After Nexus of Fate, it felt like it’d be a minute until we saw another extra turn card find its way into Standard. This set has given us two:
With Patrick Chapin covering Teferi, Master of Time, that leaves yours truly to speak on all the ways that Discontinuity can be abused. Lemme tell you, there are a lot of ways to abuse a card that’s one part Time Stop and one part Sundial of the Infinite.
Despite Discontinuity being worded like Time Stop, in two-player games, end-the-turn effects end up working in a way that’s analogous to Time Warp. That isn’t going to translate the same way in Commander, but it does give us another form of pseudo-payoff for a planeswalker-ramp shell.
In a shell like this, Discontinuity will more or less account for extra planeswalker activations, but there is a backdoor combo to be had:
Normally, Uro has the drawback of sacrificing itself when cast in any way outside of its own escape cost. Instead, we have an application for Discontinuity’s cost reduction. Simply allow Uro to resolve, allow its draw-land-life ability to happen, and then, with its sacrifice trigger on the stack, cast Discontinuity. Thee ability is exiled, you have an Uro, and it’s the opponent’s turn. Being able to do this on the third turn isn’t even that impressive with Arboreal Grazer and Growth Spiral in the deck.
This is particularly relevant in any deck looking to use Uro without having a ton of efficient ways to fill the graveyard. In a lot of ways, Discontinuity is cheapening Uro’s future escape cost by a couple of mana and counting for several cards in the graveyard at once.
Skipping ahead to planeswalker ultimates is a bit of a gimme, but finding ways to abuse Discontinuity’s two-drop mode, without sacrificing much in the way of card quality, will be the bread-and-butter of the card.
- 4 Lovestruck Beast
- 4 Beanstalk Giant
- 4 Edgewall Innkeeper
- 4 Bonecrusher Giant
- 4 Fae of Wishes
- 4 Brazen Borrower
In this version of Temur Adventures, the manabase has been very slightly tweaked to make room for a white card in the Fae of Wishes package out of the sideboard. In a lot of ways, the Chance for Glory and Discontinuity feel a bit redundant with the Fling + Expansion kill, but the upside here is that Discontinuity can blank a combat step while also working as a kill on its own. Lucky Clover just allows you to grab both halves at once.
Another kernel of upside with this combo over the Fling-based one is that it’s better with a pair of Lovestruck Beasts or a Lovestruck Beast and a Bonecrusher Giant than Fling is. That’s because Chance for Glory simply grants indestructibility permanently, meaning anything on the battlefield at the time of its casting can attack with impunity.
This is relevant in the games that don’t feature a ton of mana on the side of Temur Adventures, a traditionally mana-hungry deck.
On the topic of detrimental end-of-turn effects:
When Song of Creation was initially previewed, the internet more or less exploded in a frenzy. Being compared to Krark-Clan Ironworks is a big deal, but the card has a ton of upside. The problem that people ran into with the card is that it took multiple turns to actually win via Thassa’s Oracle. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough combo-esque Adventure or escape creatures to offset the end-of-turn trigger from Song of Creation.
Song of Creation, Temur Adventures, and the initial planeswalker-based deck all have one thing in common: they’re ramp-based with a slight payoff for the discounted half of Song of Creation. This is where it’ll show up the most frequently.
That’s because, in addition to being a combo card, Discontinuity isn’t just a combo card. It can work as a half-Fog, half-Counterspell split card while being a combo piece. That’s the key difference between this card and a narrower synergy piece.
In an age of Magic where weaker, narrow Magic cards that don’t immediately win the game are unplayable, it’s important to find ways to really make the most out of the overpriced combo pieces available.
Downsides as triggered abilities? That isn’t exclusive to Standard.
Lotus Breach is a staple combo deck in Pioneer, but a good chunk of its strength lies in its redundancy and the fact that it can consistency slam the door shut on Turn 4. That isn’t something that Discontinuity lends itself to, being a six-mana spell on its face and all.
This iteration of Simic Nexus uses Discontinuity as a pseudo-Summer Bloom in conjunction with the aforementioned Lotus Field. On top of that, it can play as an extra-turn card once the deck starts trying to do its combo thing.
In older formats, Discontinuity even has the benefit of acting as a Summary Dismissal against cards that have on-cast triggers.
With Veil of Summer being banned, there’s a nonzero number of folks in the Magic community that have complained about the strength of Flash decks. Against these strategies, Discontinuity’s primary mode won’t be particularly impressive, but its cheaper cost will come up more frequently. Anybody trying to make proactive moves during the opponent’s turn will get punished by this effect.
This ends up becoming incredibly relevant when the best deck in the format operates at instant speed and plays piles of cards that can be cast at any point of either player’s turn. It can also play well in some decks that are trying to play this way:
Before Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, Teferi, Time Raveler didn’t have a ton of blue cards that played particularly well in its face. Enter Shark Typhoon, which can pressure a planeswalker without ever casting a spell. Discontinuity can answer both the draw and the token generation of Shark Typhoon.
Despite not being quite as ubiquitous as it was before the companion nerf, Yorion, Sky Nomad sees a fair amount of play. Allowing the Elemental to resolve and exile several permanents, only to cast Discontinuity with Yorion’s delayed trigger on the stack, is a nice “gotcha moment.” These types of plays are the way to catch up against a deck with a bunch of its card advantage centered on the battlefield.
Okay, hear me out. This effect is actually quite powerful. The drawback for Mnemonic Betrayal has almost always been that it is an Underworld Breach where the opponent picks the cards that can be recurred. As soon as the single-turn restriction is removed, this card becomes far more exciting, and any deck going long will be happy with this effect.
Keep the enchantments from Storm Herald forever? Let’s go. In that vein:
Modern has seen its fair share of Esper Goryo’s Vengeance decks that tried to find ways to dodge Goryo’s Vengeance’s drawbacks in order to cheat stuff onto the battlefield ahead of schedule. These decks leaned grindier and planned to play a longer game. Discontinuity is the kind of card that works as a combo piece in this shell, negating the drawback of another card, while also being a functional-adjacent card in its own right.
The primary takeaway here should be that Discontinuity isn’t just a casual card. There are plenty of competitive shells for this card to find a home, and it’s a matter of finding the perfect balance of payoffs to normal applications that make it a great inclusion for a Tier 1 strategy.
It’s all a matter of finding an existing deck with a powerful temporary effect that Discontinuity can make a permanent benefit. It’s truly startling the number of powerful, almost-good-enough, effects that come up in Gatherer when searching “at the beginning of the next end step” in card text. Stapling that to a Time Warp and a slightly-overcosted Dispel is a great place to be, and I’m looking forward to seeing the homes that Discontinuity finds itself in.