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Pimp - Team Pataners

Archive for the ‘Pimp’ Category

Top Tops!

There are many cards that are extremely hard to find in foil japanese. Sensei’s Divining Top is one of them (among with Goblin Welder, Merchant Scroll, etc…). I’ve had a couple of Tops for quite a long time already, but 2 weeks ago it came to my attention the existance of 2 Sensei’s Divining Top Foil Japanese Signed and Altered by the artist Michael Sutfin, and the possibility of upgrading my tops became real.

A bit pricey but definitely worth the upgrade due to the rarity of it. I’ll probably trade one of them to my friend Arnau, it was his birthday few days ago and I’m sure he’d love to own one of them.

Terese Nielsen teams up with TP!

You all know the passion we feel about Terese Nielsen and her work, specially the alterations. We’ve been promoting her art and auctions for many years already and will keep doing it as long as this website is up and running.

Terese Nielsen is a woman with clear thinking and a very good sense of business. That’s why, after presenting her some data gathered by our Google Analytics and eBay Affiliate Program, she saw the possibility of working together. Many of you that come visit us are huge fans of her art as well, and you come because it’s probably the only place where you can keep the track of this kind of stuff.

In the following link you’ll find all the information regarding our publicity agreement as well as the benefits from this offer, terms and conditions. You can also see some examples of her latest alterations and earlier work. Hope you guys enjoy this amazing deal!

Terese Nielsen Alterations

We’ve placed a banner at top of the sidebar as well as a tab on the top menu so you can always get access to this promotion.

I’d like to finish this post with a video from Michael Jackson that describes very well the feeling of this moment.

The Team Pataners Online Store is up!

We’ve been working for a while already to make this moment possible and, finally, we are proud to announce that our online store is up and running. Let me explain you few things you should know and consider about our store.

  • We aren’t professional dealers, but we know the business and what’s important for the customer. Therefor, we’ve put all our efforts to make the shopping experience easy and, most important, safe.
  • The online store might suffer some redesigns as we’ll be adding more and more products soon. We’ll need to categorize the products for an easier browsing and purchasing.
  • We’ll try to keep the stock updated with pimp stuff mostly. We can’t compete with big shops at selling regular staples, but, we can offer some stuff that is very hard to find.
  • You can access the shop from the sidebar banner, the top menu tab or the shopping card link.

Many people has asked me (piZZero) if I sell some of my cards from my personal collection. I’ll be using the online store to sell some rare items from time to time. Stay tuned if you want to be the first to notice about these special items.


Some of our store policies:

(these might be updated and gathered soon on a FAQ page for our store)

Team Pataners uses a flat shipping rate of 3€. This rate covers for registered shipping to anywhere in the world. In case of orders superior to 100€, shipping will be free. If customer would like to purchase an insurance for the shipping, please contact us before making the payment.

Shipping times varies between 1 to 4 weeks usually, depending on where you live. Shipments to Italy might take a bit longer.

Team Pataners does not held responsible for any lost shipment. We totally recommend using an insurance if your order is over 100€.

Team Pataners is committed to protecting your privacy. We only use the information we collect about you to process orders and to provide support and upgrades for our products. Please read on for more details about our privacy policy.

How does Team Pataners protect customer information?
Since we only accept Paypal payments, customers at the checkout will be redirected to the PayPal web to fill in their personal information. Paypal is the safest way to use your money on the internet, that’s why we use it.

Will Team Pataners disclose the information it collects to outside parties?
Team Pataners does not sell, trade, or rent your personal information to others. Team Pataners  may provide aggregate statistics about our customers, sales, traffic patterns, and related site information to reputable third-party vendors, but these statistics will not include personally identifying information.

Team Pataners does not refund money to customers who aren’t satisfied with their purchases. If you have any problems with your order, we encourage you to contact us and explain the situation. Team Pataners will make everything possible to solve any problematic situation.

Find the differences!

Yesterday afternoon, I was taking some pictures of my deck (Dark Jace UBR) when my friend Arnau passed me a link with a picture to his deck. Lately he got some of my stuff, and I got some from him. It’s always nice to have a close partner to share/trade pimp with! Can you find the differences between both decks?

Arnau’s Dark Tezz deck!

My Dark Jace UBR!

Dawgmoth’s Will Altered by Ron Spencer

eBay is getting more and more interesting and we’ve found another alteration worth sharing! This time, someone is selling his 2005′s Dawgmoth’s Kill altered by Ron Spencer. It’s not one of the best alterations I’ve seen, but it’s a fun one! And, if we compared to what people is paying nowadays, I’d say it’s a cheap one!

Click here to go to the eBay auction!

It’s not going to last long, so, don’t miss the chance of getting your hands on this original Ron Spencer alteration!

“Force of Wills” Altered Features Ron Spencer’s Yawgmoth’s Will

This is probably the sickest alteration I’ve seen by Terese Nielsen on a Force of Will. It features her brother’s, Ron Spencer, most epic card: Yawgmoth’s Will. It has such a strength that I can’t stop watching it. This alteration represents Vintage int its pure state. The eternal fight between Yawgmoth’s Will and Force of Will.

