Thinking this must of been the paincast mechanic Maro was hinting at. Shame they ditched this for the lamesauce that is Unleash.
I doubt it. This is very close to bloodthrist, and has little to do with casting. I'm guessing paincast redues mana cost by 1 per life you've lost, or life your opponents lost. Crazy powerful mechanic.
You should never explain layers to people unless one of the following is true: they're studying for a judge exam, you're both in a Ben Affleck movie and it's the only way to save the world, or you hate them.
Occassionally when catering, I've been put the task of arranging Fruit and Cheese or Grilled Vegetable platters. More than once a high class buffet has started with the mark of Phyrexia upon it. Since i've got a good eye for color so it looks great to people who don't get the "joke" (it's a niceley divided circle after all: the outline gives you 4-6 "regions" to work with), this has actually got me put on platter design more often, resulting in Phyrexia's presence at more private and industry events.