A Hierarchy of Pimp (Part 3)
The olden days have come at last;
The olden days can kiss my ass.
– an elder’s proverb
Let me ask you something: how many players currently involved in the game were involved during the original release of the Magic? How about when The Dark and Legends were released? What about Tempest, Urza’s Saga, and Odyssey?
Seventh Edition was the first Core Set to have foil cards. Despite being in the era of white-bordered base sets, the foils from 7ED are black-bordered. A foil version of Birds of Paradise from 7ED is worth more than one from the “Alternate” printing of Fourth Edition.
The choice of which printing of a card to use among a plethora of choices is what brought me here (see the introductory exposition to the Hierarchy of Pimp series) and it’s a multi-part answer that I’m going to give.
Age Before Beauty
If you’ve never seen a Limited Edition Alpha Terror, that link and my cube will show you. Terror has been printed numerous time, including textless Player’s Reward and many sets that came with foil versions. So why do I choose such an old version with awkward wording?
Nostalia and awe.
These cards from those ancient sets are old. They aren’t in trade binders. They don’t get played at FNM. At best, a well-sized and and reputable Vintage event will carry a tiny fraction of these oldest of cards.
There’s something that’s both unique and comforting when running into a card with size 16 rules text. Yes, this flies in the face of having cards with sensible rules text but the cards I’m using are so simple it hardly manners.
And text from back then simply spelled out what the card did; following the intention.
Age Within Beauty
So what about your average modern card, like Oblivion Ring? It’s had two printings as well as an FNM version. All three versions have their charms: even the FNM version is pretty sweet.
I choose the the Lorwyn printing for the most basic of reasons: it came first.
Again, this is a judgment call (like all of the Hierarchy of Pimp) but the first of a card feels like the right call. It’s why there are oddities like an Antiquities version of Yotian Solder rather than a foil Mirrodin copy. Yes, that “premium foil” sure is shiny, but that original version surprises many players. “It’s really that old?”
Perhaps the hardest cards to consider are those that are both classics and have the best promotional printings. Consider the multiple incarnations of Lightning Bolt: original printings, one of the first Judge foils (read: foil version of oldschool card), M10 and M11, and textless Player’s Rewards foil.
Yeah. Pretty classy spread to consider.
For me, it was a signed, foil M10 Bolt for awhile until I buckled down for the Judge version. There’s something about the older frame and unique look compared to modern versions that appeals to me.
A significantly less sexy card is Gravedigger. It premiered in Tempest, was first a foil in 7ED, and has had the uncanny ability to be printed almost every year. While the Tempest and Portal versions have their charms, it’s the one-of-a-kind, first to the show foil from 7ED that has finally settled into my cube.
But what do you think? Where does a 7ED foil fit into the scheme of FNM and others promos? How about the oldest cards?
What’s your person preference?