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My Magic: The Gathering Novels Collection and a Checklist

I believe I own 61 of 67 or so published Magic: The Gathering novels.

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I got my first MTG novel–Whispering Woods–in the spring of 1995–very early in my having been introduced to the game. I got the next two novels as well as the first around that same time. I read several additional ones through the local library. In 1998 or so I discovered The Brothers’ War via the same library and loved the book. I rediscovered it the next year, in 1999, at a bookstore at a mall near the University, along with at least one later novel. Fall of 1999, all of 2000 and 2001, and I believe into 2002, I followed most of the novels as they came out. I dipped a toe back in for the Time Spiral books and only ever finished reading the first novel before losing track of the series again. I added a couple more books over the years, and then made a concerted effort earlier this year in 2018 to acquire books I was missing.

With the help of online Wiki stuff, I assembled a checklist a few months ago. With a couple of new additions over the weekend, I believe I’m "only" missing 7 or so of the books; 1 of which I’m not even sure is actually a novel. And of those that are, Alara Unbound is apparently selling for over $250.00, and I’m not even sure I’m willing to pay $15-$19 (including shipping) on the "cheaper" books I’m yet missing.

I have to truly wonder if people that put such outrageous prices on "out of print" mass-market paperbacks actually ever get their asking price! And if they’re not actively actually trying to sell the books, I wish they wouldn’t list them. But that gets into other stuff I don’t feel like laying into with this post.

The following list has served me well, and I present it here simply for informational purposes. I’m confident of the bulk of it, but would counsel doing your own research before considering it complete, authoritative, or remotely official!


Year Cycle Title Author ISBN
1994 Arena William R. Forstchen 0-06-105424-0
1995 Whispering Woods Clayton Emery 0-06-105418-6
1995 Shattered Chains Clayton Emery 0-06-105419-4
1995 Final Sacrifice Clayton Emery 0-7522-0217-0
1995 The Cursed Land Teri McLaren 0-06-105016-4
1995 The Prodigal Sorcerer Mark C. Sumner 0-06-105476-3
1996 Ashes of the Sun Hanovi Braddock 0-06-105649-9
1996 Song of Time Teri McLaren 0-06-105622-7
1996 And Peace Shall Sleep Sonia Orin Lyris 0-06-105619-7
1996 Dark Legacy Robert E. Vardeman 0-06-105697-9
1999 The Thran J. Robert King 0-7869-1600-1
1998 Artifacts The Brothers’ War Jeff Grubb 0-7869-1170-0
1998 Artifacts Planeswalker Lynn Abbey 0-7869-1182-4
1999 Artifacts Time Streams J. Robert King 0-7869-1344-4
1999 Artifacts Bloodlines: The Story of Urza’s Destiny Loren L. Coleman 0-7869-1380-0
1999 Ice Age The Gathering Dark Jeff Grubb 0-7869-1357-6
2000 Ice Age The Eternal Ice Jeff Grubb 0-7869-1562-5
2000 Ice Age The Shattered Alliance Jeff Grubb 0-7869-1403-3
1999 Masquerade Mercadian Masques Francis Lebaron 0-7869-1188-3
2000 Masquerade Nemesis Paul B. Thompson 0-7869-1559-5
2000 Masquerade Prophecy Vance Moore 0-7869-1570-6
2000 Invasion Invasion J. Robert King 0-7869-1438-6
2001 Invasion Planeshift J. Robert King 0-7869-1802-0
2001 Invasion Apocalypse J. Robert King 0-7869-1880-2
2000 Odyssey Odyssey Vance Moore 0-7869-1900-0
2001 Odyssey Chainer’s Torment Scott McGough 0-7869-2696-1
2001 Odyssey Judgment Will McDermott 0-7869-2743-7
2001 Legends Johan Clayton Emery 0-7869-1803-9
2001 Legends Jedit Clayton Emery 0-7869-1907-8
2002 Legends Hazezon Clayton Emery 0-7869-2792-5
2002 Legends II Assassin’s Blade Scott McGough 0-7869-2830-1
2003 Legends II Emperor’s Fist Scott McGough 0-7869-2935-9
2003 Legends II Champion’s Trial Scott McGough 0-7869-3015-2
2002 Onslaught Onslaught J. Robert King 0-7869-2801-8
2003 Onslaught Legions J. Robert King 0-7869-2914-6
2003 Onslaught Scourge J. Robert King 0-7869-2956-1
2003 Mirrodin The Moons of Mirrodin Will McDermott 0-7869-2995-2
2004 Mirrodin The Darksteel Eye Jess Lebow 0-7869-3140-X
2004 Mirrodin The Fifth Dawn Cory Herndon 0-7869-3205-8
2004 Kamigawa Outlaw: Champions of Kamigawa Scott McGough 0-7869-3357-7
2005 Kamigawa Heretic: Betrayers of Kamigawa Scott McGough 0-7869-3575-8
2005 Kamigawa Guardian: Saviors of Kamigawa Scott McGough 0-7869-3786-6
2005 Ravnica Ravnica: City of Guilds Cory J. Herndon 0-7869-3792-0
2006 Ravnica Guildpact Cory J. Herndon 0-7869-3989-3
2006 Ravnica Dissension Cory J. Herndon 0-7869-4001-8
2006 Time Spiral Time Spiral Scott McGough 0-7869-3988-5
2007 Time Spiral Planar Chaos Scott McGough, Timothy Sanders 0-7869-4249-5
2007 Time Spiral Future Sight Scott McGough, John Delaney 0-7869-4269-X
2007 Lorwyn Lorwyn Cory J. Herndon, Scott McGough 0-7869-4292-4
2008 Lorwyn Morningtide Cory J. Herndon, Scott McGough 0-7869-4790-X
2008 Lorwyn II: Shadowmoor Shadowmoor Philip Athans, Susan J. Morris 0-7869-4840-X
2008 Lorwyn II: Shadowmoor Eventide Scott McGough, Cory J. Herndon 0-7869-4868-X
2009 BLOCK NOVEL Alara Unbroken Doug Beyer 0-7869-5201-6
2010 BLOCK NOVEL Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum Robert B. Wintermute 0-7869-5476-0
2011 BLOCK NOVEL Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn Robert B. Wintermute 0-7869-5774-3
2009 PLANESWLKER NOVEL Agents of Artifice Ari Marmell 0-7869-5134-6
2009 PLANESWLKER NOVEL The Purifying Fire Laura Resnick 0-7869-5298-9
2010 PLANESWLKER NOVEL Test of Metal Matthew Stover 0-7869-5532-5
1995 ANTHOLOGY Tapestries Kathy Ice 0-06-105308-2
1995 ANTHOLOGY Distant Planes Kathy Ice 0-06-105765-7
1998 ANTHOLOGY Rath and Storm Peter Archer 0-7869-1175-1
1999 ANTHOLOGY The Colors of Magic Jess Lebow 0-7869-1323-1
2000 ANTHOLOGY Myths of Magic Jess Lebow 0-7869-1529-3
2001 ANTHOLOGY Dragons of Magic J. Robert King 0-7869-1872-1
2002 ANTHOLOGY The Secrets of Magic J. Robert King 0-7869-2710-0
2003 ANTHOLOGY Monsters of Magic J. Robert King 0-7869-2983-9
2008 A Planeswalker’s Guide to Alara Doug Beyer, Jenna Helland 0-7869-5124-9

