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The (Glorious) End of Amonkhet: Exclusive Preview


One of the best things in Magic is taking extra turns. Even if you don't really do anything during that turn, in a weird way, it feels like you're winning because you are getting to play more Magic than your opponent. Typically, when you think of extra turn spells, blue comes to mind, and while most of the best extra turn spells in Magic are blue (all the way back to the original Time Walk), there is a slightly lesser known subset of extra-turn spells that are red. While the red extra-turn spells are usually fairly cheap as far as mana is concerned, they always come with the major downside of causing you to lose the game at the end of your extra turn. 

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Meanwhile, in Commander, another popular effect is Time Stop, which does exactly what its name suggests: ends the turn. Everything on the stack gets exiled, mana pools empty, "until end of turn" and "this turn" effects end, and damage wears off. Basically, it's like your opponent (assuming you cast it during your opponent's turn, which is usually correct) just randomly decided to say "go," right in the middle of doing cool things. 

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By now, you're probably asking yourself, this is a preview article, so why are we talking about Portal: Three Kingdoms cards and Commander staples? Don't worry—everything will make sense momentarily when you get a look at Magic's newest mythic rare: Glorious End!

Glorious End

While it doesn't have the classic "take another turn" text, at level one, Glorious End is an updated, modernized version of a card like Last Chance. Since it's an instant, you simply pass your turn, wait until your opponent's upkeep, and then cast it, which is very close to getting an extra turn (the main difference is that your opponent will get to untap). At the same time, Glorious End is also the red Time Stop, allowing you to wait until your opponent is in the middle of their combo or about to attack you for lethal before ending their turn. Like Last Chance, Glorious End comes with the downside of losing the game at the end of your next turn, which means you need to have some sort of plan for how to deal with the drawback before you resolve it.

Surviving Glorious End

As I mentioned a moment ago, the key trick to building around Glorious End is having a plan for after you cast it. This isn't the type of card you can just jam into any deck and cast whenever the mood strikes. If you do, you'll end your opponent's turn but also end yourself because you'll just die on your next end step (although the blind Glorious End into sure death is a great way of sending a message). Thankfully, there are several different ways to negate the downside of Glorious End, so let's break them down!

#1: Kill Your Opponent

Probably the most common way to survive your own Glorious End will be to just kill your opponent. Imagine that you have a lethal board full of creatures, but you're afraid your opponent will untap and cast a Fumigate to stabilize. If you Glorious End on your opponent's upkeep, their turn will end; you'll untap, attack, and win; and the drawback of losing at your next end step never comes into play because you never reach your next end step. While this is the simplest way to negate the downside, there are other more convoluted ways of negating the downside of Glorious End as well.

#2: Make It So You Can't Lose

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Another way of not losing to Glorious End is by making it so you can't lose. Period. This might seem like something that could only happen in Commander with cards like Platinum Angel, and while Commander is probably the most reasonable home for "you can't lose the game" effects, there are actually not just one but two different ways of pulling off this feat in Standard as well!

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Clearly the most competitive of the two is Gideon of the Trials. Let's say you cast a Glorious End during your opponent's last turn, if you can untap, play a Gideon of the Trials and make an emblem, you won't lose the game to Glorious End, which means you just Time Walked your opponent for three mana in Standard! Less competitive but still effective is Exquisite Archangel, which has to exile itself to protect you from Glorious End but can still keep you alive in a pinch. 

#3: End Your Turn Before You Die

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While in theory you can cast a Glorious End on your opponent's turn and then cast another one on your turn to avoid dying to the first one, this is only a short-term solution. The great (and in the case of Glorious End, horrific) thing about end steps is they just keep coming, so sooner or later, you'll have to pay the piper when you are on the last Glorious End to not die to the Glorious End plan. On the other hand, there is one card in Magic that simply ends your turn: Sundial of the Infinite. If you have a Sundial of the Infinite on the battlefield, you can cast Glorious End whenever you want and then go about your turn as normal as long as you end your turn before going to your end-of-turn phase. While this likely isn't the plan of a tournament deck, Sundial of the Infinite has a cult following in Commander and is the perfect Against the Odds card, so while this interaction likely won't break into Modern, people will try it, and it will be awesome when it works.

#4 Counter the "You Lose The Game" Trigger

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There's actually a handful of cards across Magic's history that will allow you to counter a triggered ability, ranging from the Legacy staple Stifle to the split-second Trickbind to the Simic Voidslime. More importantly, we have two different options available in our current Standard format: Summary Dismissal and Disallow. With these cards, we can simply cast a Glorious End to make our opponent skip their turn and then, when it comes time to pay the price during our end step, counter or exile the "you lose the game trigger." Problem solved!

