Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday Magic

In which Tim explores the world of Magic: The Gathering one
card at a time, courtesy of Gatherer's "Random Card" button.

Wrath of God (Tenth Edition, 2007)

Wrath of God is one of the game's more famous cards. It was first printed all the way back in Alpha and remained a staple of every core set until 2007's Tenth Edition. It does something remarkably simple: it destroys every creature on the table. Creatures with Regeneration cannot be regenerated - but that's not unusual. Regeneration is a useless ability, by and large - its seems as if half of all direct damage cards circumvent Regeneration in some way. And even when you can Regenerate, it's often too expensive to make a difference. I've played on an off for a long time and I can't actually remember ever using Regeneration once.

This is a very good card but it hasn't seen print in a core set or Standard-legal expansion since 2007. I suspect it might owing to the fact that, despite the card's iconic status within the game, it doesn't really fit with what has come to be regarded as white's color identity. To wit: white doesn't destroy. White removal is less violent: the color does not do direct damage. It prefers to exile creatures or banish them to the bottom of the deck - that is, flavorwise, getting rid of the offending creature without actually killing it. White doesn't slaughter. Which shouldn't be taken to mean that white is typically associated with "goodness," but it is associated with self-righteousness and religiosity, both of which can be dangerous under certain circumstances.

This is not Wrath of God's first art; this was, way back in 1993. The most recent art, introduced in 2001 with Seventh Edition, was produced by Kev Walker. If that name sounds familiar, it should - he's been drawing comics since 1989, beginning his career with 2000 AD:

And then moving on to Marvel, where he is perhaps best known for his lengthy run on Thunderbolts with Jeff Parker:

As well as his run on the controversial Avengers Arena, for which his art was the best part by a country mile:

But he has continued to produce illustrations for Magic, creating a few of the game's most indelible pieces of art.

Geralf's Messenger

Kitchen Finks

Llanowar Elves

1 comment :

Charles Roig said...

It hasn't been reprinted as much because it's been essentially replaced by Day of Judgement, a virtually identical spell lacking the regeneration rider, which is actually why they made the change.

I think I read in one of Rosewater's articles that they wanted regeneration to be meaningful again since, as you said, it seemed like there were so many spells that specifically hosed that ability.