Assemble the Legion!

I offer three choices for assembling the legion: classical heroic á la Jacques-Louis David, silly Asterix the Gaul, or a re-imagined historical past:

Token Soldier 11 RWa

Token Soldier 11 RWb

Token Soldier 11 RWc

The greatest knight that ever lived

If you’re going to summon a knight to the battlefield, you could hardly do worse than the best knight of the Middle Ages: William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke. And now you can:

Token Knight 22Vw Token Knight 22Vm

The image is from a manuscript page of Matthew Paris’s Great Chronicle. On the left is William Marshal, famous tournament knight and eventual regent of England for young Henry III; on the right is another knight, Baldwin of Guisnes, being unhorsed.

I can also recommend to you David Crouch’s book on the Marshal: William Marshal: Knighthood, War and Chivalry, 1147–1219, 2n edn (London: Longman, 2002). Enjoy!

The Golgari Swarm (The Guilds of Ravnica #4)

Thematically relevant cards for a unified Golgari deck (including cards from both Ravnica and Return to Ravnica blocks) in the Guild Battles format:

Watermarked Cards:

Bloodbond March
Dark Heart of the Wood
Drooling Groodion
Elves of Deep Shadow
Gaze of the Gorgon
Golgari Brownscale
Golgari Germination
Golgari Grave-Troll
Golgari Guildmage
Golgari Rot Farm
Golgari Rotwurm
Golgari Signet
Golgari Thug
Grave-Shell Scarab
Greater Mossdog
Life from the Loam
Moldervine Cloak
Nightmare Void
Overgrown Tomb
Plague Boiler
Rolling Spoil
Savra, Queen of the Golgari
Shambling Shell
Sisters of Stone Death
Stinkweed Imp
Svogthos, the Restless Tomb
Vigor Mortis
Vulturous Zombie
Woodwraith Corrupter
Woodwraith Strangler

Bound (Bound // Determined)
Punishment (Crime // Punishment)
Flesh (Flesh // Blood)

Abrupt Decay
Corpsejack Menace
Deadbridge Chant
Deadbridge Goliath
Deathrite Shaman
Down // Dirty
Dreg Mangler
Drown in Filth
Drudge Beetle
Gaze of Granite
Golgari Charm
Golgari Cluestone
Golgari Decoy
Golgari Guildgate
Golgari Keyrune
Golgari Longlegs
Grisly Salvage
Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
Jarad’s Orders
Korozda Gorgon
Korozda Guildmage
Korozda Monitor
Lotleth Troll
Overgrown Tomb
Rites of Reaping
Rot Farm Skeleton
Sewer Shambler
Sluiceway Scorpion
Stonefare Crocodile
Terrus Wurm
Thrashing Mossdog
Treasured Find
Trestle Troll
Varolz, the Scar-Striped
Zanikev Locust

Art/Flavor Text:

Macabre Waltz

Death’s Presence
Slime Molding
Vraska the Unseeen
Contaminated Ground
Killing Glare
Crypt Incursion
Kraul Warrior

Other Candidates:

Carrion Howler
Clinging Darkness
Empty the Catacombs
Hunted Horror
Infectious Host
Last Gasp
Mausoleum Turnkey
Moonlight Bargain
Necromantic Thirst
Thoughtpicker Witch
Goliath Spider
Nullmage Shepherd
Perilous Forays
Vinelasher Kudzu
Poisonbelly Ogre
Leyline of Lifeforce
Unliving Psychopath
Vesper Ghoul
Loaming Shaman

Catacomb Slug
Drainpipe Vermin
Grave Betrayal
Ogre Jailbreaker
Pack Rat
Stab Wound
Corpse Blockade
Devour Flesh
Gutter Skulk
Ogre Slumlord
Sepulchral Primordial
Wildwood Rebirth
Fatal Fumes
Maze Abomination
Ubul Sar Gatekeepers

Transguild Promenade

I’m open to suggestions or debate.

Parental Advisory Review – Dragon’s Maze

Standard Introduction

My goal here is simply to highlight images with a potential to concern or disturb, and offer some basic art evaluation, especially from a parent’s perspective. Obviously, what one parent is fine with another may not be. My guiding judgment is whether I would want my young teenage son to be looking closely at these cards, or if I felt I could recommend this image to my young teenage daughter as a model of virtue. Overall, I think this set is something of an improvement on recent sets, although it still has some problems.

The main categories of evaluation are GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, NIGHTMARE HORROR, PROVOCATIVE DRESS, IMPLIED NUDITY, and BLATANT SEXUALITY. At the end, I will look for men in some state of undress, and women who are being portrayed as something besides a sexual object.

Graphic Violence

It’s a game about battling wizards set in a world that reflects many real-world issues and conflicts, but that doesn’t mean we need to see it in all its gore and brutality – a good artist can suggest it without having to show it, I think.

Clear a Path Punish the Enemy Show Stopper

That’s a lot of blood in the first one, and while the Showstopper card thankfully doesn’t show any blood, in conjunction with the flavor test, suggests a bit too much gore in my opinion – I really wonder about their inclusion of the Rakdos in general.

Nightmare Horror

This category is about disturbing images that linger in the mind, and sometimes come back to haunt you in your dreams! These are images that aren’t necessarily violent or gory, but might be described by many (note: not necessarily all) as ‘disturbing’, ‘evil’, or ‘horrific’. Is this something that you want your child to be thinking about long after the game itself is over?

Boros Mastiff Murmuring Phantasm Trait Doctoring Sinister Possession Carnage Gladiator Debt to the Deathless Maw of the Obzedat

Not all of it is that bad–that Mastiff is just really mean looking–but I can certainly imagine a young teenager getting freaked out by some of these, especially if they think too much about what’s going on. And that Maw of the Obzedat should be downright disturbing to any decent human being.

Provocative Dress

Why do Magic artists cater to the lowest common denominator so much? Too much skin and cleavage, although I suppose that the way the world is going, not so different than a typical trip down main street. The numbers are down a little from previous sets, but it’s also a small set, which may explain some of it.

Wake the Reflection Runner's Bane Deadbridge Chant Exava, Rakdos Bloodwitch Gaze of Granite Korozda Gorgon Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts Warleader's Helix

I guess that Gorgon is sort of swimming, but I don’t know what the excuse is for most of the rest–is Ravnica a particularly warm plane? I suspect that the whole Magic multiverse runs on the upper end of the temperature scale, based on the clothing in the art anyway. I mean, what’s up with that big hole in the front of Teysa’s dress? Does she use that as a pocket?

Implied Nudity

Hey, I couldn’t find any!

Blatant Sexuality

Nothing here, either. I suppose I might have put that Blood Witch above down here, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Men vs. Women

I suppose it should be comforting to know that many men are running around the plane half-dressed, but surely the Azorius could pass a “no shoes, no shirt, no service” law.

Hired Torturer Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker Vorel of the Hull Clade Zhur-Taa Druid Dangerous Blood

And there were a few examples of women that you could recommend as role models. I think Trostani’s Summoner is particularly beautiful.

Saruli Gatekeepers Lavinia of the Tenth Trostani's Summoner

Now let’s tally up the results for Dragon’s Maze (171 cards total in the set):

Graphic Violence: 3
Nightmare Horror: 7
Provocative Dress: 8
Implied Nudity: 0
Blatant Sexuality: 0
Objectified Males: 6
Female Protagonists: 3

I think the amount of horror and violence is perhaps even more concerning to me than the female dress issue in this set. Definitely room for improvement.