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CardShark Content - Marcus Anderson (6/25/2001)

We arrived at the coffee house with three packs each. Excitement was all around as we prepared to booster draft.

Caffeine?

Check.

Booster packs?

Check.

Counters?

Check.

Land?

Oh no.

Now we have a problem! No one in the group had any extra land or decks. We only brought a pile of unopened booster packs! The blame game went around our group until Chris came up with a great idea. “Let’s try Mental Magic.” Mental Magic has been around for a long time, but I was indoctrinated into it only a couple of months ago.

Mental Magic is halfway between Fantasy Magic and Highlander Magic. These were two variants that our playgroup in Augusta, Michigan played when we got bored with the type-two scene. We used to have Fantasy decks filled with proxies; however, all of the proxies had to have the same casting cost as the item it was duplicating. For example, the Lotus Petal
Lotus Petal
Lotus PetalSet: Tempest
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
C
Artist:
April Lee
Text:
tap, Sacrifice Lotus Petal: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Play this ability as a mana source.
could be the Black Lotus
Black Lotus
Black LotusSet: Oversize Cards
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
X
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 other variant, Highlander Magic (named after the movie), was based on the idea that “there can be only one!” This constructed deck contained only one of any card except for basic land. To make things interesting, when an opponent played a spell (such as a lightning bolt), no other player could play their bolt. This forced our group games to be very strategic. Do I put in the Swords to Plowshares
Swords to Plowshares
Swords to PlowsharesSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff A. Menges
Text:
Target creature is removed from game entirely. Creature's controller gains life points equal to creature's power.
, or do I use Afterlife
Afterlife
AfterlifeSet: Mirage
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Bury target creature and put an Essence token into play under the control of that creature's controller. Treat this token as a 1/1 white creature with flying.
instead?

Mental Magic combines the best of both worlds by rewarding the player with the most creativity and knowledge of the game. Believe me, you want to play this game with a mental-equal and not a new player. If not, pick up a copy of Inquest magazine. They usually have a partial list of cards, their casting cost, and descriptions for easy reference. Better yet, use Card-Shark’s search feature!

I have seen different rules and guidelines posted for Mental Magic, but after countless games, our group has settled upon these for the most fun:

Setup:
Since we all bought booster packs, we popped them open and shuffled them together. Our group chose to split up the rares, uncommons, and commons based on who had the best record at the end of the night. Every person was dealt a 45-card deck of random cards. We all drew our seven cards and began.

The start:
There is no mulligan. This makes for an infrequent “lucky start” and maximizes creativity. It also keeps someone from looking for a combo or “broken” card (as you will see later). You keep all of the group game rules (or dueling rules) intact based on what “house rules” that you and your friends have agreed upon.

Laying the land:
Since you have no added basic lands in your deck, you will have to use a spell card as a land. Here is what you do: pick a card (your choice) from your hand and play it FACE DOWN as a land. For the rest of the game, it can be tapped for any color mana. Consider it a “Super” City of Brass
City of Brass
City of BrassSet: Fifth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Tom Wänerstrand
Text:
Whenever City of Brass becomes tapped, it deals 1 damage to you.T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
with no life penalty. Each turn, you can play one card from your hand as a land. However, you may not look at the face of the card for the rest of the game unless the card goes to the graveyard (due to a Zuran Orb
Zuran Orb
Zuran OrbSet: Ice Age
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
0: Sacrifice a land to gain 2 life.
or an Armageddon
Armageddon
ArmageddonSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Text:
All lands in play are destroyed.
). When any land goes to the graveyard, it reverts back to a normal card, face up.

Suppose you have a non-basic land that was shuffled in your deck. You can choose to play it face down OR face up as a NON-BASIC land of your choice. Our group’s favorite non-basic land was “Library of Alexandria
Library of Alexandria
Library of AlexandriaSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Tap to add 1 colorless mana to your mana pool or draw a card from your library; you may use the card-drawing ability only if you have exactly seven cards in your hand.
”. You can bet that there was a bulls-eye on that card for the rest of the game! Other popular choices were “Maze of Ith
Maze of Ith
Maze of IthSet: The Dark
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Text:
T: Target attacking creature becomes untapped. This creature neither deals nor receives damage as a result of combat.
”, “Treetop Village
Treetop Village
Treetop VillageSet: Urza's Legacy
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
143
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
Treetop Village comes into play tapped.T: Add one green mana to your mana pool.1G: Treetop Village becomes a 3/3 green creature with trample until end of turn. This creature still counts as a land.
” and “Strip Mine
Strip Mine
Strip MineSet: Fourth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
T: Add 1 colorless mana to your mana pool.T: Sacrifice Strip Mine to destroy target land.
”. For our group, we considered foil lands and seventh edition lands to be “non-basic lands” since there were so few of them in our games of Mental Magic.

