Throat Wolf

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The Throat Wolf is perhaps the most famous hoax related to Magic: The Gathering. In many variations of the story, the Throat Wolf was an extremely rare card, usually a creature card described as having 'double first strike' or 'firstest strike'. Various versions continue to circulate on the internet, usually with obscure or technically impossible rules text.

Stories about the card began in May 1994 when Usenet poster Jesse Fuchs added a reference to the card in a follow-up to a trade notice [1]. Over the next couple of weeks, Fuchs and other posters on rec.games.deckmaster began discussing the made-up card as if it were real. Fuchs even posted a "rules question" to the group describing the card as being able to attack during the opponents turn [2]. This was perhaps the turning point of the hoax, since many Usenet readers posted follow-ups discussing the card - apparently unaware that it did not exist.

These first posts were made during a time when Legends had just been released. Most players did not have ready access to full card checklists or spoilers, and so had no way of knowing whether this card was real or not. In fact, Legends was plagued with card distribution problems and many cards at the time really were "ultra-rare". As time passed, the Throat Wolf legend spread and grew.

Later, the term was used in a variety of in-jokes, and Magic R&D often used it as a temporary name for a card in development. The Homelands card named Heart Wolf pays homage to the hoax. The Visions card Talruum Champion was originally designed for Mirage using the playtest name 'Throat Wolf' -- its ability is essentially "firstest strike".

In the short story Chef's Surprise in the story anthology Distant Planes, the main character, Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, works as a chef for the demon Vincent, Lord of the Pit. All of the meals she cooks for him are made from actual creature cards from the game except one: Barbequed Throat Wolf ribs.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Mirage playtest cards - Magic Arcana (February 19, 2002; Archived March 4, 2008)
  • Top Ten of the Morning - Mark Rosewater (October 25, 2004)
  • On the Trail of the Throat Wolf by Mike Selinker. The Duelist #9. February 1996