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"Card Wars" is the fourteenth episode in the fourth season of Adventure Time. It is the ninety-second episode overall.
The episode starts at the Tree Fort with Finn eating sandwiches and drinking juice on the couch. Jake soon walks in with a box and sighs obnoxiously to get Finn's attention. Finn asks what is in the box, and Jake eventually explains that the box contains the cards to play Card Wars. Jake explains that Lady Rainicorn does not want to play with him anymore because he always beats her. Finn tells Jake that he wants to play, and they begin setting up a table with snacks as BMO walks by. Jake asks if BMO wants to play with them, but it ominously replies that it does "not play such games... with Jake."
Shrugging off BMO's cryptic words, Finn and Jake decide the stakes: the winner will be a "cool guy," and the loser will be a "dweeb." Jake fills two cups with soda, but adds coffee grounds, beetle butter, grape jelly, kimchi, and Ham Chunk Juice to one. Finn laments the loss of perfectly good soda, but Jake quickly writes labels on the cups and explains that this is part of the stakes; the winner will get the normal "cool guy" cup, and the loser must drink from the gross "dweeb" cup. After Finn agrees, Jake explains the rules of Card Wars, which takes two hours. Jake then sets up his kingdom and prepares to start the game, noticing Finn has fallen asleep from the long-winded explanation of the rules. Finn says to start anyway despite Jake's protests, and the two begin playing.
Both players "floop" their land cards, and Jake reminds Finn to keep his hand hidden to avoid giving his opponent a strategic advantage. He then begins his turn by activating "The Silo of Truth," which shows him all of the cards in Finn's hand. Jake mocks Finn's hand, but takes one of Finn's cards, "Cerebral Blood Storm," which magically flies into his hand. Entering his battle phase, Jake proceeds to summon his "Husker Knights" for an attack on Finn's "Schoolhouse," backed by his stolen "Cerebral Blood Storm." When prompted to defend, Finn asks if his "Cool Dog" and "Ancient Scholar" can defend against the knights, which Jake laughs off as obviously impossible.
Finn then floops "The Pig"; Jake scoffs at this, telling Finn that creatures must be "activated" to attack or defend—not flooped. However, Finn notes that the pig can be flooped, activating its effect which, to Jake's horror, results in the pig marching into his kingdom and eating his corn fields. Since the "Husker Knights" are powered by corn fields, the pig inadvertently causes them to fall apart, negating Jake's attack. Furthermore, Jake's "Cerebral Blood Storm" only destroys his own troops, since Finn is not attacking. Jake is upset at Finn's progress, but Finn explains that it is "just logic"—that pigs eat corn. Unable to argue with the results, Jake grimly announces the end of his turn.
Finn seems uncertain how to proceed with the beginning of his turn, and Jake tells him that he needs to discard a card from his hand and draw a new one. As Finn does so, Jake mocks him as "a babe in the woods," warning that Finn's "beginner's luck ends this round." However, Finn surprises his friend by adding two new buildings to his kingdom: "Spirit Tower" and "The Cave of Solitude." In his own battle phase, Finn sends his pig to "The Cave of Solitude" for a nap and sends his "Ancient Scholar" to study in the "Schoolhouse." A bewildered Jake asks if Finn was planning to attack, but Finn explains that he will attack on another turn.
As Finn's turn ends, Jake gleefully declares that fate has turned in his favor, declaring his intent to destroy Finn's pig and regain the advantage on his turn. He plays "Field of Nightmares" to summon a legion of "Earlings" to "scare [Finn's] pig to death"; Finn points out that they cannot, as they are unable to enter "The Cave of Solitude." Jake attempts to cast "Teleport" to bring the pig out, but Finn notes that "Teleport" only works on the caster's creatures. Jake admits that Finn is correct. Confident in his position, Finn taunts an increasingly flustered Jake, declaring that he is the "cool guy."
The taunt, however, gives Jake an idea; he excitedly floops his "Volcano" despite Finn's shocked protests. Although the resulting lava flow annihilates most of Jake's own kingdom, a stray rock destroys Finn's cave, along with the pig inside it. Happy that he finally killed the pig, Jake plays "Reclaim Landscape" to restore his kingdom to its original state, reviving his "Husker Knights" in the process. Next, Jake moves his "Useless Swamp" card to reveal "The Immortal Maize Walker" underneath, a powerful-looking spirit creature that does triple damage if its controller has cornfields in their kingdom.
