Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mox Emerald, Mox Jet, Mox Pearl, Mox Ruby, Mox Sapphire

One of my favorite aspects of the game of Magic are the "cycles" that the designers build into the game. A "cycle" is a set of 5 cards that are are related to each other in some way, one in each of the five colors of Magic (White, Green, Red, Black and Blue). My current plan is to make my next several posts highlight some of these cycles, because I find them interesting - and hopeflly you will as well.

Arguably the most famous cycle was introduced in the very first incarnation of the game (the Alpha Edition). Individually they are the Mox Emerald, Mox Jet, Mox Pearl, Mox Ruby and Mox Sapphire. Collectively they are referred to as the Moxes, or Moxen if the speaker is feeling clever.

Note: the photo is a montage of four actual card photos from my Store, plus one
unabashedly borrowed from - can you guess which one?

Each mox is an Artifact with a casting cost of zero - meaning that it costs nothing to put it into play. Each can then be tapped to add one mana of a specific color (Red for the Ruby, White for the Pearl, Green for the Emerald, Blue for the Sapphire and Black for the Jet) to your mana pool. Normally mana comes from Lands that you put into play, but you're generally limited to placing one Land per turn. Since mana is what's used to cast the spells in the game, the Moxen are a great way to get cheap (zero casting cost, remember) and fast mana to start casting bigger spells faster.

The Moxen are five of what are known as the "Power 9" (the other four being Timetwister, Time Walk, Ancestral Recall and the grand-daddy of them all, the Black Lotus). These are the 9 most sought-after cards in the game. They were all deemed too powerful, and were taken out of the game after only three editions (Alpha, Beta and Unlimited), and have not been reprinted since. Since those Editions were only printed in English, and had limited print runs (still early in the existence of Magic), and these were all Rare cards even then, they are EXTREMELY rare now, and sell for hundreds of dollars apiece. Unfortunately I don't have any available right at the moment - although Lot 4 had one each of four of the Moxen from Unlimited as well as a Mox Pearl from Beta. So I have had the privilege of dealing with them before.

Ancestral Recall, another of the Power 9, is itself also part of a cycle that I will talk about next time. Although the five cards in the cycle are pretty well known, the fact that they make a cycle is less so - the relationship among them is rather subtle in comparison to most cycles.

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