Click here to go to the eBay auction!

I’d love to get my hands on this one, but I’ll have to pass. Next month I’m going to NY (Manhattan) with my girlfriend and I should save some bucks up :D

Pimp my Mana Drains

When it comes to pimp, it turns out we are constantly evolving and creating new trends. Few days back, I believed my playset of Mana Drains were the most Pimp playset one could actually have (well, I was just missing Richard Garfield‘s signatures but that was just a matter of time). Being that playset Signed and Altered by Mark Tedin seemed the tops for me until I found these babies:

Arnau Rovira, aka Albareda, is a friend of mine who’s recently got involved in this pimp movement and already has a huge amount of awesome stuff. I’m lucky to know him, because he loves to travel a lot to meet artists and get his cards signed. Past weekend, he went to Lyon and in there he met Mark Tedin (and Anthony S. Waters). Inspired by my Ancestral Recall + Library of Alexandria alterations, he asked Mr. Tedin if he could alter his drains in a similar way. He actually asked him if he could take them to his hotel and elaborate a little more on the alterations. The result is the amazing playset I posted above. Arnau, who’s not a big fan of heavy altered cards (expect from Ron Spencer/Terese Nielsen commissioned works) got a bit shocked with the result  thought those Mana Drains were too much for him. They obviously didn’t match his deck’s style. But he knew that the Mana Drains would find a home in my collection, and then we started the negotiations. I think today’s deal is the most impressive trade I’ve ever been involved in. Over the table we had up to 3 Beta Volcanic Islands, the Mana Drains, Foil Japanese Signed stuff, very hard to find signed stuff, etc… No money involved actually.

I believe the trade was good for both of us. It’s always a pleasure to deal with Arnau, so if you ever get to meet him, don’t be shy and ask for trade!

To finish this post, let me show you some other recent stuff I got my hands on:

I’ll be posting my latest Vintage deck soon!

Keep it real pimp, boys!

On sales! Mana Drain signed/altered playset!

My old and beloved, as well as cool looking playset of Mana Drains are now on sale!

(Click on the image to zoom)

The reason why I’m selling them is because I’ve acquired a new playset, that hopefully you’ll be able to see it soon! If you are interested on buying them, feel free to contact me at  jordi . amat @ gmail . com (whithout the spaces) and we’ll talk business.

Altered “Force of Will” Featuring Mark Tedin’s “Necropotence”

She might not take any more commissions but she seems to be very active lately! Newest alteration from Terese Nielsen features Mark Tedin‘s Necropotence, in what it seems to be a homage to Mr. Tedin’s work! Simply amazing!

Click here to go to the eBay auction!

Do you think she’ll continue the Mark Tedin’s series? If so, what would you like her to draw next?

I’m seriously thinking on bidding to this one! So, get ready for some real action over the bay during the following days!

Altered “Force of Will” Featuring Mark Tedin’s “Sol Ring”

Yet another awesome alteration by Terese Nielsen. This time, Terese upgrades her series of “Burnt” Force of Will(s) by adding Mark Tedin‘s Sol Ring. Amazing match! (Speaking of Tedin, he was last weekend in Lyon and I have some surprises to show you). If you’d like to buy this alteration, it’ll be only for a few days on eBay:

Click here to go to the eBay auction!

There’s an update on her Alteration Policy for those who are interested on having her commisioning a playset for you. The note from her blog reads as it follows:

“I get hundreds of requests to alter Force of Will’s for people.  I do take commissions every so often, but my current strategy is to not take on more than I can finish in a couple months time. I plan on finishing my current list of commissions by the end of May, and will be opening up my schedule to take on a few more commissions in June. If you’re one of the people that have been interested in having me customize your cards (and are familiar with what they sell for) then feel free to contact me with your basic idea and I’ll give you a price quote.”

Happy bidding to everyone!

By the way, for those who can’t really afford Terese Nielsen or Ron Spencer’s alterations, maybe you should try contacting Ken Meyer Jr. from one of the banners we have here at Team Pataners. He’s got pretty economic fares and that’s really nice from him! Use your money now before he reaches the same status than Terese and Ron!

The Juzam Djinn original art is up for grabs!

We’ve seen quite many rarities during our site existance, but this, I believe is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.

We are talking about the original painting from the Juzam Djinn by Mark Tedin.

The seller is no other than Daniel Chang, founder of Graded Magic Cards and one of the most famous collectors in the world of MtG. He’s got endless amount of super rare stuff and from time to time he might release something worth buying. Not cheap though!  If you want to adquire this masterpiece, you can do it straight from eBay, here there’s the auction:

Daniel, in his Juzam Djinn auction page, posted also a very cool video with an interview to Mark Tedin. You should check it out too:

I know this is totally out of my budget, but it would be so freaking cool to be in a position to think of buying this kind of stuff. They are selling other very cool (and expensive) stuff on their eBay store:

Savannah original art anyone?

Ken Meyer Jr. teams up with TP!

