And Now…Palladia-Mors!

Palladia-Mors is cranky.

I haven’t spoken at all about the Magic: The Gathering Club at school, so this is pretty much about that. The club arrived first thing in the morning, the first day of school, and has been meeting every single day since. They are good young people, and it’s pretty excellent to see them several times a day.

There’s a significant motivation to make the club official this year, to help out with activities on college applications. We are already making noises about making t-shirts and jerseys this year, as if we were a sports team, and we are gearing up for a tournament when Ravnica releases. There’s even discussion of playing the “Commander” format, which isn’t really a format that I’m into. There’s a lot going on, but most importantly, we play Magic every day. It has been a large game, with frequent slow play warnings, but a lot of fun.

I had a ton of people’s cards donated to the club from various Magic players over the summer, and the club has enthusiastically divvied them up, and built new decks based on the new influx of about three thousand cards total. It was a pretty excellent “feeding frenzy” of cards, with trading and consultation happening to facilitate the best deck builds.

These guys are beyond “card hoarding.” The point is the best decks, to have the best games…which is really what the game is all about. It’s sportsmanship at its purest form, because it happens long before the game, during the game, and after the game.

I didn’t play much during the summer, without the club around. I’d maybe play a few games on a single day of the week, with a close friend or friends. In the two weeks I have been back, I’ve played more Magic then I did ALL summer. It has been pretty great, and I’ve been able to play some of the decks that I constructed over the vacation. Two of them were designed to shine in multiplayer games as well as one on one competition, and those have really done well with the group.

The art for today is based on a deck that I put together to play at school, largely using older cards that the club wouldn’t have seen, because that’s always unexpected and fun. The game of Magic: The Gathering has had cards from close to the beginning called “Elder Dragons.” In terms of play, they rapidly became…well, pretty bad cards. However, when they came out, there were only five of them.

Why were they bad cards? They were hard to bring into play, had extremely high ongoing cost to keep in play, and really…don’t do all that much. It’s pretty easy to find cards that do more for your deck, for less these days.

When they were printed, they were a Big Deal. A friend of mine (when Magic was in it’s beginnings) had the same Elder Dragon card that I did, Palladia-Mors (pictured in Panel One), and he built an entire deck around trying to bring a single copy of that over costed card into play. It was great fun, and he thoroughly enjoyed just the effort. During the summer, I found a lot of my old cards, and the Palladia-Mors cards that I have had never seen play. Thinking of my old friend, I started deck building around this ostensibly terrible card, feeling like the kids would get a big kick out of it.

The current set, “Magic: Core 2019,” features updated Elder Dragon cards, so I got my hands on some of the new Palladia-Mors as well for the deck build. Thousands of cards have been printed since the first run of Elder Dragons, and the new version is legitimately a better card. With the deep well of cards printed since, it’s much easier to pay the cost of bringing out original Palladia-Mors, and early in the game.

You just have to build pretty much your whole deck around it.

Which I did.

I finally played that deck on Friday. With the help of mana ramp cards like Llanowar Elves and Mana Flare, which let you increase the amount of “mana” that you have to bring a card out, I was able to bring out Palladia-Mors on turn four. Normally, you would be waiting for turn eight, and for as bad a card as it is, Palladia-Mors blows away most cards that you can play on turn four. The overwhelming majority.

I hadn’t told the kids about the deck, so when they picked up the card, they lost their minds. The entire table of players (six!) immediately focused all efforts upon:

  • Keeping Palladia-Mors tapped (unable to be used)
  • Removing me from play (thus eliminating Palladia-Mors)

I only lasted two more turns in the face of all the players targeting me, but it was Glorious.

Obviously, Panel One is based on the original Palladia-Mors card art, which was fun to draw. Palladia-Mors clearly treats other Magic: The Gathering characters like hot wings, as we can clearly see the dragon having eaten several other humanoid creatures. Panel Two is pretty much the layout that I had originally thought of for yesterday’s post, with Cap wearing the Metamorpho jacket from the Terrifics. I like the jacket much better in this illustration, but it is still totally awful.

Cap is pretty sarcastic in Panel Two, which is surprising. When the Ixalan block of Magic was coming out, she had encounters with Nicol Bolas, another Elder Dragon (the toughest), and it did NOT go well for her. Generic Silver Age Alien American Powers are almost never good against Magic Powers. You would think that she would learn from that.

Maybe, maybe not.

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