Tuesday, 27 October 2020 08:20

Robot Chicken x Magic: How a TV show inspired one of the rarest MTG cards ever printed

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Robot Chicken x Magic: How a TV show inspired one of the rarest MTG cards ever printed WORTHPOINT

Every once in a while, Wizards of the Coast puts out a special Magic: The Gathering card that only a few people get to have. Sometimes they were specially made for Richard Garfield because he had kids or he was getting married or something. Other times they were made for building inaugurations, and other times still they were created for early tournament winners. It seems like any odd reason can be used so long as someone high up at Wizards of the Coast approves it.

And that's how one of the few pop culture based cards, one based on the Cartoon Network show Robot Chicken, was approved of and printed in 2010. That's right - the stop motion Adult Swim series had a special card made for some of the writers.

You see, back in 2010, a Pro Tour tournament was being held in San Diego. While the tournament was business as usual, there was a special note to it. A Massive Magic (MTG with drastically over-sized cards) round was held. Helping to sponsor and captain it were the writers of Robot Chicken. A lot of improvisations were made for using giant cards, including peoples shoes being used as counters. And it became super popular. What had been sort of a gimmick for the tournament wound up being the highlight of the tournament. A lot of people even got Robot Chicken merch in return, so that wound up making a great night even greater.

Shows being used as counters during a round of "Massive Magic" / WOTC

WotC was so grateful for the increased exposure and for making the tournament one of the most memorable in years that they made a special card for the six writers from Robot Chicken who participated. Fittingly, it was named, and indeed was, a Robot Chicken and was literally one of the few 'present cards' ever created.

 A mockup of the Robot Chicken MTG card. / WOTC

As a 2/2 artifact creature with a creature token generation and targeted removal power, Robot Chicken was a relatively powerful card.  It could easily find a space in a number of casual-oriented decks such as those found in Oathbreaker and EDH. That is, assuming you can get one of the six ever made. Nevermind that they're not sanctioned for use in any format.

Today the six cards have generally stayed with the writers they were given to, though one for sure was sold online. The other five seemed to have stuck with the people that got them.

It's not quite as rare as any of the others we mentioned early on, but, as Mark Rosewater has said, some such cards could actually be legal in certain formats or events. And, unlike other über-rare cards, odds are that no others even similar to this one are to be produced.

Wizards of the Coast has historically shied away from cross-promotion with non-MTG products, though that hasn't quite been the case in recent years with the promotional release of My Little Pony cards in 2019, Godzilla alternate card arts and names in Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths, and the very recent and controversial release of the The Walking Dead Secret Lair cards.

But still, for such a rare card, it's odd that it was given away for help rather than a specific event or promotion.