Monday, October 10, 2011

A Fresh Look at White Borders

Back in the day, we didn't use fancy "webs" or "Internets" to get our cards.

We didn't have price lists.

We didn't have checklists.

I was still hoping for a dual land a year after they stopped printing them.

A couple days ago, after a grueling walk UPHILL, I decided to go through the bulk collection down at the local game store. I came up with a couple interesting finds.

Without a blink of an eye, you could probably buy Evacuation and Worldslayer from any online store worth its druthers for less than 50¢, plus shipping.

And if I had ordered online, I might have ended up with the original Mirrodin printing of Worldslayer.

And even more so, I probably would have ended up with some black-bordered variant of Evacuation.

Instead, here I am with a white bordered CORE SET printing.

Ugly, you might comment? Perhaps unsightly?

You would be WRONG.

Here's why.

I'm going to throw it out there…WHITE is the new BLACK.

I am no stranger to white bordered cards. When I started, all the magic cards I could lay my hands on were white bordered. The ones in the packs were white bordered. The ones I traded with my friends were white bordered.

If for some reason you ended up with a black bordered card, you were probably holding some form of ELITE WEAPONDRY in your hand. I know I had a Fellwar Stone from The Dark in my collection, and I must have indeed traded away a great many cards for such a jewel. Even if now its worth is a little to the left of nothing.

Then they started printing more expansions, like Ice Age. The market was flooded with black bordered cards. We started to see the Core Set/Expansion White/Black border printing cycle for the first time.

From the get-go we, bright-eyed magic collecting innocents, were conditioned by The Man to prefer black bordered cards over white bordered cards. The black bordered ones always came out first, and were always harder to find because the inevitable core set reprint would flood the market.

All the way through ninth edition, we got white bordered cards as the "second best" option every time a new core set came out.

So where are we today?

The expansions come out. What color are the borders? BLACK.

The core sets come out. M10. M11. M12. What color are borders? BLACK.

Duel decks come out. What color are the borders? BLACK.

Everywhere you look, there are the black borders, staring you back in the face. Do the cards do anything different? Nope. A white bordered Evacuation is still going to suck all available creatures off the board in one fell swoop.

The only thing holding white-bordered Evacuation down is the perceived rarity. And by "perceived" I mean how often you see a card in circulation, either in someone's collection or in a deck being played on the table.

When you play a game of Elder Dragon Highlander, what version of Evacuation do you see?

Short answer: no one plays Evacuation you dolt, that's a terrible card.

Long answer: the original stronghold version. Or the tenth edition Franz Vohwinkel one.

If you play me, what are you going to get?

A windmill-slammed white bordered Evacuation, blowing all your stinky creature cards back into your slimy mitt where they belong.

Two more core set printings (and they are bound to happen sooner or later unless they design a better Evacuation that costs 1 less or something) and the white bordered Evacuation will be numerically MORE RARE than black bordered versions as a whole. The circle will be complete. And I will have triumphed!

Try getting that level of satisfaction through the mail, ladies and gents!

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