We are proud to announce that Ken Meyer Jr. and Team Pataners have reached a deal to work together! Our intention is to promote the art from this amazing artist, and specially his alterations. At TP we’ve always promoted alterations from mtg artists, such as Terese Nielsen, Ron Spencer, Amy Weber and now Ken Meyer Jr. (KMJ). Ken is trying to get closer to his fans by promoting his alterations, so, what better place than the TP site?

Ken Meyer Jr. is well known by his MtG art. He’s painted mythic cards like Kird Ape, Erhnam Djinn, Dark Ritual or Mystic Remora among many other! You should check the complete list of cards painted by him at his Gatherer. He also owns a website where he posts his artwork, that goes from mtg to sport illustrations or comics. Have a look at his official website:


But let’s focus now on his alterations. If you check his website, there’s a page where you’ll be able to see many of the alterations he’s done in the past. I love his style! It’s really fresh and with lots of colors.

(Click on the image to visit the Alteration Page from KMJ)

He loves painting characters from movies and comics. So, how about commissioning a playset of Dark Ritual or Kid Apes with your favorite movie characters? If you’d like to contact him, you can click on any of the banners we’ve placed at our site, his Facebook, or you can send him a mail to:


His commissioned alterations cost something between $30 to $50 per card (depending on what you’d like), but you’ll be able to make a better deal if you commission a playset of cards! And make sure to refer to us when contacting him, he’ll be happy to know that our banners are working good for him.

These are some of my favorite ones I’ve seen so far:

Visit the full Star Wars Series

Visit the full Musicians/Celebrities Series

Visit the full 300 Series

If you decide to commission a playset of cards from KMJ, once you got them on your hands, please send us a mail with some pictures or scans because we’d love to publish them here, at Team Pataners.

Probably the pimpest playmat EVER!

When we went to Zaragoza, behind Dan Frazier desk there was this playmat being showed. The organization of the tournament had the rights over that playmat but in the end they thought it would be better to sell it to recover some of the cash they lost during that weekend. My friends Filippo and Angelo, managed to buy the playmat together. This is probably one of the nicest playmats (made by mtg artists) i’ve ever seen:

Douglas Shuler + Dan Frazier + Christopher Rush


Old Altered by T. Nielsen FoWs up on eBay!

From time to time, eBay gives us some real candy! This time, a playset of Force of Will altered by Terese Nielsen in 2004 has been released. Even though the auction is for one card of your choice (not the playset), it says in the descriptión that he’s willing to sell the whole playset. This is how they look:

Click here to go to the eBay auction!

This alterations are part from the early series she did. It’s her very first jobs altering cards and they are definitely worth a lot. Remember the posters she used to do?

Click here to go to the eBay auction!

The day I met Dan Frazier

This is the story on How I met Dan Frazier, yesterday in Zaragoza (Where? Yes, Zaragoza). If you aren’t familiar with Dan Frazier, let me tell you that he’s the artist that drew the first Moxen. Well, he’s actually drawn lot more cards, including the 12% of the initial Alpha collection. You can check the full list of his artwork for WotC here and his website here.

So, everything started back in this year’s GP Madrid when we saw Jose “El Cubano” giving some fliers away. In those fliers it said something about a couple of tournaments and, surprisingly, that Dan Frazier was the guest artist at the event.

Arnau, Roger, Edu and I started to organize the trip to Zaragoza, and early in the morning our pimp ride started!

This was some of our stuff to be signed before we actually met Dan:

(Sorry for the bad quality of the picture)

It was really needed an Alpha/Beta P9 in order to get to travel with Arnau’s Mercedes :D

Anyways, once we arrived at Freakland Games in Zaragoza we discovered that Albert & Pedro and Paco and his girlfriend were faster than us, so we weren’t actually the first ones at the queue :( But that wasn’t the issue, as we had plenty of time to talk with Dan as there wasn’t that many people there in the end.

When Dan realized of Roger’s presence at the queue, his wife Cathy gave Roger a folder and when he opened it we were all impressed to find out that Dan Frazier had drawn a portrait of Roger wearing the harlequin hat from Jester’s Cap. Meet the IMPRESSIVE Roger’s Cap!

I can’t wait to see a full-res scan of the drawing!

This is my personal goodie bag for the day:

Let’s havea a closer look at everything :)

Hand drawn and dedicated playmat:

A closer look to the drawing:

The Lost and not so Lost Mox Diamond:

The 5 Moxen funky altered:

A closer look to each of the Moxen:

A few more pictures of the day:

Me and Dan Frazier

Me, Dan and his wife Cathy

Filippo, Jose and me

Dan signing some white border swamps… not pimp!

Dan and the Revised swamp attack!

While in Freakland we played some Vintage games, enjoyed the awesome environment and had fun, lots of fun!

Around 18:45 we decided to go back to Barcelona because we still had something very important to do: Watch the FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid game of the millenium! If you are a soccer fan, then I’m sure you know that the spanish soccer league is incredibly crazy right now. I just have a picture to illustrate how the game went:

I’ll remember this day my whole life, for being the day I met Dan Frazier, having an excellent day with my friends, and Barça winning 0-2 against Real Madrid. Hope you guys liked the report.

