Tarmogoyf | Modern Masters | Art by Ryan Barger
22, May, 24

MTG Flavor Icon Makes Their Debut in MH3 After 29 Years!

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For most players, the most exciting thing about each new Modern Horizons set is the format-warping cards. For others, however, it’s all about the lore. These sets are an opportunity for Wizards to revisit beloved Planes and characters that couldn’t make it into Standard sets. That’s exactly what they’ve done in Modern Horizons 3, with a playable MTG card for the legendary Disa the Restless.

Disa is a character that didn’t exist beyond scattered blocks of flavor text for 29 years. Now, though, it’s a card you can put in your deck. Disa can even be at the helm of it if you’re playing Commander. Seeing Disa fully realized is fantastic for old-school players, who will remember her ramblings from Ice Age. For players who came to the game more recently, though, her presence is likely to warrant a shrug at best or cause confusion at worst.

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A Disa The Restless MTG Card At Last

Disa the Restless

Before we get into her lore, let’s look at the new Disa card itself. Costing five mana, Disa the Restless has some pretty decent stats and one hell of an ability too. While she’s in play, all your Lhurgoyf cards will bounce right back into play as soon as they hit the graveyard from anywhere other than the battlefield. This includes non-creature Lhurgoyfs, which at present are limited to Modern Horizon 2’s Altar of the Goyf.

In addition, Disa also lets all of your creatures create full token copies of Tarmogoyf when they connect with an opponent’s face. The tokens even keep Tarmogoyf’s original one-and-a-green mana cost. This is a hilarious ability, and it makes Disa an ideal choice if you need to pick one Magic card to take back in a time machine to shock older players. By modern Magic standards, though, it’s probably just fine balance-wise.

This card comes from the Modern Horizons 3 Commander Decks, so, sadly, it won’t be Modern legal. If you want to play Disa, you’ll have to do so in Legacy, Vintage, or Commander.

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Lashings Of Lore

So that’s the Disa card, but who actually is she? To answer that question, we need to take a trip back to 1995 and Ice Age, Magic’s 6th-ever expansion. The set covered events on Dominaria post-Brothers’ War, after the Sylex Blast warped the climate and ushered in the titular Ice Age. Across many of the set’s 383 cards, MTG players could find flavor text referencing a new character called Disa the Restless.

Each of these pieces of flavor text was framed as an entry in Disa’s ongoing journal as she traveled around Dominaria. This flavor text mainly showed up on creatures, giving Disa’s survival tips for dealing with them. In total, Disa’s journal entries adorned 21 cards in the Ice Age set. These let players piece together a picture of her journey. The ‘Restless’ part of her name was likely intended as a joke. Given how much ground she covers if you look at each individual card.

Far from being a mere joke character, though, Disa actually had a substantial role in the story of Ice Age block. Her journey, as revealed by a story in an early edition of The Duelist magazine, was actually a desperate expedition to recruit allies for the war against Lim-Dûl. She had a husband, the Elder Druid Kolbjörn, and an adoptive daughter, Kaysa. Interestingly, both of these characters got dedicated cards before Disa herself.

Disa’s journey came to a tragic end in Alliances, when she succumbed to the plague. This event was shown in the only non-Ice Age card to reference Disa, Stench of Decay. The connection to Lhurgoyfs shown in her card never really comes across in any of these flavor texts, but the first Lhurgoyf was also printed in Ice Age, so that may well be it.

Serving Up The Deep Cuts

The story behind Disa the Restless is an interesting one, and it’s great fun to dive into. Especially if you’re a newer MTG player. It’s also another great example of the stellar work Modern Horizons sets have done, and continue to do, with bringing the lore of the game’s earlier sets to life.

Modern Horizons 1 kicked this tradition off in style. Urza and Yawgmoth, two of the biggest names in Magic lore, finally got cards in this set. Serra also made her debut here as a Planeswalker, capable of creating the iconic Angels that carry her name. There was also a deeper cut in Pashalik Mons, a legend referenced on Mons’s Goblin Raiders way back in Alpha.

Modern Horizons 2 took this idea and ran with it. Cards like Tourach, Dread Cantor, of Hymn to Tourach fame, and Kaldra Compleat, a merged version of the classic Kaldra artifacts from original Mirrodin block, were great additions. There were also big lore characters, like Geyadrone Dihada. If you ask us, the best deep cut from MH2 was undoubtedly Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. Like Disa, this was a tongue-in-cheek character referenced on older cards and one that players likely never expected to see for real.

These lore cards are some of the best parts of Modern Horizons sets and with Disa the Restless and Arna Kennerüd, Skycaptain leading the charge, the third installment is set to keep that proud tradition alive.

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