Just about any player of Magic: The Gathering has some opinion about the power level of cards throughout the scope of the game. Many players fear a phenomenon called power creep, in which Magic: The Gathering's cards are slowly getting stronger and stronger over time, eventually making past sets obsolete after years of being strong. However, most Magic fans would agree that Wizards of the Coast has come very far in balancing the game's cards. Anyone who has been playing the game since its inception remembers the wild west that was Alpha, where balance was all over the place and Magic still had a lot of soul searching to do.
Most cards from the first couple years of Magic's life are practically unplayable now. Strong cards looked extremely different; fans were often satisfied with vanilla creatures that were just costed reasonably for their power and toughness. Magic's cards designs are vastly different nowadays, and generally cards are far and away stronger than those printed at the start of the game. However, Wizards did print some cards back in the day that remain unspeakably powerful. The Power Nine is one of the most famous lists of cards in Magic: The Gathering. Members of the Power Nine are some of the rarest and most expensive cards in the game, and remain banned or restricted for their ability to turn any game on its head.
Over half of the Power Nine is made up by a nine card cycle of Moxes. Each Mox is a jeweled amulet of some kind, and they all serve a very simple purpose. The five Moxes in the Power Nine are all artifacts that cost 0 mana and do nothing other than tapping for one mana of a certain color, with one of Magic's five colors assigned to each Mox. On paper, a card that just adds a little bit of mana doesn't sound too strong. However, Moxes can give the player who is using them a huge jumpstart on the game. Lands are restricted to one played per turn for a reason -- that rule prevents players from vastly accelerating their mana base ahead of the opponent and steamrolling them. A player with a handful of Moxes can play all of them at once and then cast a 5 or 6 mana creature on their first turn, ending the game before it started.
Three more members of the Power Nine are instants and sorceries that provide powerful and game-changing instantaneous effects. Notably, all three of these spells are blue. Many Magic veterans agree that blue was one of the strongest colors in Magic's early days. Blue had many powerhouses outside of the Power Nine back in the day, including Counterspell, Mana Drain, and Force of Will, but that doesn't mean the Power Nine's blue cards are any less impressive. Time Walk alone is a shocking card. For just two mana, the caster gets an extra turn after their current one. The value of an extra turn can't be understated for dealing damage, setting up combos, and more; it's no surprise that extra turn effects are so expensive in Magic nowadays.
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