We just got another dump of Phyrexia spoilers yesterday, and unsurprisingly, there have been a swath of super sweet cards to look at! While there are plenty to cover, since I just talked about Jace, the Perfected Mind yesterday, I felt compelled to stay on my control minded train! So let’s break this extremely unique card, White Sun’s Twilight!
So here we have the white iteration of the “Sun’s Twilight” cycle, and like all of them, this is an X spell that will do more once you hit x=5. So obviously, we’re looking to invest a lot of mana into each of these to get the full effects, but the best ones will be useful beforehand as well!
So, for White Sun’s Twilight, we have WWX where the x value gets you that much life, that many Mites, and once you hit X=5, you get a board wipe as well. So, right off the bat, this card very much fails the “be useful before x=5” test. For three mana you get a life and a mite, that’s hardly worth one mana, much less three. It gets a bit better at four mana, but still quite bad. Admittedly, even when you’re looking at five or six mana, getting a few Mites and gaining some life is really not that powerful. You wouldn’t play that in a Toxic deck, it’s simply too slow. Furthermore, that would be rather useless in midrange and control as gaining some life and making some creatures that probably can’t get through is not going to be particularly helpful.
Is this card doomed?
Believe it or not, despite not being good until you hit minimum seven mana, I think this card is actually still quite good! While the card prior to X=5 is very bad, once you hit x=5, the dynamic completely changes. Even at x=5 itself, this card becomes quite powerful. Getting five life, getting five mites, and wiping the board is quite good, but what deck would even want this? Control.
A big issue with Control decks in Standard recently, beyond the obvious of the threats being better than the interaction, was having a good win condition. Looking through the roster, what cards make good win conditions? Hullbreaker Horror gets bonked by Go for the Throat unless you have another spell to protect it, and even then, it may not be safe. Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim is better, but at the end of the day, it’s still getting eaten by an Invoke Despair with the rest of them. I would go on, but those have looked like the only two good win conditions in recent history, so I couldn’t even if I wanted to! Another issue with both of those is that they were just that, win conditions. They didn’t have any other utility, so if you weren’t in a position where they could win the game, what use where they?
That leads directly into my point on why I think White Sun’s Twilight is the win condition Control has been waiting for, because it does so much else. Sure, it is seven mana and it can be countered, its far from perfect, but if it resolves, it’ll be extremely hard for opponents to come back from. You gain life to make you harder to kill, you wipe the slate clean, and then you have a bunch of Mites that will kill extremely quickly. What can the opponent do at this point? They just lost their creatures, so it’ll be difficult for them to block enough Mites to not die. Racing is going to be really tough since you just gained a bunch of life and established a good clock as well! Removal? You kill one Mite. Invoke Despair? You kill two mites and draw a card, ok!
This won’t be easy to set up, but this could finally help solve Control’s win condition issue as it’s good in the exact scenarios where other win conditions aren’t – when you’re already behind. It may end up being too expensive in the end, but if any win condition is going to help White Control decks, it’s hard to imagine a better one than this.
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