Franky and stuff

What I really wanted to write about was the 2019 Scandinavian Championship that took place last weekend. A hero from my old hometown winning, besting a top8 containing both the Swedish end boss that is Elof Gottfridson and the international end boss that is Alban Lauter. And Mitja, who picked up his second top4 at that tournament in two years. The last Shark tournament in Arvika, at least for the foreseeable future, and alas the first Shark tournament I wasn't present at. But, as the last sentence hinted, I wasn't present and can't really make up a report. I might get the top8 lists and write some player profiles in the not too distant future though. And better yet, the the winner of the tournament contacted me yesterday about the prospect of him writing a report, so there's something to look forward to.

My second plan was to write some more info about winc0n, but we don't really have much to add since last time. Though it looks like the date will be the first weekend in October next year. I'll keep you posted when I know more.

And there's been a lot of interest and questions regarding Scryings, the "future set" that will be legal at n00con 12 among other gatherings. Right now, I can just say that the spoiler season will start with some info about the cards her on the blag November 6th. The full contents will be revealed after a small release event in Gothenburg at the end of December. There are right now 18 people/platforms that have expressed interest in hosting spoilers, so there will be a spoiler or two every third day or so starting November 6th. If you have a blag/channel/instagram/whatever and would like a spoiler, feel free to e-mail me and we should be able to work something out.

So nothing really new right now. But I feel like writing something at least once more before spoiler season kicks off, so write something I shall. Let's take a peek at an odd specimen. Let's look at Franky.

New cards?! At least this is about ante and Magic trivia, so bear with me.

After years in the most fringe of dark corners in oldschool Magic, playing for ante with the 93/94 card pool is slowly attracting a growing number of lunatics. In particular the 40K sub-format has been gaining momentum in the last six months, hosting a couple of tournaments aside the nightly one-on-one duels where the format is mostly found. Tournaments with real ante is a rare thing in the history of Magic, but it's not unheard of. In particular one format born in Wisconsin in the last days of the old millennium had it as a core component. The format known as 5-Color.

The original 5-Color rules were pretty basic; 250 cards, 18 of each color, tutors banned, and you played unsleeved for ante. The first tournament I've heard of took place in 1999, and it appears that the "glory days" of the format were between 2000-2005. There are a few notable gatherings reported later - in particular the third 5-Color invitational in 2006 - but the scene seems to erode around that time. In 2009, the rules were updated with a bunch of controversial changes, most notably allowing proxies (in a format known for its use of ante, no less), and today 5-color matches are few and far between.

The most documented tournaments in the format were the annual World Championship and the three invitationals; all of these tournaments taking place either in Wisconsin or at GenCon in Indiana. The winner of each invitational got to chose their own card to be legal in the format. The winner of the first invitational in 2002 - Pat Fehling - chose Mox Crystal, a card originally designed for Menagerie/Mirage that never went past the playtesting stages due to power level concerns. Dan Fraizer did however create art for the Mirage Mox Crystal, a piece that you may recognize from another card today.

At least one playtest version was known as Crystalline Mox btw. And a quite amusing Easter egg in the art is that the cleric holding the Mox Crystal has a crown with five colored jewels referencing the original moxen. Bet you didn't think about that before. (This art was later used for Enlightened Tutor.)

The 5-Color Mox Crystal didn't use the Dan Fraizer art (which I suppose was a good move to avoid confusion, even though Enlightened Tutor was banned in 5-color), and rather used their own design.

Mark Grebash (the guy that ran the 5-Color website up until 2003) reportedly printed 40 Mox Crystal stickers to put on regular Magic cards. The first batch of stickers were a little larger and more glossy than the second batch. Additionally 10 foil copies of Mox Crystal were made for the organizers and top8 players at the 5-Color World Championship in 2004 by another guy in the format's inner circle. And a few other people outside the 5-Color Ruling Council (5CRC) have printed versions of Mox Crystal for use in cubes and similar (including a small batch of cards created in the UK earlier this year). Collectors are mainly focused on the first two batches of stickers though.

