Fan Favorite Friday #10: Employee Spotlight Matt Hibbard

Happy Friday, friends! We’re doing something a little bit different for Fan Favorite Friday this week because I’m still getting my schedule straightened out after the whirlwind that was GP Sacramento.

Instead of a vote this week, I decided that it would be cool to highlight a fellow ABU employee and their favorite card! There is a tireless, hardworking team behind this company, and as you can imagine the majority of us are Magic players – so there’s a whole lot of FFF material to be found behind the scenes! There’s a good chance this becomes a regular feature on our down weeks.

So when I was picking my brain and trying to figure out which of my fabulous coworkers to interview first, I came to a realization – who better to start with than our General Manager (my boss), Matt Hibbard!

This week’s column will flow much like our usual FFFs, but instead of starting with the history of the card(s) in question, I’m going to tell you a little about Matt first. Let’s dig in!

Matt Hibbard:

I’ve known Matt for a while through the local Magic community. I’ve been shopping at ABU since I started playing Magic, after all! I remember walking into the old retail location for the first time and being greeted by one of the most startlingly enthusiastic people ever. He made me feel welcome and helped me get set up with everything I needed for my deck. Fast forward six or so years, and I find myself sitting across from that same dude, in a conference room at ABU’s new location, being interviewed for a retail position at my favorite game store.

Matt started at ABU around six or seven years ago. He walked in one day to talk to the owner about buying some games, asked if he was hiring, and was asked to come back the next day. He started in a position much like our current iteration of the retail employee. In the morning he filled orders, and then worked behind the counter the rest of the day.

Matt is the kind of guy who sees a problem and fixes it. He slowly worked his way up the ranks at ABU by being his indispensable self, and along the way has helped shape the retail store into what it is today. Now he’s the general manager, and I’m not surprised. In my time at ABU I have been continually astounded by his work ethic and dogged energy. Matt could give the Energizer Bunny a run for his money – seriously, this man is always going (and we’re lucky for it). I’m proud to work under him!

Now, this is a Fan Favorite Friday, which means we’ll be talking about some Magic cards – never fear! I rode around with Mr. Hibbard while he ran errands for the shop and quizzed him about what he would consider his favorite cards in Magic. He doesn’t get a ton of time to play anymore, but he told me that back in the day he was all about Vendilion Clique. Then he thought for a second, chuckled, and mentioned that he also has always loved Divinity of Pride (I had forgotten about this one too, don’t worry!) So, we have a well-known competitive card to talk about today as well as a less popular, possibly less competitive card. And per FFF tradition, we’ll be giving away a copy of each next week!

History:

Let’s start with Vendilion Clique. This tricksy Faerie Wizard was first printed in Morningtide. The art (which I think is amazing) actually depicts a group of three Faeries from Lorwyn: Veesa, Endry, and Iliona (hence the word Clique in the card title), who were triplets. They featured pretty heavily in the story of the block, kidnapping Maralen for their queen, Oona, and eventually kind of turning sides and serving Maralen. (Seems confusing – I’ll be sure to get our lore guy to break it down for us all later!)

Vendilion Clique has been printed several more times, appearing in a judge promo, Modern Masters, Modern Masters 2015, and Masters 25. The art depicting these siblings has changed several times as well, once for the judge promo and once again for the later Masters sets.

 

 

 

 

Matt’s other favorite card, Divinity of Pride, comes from Eventide – the alternate mirror to Clique’s set! The Divinity of Pride, as depicted on the card, is a demigod referenced in The Seer’s Parables, which is an epic poem written on the plane of Shadowmoor. In the poem, a Kithkin goes to visit a Kithkin seer to ask about the end of the world, and ends up learning much more! At the end of the poem, it’s revealed the seer isn’t actually a Kithkin and was The Divinity of Pride all along. Crazy stuff!

What Makes these Cards So Cool?

You Blue players out there already know how cool Clique can be! I asked Matt why he liked it so much, and he summarized it quite well:

It’s so versatile! You can flash it in, see your opponent’s hand, get rid of a problem card, and have a flying beater if you need it.

Well said, Matt! Clique is such an awesome tool to have in your toolbox. Being able to flash in any flyer is cool, but the ability to see your opponent’s hand – and then pick a non-land card to put in to put on the bottom of their library if you want is amazing. You get information, you can get rid of a card, and all of this awesome is attached to a 3/1 flying body. Of course, the downside of choosing to put one of their cards on the bottom of their library is that they get to draw another card, but sometimes that chance is definitely worth it if the card in question would have won them the game!

When I asked Matt why he liked Divinity of Pride so much, he just smiled and said:

It’s just so cool, man! I know it’s not that great, but I think it’s a cool card. Very flavorful. I liked to play it in Commander because then it’s ability was already turned on, and I was able to drop an 8/8 flyer with lifelink. I don’t know, I just think it’s cool!

Well, when you put it like that I guess I agree that it is pretty cool! I love flying lifelinkers in any format. Pair that with decent stats and awesome story flavor and you’ve got yourself a cool card.

What Format are these Cards Played In?

Vendilion Clique saw plenty of play in standard when it was legal, and it continues to see play in just about every format it’s legal in!

The first time I ever encountered Vendilion Clique was in Modern. I remember being blown away by its effect, and I’ve been blown out by it many times since! I don’t see it as much anymore, but it still has a home!

Here is a UW Control list similar to one that beat me the other day here at the shop.

I’ve also grown pretty wary of Clique in Legacy. Here’s a neat list that’s pretty similar to one I’ve faced down several times at our local league.

I’ve also heard that these tricky faeries have seen some play in Vintage, but I’m not familiar enough with the format to really dig for a list. If you know of a cool one send it my way so I can link to it!

Divinity of Pride mostly just shows up in Commander these days, and from my research, it looks to be mostly in Oloro, Ageless Ascetic lists. Check out EDHREC to see more!

In Conclusion:

Have a good week everyone! Locals, be sure to give a shoutout to Matt when you see him. He’s the man!

I hope you all liked learning about one of the faces behind ABU and the cards that make him tick, let me know what cards you would like to see face off in the coming weeks!

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Joe Davidson is the Content Production Manager at ABU Games. When he's not playing Modern, Legacy, or following around Team ABU with a camera he's pursuing a BFA in Fiction at Boise State University. He loves Goblins, casting burn spells, and writing about Magic. You can find him on Twitter @MTGJoeD.