8/6/2009 FtL: "The Lens of Creativity"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's From the Lab, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
To totally sidetrack: In the art for First Come, First Served, 1 and 2 look like Serra Angel and Straw Golem.

...but what the hell is #3? Makes me think of Two-Headed Giant of Foriys. Is it?
All the decks made in this column tend to revolve around a single combo. I think its intentional so the column doesn't end up giving out high-powered decks that everyone copies. But with decks you make featuring a combo, its usually a good idea to have a secondary win condition so you can either win with the combo or by other means.
All the decks made in this column tend to revolve around a single combo. I think its intentional so the column doesn't end up giving out high-powered decks that everyone copies. But with decks you make featuring a combo, its usually a good idea to have a secondary win condition so you can either win with the combo or by other means.

First, these decks have a second plan - attack with creatures.

Second, if you dilute your deck with a secondary win condition, you're less likely to get off the combo that was the whole point of your deck in the first place. Remember, the purpose of the deck is to get off your cool combo, not to "win".
Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...
I was kind of hoping to see a deck built around Johnny, Combo Player this week.

How would such a deck work? One possibility is to go infinite using multiple Heartstones and spells that generate mana (with some way to get stuff back from the graveyard once you have enough mana).
Am I missing something? How does one repeatedly tap/untap the skill borrower? You tap/untap once, when the alphetto alchemist is on the top... you're milled for one and then you have a new card on top... unless it's another alchemist you're out of luck...
Am I missing something? How does one repeatedly tap/untap the skill borrower? You tap/untap once, when the alphetto alchemist is on the top...

The combo doesn't want the Alchemist on top of the deck, it wants the Alchemist in play. Then you repeatedly tap/untap the Alchemist, by targetting itself with its ability, to flip through your deck. Skill Borrower never copies the abilities of the Alchemist, it only copies Elvish Aberration, Voltaic Construct, Kamahl, or Thought Courier/Merfolk Looter, and gets untapped either by the Voltaic Constructs or the Fatestitchers.
maxiewawa: Yeah, it's not obvious initially. You get the Aphetto Alchemist into play (not on top), and then tap it... targetting itself. It taps and becomes untapped, and you've achieved nothing... except getting a permanent to become untapped, which mills you for 1 if you have the Orb in play.

There is something very cool about milling yourself for about 1000 on one turn, in a 60-card deck.
I was trying to work out how you could do it without 2 alchemists - tapping to untap the other. I never realised it worked if it targets itself!

Clever...
Thanks for everyone's explanations!

This is quite obviously the best combo in the whole of magic.
As an alternate win condition, throw in a Wake Thrasher or two--infinite taps/untaps makes the guy arbitrarily large. Not guaranteed to get through, as it has no evasion, but worth a slot.

I may have to put this together...
When I first saw Skill Borrower in the spoiler I thought of Volrath's Shapeshifter and thy are essentially the same idea. This thing has been rolling around in the back of my mind for what seems like forever. I just couldn't fill the holes, Mana generation other than Thran Dynamo, Gaea's Blessing, and I can't believe I didn't think of Aphetto Alchemist. I was using just Fatestitchers. I like your build except for Information Dealer.

There must be some sort of resilience you can build into it.
off the top of my head cards that might be good in there:
Fabricate
Lightning Greaves
Ghosthelm Courier
Sighted-Caste Sorcerer
Augur of Skulls
Mind Stone

I think the Courier works the way I want it to. Activate Skill Borrower give Alchemist shroud. Untap somehow. Activate give it's self shroud. now when ever they try to kill one of your guys just tap the Skill Borrower with something off the top of your deck. This may be too much work, I haven't tryed it. Tutoring for the Greaves might just be better.

PS: Kudos for using one of my favorite cards. Muddle The Mixture
To totally sidetrack: In the art for First Come, First Served, 1 and 2 look like Serra Angel and Straw Golem.

Straw Golem? Really? #2 is clearly an Onslaught cleric - specifically, Akroma's Devoted.

...but what the hell is #3? Makes me think of Two-Headed Giant of Foriys. Is it?

No. First of all, #3 only has one head. Also, Two-Headed Giant of Foriys has never been printed with a collector number. It's actually Ardent Militia.


However, I can't figure out what #1 is. None of the cards that have been printed with collector number 1 seem to match.
I was wondering about n° 1 as well. It just looks so much like the Invasion Angel of Mercy. But in Invasion it has collector's n° 2 instead of 1..
I was wondering about n° 1 as well. It just looks so much like the Invasion Angel of Mercy. But in Invasion it has collector's n° 2 instead of 1..

You're right, it's a perfect match for Angel of Mercy from Invasion! Hmm, Angel of Mercy was printed with collector number 1 in 8th edition. Maybe there was a slight mixup, or the artist took a slight liberty, and the Invasion art was used instead?
After seeing the Eye in the Sky list, I thought it might be cool to abuse being able to make any card the top card of my library with polymorph. Just a quick edit of 6 cards. I take no credit :P
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Hey, it's pretty neat that my deck was picked for 'Johnny' week... a high honor!

It did make me realize, though, that I haven't made a new deck in about 5 months... I'm reinspired! (if that's a word)

For 'Fattie in the Sky', Lantern of Insight might be handy. Godsire is also a pretty slick 'fattie' to go with Skill Borrower.

One thing Information Dealer has going for him, is that there are 22 wizards in the deck, and he does allow you to shuffle away bad cards with Terramorphic Expanse Adding in some other 'fetch' lands would make him a bit better. (Doesn't mean he's necessarily great, though!)

The potential downfall to 'shrouding' Skill Borrower is that Voltaic Construct needs to target. There might be a good way to untap as an ability without targeting, though.

The good thing about Wake Thrasher + Aphetto Alchemist is that Thrasher is pretty decent even if you don't get the combo together, especially with the new mana burn rules. The alchemist is still okay, if you have say a looter or some such.