O Come, O Come Emmanuel!
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

—O Come, O Come Emmanuel

The final O Antiphon is likely most familiar as the first verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” in which the supplicant pays that God will come and liberate the faithful from their oppression, and rejoices because they are confident that this liberation will indeed come to pass.

Our Advent calendar’s penultimate pack tries to balance flavor and function, containing cards that reference the lyrics: Kithkin Mourncaller, Geist of the Lonely Vigil, Path to Exile—along with other cards that enable an incredibly strong token theme.

Advent 23: A Favored Presence

Creatures (7)
Blaring Recruiter
Emmara, Soul of the Accord
Kithkin Mourncaller
God-Favored General
Geist of the Lonely Vigil
Ledev Champion
Midnight Guard

Spells (4)
Intangible Virtue
Path to Exile
Presence of Gond

Artifacts (1)
Altar of the Pantheon
Lands (8)
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Plains

More than just the lyrics, this pack hopes to evoke thematic holiday ideals like presence (to say nothing of presents), virtue, divine favor, watchfulness, and unity. Even better, these ideals are often represented in the names of white and green token producers like Emmara, Soul of the Accord, and God-Favored General, and our vigilance is rewarded if we enchant Midnight Guard with Presence of Gond—how many tokens might we need to win? Make your elves as numerous as the stars in the sky, and keep them strong and watchful with Intangible Virtue. While it may seem like something of an odd include from a mechanical standpoint, the  biblical imagery in Revelation’s art and the scripture referencing the “meek” in its flavor text delivers a win for both the token mechanic and the context of our Advent calendar!

Obviously, I’d pair this with token packs like The Elven Family, Wassail!, or Guardian Angels if possible, but Our Lady of Guadalupe and The Feast of St. Nicholas have some great synergies here as well. Thus ends our seven-day excursion through the O Antiphons—for our final pack tomorrow we’ve got something completely different! Until then.

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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