But how does this affect land based abilities and effects? It changes it a lot. Since the land can be anything, our group chose to make sure it wasn’t unbalanced. Therefore, we made all face down cards a generic type “land” UNTIL it was tapped for a color. In other words, a forest-walking creature can’t forest-walk until your opponent taps a land for a forest THAT TURN. The benefits of this decision outweighed the losses. Even though this made River Boa
River Boa
River BoaSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Snake
Rarity:
U
Number:
249
Artist:
Steve White
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Islandwalk (This creature is unblockable if defending player controls an island.) G: Regenerate River Boa.
weaker, it made Erhnam Djinn
Erhnam Djinn
Erhnam DjinnSet: Arabian Nights
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Djinn
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Ken Meyer, Jr.
Power:
4
Toughness:
5
Text:
During your upkeep, you must choose one of opponent's non-wall creatures in play. Until your next upkeep, that creature gains the forestwalk ability. If opponent has no creatures, ignore this effect.
stronger. Sorry
Sorry
SorrySet: Unglued
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
27
Artist:
Kaja Foglio
Text:
Before playing any spell, if a copy of that spell card is in any graveyard, the spell's caster may say Sorry. If he or she does not, any other player may counter the spell by saying Sorry as it is cast.If any player says Sorry at any other time, Sorry deals 2 damage to that player.
, Nightmare
Nightmare
NightmareSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Nightmare
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Flying Nightmare's power and toughness both equal the number of swamps its controller has in play.
and Angry Mob
Angry Mob
Angry MobSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mob
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Drew Tucker
Power:
2+*
Toughness:
2+*
Text:
Trample During your turn, Angry Mob has power and toughness each equal to 2 plus the total number of swamps opponents control. During other turns, Angry Mob has power and toughness 2/2.
are just bad plays in Mental Magic. For the newer cards that say “for each basic land type”, we make sure to declare what each land was before we tapped it. This is so we can get the maximum effect out of cards like Tribal Flames
Tribal Flames
Tribal FlamesSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
176
Artist:
Tony Szczudlo
Text:
Tribal Flames deals X damage to target creature or player, where X is the number of basic land types among lands you control.
or Emblazoned Golem
Emblazoned Golem
Emblazoned GolemSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Golem
Rarity:
U
Number:
136
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Kicker X (You may pay an additional X as you play this spell.) Spend only colored mana on X. No more than one mana of each color may be spent this way. If you paid the kicker cost, Emblazoned Golem comes into play with X +1/+1 counters on it.
.

Spells:
A spell is determined by its casting cost. You may name any card if it matches the casting cost of the one that you are holding. In addition, once you play a spell, no one (even YOU), can play it again. This sounds easy, but it can get really tricky. I will start with some basic examples, with some of my personal experiences in Mental Magic.

Suppose you have an opening hand with a Giant Growth
Giant Growth
Giant GrowthSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Target creature gains +3/+3 until end of turn.
(one green). What other cards have one green? Creatures and enchantments come to your mind. You play a card face down to be your land for the turn and then tap it for one green. You announce that your Giant Growth
Giant Growth
Giant GrowthSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Target creature gains +3/+3 until end of turn.
is a “Fastbond
Fastbond
FastbondSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
You may put as many lands into play as you want each turn. Fastbond does 1 damage to you for every land beyond the first that you play in a single turn.
”. You opponent looks in horror as you proceed to lay three additional land (Fastbond
Fastbond
FastbondSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
You may put as many lands into play as you want each turn. Fastbond does 1 damage to you for every land beyond the first that you play in a single turn.
allows you lay additional land per turn at the cost of one life per land). You notice you have a Prodigal Sorcerer
Prodigal Sorcerer
Prodigal SorcererSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Do 1 damage to any target.
(one blue and two colorless) and a Stone Rain
Stone Rain
Stone RainSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
Destroy target land.
(one red and two colorless) left in your hand. What would you do?

A good decision would be to say “Timetwister
Timetwister
TimetwisterSet: Alpha
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Set Timetwister aside in a new graveyard pile. Shuffle your hand, library, and graveyard together into a new library and draw a new hand of seven cards, leaving all cards in play where they are; opponent must do the same.
” (ditching the Sorcerer, tapping out) so you can get a brand new hand and make your opponent reshuffle. A better choice would be “Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of FortuneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
All players must discard their hands and draw seven new cards.
” (ditching the Stone Rain
Stone Rain
Stone RainSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
Destroy target land.
, tapping out) so you can have your opponent discard his or her hand. Nice work! However, you opponent wants to stop this madness.

