“How Do You Have Only Seven Dwarves…?”

No…Cap does NOT have some new dwarf generating power…

…although the premise of the updated Magic: The Gathering card that we will see later in the post suggests that she is using her nigh invulnerable Alien American body to channel and/or focus the energy of at least one Thousand Year Storm, and in turn some other magic generates huge numbers of angry dwarves.

Does that sound complicated?  Why, yes…it is.  It also led to the color treatment for the Magic card, so that’s very cool.

Okay…let’s start at the beginning.

On March 31, the website MTGGoldfish.com issued a “challenge contest.”  You can click here to see the contest, and check out his excellent web site about Magic if you want.  In short, the contest was simple enough.  There’s a fundamental rule in Magic, that you can only have four copies of any card.  In the recent Eldraine set, the card Seven Dwarves was printed, which lets you break that rule, and have seven.

The contest/challenge invites the player to bend that rule even further. In other words, to see what the maximum number of dwarves you can get into play, from the seven that you can have in the deck. It might seem like that number is seven, but that’s not being creative.

If you use cards like Quasiduplicate and Replicate, you can easily copy those dwarves for each copy of those cards. Without even trying, that’s eight more dwarves. If you play Doublecast, which lets you copy the next thing you do…each of those can be doubled. If you have Thousand Year storm in play, it copies the next thing you want to do, for everything that you have played before it…so a stack of Doublecast, Doublecast, and Quasiduplicate gets out of hand fast. You’re just generating tons of free dwarves, that weren’t even in the deck to begin with.

The real star, though, was Recollect.

Recollect lets you get a card out of your graveyard, or discard pile. If you play it after one of those impressive stacks…it let’s you refuel the same cards, to do the same thing, next turn. This gets boring, but boy…does it generate dwarves. In fact, in the case of my entry to the contest, 431 Seven Dwarves before the system dumped me due to a processing problem.

If you did not click on the link, you will see that today’s art is derived from the art on Recollect, as well as the art for the thumbnail about the contest.  It was fun merging the two.  In fact…Pete Venters, the artist on the card itself, did an homage of it when I went to GP Los Angeles, which is where Cap’s much more complicated jacket comes from.

I love that jacket…but it has so many complicated little pieces, I don’t think I could draw it regularly.

I wanted the card to look like she was somehow focusing the energy of a Thousand Year Storm into somehow cloning a bunch of dwarves from pretty much nothing. That’s not her problem…but I went with the idea of sort of a light/glow effect, which maybe comes from her magic jacket.

It looks like something Jace and Ral Zarek would cook up, and Ral was even in the deck.

So here’s Recollect:

I already know that my buddy and I (he made a similar deck, and got a similar number of dwarves) didn’t “win” the challenge….some guy resolved over a thousand Seven Dwarves onto the battlefield.  We did make playable decks, though…meaning that you could actually try and play a game of Magic with these monstrosities, and have some hope of winning.  We’re both hoping that we get some kind of recognition from the site and/or channel, for the effort put in.

And let us be clear…there was effort.  A lot of effort.  The computers lagged massively trying to resolve all of those effects, and keep track of them.  A single game took four hours.

There was one rule though: “Get as many copies of Seven Dwarves on the battlefield as possible. Nothing else matters. ”

Many players posted cute “infinite combos,” which would produce a limitless number of dwarves, but didn’t resolve a single dwarf.  My friend and I came up with lists like that and dismissed them, as not too useful.  Some resolved into double digits and said, “it was just too tedious, but you see how this will go.”  I’ll tell you what I see buster….like nineteen dwarves.  That’s it.

Again, I’m quoting…”Once you’ve hit max Seven Dwarves, take a video or screen shot and sent it to @MTGGoldfish on Twitter and hashtag it #GoldfishChallenge.”  It doesn’t say, “Talk about all the Seven Dwarves you could have had, and tell me about it.”  It says, “send proof of Dwarf.”

Again, quoting…”We’ll check results April 7, end of day Pacific time.”

So you see why today’s art is what it is, because today is the deadline.  There was no way I was going to try and beat 431 Dwarves…the turns were taking forty minutes to resolve.

As I’m leaning into the weirdness that is my necessary lifestyle now, given “safer at home,” we should be getting…well, more weirdness.  For what that’s worth.

Today’s weird book report is over, True Believers.  Hope you enjoyed it.

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