05/05/2011 FtL: "Compleat Combos"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's From the Lab article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I don't see any reason to run Nature's Spiral or Elixer of Immortality in your Phyrexian Unlife deck.  If they're going to Demystify your enchantment, they're almost certainly going to do so after you're at 0 or less life, in which case you're dead long before you can get it back.

That said, the Bloodchief Ascension/Mindcrank interaction seems interesting and powerful.  The Splinter Twin combo deck is probably just better since it kills so much faster and doesn't require any work to get going, but the Ascension deck seems interesting nonetheless.  (I suppose technically a BR Ascension deck could kill on turn 3 if it ran Gut Shot, but that seems both weak and extremely unlikely).

One thing to think about, though:  I'm not sure if life payments count as life loss, but if they do, then all the new Phyrexian mana cards mean that Bloodchief Ascension just got a bit better.
I like the main idea... I just might go for the non-budget build soon so I can get back into Standard.

In other news, can someone walk me through the Splinter Twin combo?  I also have a Splinter Twin deck tumbling around in my head, so including another combo in the deck would be a nice redundancy.

the creature in this case causes an untap and leaves behind a hasty copy of itself, so you untap the enchanted creature and make another token, use that to untap the enchanted creature again.....ad nauseum until you have say 1000 tokens and attack FTW

It's exactly the same as the Splinter Twin / Pestermite combo, but with Deceiver Exarch instead of Pestermite.



The difference is that Pestermite and Splinter Twin were never in Standard at the same time.  Also since the objective is to combo out for infinite, you need defense more than offense, so the Exarch's 4 toughness is more useful than the Faerie's 2 power.  The only real advantage of the Faerie is the ability to block flyers.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi


One thing to think about, though:  I'm not sure if life payments count as life loss, but if they do, then all the new Phyrexian mana cards mean that Bloodchief Ascension just got a bit better.



Anything that causes life to decrease (including setting someones life total lower than it was originally) is a loss of life.

Source:  http://www.crystalkeep.com/magic/rules/summaries/indexes/rule-general-117.php#117

I am really liking that mill deck.  It has some nice interactions.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
The milling variant might be more interestingly-combo-like, but in terms of actual power, wouldn't it be better to just activate the ascension asap and go for infinite damage?

*sigh*
I don't see any reason to run Nature's Spiral or Elixer of Immortality in your Phyrexian Unlife deck.  If they're going to Demystify your enchantment, they're almost certainly going to do so after you're at 0 or less life, in which case you're dead long before you can get it back.


Spiral can also get Melira back, which might die to a stray Lightning Bolt.  Granted, you're not likely to live long enough to get her back if your opponent waits to kill her, but it's possible.
Bloodchief Ascension may just wind up as one of my favourite cards of all time, at this rate. I had an older combo using it and Zur's Weirding (which was actually the antithesis of 'fun'), but this one seems just as interesting.

Consider running the black Chancellor, to grab a quest counter on the first turn. Beside that, it's already been mentioned that it makes Phyrexian mana so much less appealing - it'll be a much harder decision to throw a Mental Misstep at the Ascension when they know that your Mental Misstep would not only save the spell, but put a counter on it. From the way it sounds that Standard is shaping up, you may be able to rely on Phyrexian mana to put counters on for you - or, at least, expect to significantly slow down your opponents who are avoiding doing so. And for a slowish combo like this, that's a win-win situation.

I'd probably go Blue-Black, personally - but I tend to run Blue for most any combo deck. It just makes it easier both to dig for your combo, and to protect the pieces once you get them. It's nice that the pieces to this one come out early, and the three turns requirement isn't that slow - just make sure you use your opponent's turns, as well. Might keep Gut Shot around, to steal the extra counter off of fetchlands, and such, as well as for its removal value. I'm a little old-fashioned, so I don't generally run three colours if I can help it, but I can see how making room for some for Lightning Bolts might be worthwhile.

This was really just a whole lot of 'maybe's as a way to say that I'm very keen on where that deck might be headed...
Everyone's been talking about the Splinter Twin/Deceiver Exarch  combo, but you know, I doubt it will actually have much impact on Standard. It's in colors without decent mana acceleration, so the combo can't possibly go off before turn 4, and any instant-speed removal for creatures can prevent it. And the deck is really weak without one single card, Splinter Twin, so if the opponent can keep the enchantment off the battlefield (with Surgical Extraction, say, which is splashable of course) then they'd just have to deal with a bunch of cards that are delaying and controllish but not actually threatening.

Then again, maybe this is all just sour grapes because I used to have one or two copies of Splinter Twin  in a wonky WR Ally deck when they were going for less than $2, but I traded them away at some point and now the price has quadrupled. Damn. If I somehow had four copies I'd definitely make a deck just to have something relatively budget to take to FNM and maybe get lucky.

Also, that Mindgrind deck looks like a really cool idea. I'm even wondering if it would have a chance in Standard.

