Could the release of Aether Revolt be any more apt?

There’s a lot going on in the world right now. It’s a complex place filled with all manner of motivations, desires, fears and ambitions. For some people it may well seem to be the apocalypse. Others are happy as pigs in shit. Some feel persecuted and fear that ripples in the water now are foreshadowing of a tsunami on the horizon. I’m sure there’s optimism out there, at the same time I’ve witnessed foreboding that history is doomed to repeat itself. Hell, many people are ignoring politics and world events altogether, whether wilfully ignorant or not. It may be self-preservation or a lack of interest. It is possible to have a multitude of passions. Maybe you’re simultaneously terrified of what’s going on, but also really invested in the next season of Game of Thrones. Since I’ve returned to Facebook, I’ve had heightened anxieties about the state of things. I’ve also had a couple of Magic the Gathering deck ideas. The two aren’t necessarily connected, but neither are they mutually exclusive.

It’s been amazing seeing masses coming together in protest over the recent travel bans. People who are willing to stick up for one another, to put themselves in the midst of trouble because of their love for one another. To see active allyship in a concrete fashion. To draw on the strengths of all walks of humankind The lawyers present on the ground, actively aiding those being held. Nonprofit organisations like the ACLU doing their best to stick up for what’s right. People at home donating, helping them gather resources. People spreading awareness on social media, or harnessing compassion to educate when it’s been difficult. It’s been a heartwarming sight to witness humanity coming together and I hope everyone has enough emotional strength to weather the coming storm. I’m sure it’s just beginning.

I’ve decided to dismantle my Sapling of Colfenor deck. I’ve had it together for years and it’s stopped being fun. It does oppressive things, but in a directionless sense. It also fringes upon deck themes of my other EDH creations. Sometimes it’s in position where it can prevent others from doing anything, but can’t flat out win at the same time. It makes it boring for everyone present, myself included. Instead I’ve decided to put together a partner deck of Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper and Tymna the Weaver. The goal is to get creatures with high toughness, connect and gain life. Doran the Siege Tower and Assault Formation will be used to best bring the strength of my creatures’ resolve to the forefront. Wave of Reckoning, Retribution of the Meek and Austere Command will give purpose to their righteous mission. Then since I’m gaining so much life, use these resources to widen my on-board position. Whether this is bolstering my creatures already on board or drawing more cards to add to my creature count. This higher life total can do some amazing things, whether it’s going HAM with Aetherflux Reservoir or some truly dumb Cradle of Vitality/Well of Lost Dreams shenanigans. Strength together!

On the other hand, while I’m truly impressed at the mobilisation of so many people for a good cause, I’m a little worried about moving in one direction in such a headstrong fashion. Being distracted like that opens up a massive opportunity to be blindsided. It’s a typical political tactic that’s been done time and time again. Back home in New Zealand there was a lot of furor kicked up over potentially changing the flag. People got worked up en masse about altering our national symbol. Meanwhile, the government pushed through bills while everyone’s heads were turned. By the time we all stopped rubbernecking, it was too late to take back what’d happened. While everyone’s (rightfully) kicking up a stink over Trump’s immigration policies, what else is he doing? Is anyone following the money? Any collusion going through with foreign investors or interest parties? What’s left uncovered about his close ties with Putin? Is our anger and indignation being used against us while we’re being played like fools? While we put resources we put into attacking on one front (that may or may not be of major concern to Trump’s inner circle), does it strengthen their true agenda?

I love the card Faerie Artisans. I think it’s super flavourful and should’ve been the card for Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist instead of the milquetoast piece of shit we were given. It even makes things out of other people’s resources. Isn’t that perfect for a necro-alchemist? I’ve been craving an excuse to use it since Commander 2016 was released. My love of this card has driven me to want to create. I’ve got a desire to copy my opponent’s permanents and use their efforts against them. In goes Warstorm Surge to ensure that my copy kills theirs, or Cackling Counterpart to make my own copy that sticks around. Then if they try to play another creature to remove my token, I can use it as a resource. I’ll load the deck up with sacrifice fodder such as Krark-Clan Ironworks, Ashnod’s Altar, Phyrexian Altar and Daretti (both Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast and Daretti, Scrap Savant), or harness Master Transmuter before the token is exiled. Phyrexian Metamorph, Sculpting Steel and Clever Impersonator will pull double time either copying my opponent’s permanents or my own tokens. Soul Foundry and Prototype Portal can keep the shenanigans going. Neurok Transmuter will be there to ensure that if I want to copy something, it’s gonna be the right type. Frankly with all the artifact synergies around, it’s gonna be hard keeping the deck to 99 cards. Silas Renn, Seeker Adept and Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus should be the right figures to command such nefarious schemes.

I get that it seems tasteless to trivialise events that are inspiring fear and anxiety across the world. Any worries based on historical precedent are 100% justified. To anyone who’s suffering right now, I’m happy to make space to hear your worries and listen to concerns. I don’t know exactly how you feel, but I understand the amassing pressure present in the lives of so many people I care about. At the same time, if we entirely lose ourselves to our fears and don’t keep our wits about us, then we really have lost. Find levity where you can, even in dark places. Keep your head up, heart strong and reach out if you need a hand. This next bit may get rough.

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