Welcome to Mana Engine Week! First, let me state that I can only talk about how I design cards, but I do feel that my answers will give insight into the overall design process. At least not in the way that most of you think.
Design is about creating open-ended cards. I focus more on the individual cards that the card combinations. The best way to explain this is to use a metaphor and as long time readers will attest, I do love my metaphors. I like to think of designers as tool-makers. Our job is to make interesting and useful tools. It means that I design cards to have synergy with other cards. Not specific cards but general types of cards.
I want our tools to click together with other tools.
But I do not sit around thinking what exact tools each new tool will click together with. In fact, part of the excitement for the designers is to see what the world will do with their cards when they get their hands on them. In tournament play though, it got used as a sideboard card in red decks that was brought in against certain white decks.
Did I have this idea in mind when I created the card? Did I mind the shift in usage? Absolutely not. I was actually pleased that the public found a way to use the card that I had never thought of.
Design, by nature, is just not deck-oriented. The reason for this is the modular design of trading card games. Trading card games live and die by the ability for the cards to intermix in interesting combinations.
I just make generally useful cards and assume that players will find uses for them. But open-ended design increases the flexibility of the cards. I like infinite combos… in moderation. I believe infinite combos are good for Johnny and bad for Spike. Johnny has fun seeing what he can do with a Magic deck. Spike merely wants to win. Infinite combos provide Johnny with the ability to do bizarre and cool things.Welcome, welcome.
Have a seat. Would you like some Emmental? Try them yourself with some grapes and crackers or maybe just spread them on a bit of toast. Ah, cheddar. You are so obvious, so common, yet so potent. Is that how cheese works? Never mind. The most simple interaction that Crucible has is with fetchlands. You sack a fetch, get a land and next turn play that same fetch again, never to run out of lands again. We can make it better.
With Strip Mine. Yes, that does mean you can effectively destroy a land every single turn. But even then, only just for that one turn as you can keep playing that Strip Mine from your graveyard. No lands. For anyone. What is better than cheese? Infinite cheese. Fields and fields of mozzarella floating in the never-ending packet of brine that forms the expanse of our known and unknown universe. Uh oh.Brewer's Minute: Five Infinite Mana Combos in Modern
That got a little weird. Well, never mind, back to Deadeye Navigator and the stupendously ridiculous things it can do. Do you want to draw cards? Pair it with Mulldrifter.
Do you want to destroy lands? Here are some Avalanche Riders. Maybe some extra creatures? In the world of cheesy Magic, you either go big or go home. But I like infinite mana best and Peregrine Drake is too cute to say no to. Every time you bounce him you have a net gain of 3 mana. And nothing short of Wrath of God-like effects can stop it. I want to have it all. Like some sort of a maniac… You can see where this segue is going.
All it takes for anyone to interrupt the combo and actually make you lose the game immediately is to kill the mad cheez-whiz-ard. Please welcome Enter the Infinite. I mean, they were almost made for each other. If you have fourteen mana. Twelve to cast Enter and then the remaining two for the two Quicken you just drew… A boy can dream, right?
You just went into cardiac arrest.Here you will find content to help you from the kitchen table to your first GP, and everything in between. Over the years that non-rotating formats have existed, and with more and more cards constantly being released into their card pools, uncountable two-card combos have cropped up everywhere.
Of course, while you will find some Commander decks that have eighty-six combos in their hundred card library all of them usually featuring combo all-star Deadeye Navigatorin competitive formats the combos have to be more than just synergistic. So, here I have compiled a list of what I believe to be some of the most fun, crazy, interesting two-card infinite combos that you can assemble in Modern and Legacy. Most of them see a good amount of play, or at least have in the past, and all of them can go infinite for damage, mill, mana, turns or card draw, with just some lands and each other.
This is a somewhat underrated combo that rose to prominence quite recently in the wake of the Splinter Twin ban, then fell again when aggressive decks rose to the fore.
The trouble with running this combo is that Spike Feeder on its own is not a very good card, and Archangel is just too expensive to be legitimately playable. However, in singleton formats this is much less of an issue. This particularly nasty win condition has been a mainstay of Mono-Blue Tron for years.
The premise of the combo is pretty simple.
Brewer's Minute: Seven Under-the-Radar Infinite Combos (Modern)
Then you draw it, play it and sacrifice it. This combo is the descendant of its forerunner UR Twin, which was the hallmark of Modern for a number of years. The combo is very simple. Kiki-Jiki taps to copy Exarch, and the new Exarch enters the battlefield, putting a trigger on the stack.
