by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Essence of the Wild is a very fun mythic rare. When it was first released, I saw it as a card with plenty of potential. Considering that this card automatically makes every creature that hits the board under your control into a 6/6 Essence of the Wild Avatar, there are plenty of ways you can abuse it.
One option that was popular when Essence of the Wild was in Standard was to use it as a 6-drop in Birthing Pod decks. It makes all of your little utility creatures into big beaters, and short of a board-wipe it could be game over. To be honest, this wasn’t a popular strategy, but there are those that did it.
The better option that I had once considered was to play Essence of the Wild in a token based deck, like with Hero of Bladehold and any other cards that create lots of tokens. It would’ve been especially fun with Garruk, Primal Hunter and Garruk Relentless, whose tokens now become 6/6. Needless to say, having 6/6 beaters is pretty fun.
The main issue is this Essence of the Wild’s 6-drop cost, with a triple Green requirement. In Standard, this heavy leaning towards Green proved to be a bit awkward. In any case, Essence of the Wild is especially fun in Commander, with all of the token creation available in the format. This was never the mythic rare you wanted to pull out of Innistrad (why couldn’t you be a Liliana of the Veil!?) but it’s still a good card to try and include in a fun Commander strategy.
I’d still love to see a Modern ramp deck run Essence of the Wild. Now that would be fascinating. I'm not sure it would ever happen, but this is a powerful mythic rare on paper.
by David Rowell, Contributing Writer
Generally, card anatomy is one of the first things you learn when learning about Magic - what do the cards that you're playing with look like? What is the function of the parts of a card?
Well, let's jump in.
Cards have between 4 and 5 important zones.
The first is the top of the card, where the card's name and mana cost are displayed.
The second is the artwork - this is how cards are most often recognized when playing with them, even people across language barriers. When it comes to a competitive format where people are usually playing the same cards all over the place, artwork is where the gap is bridged.
Third is the type box. This includes all supertypes and card types the card has. This is also where the set symbol is on the majority of cards.
Fourth is the text box of the card - abilities and flavor text are here.
Fifth, which is not on every card, is a box in the lower right hand corner that either has a pair of numbers, or a single number. I'll get to those in a second.
We'll break down this card in the order we were just referring to.
His first box reads Meloku the Clouded Mirror, and says 4U - making him a 5 drop, but we don't know what kind of card this is yet.
The artwork implies a creature - with a little bit of knowledge, we can deduce that he belongs to the race of the Moonfolk, from Kamigawa.
The type line gives us his type: Legendary Creature - Moonfolk Wizard.
Now, the type line is broken up into two sections - the card types, and then the race/class types.
The card types are what cards are, and what card types they associate with.
After the dash is the race/class section. Most creatures have both race and class, and some only have race. For example, Meloku the Clouded Mirror's race is Moonfolk, and his class is Wizard. Tarmogoyf, on the other hand, only has a race - Lhurgoyf. There's too many races and classes to go over here, but I'll post a list of them in a separate article. New creature types are being added all the time, however, and the list is always changing.
The farthest right of that bar is the set symbol - indicating the rarity of the card and printing set of the card.
Tarmogoyf, for example, is a Mythic Rare from Modern Masters.
Mythic Rare is the highest rarity in printed sets, and is indicated by an orange-red set symbol. They occur 1:8 packs, replacing the rare in the pack. According to some sources, however, mythics are only really "twice" as rare as other rares. This slot is the only slot Planeswalkers (aside from Lorwyn, where there were no mythics) are printed in, and was introduced most recently out of the rarities in Shards of Alara.
Rare is the second highest rarity in printed sets, and is indicated by a gold set symbol. They occur in every pack that doesn't have a mythic rare. Meloku is a rare from Modern Masters.
Uncommons occur in every pack, where there are 3 uncommons.
Commons also occur in every pack, and make up the rest of the pack that isn't rares or uncommons. There is, in fact, a commons-only format called Pauper.
Below the type box is the text box - which contains all of the information of the card. Let's take a look at Meloku again.
His text box has 3 things - flying, an activated ability, and flavor text.
Flying is just one of the keyworded abilities of the game. These are generally triggered or static abilities that affect gameplay. These abilities will always be in the text box, and is generally at the top of the text box.
The second section is activated/static abilities. In the case of Meloku, we have an Activated ability.
1, Return a land you control to it's owner's hand: Put a 1/1 blue Illusion creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
Activated abilities are formatted as above; Cost: Effect. This particular ability has two costs - 1 colorless mana, and returning a land you control to its owner's hand. Then, after paying that cost, you get the effect - which makes a 1/1 blue Illusion creature token with flying.
The last section is flavor text.
He loved his cities in the clouds. When he traveled to the lands below, he brought many reminders of his home.
While this has no effect on what the card does, it adds flavor to the card, and makes it feel more at home in what it's supposed to be.
Next is the Power and Toughness box, which is just that - the power is listed first, and then the toughness. In the case of Tarmogoyf, there are */*+1 in his case. The * in the power/toughness is predefined in the text box of the card by another static effect.
The only other thing to talk about is the border of the card. The color indicates the color of the card, while the bottom of the card also has the Artist name, trade mark information, and set number.
Until next time.
-SolemnParty (David Rowell)
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