Magic: the Gathering
comboarchetype. A good tutorial on how to use this type of strategy can be found in the cEDH Manual.
Birds of Paradisefrom the tests until the publication of this article. Vannifar's ability works as a "one" card combo, so the game plan is pretty consistent: ramp up a bit at the beginning using mana-generating creatures (in turns 1 and 2), summon the commander and protect her for a turn (in turns 3 and 4), then activate the commander and win the game (in turns 4 and 5).
Reclaim. Usually the combo lines will be something like this:
Elvish Mystic(1), tutoring
Monitor Corridor(2), tutoring
Breaching Hippocamp(4), tutoring
Chakram Retriever(5) and casting a spell to untap Vannifar
Chakram Retriever(5), tutoring
Great Oak Guardian(6)
Great Oak Guardian(6), tutoring
Protean Hulktriggers, take one of the stacks:
Incubation Druid(2) +
Vigean Graftmage(3) +
Spectral Sailor(1) OR
Grand Architect(2) +
Swiftfoot Bootscan skip step 10, while untappers like
Cerulean Wispsseek to serve as enablers of step 7 and be less dead as a card.
Thornbite Staffalone allows the combo to be executed completely on the turn itself and without using any additional cards (there is no need to have specific cards in hand). The Staff's untap trigger causes step 7 to not require an additional card. Or even the condition of deviating from step 4 that we assume as always possible. To solve the problem of passing the turn (step 10), note that when sacrificing the
Protean Hulk, Vannifar will untap again. Thus, it is possible to include some 0 CMC creature (
Ornithopterin the example) in the Hulk stack and start a new ladder. The new combo, starting from step 10, will be:
Protean Hulktrigger, include
Ornithopter(0) on the original stack
Ornithopter(0), tutoring some drop 1 (
Llanowar Elves(1) in this example)
Llanowar Elves(1), tutoring some drop 2 creature (
Kiora's Follower(2) in this example)
Kiora's Follower(2), tutoring
Tribute Magewill trigger, tutor
Lightning Greavesand equip the mana-generating creature to start the combo on the same turn
Thornbite Staffis equipped in Vannifar, otherwise it is necessary to add 4 mana to equip or 6 to cast and equip ).
Autumn's Veilon top of the deck
Memory's Journey, shuffling
Reclaimon the deck
Spectral Sailorto draw
Reclaim, placing [card (Memory's Journey) on top of the deck
Spectral Sailorto draw
Autumn's Veilwith bounces or pumps to clean the board and attack. The deck runs 3 haste enablers, which is enough to remove all three opponents in a turn.
Rest in Peaceprevent the Hulk from triggering, while pieces like
Cursed Totemprevent Vannifar from being activated. The deck countswith a general removal package, usually in the form of bounces. These should only be used as a last resort, although it is a Simic deck, this deck is not a control deck.
Combo and support partsThe creatures needed to make our staircase reach the
Protean Hulk, such as
Corridor Monitor(2) and
Pestermite(3) have been mentioned previously. For them to work correctly and linearly, we have to ensure that they are all on the deck, so that no Vannifar activation fails to find a necessary creature. On the deck there are two ways to deal with unwanted cards in your hand. First, we have the instant card
Brainstormthat makes us draw three cards and return two cards from our hand to the top of our deck. There is also the
Riverwise Augurwhose effect of entering the battlefield is equivalent to that previously mentioned, which makes it into a
Brainstormin the form of a creature. Because it is a creature, it is easily tutored with the help of our commander, which makes its mana cost negligible. However, you must remember of always be careful when this effect will be used, since the cards are placed at the top of your library and not reshuffled in it. Although it is not possible to win in the same turn or the next turn, it is good that the commander is activated as soon as possible so that the deck is shuffled. Cards that give haste are good on this deck because they allow the combo's resolution to happen on the same turn as it hits the table.
