They're Just Phantasmal!! (142-143/302)

 Greetings Earthlings! I am sitting at the desk in my home office in a somewhat reflective mood today. I am fortunate enough to be getting the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow and am feeling quite optimistic. The last 12 months have been quite the head-trip, replete with fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and dogged determination on the part of myself and many, many others (we can't possibly say too much about the heroics shown by those in the scientific and medical community, not to mention folks who worked in grocery stores, gas stations, and other places that we all take for granted and were presumably often frequented by maskless imbeciles).  I am really, really excited to start seeing my vaccinated family and friends as the light at the end of the tunnel begins to shine through. I sincerely hope you and yours are well. The world of Old School Magic has also been pretty topsy turvy in the last year, yet I continue marching forward in my insane quest to collect an entire set of the Unlimited Edition of The Gathering set. 

I still have a really long way to go. When I started in January of 2019 I knew it was a sort of insane idea. At that time I had never paid more than $30 for a Magic card and I was brand new in my career, a career in which it usually takes one about five years to establish themselves and really make a great living. Who was I to travel down this road? I pressed on anyway because it was precisely these factors that in my opinion made the quest interesting and exciting. I was not in a position to simply buy most of the cards (or even many) all at once. I would be forced to be deliberate, methodical, and selective. This would be truly old school, just a dude coming back to Magic after over 20 years trying to collect the first set. I live for my dreams, and a pocket full of Power.

It is unfortunate (for me) that prices have skyrocketed so much in the last several months, but I will not relent in my quest. It may take longer, but the way I see it I am in roughly the same spot I was a few years ago when I started. Prices have certainly gone up substantially but then again I am also in a much better spot in my career and now only a few years away from having the practice really up and running. The only regret I have is not buying a Time Walk last summer, but at the time business was down and I just couldn't justify it. There will be a time for Power. Until then I will keep collecting all the cool cards I remember and the stuff I never even knew about back in 1994. Today I have a couple of blue cards, one an enchantment and one a creature. One is common and the other is uncommon. Both are interesting to me.

I dig Phantasmal Terrain. My current killer deck is a mono blue control deck featuring the likes of Mahamotti Djinn and Air Elemental. To control the board early I run the usual Unsummons and Counterspell along with some other secret sauce. For land destruction I choose the aforementioned humble blue common. It takes care of any problem land plus it allows for a little bit of landwalking, which is always fun. Phantasmal Forces really appealed to me way back when. Mark Poole has always been one of my favorite Magic artists and the cloud warriors pictures were always so cool to me. I know it's not exact, but the similarities between the art here and that on Balance was something I noticed back then. The design of the helmet an armor, plus the colors on their wings and the wings on the helmet in Balance connected them in my mind. I've never had too much success running it in a deck, but I've always enjoyed it none the less.

As I approach the halfway point of my quest (in terms of number of cards, obviously not even remotely close in terms of cost) I am steeling myself for an imminent slowdown in acquisitions. I am OK with this, I will treasure them even more that way. I intend to get something special for that 151st card, not entirely sure what just yet. I did divert a sizable amount of resources into my Alpha 40 deck which I completed a few weeks back, but with how much prices were escalating I knew it was now or never for that so I kind of had to triage it. I am looking forward to getting more Unlimited cards, but what I truly want more than anything is to play in person again with my brother Jimmy and my friends Sean and Matt. The Akron Legionnaires will unite once more, soon.



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