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CardShark Content - Randy Villarica (7/16/2005)

I have barely begun this journey yet I already tire of it. Ever since the Guild Master told me that the next step in my apprenticeship lay in the swamps, there to find an old, wizened blind man who would show me my path. My path! Currently my path was mired hip deep in oozing, slimy mud. I had been traversing this swamp for what seems like an Age and had on more than one occasion almost fallen prey to the more mundane dangers of this place, bog peats and quicksand. I stared into the sky and muttered a curse aimed at my Guild Master for sending me here, and for myself for foolishly going.

He is here. I can feel his aura, so young yet so full of darkness. He will be here soon. I have much to prepare before he arrives. He turned his sightless eyes to the entrance of the cave and walked almost casually without stumbling on the uneven ground. He started to scrawl something on the cave wall and sighed deeply.

At last, as my Master had said, three days journey through the swamps would lead me to the old man’s dwelling though that was as much as I could call it. As I rose out of the swamp onto firmer ground I could see the mouth of a cave and the blind man standing there, his head pointed in my direction. The cave was dark but I could see a straw mat and some bedding neatly laid out, a bench and few other belongings lay inside. As for the blind man, he was certainly an oddity. His hair was arranged in a manner unseen in these lands, set in a knot, and his garb was in tatters so as to seem rags yet they could not have been made in the City. A foreigner perhaps. I hitched my shoulders and continued towards him. Time to find out what I came here for.

“Greetings Master”, the young mage said, bowing, “I have come on urgent business.” The blind man motioned for me to come inside the cave with him. “Sit down, apprentice.” he said, already settling down on the floor. “You have come a long way yet there is always time for a good story.” I rose as if in protest before the darkness took my eyes and enveloped us both.

The darkness lasted for what seemed like two lifetimes and as slowly as it took for a mountain to erode, I gradually regained my sense of sight. When I opened them I could barely believe what I saw. We had somehow been lifted high into the air and were now staring down at the swamp which I had so recently traversed.

“The swamp is life, and death. Here dead things are broken down to nourish living things. The cycle continues and great power is created.” The blind man said, gesturing to the swamps below. He waved his hands as if sifting them through fine sand and I could see tendrils of darkness extend and fill the palm of his right hand. “Yet we are living creatures and as such we cling to life with all the tenacity of a growing sapling reaching for sunlight in a forest”, he motioned and I saw at the edge of the swamp a luscious forest, all greens, some dark, some bright. As I watched in awe a beam of energy like fluttering birds streamed to his other hand and he brought his palms together and there echoed a mighty thunderclap fit to rend the world apart.

Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.
s and Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.
s, life and death, this is where we begin” he said.

10 Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.

6 Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.


As we swept over the sea of seemingly endless trees I could see a conglomeration of color on the horizon. My home, The Great City, Ravnica, City of Guilds! We passed twice over the great city before departing once again.

2 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.


The landscape had suddenly changed and in the blink of an eye we seemed to materialize into another world, one so different from my own. Below us, nestled in the trees, stood a temple. From it emanated a sense of ancestry, a monument perhaps to ones who had gone before us.

1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
Okina, Temple to the GrandfathersSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Color:
Land
Type:
Legendary Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
280
Artist:
Keith Garletts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool. G, T: Target legendary creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.


My vision blurred and the temple crumbled into corruption and in its place stood a dark battlefield.

1 Shizo, Death’s Storehouse

“And thus do we begin, my young apprentice” the old man roared through the wind rushing in my ears. “The land, she gives us power to do wondrous things, and thus do we make your beginning.”

As we soared through the branches there rose a flock of colorful birds not unlike those found near my home and I sensed that this place was a convergence between different worlds, a gathering point of magic. In the trees, there were snake-men, creatures not to be found on my world. “Orochi.” My mentor pointed, “Of the Sakura Tribe by their markings.” “And what of those?” I asked, pointing to a group of hunched figures making their way across a different kind of forest, behind them were leaf-clad maidens bearing weapons.

