Generational Magic: 30 Years of my 30 Favorite Cards Part 2

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Welcome back to the second half of three decades of my favorite cards. I hope you've enjoyed this Magic-al walk down memory lane. In writing, I've realized one of the more enjoyable aspects of the last 15 years has been sharing Magic with my boys. The car rides, the bad beats, the celebrations, the Gathering! Magic has brought with it many bonding memories.

So, looking back, were you able to figure out which card was my favorite memory of the first 15 years?

Was Stifle your guess? Dragon Whelp was a close second due to the sentiment, but Stifle is the awesomeness. It isn't always a main deck card, but its versatility is off the charts.

I imagine the majority of Magic players will be slightly more familiar with these sets. Again, as you go through the list, can you guess my favorite card of this bunch? I'll let you know at the end, so let's get to it!

2009: M2010, Conflux, Alara Reborn, Zendikar

Archive Trap brought mill back into the forefront for me. Along with the little Hedron Crab that could, I was ready to empty libraries into graveyards once more.

Honorable Mentions

Around this time, my oldest began to play in FNMs on a regular basis. He learned a lot and had good times, especially when he opened three mythics at the Conflux prerelease. If I recall correctly, they were Keeper of Progenitus, Tezzeret the Seeker, and Dragon Broodmother. He was on cloud nine!

2010: M2011, Worldwake, Rise of the Eldrazi, Scars of Mirrodin

Timetwister was my favorite of the Power 9 way before it became the only one that would be Commander legal. Even though there was an immense amount of online hype for Time Reversal, you just knew that it wasn't going to pan out like we all wanted it to. Even so, I still had to get a playset.

Honorable Mentions

Celestial Colonnade was great, since you could attack and keep up a Path to Exile. I did feel infect was a really cool way to bring poison back into the fold, and I hope they do it again with the upcoming Phyrexian sets.

2011: M2012, Mirrodin Besieged, New Phyrexia, Innistrad

Innistrad is when my youngest started playing. The three of us had such fun and made great memories. Watching both of them figure out what they liked and how to play the game was so fulfilling as a Magic parent. I was tweaking a storm deck at this time and Past in Flames was a crucial part of it. It also was the first non-blue card that I got foil versions of.

Honorable Mentions

Visions of Beyond was an awesome addition for mill. Phyrexian Metamorph took me back to my first love of Clones and made them better.

2012: M2013, Dark Ascension, Avacyn Restored, Return to Ravnica

It's a funny thing what you remember looking back through the cards of yesteryear. The little common shown above won me so many Return to Ravnica drafts. I recall one specific draft where I had three Lobber Crews on the board. I was very low on life and my opponent was at 12. He threw a direct damage spell at me to win the game. I was able to play three multi-colored instants in response and ping him to death for the win.

Honorable Mentions

The Geists were a favorite in Dark Ascension draft. The other cards are really powerful and I didn't have any specific use for them at the time, but I knew I would, eventually. A few years later, I built an all-permanents RG Commander deck for my youngest that had Genesis Wave and Primal Surge as the only non-permanents. In a four-player game, Jarod was able to deal almost 4000 damage to us all in one turn. Laughs were had by all!

2013: M2014, Gatecrash, Dragon's Maze, Theros

There's not much to say since I've shown how much I like this card in one of my previous articles, but to reiterate, I really like this card. I did have a great Theros draft moment when my P1P1 was a foil Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Everyone in the shop knew I was collecting them, so I exclaimed, held it up high, and everyone cheered!

Honorable Mentions

Another mechanic I've enjoyed is extort. The incremental advantage you get from this mechanic can be powerful and yet very subtle. Many times my opponents wouldn't realize they were dead until it was too late. Countering triggered abilities is always cool, but copying them even more so with Strionic Resonator.

2014: M2015, Born of the Gods, Journey into Nyx, Khans of Tarkir

A lot of time had passed between this little lady and the previous Enchantress-type card, so I, along with many others, was happy to see it. The only issue was that it wasn't predicated on a cast trigger, so it was definitely a power loss.

There was a little sadness during this time with my oldest leaving for college. With his focus on his studies, his interest in the game waned. Jarod and I ended up losing him to the world of online gaming.

Honorable Mentions

Clever Impersonator upped the ante on Clone cards, and copying an off-color Planeswalker from one of my opponents was always fun. "Didn't think my UR Commander deck had a Sorin, Grim Nemesis, did ya?"

Instead of trying to get enough mana the regular way for an Astral Cornucopia, I'd build up the charge counters instead through other means like Energy Chamber.

