Facing an overwhelming force intent on expansion, redrawing the map and its resettling and modernizing its traditional homelands, the Elder of the Sakura Tribe has declared an end to years of armed retreat and asymmetrical warfare by surrendering to Magic: The Gathering rules manager Mark Gottlieb. The surrender took place on October 5, at Miren, the Moaning Well (now a national historic site), about 40 miles south of the Canadian border.
While the Sakura Tribe has responded to repeated attacks by giving up its traditional lands for years, it had long engaged in a practice of putting damage on the stack, wherein a rear guard would inflict a single point on the advancing army before committing ritual suicide. This practice made the tribe folk heroes among many Magic players, who, while they still settled into the seized lands, applauded the snakes’ courage, resourcefulness, and ability to keep counters off Umezawa’s Jitte.
“I always liked Steve,” said powerful wizard and Baylor College freshman Ankur Kartamian, using the common racial epithet for the tribe. “He was a good man, a common man. Sometimes he even got there, but mostly, he showed us to die as we lived, and to never make a choice between the two.”
“I am deeply saddened by his surrender,” added Kartamian’s roommate Mitchell Hart, as he tapped seven of the tribe’s ancestral mountains, plains and islands to cast a Bull Cerodon and have it enter the battlefield, “Some of us are getting together to protest this. We are considering a strongly worded e-mail, or maybe quitting Magic.” Hard then ordered Kartamian’s blockers and cast Unsummon before damage for a 2-for-1.
The Elder’s surrender was as eloquent as it was saddening:
It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little Orhan Vipers are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have left the in-play-zone and run away to the removed-from-the-game-zone, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find, collect and trade with my friends. Maybe I shall find them among the dead.
Hear me, my chiefs! My mana neither floats nor burns; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”
Claims that this speech was written by Wizards of the Coast poet laureate Doug Beyer, and not in fact by a playing card with a snake on it, remain unconfirmed.
Gottlieb responded to his longtime foe with a knowing respect, “It is true, many of the Elder’s children have left the battlefield and gone into exile. And I wish we had made this change earlier, before so many of the Sakura Tribe had to die. But this game has a bright future; a Manifest Destiny.
The Sakura tribe is part of that destiny. It is very hard to explain to our own children the lives that are lost in what is already a decided conflict. It is merely the march of history. To live together as one people, we must put an end to these senseless murder-suicides, as courageous as they may be.
Or else the whole country might collapse, replaced by a larger budget for Monopoly or other such bullshit.”
“You just watch,” said Sachi, daughter of Seshiro, a longtime advocate for a more violent, fireball-based Orochi policy. “This will change nothing. The Sakura Tribe will keep getting played and killed by the white man and giving him land until there is none left in its library. This amicable surrender is just a fog effect for genocide. The only choice our Elder has made is to die rather than fight.”
While the exiled Orochi were promised basic land, rumors are flying they have instead been forcibly relocated to the Dust Bowl.
“Whatever the damage this has caused, it has been assigned, and it is now too late to prevent it,” mourned Sachi.