Thanks for reading!

One Jace, three decks

Lately I’ve been tinkering ideas around Jace, the Mind Sculptor in order to abuse the amazing raw power of this card.

My first idea was to build a control deck capable of defeating MUD and Fish efficiently. To achieve that goal I had to understand that the key turns at those matchups are 0, 1 and 2. Blue has plenty of good cards but not all of them are made to win games at the early game. Cards like Gifts Ungiven, Fact or Fiction or even Tinker are pretty bad on your opening hand. The idea I had in mind was to minimize the dead draws in order to maximize the efficiency of your cards.

The first approach looked like this:

This list has a very strong mana base and the amount of plays you can do on your first turns is insane. Except from Force of Will, Inkwell Leviathan, Yawgmoth’s Will, Tinker and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, the rest of the deck has a CMC of 2 or less. This list reflects exactly what I had in mind: it’s awesome at the early game, it performs well at the mid game, but loses gas at the late game due to the lack of big bombs.

Then I thought: How could I improve the deck? If Dark Jace’s strengths were the early and mid games, then I should focus on those stages, and a card came to my mind: Mystic Remora. Remora plays as an excellent complement to this strategy and makes your opponent’s choices lot harder. I cut the Tinker/Robot plan and opted for the 4th Spell Snare since it’s incredibly good when playing controlish. Spell Pierce it’s incredibly good if you play aggressively but Dark Jace isn’t really like that.

So, the second list I put together looked like this:

I added a Mind Twist and Imperial Seal, and swapped Darkblast for Diabolic Edict. Mind Twist proved to be a very strong card at the mid/late game. I had the feeling that I needed a 2nd Jace in that deck, since every time it resolved equaled to win the game. It’s just plain awesome combined with Dark Confidant or Mystic Remora. With this deck I really felt having the control of the games, similar to playing Landstill in Legacy. The only change I would make now to that list main deck is -1 Imperial Seal + 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

The last deck I’ve tested, and I have to admit with surprisingly awesome results, is a total different deck. Well, its core it’s the same, but instead of playing control, you have to play aggro. The idea behind this new deck is to abuse, literally, the power of Mystic Remora while dropping bombs one after another.

Let me show you the list:

As you can see, JaceCast’s main deck is extremely aggressive. No bouncers, no Mana Drains and bombs, lots of bombs. Master of Etherium proved to be incredibly effective against Fish and Golems. It’s easily an early 5/5 when it comes alone and once you drop the 2nd Master you’re just giving your opponent one turn to kill you. You hit for 7 the turn you cast the 2nd Master, and then hit for 14 the next turn. If you combine them with the disruption/pressuring elements of the deck, such as Spell Pierce or Mystic Remora, it gives the feeling that you are playing a very solid deck.

The real problem of this deck is Null Rod, even though Master of Etherium solves somehow that issue. At the testing sessions, I had problems against Oath with Null Rod, because I couldn’t land my Master of Etherium.

All in all, JaceCast is a deck extremely fun to play with, that can easily surprise your opponents.

By the way, tomorrow I’m going to Zaragoza to meet Dan Frazier! Can’t wait to get my cards signed/altered!

Japanese altered Mana Drains by Yawg07

Gus Schade, aka Yawg07 on most of the forum boards, keeps surprising us with his awesome alterations. It’s not the first time we’ve shown some “japanized” cards by Gus, you should check his previous jobs here. This time he’s commissioned some cards for Mike Solomossy. Awesome as usual!

And, as a bonus track:

Gratz Soly for your new cards!

Daniel Chang gets “some” stuff signed by Richard Garfield

We all know that Richard Ph.D. Garfield has always been very kind when it comes to sign your cards. If you are lucky enough to meet him once, he’ll be always up for some signing and, if you are brave enough, maybe some alterations.

What happens when one of the biggest collectors meets Mr. Garfield? In the following video, Daniel Chang asks Richard for some signatures and… check it by yourself!

Yeah, you better safe than sorry! Good job Daniel!

PS: 9.5 Lotuses are tooooo much for my eyes!

Terminator Force of Will altered by Terese Nielsen

Once again, Terese Nielsen surprises us with her latest alteration. This time she’s altered a Force of Will with another movie character, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger from Terminator. If you want to get your hands on this card, you can bid on its eBay auction site.

Click the image to go to the eBay auction!

As a bonus track, Terese Nielsen on her personal blog has shown us another Arnold Schwarzenegger alteration featuring Connan!

Personally, I like a lot more the Terminator one. The details and the lights make it lot smoother to my sight.

FTV: Relics Revealed!

So, don’t ask me how Evan Erwin, from Star City Games, has managed to get the list, but he’s spoiled all the cards that will come inside the FTV: Relics pack. The complete list is:

All in all, it seems a pretty bad box, except for the Mox Diamond. The rest of the cards they either existed already in foil or they actually unplayable. Sure having Ivory Tower in foil is great… but it will never see play in today’s formats.

The spoiled card from Scars of Mirrodin will be the Oil of Psarl. They haven’t any information regarding its text, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer.