With a triumphant scream of "I told you cornfields are awesome!" Jake prepares to attack, only for Finn's "Ancient Scholar" to emerge from the undamaged "Schoolhouse." Finn explains that his scholar had been studying a "raise the dead" ability, which he uses to resurrect his pig. Jake looks on in frustration as Finn floops his pig once more, devastating Jake's knights by destroying his cornfields. Finn then notices that his "Spirit Tower" is "doing a thing" as it brings Jake's "Immortal Maize Walker" over to Finn's side. Aghast at the "ganking" of his Maize Walker, Jake walks away from the table, grumbling to himself in frustration. A worried Finn suggests a break, only for Jake to grow to a huge size and dangle Finn off his finger, ordering him to play the game. After recalling BMO's statement that it does not play Card Wars with Jake, Finn says he needs to go to the bathroom (or the "boy's style room") so he can get away from the table and find BMO.
After dropping on Finn's head with its "BMO Chop" attack, BMO explains that the last time it beat Jake in Card Wars, Jake did not talk to it for a month. Finn realizes that his well-intentioned attempt to cheer Jake up is only making things worse, and BMO suggests that he will have to "take a dive." As Jake pulls Finn from all the way upstairs back to the table—again demanding that he play the game—Finn decides to intentionally lose. He declares that he is about to use his ultimate attack, to which Jake replies that he still has his "Wandering Bald Man." However, instead of sending "The Immortal Maize Walker" to finish the game, he chooses to send his pig into battle. The Pig moves into a muddy section of Jake's kingdom to attack his last creature, a "Wandering Bald Man," and a pathetic but suspenseful battle ensues.
To both Finn and Jake's dismay, the pig wins the battle, and a scowling Jake prepares to admit defeat. However, as the pig begins to return to Finn's side, it gets stuck in the mud and falls under Jake's control. This causes Jake to regain his excitement; since pigs cannot leave mud landscapes once they enter, he gleefully declares "the pig is mine!" He then plays another "Reclaim Landscape" card to restore his cornfields, before summoning "Archer Dan" to destroy all of Finn's buildings with corn-tipped arrows. For his final move, Jake summons a large, reaper-like creature that takes control of all of Finn's creatures. Jake triumphantly explains that he has won, since Finn has no creatures left.
Finn congratulates Jake even as the dog rubs his face in the game board and hands over the "dweeb" cup. After taking a sip, Finn claims that it is good and asks if Jake wants to try it, and a surprised Jake obliges. He then immediately spits it out because it is disgusting, and Finn jokingly calls him a dweeb. The scene then closes with the two of them still sipping the gross drink together, while BMO shakes its head at them in disappointment.
- Husker Knights
- Immortal Maize Walker
- The Pig
- Archer Dan
- Cool Dog
- Ancient Scholar
- Wandering Bald Man
- Lady Rainicorn (mentioned)
- This episode was turned into a mobile game, Adventure Time - Card Wars. A wiki for this game can be found here: Card Wars Wiki.
- A preview of this episode was shown on July 14 during Cartoon Network's Big Fan Weekend 2012.
- Only fourteen cards in the game were used: "Silo of Truth," "Cerebral Blood Storm," "Husker Knights," "Ancient Scholar," "The Pig," "The Cave of Solitude," "Legion of Earlings," "Spirit Tower," "Field of Nightmares," "Volcano," "Reclaim Landscape," "The Immortal Maize Walker," "Summon Archer Dan," and the Field Reaper. "Useless Swamp," "Cool Dog," "Teleport," and "Wandering Bald Man" were all shown and named, but never used directly.
- This is the first time Jake has referred to Finn as "Finn Human."
- The same music played in the title card is also played when the pig is activated and eats Jake's corn fields.
- The pig Finn uses during the game slightly resembles Mr. Pig.
- The flame explosion in the long preview before the "Card Wars" title was also used in the "Princess Cookie" preview.
- The Cup of Many Ales from "Video Makers" is seen again in this episode.
- The music that plays during the scene in which Jake explains the rules of the game to Finn was originally used in "Too Young," during the "Prank Machine" scene.
- This episode has a sequel in season 7, "Daddy-Daughter Card Wars."
- Along with other ingredients, Jake adds kimchi, a popular Korean side dish, to the Dweeb soda cup
- The card game contains various game attributes from popular trading card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon, Cardfight: Vanguard!!, Future Card Buddyfight and Magic: the Gathering. Jake also mentions the "battle phase," a phase in both Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: the Gathering.
