Magic: The Gathering is a game that can help build your vocabulary. Card names, flavor text, mechanics—they all provide opportunities to learn new words or strengthen your understanding of ones you already know. It is time, once again, to test you’re your MTG-based vocabulary with a pop quiz! Be sure to also check out my last MTG vocabulary quiz if you missed it.
Big flavor win for both of these cards. The owl—perched like a wizard's familiar—has scry 3, so you have to assume it knows what's up. The Augur of Bolas can see into the future—of your library. Good stuff.
An alternate definition of augur is "one of a group of ancient Roman officials charged with observing and interpreting omens for guidance in public affairs." Augurs were priests and bureaucrats in the ancient world, Rome and Etruria in particular, and interpreted the will of the gods by observing the flight patterns of birds and other omens.
The command here is one toward simplicity and the end of excess—whether they be artifacts, enchantments, or creatures. One little card lets you purge so much clutter!
In economics, austerity is a policy of reducing a nation's budget deficit through a combination of higher taxes and lower government spending.
The art shows a recess between rows of trees. The flavor text calls it a haven. Flying creatures can't make it through the bower to block. Bower Passage has flavor covered.
A common synonym of bower is arbor. During the Renaissance, arbors were fashioned out of willow trees to provide shelter. Today, they are more permanent features of buildings and parks, and can even be purchased at Costco (foliage not included, apparently).
The white-mana-aligned Phyrexians are part of the Machine Orthodoxy, which has the goal of transforming Mirrodin into New Phyrexia and a perfect home. Sounds religious to me. Elesh Norn is their leader, so this fits very well.
The Cenobites, led by Pinhead, are the extra-dimensional bad guys in the Hellraiser world.
Cruel Edict (as well as Diabolic Edict and several other edicts in Magic) allows you to command your opponent to sacrifice a creature. This proclamation ignores pesky creature abilities such as protection and hexproof since it targets the player. This is a mechanical flavor success—even if the art and text don't specifically support the idea.
The Edict of Worms—pronounced in 1521 by Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor—made Martin Luther an outlaw, banned the possession of his work, and permitted him to be murdered without consequence. The Edict of Milan, signed by Emperors Constantine and Licinius in 313, granted freedom of worship to Christians throughout the Roman Empire.
Countering a spell is certainly to oppose the planeswalker who cast it. Why this guy’s mouth disappeared Neo-style is a little unclear, however.
Gainsay originated in the 14th century as a combination of the words "say" and "against." It is not a word you hear often anymore conversationally, and it is classified as "archaic," or at best "formal" and "literary," by dictionaries. I like the word, but who am I to gainsay the dictionary people?
When the Mnemonic Wall enters the battlefield, it helps you remember an instant or sorcery you already cast. Sure, I'll take that.
I'm guessing everybody knows at least a dozen mnemonic devices. "Every Good Boy Does Fine" for the lines of the treble clef, one of many variants. "Never eat soggy Wheaties" for the four points of the compass. Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey for maneuvering screws. How about "I before E except after C"? I could do a couple thousand words on this alone.
An ooze that divides into ever-smaller oozes when it dies? This one gets an A.
Mitosis is the process by which a cell partitions itself into two generally identical cells. It was discovered in 1882 and is a critical process for cellular growth, repair, and reproduction.
Is casting the spell the portent of the betrayal of a creature? I'm not clear on what is being foreshadowed. Scry certainly fits, but I think you have to work too hard to make the flavor work on this one.
The phrase "a portent of things to come" is a commonly-used phrase, and it’s the first thing I think of when I hear the word. It is usually used ominously and means a sample of events that are to occur in the future.
Not much to go on with the art, but the flavor text, "Even the trivial can inspire," is at least connected to being pedantic. I imagine the scholar pictured is in the act of Cliff Clavening his peers out of their minds.
Being pedantic is usually a negative thing and suggests an obsession with minutia often coupled with a condescending tone. You play Magic: The Gathering, so chances are you can immediately identify a pedant. If you cannot, it might be you.
So, how'd you do? What words from Magic: The Gathering's long history enhanced your vocabulary?