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Magic’s best new card breaks one of the basic rules of the game

Stunt decks full of Persistent Petitioners can be countered, but when it works it’s very satisfying

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Art for Persistent Petitioners, by Jason Rainville, for Wizards of The Coast’s Magic: The Gathering set, Ravnica Allegiance. Jason Rainville/Wizards of The Coast

Every great card in Magic: The Gathering succeeds by breaking a fundamental rule of the game. One new card in particular does so in an extremely satisfying way, allowing players to build a winning deck with only five different kinds of cards. It’s called Persistent Petitioners, and it’s part of the newest set of Ravnica-themed cards. Here’s how it works.

Publisher Wizards of the Coast released the Ravnica Allegiance set on Jan. 25. One of the factions returning to the game after several years away is the Azorious Senate, a legion of deadly bureaucrats fueled by blue and white mana. You can pick up everything you need to get started with a new Planeswalker deck.

Wizards of The Coast

In action, the Azorious faction features a number of ways to control the pace of a game and force your opponent to do things they don’t want to do. Where things get really interesting, however, is when you start opening booster packs and swapping cards out to make the deck your own. Wizards of the Coast sent us a case of boosters, and after all the foil had flown, I found myself sitting on a half-dozen of the unusual Persistent Petitioners cards.

Persistent Petitioners are fairly weak on their own, with just one attack and three defense. But if you’re able to field four of them at one time, then you can tap them all at once and force your opponent to discard a dozen cards. Those cards go straight from their library into their discard pile, called the graveyard.

Once their library is empty, you win.

You can watch Sean “Day9” Plott having fun with the mechanic on YouTube. In the end, he gets beaten badly. But another YouTuber, who goes by the handle “Broseph,” has a little more luck, getting three wins on only two losses. His deck comprises only five different cards, including land. Best of all, viewers are dropping some tips in the comments to make it even better.

This isn’t a new Magic strategy by any stretch. Killing off your opponent by depleting their library is called “milling” them to death. But combining the strategy with a single card that you can have dozens of copies of is a novel concept. It also breaks one of Magic’s most basic rules: So long as it’s not a land card, you’re only ever supposed to have four copies of a single card in any standard Magic deck.

Unless that card is Persistent Petitioners.

Right now, you can find Persistent Petitioners for less than $1 online. Grab that, plus a deck-builders kit, and you’re off to the races. Planeswalker decks now come with a code that will unlock all of the cards inside the box for Magic: The Gathering Arena, the latest digital version of the classic tabletop game. There’s no way to unlock physical booster packs, unfortunately, so you’ll need to invest in digital versions of those separately.

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