1st of April – 2010 (Better late than never!)

Legacy @Black Lotus this Saturday!

This Saturday I’m finally gonna be able to play the weekly Legacy tournament that is being held at the Black Lotus Shop in Barcelona. To be honest, I expect this tournament to be really crowded. Most students are off from school (Easter holidays) and that, in the past, has made the attendance to go sky rockets. I’m guessing we’ll hit a turn out of 60 players, maybe more.

I’ll probably be playing Affinity or ANT. Both decks are really fun to play while being very different. Affinity is like playing Pokemon (you know, standard and that kind of sh*t. R.E.S.T.E.C.P!). Kids play Pokemon, and even though I’m almost 30, I still consider myself a kid so I do have an excuse (not to mention kids don’t play full foil japanese). On the other side, playing ANT is more stylish. Real men play combo and winning with Storm is lot more satisfying than beating with insignificant creeps.

The deck I’ve sleeved up is this one:

I ain’t 100% sure about the sideboard! At the last Black Lotus tournament, two decks with the Thopter/Sword combo reached the Top8, and that added to the amount of dredge players and other decks playing Life from the Loam has made me wonder if I should play Leyline of the Void again (with the obvious 2nd Ill-Gotten Gains). Adding Leyline will also mean I could add a Helm of Obedience as an alternative win condition to storm. Winning with da Helm is even more stylish!

The other sideboard I was thinking about would be like this:

4 Dak Confidant
4 Tombstalker
4 Leyline of the Void
1 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Helm of Obedience
1 Tendrils of Agony

This sideboard ala “french-style” is awesome against Counterbalance decks or any kind of deck packing blue. But the obvious downside is that once you’ve won few people, everybody knows what your secret tech is…

Anyways, I’ll give it some thoughts and playtest a little bit. If you also want to play this Saturday at the Black Lotus Shop, you gotta be there at 10:30. This is where:

Bigger map!

Why reprint when you can redistribute?

We’ve talked and discussed a lot about the reprinting of old cards, the WotC policy, etc… Well, the solution to the problem is to force collectors such as Dioup77 from Solo Moxen to sell some of his stuff. Check this out!

More duals?!

What’s hot on eBay – March 28th

This new section is meant to help people find cool stuff over eBay. We do this because we know how difficult it can be sometimes to track certain stuff or hard-to-find items. The stuff1 we’ll post is stuff that we could categorize under the “pimp” label. But we won’t just post cards, so keep your eyes wide opened!

Let’s get started by playing some music! DJ Co-ma and some of his awesome drum & bass!

First of all, we’d like to show you a very cool altered by artist Fred Fields Mutavault playset.

Click to go to eBay and zoom in on each card

Next! We all know the hype about the new Jace, the mind sculptor. Here there’s a bunch of shiny staples for you:

Click on the side arrows to navigate and click on a single item to visit the eBay auction

The next 2 cards ain’t specially cheap at all. It’s getting hot in here! Spring has just arrived but we talking about Summer Edition, of course!

Click to go to eBay to know more about this Summer Edition Regrowth


Click on this link to know more about this Summer Edition Hurricane

Not a bad start eh? Guess you ran out of music by now already. So let’s play another one! DJ Shadow – The Organ Donor. Can’t stop listening this hit!

The following is stuff that isn’t commonly searched due to it’s extreme rarity. Have you heard about Uncut Sheets? Check it out!

There’s 2 other more uncut sheets right now on eBay, one is the FTV: Exiled and the other is the already framed 1996 Arena promos uncut sheet.

To end this first What’s hot on eBay we’d like to share few more cards. Misprints and miscuts are always hot for some collectors and players. Here there’s a bunch of Miscuts for you to choose from:

Hope you guys have some happy shopping!

The Favian Poh’s collecting passion

In Magic: The Gathering, as in many other aspects of our lives, there are many different levels of how we do the things we do.  The beginnings are always tough and complicated, but it only takes a little time and dedication to end up reaching any personal goals you’ve set. Today’s article will talk about a man who’s passion for collecting (MtG) has reached such a level that is really hard to imagine the process he’s been through. Years and years invested to get cards you might not even know they existed. The man I’m talking about is Favian Poh.

I met Favian few days ago, when I contacted him after he posted some of his cards at MTG The Source. I was quite impressed by the beauty of his cards and specially by the difficulty of gathering that many impressive and very (VERY) rare staples together. So, it occurred to me that maybe I could interview him so he could tell us a bit about himself, his collection and about magic in general.

We’ll start with an interview and after that, he’ll explain us a bit about some specific cards he’s very proud of.

(Be aware, lots of pimp stuff are included in this article, so you’d better sit properly if you don’t want to fall off the chair)


  • Name: Favian Poh
  • Nickname(s) on forums: Occam on The Source and Salvation, Twol84 on Scg and Motl, Ouallada on the libraries
  • Country: Singapore
  • Age: 25, 26 end of the year
  • Profession: Banking Sector
  • Year you started with MtG: 1994/1995

TP: Favian, could you please tell us the story behind your nick name(s)?

