Happily Ever After – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Happily Ever After is one of the strangest alternate win condition cards in Magic the Gathering. This Enchantment card from the Throne of Eldraine set exists as a “story spotlight” for the backstory of Eldraine. The conditions which need to exist to win the game are very specific and difficult to attain. But, it has actually seen play as an “oops, I win” card, and while no one has really built a deck purely around winning with it, there’s a chance that it IS technically possible.

So, what does it take to live Happily Ever After? First, when the Enchantment enters the battlefield, each player gains 5 life and draws a card. Then, the card gets very complicated. 

“At the beginning of your upkeep, if there are five colors among permanents you control, there are six or more card types among permanents you control and/or cards in your graveyard, and your life total is greater than or equal to your starting life total, you win the game.”

Five colors among permanents you control is easy enough. Getting your life total to either equal or greater than your starting life total isn’t hard, either. The real trick is getting six or more card types among permanents you control and/or cards in the graveyard. That means you’ll need at least six of the following on the board or in the grave on your upkeep: 

  • Artifact
  • Creature
  • Enchantment
  • Land
  • Instant
  • Planeswalker
  • Sorcery
  • Tribal (from Lorwyn/Morningtide/Rise of the Eldrazi)

The only noted time that Happily Ever After made it to the top 8 of a major Magic the Gathering tournament was in 2019 in a Hareruya Legacy event in Japan. The Enchantress deck piloted by Nakagawa Natsuki made the top four and ran one copy of Happily Ever After. Sadly, the deck pretty much just ran the card for the lifegain and card draw, and didn’t actually have a way to ever live the dream with the alternate win condition. It had just one artifact in the sideboard and no sorceries or planeswalkers.

The card has seen play, however, in Commander. Kenrith, the Returned King, who is also from Throne of Eldraine, often plays Happily Ever After for flavor reasons, although the deck can accidentally win with the card. Commander decks play plenty of all card types, especially a five-color deck like Kenrith. The Enchantment has also seen play in decks that employ a “group hug” strategy, gaining players life and drawing cards, that can’t ever hope to win with its ability.

Still, is it possible to build a deck outside of Commander that goes all in on the Happily Ever After plan?

How would you build a Happily Ever After combo deck?

It’s fortunate that to activate the win condition of Happily Ever After, you will often have most of the card types you need already in play. Also, it’s fortunate that there are Modern-bordered cards that are not only able to be all colors at once, but are also artifact creatures. There’s also a Sorcery from War of the Spark, called Planewide Celebration, that creates Citizen tokens which are all colors. Best of all, you only have to be in Green and White to make this all work.

Two creatures that are artifact creatures which are all colors at once are Transguild Courier and Sphinx of the Guildpact. The Courier is a four-mana Golem creature that’s 3/3 with no abilities. The Sphinx at seven mana is much better, as it’s a 5/5 with flying and protection from monocolored. Another artifact creature called Scrapbasket, a four-mana 3/2 Scarecrow, can become all colors for one generic mana. Honestly, Scrapbasket is really not much good outside of Reaper King Scarecrow Tribal.

Planewide Celebration is quite interesting, and while it costs seven mana – five generic and two green – it’s worth playing for several reasons. You get to choose up to four abilities, and you can use one of the abilities more than once. One of those abilities creates a 2/2 Citizen creature token that’s all colors, but the other modes are useful, too. 

The second mode of Planewide Celebration returns a target permanent from your graveyard to your hand, which allows you to get back any of your creatures that you may need. The third mode proliferates, which increases counters on permanents, and it won’t be relevant to this deck. The fourth and final mode does matter to the Happily Ever After game plan because it gains you 4 life. 

So, already we can easily have an artifact, creature, enchantment, and land in play, with Planewide Celebration in the graveyard. The question then becomes, how do we ramp up quickly enough to win the game before our opponents destroy us?

After trying several permutations of the deck, the problem is that the strategy is extremely inconsistent. Doing some playtesting on Archidekt, it seems that the win condition is far too terrible in its consistency. The main trouble was lacking a sixth card type in play or in the graveyard. So, it appears that Happily Ever After isn’t really a card worth building around. It will have to remain an “oops, I win” card in five-color Commander decks for the time being.

Have you ever seen anyone win with Happily Ever After in play? Would it be something you’d like to try? If you ever do see a deck that can win with this card in play consistency, let me know!

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