A look back at Magic's series of Holiday Gift Cards

Artwork from Thopter Pie Network. Artwork from Thopter Pie Network. WOTC / VICTOR ADAME MINGUEZ

Wizards of the Coast printed the first-ever special Holiday Gift Card promotional card for its Magic: The Gathering card game in 2006.  Since then, the company has printed one each year leading into the Holiday season.  Can you name them all?

Don't worry -- it's not a test.  If you're wondering what the cards are, just check out the list below.

 

Fruitcake Elemental

 

At the 2006 company holiday party at Wizards of the Coast held a celebration for Alexis Janson, the winner of the first "Great Designer Search" competition.  During that party, the Fruitcake Elemental was handed out.

While there are very few people out there who can stomach fruitcake, the Fruitcake Elemental card was quite well received and kicked off an annual tradition for WotC.

 

Gifts Given

2007 found the second Holiday Gift Card promotional card's release.  It's a direct parody of the Champions of Kamigawa card Gifts Ungiven and features artwork that is quite similar to the original (albeit by a different artist).  Heck, it's almost the exact card with the exception that you search your opponent's deck rather than your own.

It is Gifts Given after all.

 

Evil Presents

Who doesn't like presents (even if they are evil)?  With an attitude reminiscent of Tim Burton's "A Nightmare Before Christmas", Evil Presents was the Holiday Gift Card for 2008.

In name alone, the card is a parody of the original Magic card Evil Presence.  Otherwise it plays quite different.  The card is quite well designed in the sense that it's extremely fun and would be a welcomed addition to almost any Unglued-type game.  Fun, that is, unless you're the one receiving the evil present.

 

Season's Beatings

It almost sounds like what one would expect out of a Christmas episode of a show like "The Simpsons".  2009's Holiday Gift Card was Season's Beatings, parodying the common "Season's Greetings" saying that's oh so prevalent this time of year.

The thing about this card is that it's not too far off from being a black-bordered playable card.  There are probably quite a few EDH players who see Season's Beatings wishing it were legal for the format.

 

Snow Mercy

 

In 2010, Wizards of the Coast gave out Snow Mercy.  Not only is it a nice parody of the Urza's Legacy card No Mercy, it's also (as far as I can tell) the only Snow permanent printed since Coldsnap.  It also throws in the untap symbol, which made its debut in Shadowmoor.  The end result is a card you tap, untap, tap, untap, then tap again to use -- a process that's meant to simulate the shaking of a snow globe.

Not too shabby on the flavor on this one, WotC.  Not too shabby at all.

 

Yule Ooze

 

Why have a yule log when you can have a Yule Ooze?

Given out in 2011, Yule Log seems to refer to the whole concept of overeating during the Holidays.  While the card was well designed and flavored on its own, I kind of feel like WotC missed the mark on this one.  Why not call the card Yule Log (log as in a collection of records rather than the piece of wood) and base it around card draw or something?

Either way, Yule Ooze is what they printed and Yule Ooze is what we have.  Enjoy some cocoa.

 

Naughty // Nice

 

In 2012 WotC printed Naughty // Nice, a dual card that features artwork that looks reminiscent of an evil Ash Williams from the "Evil Dead" series.

The Naughty half of the card looks quite, well, vicious and its rules text encourages in-game theft from your opponent.  That's pretty naughty indeed.  The Nice half, on the other hand, reveals that it's not blood on the guy's lips but rather cherry pie filling (yum!) and that half's rules text works the exact opposite.  Instead of stealing a card from your opponent's deck, you give him/her a card of yours.  How nice of you!

 

Stocking Tiger

 

2014 brings us the gift-giving Stocking Tiger.

Like Evil Presents, the card is a name-only parody of an existing Magic: The Gathering card (Stalking Tiger) with an ability that has nothing to do with the original card.  That's probably a good thing seeing as Stocking Tiger's rules text is much more appealing than the Mirage original.

Now, if only there was a holiday-based pun that could be done with a hidden dragon...

 

Mishra's Toy Workshop

 

While children tend to fantasize about visiting Santa's toy workshop, WotC knows what Magic players are more interested in: Mishra's Workshop (the toy-making one, that is).  For the 2014 Holiday season, that's exactly what WotC provided.

The card is a parody of the extremely powerful original from Antiquities in both name and ability.  Kudos to the card's designers on the added rule to use actual toys as token creatures rather than tokens themselves.

 

Goblin Sleigh Ride

 

Let's take the road before us and sing a chorus or two...!

There have been a handful of winter-themed Goblin cards mostly thanks to the Ice Age set such as Goblin Ski Patrol and Goblin Snowman.  Wizards of the Coast added another to the roster in 2015 with Goblin Sleigh Ride.

The card is fun and flavorful, but there seems to be a functional issue with the wording of its rules text.  I mean, how long is too long to wait for the targeted creature to climb onto the Goblin Sleigh Ride?  I mean, I'm still waiting for my Floral Spuzzem to decide whether or not to destroy one of my opponent's artifacts (and it's been more than 20 years)!

 

Thopter Pie Network

A very topical Holiday Gift Card release by Wizards, the 2016 Holiday Gift Card promo Thopter Pie Network is set in the current block of Kaladesh.  That said, it's actually a direct parody of the Magic Origins card Thopter Spy Network.

For the Pie Network, the designers took a concept used on Mishra's Toy Workshop by making players use food to represent the Thopter tokens the enchantment makes.  While that's not so bad (and rather fun) if you're using something small like M&M's, it might be a bit of a stomach ache if you're using actual pies.

Keep the Tums handy.

So, what will 2017's Holiday Gift Card be? Will it be a parody of a contemporary card from a recently-released set or will it be a pun for the holidays? We're pretty sure only designer Mark Rosewater knows (and he's not telling anytime soon).

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