Into the Scrapheap? Episode 12 (White Tappers)

This might be a little different than previous episodes in that I’m not sure anything needs to be completely jettisoned, but it does highlight a problem I’ve commented on before: functional reprints.

I think the beginning of the tradition (W, TAP: tap target creature) goes back to Master Decoy (I know that’s where I saw the ability first).

Master Decoy

It got its first functional reprint in the Invasion set with Benalish Trapper. These two are exactly same, down to creature type. Why, Wizards, why? What did the Master Decoy do to lose your love and confidence?

Benalish Trapper

Yet another functional reprint appeared in the first revamped Core Set, Magic 2010, where Blinding Mage appeared. At least this one was a wizard instead of a soldier, in case that ever mattered, and it didn’t carry the Dominarian-bound designation of Benalish, but again, why not just bring back the Master Decoy—it’s generic enough. And they could have done new art or even just re-used the eighth edition art, which was more serious than the original Foglio art.

Blinding Mage

They have played around with this type of creature a little, and that I don’t mind. Here’ s a more expensive version that in the right circumstances will do more than your average Master Decoy.

Nomad Decoy

Another innovation is the Avacynian Priest who can use colorless mana, but also has a restriction placed on it. That seems reasonable.

Avacynian Priest

They also went a little smaller (as befitting a kithkin), with a 1-drop 1/1, suggesting that the extra mana in the original versions was for the extra toughness.

Goldmeadow Harrier

But then they went and made almost the exact same thing (Human vs. Kithkin), but attached it to the planeswalker Gideon. Really? You couldn’t do anything else with him to spice him up. I guess kithkin don’t fit into every setting, but then again, neither does something associated with Gideon. This is where I start to gripe about their claim to have so many cards in print, when in reality, a lot of them are just the same thing with a name change or other slight twist on a previous version. Lame.

Gideon's Lawkeeper

Instead of an extra toughness for your one mana, you could get flying with a Squall Drifter.

Squall Drifter

Now, the Ballynock Trapper is an interesting take on the trapper. Its a little bigger, doesn’t require mana to do its thing, and can let you do some fun things in the right kind of deck. Of course it’s a bit pricier, but not unreasonable.

Ballynock Trapper

The Whipcorder gets an extra power point for its slightly more mana intensive cost. It also has the morph ability–not sure how great that is on this card, but you never know in Magic.


I’m not sure the extra potential in Holy Justiciar is worth two extra mana, both to cast and to activate. This only seems useful in Avacyn Restored draft, which no one plays anymore.

Holy Justiciar

Another mana intensive version is Innocence Kami. You still get the classic ability, stapled onto a beefier body (well +1/+1 beefier), with some potential related to its set, but I’m not sure that warrants three extra mana. Maybe I’m wrong, but I won’t be playing this anytime soon.

Innocence Kami

Then there’s the Sunstrike Legionnaire. I’m not sure how to even evaluate this guy, but his ability doesn’t require mana, so maybe in the right deck…

Sunstrike Legionnaire

Then there are the generally worse versions. The only thing going for the Aysen Bureaucrats and the Errant Doomsayers is that there is no mana cost to do the tapping. Everything else is strictly worse for the same casting cost.

Aysen Bureaucrats

Errant Doomsayer


CONCLUSIONS: OK, technically nothing here is strictly worse, so nothing needs to be put in the scrapheap, but unless you are making a deck where you want 12-20 “W, tap: tap target creature” creatures, there’s still a lot of chaff here. One more reason not to buy booster packs!