• Magic: The Gathering
  • Magic: The Gathering Online

Which game do you want to buy from?

How to Buy at a Glance

  • 1. Search for items
  • 2. Purchase via PayPal or CC
  • 3. Receive items in the mail
    (usually in less than a week!)
Want Magic prices from CardShark.com on your Mobile device? - Try the Decked Builder app

CardShark Content - Kevin Knack (4/22/2002)

Virtually every gaming shop has a box of castaway Magic cards. For a dime or less, someone with the fortitude to search through 1000’s of cards can scrounge up that fourth Terminate
Terminate
TerminateSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.
or Fire Bolt they need to fill out their deck. “Commons Box” is something of a misnomer, however. These boxes usually contain not just commons, but any card that has been tossed to the wayside and deemed unworthy for tournament use. While they are an irritating obstacle to someone searching for a specific card in those last five minutes before the tourney starts, an intrepid soul can rescue some of these castaways and build an unique and effective deck for a dollar or two.

The following paragraph is a sort of ‘statement of intent’. You probably won’t find tourney strategy advice or information on regionals or the latest and greatest deck in my articles. In all likelihood, there probably won’t even be a decklist included. Why? Because I’d rather point out a card that has been overlooked or forgotten and let the readers work out a deck idea. There have been many times I’ve flipped through a handful of cards and come across one interesting gem that inspires me to build a deck around it. I’m writing these articles for players who may be new to the game or veteran players who may have overlooked a few neat cards over the years. I’m writing these articles for casual players who want to play something other than a net deck but need someplace to start. Well, all that and I also believe that I might be able to churn out something worth reading. Also note that every card I write about is a card I fished out of a “commons box”. These cards are also available at cardshark.com for a nominal price. If you’re already picking up something for your Type 2 deck, why not tack on another 40 cents and give some of these cards a try…

Enough with the introduction…let’s talk about some cards.

Phantasmal Fiend
Phantasmal Fiend
Phantasmal FiendSet: Alliances
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Phantasm
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Scott Kirschner
Power:
1
Toughness:
5
Text:
B: +1/-1 until end of turn1U: Switch Phantasmal Fiend's power and toughness until end of turn. Effects that alter Phantasmal Fiend's power alter its toughness instead, and vice versa.
(Alliances – Common):

After fifth edition came out, I took something of a hiatus from playing Magic. When I came back there was this strange and interesting rules development known as “The Stack”. After getting a run down on how it worked, I realized that there were many older cards that had a new place in the pecking order. Phantasmal Fiend
Phantasmal Fiend
Phantasmal FiendSet: Alliances
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Phantasm
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Scott Kirschner
Power:
1
Toughness:
5
Text:
B: +1/-1 until end of turn1U: Switch Phantasmal Fiend's power and toughness until end of turn. Effects that alter Phantasmal Fiend's power alter its toughness instead, and vice versa.
was one of these. The Fiend is an Alliance common for 3B. He’s something of a watered-down morphling (though don’t get your hopes up about this guy winning you any type 1 tourneys). He’s a 1/5 creature with two abilities. For B, you may give him a +1/-1. He also has “1U, switch power and toughness. Any thing that affects power instead affects toughness, and vice versa,” or something like that. With stack rules and an adequate source of mana, this guy gets pretty brutal…basically a 5/5 creature with a 4cc and a 2UU upkeep that you’re not obligated to pay. This guy can get through to deal some pain but can also suck it up when someone tries to put the hurt on him. He really shines in multiplayer games, where versatility is required at the door.

Charging Troll
Charging Troll
Charging TrollSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Troll
Rarity:
U
Number:
239
Artist:
Dave Dorman
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Attacking doesn't cause Charging Troll to tap.G: Regenerate Charging Troll.
(Invasion – Uncommon):

Ok, this might be a bit of tournament advice. On extremely short notice, I decided to go to a type 2 tournament. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a deck I was happy with. As such, I threw together a white/green with durability and red/black hate in mind. I was actually quite happy with how the deck performed (3-2, but never skunked on a match-up), but that’s really not the point here. The point is, while building the deck, I needed a filler card and something that fell between Wild Mongrel
Wild Mongrel
Wild MongrelSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Hound
Rarity:
C
Number:
283
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Wild Mongrel gets +1/+1 and becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
and Serra Angel
Serra Angel
Serra AngelSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying Attacking does not cause Serra Angel to tap.
. On a whim, I tossed in Charging Troll
Charging Troll
Charging TrollSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Troll
Rarity:
U
Number:
239
Artist:
Dave Dorman
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Attacking doesn't cause Charging Troll to tap.G: Regenerate Charging Troll.
. As luck would have it, he floated and popped up in many of my matches. Every time he did, he was brutal! A 3/3 creature for 2GW, he doesn’t tap to attack and regenerates for G. He gave Call of the Herd
Call of the Herd
Call of the HerdSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
231
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Put a 3/3 green Elephant creature token into play. Flashback 3G (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)
fits, ignored Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
and Urza
Urza
UrzaSet: Vanguard
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
7
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
-1
Toughness:
+10
Text:
3: Urza deals one damage to target creature or player.
’s Rage, and stopped Nantuko Shade
Nantuko Shade
Nantuko ShadeSet: Torment
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Insect Shade
Rarity:
R
Number:
74
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
B: Nantuko Shade gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
in his tracks. He even went toe to toe with a Spiritmonger
Spiritmonger
SpiritmongerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Glen Angus
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Whenever Spiritmonger deals damage to a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on Spiritmonger. B: Regenerate Spiritmonger. G: Spiritmonger becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
and came out on top (the monger taps to attack…). If I got an Armadillo Cloak
Armadillo Cloak
Armadillo CloakSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
229
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has trample.Whenever enchanted creature deals damage, you gain that much life.
on him, that was game. He’s hefty for the type 2 environment, he’s durable, and his ability to attack and defend is a lifesaver.

