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  • Viscerid Armor and Viscerid Drone were intended to reference Homarids, but research showed that players did not like Homarids, so the names of these cards were changed to "Viscerid," which is supposed to be an advanced form of Homarid.[1]
  • Arcane Denial, with a mana cost of {1}{U}, was later considered a mistake for making a "hard counter" too easy to splash into a deck without much blue in it. The result was the creation of a Design rule that all hard counters must have {U}{U} in their mana cost.
  • Ashnod's Cylix depicts such a real-world cylix in its artwork, a Greek two-handled shallow drinking cup.
  • Astrolabe depicts one of these real-world devices in its artwork, which was used for navigation and astrology.
  • Bounty of the Hunt used to distribute temporary counters because the rules at the time didn't allow for a spell to target the same object more than once.[2]
  • Diminishing Returns is the first attempt at creating a "fixed" version of Timetwister and is the second member of the Power Nine to see such revision. One of the reasons for Timetwister's power was its ability to reuse itself and other powerful cards repeatedly, so Diminishing Returns included a drawback to remove the top ten cards of the library from the game in order to limit its ability to reuse these cards.
  • Exile was originally called "Marriage of Convenience" and was designed as a flavorful way for white to remove a creature from the game, in that it "got married", a reference to how a creature removed from the game by Swords to Plowshares "went farming". However, when the commissioned artwork came in from Phil Foglio it was deemed too silly for a card that was to be a powerful tournament card. Some artwork swapping followed, and the original "Marriage of Convenience" artwork ended up on Unlikely Alliance. Much brainstorming eventually led to the matching of the card with its artwork and its name was changed to "Exile," suggesting that the removed creature was exiled to the castle in the artwork.
  • Force of Will's playtest name was "Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Stop That!" (the number of "Gorillas" used in the name is not clear) and later "Stop Spell." Although an uncommon, Force of Will is the most valuable card in the expansion.
  • Fyndhorn Druid is the first creature to trigger life gain from being blocked.
  • Gorilla Shaman is nicknamed the "Mox Monkey" for its ability to cheaply and repeatedly destroy inexpensive artifacts (like the Moxen such as Mox Sapphire), as it was designed to do. It was the only creature played in competitive Vintage decks for some time.
  • Gustha's Scepter was the earliest card designed by Mark Rosewater to be printed.[3] It was included in Alliances because another artifact that was to be included in the expansion proved to be far too powerful and a replacement was needed.
  • Lord of Tresserhorn has the greatest power among creatures in Alliances and had, until the printing of the Eldrazi, the highest power among all legendary creatures. Development changed his power from 9 to 10 to fit the nickname "Good Buddy," as in "10-4 good buddy".[4]
  • Omen of Fire is the only member of the Two enemy color hoser cycle to be an instant and to have a non-symmetrical effect on its enemy colors (the other cards of the cycle are enchantments and have a symmetrical effect on their enemy colors).
  • Phelddagrif is an anagram of "Garfield PhD," meaning Richard Garfield. This card was born when the Continuity department denied the name "Phelddagrif's Winds" for the card that became Freyalise's Winds because Phelddagrif didn't "sound like the name of a Goddess of Spring." When asked what Phelddagrif did sound like, Continuity reportedly replied, "Umm, I don't know. A flying purple hippo?" which is of course depicted in the artwork of this card.
  • Pillage taught R&D that having multiple cheap land destruction spells without drawbacks gives this unfun mechanic too much power.
  • Sol Grail is an anagram of "gorillas" in homage to the protest of the designers against the use of a race of sentient Gorillas in Alliances.
  • Soldevi Adnate, like most of the rest of the commons in Alliances, has two versions with different artwork and flavor text. Unlike the rest, Soldevi Adnate's two pieces of artwork are from the same painting.[5]
  • Soldevi Sage, the art with the seated woman was actually printed reversed left-to-right. In the Sixth Edition version, the reversal was corrected.[6]
  • Storm Crow being the best card ever printed became a meme, due to its ability to be exiled to pay the cost for Force of Will. The joke at the time was that just being blue made a card better than any non-blue card. FoW was so good, anything blue you could pitch was better than even powerful cards of other colors. Later, people came up with more and more elaborate justifications for why it was the best card ever.[7]
  • Surge of Strength was designed as a "fixed" Berserk. It was one of five uncommon former Ice Age block Japanese language cards offered as a promotion in Japan. The Ice Age block was not released in Japan.
  • Thought Lash inspired some tournament players to use a deck of more than 100 cards.
  • Unlikely Alliance was created to make use of the artwork that was originally intended for the card "Marriage of Convenience," which became Exile.
  • Yavimaya Ants is sometimes called "the green Ball Lightning" and was the first green creature with Haste. It was one of five uncommon former Ice Age block Japanese language cards offered as a promotion in Japan. The Ice Age block was not released in Japan.


  1. Wizards of the Coast (December 9, 2003). "Card of the Day - December, 2003". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (September 15, 2003). "Card of the Day - September, 2005". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Wizards of the Coast (July 1, 2003). "Card of the Day - July, 2004". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Wizards of the Coast (April 11, 2003). "Card of the Day - April, 2002". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Wizards of the Coast (March 4, 2005). "Card of the Day - March, 2005". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Magic Arcana (June 19, 2007). "Soldevi Reversal". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Can someone explain the storm crow meme?. Reddit (2018).