It seems that Standard Constructed needs to have some kind of significant force on the table - several weenies, one fatty and/or a planeswalker - by turn 4. This version of the deck can't do that. The earliest it could possibly set off its own combo is turn 5 and even that is optimistic and risky, if I figured it out right, unless the opponent is considerate enough to spend their own life on Phyrexian mana or sacrifice two fetch lands in one turn.

Like The_Great_Galendo said upthread, I'd add red. Arc Trail  on turn two can remove a creature with 1 toughness and still cause your opponent to lose 2 life. Red has plenty of instant-speed damage, so you can cast some on your turn and some on your opponent's to ensure that no end step goes by without a counter. In Standard right now I see eight red instants and sorceries that will both do damage to a creature and give you a quest counter (whether by damaging that creature's controller as well, or Volt Charge), so you can use them to both get quest counters and remove threats to you at the same time, and trigger the infinite loop once you don't need more counters. In black I only see four cards that can accomplish all of that, and most cost more than most red options.
If they're going to Demystify your enchantment, they're almost certainly going to do so after you're at 0 or less life, in which case you're dead long before you can get it back.



Assuming you have Melira up (the other half of the combo) you wont lose life when you take damage. If they kill the enchantment, you should be fine.
What do you guys think about a hybrid of the bloodchief and the rogue trap deck from a few weeks ago (Flores).  Run Hedron Crab over Grindlock?  Run a few Haunting Echoes and Archive Trap.

2  Bojuka Bog
1  Mystifying Maze
4  Verdeant Catacombs
4  Scalding Tarn
4  Island
4  Swamp
3  Darkslick Shores
3  Drowned Catacomb

1  Geth, Lord of the Vault
4  Hedron crab

4  Bloodchief Ascension
3  Contagion Clasp
4  Decimator Web
2  Grim Affliction
4  Hideous End
4  Mindcrank
2  Spread the Sickness
3  Haunting Echoes 
4  Archive Trap

Not sure... combining the two decks might also just be weakening both.  Not sure you have enough points of damage to make Ascension work for ya.

With Noel's posted deck - Concerns about going off on turn 5 should be okay - seeing as how you have  Hideous end to deal with any major threats - and Contagion Clasp to deal with some Weenies and Snake.

As for Splinter Twin - it's good.  I just picked up 4 and 4 Pyromancer Ascension.  Here's the deck you want to be testing:
7 Island
4 Mountain
3 Halimar Depths
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Arid Mesa
2 Misty Rainforest

4 Deceiver Exarch

3 Splinter Twin
4 Preordain
4 Tezzeret's Gambit
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Mana Leak
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Pyromancer Ascension
3 Into the Roil
4 Burst Lightning  (credit to "Tel")


Hmmm... Wonder if your could combine Pyromancer Ascension and Bloodchief Ascension into a Ascension^2 deck.  Hmmm....
First Stab at an Ascension Squared Deck:

6 Swamp
1 Bojuka Bog
3 Mountain
8 red/black lands
1 Island
4 scalding tarn

23 lands

1 Geth, Lord of the Vault  (there might be a better choice here now for the back up this fattie).

4 Sign in Blood (remember - you can target your opponent in a pinch)
4 Tezzeret's Gambit (3 mana, draw cards, proliferate - weeee!)
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Arc Trail
4 Hideous End
4 Inquistion of Kozilek /Duress/Horryifing Revalation/Psychic Miasma/Mind Rot

4 Mindcrank
4 Bloodchief Ascension
4 Pyromancer Ascension

SB:
1 Island
4 Mental Misstep
4 Pyroclasm
3 Discard spell of Choice
3 Artifact destructions spell of choice

This deck is begging for Blightning 8-( 
It might need more discard, though with the combo pieces active, any burn spell triggers a full milling and lots-o-damage.  Burn spells and Hideous End also add cards to peoples graveyard should you not have Mindcrank on the board.

Thoughts / feedback?



If they're going to Demystify your enchantment, they're almost certainly going to do so after you're at 0 or less life, in which case you're dead long before you can get it back.



Assuming you have Melira up (the other half of the combo) you wont lose life when you take damage. If they kill the enchantment, you should be fine.


Melira doesn't protect you from regular damage.  She would be too good if she did.
I love the mill deck idea! I'd almost rather run a couple Necrogen Censers in there though, perhaps 2 in place of 2 decimators.  Easy 2 life loss, and with the proliferate mechanics you already have this gives you another fast way to start off, maybe even better than Hideous End for the first 2 life drop?
Hey guys, I got one card combo that prevents you from losing even better than that one: Platinum Angel. Anyone? 

Momus, the Greek god of sarcasm

Pray to him.

Hey guys, I got one card combo that prevents you from losing even better than that one: Platinum Angel. Anyone? 



I'll just put you at a high negative life and destroy your Platinum Angel.

IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

Melira doesn't protect you from regular damage.  She would be too good if she did.



No, but Phyrexian Unlife does.

EDIT - "As long as you have 0 or less life" ruins my day. Nothing to see here!