A Misnomer?

I’m beginning to wonder whether I should have called this blog “Affinity for Sphinxes” judging by my recent posts.

Nevertheless, on Saturday morning my girlfriend and I paid a visit to The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, where they had an exhibit called “Heroes: Mortals & Myths in Ancient Greece.” Around the exhibit were various bits of information about the different characters and creatures in Greek Mythology. Obviously, I couldn’t help but be drawn to this little blurb:

“Sphinx [sfingks] was a monster, usually represented as having the torso of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle. Seated on a rock outside of the city-state of Thebes, she posed a riddle to travelers, killing them when they answered incorrectly, as all did before the Greek hero Oedipus. When he answered her riddle correctly, the Sphinx killed herself.”

So often we see some sort of mythological creature on our cards, yet rarely do we give any thought to the mythology of that creature, and how the WotC creative team uses that mythology to guide them in adding flavor to our beloved game.

Maybe it’s a stretch, but you can almost apply the above to Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Once it hits the table, it “poses a riddle” to your opponent, and it’s difficult to find an answer for it. If you don’t find the correct answer, it will likely kill you. But if you answer it correctly (with, for example, Gatekeeper of Malakir or Fleshbag Marauder), it kills itself.

Just a thought!

By the way, you may have noticed the changes in the appearance of Affinity For Islands (and if you haven’t noticed, either I messed up somewhere or you might need your eyes examined). Let me know what you think!

Coming later this week: Yo! MTG Taps! #3 – More Standard Discussion!


All-In Sphinx

Check out this deck that bigheadjoe of Otherworldly Journey just sent me:

“All-In Sphinx”
4x Sphinx of Jwar Isle

4x Lightning Bolt
4x Terminate
3x Celestial Purge
4x Esper Charm

3x Cruel Ultimatum

4x Oblivion Ring

2x Obelisk of Alara

2x Ajani Vengeant
1x Elspeth, Knight-Errant
3x Jace Beleren

3x Scalding Tarn
1x Marsh Flats
2x Arid Mesa
4x Crumbling Necropolis
4x Arcane Sanctum
2x Exotic Orchard
4x Rupture Spire
2x Mountain
1x Swamp
1x Plains
3x Island

3x Meddling Mage
3x Thought Hemorrhage
3x Negate
2x Identity Crisis
3x Day of Judgment
1x Celestial Purge

He piloted this deck to a win at the local tournament earlier today. Note the whopping FOUR copies of Sphinx of Jwar Isle!

EDIT: You can read Joe’s tournament report here.

More Sphinx Love.

I wasn’t crazy. Here are a few quotes from around the web regarding Sphinx of Jwar Isle:

“The real creature I’m looking at including in this Bant brew is Sphinx of Jwar Isle. What is Jund supposed to do against him? He’s bigger than all their creatures, they have absolutely no way to remove him other than a Jund Charm when I’m blocking, and he gives my late game fetchlands a ton of value by enabling me to see the top card, as if it’s a land I can shuffle into a potential spell.

[On the matchup versus Jund:] Sphinx is the real bomb in here, and running it out turn 6 with no backup is the safest creature you can invest mana into in the Standard format. The longer he stays in play, the more foresight he provides, and he plays offense as well as being a stalwart on defense. I’d expect the number of these cards to rise dramatically to counteract Jund’s narrow answers to it.”Kyle Sanchez

“Sphinx of Jwar Isle has been in just about every non-aggressive deck list since Zendikar’s release, but the Jwar Jwar Movement has been steadily gaining followers in the past few weeks. Ebay, which is usually a leading indicator, supports the upwards price trends. Playsets are climbing from $4 closer to $6 or $8, so it’s not out of the question for the Sphinxes to end up being worth a few dollars each. Many vendors on the internet still have them at a dollar, which is too low. It’s even worth about 1.3 tickets on Magic Online, which roughly translates to $1.25. Grab a few playsets and you’ll double up without much work.”Kelly Reid

“If all of a sudden, everyone said, “Let’s boycott Baneslayer Angel and play Sphinx of Jwar Isle instead!” then that would definitely change the demand [for Baneslayer] (and given the amount of Jund around, that might not be the worst idea!) That could happen, but I wouldn’t count on it just yet. On a side note, you may want to pick up Sphinx of Jwar Isle just in case.”Jeremy Fuentes

LAST-MINUTE UPDATE: HA! Kelly Reid just posted this on Twitter about 10 minutes ago:
http://bit.ly/1KLcCG Got your Jwar Jwar Sphinxes yet?”

If you follow the link you’ll see this blurb:
“Interesting to note – Star City bumped up their price on Sphinx of Jwar Isle recently, to $4. Some other sites are starting to charge real money for Sphinx too. Most sites that had listed the rare under a dollar are already sold out, and eBay prices are starting to perk up too. Sphinx of Jwar Isle may not be the next Baneslayer, but it’s better than a junk rare. Pick yours up before you have to actually trade something valuable for them.”

EDIT: Another vote for Sphinx of Jwar Isle, this time from blogger Russell Tassicker of Gwafa’s Bazaar:
Sphinx of Jwar Isle: Buy. This guy is creeping into more and more netdecks from such well respected deckbuilders and writers as Patrick Chapin and Conley Woods. I expect the price to gradually rise, and if he is a hit at Worlds then the price will shoot up. Blue is also extremely weak at the moment but if Worldwake brings some goodies this guy will find a good deck to fit in.”

Take a look at Russell’s blog (link added to sidebar); if you’re interested in the trading/financial aspect of Magic, it’s another good source for information.

Grand Prix 2010 Schedule Announced!

Complete 2010 Grand Prix Schedule:
Feb. 13-14 Oakland USA Extended
Feb. 27-28 Madrid Spain Legacy
March 13-14 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Standard
March 20-21 Yokohama Japan Extended
March 27-28 Brussels Belgium Standard
April 3-4 Houston USA Extended
May 8-9 Lyon France “Prosper” Limited
May 22-23 Baltimore *Now Washington, DC* USA Standard
June 5-6 Sendai Japan Standard
June 12-13 Manila Philippines Standard
July 31-Aug. 1 Columbus USA Legacy
Aug. 28-29 Gothenburg Sweden M11 Limited
Sept. 11-12 Portland USA M11 Limited
Oct. 9-10 Sydney Australia “Lights” Limited
Oct. 23-24 Toronto Canada “Lights” Limited
Oct. 30-31 Bochum Germany “Lights” Limited
Nov. 13-14 Nashville USA “Lights” Limited
Nov. 27-28 Florence Italy “Lights” Limited

I’m particularly excited about Grand Prix Baltimore, as that’s where I’m located DC, as it’s only 45 minutes away. No doubt I’ll be doing coverage for the Yo! MTG Taps! podcast, as well as playing in the event itself.

Find more information on the official site, here.

UPDATE: Grand Prix Baltimore has been “renamed” as Grand Prix DC. Apparently there was some confusion regarding what was the nearest major city to the event site. So, it seems the location itself never changed, just the title of the event. Nevertheless, I will be there (even if the drive is a bit further than I had expected).