Favian: And we’re off to a relatively weird start. I wish I could say that my usernames are derived from some cool and obscure piece of information, but that is unfortunately not the case. Occam is derived from Occam’s Razor (by William of Occam) — the latter is something I generally believe in, and even though Occam is a place, I could not very well name myself William, could I? Ouallada is an ode to Juzam Djinn, which was one of my favourites back in the day, and still is one of my favourites now.

TP: Are you currently playing any format? If so, what deck(s) are you playing at the moment?

Favian: I mostly play legacy these days, sometimes Vintage and Extended. I usually play online (with an anonymous name) as I can get too busy to commit myself to paper tournaments. I play a wide range of legacy decks, from NLS to tempo Bant to 5/3. For extended, I used to play a rockish Doran build until the current extended format got inundated by Thopter-Foundry and Marit Lage. For Vintage, I play workshop aggro, although I have a soft spot for Cerebral Assassin, which is sadly not very viable these days.

TP: We’ve seen pretty cool stuff from your personal collection. When did all begun?

Favian: I have to say that I was pretty young when I started out in the game, but I was lucky enough to purchase all the right cards back then, in decent quantities as well. Most of what I do post online these days would be rarities, as most people have the P9, beta duals etc covered already. My foray into rarities started in 1999/2000, when I read about summer magic and was rightfully entranced by the summer hurricane. I managed to buy into summer before the price boom early in the nighties, and the affair with summer magic has carried on since.

As for test prints, it all began the first time I saw a textless lightning bolt get sold on eBay about a decade ago. It ended easily in the four digits, and I tried to find all the information I could on a card that I thought shouldn’t even have existed. Even though I didn’t actually get into collecting test prints until a couple years later, I treat that as the time I first sat up and took notice of test prints and how undeniably unique and beautiful they were. It was also about then that I decided that any rarities I have would be clean, never signed nor altered in any way. Sorry if this flies in the face of what most people prefer, but rarities to me are already unique, and there is no reason to customize them any further.

TP: I guess the new Official Reprint Policy must have been great news for such a collector. What do you think about the recent announcement and the controversy that has generated between players and collectors?

Favian: I kind of expected to get a question like this, to be honest, and it could not have come at a worse time, especially as the vitriol over the revised reprint policy still lingers strong in the air.

I am going to have to slightly turn my back on my fellow collectors on this issue. It is going to take a very long piece to fully articulate my thoughts on the revised reprint policy, and I do not want this session to be dominated by that. I was disappointed that Wizards pretty much slammed the door shut on the notion of possible future reprints, as while I don’t believe that legacy will ever become as stagnant as vintage, I do believe that having a flagship eternal format is one of the best things possible for the game, and the ever-increasing prices continually erode that possibility.

As for the public disagreements between players and collectors, I completely understand where both camps are coming from. The future of legacy is the foremost concern of players, while the slippery slope that reprints lead Magic to is the foremost concern of collectors. Neither side has the right to arbitrarily impose its views on the other, but judicious reprints could have created a satisfactory solution for all parties involved. As an example, when we have a public company that engages in research and development, what the company essentially does is funnel revenues and cash reserves into R&D, which may or may not pay off in the future. Thus, there is a good chance that the company’s shareholders (Magic collectors) are worse off if the R&D expenses come to nothing as no new product or innovation is created. However, R&D expense may be a necessary route for the company to take to ensure its future competitiveness (which is what legacy players are arguing for), and the shareholders need to be able to see that and call for judicious R&D expenditure.

On a side note, public outcries that Underground Seas will soon exceed $100 each does not do any good, as it is due to the presence of a culture of fear like that which leads to people bidding up the prices of Underground Seas right now to hedge against future price rises. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and does legacy no good right now.

TP: Do you consider collecting MtG as a long term investment? Are you afraid of your cards losing value over the time?

Favian: Yes and no. I would not like to blow a few grand on a set of beta power and have it be worth nothing tomorrow, and I believe that everyone shares the same sentiment to an extent. At the same time, I don’t mind taking some paper losses on some purchases if it ensures the longevity of the game. It’s all about one’s priorities, and as long as those priorities aren’t to make money, I’m sure most people can agree with that. The ability to recoup money from the game upon exit and liquidation is in my opinion one of the strongest selling points of the game, though, and cannot be stressed enough.

I’m not worried at all about various rarities and alpha/beta cards going down in value, as the only way their value gets blown out is if Wizards mass-released summer tomorrow, or if the bottom falls away from the Magic barrel. I do not expect that either will happen anytime soon, but the risk, however minute, is there and I accept it.

(Jordi: I believe this article needs more images!)

TP: What’s the card in your collection you are most proud of, and why?

Favian: My current favourite card in my collection is actually this:

It is not the most expensive card I have, but it has certain personal resonance. I quote a fellow libraries member: “Magic collectors are always broke”, and want to emphasize that the statement is absolutely true. When a once-in-a-lifetime rarity appears, you need to cough up for it or accept that you may never get a second chance. When this was first placed on eBay (and I believe it was covered on your site too), it provoked a huge reaction because it looked different with Parallax Tide’s picture, and was pretty much the first time foil 8ed test prints were revealed.