2015: Magic Origins, Fate Reforged, Dragons of Tarkir, Battle for Zendikar

This little guy was the cornerstone of a BG sacrifice deck that I piloted for months. Between Cryptolith Rite, Nantuko Husk, and a one-of Rogue's Passage, I was able to do immense amounts of damage.

Honorable Mentions

It was a hard choice between the Cutthroat or Den Protector, since I also ran a Mono-Green Aggro Devotion deck around the same time. Of course, the sacrifice deck was the grindier of the two, but they were both a ton of fun.

2016: Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon, Kaladesh

At the time, Eldrazi Displacer was one of a select few cards that could flicker an opponent's creature as well as your own. I haven't used him much outside of Commander, but he can be very helpful when you're having fun with player politics, for instance flickering another player's Ashen Rider to potentially save you both from losing the game.

Honorable Mentions

Given my already-stated interest in triggered abilities, Panharmonicon is right beside the Displacer for the top spot.

2017: Aether Revolt, Amonkhet, Hour of Devestation, Ixalan

I did say I like cards that counter triggered abilities, right? The cycling ability has come in handy from time to time. I had one situation where my Nimble Obstructionist was countered by an opponent's Nimble Obstructionist. He countered the ability, not the card draw, but we still couldn't help but laugh at the situation.

Honorable Mentions

We weren't too sure about Pirates, Vampires, and Merfolk all wrapped into one set, but Jarod and I were absolutely ready for Dinosaurs. Usually the best way to defeat a Carnage Tyrant was to have one of your own.

2018: Core Set 2019, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, Guilds of Ravnica

Yes, Nexus of Fate was too good and yes, I was one of those guys and played it anyway while it was in Standard. I normally shied away from these types of decks though, so it was a strange feeling for me to latch onto one. That said, who wouldn't want to play with Time Walk in Standard? I figure every once in a while you have to ride with Darth Vader.

Honorable Mentions

Both of the above artifacts are just so powerful, and Knight of Autumn in its great versatility could destroy both of them.

2019: Core Set 2020, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, Throne of Eldraine

Drown in the Loch was built for the mill deck. Very useful, but there were times early in the game, you had a couple of them in hand and no cards in your opponent's graveyard. Nevertheless, I easily added it into my Modern mill deck.

Honorable Mentions

One of these cards isn't like the others. While I was playing Ravnica Allegiance on Arena whenever I had a chance, I'd play Captive Audience. I'd play a ton of removal and Boom! I'd only win about half of the games, but it was great fun watching it work. Jarod thought I was wasting time, but he doesn't draft on Arena, so what does he know?

2020: Core Set 2021, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria, Zendikar Rising

The card that can do just about everything! Sure, it costs a ton of mana, but it also counters... yea, you know. It was the first extended foil I ever got. I'm generally okay with some of the different art styles, but having extended, showcase, borderless, gilded, etched, and whatever else, is a little much. For me it's too much like the comic book boom in the early '90s.

Honorable Mentions

A second Crab for the mill deck was an awesome auto-include. I've always been interested in real estate, so the Pathways and Triomes were of great interest. I didn't get the foil versions, but the showcase/borderless are very cool.

2021: Kaldheim, Strixhaven, AFR, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Innistrad: Crimson Vow

We all have certain types of cards we like and obviously, mill is one of mine. I wasn't sure about this card at first due to it's exile effect, but I've come to see the light on it. Especially after my Store Championship tournament.

As a follow up, I did attend a Modern FNM the Friday after the Store Championship. I ended up 3-1, beating UW Control, Mono-Blue Tron, and the same UR Murktide deck. My only loss was to a BR discard deck that used Lightning Skelemental. That card can be a beating on the mill deck.

Honorable Mentions

I built my oldest a Squirrel Commander deck years ago. He played it for a long time, but since he stopped playing altogether after college it hadn't been used in ages. After Toski, Bearer of Secrets was printed along with some of the Modern Horizons 2 Squirrels, I decided to revamp the deck for myself.

2022: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, Streets of New Capenna, Dominaria United, The Brothers' War

I believe Brilliant Restoration is a sleeper. I did go in on a few sets of the foil showcase versions, but that could've also been because the art is really nice.

Honorable Mentions

Of course, Defabricate plays to my interests, but to choose a different card in The Brothers' War, it would probably be Bladecoil Serpent. There's a nice versatility to it: you're not paying extra to get the abilities, and it scales up.


So if you were paying attention, it should be pretty easy to determine my favorite of this group. Yep, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Absolutely a great card. and it was great to see Wizards take a poor mechanic like chroma and turn it into devotion.

Many years, many cards, and much fun. I hope you enjoyed this 30th-anniversary retrospective and discovered a card or two that might have piqued your interest. Do you have any cards that stand out and bring back some good Magic memories? Tell me about it in the comments or on Twitter.

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