Crashing Drawbridgeare the honorable mentions in this category. The boots are old known to Commander players, can be tutored via
Tribute Mageand equipped for free. In turn, the enchantment, in addition to giving haste to the creature to which it is attached, also serves as a way to untap it. Finally, the Bridge has the ability to boost all of its creatures that are on the battlefield at the time their ability is activated.
RampOur list runs a large number of mana dorks in order to get into a comfortable position as quickly as possible to perform our victory combo. Cards like
Birds of Paradise,
Llanowar Elvesand the like are great at the beginning of the game for facilitating the commander's entry and are part of the game plan.
Seeker of Skybreakcan also function as a ramp if you have some mana dork in the battlefield. One of the best creatures for the deck, however, is
Kiora's Follower. Because it is a permanent untapper, it can function either as a ramp, untapping land or a dork, or untapping commander so that it can be activated again.
InteractionIn general, it is necessary to keep the commander on the field for one turn so that our game plan can reach the end. Thus, we run a large number of ways to protect it.
Blooming Defenseand many others are spells capable of giving protection to our creatures that are already on the field.
Mizzium Skinis one of the deck's honorable mentions because it brings with it the flexibility to protect one creature or to protect all of our creatures that would be the target of spells. But in order to protect something in the field, we must first summon that something. So we run a considerable amount of counterspells on our deck. We opt, mostly, for low cost spells, usually with some condition (usually some cost that the opponent must pay) for the counter to be successful. As it is a deck focused on going off quickly, it does not seem absurd to think that the amount of mana available to all players is small. Thus, we assume that the probability that a player will answer some of his creatures is low and still have mana available to pay the fees applied by our counters.
Perfect HandThis hand gives us all the important ingredients to make the winning strategy work. Among mana dorks and lands, it has what it takes to summon our commander early. It has protection, in the form of
Mizzium Skinand also has a way to untap the commander to sacrifice the
Protean Hulkand get our combo pieces. Finally, it is capable of giving haste to one of the pieces needed to generate infinite mana. With this hand it is possible to win in turn 4.
Acceptable HandA hand with 4 lands is better than a hand with no lands on that deck. With two mana dorks and a creature untap spell, these cards are able to summon our commander as early as turn 3. The lack of haste can be corrected on the turn following the commander's entry using her ability to sacrifice the
Leafkin Druidin search of a
Tribute Magethat would, in turn, search for
Lightning Greaves. That done, we can pass and go in search of victory in the next turn, that is, with the prospect of victory in turn 5. Two-land hands are also clearly viable hands. In this one we have a drop 1 that can help Vannifar to start her chain of tutors, we have an acceleration in the form of
Paradise Druid, which even helps when generating infinite mana. We have specific protection against removals and a counterspell, in addition to also having the
Thornbite Staffplaying the role of untapping our commander. With this hand and drawing more lands, it is possible to win on turn 5.
Bad HandsThis hand has everything wrong. One land (different in color from most spells), no ramp, no untapper, two creatures that do not help us at all initially, only reactive spells and one of the creatures on our activation ladder.
This Deck Needs KnowledgeSince the deck has very convoluted and a little fragile combos, it is necessary to be quite comfortable with all the lines before adapting to the deck. It is not the kind of deck that you lend to your friend who has learned to play in an FNM right now.
StrengthsThe deck is quite consistent, manages to emerge victorious frequently and has ways to react to opponents' interactions.
WeaknessesThe deck operates with a linear and easy to predict strategy, which makes it simple to stop it. In addition, it is necessary to have a strong knowledge of the other decks at the table in order to plan your plays accordingly.
Number of goldfishes: 50
Average win turn: 4.96
Standard deviation: 0.48
Mulligan for how many cards: 6.8
Standard deviation: 0.65 Naturally, the deck is slower than its alternative without a budget limit, but it is also extremely consistent. Usually the combo's turn was also performed with some protection in hand. This ends the first article in the series. I will be back soon with another budget deck in a new archetype ...