Troll Ascetic
Troll Ascetic
Troll AsceticSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Troll Shaman
Rarity:
R
Number:
135
Artist:
Puddnhead
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Troll Ascetic can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control. 1G: Regenerate Troll Ascetic.
s, ancient beings of the forest and with them are elves”, my mentor taught, “in a forest on a world that is not this one.” One of the maidens looked up at me and as I met her gaze the world was torn with the sound of some gargantuan beast. I broke my gaze quickly enough to see a dark serpent rise into the air. “Kokusho, the Evening Star
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Kokusho, the Evening StarSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
122
Artist:
Tsutomu Kawade
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying When Kokusho, the Evening Star is put into a graveyard from play, each opponent loses 5 life. You gain life equal to the life lost this way.
he is called”, my mentor pointed, “born of the Kakuriyo, the spirit world, he nevertheless is sworn to fight for this one. I have called him here.” And as the mass of dragon scales writhed in our direction the head swiveled and looked at me directly. I stared back into twin black pools and lost myself in their darkness.

4 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.

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe ElderSet: Commander
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Snake Shaman
Rarity:
C
Number:
169
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder: Search your library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.

4 Troll Ascetic
Troll Ascetic
Troll AsceticSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Troll Shaman
Rarity:
R
Number:
135
Artist:
Puddnhead
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Troll Ascetic can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control. 1G: Regenerate Troll Ascetic.

4 Eternal Witness
Eternal Witness
Eternal WitnessSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Shaman
Rarity:
U
Number:
86
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Whenever Eternal Witness comes into play, return target card from your graveayrd to your hand.

3 Kokusho, the Evening Star
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Kokusho, the Evening StarSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
122
Artist:
Tsutomu Kawade
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying When Kokusho, the Evening Star is put into a graveyard from play, each opponent loses 5 life. You gain life equal to the life lost this way.


“These creatures my apprentice, they belong to you and you to them. You are tied now,” said my master’s voice through the darkness. “Call on them as you wish, to fight and die for you in battle as you see fit.” I bowed in the darkness.

The darkness lifted, slowly, as one opens theirs eyes from a deep sleep. I sat at a table staring into a bright object and as I stared more at the surface I could almost see something below it, trapped. “Do not stare so deeply into this artifact, lest you find yourself caught apprentice”, my master admonished. “This holds great power, but at a price, when and how you choose to use it I leave to you.” Suddenly a spinning object caught my attention and as I pointed to it my master moved his head as if following the motion. “That is a Divining Top, with it you can see into the near future. Do you have the power and the skill to remake your own future apprentice?” the old man asked. As I was about to answer he put both his hands into his robe and pulled out what appeared to be a short sword. “The instrument of my power, it is now useless to me as my power lies somewhere else, I give them now to you.” As he held them out, I could feel its power, feel the pull of the weapon even from this distance. It felt like it could lengthen my life, make me stronger, or kill me that instant, anything the wielder pleases. I marveled at the flowing designs and the heft of the blade which was not a blade and was curious at the tines that extended on both sides. I felt great power in the steel, power to give life and take life away.

2 Chrome Mox
Chrome Mox
Chrome MoxSet: Mirrodin
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
152
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Imprint - When Chrome Mox comes into play, you may remove a nonartifact, nonland card in your hand from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.) T: Add one mana of any of the imprinted card's colors to your mana pool.

2 Sensei’s Divining Top
3 Umezawa’s Jitte

“Now that you have these implements, you only lack the proper will and the knowledge to use your newfound power” the old man chided. As I was about to respond the darkness once again took me.

“What is it you most fear?” I heard a voice whisper, “A single fear unleashes a torrent of nightmares”. My ears caught the sound of a thousand screaming voices and I could imagine men in battle cut down like wheat by the farmer’s blade.

