My name is Steven Briggs, and I am a Level 3 judge and the Regional Coordinator for the USA – Central Region, which includes that states of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. I am a member of the board for Magic Makes Miracle, a new Chicagoland annual non-profit Magic event partnering with Extra Life to benefit the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. I have served on two Grand Prix Head Judge selection committees, have served as a Regional Coordinator for five years, and recently was the Head Judge of the 860 player Modern SCG Open in Ft. Worth, Texas.
When building decks in any format, getting the most value out of each card you select is important. We love flashback cards because they give us a shot to cast a spell twice for one card slot. We love split cards, because they give us the versatility of function depending on what is happening in the game.
But just think, what if you could cast a spell now, then get a different and unique spell in the graveyard to cast later? Force your opponent’s to bow to your will with this new split card from Amonkhet, Failure // Comply.
The new aftermath ability lets instants and sorceries in on the graveyard party with a new twist on split cards. If you’ve never seen split cards before, here’s a quick refresher. They’re two cards in one. As you cast a split card, you choose which half you’re casting. While the spell is on the stack, the half you’re not casting is just ignored. Aftermath takes the concept of choice and turns it on its side.
We’ll call Failure the “top half” for our article today. You cast Failure and when it resolves, it goes to your graveyard like any other instant. Now that the card is in your graveyard, you can cast Comply. Casting the “bottom half” is just like casting any spell: you pay costs, it goes on the stack, it can be countered, and so on. You just do so from the graveyard and after that half resolves, the card is exiled.
You can cast both halves of an aftermath card in the same turn, or you can space it out and have the card sit in your graveyard for a few turns. The innovative orientation helps here. If a card with aftermath is hanging out in your graveyard, you can rotate it counterclockwise 90 degrees, and the castable half will now be gazing at you, lovingly, begging you to cast it.
Upon first looking at this card, an idea immediately leaps into mind. What are spells my opponent’s cast that I not only don’t want to have happen now, but I want to buy time not to have happen the next turn? Well, Supreme Verdict is an effective way for an opponent to destroy your board presence, so now you have a spell that not only will put that spell back in your opponent’s hand (avoiding the “can’t be countered” restriction), but you have the option to cast the Comply half your next turn and keep that Supreme Verdict at bay for a full turn after it got bounced.
Or during the later part of the game, do you ever get that pit in your stomach when you see your opponent is close to getting that final land they need to hard cast that big, fat creature that will inevitably crush your life total, like Emrakul, the Promised End? Well have no fear – Emrakul’s “protection from instants” ability only applies when Emrakul is on the battlefield, so you can Failure the Emrakul on the stack. Alternatively, even if already cast the Failure side but have the card in the graveyard, you can cast it as a hedge if you think your opponent is a turn away from casting it to delay the potential threat. You won’t however be able to both Failure on your opponent’s turn and Comply on the next turn – your opponent has control of your next turn due to Emrakul’s ability that triggers on casting.
There was debate as to how Unsubstantiate measured up to Remand, and I am confident this card will go through the same Test of Endurance. Regardless how you use it, this threat will certainly get your opponent to think twice before turning all their lands sideways.
The story doesn’t end here, there are functional changes to Split cards being introduced with Amonkhet. Head over to Wizards.com and check out Eli Shiffrin’s article explaining these changes!