Fan Favorite Friday #21: Swords to Plowshares

*Woah, so, since we pushed this article a week, my old introduction makes like, absolutely no sense! Extra Life already happened! I almost died! I fell asleep in the middle of a Masters 25 draft! Weird! Anyway, I’m going to leave it as is, and you can pretend you’re a time traveler!*

Hello everybody, and happy Friday! It’s been an exhausting week getting prepared for Extra Life, but I’m so stoked for tomorrow! I have NO idea how I’m going to make it through 24 hours of awesome when I’m already this tired, but boy howdy am I going to give it that old college try!

For those of you who aren’t clued into the Extra Life action: They are an organization that works to raise money for local Children’s Hospitals! People get together all over and game for 24 hours straight to help gather donations. It’s awesome, and ABU is stoked to be participating again!

Starting tomorrow at 9:00 AM we will be hosting ALL SORTS of gaming action and going all the way until 9:00 AM on Sunday morning. You can get our full schedule here. Want to donate? Feel free to use this link. Not only will we be gaming in person the whole 24 hours, but we’ll also have a Twitch stream set up and running the whole time! The ABU Alpha Wolves will be taking turns streaming arena and MTGO, and there will be some sweet other video games getting streamed throughout the day as well.

Be sure to follow our Twitch Channel to keep up on the action!

I’m pumped! I’ll be playing in the Legacy Win-A-Dual (I took fourth, you can read my article about it here, and even see a Snap Keep!) event during the day, and spending the rest of my time, filming, streaming, and checking out all the other awesome things going on in our building. Also, maybe passing out in a corner…

Anyhow, on to the FFF battle from this (and last) week! We had two of the best white removal spells ever printed facing off: Path to Exile VS Swords to Plowshares! Honestly, I thought the vote was going to be a little bit closer, but Swords beat out it’s younger cousin with 68% of the votes! Woah! I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised, Swords has a lot of awesome history behind it, and has been a “Fan Favorite” for much longer than I’ve been around!

Before we dig into the Plowshares awesomeness, we can’t forget to announce who won the Spooky Care Package from last week! Congratulations Sean McCullough! The all-knowing power that is Google’s random number generator has chosen you as the recipient. Woohoo!

This week I’ll be giving away these sweet Swords to Plowshares! Check them out:

Woo! Swords!

All you have to do to win is:

  • Like the ABU Games Facebook Page

  • Like the post announcing the giveaway

  • Comment on said post telling us your favorite Swords to Plowshares story!

Cool, now that all of that is out of the way, let’s dig in!


Swords to Plowshares was first printed in Alpha (which is apparently just a widely accepted nickname? I just learned today that the actual name for the set was “Limited Edition”), which was released at Origins on August 5th, 1993. Swords has since been printed over 19 times if you include promos!

The first time I ever encountered Swords to Plowshares was during my first Legacy tournament ever (a proxy league at a store I used to play at) and it pretty much blew my mind. One white to exile pretty much any of your opponent’s creatures? DANG. Of course, I compared it to Path to Exile. In the beginning, I wasn’t so hyped on my opponent gaining the life though, thinking that Path giving them a land was far superior.

Yeah… I wasn’t very familiar with Legacy (or Magic in general) at that point in my career.

Fast forward a few years, and I’m packing a whole four Swords to Plowshares in my shiny new Death and Taxes legacy deck! And in almost every case, I’m happy for my opponent to be getting life instead of another land. Opponents having land is SCARY yo!

And for the record, I rock this Swords art:

This is my favorite of all the Swords Art!

What Makes This Card So Cool?

Instant speed removal that will hit any creature that doesn’t have some special way of blocking it (pro-white, hexproof, whatever)? Seems pretty darn good to me! Sure, having your opponent gain potentially a bunch of life can be a downside, but I’ve had to Swords some pretty giant creatures in my day – and it was worth it! You can fight through more life, but it can be hard to stop key creatures. I’ve cast Swords against Gurmag Anglers, Griselbrands, Reality Smashers, and even a handful of 20/20 Merit Lage tokens and still won the game!

It doesn’t feel good, but sometimes you have to target this sucker with Swords.

What Decks Is This Card Played In?

The majority of the time you see Swords to Plowshares will be in Legacy. Even without Top, Miracles is huge in the format and usually rocking a playset of this sweet white removal. Here’s a list similar to the ones I see every Tuesday here at ABU:

Chroberry plays Miracles a lot.

Death and Taxes, one of my personal favorite Legacy decks, also runs the full playset! Here is a list pretty similar to the one I run:

I LOVE Flickerwisp.

Maverick is another sweet archetype that usually packs some Swords – check this list out!

Top Gun pun here?

Swords to Plowshares is also legal in Vintage, and has recently been played in Greenless Control lists like this one:

Vintage scares me.

And of course, we can’t forget 93/94! This is a super fun format that I wish I could play more, but I only really get to play when my friend Bradley comes out with all of his decks! Check out this list of his that features Swords, and if you want to see all sorts of Old School goodies and other cool old things, be sure to check out his Instagram:

White Weenies made according to the UK rules.

In Conclusion:

Well, that’s it for this week! What’s your favorite deck to run Swords to Plowshares in? Which art is your favorite? Let me know in the comments! And if you have a card you’d like to see featured in a Fan Favorite Friday, let me know here, on our Facebook, or feel free to hit me up on Twitter.

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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.