Reteromancer (Urza
Urza
UrzaSet: Vanguard
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
7
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
-1
Toughness:
+10
Text:
3: Urza deals one damage to target creature or player.
’s Saga – Common):

When I first came across this guy, I ignored him and tossed the card to the side. Retromancer
Retromancer
RetromancerSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Viashino
Rarity:
C
Number:
209
Artist:
Robh Ruppel
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Whenever Retromancer is the target of a spell or ability, Retromancer deals 3 damage to that spell or ability's controller.
is a 3/3 for 2RR that when targeted, deals 3 damage to the controller of the offending spell or ability. After a little bit of thinking, I realized there was an environment this guy would shine in. Multiplayer decks often have a large amount of ‘spot removal’, or spells or abilities that target a creature to somehow neutralize them. The problem that arises is players will often help each other out when one player is beginning to dominate (I’ve seen this happen many times after a late game kickered Desolation Giant
Desolation Giant
Desolation GiantSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
59
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) When Desolation Giant comes into play, destroy all other creatures you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all other creatures instead.
). The Reteromancer takes care of that problem. Very few people are willing to take care of another person’s problem at the expense of 3 life.

Dwarven Vigilantes
Dwarven Vigilantes
Dwarven VigilantesSet: Visions
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dwarves
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Pete Venters
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
If Dwarven Vigilantes attacks and is not blocked, you may choose to have it deal no combat damage this turn. If you do, Dwarven Vigilantes deals an amount of damage equal to its power to target creature.
(Visions
Visions
VisionsSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
NéNé Thomas
Text:
Look at the top five cards of any library. You may then shuffle that library.
– Common):

Another card that looks poor until you realize that it excels in multiplayer format. For 2R, you get a 2/2 dwarf. His ability allows him to deal his damage to a creature instead of a player if he’s unblocked. The thing is, nowhere on the card does it say the creature you deal damage to has to belong to the person you attacked. If there’s an annoying creature like Soul Warden
Soul Warden
Soul WardenSet: Exodus
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
21
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Whenever any other creature comes into play, gain 1 life.
(1/1 for W, gain 1 life every time a creature comes into play) that you really need to get rid of but don’t want to waste removal on, send the dwarves over to a player as equally annoyed as you are. He let’s you through, you pop the Warden, everybody’s happy (Well, except the guy with the Soul Warden
Soul Warden
Soul WardenSet: Exodus
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
21
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Whenever any other creature comes into play, gain 1 life.
).

Life/Death (Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
– Uncommon):

Everybody knows that the Death portion of this card is a popular re-animator. What I don’t understand, however, is that Life gets ignored so often. For G, all of your lands become 1/1 creatures. After a game has been chugging along for awhile, this means that you have an untapped army of 6 or 7 (or even more) 1/1 creatures just waiting to swarm in for the death blow. Combined with something like Orcish Oriflamme
Orcish Oriflamme
Orcish OriflammeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
During your attack, all of your attacking creatures gain +1/+0.
, Rites of Initiation
Rites of Initiation
Rites of InitiationSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
217
Artist:
Bradley Williams
Text:
Discard any number of cards at random from your hand. Creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn for each card discarded this way.
, or Song of Blood
Song of Blood
Song of BloodSet: Visions
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Put the top four cards from your library into your graveyard. For each creature card put into your graveyard in this way, all creatures that attack this turn get +1/+0 until end of turn.
, you’ll often have an unstoppable deathblow (unless something like Fog
Fog
FogSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Text:
Creatures attack and block as normal, but none deal any damage or otherwise affect any creature as a result of an attack or block. All attacking creatures are still tapped. Play any time before attack damage is dealt.
pops up…). I’ve had a fair amount of luck with this card and some land fetch (Rampant Growth
Rampant Growth
Rampant GrowthSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
246
Artist:
Tom Kyffin
Text:
Search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
, Far Wanderings
Far Wanderings
Far WanderingsSet: Torment
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
125
Text:
Search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library. Threshold - Instead search your library for three basic land cards and put them into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
, etc.). I suspect a re-animator deck could splash some green in for this too and be very pleased with the results.