- The term "Floop" appears to be synonymous with Magic: the Gathering's "Tap" mechanic.
- Additionally, Jake uses the term "Ganked" when Finn takes control of his Immortal Maize Walker, a term used commonly by Magic: the Gathering players for the same event.
- "Corn Fields" in Card Wars could be allegorical to Plains (White Magic) in Magic: the Gathering. The criticism Finn throws on Jake for using only Corn Fields bears great similarity to deck construction discussion and "smack-talk" used by actual Magic players.
- The term "Casting" that was mentioned is a very common way of placing cards into certain areas, such as Future Card Buddyfight, which is another popular trading card game.
- Jake's kingdom includes structures similar to Stonehenge, the Greek Parthenon, and the Roman Colosseum.
- Finn called himself "A Card Wars super Amadeus!" in reference to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's genius, especially from a very young age.
- BMO saying "B-Mo chop!" is a reference to the manga series Soul Eater, in which several characters (namely Maka and Lord Death) do the same thing.
- This episode reveals that Jake has a very obsessive-competitive personality that he cannot control even when it comes to Finn, Lady Rainicorn, or BMO.
- It is shown that Finn and BMO are better at Card Wars than Jake; BMO says that it beat Jake, and Finn let Jake win so he would not ignore him for a month or longer out of anger like he did with BMO. It is also possible that Lady Rainicorn herself may be better at Card Wars than Jake too; she may let him win in order to avoid any trouble or she does not like being beat by him, much less the way he behaves when he plays the game.
- Coincidentally, both Finn and Jake turn the tide of their game with seemingly useless cards. Finn uses "The Pig" to devastate the cornfields powering Jake's army; in turn, Jake's "Useless Swamp" allows him to gain control of "The Pig" after it battles his "Wandering Bald Man" in the swamp.
- It seems strange that, having always lived together, and Jake loving the game so much, Finn still hadn't heard about the game before, or known about Jake's behavior when he loses a game.
- This episode was originally titled "Card Quest."
- This episode was originally scheduled to air on July 2, 2012. However, due to a last minute programming change, it was moved to Monday, July 16, putting it after the two-part episode: "Princess Monster Wife," and "Goliad."
- This episode was re-rated as TV-PG-V, but when it aired in 2016 it was rated TV-PG.
- After Jake says "And then you'll hate me," the words he wrote on both cups disappear.
- The cups move in between some scenes.
- When Finn rejoins the game after talking to BMO, the writing on the cup says "DWEEP" instead of "DWEEB."
- The word "DWEEB" is seen written on two different parts of a cup even though Jake only wrote it once.
- There are continuity errors regarding Finn's missing teeth.
- Some items on the table (notably potato chip bags) are gone when Jake pulls Finn back to the game. However, when Finn returns there is a new bowl of chips; Jake may have put the chips in that bowl.
- When Finn's "Spirit Tower" captures Jake's "Immortal Maize Walker," Jake calls the latter a "Spirit Walker."
- At about 10:57 into the episode, Finn's schoolhouse and tower are still on the board after they have been destroyed, but when it zooms out, they're both gone again.
- Apparently, a card is "flooped" by turning it to the left, and "activated" by turning it to the right. With this in mind, it is noticeable that Jake activated his land cards at the beginning of the game; also, Finn activated the Spirit Tower and Cave of Solitude, instead of flooping.
- When Finn sends his pig to attack Jake's "Wandering Bald Man," the creatures are at the edge of the "Useless Swamp." After the pig defeats the bald man and gets stuck in the swamp, it appears in the middle of the swamp, then back to the edge again in the next scene.
- When Finn's pig eats Jake's corn which defeats his Husker Knights and makes the Cerebral Bloodstorm rain over them, the bloodstorm appears to be two brains rather than one.
- When Finn and Jake are shown through the window, the Card Wars box appears grey, but when they are shown from inside the treehouse, the box turns brown (although this may be because of the tint of the window).
- When Jake uses the Field Reaper to take control of Finn's creatures, there is no spellbook in Ancient Scholar's hands.
- Jake plays a "Volcano" about halfway through the game. However, the volcano can be seen on his land before the game even starts.
- There is a continuity error in which the words on the cup keep disappearing and reappearing while Finn and Jake were talking about whether Finn was asleep while explaining the rules or not.