Using Glorious End

As far as tournament-level play, Glorious End is a really tricky card to figure out. While we've seen similar effects before, the only one that's Modern legal is the six-mana Time Stop, which is simply too expensive to see tournament-level play. In Modern, apart from spawning a new type of deck, the most likely home seems to be some sort of combo deck where Glorious End can buy one extra turn to set up the combo and win the game. The problem is finding a deck that can take a turn off to cast Glorious End and still win the following turn. Maybe the most obvious home is Ad Nauseam, which can not only use Glorious End to buy an extra turn to win the game but can also just use it as a Time Stop with the help of Angel's Grace

In Modern

The hardest part of getting Glorious End into Ad Nauseam is finding room because there are so few true flex slots in the deck. In the end, Slaughter Pact, one copy of Pact of Negation, and one Sleight of Hand get the axe for three copies of the new mythic. The benefit of adding Glorious End to the deck is that you can cast it the turn before Lotus Bloom is about to come off suspend (likely Turn 4), untap, and use the mana from Lotus Bloom to combo off and win the game before dying on the end step. This leaves the deck with a curve of something like suspend Lotus Bloom on Turn 1, cast some cantrips on Turn 2, on Turn 3 play a Phyrexian Unlife, on Turn 4 cast Glorious End on the opponent's upkeep to force them to skip their turn, and on Turn 5 win the game. While this is powerful, especially in a format like Modern, where Turn 4 is so important (a lot of decks can kill on Turn 4 unimpeded, and Ad Nauseam doesn't play much interaction), the question will be whether this raw power is worth a bit less consistency. 

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The other possibility would be a deck like Baral Gifts Storm. The question is whether this deck can afford to take a turn off to resolve a Glorious End. If you think about how Baral Gifts usually plays, it wants to cantrip on Turn 1, resolve a Baral, Chief of Compliance or Goblin Electromancer on Turn 2, Gifts Ungiven on Turn 3, and then win the game. With this in mind, it seems unlikely that Glorious End will show up in the main deck, but it could be a sideboard option for specific matchups (it's a hilariously effective way to win the mirror).

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As weird as it sounds, while Glorious End can be used in combo decks, it can also be used by aggro decks against combo decks. Matchups like Zoo or Burn versus Storm often come down to a race, with the aggro player looking to kill the combo player before they can put together all of their pieces. While not doing anything on Turn 3 or 4 is a hard sell, it could work if you can flood the board with Goblin Guides and Wild Nacatls over the first couple of turns; use Glorious End to fizzle your opponent's combo on Turn 3; and back this up with Atarka's Command, Lightning Bolts, or Bushwhacker effects on Turn 4. I have no idea whether or not this will happen in practice, but Glorious End is an interesting effect that didn't exist in Modern before, so it's likely worth considering, at the very least.

In Standard

While there are a bunch of different ways to (potentially) abuse Glorious End in Standard by taking advantage of all of the cards we talked about earlier, one of my favorites is Superfriends. One of the great things about taking an extra turn is that you get another activation from all of your planeswalkers, which gets them one step closer to ultimating and winning the game. As far as not dying to Glorious End, we have two plans: we either sit behind the Gideon of the Trials emblem or, if need be, we can use Disallow to counter the "you lose the game" trigger. Maybe my favorite part of the deck is how well Glorious End works with Nahiri, the Harbinger. If we cast and +2 a Nahiri, the Harbinger, on the next turn cycle, we can +2 again and use Glorious End to make our opponent skip their turn. We can then ultimate Nahiri, the Harbinger to get Torrential Gearhulk. If we need to, we can use Torrential Gearhulk to flash back Glorious End to end our turn and make sure we don't die; otherwise, we can use our "free" gearhulk for value by flashing back a removal spell, and then cast Torrential Gearhulk on our opponent's upkeep to Time Walk them again with Glorious End!

In Commander

I really wanted to brew up some sweet, janky Commander combo with Glorious End, but I couldn't figure out a way to really go infinite. In a multiplayer format, Glorious End isn't really "take another turn" like it is in two-player formats; instead, it's more "make one of your opponents really mad." While there is one way to cast it repeatedly, that way is really fragile and not especially good: Elite Arcanist

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The best I could come up with for locking opponents out of a Commander game with Glorious End requires getting a Glorious End exiled with Elite Arcanist along with a Paradox Engine on the battlefield. Assuming you have nine mana, you simply use Elite Arcanist to cast the Glorious End on each of your opponent's upkeeps, which in turn untaps your Elite Arcanist with Paradox Engine. Once you get back to your turn, you can do whatever you like, then use Sundial of the Infinite to end your turn before you die, and then repeat the process when your opponents go to play their turns. 

While actually comboing with Glorious End in Commander seems hard (but let me know if you have other ideas!), it seems like the card will see at least some play in the format. People love building around Sundial of the Infinite, and Time Stop is a super-powerful and popular effect in Commander because it can fizzle opponents mid-combo or mid-attack. While you'll need a specific deck to make Glorious End work, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see people trying it because the effect is fun and works well with other potentially painful end-of-turn triggers. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! Big thanks to Wizards for giving us a sweet preview card! So, what do you want to do with Glorious End? What interactions and abilities did I miss? Can you see the card showing up in any tournament-level decks, or is it just a fun casual / Commander / Against the Odds card? Let me know in the comments, and as always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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