It’s that time again!  Time to brace ourselves against the barrage of saccharine songs punctuated with sleigh bells, paeans to vague ideals like “belief,” and advertising desperate to convince us that conspicuous consumption will make us and our loved ones happier. That’s right, Christmastime is here! Or, as Christianity traditionally calls it: Advent.

In traditional Christianity, the first day of Advent is the start of the new year! It’s a season of hope and expectation that looks forward to the birth of the Christ Child into the world, the meeting of humanity and divinity and the promise of justice, of “peace on earth” at last. For the past two centuries or so, many Christians have marked these 24 days through the use of a special calendar. Originally, these calendars helped believers countdown the days until Christmas with daily verses from scripture, encouraging them to “keep watch!” and “prepare the way” as the days grew darker and the air colder. These devotional calendars still exist, but we’ve also found new ways to help manage our growing excitement—contemporary Advent calendars open to reveal everything from chocolates and candies to small toys like Legos and dice!

Conveniently, a small Magic: the Gathering Jumpstart cube also uses 24 unwrappable “gifts,” and so what better way to countdown until Christmas than with a holiday themed Jumpstart cube?!  Today until the end of advent, I’ll have a new pack to unveil, themed around winter and all the sacred and secular trappings of the holiday season, in the hope that these will inspire you or just help make the passing of these darkening days a bit more pleasant.

“St. Nicholas of Bari slaps the heresiarch Arius” by Giovanni Gasparro (2016)

I See You Shiver With Antici—

—pation! Or maybe it’s just the cold? In any case, and without further ado, here’s our first pack: Santa Claus is Coming to Town!  Hans Eriksson is a great choice for our Santa Claus—a northern European name, a respectable beard, art that features snow, and festive colors in both the casting cost and the art! The fight mechanic might seem strange at first, but the historical Saint Nicholas did allegedly throw down with a heretic at the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, so we’ll go with it.

Advent 1: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Creatures (7)
Hans Eriksson
Stonehoof Chieftain
Neyith of the Dire Hunt
Brash Taunter
Radha, Heart of Keld
Wirewood Elf
Druid of the Cowl

Artifacts (1)
Arcum’s Astrolabe

Spells (4)
Mortal's Resolve
Withstand Death
Arcum's Sleigh
Lands (8)
Highland Weald
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Forest

As you can see, this selection focuses on Hans Eriksson’s ability to cheat creatures into play, and relies on fight synergies and cards that grant indestructible to make sure we keep our festive fighters at the party. Top elf Radha, Heart of Keld can help us keep the top card of our library useful for Hans Erikkson to pull from, and Neyith of the Dire Hunt will keep us drawing Arcum’s Sleigh—a thematic inclusion that lets us grant vigilance to Santa or his elves to keep a defender up. If we really do arrive in Magical Christmas Land and manage to cheat the Stonehoof Chieftain into play on turn 5 or sooner, our opponents will likely be settled in for a long winter’s nap the very next turn.

More Presents?!

One down, and 23 to go! I hope you enjoyed today’s holiday treat—come back each day in advent to open another pack from my holiday themed Jumpstart cube.

Jacob Torbeck is a researcher and instructor of theology and ethics. He hails from Chicago, IL, and loves playing Commander and pre-modern cubes.

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