The second invitational in 2005 - won by Jeremy Barbeau - is where Franky came in. The print run of Franky is not really clear, but the folks at Magic Librarities estimate that less than 20 exist. So I guess that I should have given Will Magrann at least a beer when he simply donated this one to me six months ago.


Now Franky is sweet. A 2/2 for UR that you can sac to either counter an ante spell/ability or to do two thirds of a Lightning Bolt to something (I suspect there's a new-fangled way to say that). I'd play that in 40K. Hey, I'd play that in ordinary 93/94 where no ante cards are to be seen. So I vehemently suggest that we as 40K players have a proper Worlds during Winc0n, and let the winner create a card to be legal in the format.

For completeness we should note that there was a third 5-Color invitational in 2006. It was the last 5-Color tournament noted at Librarities and have less information than the previous ones. The winner was again Pat Fehling - the guy who brought Mox Crystal into the format, and for the record also won 5-Color World Championship in 2002 and 2004 - with the card Aku Fehling, the Predictor. It's nice, but I still think Franky is the sweetest one by some margin. It is after all the only card of the three that could only exist in an ante environment, and it seems both balanced and unique.


So, you may ask, what does these thingies from the early 2000s have to do with anything proper oldschool? Well, ante I suspect. And they are kinda neat. I could also make a sidenote that we occasionally have fumbled with our own cards as well. Each year at Wizards' Tournament, one altered Alpha card has been made for a mage to find, and that card will then be legal as written in any August-93/Alpha-40/Deckmaster tournament (unless the referee demands it banned of course). And I have absolutely no idea what happened with the card hidden at this year's 100+ player Wizards' Tournament. It was found, that much is certain, but I don't know who found it nor in which of the 18 countries represented at the tournament the card currently resides. If you have any clue, feel free to fill me in. This was the card:

Raise Spoils.

Traditionally at Wizards' Tournament, the referees also get hand-made "referee cards" to deploy at any table where the mages are taking too long to finish their duel.

Marc Lanigra's Referee Cards from Wizards' Tournament II.

But in light of the weekend ahead, one card in particular comes to mind. An oddity given out at Fishliver Oil Cup 1 two years ago. If you happen to own it, remember to cast it this Saturday night. It will be a full year 'til next time it can be played.

Full Magic.

I considered long whether or not it would be a good idea to create home-made cards to be legal at the occasional 93/94 tournaments I host, just to spice things up. But in the end I figured no. In a small enough setting - like with 5-Color or 40K - it looks fun to have "make your own card" as a prize in tournaments. But for traditional 93/94, I believe a focus on real cards is the way to go. Not only for nostalgia reasons, but availability will inevitably become an issue if the cards gain any traction. Hell, a 5CRC Mox Crystal sticker is probably a few hundred dollars these days even though the format isn't active and quite a few were made. These ponderings did however end up with the idea to organize the "reversed Chronicles" set, which I hope will be fun.


It seems like we have moved away quite a bit from the topic at hand. Franky, that was. It's a cool card. And thanks again for the kind gift Will, I really appreciate it. Let's wrap up for today and be back with full force with a report from the Scandinavian Championship next week.


  1. Great stories! And I love the Franky artwork, proper bird-killer!

    1. Thanks! And yeah, that cat surely seems ready to eat a Jeweled Bird. Good catch :)

  2. Do you know a Ante format called "proto"? We used to play in from 1996 onwards and actually when I quit in 1999 it was that and some Boosterdrafts I would occasionally still play.

    The format consist out of opening 3/4 packs (usually the same for each player) and you could always add any lands you wanted. You would play all cards that you opened and if you would drop below 40 cards you could buy another Booster or restart all over.

    This often resulted in playing an Ante game for your whole deck at the end. Some players accumulated decks of 400/500 cards where getting the right coloured mana would be a huge thing ofc.

    Each ante card lost you would sign. When I started OS in 2017 most cards I still owned (only a few) had 8/10 signatures on them. Great fun, I would recommend sets with a lot of artifacts (Antiquities might be a bit expensive)

    1. Haha, that's awesome! Hadn't heard of it before, but really sounds like something that would be fun to try.

  3. Sweet read as always! The link to the ante blog should be ;)

  4. You're very welcome MG! Hope it serves you well :)


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