Tuesday, 20 April 2021 08:00

It's a tie! A look at Divine Intervention

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It's a tie!  A look at Divine Intervention WOTC/ANTHONY S. WATERS

Let's face it: There aren't a whole lot of people who like it when a game ends in a tie. And yet, in 1994, a Magic: The Gathering card was printed that literally did that and only that: It made games of Magic end in a tie. Boy, was it hated.

With the release of Legends came a card like no other: Divine Intervention. Wizards of the Coast, in their never ending quest in trying out new things, wanted to see what a card that would end the game could do. Literally. For a whopping eight mana, Divine Intervention essentially puts the game on a two turn clock before declaring it a draw.

As the card's Oracle rule text states: "Divine Intervention enters the battlefield with two intervention counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove an intervention counter from Divine Intervention. When you remove the last intervention counter from Divine Intervention, the game is a draw."

That's it. Game Over. Nobody wins.

It quickly became a big problem. In the summer of 1995, a plague of ties hit organized play. Getting draws started to become a strategy for players who would often lose, and players who would often win would find their point totals slowing down dramatically. It seriously was hated.

And just how hated? Well, let's put it this way. Legends came out in June 1994 and it was banned in August. It's the fastest card banning in the history of MTG for its time. The reason? Well, because of the draws, of course. In 1999 it was finally unbanned for Type-I (Vintage) and Type 1.5 (Legacy) use, but don't expect to find them in play all that often -- especially considering this now fringe card runs nearly $200 these days.

Since Divine Intervention's printing, another card came out that gives the possibility of the game ending in a draw, but it has such a low chance of actually happening that 's barely worth a mention.

Divine Intervention remains, to this day, one of the oddest cards to ever be brought out by WotC, as well as one of the cards that made players very, very angry when played against them. But, as with everything Magic, there is still a remote chance that a card like it may come out again someday. And if it does, let's just hope everyone learned their lesson from the first time around.