pat morrissey

I’ve recently become fascinated by a set of in-game-only cards, called the Astral set, from the first MTG computer game, often referred to as Shandalar, which was created by MicroProse. The reason these cards were only available in the game was because they all involved randomness in some way or another, which is difficult to deal with in paper Magic. Some of the cards also used information that isn’t supposed to be known by all players, and some, which I’ll talk about later, need information about the game that no human could possibly keep track of. I’ve decided to try to create versions of all the cards in the Astral set in modern-day Magic-ese.

The first card I found out about Aswan Jaguar. A 6" x 9" over-sized version of the card came with the game. Many years ago I clipped a normal-sized picture of the card out of an old copy of an InQuest Gamer magazine (along with a few custom cards the InQuest staff had designed), and I recently found it in an old box at my parents’ house. Here’s what it might look like if it were given errata and printed today:

First, it’s been made a Cat rather than a Jaguar, as per the Grand Creature Type Update. You may be curious as to why its ETB trigger refers to an opponent’s deck rather than an opponent’s library. This is simply because the deck refers to every single card in the deck when the game started, not just what is currently in the library. Of course, to pull this off in paper, you would need to look at an opponent’s hand, library, battlefield, graveyard, and exile zone for all creature cards and write down all the creature types. This would be a huge advantage. The second ability used the outdated term “bury”, so I updated it to the correct meaning. This ability is a WILD color-pie violation. For this card, I thought I’d also make another version that wasn’t necessarily a violation of the rules of the game and color-pie:

I changed the name to Kalonian Jaguar since I know Kalonia is a forest located on Shandalar. I made this as close to the original as I could. The power level is much higher here, since you can pretty much pick what you see on the board and know to be an immediate threat. I also changed the ETB trigger to a replacement to match cards like Engineered Plague so that it couldn’t be Stifle’d (though the second ability can be).

This is the only new card I made based on the Astral set, but I will be posting updated versions of all 12 of them over the next few days.