I TAP SEVEN LANDS TO CAST “BEAR, GREETER OF DINKS”.
I’ve got one of those HONKIN’ THICC playlists to sustain us through another year of possible rad/bad-ness. A sequel to my 2017 playlist “Grindclock”, I give you the second list named after a Magic: The Gathering card, “Mindcrank”.
Weirdly enough, I was on my way home from dinner with my family a bit back when something brought up religion, and personal realizations, and eventually we landed on:
Now, my parents are quite religious and attempted to raise both my brother and myself to follow suit. Being young and impressionable, SOMEHOW, nothing but the good moral stuff stuck, the “treat other the way you wish to be treated” aspects as I personally abandoned my monotheism at a pretty young age. I remember stumbling across my brothers Magic cards as a tyke and being thunderously blown away at the creatures and races, and at how diverse the multi-verse it took place in was (but I had absolutely no clue).
SPEEEEEED FORWARD A TOOOON OF YEEAARRSSS.
A good friend of mine was at my place the morning after an evening of very sugar-fueled Pokemon Puzzle League and fort-farting, and he was sorting through a couple of deck boxes, one of which was friggin’ gold.
(I mean come on, you touch that. Don’t take me on a dangerous treasure hunt, I will absolutely set off all the traps and get us killed)
I popped the lid back and was greeted by a hydra spanning cities.
It was each of the five colours of the game, and it is the only card in the game to this day say “Protection from Everything”. Essentially a joke to most seasoned magic players who play this titan for the first time only to see your opponent try and counter you, you get to ask how they plan to get rid of your beast, and then you get to say, “Sorry, that’s a thing. It’s pro-thing”. I wanna be pro-things, but either way I digress. My buddy asked if I wanted to try playing a format called “Commander” where you have one Legendary Creature sitting off to the side that you can use as soon as you have enough resources to cast them. He played his pro-everything deck and I got to play with a little single-coloured red goblin named Krenko. Now, long before I knew that there were actual rules to what colours do which specific things in this ridiculous game, I instantly understood that there was a Tribal aspect to it. I knew that my goblin commander was going to have a deck bristling with more goblins, and probably little else. I am a “monster boy” through and through. I love it in movies, my art, literary works, pretty much anywhere you can cram them, and this entire game was a combination of two things that my mother SUPER didn’t get, Monsters & Memorization.
I’m gonna give you the most NUTSHELLED version of this I can and if you aren’t picking it up then go to a local game store and just ask. Forty people will be avidly ready to teach you. Here we go,
HOW THE FUCK MAGIC WORKS:
FIVE REPRESENTATIONAL COLOURS,
BLUE – Blue mana is produced by Islands and is generally about controlling different gameplay mechanics, such as the way you draw cards (the most powerful tool in the game), and even whether or not that thing your opponent just spent all their resource on get immediately removed from the field as if it never happened. Blue creatures have two general styles, little buttheads like Merfolk and Mages who manipulate key pieces, or terrifying Krakens and Sphinx’s who signal the oncoming end of a game. A LOT of people hate mono-blue players who thrive on extremely advantage based wins.
GREEN – Green mana is produced by Forests and is all growing as quickly as possible by increasing the amount you have available before your opponents can get that far, meaning that you cast your towering game winner turns before anyone can say “boo”. Green is characterized by many mid-strength brutes and beasts who can trample over your enemies puny minions, as well as a menagerie of types living within it, like snakes, bears, and werewolves! (Oh my!)
RED – Red mana is produced by Mountains and wants to see the world burn, literally. Red creatures either come in “insignificant” like my boys the dwarfs or the goblins, or “Ohnopleasedontdothat” in the case of one of the most prolific creature types, Dragons. Red players thrive on “burn damage” which is just like it sounds, generally some spell or creature fantasy-physically bathing another in fire. Your biggest dude has 4 toughness? Cool, do 4 damage to it, now it’s my turn.
WHITE – White mana is produced by Plains and is mostly about doing everything it can to prevent itself from dying through barriers and gaining back life, until some it finds a way to remove an opponent’s key pieces from the game, and THAT’S when you get whacked by an army of Kor who are zero percent here to save you. White is diverse in how it can be played because sometimes the best offense is a good defense, and you can’t die if no one can get through to you, and yet it can extremely aggressive with stacking forces of Soldiers, Angels, and Humans. (The only place we don’t suck as a race is on paper, and that’s WAAAAY too funny)
BLACK – Black mana is produced by Swamps and has an obviously polar affinity to the white counterpart, thriving in letting things die on purpose for a benefit, most likely with the intent to just bring them right back from the grave, Black can be a scurry time. With the ability to force your prey to sacrifice their hard earned creatures for nothing, and huge wing-ed Demons running amok, it isn’t hard t understand the draw to EVVVIILLL PPOOOWWWEEERRR.
(I’m kidding, it’s cardboard, learn to separate fantasy from reality, jeeeeeezus)
I think that last one is what got my mom, the woman who still remembers the original Gremlins as one of the scariest movies she’s ever seen. She didn’t get that when a black bordered card has a picture of, well, THIS:
Has NOTHING to do with DEMONS, or SATAN. When I look at this card I not only see what it does (which is all that really matters overall), but I will always remember what it’s effect is, getting to look for ANY card you want and putting it in your hand, a scary name for a scary ability. I see Liliana Vess being bribed by Kothophed, one of five ancient demons who grant her powers over the very elements of life and death. I was there when another named Razaketh took control over her and forced her to SLOWLY WALK through a raging river of blood, across the bottom, screaming uselessly for air. I was there when Arlinn Kord became the first WEREWOLF to be able to PLANESWALK. I KNOW THAT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE A BIG DEAL, BUT TRUST ME ON THIS ONE GUYS.
Overall, Magic is about remembering the same little effects under different names, doing lots of quik maffs until your life hits zero, and combining different odds and ends that make people roll their eyes and say, “God fucking damn it, Bear. HORSES is not a VIABLE TRIBAL DECK”. It’s some of the most balanced and unbalanced crap ever, and I love when it works in my favour. There is a minor “Pay to Win” aspect with some cards being WAAAAY to expensive, but such is life. If you wanna learn, holler at chya boy, I have Fourteen Commander decks, happy to teach.
Anyhow, that’s how the game works and how it’s not about Satan, but it’s about demons and angels and an ongoing multi-dimensional story between worlds and races and species and it makes James Cameron’s Avatar look like a BITCH.
You can find Bear smoking bong and playing Magic on instagram.