I beheld a massive cloud coming in from the east. Upon inspection I saw swarms of hungry insects seething within. ´´The Death Cloud
Death Cloud
Death CloudSet: Darksteel
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
40
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Text:
Each player loses X life then discards X cards from his or her hand then sacrifices X creatures then sacrifices X lands.
,´´ the old man pointed. ´´Sorcery of great power and even greater malevolence. Use it wisely if not well.´´ he gestured to the ground and it erupted at my feet. Thrice the ground shook and three times a score of armies were decimated by the ground. From the wreckage of broken bodies one lone warrior took up his sword and advanced on us. The old man waved and the warrior fell, his flesh rent from his body. The old man once again gestured and the lands bloomed once again, brimming with power.

3 Echoing Decay
Echoing Decay
Echoing DecaySet: Darksteel
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
41
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target creature and all other creatures with the same name as that creature get -2/-2 until end of turn.

2 Death Cloud
Death Cloud
Death CloudSet: Darksteel
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
40
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Text:
Each player loses X life then discards X cards from his or her hand then sacrifices X creatures then sacrifices X lands.

3 Plow Under
Plow Under
Plow UnderSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Text:
Put two target lands on top of their owner's library.

3 Rend Flesh
Rend Flesh
Rend FleshSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Number:
140
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Text:
Destroy target non-Spirit creature.

3 Kodama’s Reach

“Your tutelage is near its end” he intoned. “I give you now a vision of what else you may yet accomplish”.

In my mind’s eye I saw the power to strip others of what was theirs, I saw a wizened old monk much older than my own master. In the roiling clouds of the spirit world I joined a spirit to myself and his suffering was great, he was the first but would not be the last. I tasted the power to reach into men’s minds and rip apart their magic piece by piece and finally I drew on the energies that allowed me to destroy the artifacts my enemies held in their hands.

Sideboard:

1 Plow Under
Plow Under
Plow UnderSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Text:
Put two target lands on top of their owner's library.

3 Persecute
Persecute
PersecuteSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Choose a color. Look at target player's hand. That player discards all cards of the chosen color.

3 Dosan the Falling Leaf
Dosan the Falling Leaf
Dosan the Falling LeafSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Human Monk
Rarity:
R
Number:
205
Artist:
Mark Zug
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Players can play spells only during their own turns.

2 Kagemaro, First to Suffer
Kagemaro, First to Suffer
Kagemaro, First to SufferSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Demon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Kagemaro, First to Suffer's power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand. B, Sacrifice Kagemaro: All creatures get -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your hand.

3 Cranial Extraction
Cranial Extraction
Cranial ExtractionSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
R
Number:
105
Artist:
Dave Allsop
Text:
Name a nonland card. Search target player's graveyard, hand, and library for all cards with that name and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

3 Naturalize
Naturalize
NaturalizeSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
275
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Destroy target artifact or enchantment.


“It is done.” My master spoke. Barely had those words escaped his lips than we were back at the cave mouth. I would have thought it all a dream were it not for the magic that threatened to explode from every atom in my body.

“Why have you given me these visions of great power” I asked in awe.

“Times are changing; events are unfolding which will leave my magic gone from this world and on to the next one. Take the magic I give you now and use it as you will,” he said softly as he slumped to the ground.

It is done. The darkness darker than what I have known comes to take me. Yet there is one who might continue my legacy.

“My time has come. You are the holder of all I know, my Dark Confidant
Dark Confidant
Dark ConfidantSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
81
Artist:
Ron Spears
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library and put that card into your hand. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost.
, only you know my secrets. “I have but one more secret to learn my master” I said boldly, “what is your name?”

“My name”, he breathed. “My name is Toshiro Umezawa
Toshiro Umezawa
Toshiro UmezawaSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Human Samurai
Rarity:
R
Number:
89
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.) Whenever a creature an opponent controls is put into a graveyard from play, you may play target instant card in your graveyard. If that card would be put into a graveyard this turn, remove it from the game instead.
.” And with that he passed.

With his dying breath all fear and doubt left me. “Greatness, at any cost.” I said into the thick night air. I turned and trudged my weary steps back to home.


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