In the history of Magic: The Gathering, certain cycles of cards have always drawn gasps of awe and wonder at their power. The Sword Cycle was one of the strongest — so much so that many thought the series would go unfinished. Considering today’s spoilers, Modern Horizons is here to prove that wrong. With this new set adding cards to the Modern format that are too strong for Standard, the Swords are set to rise again. So without further ado, allow us to introduce you to the cycle’s newest member: Sword of Truth and Justice.
The Sword Cycle is a set of five rare and mythic Equipment cards first printed in various Mirrodin sets. Sword of Fire and Ice and Sword of Light and Shadow debuted in the first Mirrodin block. Sword of Feast and Famine, Sword of Body and Mind, and Sword of War and Peace came later. Each of these appeared in one set of the Scars of Mirrodin block.
The newer Swords became core to the broken Caw-Blade deck — a deck which led Standard to become a one-deck format. The only viable strategy back then was to cheat the Swords into play with Stoneforge Mystic and equip them to Squadron Hawk to deal massive damage. With Jace, the Mind Sculptor as Planeswalker backup, the deck was unstoppable.
Caw-Blade eventually got Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor banned. Wizards even had to preemptively ban Jace when they first created Modern. They wouldn’t legalize that card again until 2018.
With that context, there is plenty of room for excitement with the newly revealed Sword of Truth and Justice (courtesy of MTG Salvation). Like all other Swords, it provides the equipped creature +2/+2, protection from two colors, and a bonus from each color when the creature deals combat damage.
Protection hasn’t been in Standard since 2016. It means that no sources of those colors can damage, enchant, block, or target the equipped creature. This not only protects the creature from removal but allows it to get in attacks to trigger its potent abilities.
Sword of Truth and Justice puts a +1/+1 counter on a creature and then proliferates whenever the equipped creature deals combat damage. Proliferate adds a counter on any number of permanents and players for each type of counter already there. This guarantees you two extra counters on the equipped creature, even in a deck with no other targets. This makes it even deadlier when it swings the next turn.
In decks with Planeswalkers or other +1/+1 counters, this Sword will let you build up massive armies while dealing more and more damage. Plus, while it is themed after the colors White and Blue, this Sword is colorless and can be played in any deck.
The past Swords released in sets of one or two at a time, and Modern Horizons has 15 Mythic Rares slated for release. At least one of those will be taken up by a black Mythic rare. That leaves room for another new Sword to possibly debut. If and when it does, we’ll be here to break it down for you as always.
Jim Harbor is a writer of articles, plays, comics, songs and animation.