Anailil, Angel of Modesty

Now, another of my daughters has gotten into the act. She made an angel that she named to be the antithesis of Liliana. Then we gave her some abilities to reflect her ability to swoop in and cover up the damsels that aren’t so much in distress as simply suffering from a dearth of fabric, which seem to permeate the Magic world.

01 Anailil, Angel of Modesty


Lily, the Cut-throat Cat

My daughter made this picture in art class (she also dressed up as (a significantly more modest) Liliana for Halloween – I couldn’t convince her to go with Elspeth). “I spent two whole days on this,” she said. It seemed worthy of its own Magic card. My son came up with the basic idea for the abilities, and I put it all together. I went with the hybrid mana simply because the Black-Red frame is just so much cooler than the gold-bordered multi-color frame.

01 Lily, the Cutthroat Cat

Theros Soldier Tokens

Here’s one for the ladies…

I must say that I actually like the official soldier tokens for Theros, especially the red one, but I just can’t resist a Greek-themed set, so I made some of my own too.

Soldier TokenSoldier TokenSoldier Token


It’s Hector and Achilles!

Token Soldier Red 11a Token Soldier Red 11b Token Soldier Red 11c Token Soldier White 11a Token Soldier White 11b Token Soldier White 11c

Parental Advisory Review – Theros

I’ve decided that I’m not interested in cataloging all of the instances of less-than-fully-modest clothing or gratuitous violence in a Magic set. I’m just going to highlight what I find particularly egregious, where Magic steps beyond what I would consider PG-13 (yes, yes, I know, some people have lower standards… so be it).

To start with, there’s the overly-sexualized Ephara’s Warden—cut that dress any higher or lower and we’d be seeing a lot more than we bargained for:

Ephara's Warden

This reminds me a bit of that movie 300, where the guys are just so buff they don’t even need to wear armor. But let’s keep it real: to be in the phalanx, you’re going to need upwards of 80 lbs of armor to do your job. An oversized loincloth is just not going to cut it—you don’t look tough, you just look like a fool (and a soon to be dead fool at that).

Phalanx Leader

The Traveling Philosopher just barely misses my cut.

“How low can you go…” Don’t you just love those dresses that cover all the way down to the ankles but only because they start below the shoulders—clearly the problem here wasn’t a lack of fabric, just modesty. Sorry, lady, but no one really wants to see 270 degrees of your sagging boobs.

Artisan of Forms

Here’s my winner for best “fan service” of the set. If that girl isn’t careful, her skirt is just going to slip right off altogether! Save it for the bedroom, honey.


Man, here’s the winner for most disturbing. That image just sticks in your mind and won’t easily go away. I suppose the artist might consider that a compliment.


It’s certainly a bad day at the office (or temple) when your dress gets swept away by the omens, and you find you forgot to wear anything underneath. Oops!


I know she’s a goddess (and thus doesn’t have to conform to mere mortals’ standards) and apparently incarnates as some sort of half-woman, half-sea serpent, but even she probably would like a little more support in the chest than a dab of the artist’s paint to keep it PG-13.


Now that’s some strategic seaweed!

Triton Shorethief

Yes, that elemental is unencumbered by clothing as well—but somehow really well-endowed for someone unlikely to ever need to nurse an infant.


Nothing left but a few rags down in the underworld I guess. At least she’s in the background, I guess.

March of the Return

Whatever the Theros equivalent of Mount Olympos is, it must be really warm there. I suppose we should just be grateful that Nylea’s donning more than Thassa.


If she was a pure creature of the sea, I might accept that she’s barely covered in her ‘bikini’, but she has wings. I hope she doesn’t fly too high, or else she’s going to freeze her tail (and probably other parts, too) off!

Shipwreck Singer

A special comment on the Nymph cycle. I suppose as rather pure creatures of nature, we shouldn’t expect clothes, and each of the images has some strategically placed foliage to help keep things PG-13, but I do think a good artist can suggest the au naturel without showing so much skin.

Observant Alseid Nimbus Naiad Cavern Lampad Spearpoint Oread Leafcrown Dryad

To conclude, I will say, to its credit, that at least Elspeth knows that you’re most likely to survive a battle with more clothes on, rather than less:

Elspeth ElspethElspeth

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!

A Herd of Goat Tokens

… or a Tribe or Trip of Goat Tokens, if you’re into such official naming conventions.

I’m finally getting around to making my Trading Post deck (I’m coupling it with the Bogbrew Witch combo and the Exquisite Blood/Sanguine Bond combo – how can I lose?), so I’m going to need GOAT tokens.

Trading Post Goat Token

The pre-fab goat from Wizards is actually pretty good-looking, but nowadays I see every token requirement as an opportunity. But what kind of special goats are out there that would be better than Mr. Generic Goat here? Well, Norse mythology actually seems to be full of goats: Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr were the two goats that pulled Thor’s chariot, and Heiðrún was the goat that ate the legendary tree Lærað and then produced mead from its teats. You gotta love Norse mythology!

Apparently, Yu-Gi-Oh has already tapped into this rich tradition (and I adapted it):

Token Goat YGO Tanngnjostr Token Goat YGO Tanngrisnir

If you want those in the traditional Magic frame, then here you go:

Token Goat 01c Token Goat 01b

Marvel Comics has also been into the Norse mythology action for a while:

Token Goat 01h

Token Goat 01d Token Goat 01e

Token Goat 01g Token Goat 01f

For the mead-producing goat, I’ve got some rather old school images:

Token Goat 01i
Token Goat 01k Token Goat 01j

There’s even a meadery named after her!

Go, go, goats!

Avatar of Life?

I was playing my Ajani Goldmane deck today and when I ultimated him, I realized that I had no Avatar token to put into play. There is an official token made by Wizards, but I must admit I was underwhelmed when I first saw it.
Ajani Token
I’ll admit it has grown on me a little more since I’ve looked at it, but it’s still not really what I think of when I think of something that represents an avatar of my life total. The thought that really came to mind was that I was creating a token version of Serra Avatar, which is also in the deck, by the way, so I found a close up of the avatar itself:

Token Ajani Avatar B

Why does Serra’s Avatar look like a blindfolded Samurai? That’s just not working for me either. Then I found that there was an alternate art version of Serra Avatar produced as a promo for Duels of the Planeswalkers. That art is a little better in capturing the essence…

Token Ajani Avatar C

… but I still don’t understand why she has to be blind. What about the concept of “Avatar of Life” says, “I’m blind, like justice”? For a moment I toyed with the thought that the token was a representation of Ajani’s lifeforce. I didn’t stay on this idea long, but I did come across one piece of art on the DeviantArt site that really looked like some sort of incarnation of Ajani’s spirit or lifeforce. The artist goes by the moniker dabiankwong – nicely done!

Token Ajani Avatar D

Now a thought struck me: an avatar of life is someone full to the brim with life, and its essence, right? And who best captures the idea of someone full of life? I got no further than Sir John Falstaff from Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays, and then found this excellent painting by Eduard von Grützner, which really nails it I think.

Token Ajani Avatar E

But I must admit that when I think of Falstaff, I always get the image of Robbie Coltrane’s portrayal from Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V. This was my first introduction to the character, and while perhaps he’s not the best Falstaff ever–I wouldn’t know who is, really–he is forever etched in my brain as “Falstaff”. Unfortunately, I could not find a good image to use. If anyone knows of a better one, I’d love to know of it. This will have to do for now.

Token Ajani Avatar F

And there you have my journey in search of an “Avatar of Life”. I think any one of these could serve the purpose nicely. Adieu!