Greek Vase Inspired Theros Tokens

I’ve been working on some Theros tokens for awhile now, and it seems unlikely that I will finish the whole set, so I’m going to post what I have now. I’ve taken an image from a Greek artifact, usually a vase, and coupled it with a quote from ancient Greek literature, usually Homer. Enjoy!

 

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Into the Scrapheap? Episode 13 (Mana Walls)

I was updating my Garruk Planeswalker Jousting deck when I came across a card that had a strictly better version:

Vine Trellis Overgrown Battlement

There’s almost no reason to play Vine Trellis anymore, especially since even if you’re looking for another mana producing wall, there are other (better) options available as well (not considering cost, of course):

Sylvan Caryatid

The slightly smaller body is more than compensated for in its Hexproof. And it’s supplying you with ANY color of mana, not just Green. If you do need a bigger body, you might try this:

Wall of Roots

Although this will shrink over time, you do have the immediate option of getting 4 or 5 mana in one fell swoop. If you really need multiple colors of mana and you’re willing to pay a little more, you can also get this:

Axebane Guardian

CONCLUSIONS: All of this renders the Vine Trellis pretty well redundant and inferior. I am officially tossing it into the scrapheap.

For completion’s sake, here are two other narrow-use mana walls:

Tinder Wall Jungle Patrol

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.

Dissolve

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.

Gainsay

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!

Omenspeaker

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.

Thassa

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.

Vaporkin

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.

Nylea

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.

Whipcorder

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!