 

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ForgedBy4: Memories on the World of Magic the Gathering

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Memories on the World of Magic: The Gathering

I was introduced to Magic: The Gathering in Spring of 1995…and as I remember it, that was within just a few weeks of the end of the Revised ("3rd") Edition. I’d missed Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, and The Dark…and the then-current expansion was Fallen Empires.

I was there for the arrival of 4th Edition, and the first new expansion I was there for was Ice Age. Shortly after, we got Chronicles, and I remember that the card I most wanted from that set was Chromium–the Elder Dragon. (Which I got in my first purchase of several boosters!) Those gave way to Homelands, which was the first/only set I ever got to get an entire booster box–I remember getting that as a Christmas present that year.

I remember the release of Alliances, and Mirage…and remember being aware of Visions and then even Weatherlight…though as I recall it, I only got a few boosters of Alliances, and I think only a "starter deck" and a couple boosters of Mirage. (After that, my next cards were obtained through purchasing 10-cent common cards after the fact, to go with a couple of pre-constructed decks I’d bought (one for Tempest, one for Urza’s Saga). These likely included Weatherlight, Visions, and whatever other sets had come out, but I’ll get to that later). […]

Full article posted over at Forgedby4! My "history" with Magic: The Gathering.

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Unboxing a Dominaria Bundle Pack

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2018 is Magic the Gathering‘s 25th anniversary year. And with the anniversary comes a new set going back to the world of Dominaria–the plane (or world) that most of the game’s story was set on for its first several years and card sets.

Though this post is looking at cards, if you want comics content, here are some links to posts I did a few years ago (and stuff I may revisit again in the near future–but time will tell!)