Alright, because it’s my first article, here’s a decklist:

B/U Phantasia

Phantasmal Fiend
Phantasmal Fiend
Phantasmal FiendSet: Alliances
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Phantasm
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Scott Kirschner
Power:
1
Toughness:
5
Text:
B: +1/-1 until end of turn1U: Switch Phantasmal Fiend's power and toughness until end of turn. Effects that alter Phantasmal Fiend's power alter its toughness instead, and vice versa.
x4
Looming Shade
Looming Shade
Looming ShadeSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Shade
Rarity:
C
Number:
139
Artist:
Vincent Evans
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
B: Looming Shade gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
x2
Ebony Charm
Ebony Charm
Ebony CharmSet: Mirage
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Gerry Grace
Text:
Choose oneTarget opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life; or remove from the game up to three cards in any player's graveyard; or target creature cannot be blocked this turn except by artifact or black creatures.
x 3
Drain Life
Drain Life
Drain LifeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Drain Life does 1 damage to a single target for each B spent in addition to the casting cost. Caster gains 1 life for each damage inflicted. If you drain life from a creature, you cannot gain more life than the creature's current toughness.
x 3
Dark Ritual
Dark Ritual
Dark RitualSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Add BBB to your mana pool.
x 4
Diabolic Edict
Diabolic Edict
Diabolic EdictSet: Tempest
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Target player sacrifices a creature.
x 3
Fatal Blow
Fatal Blow
Fatal BlowSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
George Pratt
Text:
Destroy target creature that was dealt damage this turn. It can't be regenerated.
x 1
Order of the Ebon Hand
Order of the Ebon Hand
Order of the Ebon HandSet: Fallen Empires
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Clerics
Rarity:
C
Number:
25
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Protection from whiteBB: +1/+0 until end of turnB: First strike until end of turn
x 2
Initiates of the Ebon Hand
Initiates of the Ebon Hand
Initiates of the Ebon HandSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Clerics
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
1: Add B to your mana pool. If 4 or more is spent in this way during one turn, bury Initiates of the Ebon Hand at end of turn. Play this ability as a mana source.
x 3
Demonic Tutor
Demonic Tutor
Demonic TutorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Search your library for one card and take it into your hand. Reshuffle your library afterwards.
x1 (Because I had an extra laying around…)

Unstable Mutation
Unstable Mutation
Unstable MutationSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Target creature gains +3/+3. During the upkeep phase of each of its controller's turns, put a -1/-1 counter on the creature. These counters remain even if this enchantment is removed before the creature dies.
x 4
Man-o-War x 4
Brainstorm
Brainstorm
BrainstormSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Draw three cards. Then, put any two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.
x 4

Lobotomy
Lobotomy
LobotomySet: Tempest
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Thomas M. Baxa
Text:
Look at target player's hand and choose any of those cards other than a basic land. Search that player's graveyard, hand, and library for all copies of the chosen card and remove them from the game. That player shuffles his or her library afterwards.
x 2 (Again, laying around looking for a home…)

Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.
s x 12
Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.
s x 10

Yes, this deck is over 60 cards. Most of my casual decks are. To be honest, I don’t think it’s tourney legal either because of the rituals. That’s fine, that’s not what it was meant to do. This deck is a lot of fun to play and will win you quite a few games…not every game, but enough to make you happy with it. Minus the Lobotomy
Lobotomy
LobotomySet: Tempest
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Thomas M. Baxa
Text:
Look at target player's hand and choose any of those cards other than a basic land. Search that player's graveyard, hand, and library for all copies of the chosen card and remove them from the game. That player shuffles his or her library afterwards.
’s and Tutor, it’s also dirt cheap to make. You could probably substitute Counterspell
Counterspell
CounterspellSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Counters target spell as it is being cast.
s in and be happy with the change.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully you’ve gotten some ideas for a deck or have been inspired in some way. Just remember, it is possible to build an enjoyable, effective deck without going hungry for the week to do so.

Forgotten Card Trick of the Day:

Armadillo Cloak
Armadillo Cloak
Armadillo CloakSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
229
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has trample.Whenever enchanted creature deals damage, you gain that much life.
is a wicked powerful creature enchantment in and of itself. Don’t forget that it can also be used defensively though. If you’re out of options, slap it on your opponents creature. You’ll gain as much life as it deals damage, effectively neutralizing it until you can come up with a better solution.


Rate Article



Discuss Article

Click here to discuss this article in forum or leave comments for the author.

RSS feed RSS Feed


This article is provided to you by CardShark.com - A Better Way to Buy and Sell Collectable Games Online. Please check out the rest of our site - you won't be disappointed.

View More ArticlesView More Articles