The Strange Christmas Card In The Unglued Sequel

Art: Anson Maddocks

Magic: The Gathering once tried a non-Christmas-time holiday card. It didn't really work out.

Following Unglued, which came out in 1998, Magic quickly made plans for another Un-series. This was called Unglued 2: The Obligatory Sequel. The absurdist cards, either riffing off of Magic lore, reimagining cards, or just making otherwise wacky new ones, was popular but did not sell enough. In short, the original Unglued just wasn't popular enough and the planned sequel was cancelled.

And that was strange because they had already put in a lot of work into it.

Cards were pretty much all laid out and ready to go, with art even being commissioned, and in some cases, already completed when the decision came time to cancel it. It is one of those great what-ifs in Magic history.

Would it have been an even worse failure, or would it have rejiggered interest enough and become its own thing? Sadly, we'll never know.

What is notable for the month of December is how that one card managed to be in the position to be the first Christmas card to ever see print outside of the annual holiday cards Wizards of the Coast distributes.

That card? Santawar Elves.

It's a die-rolling card that buffs itself equal to the die's result.  Unless that roll is a six, that is, at which point it gets sacrificed instead.

According to Mark Rosewater "This card came about because one day it dawned on me that in pop culture there are a number of different types of elves. Wouldn't it be funny if we took a Magic elf (a Llanowar elf in particular) and put it in the place of a different type of elf. After thinking through all the options—making cookies, secretly fixing shoes at night, etc.—I decided to choose one of Santa's elves.

"The card mechanic was playing around with using a six-sided die," he continued. "The reason this card never made it to Unhinged is twofold. First, as I've said, Unhinged didn't use any six-sided dice. Second, this card ended up being too similar to the card Free-Range Chicken from Unglued. The one thing I'm not sure of looking back is why I didn't use the card concept and art and just make a new card to match."

So, like many cards, it not only was never in Unglued 2, it didn't make it into the next un-series, either.

It was, however an attempt at a Christmas-themed that would be released outside of the Christmas season.

Christmas in July, anyone?

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.