The Shadow Mage | Ice Age | Fallen EmpiresArabian Nights | Nightmare | Antiquities War | Urza-Mishra War | Elder Dragons | Homelands | Dakkon Blackblade


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Chloe insisted on visiting with me as I began opening packs, and even made quite a fuss when I wouldn’t let her onto the table. The photo above shows her on her "pedestal" looking around, having come running at the sound of me opening the first booster pack…which admittedly probably sounded very similar to me opening a packet of kitty-treats.

When I opened the first booster, I was just curious to really look at the spread of cards, where I first really noticed that there seemed to be a great mix, with each booster having at least one of each color and an artifact! I knew already that there’s specifically at least one "Legendary" character in each pack, but I hadn’t fully paid attention to the mix in individual boosters. I was impressed, and decided to "document" the entire bundle…mostly for myself, enjoying going through such a huge stack of boosters, and curious about being able to look back and see what I’d gotten with what else in which pack(s).

Then I realized that even though I am NOT a video blogger, I could show off an "unboxing" in this way. So…as said above, if you don’t care about Magic: The Gathering as a card game and such, there are some links to my 2012 coverage of a bunch of the original comic books, published by Armada (Acclaim Comics).

I’ll show the cards from each pack, note the Rare, and whatever other thoughts occur to me from going through.


Pack #1:

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This pack was where I first noticed the "balance" in the packs specifically. Artifact, Black, Blue, Green, Red, White–even a multi-color Legend as the Rare!

I wasn’t overly thrilled with this one, as I already had a Grand Warlord Radha and would have preferred some others I didn’t already have…but that’s a theme that’ll run through opening most booster packs!

Rare: Grand Warlord Radha


Pack #2:

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The second pack yielded a foil as well as a rare. This is my second foil Island of Dominaria; not bad, though, as I tend to like Blue. Not much else of huge note to the pack. The rare is the Legendary. While not as cool as some other stuff, it’s got some potential to me, especially in a White deck.

Rare: Evra, Halcyon Witness

Foil: Island


Pack #3:

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I think this pack was the first I got Tetsuko Umezawa in a booster. Also got another Serra Angel, which I believe gives me a full 4-copy "playset" of the card in this edition. I like the art on the Urza’s Ruinous Blast; and it certainly represents a key moment in MTG history!

Rare: Urza’s Ruinous Blast


Pack #4:

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This was definitely the best pack of the bundle! An Artifact, at least one card for each color, a multicolor, two of the Memorial to ____ lands… AND a foil!

And the foil, at that, is a rare. FURTHER…it’s a Mythic Rare!

This is the first time I’ve gotten a foil-anything that wasn’t common; for it to be a foil of a Mythic Rare is fantastic! It’d probably be asking way too much for it to have been a foil of Karn, Scion of Urza, but as Jhoira was a card I’d started out wanting, I’m quite happy with it. (though I have two non-foils of her previously).

Added bonus to this pack is it also came with a non-foil Rare, the Helm of the Host, which creates a token copy of whatever creature has it equipped…which has some fun potential to it!

Rare: Helm of the Host

Foil Rare (Mythic): Johira, Weatherlight Captain


Pack #5:

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Very little could "hold up" to the previous pack! Some fun for this one, though, includes the Rat Colony, which I definitely want to build a deck around. I built my first "Rat Deck" back in July 1995, when the only rats in the entire game were Plague Rats, Pestilence Rats, and Bog Rats. I even had to use Vampire Bats to flesh the deck out a bit, reasoning that bats were "rats with wings." Since this new Rat Colony allows one to have any number of it in a deck…for purely casual play, I don’t even need any other rats. Just load up with this, have some support spells, and basic lands, and voila!

This pack gives me a new token as well, with the Cleric. I’ve got plenty-ish of the Saproling and Knight tokens (verrrry glad I had not ordered any Saprolings online.

I’m not overly keen on lands as the rare card I a pack…but at least the Cabal Stronghold is new-to-me!

Rare: Cabal Stronghold


Pack #6:

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This pack has a couple of cards for my inevitable "Fungus Deck" from the set. Fungal Infection essentially deals a damage while also generating a Saproling; while Sporecrown Thallid gives +1/+1 to Saproling and other Fungus creatures.

Aryel, Knight of Windgrace will be a nice addition for a "Knights deck."

And look–another foil! Shiny…

I’m a bit amused at the art for Arcane Flight…perhaps simply the ridiculousness of a cat sprouting wings and taking flight. Talk about a nightmare for birds!

Rare: Aryel, Knight of Windgrace


Pack #7:

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Not much to stand out for this pack. Jaya’s Immolating Inferno definitely has a lotta potential in a Red deck, and definitely makes me want to get Jaya herself all the more!

