Mind Slave of Nicol Bolas!
So, I’m going to cut right to the chase on the artwork, in terms of what started it off, and then get into weird rambling about it. Tonight, I’ll be playing in a Standard Format, Constructed Deck Tournament of Magic: The Gathering. That means that only cards introduced with last year’s Innistrad block and forward are legal to play in your deck, with a deck size of sixty cards. You can go OVER sixty cards, but not under sixty. This strip is pretty much about the plan to go to the event, and the deck I’ll be playing.
Initially, I didn’t really want to go at all. Constructed Deck Format can be frustrating, because you encounter a lot of the players who care about rankings, DCI points, and trying to qualify for the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour. That’s not a joke, that’s a Thing. My friends were going, and pretty highly motivated about it, so like Cap in panel one, I was pretty much roped into doing what they said.
At first, I wasn’t even sure what kind of deck I was thinking about bringing. There was a tiny amount of debate about it, until I decided that I would take the deck that I just threw together, that is totally contrary to my usual style of play. It’s three colors (which I usually consider a poor choice) and it’s whole point is to bring out the Nicol Bolas planeswalker card, because who DOESN’T want to drop an expensive Dragon God Pharaoh on the tabletop? I can’t say that it’s a good deck as such, but it does its job. Who knows how it will play at such a tournament.
Once I made that decision, I was much more motivated about the event. It’s pretty liberating to suddenly have almost no expectation of winning a game, but instead are just interested in playing the game, and making the deck’s mechanics work.
The character of Nicol Bolas is rough, both in game, and in the meta text of the game’s storyline. An ancient dragon planeswalker, unlike other planeswalkers he has mastery over three of the five colors. As a dragon, he brings the red mana fire magic to the table, as a necromancer he brings the black mana graveyard recycling and removal to the table, and for the triple threat he has the meta game controlling powers of the blue mana driven mind magic. This is why people don’t like having to fight Dragon Wizards, people. They have time to master all of that, and then some.
There’s actually a blue/black card called “Slave of Bolas”, which lets you take control of another player’s creature, use it for the turn, and then destroy it. Black cards let you destroy creatures, blue cards often let you take control of them, that one does BOTH. There’s a reason that Nicol Bolas is tough, and is the villain of the entire Amonkhet setting.
Although, in some ways, at the tournament, Bolas will be working for me. It doesn’t seem that way though…pretty much, once you bring out Bolas, other players try to end the game as soon as possible, which seems a lot like Bolas using and sacrificing ME. Hmm.
The art from “Slave of Bolas” (a card I DON’T have, and wouldn’t be legal tomorrow anyway) is the reference and inspiration for Panel One. Having Silver Age Alien American Powers doesn’t make you resistant to mind powers, or magic, or any combination of the two…so Bolas’ signature move would definitely “end run” Cap’s really megapowered status. Cap doesn’t have to deal with that too often, since the 1970’s are over, and really, Bad guys aren’t using mind powers that often these days. That probably says something a little disturbing about what we do, and don’t consider threatening anymore. If you had those kinds of Dragon Wizard Mind Powers, you would almost definitely use them to take control over someone that can take on platoons, and hurl items into the sun, while shrugging off tank rounds. You would almost definitely cast that spell after you watched he kick the @#$% out of an eleven foot tall minotaur angel that worked for you, which was actually Yesterday’s Post.
I’m assuming that the dress she’s wearing was produced as part of the spell. I actually thought about that while drawing it…because obviously, i based the dress on Steve Argyle’s artistic styling. It doesn’t strike me that a Dragon Wizard would care what she was wearing, or take the time to actually have her change clothes. I was also glad that it was more dignified than Princess Leia’s metal bikini from “Return of the Jedi” when she was enslaved by Jabba. Being a Dragon Wizard, I don’t think that Bolas would really want to get fresh with an Alien American Humanoid, but I can’t be sure. I’m assuming it’s a byproduct of the spell.
Even so, Cap isn’t going to be too happy about that dress, I think.
It would also be super sensible to have Cap deal with Gideon Jura. Gideon is an indestructible planeswalker from Theros, and a pretty solid warrior. His stats are better than vampires and angels at their base, suggesting some super strength along with the invulnerability. You would have an equally invulnerable person, with more powers, just chuck him into the sun, or bury him under a mountain at super speed, just to not have to deal with him. It would be a good choice.
The Bolas card (Bolas the Deceiver) even has an ability that reflects just unloading a dress wearing Cap on your opponent’s most annoying bastards. The second ability is “Destroy target creature. Draw a card.” That’s pretty great, but it actually won’t get rid of Gideon. His first ability could actually force a player to sacrifice Gideon though…so I feel like I’m still on firm intellectual ground with the content.
Obviously, I’m cautiously looking forward to the event. I’ve been playing the deck at lunch with the club, who all play Standard decks, and it hasn’t done that badly. In theory, I might even win a game or two.
With this post…we will pretty much be saying “goodbye” to the Amonkhet block. I wouldn’t expect a post specifically explaining what happens to Bolas, or in the ensuing battle here…we can just presume that eventually the spell would wear off. I’m not that big on those continuity threads, True Believers.
That said…Cap is going to be pretty unhappy about that dress when the spell wears off.