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#1 - 13th Chair
First up, Order of Zahir and the 13th Chair. Like most of the cards, this one also has many roots that tap the traditions of history, mythology and collectible card games at the same time.
To start from the last mentioned, the obvious influence for this card is Magic: The Gathering. In Magic the blue side has spells that allow the caster to control the game by returning creatures to their owners' hands. In Magic, however, mana was quite abundant and unspent mana didn't stack to be used in later turns. Thus, returning the unsummoned creatures into play was cheaper and the unsummon genre had real use only in somewhat perverted decks (for example, with Stasis or Time Twister). Also in Cabals "unsummoning" is substantially more powerful and has all-around usefulness because of the board. Returning units to hand is a way of controlling the board which, in some cases, equals to destroying the units.
All right, you already know the Chair rocks and how it is used if you have ever won with Zahir. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that the card was intended to have the base cost of only two resources. But that's not all, as they put it in the classical Television Shop. Originally the card also had a little but devastating side effect of giving two domination points for playing it, which was especially nice in connection with the other Zahir actions that had similar bonuses.
An early sketch of 13th Chair.
The mythical roots of the card lead to the New Testament. Judas the traitor sat on the 13th chair when Jesus gathered the disciples to the Last Supper. Later, in the Arthuriana of the late Middle Ages (a group of texts about King Arthur and his knights, written by several authors from different regions of Europe) it is mentioned that the Round Table of Camelot was made for Uther Pendragon, the father of King Arthur. It imitated the Last Supper table and the table of the Holy Grail of Joseph of Arimathea. So it had twelve seats plus one that had belonged to the treacherous disciple and had to remain empty. Seating oneself on the chair, unless you were of the caliber of such high level paladins like Galahad and Percival, meant utter disappearance (to the hand of God?). Further on, alchemy, the stuff that Zahir does, is connected to everything that has to do with the Grail.
That's that. In the next file: Baba Yaga.
"The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water..." -Revelation 8:10
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