Lore Ipsum: Trials and Tribulations
Hello! Today’s cards both come from myths wherein the protagonist is made to undergo difficult trials.
Note: It dawns on me that, now that i discovered scheduled posts, i might as well post at a decent time. Until further notice i’ll be posting on Mondays, 1pm GMT.
As usual, both of these myths were recently recounted in vlog form by Dael Kingsmill of Geek & Sundry, which i highly recommend you watch before you proceed to the cards (links to the specific vlogs will follow). I won’t necessarily be covering the whole myths, only the aspects my cards drew from, and she tells them far better than me anyway. Let’s get started!
Psyche was a human woman whose exceptional beauty gained her the moniker of “the new Aphrodite” among the people of the realm. Aphrodite didn’t enjoy this comparison, assigning to her son Eros the task of shooting one of his arrows at Psyche and make her fall in love with some mortal wretch. Eros, however, ended up falling in love with her and marrying her himself, in a sub-plot i’ll not cover here. Aphrodite was, again, displeased. After torturing Psyche for a spell, she entrusted her with a myriad of impossible tasks under the guise of testing her worth. Psyche ends up overcoming each of these tasks because every creature and inanimate object in the realm springs to her help Disney-style, and secures her happily-ever-after ending with Eros.
This is a clear reference to the Ordeal cycle in Theros. I thought it would be interesting to make a variant you’d want to cast on an opposing creature, and control magic seemed appropriate since i had used a similar ability on my own Aphrodite card. I also like that it’s a versatile card, allowing you to use it on your own creatures for a weaker Ordeal of Purphoros in case you can’t handle the creature returning to its controller. The flavor of the card is that Aphrodite forces Psyche to do her bidding, but she ultimately breaks free of her and ends up stronger for it.
The next card is based on the ultimate fate of Sisyphus, who everyone is probably familiar with, so i won’t be covering the myth preceding it. Suffice it to say that, throughout his life, Sisyphus managed to anger a whole bunch of gods, including Zeus and Hades, and at the end of his life was sentenced to Tartarus. There he was forced to repeatedly roll a boulder up a steep hill, which was perfectly designed to be just a little too steep and send the boulder rolling back down every time he neared its edge, forcing him to start anew.
Magic has its own Sisyphus reference with Titan’s Strength, but that card doesn’t reflect the myth at all. The intent of Sisyphean Trial is to represent the futility of the action, allowing you to almost do what you’re trying to do but never quite getting there. It’s also a deceptively flexible card, allowing for many shenanigans when used on fragile creatures with on-attack effects, or when used on defenders.
Dael has since left the Geek & Sundry network but will continue to regale us with myths on her own channel, so these posts will continue as normal. Until next time!