Rare: Jaya’s Immolating Inferno


Pack #8:

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The timing for getting the Dread Shade here was good…I’d just been reading part of the serialized fiction on WotC‘s website that had characters pondering facing one of these. So that makes for a "fun" pull. Also cool to get Llanowar anything for the nostalgia (though I’d prefer the "classic" Llanowar Elves by name–another card in this set, but not this booster).

This pack also yields my first Knight of Grace, which is a counterpart to the Knight of Malice, and I look forward to using them in a "Knights deck."

Rare: Dread Shade


Pack #9:

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Here’s another fun pack! For one, Traxos, Scourge of Kroog is a card I liked the look of and was definitely interested in! I believe it’s basically a dragon engine…regardless, it puts me in mind of them, which is a great bit of nostalgia.

After just marveling at my first Knight of Grace, this pack had another one. Better yet, this time in the same pack I also got the Knight of Malice. Nice little pairing, there!

And this pack has another Token I hadn’t realized existing: Jaya‘s Emblem, I believe from her "main" Planeswalker ability. Now that I have this…definitely want the actual card all the more!

(Note for this photo: I had Traxos on the Black pile rather than the Artifacts pile. Oops!)

Rare: Traxos, Scourge of Kroog


Pack #10:

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Final pack of the box, last one to get anything "good!"

And…not much of interest for me in terms of opening-the-pack excitement. I believe the saga card The Mending of Dominaria is new to me; but it didn’t really live up to the "potential" that a "final pack" COULD have had.

I don’t think I’d particularly noted if I got any of the other ones, but I’ve realized/am guessing that the handful of cards with the "planeswalker" symbol watermark (like seen above on Final Parting) denote key "story moments" for the set.

Based on an "ad card" (backside of a token) there’d been something about "following the story" that referenced several cards including Final Parting; one of which is either a holdover or a "spoiler" for the set’s serialized story!

Rare: The Mending of Dominaria


The Rares:

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Ten boosters, 11 rares…the "extra" being a Mythic Rare…not bad!

And of course, beyond simply being 10 boosters…the bundle came with a "spindown counter" (20-sided die/D20 with the Dominaria set symbol as the "20"), a pack of 80 or so basic lands (which’ll be quite handy for building decks!) as well as a "fancy" storage box that I really like the art for.

Given the price of the bundle’s basically the same as buying 10 individual boosters…I’m liking the bundle better for the "extras" it comes with…and that it seems like each bundle has a Mythic Rare in it, plus several foils.


Favorite Pull of the Bunch:

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And of course, for "rarity" as well as just being a really pretty Blue/Red card combined with the foil effect, and being a character I was interested in getting from the start, Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain is my favorite pull of the bundle!

While I "suspect" there’s a fair bit of "value" to the card as a foil of a Mythic Rare…I figure the "sentimental value" is enough for me to hang onto the card. I pulled her from a booster, and how many Mythic Rare foils are there really out there like this? (other than specially-packaged Planeswalker Deck cards)

For me…this card is extra-unique in/for my collection.


That’s that for now… ten boosters in a bundle; the bundle now "unboxed!"

It’s cool that the Dominaria set came out RIGHT as I was getting pulled back into the game/story/etc. Even if just feeding the OCD and money I shouldn’t really spend…this was a worthwhile purchase for the time, and likely future time actually going through the cards, deckbuilding, and hopefully actually playing the game.

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Revisiting The Brothers’ War – a Magic: The Gathering novel

I pulled this off my shelf a few weeks ago after re-reading some of the earliest Armada Magic: The Gathering comics. (The Shadow Mage, Ice Age, Fallen Empires, and Antiquities War). Something about the Antiquities War mini-series reminded me of the acknowledgements in the novel to prior versions of the story of The Brothers’ War. And rediscovering that the comics left the “whole story” incomplete–Armada only got to publish 2/3 of their planned arc for the story–my interest was reignited.

A few years ago, I read Time Spiral, the first book in a trilogy of novels covering that block of Magic: The Gathering card sets; part of what really drew me in was that it revisited the world of Dominaria, which seemed to have been largely left behind after the Invasion block. And not really having read any of the books since Apocalypse, I was interested in seeing where Dominaria had wound up.

Anyway, The Brothers’ War.

This is easily one of my favorite books of all time–this is at least the third, maybe the fourth or fifth time I’ve read the novel cover to cover…something I do very rarely and with so few books.

This came out in 1998 or so, kicking off a huge line of MTG novels from Wizards of the Coast. There’d been another line of MTG novels (published through HarperPrism) several years earlier–but those were (for the most part) generic fantasy novels with the MTG “branding.” This line provided the actual story of the cards, the continuity of the game itself.

