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Scent of the Spark


When, after an Atlas-heavy moment of cinematic tension, scene-stealing Brad Nelson decides the best use for the stick of deodorant is to eat it, I not only laughed until the tears came but recalled vividly my teenage days of trying to decide, What the hell should I smell like?

So, you might be That Dude (I use “dude” gender-neutrally here) played by Brad Nelson or maybe you're a hygiene fanatic or maybe you've even bought some cologne or perfume over the years. The perfume industry would like us to believe that scent is a defining part of our image, and that's a good reason to drop $40 to $85 of our hard-earned chump change on a bottle that isn't single-malt scotch.

Brad Pitt would like the ladies to believe that Chanel No. 5 makes us every man’s “inevitable” woman.

Almost as sexy as our Brad eating Speed Stick. What you smell like, just like how you dress or how you conduct yourself at a tournament, is not a definition of who you are but a signal to others of who you might be. What attracts us to each other? Common interests, laughing at the same jokes, a nice smile, sure. I kinda believe in pheromones. A friend also told me an interesting theory: that we’re programmed to have lustful feelings for those most genetically distant than ourselves. Of course, that friend spent a lot of time running naked through the woods hunting mushrooms with his Russian posse and a lot of time trying to convince me we should live in a geodesic dome on the edge of an abandoned field, so . . . 

Fungal Sprouting
Urza's Hot Tub
Hickory Woodlot

Faulty science aside, I have had personal experience with visceral reactions to scent. There was one guy I couldn’t date because he smelled like meatloaf (though I love meatloaf, both the dish and the singer/actor), and another I spent ten years being obsessed with because he played guitar and smelled like Ivory soap. There’s one girl I have a total crush on who smells like the pages of a brand-new book.

What would planeswalkers smell like if they wore mass-marketed scents? Take the quiz to find out which 'walker you identify with most (each is just one entity, not their various incarnations), then see which products you might want to try next time you cruise the mall and stroll—I mean 'walk—oh so casually into Sephora or Target.

There are only three questions; track your selections.

Patrick Chapin (DailyMTG.com)

You're at a Sealed tourney; it's pre-Round 1. Patrick Chapin is sitting in your seat. What's your move?

  • A. I have eight byes. You must mean my seat at Morton's steakhouse.
  • C. I give him the formal greeting of my people—which involves rubbing my whiskers on his face—then ask him to move his ass.
  • D. I tell him to move his ass.
  • E. I stand there and stare at him until he leaves.
  • F. I sit down next to him, flip my hair, and unzip my hoodie as I check my deck and wait for his move.
  • G. I tell him he's in my seat in a casual way, then ask him for recompense by looking at my deck.
  • H. I sigh, then go get a nonfat soy no-foam latte from the café to kill time until he vacates.
  • I. I challenge him to a pack war—with a couple packs from my Beta booster box.
  • J. I ask for his autograph.
  • K. I flip the table—he must be doing this to infuriate me.
  • L. I introduce myself and shake his hand as a respected peer.
  • M. I sit anywhere in the general vicinity and start looking at my own deck!
  • N. I send my two friends over to tell him to relocate—or else.
  • O. I politely interrupt and ask him if he has five minutes for a discourse on organized religion.
  • P. I say “Patrick, I am your Father,” then realize I forgot to take my meds and rush to the bathroom.
  • Q. I growl unintelligibly and then ask if he wants to share my Slim Jim.
  • R. I open my notebook and start to sketch him.

“Mr. Vorthos” Matt Cavotta (DailyMTG.com)

You're at your local game store and decide to indulge in some Vorthos swag. What do you buy?

  • A. The LGS
  • C. Settlers of Catan
  • D. Fiery Fusion Cheetos and Mountain Dew
  • E. A $1 donation to the local charity that the LGS is supporting
  • F. I get the hottie I just met to buy me a new deck box and play mat—with art that looks like me on them.
  • G. Color-coordinated dice—practical and pretty, form and function fulfilled
  • H. A vegan burrito that I'll feel guilty about eating
  • I. Erotic art books
  • J. A Boros guild t-shirt that I'll mod to look like it's a fist in a butt, ROFLz!
  • K. What's a Vorthos? Do Fiery Fusion Cheetos and Mountain Dew count?
  • L. A vintage Duelist abacus life counter (it can also double as a shank).
  • M. Foil singles I need to complete my competitive Standard masterpiece
  • N. Sunglasses
  • O. High-quality white sleeves. The righteous need not fear telegraphing their intentions.
  • P. Warhammer figurines. I like to paint them all silver. And D&D Dragonlance modules.
  • Q. A box of Snickers and one of those furry hats that Kibler wore at Pro Tour: Honolulu
  • R. Hello Kitty pens, a Hello Kitty notepad, and a Justin Bieber iPhone case
  • S. I set fire to the toilet paper in the restroom and then steal all the 5-Hour Energy bottles from next to the register while everyone's distracted.

Travis Woo (StarCityGames.com)

My favorite hoodie can best be described as:

  • A. Inevitable
  • C. Waterproof, with a furry lining
  • D. Rugged
  • E. Comforting—I've washed it so many times.
  • F. Unzipped and crumpled on the edge of the bed *wink*  . . . 
  • G. I don't have a favorite hoodie. They don't have enough pockets.
  • H. Made of organic fibers and dyed with organic dyes! Plus, it smells like incense and trail mix.
  • I. Designer leather
  • J. LEGIT
  • K. Flammable?
  • L. Understated
  • M. A byproduct of the lingering traces of my teenage angst
  • N. Camouflage
  • O. Made in 'Merika.
  • P. What is a “hoodie?” Do you mean a sweatshirt with a hood attached?
  • Q. Sweat-stained Carhartt
  • R. Cute
  • S. Covered in cigarette burns, studs, and Anarchist patches and autographed by all the original members of Metallica and Dream Theater

Mostly As: Your scent identity is Nicol Bolas

Mostly Bs: Your scent identity is Sarkhan

Mostly Cs: Your scent identity is Ajani

Mostly Ds: Your scent identity is Koth

Mostly Es: Your scent identity is Elspeth

Mostly Fs: Your scent identity is Liliana

Mostly Gs: Your scent identity is Venser

Mostly Hs: Your scent identity is Nissa

Mostly Is: Your scent identity is Sorin

Mostly Js: Your scent identity is Domri Rade

Mostly Ks: Your scent identity is Chandra

Mostly Ls: Your scent identity is Tezzeret

Mostly Ms: Your scent identity is Jace

Mostly Ns: Your scent identity is Vraska

Mostly Os: Your scent identity is Gideon

Mostly Ps: Your scent identity is Karn

Mostly Qs: Your scent identity is Garruk

Mostly Rs: Your scent identity is Tamiyo

Mostly Ss: Your scent identity is Tibalt

Till next time, may Magic be your self-made pheromones.

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