Random Magic Musings

I’ve never been a fan of white-bordered expansions. Part of the reason I buy 10th is because I want replacements for all my white-bordered stuff: yeah, I’ll never use those Drudge Skeletons or Holy Strengths, but I’d rather have black-bordered versions so I can shove the rest in a shoebox somewhere.

But, every now and then, I get suckered into buying, trading, or ending up with white-bordered cards, usually because they’re expensive rares–Hypnotic Specters, Coat of Arms, Millstone–or things I might actually use–Blood Moon, Flame Wave, Story Circle. In other cases, I end up with random crap for no very good reason. Recently, I ended up with a pack of Fourth, because I was hoping for some Bolts or Dark Rits, and a pack of Seventh, for reasons which I don’t really remember. I thought it’d be interesting to compare the pulls from both of them, to see how core sets have degraded over the years.

Fourth-Edition Pack

  1. Earth Elemental – Sigh. Great. First thing I see. A 4/5 for five mana isn’t bad, but still.
  2. Castle – Well, things are looking up, now. I need these, and might actually deck this at some point. (I bought a couple of Italian Fortified Areas thinking they were Castles at one point.)
  3. Animate Dead – Nifty. I guess. Not terrible, but not something I really want. Next.
  4. Psionic Entity – I like these guys; just hit them with a Giant Growth or something. Not an awesome card, but nifty nonetheless.
  5. Amrou Kithkin – Bleah. Got enough from Ice Age.
  6. Death Ward, Twiddle – Yeah for one-cost instants. Nice, but not exactly Bolts here.
  7. Bird Maiden – Red flying, but heavily overcosted. Pass.
  8. Pearled Unicorn – Ah, yes. I forgot White had its own Grey Ogres. Pass.
  9. Pikemen – Uh, thanks, guys. Banding. My favorite. Pass.
  10. CoP: Green – Circles are useful. I guess. Core staple, moving on.
  11. Marsh Gas – I love these because they come from the pre-color wheel era when the colors did random crazy stuff like this. Not that I’d ever use it, but it’s another useful one-mana instant.
  12. Shanondin Dryads – What’s with all the one-mana stuff? Was Weenie and Sligh all the rage back then? Next.
  13. Erosion – See Marsh Gas. Nifty wierd stuff that you never see anymore–blue land destruction. I like it, but will (again) probably never use it.
  14. Dwarven Warriors – Overcosted crap. Whee, unblockable weenies from a three-mana 1/1. Pass.

After some research, the Psionic Entity was revealed as the rare. Well, crap. Not a bad pack, with the Castle, Erosion, Animate Dead, and all the one-mana instants. Still, a waste of $5.

Seventh-Edition Pack
This one came in one of those “Free Promo Card” 3-packs at Meijer, which come with a Jaya Ballard (unless it comes with one of the new Brion Stoutarms). I was kind of stooked to find it, until I rememberd how bad I disliked 7th.

  1. Lightning Elemental – I can see using these, but Ball Lightnings are more effective–which is why they never made it past 4th (grumble).
  2. Cloudchaser Eagle – This was a decent Mirage-era staple, but nothing to write home about.
  3. Sage Owl – Every blue mage’s friend. Two mana for a 1/1 flyer with Scry 4. Still, it’s only a Sage Owl.
  4. Rampant Growth – Land fetch. Core staple. Moving on.
  5. Drudge Skeletons – Speaking of core staples! Moving on.
  6. Pacifism – Every first white deck has a set of these. They’re good, but (again) nothing awesome. Nice to see that Pacifism never really leaves, though.
  7. Sacthe Zombies – What, Scathies and Drudgies in the same pack? Ugh. Enough with the staples. Moving on, I say!
  8. CoP: Blue – Heh, core sets, one Circle of Protection per pack. Pass–when did blue actually do damage to you last? Psionic Blast?
  9. Unsummon – Everbody’s favorite blue card: creature boomerang for one mana. Nifty, I guess.
  10. Pygmy Pyrosaur – Uh, pass. I hate “can’t block” creatures, even those with firebreathing.
  11. Pyroclasm – Finally, something awesome! Board-wide 2 damage is nothing to sneeze at–it can take apart an Elf deck in minutes.
  12. Glacial Wall, Wall of Spears – Eww, Walls!
  13. Rod of Ruin – Did they always have four uncommons per pack, or is it just me? At least this wasn’t the Coldsnap pack that was all commons. As for the Rod, pass; too much mana at this point in Magic.
  14. Beast of Burdon – Alright, I take back everything I ever said about Psionic Entities. On the bright side, I have a playset of these now–wait. That’s a bright side?

The big thing I noticed is the lack of cheap, one-mana instants in the 7th compared to the 4th–most of the 7th pack costs 1 and a colored mana. The 4th pack was, understandably, mostly Dark and Legends cards, but the 7th was pretty mild–you’d think after all those sets something awesome would have arrived? I got tired of drawing the same staples I always draw in core sets, while the 4th had all the wierd crap you never saw again. All in all, two really mild packs with a middling assortment of cards.

I guess drawing two Shivan Dragons and a Millstone from four packs of Tenth made up for it though.


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