Tchaikovsky, The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy

Fantasy and the realms of the imagination—especially children’s imaginations—are another one of my favorite things about the Christmas season. Whether stories of jolly elven saints bringing gifts, visions of sugarplums, or the joyful tradition of casting spirits from trees with song and cheer; in these chilly days when the northern countries approach the darkest day of the year, magic and wonder seem always on the verge of inbreaking—it is Advent, after all.

Today’s pack is crafted to evoke the fey realm of snow and sweets from The Nutcracker, a story that—depending on who’s telling it—involves either a vivid dream or a real bit of winter magic: passing over into another world, where nutcracker soldiers do battle against evil mouse kings and witness the enchanting Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy.

Advent 14: Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy

Creatures (7)
Animating Faerie
Faerie Artisans
Faerie Formation
Faerie Seer
Sower of Tempation
Spellstutter Sprite
Sprite Noble

Spells (3)
Advice from the Fae
Didn't Say Please
Stolen by the Fae

Artifacts (2)
Orb of Dreams
Prismatic Lens
Lands (8)
Snow-Covered Island
Mystic Sanctuary
Fabled Passage
Faerie Conclave

This pack uses faerie and flying synergies to do what blue decks often do best: draw cards and counter spells. The Sprite Noble wants our opponents to know who truly rules this kingdom of snow, and will send a Sower of Temptation to convince them, if necessary. If our opponent’s Didn’t Say Please, then we are happy to call upon our Faerie Formation to swarm the board. Orb of Dreams is a thematic inclusion here, which we can use to slow down our opponent, and get around by making faeries on our opponent’s turn. If that’s not your style, consider substituting Dance of the Many, another thematic inclusion that provides an effect similar to Faerie Artisans.

I resisted the temptation to make this selection Bant, Azorius, or Simic for the sake of the cube’s playability; but if you were to make something like this, you might consider those other colors as well. Looking back at what we’ve already seen, I’d be happy to pair this with the permanent stealing power of “Gift Exchange” or the Bant Snow-pack, “A Snowy Evening.” As a special sugary treat, I leave you today with this gorgeous performance of the aforementioned dance by Nina Kaptsova of the Bolshoi Ballet.

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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