The Magical History of Fact or Fiction

Fact or Fiction is very strong. It dominated during its time in Standard (or Type 2), while still being a favorite in Commander, Conspiracy, Vintage Masters and Eternal Masters. It made its way into FTV20 as well, which was a collection of 20 cards that had dominated tournaments during each of the first 20 years of Magic’s history and its in pretty good company. Its very popular, but hasn’t been reprinted in Modern, but it has a few cousins.

A shorter one after the 3600 words last time around.

Fact or Fiction was first printed in Invasion (2000). It was loved by the Spikes out there, because of how hard it is to play against. It was actually number six on Channel Fireballs list of hardest cards to play against, because you can’t really know what your opponent is trying to find and usually they’ll just take the bigger pile anyhow.

The first attempt to fix it came a full six years later in Time Spiral. Truth or Tale is at first glance somewhat broken for two mana, but that’s because of the expectation set by Fact or Fiction. It isn’t that powerful and doesn’t play, but its an interesting fix.

Brilliant Ultimatum came a couple of years later in Shards of Alara (2008). Its an interesting card for its colors, as it sort of feels green in a way (although green only gets free creatures), but didn’t really do much either.

Sphinxes that make your opponent make these kinds of hard decisions are cool. This one from Magic 2012 (2011) pretty much has you pay 2U for 5/6 flying body, which makes it a Commander favorite. It was also reprinted in Magic 2013, so I guess someone felt it needed a reprint.

Of course it was Jace, who brought this back again in Return to Ravnica (2012). I’m not quite sure it feels Jace-y, but there are mindgames involved, so I guess it sort of works. You could often even use it multiple times during one game.

In Theros (2013) they really seemed determined to find a balanced one. Steam Augury saw some fringe Standard play, but was quickly forgotten.

Shadows over Innistrad (2016) brought this gem. It lets you put stuff into your graveyard, so its already pretty good, but otherwise its pretty much like a more flexible Steam Augury. Again, it hasn’t seem much play, because giving your opponent such choices is just that bad.

Which brings us to our newest addition (from Elritch Moon), spoiled just yesterday. Interestingly enough, like the Epiphany before it, this was given to the TopLevelPodcast to spoil. I guess they figured Chapin and Flores would be the best two people to sell this card.


Personally, I love it. I would never play it, but the design is beautiful. It isn’t designed for me though, its designed for people, who like such randomness and bluffing. You never know. The card is a subgame onto itself. I don’t even want to play this, but I do want be there to see it when someone does.

One thought on “The Magical History of Fact or Fiction

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Cards from Shadows Over Innistrad Block (Top 10) | Guild Blog

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