Path of Bravery – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Magic the Gathering’s 2014 Core Set is definitely an enchantment-happy set. Of the many interesting Enchantments, Path of Bravery is definitely a good card. It would later be reprinted in Iconic Masters. As long as you have more life than you started with (or even the same number you started with, in fact), all of your creatures gain +1/+1. Then, whenever your creatures attack, you gain life equal to the number of creatures that you have attacking. It can be one or a thousand. In any case, this life-gain can be quite substantial.

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The starting life total bit is clearly intended to make it not break Commander – where you start at 40 life in a multi-player setting) In Constructed, White Weenie was needing a card like Path of Bravery for awhile. The first half of this card already makes this card a variant of Honor of the Pure, but one that doesn’t restrict itself to white creatures. But, the second half of this card is what makes it so powerful. Having lots of little creatures consistently gaining you life not only keeps you in the game, but it makes it pretty much impossible for burn decks to race you.

The best part of Path of Bravery is that it costs 2 generic and a White mana. This makes it easy to splash in green-white, red-white, or blue-white creature-based decks. With Soulmender and Fiendslayer Paladin in Magic 2014, plus creatures with Extort from Gatecrash, life-gain was suddenly looking like a valid mechanic again!

Despite this being a darn good card, Path of Bravery saw fairly limited play in Standard decks. You’d find three copies of Path of Bravery in the occasional White Weenie deck. It was also a pretty strong card in Limited, especially at Grand Prix Prague 2013.

The best deck with Path of Bravery was Martyr Life in Modern, a variant of Martyr Proc. Like the older Soul Sisters decks before it, this deck relied on Soul Warden, Soul’s Attendant, and Spectral Procession to flood the board with a bunch of creatures. It was called Martyr Life due to playing Martyr of Sands, which could gain you a ton of life, plus the one copy of Path of Bravery in the main deck and one copy of Chalice of Life in the sideboard. This was actually a fairly successful deck from 2013 well into 2014.

Since late 2014, Path of Bravery pretty much disappeared from competitive play, but not from play entirely. It still sees a fair amount of play in Commander across a wide variety of decks, including Darien, King of Kjeldor, Karlov of the Ghost Council, Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, and other decks with either a weenie creature or lifegain theme. While Path of Bravery isn’t quite as good in Commander due to having to stay over 40 life to keep it active, it’s still a solid Enchantment.

One Commander that makes particularly strong use of Path of Bravery is a little known Human Noble from Throne of Eldraine by the name of Linden, the Steadfast Queen. Linden is particularly interesting because whenever a white creature you control attacks, you gain 1 life. This ability makes Path of Bravery live much more often than it would be normally, making it a surefire staple in her decks. Unfortunately, Linden herself is not at all popular as a Commander.

Could Path of Bravery re-emerge in Modern someday? As a card that did have its day in the competitive spotlight, you never know. At the very least, it’s possible that Path of Bravery could reemerge on Magic Arena, with a single copy appearing in a White Weenie deck played in a May 2022 Historic tournament. It’s certainly possible that Path of Bravery has not yet had its last appearance in the spotlight.

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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