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Grafdigger's Cage

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Today, we wanted to yatter a bit about Grafdigger's Cage. This one drop artifact heaps a ton of hate on a bunch of graveyard tech like Undying and flashback. If you realise just how popular Snapcaster Mage is, then you will also know that Wizards attempts to balance / throttle the power of some cards / mechanics with hosers such as the Cage.

Similar to when Torpor Orb was revealed with New Phyrexia, a lot of Magic the Gathering players were raging about how it hosed all the popular decks (Caw Blad) or cards with powerful ener-the-battlefield effects which the emerging Birthing Pod builds were using. The sky did not fall or the game not ruined, but players did realise that to be cautious meant that space would need to be alotted in the sideboard. Grafdigger's Cage was at a redonkulous pre-order price but has now calmed down along with gamer's emotions.

Grafdigger's Cage, 1
Artifact, Rare
Creature cards can't enter the battlefield from graveyards or libraries.
Players can't cast cards in graveyards or libraries.

"If you wind up in one of mine, you can be sure as silver it will be your last." —Grafdigger Wulmer

Now a little bit of history on the use of cages on graves.

Wizards of the Coast flavour development people did not need much imagination to come up with the flavour for Grafdigger's Cage - there were already some interesting tombs with such contraptions installed. We've noticed on one or two other Magic the Gathering related sites incorrectly attributed such cages were installed on Victorian era burials in response to an imagined threat of corpses coming back from the dead - vampire or zombie. Although this is cool fictitious horror, the cages were actually installed not to keep the dead in but the living out.

These contraptions are called 'Mortsafes' and were designed to protect the bodies of the dead from disturbance. Prior to the Anatomy Act of 1832 in Britain, any person could without training or license open a anatomical school.

With the proliferation of such schools and ad-hoc anatomy lectures in the early 18th Century, there was an estimated requirement of approximately 500 cadavers per year but the only legal supply of flesh came from the gallows which provided only a fraction of this grisly need. Hence, the parallel proliferation of body snatchers or 'resurrection men' and the schools turned a blind eye as to where such bodies came from. Many bodies showed up on the tables of medical lecture theaters with visible signs of a violent death or subtle signs of recent disinterment from a grave.

The real horror may be less from this darkly themed Magic the Gathering set and more from our very recent history.

The next set in the Duel Deck series, Venser vs. Koth is due out next month (March 30th). There is already a bit of hype about this set and we should very soon within the next few weeks have the full decklist. We suggest you stay tuned to MTG Mint Card which will have all the coolest singles from this set for pre-order.

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