Magic: The Gathering card. Information from Crystal Keep.

Card Title: Fact or Fiction
Card Type: Instant
Color: Blue
Edition: Invasion
Artist: Terese Nielsen
Mana Cost: 3U
Rarity: Uncommon

The card reads as follows: Reveal the top five cards of your library. An opponent separates those cards into two face-up piles. Put one pile into your hand and the other into your graveyard.

* You choose which pile to put into your hand. D'Angelo 2000/10/14
* Type 1 tournaments (see Rule D.13) have restricted this card since 2002/01/01.
* Type 1.5 tournaments (see Rule D.14) have banned this card since 2002/01/01.

Card Analysis: This card is incredible. One of the most powerful in the game, this was put on the Banned and Restricted List less than a year after it was released in Type 1. To understand why this card is so strong, one must understand the concept of card advantage. What this card does is the following:

  • Gets you up to 5 cards at instant speed
  • Thins your deck-- you only get the cards that you want
  • Gives you the opportunity to play mind games with your opponent

Think of this as tutoring, card advantage and deck thinning all in one. The card's power is strong, but is defined mostly by its environment. In Type 1, the format where there are so many powerful restricted cards, this had the potential to break games open. How would YOU split a Fact that had the following in it: Ancestral Recall, Yawgmoth's Will, Force of Will, Mox Sapphire, Tolarian Academy? It's nigh-impossible and card drawing like that has the potential to end the game right there.

In Type II, a.k.a. the Standard format, the card works very well for its interactions with flashback cards and Psychatog. Flashback was a mechanic introduced in the Odyssey block-- you can play cards again from your graveyard for a certain cost. Basically, you get two uses out of each card. When you turn over these cards with Fact or Fiction, though, how do you split them? No matter what they get one use out of the card regardless of whether they take it or not. It tends to make things much more difficult.

Psychatog, however, is the defining deck in Standard right now. It's powerful just because of its incredible synergy with blue-- and with Fact or Fiction. Whatever pile they don't take becomes food for Doctor Teeth. It's very hard to combat a total control deck of that sort, especially with such a powerful card drawing engine.