Lord of Tresserhorn: A Card Changed To Make a Joke Work

Illus: Anson Maddocks

Sometimes the folks at Wizards of the Coast really liked to mess with a Magic: The Gathering card during development just to make sure the joke works.

When playing a creature or other similar card, players will always jump to that little box in the bottom right-hand quarter: power and toughness. When creating any card, this is often the hardest thing to determine. You have to go with how rare the card is, how big the creature is, what the mana cost is and a host of other factors. You just don't come up with that factor on a whim. Or worse, make it a joke. 

Well....except for that one time they did. For kind of a weird reason that also somehow made sense in a very weird way.

For this one, we need to head back to a Magic expansion from 1996: Alliances.

It's part of the Ice Age block and it was meant to show the land post-freeze. And the card in question for this article is no slouch as a 10/4 legendary creature for a measly four total mana (even if it does have an added ETB drawback).

Take a look:

Despite this, the card proved popular. The card became a staple of blue/black/red players because the mana cost to power ratio. It's still legal in Legacy, Vintage, Oathbreaker, and Commander too. Add that the average pricetag of $3 or $4, and you have a powerful card for low mana that can pack a punch as long as you are good with health management. It's still seen in the odd deck or two, so, you know, watch out.

But, onto the joke part  of it all.

As mentioned, it's a 10/4 creature. All throughout development, though, the card had been a 9/4. Towards the end, however, WotC decided to change it.

Why, you may ask?

Well, the card's nickname that whole time had been "good buddy." And ,wanting it all to fit together, they upped the power to ten all so they could say "Ten-four, good buddy!" (It's CB radio trucker slang.)

So, like a handful of Magic's mysteries, this was all done for the sake of a more-or-less inside joke.

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.