Nerd War Story

…from Magic: The Gathering. Yes, really. I’ll try to make this story understandable to people who don’t know the game, but still, Magic is way nerdy.  You don’t have to read this.  Well, except for the stuff you already read.  Also, this story contains the following profanity: cunt, fuck, asshole, and Barbra Streisand.  Fortunatly, these occur only in the introduction, so you’ve passed them already.

Still here? Damn. I guess I’ll really write this.

The Defense’s Opening Statement

Okay, in this first part, which I will call The Defense’s Opening Statement, I’m going to try to convince you that when I played magic, it was cool.  You see, the thing about Magic is that you can hack it.  It has a complicated but fairly intuitive set of rules, and then every card changes the rules a little.  Some more than others.  You can find combinations of cards that work very well together, then make a deck that tries to exploit that combination.  The main draw of magic, to me, has always been the fact that you can pull off ridiculous things.  Things that make veteran magic players say “wow.”  I have a lot of great stories, but I think this one was my best.

The setup

Panoptic Mirror


The story begins with Panoptic Mirror.  This card has combo written all over it.  You imprint a card in your hand on it, and it casts that card for you for free every turn for the rest of the game.  The obvious thing to do would be to imprint Time Warp on the thing. Boring! Nobody’s jaw is going to drop when you do that.

I’ve tried lots of different cards on Panoptic Mirror, but my favorite will always be the time I got Research & Development on it. Disregard the fact that it’s two cards on one. All you need to know is that I get to pick which half Panoptic Mirror casts, and I always picked Research. On its own that’s not going to do much – you get to shuffle your deck every turn and you’re slightly more likely to draw the cards you want.  There’s where Leveler comes in.

Two cards for the price of two!

Two cards for the price of two!

A 10/10 creature for 5 mana is way, way too powerful.  That’s why it has a drawback.  The drawback, which removes your remaining deck from the game, guarantees that you’re going to lose next time it’s your turn – if your turn starts, you have to draw a card, and you have no cards left to draw, you lose.  Usually when people use this card, their goal is to get around the drawback.  Not me! It was the drawback that I was interested in. I didn’t care about the huge monster attached to it 😛


Usually, suicide

I played leveler, and it removed my deck.  Then, at the beginning of each of my subsequent turns turn, I let Panoptic Mirror cast Research, “shuffling” one card (it says “up to four”) into my deck.  Then, since that’d be the only card in my deck, it’d be the one I draw for my turn. So instead of drawing the random top card of my deck each turn, I’m drawing any card I want from my entire collection – which is enough to make anything possible.

This got a “wow” and a laughing shake-of-the-head from the rest of the table, but then one guy said “Wait, let’s see what he does with it.”  Now that’s a challenge!  Here’s what I came up with.

What I came up with

Well, after making sure nobody could interfere, I drew and played these cards:

mox-lotus2 collector-protector2 mindslaver1

Collector Protector will, for one white mana, permenantly give an opponent a card I own.  That’s usually the downside.  The upside is that it prevents damage.  Like with leveler, I was using this card for its downside.  Mox Lotus provides me with enough mana to keep the collector protector powered all day long.  Together, those two will allow me to give my entire magic collection to someone else in the game.  Why would I want to do that?  Well, I wouldn’t, obviously.  Mindslaver is a card everyone loves, but it shouldn’t make sense in this context, because I haven’t filled in the missing piece.  Mindslaver lets me take your next turn for you.

The missing piece, like Collector Protector and Leveler, is a card I used for its drawback: Sky Swallower.

Take my stuff!  Please!

Take my stuff! Please!

I used Mindslaver to let me control another player’s next turn.  Then I used Sky Swallower to give him all the cards I had in play, including the Mox Lotus and the Collector Protector.  When it was his turn, I had him use the infinite mana from the mox lotus to power Collector Protector’s ability once for every card in his collection.  He wisely chose to concede the game instead of handing over his entire collection.


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