Moxen and Timon of Atens 4:2:30

It was a shock to learn that Daniel didn't play with his Island Fishes. Daniel was "the local mister suitcase", and had the strongest collection of all of us. Among his gems where two Lord of the Pit, Force of Nature, Keldon Warlord, and even a Colossus of Sardia. My older sister had opened a Gaea's Liege in her first Revised starter, and Daniel had offered her a choice of two Island Fish Jasconious, or a misprinted fish with a big red ink-dot on the card. After some deliberation she decided to trade her Liege for the misprinted one. We hence knew that Daniel owned two more, which for some reason wasn't in his deck. It was a huge 6/8, and few cards could compare to it in size. Daniel argued that he simply had too many of the great creatures, and it wasn't good enough to get a spot.

It was around this time we started wondering what the actual best card in magic was. We couldn't deny that Force of Nature was better than the Island Fish, but there could after all be cards even better than that. Christian had heard that the best card was called Black Lotus and the second best card was called Mox, but wasn't sure what they did. We asked Daniel, and he said that Black Lotus was a zero-mana card that tapped for three mana in any combination of colors, and that Mox tapped for two mana of any colors. We all thought that that sounded very strange; those cards could do nothing against a Force of Nature, and they didn't even sound that much better than an ordinary Sol Ring, which we all had a few of.

It is strange, and wonderful, how our perceptions change over time. What we consider good or important evolves with our time and experience. The last two and a half years, I've lived with a lot of change. I've often seen the last years as a boot camp of sorts, I've moved seven times, and worked at different jobs in three different countries. Five days a week, I've been trying to build a CV and a network that would make my "real" future possible. Two days a week, I've been ignoring work and seminars to focus on one of the only solid and truly important things in my life and future; my relationship. After this holiday, the years of long-distance was supposed to be over. I first started writing this post two weeks ago. A few days later, I started my winter holidays. That same night though, life took a huge turn.


I don't think any new player, at any time of the game, has thought that the Moxen were broken at first sight. Once we realized what they actually did, their main pull was the legendary status and their insane price. The first time I remember seeing a Mox was when Olle Råde bought a green one from TV-spelsbörsen, one of Gothenburg's' now closed game stores. If I recall correctly, he paid 600 sek for it, almost $80. We knew that Olle was a player at a different level than us, but how anyone could pay that much for a single card felt crazy. The card didn't really do anything after all, it was just a Forest with a price tag of at least six Shivan Dragons.

Power level was very different when you didn't know how to play or build decks well. Me and my sister played 2-3 Sol Rings in our decks, and I'm sure that moxen would have been no problem had any of us owned them, but cards like Rag Man was outright banned when we played as it was considered too powerful. The first really expensive card I bought was a Ring of Ma'ruf; not a powerhouse by today's standards. I was offered three duals for it by a guy who tried to rip me off, and when I refused to trade it, he simply stole the card from me and ran away. I took a long hiatus from the game after that.

So, mox. It's not really a word. Richard Garfield derived it from "moxie", meaning "force of character, determination, or nerve" according to a local thesaurus, or "energy, courage, or determination" according to WotC's webpage. And it really takes some determination to get them all. In 93/94, you didn't have the social media in place to find them, and even if you hung out at usenet, you probably didn't know you wanted them. Today, the price is the biggest barrier. How many hours would you have to put down to afford one? What will you give up for that time and money spent? It took me six years to complete the set, and my last one had a price of almost five times that of my first. The waiting game has never been a good game if you want to get Power.

The cost of trading up this one from wb to bb was almost three times of what I paid for my first mox btw.
So, now I finally have them all. These last days though, I sometimes feel that I would tear them all up. I made a mistake, or rather, I failed to do what I could have done. My life is very different now than two weeks ago. I could have sold that Sapphire and gone to Argentina for a week. I could have sold the Jet to make up for the leave of absence at work. I could have sold them all, and went away for the whole two months. If I'd done that, my life would have been different today. Maybe not better, maybe even worse, and maybe it was inevitable, but it would have been different.

I apologize that this post is a little different from what I usually do, and that it is unusually personal. I haven't been online for a while, and I needed to write something to get it off my chest. Passion is a strange creature. We take stuff for granted, not because they are not important, but because they are so important that they define who we are. We know we have ourselves, and that we will live with ourselves until we die. We may have people, places or ideas that define us, and become a part of us. When our home burn or our closest friends leave, something breaks. We didn't focus on it, because it defined us, rather than being something we simply had. We spent too much time on hope and didn't live for the present. As Albert Camus wrote "The typical act of eluding, the fatal evasion, is hope. Hope of another life one must "deserve" or trickery of those who live not for life itself but for some great idea that will transcend it, refine it, give it a meaning, and betray it."

I wish you all a great new year. Give some thought to your priorities, and try to not sublime your present in hope of some less tangible future. Life is a strange beast, but we are privileged.


  1. Bra blog som vanligt även om man blir lite orolig för den folkkäre mg../sundberg

  2. Great post! And take care, Magnus!

  3. Hey,

    I think the whole concept of the Power Nine is falling apart nowadays, to be honest. But is that such a bad thing?

    When we consider that dual lands are:

    1) Cards that you will usually want four of in a deck, and
    2) Accessible (in such high demand!) in the Legacy format,

    One might understand why a Beta Underground Sea costs $2000 more than a Beta Mox Sapphire nowadays.

    I've been trying to convince myself that Moxen are not entirely necessary for my (G/B and R/W) old-school decks. But of course over the years it has just been extensive *gameplay* that has demonstrated that they are very powerful cards.

    Few of us would argue that the right coloured Moxen - just like Black Lotus - would go well in just about *any* deck...

    I'm 29 and I just got back into the game recently after a long (fourteen-year long) break. Does that mean I regret selling all those cool old cards I had when I was younger? Not at all.

    I could have kept that white-bordered Black Lotus I had when I was 15 (which cost AU$170!) and the Mox Pearl (which I got for ~$120), but I don't regret selling them.

    Only because I wasn't happy playing in the Type 1 of that day, rife with Urza block cards and which didn't really do justice to the whole "spirit" of 1993-1994 Magic.

    Anyway, I think it's cool that you have BB Moxen. You must like playing Magic :)

    - Aussie1


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