Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Christmas Cards in Magic
Magic's "happy holiday" promos are unique tournament-banned cards Wizards of the Coast distributes to staff or business parties. Like the "Un" sets of cards, they have a unique gray border indicating their casual status.
While not allowed in events, they're still fun and festive spells that fetch a pretty penny thanks to their extreme rarity—which reign supreme? These are the ten best holiday spells in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Season's Beatings
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
Beatings has its downsides, only working at sorcery speed and specifically needing four red mana, making it unsuitable outside mono-red. But it has all creatures a player controls deal their power as damage to other random creatures that player controls.
Depending on your luck, this can result in only a death or two or massive mayhem, but compared to other field wipes, you don't have to worry about your own creatures getting hit. Beatings also works well against enemy deathtouchers, as they'll kill whoever they hit thanks to their keyword.
9. Snow Mercy
This enchantment puts a snow counter on any creature that deals damage to you, letting you instantly tap Mercy (well, technically you untap and tap it several times to imitate shaking a snow globe) to tap all creatures with snow counters.
This creates a nice instant-speed shield, especially in formats like commander where you have extra health and can afford taking hits before being your shield works. Mercy also has the snow subtype, an extra bonus for snow-based decks.
8. Evil Presents
Evil Presents lets you play a creature from your hand for free, but under an opponent's control. However, that creature is forced to attack each turn and in an odd effect, attacks its own controller, an evil presence indeed.
Give your opponent a powerful creature, or one with negative effects, to prove 'tis better to give than to receive.
7. Thopter Pie Network
A pun on blue's similar "Thopter Spy Network", Pie Network creates a flying 1/1 thopter token at your upkeep if you're eating. So keep some candy canes on hand, and you're guaranteed a free creature each turn.
As a fun little bonus gimmick, you have to represent Pie's tokens with food and eat them if they die, so make sure you save room for your extra snacks.
6. Fruitcake Elemental
For a mere three mana, Fruitcake gives you an amazingly-powerful 7/7 with indestructible. The catch is he'll damage you at your end step for seven life; try getting lifelink onto him to effectively negate this downside.
Or, you can pay three mana to instantly give control of Fruitcake to another player, letting you pass him onto opponents for an easy seven damage—just remember they can utilize the same trick by cycling an undesired Fruitcake back to you.
5. Decorated Knight/Present Arms
Bearing the adventure mechanic from Throne of Eldraine, you can either play Decorated Knight right off the bat, or cast it from exile by first using Present Arms, This unique sorcery exchanges your library with an entirely different deck (which is shuffled), letting you adapt to whatever your foe is running.
Plus, you can still access your old deck by attacking with Knight, who lets you draw from your original deck if you swapped it using Present Arms.
4. Yule Ooze
Yule Ooze offers a powerful albeit chaotic ongoing removal, destroying another randomly-chosen non-land permanent at your upkeep (possibly your own), then gaining +1/+1 counters equal to its CMC. So save Ooze for when your opponent has a bigger field than you to increase your odds of hitting them, or use it in multiplayer for more safety.
Plus, Ooze can regenerate by spending one red and one green mana, making it tough for opponents to defeat.
3. Naughty // Nice
This split spell lets you pick whether to cast its black or white half. Normally you're gonna want to be Naughty, as it tutora any card from a different player's deck, not only denying them an ace but adding it to your own repertoire.
Nice instead searches your deck for a card and gives it to another player. Normally, you'll want to avoid this, but it can come in handy in two-headed giant or other team formats.
2. Mishra's Toy Workshop
Like the famed "Mishra's Workshop", Toy Workshop provides an outstanding three colorless mana, but with a restriction, letting you only use it on spells or abilities that would create tokens (and you're supposed to represent these tokens with toys).
Thankfully, this works with any token type, not just creatures, as well as effects that give your opponent tokens (like "Dowsing Dagger"), so it's actually more flexible than it might seem.
1. Gifts Given
Altering the powerful effect of "Gifts Ungiven", Given searches an opponent's deck for four cards with different names, they choose two to place into their graveyard, and the other two go into your hand.
Like Naughty, you're stealing opposing cards, and with both instant speed and only one blue mana required, it's a versatile spell. You're also taking four cards out of an opposing library, making Given a respectable mill option.
Using Holiday Cards in Magic
While only allowed in casual play, today's spells offer festive and surprisingly-powerful abilities. But nabbing your own won't be easy, as their extreme rarity sets their price anywhere from $15 to $100, meaning they won't be cheap to get.
Perhaps Wizards will mass-produce holiday cards eventually to help budget players score them, but for now, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill