Magic the Gathering Card Analysis Honorable Passage

Damage prevention has always been something that held very little interest for me in magic the gathering. I recognize that it could be useful but I prefer spells and abilities that win games rather than simply delaying your loss and while delaying long enough can cause you to win the game it is not as easy as it might seem. Yet there are a few spells in this category which I have used and one of the best is honorable passage.

Honorable Passage is an uncommon instant from the visions expansion set of magic the gathering and has been reprinted as a time shifted card in the time spiral expansion set. It costs one white mana and one colorless mana to put into play and reads “The next time a source of your choice would deal damage to target creature or player this turn, prevent that damage. If damage from a red source is prevented this way, Honorable Passage deals that much damage to the source’s controller.”

The reason that this card is better than so many others is that not only can it prevent damage, but against the color that is most likely to do any significant damage with a single spell it can reverse it. In addition to this since it prevents all damage rather than some specific amount it is useful no matter how damage is being done.

This makes the spell nearly as versatile for white as counter spell is for blue because it can be used in a number of situations if built in the right deck. Using it with a small deathtouch creature for example can allow you to not only kill an opponent’s creature but keep your death touch creature alive to kill something else, or you can block with a creature that is too small to survive for an extra turn after saving it the first time, and of course you can block a shivan dragon with your birds of paradise and do five damage to your opponent in the process.

In limited a copy or two of this card drafted later can serve as an excellent combat trick and against any red deck it is going to be quite useful but the truth is that outside of a deck that is built to take advantage of this with creatures chosen with this in mind it becomes a delaying tactic and little more.