At least with the early MTG expansions, as WotC was world-building and beginning to pull everything together into one continuity (albeit across a multiverse), everything came back to the war between Urza and Mishra. Much of the detail was vague and loose–but what was clear was that a conflict between these brothers had caused much destruction and deeply impacted their world. An unnatural ice age actually descended on the world after the conflict, and the world itself was cut off from the multiverse for centuries.

But this novel went back to the beginning–Urza and Mishra as young boys, arriving at Tocasia’s school, where they began learning of artifacts and the Thran (an ancient civilization). They grew into the school–Mishra learning of the Fallaji, a desert-dwelling people while Urza focused on his inventions. Eventually, they visit an ancient cave, where they discover intact Thran artifacts, and are introduced to Phyrexia–a plane of living machines. They also each gain a half of an incredibly powerful Power Crystal. Mishra’s becomes known as the “Weakstone” as it can weaken artifacts while Urza’s becomes known as the “Mightstone” as it strengthens them and brings life to the machines.

From there, the brothers each covet the other’s half, leading to a rivalry that lasts the rest of their lives as the entire world eventually pays an astronomical cost for the brothers’ jealousy. Their rivalry results in the death of their teacher, sending the boys onto their own individual paths: Mishra into the desert where he becomes a part of the Fallaji, while Urza returns to “civilization” and marries into royalty. Eventually rising to top levels of government in each culture, the brothers have immense resources to throw at each other, draining the world’s resources in the process, until the only thing left is destruction.

The novel’s story is told in sections, each encapsulating a period of years in the brothers’ lives. All told, the novel spans over 60 years, following the brothers from being young boys into old age; a lifetime of conflict. Structurally, I find it interesting to see stories that do span characters’ entire lifetime (or the majority of it)…something to it seems more interesting and complete to me than just continuous stories all bunched into a small span of time.

This story also seeds the foundation of stories to come, as we are introduced to a number of prominent concepts that play out across much of the Magic: The Gathering continuity. We’re also introduced to some core concepts from the cards–getting backstory on prominent cards and locations, nicely “transforming” the source material into essentially adaptation material; that is, the book’s story draws from concepts set forth in the cards, but does so in such a way that the cards then can seem like they were adapted instead from the book.

This book is marked as the first volume of the Artifacts Cycle, but it truly stands alone as a self-contained story. There’s no “to be continued” or traditional-cliffhanger sort of ending. The end does leave an opening to transition into the larger MTG continuity, but you’d pretty much have to know where it goes to truly pick up on that; even knowing it myself, it’s a bit of a disconnect, like taking a standalone movie and then 15/20 years later making a sequel. The sequel can work and validly pick up the story, but the sequel is far from any sort of “essential” to the original.

For a 1998 book–now 14ish years old–this held up remarkably well. This could have been written in 2012 if I didn’t know any better. This has been reprinted in a “trade paperback”-sized edition combined with another early MTG book, The Thran. While I would definitely love to have a standard-sized hardback of just this novel, I’m not terribly interested in the “collected edition.”

What also proved surprising (and very disappointing) for me was that this book is NOT currently (late October 2012) available as an ebook. Perhaps I’m an extreme minority, but I would gladly have paid the $6-$8 for a nook-book edition, for the convenience of re-reading this on my phone’s nook app. Instead, I spent 4-5 weeks carrying my 1998 mass-market paperback edition around, which of late has been a less than ideal prospect.

I’m fairly tempted to re-read several of the other books from this series, though I lack (by far) the kind of time TO read that I had in late high school and early college. Honestly, the primary drawback is that these are not ebooks–if they were available that way, I’d be further tempted with the ability to buy/download them and have them on my phone, to jump into “whenever” spur of the moment.

If you’re into fantasy–even if you don’t care a lick about Magic: The Gathering the card game or anything from the past 10 years from MTG in general, this is well worth reading. For me, it’s been worth reading at least three times, and I enjoyed it as much now as I did in 1998 and 1999, with a number of scenes and “moments” having stuck with me that I’d forgotten came from this book.

MTG

Revisiting Magic: The Gathering – Arabian Nights

Full post at FantasyRantz.wordpress.com.

A 2012 look at Acclaim/Armada‘s 2-issue mini-series from 1995/1996 that detailed the origin of Taysir of Rabiah and the Arabian Nights setting of Magic: The Gathering.

Revisiting Fallen Empires on the World of Magic: The Gathering

Full post at FantasyRantz.wordpress.com.

A 2012 look at Acclaim/Armada‘s 2-issue mini-series from 1995 that detailed events during the Fallen Empires setting of Magic: The Gathering.

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