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|Exodia Brienne - 1st @ Goblin Store Championship, Bologna||17||12||29||2.0|
This deck is the first in a series "The 12 Decks of Christmas," brought to you by the Jank Tank.
What are the 12 Decks of Christmas, you ask? Well, it's a series that we're hoping to bring you daily over the next 12 days, incidentally the 12 days of Christmas themselves, to highlight brilliant deck builds that have been recently published, funny deck builds that we've put together, or something in between, each sharing something in common with that famous Christmas song "The 12 Days of Christmas." So, before we get into this deck in particular, perhaps we can talk a bit more widely about the 12 Days, the song, and what this deck will mean.
The 12 Days of Christmas are a Christian festival spanning from Christmas Day all the way to the Feast of the Epiphany, which is when the arrival of the Wise Men is celebrated. This contrasts with Lent, which is a fasting holiday celebrated by going without, since the 12 Days are a feat of 12 feasts held all in a row. What's better than 12 days of Feasting on Decklists?
The song "The 12 Days of Christmas" and its meaning are somewhat debated. Some say that the song is a loose allegory of a Catholic catechism, designed as a mnemonic to help its singers and hearers remember a certain spiritual truth or Catholic dogma connected to each "day." Others say that it is more a celebration of love and shouldn't be read into too much. It's possible the truth is somewhere in between. Each deck list, then, will seek to connect either to the so-called "meaning" behind the day or just to the silly lyric that the day celebrates.
As Sheryl Crow, renowned theologian, reminded us, "The First Cut is the Deepest." We in the Jank Tank R&D really struggled to come up with a good list for the first day, on which the Partridge in the Pear Tree was given. What even is a Partridge, and why is it in a tree? Was the tree a throw-in to close the deal? Was the tree purchased on its own, only to attract and retain a wild Partridge on the way home and then for the gift-giver to claim it as intentional? One can only wonder.
This difficult conundrum led me to delve more deeply into partridges, symbolism, and straws at which we could grasp. I thought firstly that perhaps we could connect the deck list with the catechol meaning of the phrase, widely held to symbolize Jesus Christ himself, who was hung on a tree for our sins. While rolling around some ideas for a Jesus-rich theme, I found myself listening to the most recent episode of the White Book podcast, in which intrepid co-host @fauxintel compared the Red Viper combo deck lists to John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, who cried out warnings in the wilderness that went largely unheeded. John stepped away as soon as Jesus came on the scene, knowing himself not to be the promised one but just his prophet. If this analogy holds (and it does!) then what is the forerunner, which is TRV combo, pointing to? Why, Brienne-combo of course! Yes, Brienne is the Promised One of combo decks. But can we find even more connections here?
Further deep research revealed that Partridges are a European sort of bird...that meant we needed a European list. They are also a famous aphrodisiac, according to Wikipedia, so that totally fits too--so long as one is Tormund Giantsbane (and who among us isn't? You can perhaps find a hidden reference to him in this list with the inclusion of Mag the Mighty). Others claim that the Pear refers to the Virgin Mary, yet another nice analogue to Brienne the Maid.
Still other schools of scholars note that such a large and varied list of gifts given sequentially over twelve days is a great way to scare away the one you're courting. By the time day twelve rolls around and you're presenting your whole menagerie, by the time you get to the Partridge in its Natural Habitat likely your beloved has flown the coop. In the same way, by the time your combo deck hits its stride and you plot your second Annals, your opponent likely has fled the table, if not the game entirely.
Yes, in this deck, Exodia Brienne, we find a great homage to this, the first day of Christmas, and the first deck in our series. Thank you to @fenderico who published this list first, a deck crowned winner of the Bologna SC. Thank you to our readers who have made it this far, and thank you to those of you who might like to contribute to a forthcoming list over the next 12 days! We still have plenty of openings and if you're our huckleberry, just reach out and let us know!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good Knight!