Art Brief: A tall and fantastical tree forged from precious metals stands in the middle of a clearing. Its gold and silver foliage is lush. It is hung with precious stones and shining with golden light.
Flavour Text: As its roots reached downwards, the land reached back.
SHOW AND TELL
Putting something from your hand onto the battlefield is just about the most powerful thing you can do in Magic. Omniscience
|Set: Magic 2013|
Artist: Jason Chan
Text: You may cast nonland cards from your hand without paying their mana costs.
? Emrakul? Your opponent's Battle of Wits
|Set: Avacyn Restored|
Type: Legendary Creature
Sub Type: Demon
Artist: Igor Kieryluk
Text: Flying, lifelink Pay 7 life: Draw seven cards.
? Hell yeah! Whole eternal format archetypes are built around the capacity of this card to put down something huge and unfair. And it's a joke.
|Battle of Wits|
Artist: Mark Brill
Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have 200 or more cards in your library, you win the game.
This is a joke card. Those things are fine when it's Dragon Fodder
or Goblin Grenade
|Set: Shards Of Alara|
Artist: Jaime Jones
Text: Put two 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens into play.
. That's cool, things are funnier when they're happening to goblins. The joky flavour of this card is that wizard students are showing off stuff in their wizardly classroom, and sometimes they're things that they can't quite control. The illustration is cheeky and the flavour text is goofy. But, apparently by accident, the card is nuclear-strength and does some truly epic things, a complete break with the flavour of the card which suggests something minor enough to be amusing. Five points from Gryffindor, people.
|Set: Fallen Empires|
Artist: Ron Spencer
Text: Sacrifice a Goblin to have Goblin Grenade deal 5 damage to one target.
The re-skinned version is something that puts the epic into this epic card, and makes the flavour less of something to be ashamed of when forcing the biggest Eldrazi in town onto the battlefield. The intention isn't to do anything new but to make a card that has more in common with the function it performs in the game, and to throw a bit of Cthulhu into the mix because why not.
Art Brief: A huge monstrous hand reaches through a magical tear in a stormy sky. On a rocky promontory below robed figures, tiny by comparison, are fleeing in terror from the religious ritual that has summoned the intrusion.
Flavour Text: They begged for their gods to intercede. They screamed in anguish as their prayers were answered.
This is a tough one to hate on because the art is quite pretty in an impressionistic sort of way, and the flavour text is lovely. But unfortunately, none of it actually fits together. It's an otherwise unknown city which, while it might have been a central part of the roleplaying campaigns the creators of the Legends set ran, doesn't reference any archetype or part of Magic background. The flavour text doesn't seem to have anything to do with the city since it describes a prairie, which is about as different from a city as it is possible to be. And the ability, to send important people off into the aether, has nothing to do with either.
A re-skinned Karakas
needs to make sense as a land, so it has to be a location somewhere, and as it's legendary it needs to be the only place of its kind. It has to make sense with the ability above all, since it's such an unusual and flavourful effect. I had the idea of a stone circle or a shrine where famous heroes or villains might offer themselves up to be transported somewhere else, but that felt a bit flat. Then I thought that maybe being returned to the owner's hand could be rationalised as ascending to a higher state of consciousness, so I thought a monastery full of famous philosophers could fit the bill. The name I chose has 'Of' in it so I broke one of my own rules, but I thought it would be cute to reference Black Lotus
Type: Legendary Land
Artist: Nicola Leonard
Text: T: Add W to your mana poolT: Return target legend to owner's hand; enchantments on target legend are destroyed.
and associated cards.
|Set: Oversize Cards|
Type: Mono Artifact
Artist: Christopher Rush
Text: Adds 3 mana of any single color of your choice to your mana pool, then is discarded. Tapping this artifact can be played as an interrupt.
THE MONASTERY OF THE OBSIDIAN PETAL
Art Brief: An isolated monastery built into the side of a mountain. It has many wings, courtyards and galleries with black tile roofs, and looks like it has been built up over many generations. It is a place of calm, contemplation and isolation.
Flavour Text: The Masters of the Obsidian Petal spend lifetimes contemplating a higher plane of thought. Only those touched by fate can hope to join them.
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