I wanted it badly too, but ended up the second highest bidder for the one on eBay because I was broke, so to speak. I immediately regretted not winning it, and as only 2-3 of each foil 8ed print exists, the chance that I would see another one was abysmal. As fate would have it, I was hunting for a bunch of other stuff when I came into contact with someone who happened to have one for sale, and purchased it without much question. Unlike most collectors and missed chances, I had a second go at the island above, and it has a personal significance for being destined to be part of my collection, so to speak.

That said, I do treasure most of the cards in my collection, and rarely see the need to sell rarities away. I am working on several projects which are currently unscanned, including a playset of another of the Exodus test prints, a couple of other 5D prints, some UD prints, summer, my dark ritual / Beeble global sets (for which I need plenty of help for the European languages) and hopefully a Fraternal Exaltation/Splendid Genesis. Look out for them!

TP: I understand you can’t reveal the sources that provided some of the stuff you own, but, what would you recommend to someone who would like to start collecting? Who should he/she contact first?

Favian: Jordi, I think you would agree with me when I say that with rarities, beauty really exists in the eyes of the beholder. I would encourage any new budding rarity collector to get familiar with the rarities that exist out there, from albinos to other color-based misprints, from miscuts and crimps to test prints and summer, and from unofficial cards to rare tokens. Sites like the librarities have an extensive pictorial gallery which provides some information about the rarities as well. Nano’s site http://www.nextftp.com/nano/ has a lot of different colour-based misprints, and Squt’s site http://squt.tripod.com/MainError.html has an exhaustive list of misprints and errors too. Then, each person needs to make his or her own decision as to which rarities appeal most, for reasons that differ from individual to individual.

As for who a new rarity collector should contact, building relationships on forums is usually a great starting point. When someone comes across as knowledgeable or as a large collector of a certain rarity, chances are he or she would have access to certain rarities, and could introduce one to a range of contacts too. For rarities, who you know is a lot more important than what you know. Due diligence is extremely important.

TP: Is eBay trustworthy when it comes to hard-to-find cards? (We ain’t talking about Alpha/Beta rares here, we are talking about real-hard-to-find stuff like misprints, test prints, summer rares, etc…)

Favian: The problem with eBay with regards to rarities is not one of fraudulent intentions, but usually that sellers themselves may have misconceptions about certain misprints, although the two concepts could be interlaced. For example, a lot of albinos and colour misprints on eBay need to be taken with a pinch of salt, as many of them are actually sun-faded. For summer magic and test prints, the market for these cards is minute, with very few collectors actually being very active in these areas. Chances are that if a large seller of summer or test prints is on eBay, some other collector of summer or test prints would know of him or her, and could verify the veracity of the cards. Having a subject matter expert (and there are definitely people who know a lot more about rarities than I do) to eyeball certain questionable auctions never hurts.

In the end, caveat emptor still takes precedence on eBay. The normal precautionary measures need to be taken for rarities as well. Bidders should try to bridge the informational gap by searching for information about certain misprints online before jumping in where angels fear to tread, and keep in mind that a deal that is too good to be true is probably just that.

TP: I know you don’t like to use the word “pimp” to describe this high-end collecting movement, but, If you’d have to list the top10 of your pimp scale, what would it be?

Favian: For me, the ten most expensive cards in the game are as follows (excluding cards like Proposal, 1996 World Champion, Shichifukujin Dragon and graded Lotuses):

10) Summer Shivan Dragon / Summer Sol Ring

9) Summer Demonic Tutor

8) Splendid Genesis

6) Summer Birds of Paradise / Top tier foil test prints

5) Other Summer Blue Duals

4) Summer Mana Vault

2) Summer Hurricane / Underground Sea

1) Summer Serendib Efreet

And now let’s move on and see some of the stuff from Favian’s collection. First of all, some images and then he’ll talk about his CoTs (City of Traitors), Saga textless, Island (8e prints) and the EE (Engineered Explosives).

You’d ask yourself what’s wrong with the EE? He’ll explain more about this card later. And the Underground Sea? It’s partly albino!

City of Traitors Exodus Test prints

Favian: I’ve received a lot of PMs from various people across various forums in which I have posted the recent scans containing the foil Cities or Traitors, so I feel obligated to speak a bit about what these cards are all about. My definition of a test print is an aesthetic proxy that Wizards uses to test different design features and processes, be it a foiling process, different frames, usage of space on a card, where the P/T box should be and so on. The Exodus test prints are arguably the most important test prints ever, as they were the backbone on which the foiling process was tested before being rolled out in Urza’s Legacy. Urza’s Legacy was released in 1999, and test prints are typically created 1-2 years beforehand, which is why Exodus cards were chosen. Note that it is highly likely that these cards were already in the process of being tested even before Exodus was released in June 1998.

