Sparks 020: Somewhere shy of upside. A comic by Owain Davies

Sparks 017: Token. A comic by Owain Davies


Please click on the comic strip to view.

Tea and brutality.

One of the most enticing things about Black magic is the promise of greater power if you’re willing to give up a smidgen of your long term health. The trouble is recently that this facet of Magic clashes with WOTC’s current philosophy of creating a majority of  ‘all upside’ cards which appeal to the average Magic player.

You’ll still find these cards. Vampire Lacerator. Dark Tutelage. Dark Favor. Demon of Death’s Gate. But they always seem a little tame when you consider the risk of oldskool black heavyweights like Infernal Denizen, Lord of the Pit and Minion of Leshrac.

Not that I’ll really ever want to use those cards. I guess it’s more fun after all to leave out the crippling covenants of yesteryear.

However if you consider a card like Phyrexian Obliterator, the updated version of Phyrexian Negator, which has eschewed its brethren’s huge downside in exchange for a pretty massive slice of upside. All for the extra cost of one mana. The Obliterator may not exactly be setting standard alight (even though it was obviously designed to appeal to Spiky tournament types). Maybe because they provided his achilles heel right in the same set in the form of Dismember– a card available to and used by every damn deck ever. Maybe because with his super dense casting cost he commits the crime of  ‘not being splashable’. But whatever. There’s no denying the Obliterator is a downright filthy beast which could very well account for a great many angry words at the kitchen table of casual magic. I can’t imagine that his ability to rinse through an opponents board in superquick time could cause anything but grief.

So maybe all upside isn’t such a great thing if it leads to bad blood and grumblings from across the tabletop.


Oh and yes that is a Black/White aligned Planeswalker.

I think I may just go through the entire lineup of duel colour Planeswalkers eventually. They’re fun to create.



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