When Born of the Gods spoilers started rolling in, and the Inspired mechanic was revealed to the public, the first thought I had was of an Opposition deck. I saw Pain Seer and thought to myself, “if a couple more Inspired cards of that caliber are in the set, I’m gonna have to put that deck together.”
Then there were no more cards of that caliber, and I didn’t put that deck together. I know, true story!
The only other Inspired creature that grabbed my eye was God-Favored General, which offered the ability to create more creatures every time it fueled Opposition, thus creating yet more fuel for Opposition. But tying up three mana per turn is a rough cost in Legacy. It might be workable in the right Modern build, but Opposition isn’t legal in Modern.
So, oh well. That’s it. No column this time, everybody. I mean, unless we can find some sort of Modern substitute for Opposition. Or ideally two, since if we’re going to build a deck around a specific card, we’ll want to be sure of drawing it. At the very least, we need one substitute, and one way to get it in our hand if it isn’t drawn naturally.
Well okay, smart guy. That’ll do it.
Glare of Subdual decks, of course, are nothing new. In the days of Ravnica standard, Glare of Subdual was readily paired with Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree for Selesnya shenanigans. And the card has been a mainstay of EDH token decks, and probably will be until the heat death of the universe.
Glittering Wish, by contrast, is one of those cards that struggle to find a home. That’s not to say people don’t want to build a Glittering Wish deck, it just hasn’t taken off in any meaningful capacity. For those unfamiliar with the card, it only grabs any old card from outside the game in kitchen table matches. If you’re at any kind of sanctioned event, it only tutors up cards that are in your sideboard. And for the purposes of this column, we’ll assume you’re playing at sanctioned events.
Together, they greatly increase our odds of drawing our deck-making card. We put three Glares in the mainboard, one in the sideboard, and mainboard a full playset of Glittering Wish. We now functionally have seven copies of Glare of Subdual in our deck, because if we draw a Glittering Wish, it turns into a Glare of Subdual at a moment’s notice.
But what happens if we draw Glare of Subdual first? Isn’t Glittering Wish a dead-draw? Hells no. Because we’re going to fill our sideboard just chock-full of one-of multicolor utility cards. Then Glittering Wish isn’t just a backup Glare of Subdual; it’s an all-purpose tutor for whatever answer the game happens to require at that moment. Is your opponent stomping you with recurring Vengevines? No problem, just wish yourself up a Wheel of Sun and Moon. Is Mono Blue Tron wrecking you with Condescend and Repeal? Better grab that Gaddock Teeg. Affinity coming at you with a Cranial Plating? Sundering Growth, my friend.
So okay, that’s cool that our sideboard is all set. But aren’t we going to need… I dunno… a deck to go with it? How are we going to activate this Glare of Subdual without creatures? Better start with a few of those, I suppose.
God-Favored General/Stonybrook Schoolmaster
I mentioned God-Favored General at the start of our column, and I think he needs very little explanation. Tap him to activate Glare of Subdual. When you untap, make two more dudes. That turn, you go ahead and use Glare of Subdual three more times.
Stonybrook Schoolmaster works pretty much the same way. It only makes one token, but makes it immediately, and you don’t even have to invest any mana; the token generation is automatic.
Promise of Bunrei
The problem with this deck should be obvious: if you have no creatures out, it does nothing. You’re never more than a few well-placed Lightning Bolts away from your combo vanishing. Promise of Bunrei puts an extra wall up in front of that vulnerability. Spot removal? Sure, feel free to replace my 1/1 with four new 1/1s. Wrath effects? Please! Who wouldn’t love a board wipe that leaves four creatures on their side only? Promise of Bunrei is your insurance policy. If the Glare is out, it turns any creature removal on your opponent’s part into a full-scale lockdown.
Now these tricks are all well and good. But once we’ve got our opponent’s creatures locked down, we are going to need a win condition of some kind or another.
Sometimes the combos just jump in your lap, don’t they? Our entire deck is devoted to tapping our opponent’s creatures. Gideon’s Avenger gets bigger every time an opponent’s creature becomes tapped. Eventually you have a big ol’ monster to storm in on your opponent.
Man, I hope the other combos are subtler, and require more explanation, or we’re never going to get enough length out of this column.
Well, column length is overrated.
We’re going to be making a lot of tokens with this deck. Our opponent, naturally, is going to want to kill them. Twilight Drover will set up a token recycling program right there on your battlefield. Kill my token? I’ll make two more. Is that an Electrolyze I see? Better take out the Drover, because if you go after the tokens you’re just going to make your situation worse.
Now we’re getting into it. Gideon’s got a lot going on in this deck; he works as both a utility and a win condition, and in neither case is he anything to sneeze at.
The problem with Glare of Subdual is that, while it’s great for locking down a Tarmogoyf or two, it doesn’t really do anything against the Dark Confidants of the world. Okay, it’s tapped. That’s not going to stop it from putting an extra card in your opponent’s hand, now is it? Well, not until our friend Gideon steps in and goes Royal Assassin on that Confidant with his roll-down ability. And once the utility creatures are off the board, and the combat creatures are tapped down until the end of time, what is Gideon gonna do for us? He’s going to turn into a large creature, and swing in past a slew of tapped blockers. Add on his ability to absorb an attack or two, and he even serves to delay the game in case of an exceptionally bad draw with no Glares or Wishes.
Which we hopefully won’t have when we put our deck together:
How do we play the deck? Well, obviously our first priority is to get that Glare of Subdual on the board. There’s not a lot of deck without it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the first Glittering Wish you draw should be turned into a Glare on turn two. Try to size up your opponent’s deck first. If they’re playing Affinity, grabbing a Qasali Pridemage or a Harmonic Sliver might be a better plan. If they’ve sided in a lot of enchantment hate, you might want to make sure that Reborn Hope is available for when you’ll need it. Wish cards give you a lot of options; before you even build this deck, you should take your local metagame into account. Does your best friend use a lot of Snapcaster Mages or Tarmogoyfs? Then ignore my sideboard and load up on multicolored graveyard hate. You know the tools you need better than I do, and this deck will make them all available to you.