One card of each colour and type was chosen from Exodus. A land (City of Traitors), a white card (Oath of Lieges), a blue card (Mana Breach), a red card (Fighting Chance), a black card (Plaguebearer), a green card (Survival of the Fittest), a gold card (Pygmy Hippo from Visions as no gold card exists in Exodus) and an artifact card (Memory Crystal). All of these are available either silver-bordered (testing not just the foiling, but Unglued borders) or black-bordered. Both the silver-bordered (no foil star) and black bordered (most have the foil star) ones have different variations (lighter/darker), and the black bordered ones have a test number on the right side of the card to indicate the intensity of the foiling and colouring. The black-bordered ones are also unique in that they have different colours for textboxes, although only the Cities of Traitors were tested for this.

A closer look so you can appreciate the details.

I do not have scans for this, but there are also other non-foil test prints from Exodus (Bequeathal, Angelic Blessing etc) which have the foil star and with the symbols made from the same material as the foil star. They were likely created to test how the foil star would look like.

Exodus test prints are not as rare as the newer test prints, but a lot of people hold them in awe as they were after all the first bona fide test prints the game had, and because two of the cards are so widely played. Whatever it is, Exodus test prints are an integral part of the game’s history, and should be respected as such. I own a couple of silver bordered Exodus prints, but I generally only go for the black bordered ones. When I picked up the first CoT, the one with the black symbol and black textbox, which is also my favourite of the lot, I spoke to a friend of mine and was basically told to never half-ass a collection, especially when the possibility of a playset existed. I thought about it, agreed, and the rest is basically history. I’m not sure whether another playset exists out there, with all the huge unnamed collectors around, but this one is pretty special to me.

Parallax Island:

Favian: I have already stated that I like this card very much, and I hope its story did not bore anybody. Just a quick comment on 8ed test prints. There are between two to three of each foil variation (some have light/dark variations), and there are non-foil versions too. Some people have stated that they are actually 6ed prints, as they use 5ed art, but this is untrue. These were printed in 2001, after the release of 7ed, and the island above has the art of parallax tide, when Nemesis was released in 2000. As can be seen from the Counterspell, 8ed prints were a bit idiosyncratic with the way certain aesthetics were tested, with P/T boxes on spells.

8e foil test prints are also very arguably the most prestigious set of test prints, with the value of the worst common (not all cards in 8ed were tested, though) being close to a grand and the value of the high-end cards, rares like Adarkar Wastes, approaching two grand.

Textless Saga:

Favian: I actually had two slots on my recent scan occupied by two other nice rarities, but I managed to make a deal for the textless cradle and bolt, and those two are auto-includes in any scan that has rarities. Textless saga has an almost mystical aura as the saga prints are extremely well known like the Exodus test prints, but are much rarer than the latter, and were actually leaked out in product. The full saga test print complement consists of 11 cards, namely Pouncing Jaguar, Lightning Bolt, Serra Avatar, Thran Quarry, Gaea’s cradle, Rewind, Skittering Skirge, Duress, Stroke of Genius, Karn and the textless, all black foil filler with the star. The filler was there to make up a modular sheet component of 11, with sheet size of 110 cards. As you might be able to already tell, all these cards were essentially test prints for various Arena and Judge promos that were given out, besides the filler, of course.

Textless Saga was followed by textless Destiny, and the latter was quite a bit rarer as none was leaked out through product. Unlike Saga, every Destiny card is available as a textless foil test print. I was lucky enough to pick up a textless Beeble for part of my collection, as well as some other textless UD commons/uncommons that aren’t in any of my current scans. The hunt for some of the rare textless UD cards continues.

Engineered Explosives:

Favian: In every forum where I posted the recent scan, I stated very clearly that the Engineered Explosives was the cream of the scan’s crop. It is not an attempt to boast or to big the EE up – a test print EE, from a set of test prints that are all likely the only copies of their kind around, can easily be concluded to be a huge hitter, certainly one of those mysterious expensive cards that no one has heard about. I basically dragged out the deal to purchase the EE for a few months as I kept getting sidetracked by other smaller rarities and test prints, but it was always going to be a part of my collection eventually. The focus on the EE in the scan is also in the hope that 5D prints are brought into public perception just like the rest of the existing test prints, and that another person who sees the EE and who has information about 5D prints can step forward.

For the back-story of the 5D prints, they were created to test sunburst foiling for the JS range promos, which is why the EE is foiled like that. Like the Exodus test prints, the EE scans poorly but looks excellent in real life. The EE is a very favoured card in my collection and will never be sold, but hopefully everyone out there enjoys what was a previously unknown piece of magic history.

From Team Pataners we appreciate the effort that Favian Poh has done in order to help us understand and discover how marvelous collecting MtG can really be when you have the passion, the time, the will and the money (of course)!

Big thanks again Favian!

Yawgmoth’s Ring altered by Ron Spencer

My friend Eddy Wee, aka Grandeurmotl, has released on eBay this wonderful Ron Spencer alteration featuring Mark Tedin’s Sol Ring.

Click here to go to the eBay auction!

By the way, I’m gonna be starting soon a new weekly section to keep you updated with what’s hot on eBay that week. That way you’ll be able to keep track of the cool stuff that’s being hosted at the auction site. This section was very successful in the past, so I believe you guys deserve to have it again. This is the header for the future section: