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Stopping Time: Exclusive Core Set 2021 Preview


What do you do when you throw a wild party, things go a bit off the rails, and your parents are about to walk in the door? If I've learned anything from Rick and Morty, the answer is to have someone "get you the thing" and stop time. Well, today, we've got the Magic version of this to show off for you today, thanks to Wizards being awesome and hooking us up with a free preview card. Take a look at a new mythic coming soon in Core Set 2021: Discontinuity!

Discontinuity

That's right, Time Stop is back and better than ever! At first glance, Discontinuity looks almost exactly like Time Stop, ending the turn for six mana. However, upon closer inspection, Discontinuity is very close to a strictly better Time Stop since if you cast Discontinuity during your turn, it gets a discount so it costs just two mana! 

Discontinuity $ 0.00 $ 0.00

So, how do you actually use Discontinuity? Why would you possibly want to end the turn early? Let's start with the easy mode. The simplest way to take advantage of Discontinuity is to cast it on your opponent's upkeep, causing your opponent to essentially skip their turn (they get to untap their lands, but that's about it), which means that on level one, Discontinuity is basically an extra-turn spell with extra steps. However, Discontinuity is much more than just a weird extra-turn spell.

Part of the power of ending the turn early is that everything on the stack gets exiled. This means that along with potentially being an extra-turn spell, Discontinuity is also a Summary Dismissal. You can wait until your opponent casts a spell and then use Summary Dismissal to exile it while also ending your opponent's turn. Furthermore, since Discontinuity exiles everything on the stack (including itself, which means you can't flash it back or loop it, which is probably a good thing considering how much people enjoyed Nexus of Fate Standard a year ago), it can get used to exile triggered or activated abilities as well. This means that Discontinuity can essentially counter everything, from planeswalker activations (and even ultimates) to Wilderness Reclamation untapping all of your opponent's lands!

While you can use Discontinuity as a weird extra-turn spell or defensively on your opponent's turn as a strange counterspell, the real power of Discontinuity is casting it on your own turn for just two mana. Time Stop has existed in Magic for nearly 20 years and hasn't really broken anything (or even shown up in many decks), so as a six-mana spell you cast during your opponent's turn, Discontinuity is likely a fun but fringe card. At two mana during your own turn, though, Discontinuity because very interesting. But why would you want to end your own turn early? 

Discontinuity $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Perhaps the most fun and interesting use of Discontinuity during your own turn is to get around cards that are powerful but come with the drawback of making you lose the game, often with a delayed trigger. In Standard, we only have one example at the moment in Chance for Glory. Taking an extra turn for just three mana (and making all your creatures indestructible forever) is extremely powerful, but Chance for Glory doesn't see much play because the drawback of losing the game on the end step of the extra turn is so high. Discontinuity solves this problem. You can cast Chance for Glory, get an extra turn, and then use Discontinuity to exile the "you lose the game" trigger (for just two mana since we'd be casting Discontinuity during our turn) to get around Chance for Glory's drawback. In non-Standard formats, you can use the same trick with cards like Demonic Pact, Final Fortune, Last Chance, Lich's Mastery, and the Pact cycle. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

While negating "you lose the game" effects is fun, the problem is there just aren't that many "you lose the game" cards in Magic, so the applications are limited. However, we get many more options if we expand our search to other delayed triggers. For example, in Standard, cards like Mirror March and Storm Herald do really powerful things (Mirror March potentially makes a ton of tokens for free if you can win some coin flips, and Storm Herald reanimates any number of auras when it enters the battlefield), but their power wears off at the end of turn when all of the Mirror March tokens or Storm Herald auras get exiled. However, if we resolve Discontinuity at the right time, we can keep our Mirror March tokens or Storm Herald auras around forever! The trick is the same as with Chance for Glory: we wait until our end step when Mirror March or Storm Herald puts an "exile" trigger on the stack and then use Discontinuity to exile that trigger, getting rid of it forever.

I probably should take a minute to mention that the timing here is very, very important. Let's say that you make a bunch of Mirror March tokens and then cast Discontinuity during your second main phase to end your turn. While your tokens will stay around for a moment longer, since Discontinuity means your turn won't have an end step, when your opponent goes to their end step, Mirror March will trigger and exile all of your tokens. Basically, "the beginning of the next end step" means exactly what it says: the beginning of the next end step that happens during the game. So in this instance, Discontinuity just delays the next end step for a little while. On the other hand, if you wait until the end step and the Mirror March trigger is on the stack, the "beginning of the next end step" will have already happened, so if we then use Discontinuity to exile the Mirror March trigger, our tokens will stick around for the rest of the game, through future end steps!

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

There are actually a ton of cards in Magic's history with delayed triggers that we can abuse with Discontinuity. We can use Discontinuity to keep a creature that Goryo's Vengeance or Puppeteer Clique reanimates; make cards like Flickerwisp or Galepowder Mage into permanent removal spells; keep unearthed creatures from Sedris, the Traitor King around forever; keep Geist of Saint Traft Angel tokens through the end of combat; keep temporary creatures from Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded or Through the Breach (or planeswalkers put on the battlefield with Planebound Accomplice) around permanently; and turn Sudden Disappearance into a Plague Wind. The possibilities are almost endless!

Discontinuity $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Finally, the other use of Discontinuity is as a Stifle to stop harmful enters-the-battlefield triggers. A classic example from Commander is Phage the Untouchable, which literally makes us lose the game when it comes into play if you didn't play it from your hand. As a result, Sundial of the Infinite (the only other card outside of Time Stop and now Discontinuity in Magic that can end a turn) is a staple of Phage Commander decks. You can cast Phage the Untouchable from your command zone and simply end the turn with its "you lose the game" trigger on the stack. Of course, in Commander, we can't actually play Discontinuity with Phage the Untouchable as our commander because of color identity rules, but the concept applies to other cards and formats as well. Plus, there is a non–Phage the Untouchable that could be the perfect home for Discontinuity in the format...

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While Lord of Tresserhorn's enters-the-battlefield trigger isn't quite as painful as Phage the Untouchable's, paying two life, sacrificing two creatures, and allowing an opponent to draw two cards is still a super-high cost, even if you get a regenerating 10/4 for just four mana as a reward. Discontinuity seems like a perfect addition to a Lord of Tresserhorn deck, allowing us to play our commander while also avoiding its negative enters-the-battlefield trigger. Plus, if we end up in a situation where we don't need Discontinuity as a Stifle for our commander, we can always use it to force an opponent to skip their turn or as an weird overcosted counterspell. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

The same technique works for cards like Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath (you can keep it around even if it wasn't escaped), Phyrexian Dreadnought (for a one-mana 12/12), and "champion" cards like Supreme Exemplar or Nova Chaser, or to make what might be the worst rare creature in the entire history of MagicWood Elemental—slightly less bad.

So, where does this leave us with Discontinuity? In all honesty, I'd be surprised if it ended up seeing much high-level competitive play. Time Stop was never a tournament staple, and even with the upgrade of being much cheaper during your own turn, Discontinuity might have a similar fate. On the other hand, Discontinuity is an upgrade if you are playing Time Stop in any format (most likely Commander), either to play in place of Time Stop or alongside Time Stop. Most importantly, Discontinuity is a great Against the Odds card and will allow for some really unique combos and synergies to emerge. I expect that it's something we'll play on Against the Odds before too long and that other people will make some really cool brews built around the card. 

Basically, while Discontinuity isn't the type of mythic that I'd expect to break tournament Magic, it's also not impossible, if the right combo comes along. But even if that never happens, Discontinuity is a super-sweet card that should inspire fun, unique decks, and cards that are powerful but not outright broken and instead inspire fun, unique decks are some of my favorite cards in all of Magic.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! Thanks again to Wizards for hooking us up with an awesome preview card! What do you think of Discontinuity? What other combos exist for ending your turn? Can Discontinuity see play in Standard? Pioneer? Modern? Commander? Let us know in the comments! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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