When a Child of Alara is Born – A Christmas Commander Deck Special
I want to do something different today. I feel that over Christmas, a lot can be made of all of the different trapping of the season, of elves and Santa and mince pies, and little and less each year is actually told of the Christmas story. We all know the basics from the school Nativity play at primary school, but what’s it really all about?
Well, I thought I’d approach this in a way that you guys would all understand.
By building a Commander deck.
Yes, that’s right. Below I’m going to tell you the Christmas story, slightly paraphrased from the New International Version from the Gospels of Matthew and John. With Magic cards. Are you sitting comfortably…
When a Child is Born by Christopher Cooper
God sent the Archangel Gabriel Angelfire to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to Mary, who was pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. The angel went to her and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.’
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world so that he could issue a new Land Tax. Everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the City of Brass, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was facing some Unexpected Results. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them with the Oak Street Innkeeper.
There were Soul Shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their Nyx-Fleece Rams at night. A Starlit Angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in Straw Soldier (That’s the only straw in Magic, OK?).’
So the Springjack Shepherds hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
On the eighth day, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of Tymaret, the Murder King, three kings from the east came across the Desert on Camels to Jerusalem. They were named Darien, King of Kjeldor, Brimaz, King of Oreskos and King Macar, the Gold-Cursed. They asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’
When Tymaret, the Murder King heard this he was disturbed. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written. Then Tymaret, the Murder King called the three kings secretly and found out from them the exact time the Chromatic Star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the Child of Alara was. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his Mother of Runes, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with Presence of the Wise of Gold Myr and Frankenstein’s Monster (Yes, I know that one’s bad. But seriously, you come up with better!). Having been warned in a dream not to go back to Tymaret, they returned to their country by another route.
When they had gone, a Serra Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and on a Path to Exile in Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Tymaret.
When Tymaret realised that he had been outwitted by the kings, he was furious, and he gave orders to his Royal Assassin and King’s Assassin to Consume the Meek boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the kings.
Child of Alara Commander Deck
Whilst I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of the Nativity, it obviously needs some additions. There are clearly not enough cards there to fill out an entire Comander deck. So we need to add a little more Christmas spirit.
We’ll start with some of the best known spirits around: the spirits of Christmas past, present and yet to come from Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol“. Benevolent Ancestor is certainly a spirit from the past, while Ghost-Lit Warder lets us see what a different version of the present could be like. Finally, Cruel Deceiver shows us what is yet to come, and could spell the downfall of an overconfident opponent.
These spirits are getting me all into the spirit of giving. One of the best things about Christmas is the Awesome Presence that we get to give people. They can be a Gift of Immortality, a Gift of the Deity, even a Lifegift. We certainly don’t want any Gifts Ungiven. Whilst being a little more “Garden of Eden” than “Christmastime”, Forbidden Orchard lets us give just a few more presents out to everybody.
All of these gifts need to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is Arcum’s Sleigh. We’ll need some reindeer to pull it… umm… will some elk do? They’re the closest thing to deer Magic has to offer. We can have the traditional nine elk to pull the sleigh: Axebane Stag, Burnished Hart, Dawntreader Elk, Gang of Elk, Glimmerpoint Stag, Great Sable Stag, Heliod’s Emissary, Highland Game and Wetland Sambar.
And driving that sleigh?
Well, it’s big. It’s red. It’s Crater’s Claws! (Yes, I know it’s another tenuous one. But seriously, try typing Father Christmas into Gatherer and see how many hits you get.) Of course, Santa will need a helper, and who better than the Fyndhorn Elves and a Boreal Druid?
So we’ve got the presents on the way, where are we going to put them? Why, underneath the Magnigoth Treefolk of course. We’ll have to pop on some decorations, a Wreath of Geists, a Conjurer’s Bauble, Wayfarer’s Bauble, and we can make it a family affair by popping Urza’s Bauble and Mishra’s Bauble on it too. We mustn’t forget to Illuminate it with some Spectral Searchlights before topping it all off with a North Star
Every Christmas needs a Christmas feast to quell the Hunger of the Howlpack. A nice, big Hunters’ Feast should see us all right, especially with a Master of the Feast giving out gifts to all and sundry. They’ll have to make use of their gifts fast though, or the Squeaking Pie Sneak and his Squeaking Pie Grubfellows might sneak off with them before you can become a proper Sensation Gorger.
As always, we round things off with the manabase. I think it only appropriate that at this time of year we break out the Snow-Covered basic lands, along with the Snow duals and Scrying Sheets to find them. Thirty eight lands rounds us off nicely to one hundred, and there we have our deck, two thousand years in the making.
When a Child is Born- Child of Alara Commander deck by Christopher Cooper
Community Competition: Christmas themed card alters
Now, we normally finish things off with a community question, but today’s will be a little different. To show quite how much I’m getting into the spirit of giving I will be giving away not one, not two, but three Christmas themed card alters. All you have to do to enter is:
Tell us in the comments below, of someone who has made a difference in your Magic life this year, and how they’ve done it. Please tag them in the post if you can.
The winners will be drawn at random from those people tagged. Yes, that’s right, you have to nominate people to win a prize.
Good luck everybody, merry Christmas and I’ll see you all in the New Year!