Highlights from The Duelist #15

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

I'm back again with another set of highlights from a classic MTG magazine. This time, The Duelist #15, published in February 1997:


I'm relatively certain that I never read or even saw for sale a copy of The Duelist. The reason I bought Inquest and sometimes Scrye was primarily for the price guides to assist with trading—the actual articles were merely a bonus. Because The Duelist was produced by Wizards of the Coast, a company that has resolutely pretended to not recognize the secondary market, The Duelist (this issue anyway) merely contains checklists to help you complete your collection. No price guide to be found.

Here's another way you can tell this is a magazine produced by WOTC:

IMG_5388 (1)

I would say that only a Wizards employee could be so hopelessly optimistic in two bad cards, but then again, we just went through another spoiler season. We all should know how best-case-scenario mentality works by now.

Back in the nineties, I was the most casual of casual players, and I was only vaguely aware of the tournament scene or official formats. I did know about Type II and played the format in a couple LGS tournaments, but I did not know that it was referred to as Standard as far back as 1997. Did you?

IMG_5389 (1)

It's also pretty interesting how rotation used to work. How convoluted was it before they reached the current system?

I have heard Mark Rosewater recount this story many times on the Drive to Work podcast, but here's when it was still fresh:


I admit that the only reason I would know this was a correct ruling is because of the very clear priority passing on Magic Online. Considering this was years before MTGO was released, it's not surprising that Borer didn't understand. How does anybody learn how to play Magic properly without MTGO?

And if you thought counterfeiting of Magic cards was a new phenomenon that came about because of the Reserved List, here's some evidence to the contrary:

IMG_5102 (1)

There's some ammunition in your quest to educate the masses, Corbin.

And here's something to make damn sure you know this magazine was printed in the nineties:


Magic-themed prepaid phone cards. You can't make this stuff up.

Here we have someone  who made a real-life argument asking, "How can Hymn be considered broken?"


And here's a reminder that RDW has changed, man:


It wouldn't be a classic Magic magazine without some classic Magic prices, and even though there's no price guide, there are ads:

IMG_5394 (1)

I'm actually surprised Lion's Eye Diamond was at $12, given how bad everyone thought it was at the time. And how would you like to complete a 40-set of dual lands for less than $500? Ah, 1997.

Finally, let's close with a picture of a young Mark Rosewater in jester's garb:


Gooooooooooood stuff. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Danny Brown

Danny is a Cube enthusiast and the former Director of Content for Quiet Speculation.

View More By Danny Brown

Posted in FreeTagged

Have you joined the Quiet Speculation Discord?

If you haven't, you're leaving value on the table! Join our community of experts, enthusiasts, entertainers, and educators and enjoy exclusive podcasts, questions asked and answered, trades, sales, and everything else Discord has to offer.

Want to create content with Quiet Speculation?

All you need to succeed is a passion for Magic: The Gathering, and the ability to write coherently. Share your knowledge of MTG and how you leverage it to win games, get value from your cards – or even turn a profit.

3 thoughts on “Highlights from The Duelist #15

  1. I mostly noticed the extremely rare 4th cards “Armegeddon”, ” Leviathon”, “Royal Assasin” and “Sink Hole” being so cheap. Seriously, so many mistakes!

  2. What were they trying to pull, selling 4th Edition Sinkholes!?

    I remember those days, thinking $20 for a Balduvian Horde was insane. That just had to be the ceiling for individual cards, right?

    Mirage prices and the Visions release puts this squarely in my sophomore year of high school. Lots of fond memories. Visions is still my favorite set ever. I miss old Magic design (And being able to run four Strip Mines). I absolutely played both Yavimaya Ants and Shrieking Drake, though never together.

  3. This story is a little unclear in that department and on the surface it actually feels like a bad ruling. I’m more inclined to believe it’s more of an incomplete story though. Did he ask for effects after Kastle said no blockers? Did he ask for effects immediately after tapping creatures? Obviously the now proper thing to do is now to say “Blocker step?, no blockers, ok cast this” to clearly indicate what step we’re on or want to be in and not just ask for effects which could be any time. But there could be a case for him to want to get beyond the opportunity for Kastle to add defenders and still cast his spell if things are getting through. Regardless, if Kastle had an effect, HE COULD STILL ADD IT TO THE STACK, so Borer gains nothing from letting him pass and trying to angle shoot through an instant removal spell. Either we have a poorly written story, or a bad ruling.

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.