He declares “Force of Will
Force of Will
Force of WillSet: Alliances
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
You may pay 1 life and remove a blue card in your hand from the game instead of paying Force of Will's casting cost. Effects that prevent or redirect damage cannot be used to counter this loss of life. Counter target spell.
” on your “Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of FortuneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
All players must discard their hands and draw seven new cards.
” play by throwing away an Air Elemental
Air Elemental
Air ElementalSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying
and another blue card from his hand (and then paying one life due to the card’s ability). Even though Force of Will
Force of Will
Force of WillSet: Alliances
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
You may pay 1 life and remove a blue card in your hand from the game instead of paying Force of Will's casting cost. Effects that prevent or redirect damage cannot be used to counter this loss of life. Counter target spell.
has an alternative casting cost as a “pitch card”, the Air Elemental
Air Elemental
Air ElementalSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying
has to match the Force of Will
Force of Will
Force of WillSet: Alliances
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
You may pay 1 life and remove a blue card in your hand from the game instead of paying Force of Will's casting cost. Effects that prevent or redirect damage cannot be used to counter this loss of life. Counter target spell.
’s converted mana casting cost. Since both are two blue and three colorless, this is a perfect match. As long as you follow the rules of the card text, anything is possible. Whoops. I should say anything LEGAL is possible!

What about kicker? Yes, it is still there, but you have to match the converted casting cost. For example, you have a Giant Cockroach
Giant Cockroach
Giant CockroachSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Insect
Rarity:
C
Number:
54
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
4
Toughness:
2
card (one black and three colorless) and you really want to smash your opponent. Play the card at a “Phyrexian Scuta
Phyrexian Scuta
Phyrexian ScutaSet: Planeshift
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie
Rarity:
R
Number:
51
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Kicker-Pay 3 life. (You may pay 3 life in addition to any other costs as you play this spell.) If you paid the kicker cost, Phyrexian Scuta comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it.
” and pay the kicker cost with the card. This especially works well with the Battlemages. Once you have six or seven mana, you can play the Battlemage and both kickers. Great abilities and a creature to boot!

Strategy:
As you can guess, the 187-creatures (or come-into-play-cards) are very strong in the environment. You will find you and your opponent(s) struggling for board control and superiority though creatures. When one creature can destroy or bounce other permanents, you gain time advantage and establish tempo over your opponent(s). Bounce is almost as good as removal because once you play a spell, not even the caster can play it again. I expect the Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
(with Armageddon
Armageddon
ArmageddonSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Text:
All lands in play are destroyed.
ability) and 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.
(with Wrath of God
Wrath of God
Wrath of GodSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Text:
All creatures in play are buried.
ability) to be very strong in this environment.

By all means, don’t forget about the broken cards. My friend Chris had this amazing draw against me in a game:

Land (tap for one green)
Fastbond
Fastbond
FastbondSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
You may put as many lands into play as you want each turn. Fastbond does 1 damage to you for every land beyond the first that you play in a single turn.
” (card used: Wild Growth
Wild Growth
Wild GrowthSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchant Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Whenever the usual mana is drawn from target land, Wild Growth provides an extra G.
)
Land (he took one point from past bond. He tapped the land for one black)
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.
” (card used: Blood Pet
Blood Pet
Blood PetSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Thrull
Rarity:
C
Number:
115
Artist:
Brom
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Sacrifice Blood Pet: Add B to your mana pool.
)
Megrim
Megrim
MegrimSet: Stronghold
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
12
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Whenever any opponent discards a card, Megrim deals 2 damage to him or her.
” (card used: Scathe Zombies
Scathe Zombies
Scathe ZombiesSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombies
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
)
Black Lotus
Black Lotus
Black LotusSet: Oversize Cards
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
X
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.
” (card used: Spellbook
Spellbook
SpellbookSet: Exodus
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
138
Artist:
Ciruelo
Text:
Skip your discard phase.
)
Sacrifice
Sacrifice
SacrificeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Sacrifice one of your creatures to add to your mana pool a number of black mana equal to that creature's casting cost.
the Lotus for three red
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of FortuneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
All players must discard their hands and draw seven new cards.
” (card used: Granite Grip
Granite Grip
Granite GripSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
81
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Enchanted creature gets +1/+0 for each mountain you control.
)

I took fourteen damage, lost seven cards, and Chris kept going with the Fastbond
Fastbond
FastbondSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
You may put as many lands into play as you want each turn. Fastbond does 1 damage to you for every land beyond the first that you play in a single turn.
in play. Needless to say, I got my head handed to me on a platter. Don’t worry, a game like that doesn’t happen often. The event made me realize that the DCI has done a pretty good job with some of the older card restriction/banning.

Take one last look at the combo above. Can you tell what packs we were playing with?

If you guessed Seventh Edition, you were right! Normally seventh edition is very poor in draft (especially if Seventh Edition is the only set in your draft). However, in Mental Magic, the balance is near perfect for most spells. Our group has found that the Invasion block is really difficult to play due to its multiple-casting cost spells. If you really want to use Invasion, Planeshift, or 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.
, you are better off playing a normal booster draft rather then Mental Magic.

So our group spent a lot of time playing Mental Magic. We went through tons of Seventh Edition packs to play the best games possible. I think we may play it tonight to try to find that foil Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
.

-marcand-

(By the way, if we DO find a Foil
Foil
FoilSet: Prophecy
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
34
Artist:
Bradley Williams
Text:
You may discard an island and another card from your hand instead of paying Foil's mana cost. Counter target spell.
Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
, it will be on card-shark, and our playgroup will split the money. That way there will be no hard feelings…)


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