It targets Kiki-Jiki. Kiki-Jiki untaps and taps again to make another Exarch copy. What makes this combo especially potent is that it can all be done in the space of one turn, so if your opponent taps out, they could just be dead. This is also a very viable option, though these cards are both sorcery speed and only work with each other. This is a combo which has risen to prominence recently and is currently seeing a lot of play in a number of different Modern decks.
Again, the decks which like this combo are the old Melira Pod shells which evolved into Abzan Company and now have become centred around this interaction instead; although, it has also seen some play in the Elves decks as a back door win condition. Since Vizier was printed in Amonkhet, though, Druid has begun to see the limelight, because the specific wording on Vizier interacts with it in a way nothing else has.
With a Vizier of Remedies in play, the replacement effect takes over and prevents the counter being put on the Druid, so it untaps for free. Then it taps again, and untaps again, and continues to do so until you have as much green mana as you need.
This can then be used to cast any number of win conditions out of your hand or, indeed, your deck. As far as infinite mana combos go, this one is a very strong one. A favourite in Modern since the very beginning, Ad Nauseam is the classic turn four deck. This combo is the centrepiece of it. Just looking at Ad Nauseam, it seems like a card that can very easily be broken; and it has been, in many different ways and in different formats.
Nine Game-Winning Infinite Combos with Throne of Eldraine
So, you can essentially draw infinite cards. You then proceed pick up your whole library and then choose any number of ways to kill your opponent.
In Modern the normal way is with Lightning Storm, discarding the extra lands you draw, but you can also use Laboratory Maniac and draw a card.Here you will find content to help you from the kitchen table to your first GP, and everything in between.
It is known thanks Irri! I on the other hand, am not a pirate. Which is why I present to you this small chest. Yes it does look rather piratey, but it was on sale! It contains a small ensemble of cute card pairings, synergies, cool interactions and even some infinite loop combos. If you are looking for an idea to build a casual deck around, then perhaps some of these shiny trinkets may catch your eye.
Please take these ideas with a big lick of salt. Most are only casual playable, are just a bit of fun or are based around the nut draw. My trusty companion Paint returns to help me bring these interactions to life. Some of these you will know due to them being famously effectiveothers you may not most likely due to them being pretty narrow.
Separated by many years and sets, they can finally be together on a kitchen table. This is not to say that 5 Power of flying turn 2 is to be sniffed at.
This has been talked about since Varolz was spoiled. Assuming you are on 13 or more life, you can cast the Shadow to which it will immediately die and then Scavenge away! Phyrexian Dreadnought provides the same task as the Shadow, but with the advantage and disadvantage of always dying when you cast it. Rinse, and repeat! Once you have access to 6 mana you can counter a spell every turn, forever!
Back to square one. To get there quicker Somberwald Sage could be used to boost out the Archaeomancer. Although Cryptic Command is used to counter target spell and bounce the Eternal Witness most of the time, the fact that you can return one of their lands and draw a card when they cast nothing is… insane. This cheap alternative deck would need a card dedicated to this task. Only I felt it would be strange to mention the lass for a more flimsy synergy when a much stronger one exists.
If you play Pauper then you either know all about this, or you will at some point. This is a surprisingly solid combo. You can afford to cast Archaeomancer to return something else during the early game. Similarly, you can use Ghostly Flicker early on, knowing that once you draw the Mancer you can get the ball rolling. It operates at instant speed once assembled and provides protection for the pieces.Grixis Death's Shadow put up some strong results this weekend, but there are certainly plenty of other options to fight Death's Shadow variants.
Collected Company has always been one of the most powerful spells to help enable creatures based strategies in Modern, and the recent printing of Vizier of Remedies provides another combo that Collected Company decks can take advantage of: making infinite mana using Devoted Druid with a Vizier of Remedies in play. There are also a few other ways to go infinite with Vizier of Remedies plus other creatures.
MTG Jeff: INFINITE DRUID – Naya Infinite Mana Combo Deck in M20 Standard
Collected Company has become one of the most important enablers in the format, as it makes a bunch of different decks much more impressive than they would be without it. Chord of Calling is nice, but it can be expensive and you can't find two creatures off it. These are five decks which have lots of overlapping cards, but there are also some subtle differences worth taking note of.
I have seen versions of the Counters Company deck that is straight green-white, but the most popular version is definitely Abzan. This deck incorporates both Devoted Druid and Vizier of Remediesand I think it is the clear top flavor of Collected Company in the format.
Vizier of Remedies is more or less an upgrade to Melira, Sylvok Outcast. Alongside a sacrifice outlet, this deck can gain infinite life by sacrificing Kitchen Finks repeatedly, as long as Vizier of Remedies is in play. The trick is that the persist creature won't get that counter placed on them when entering the battlefield again, so it can looped indefinitely. The deck has access to the same combos as Melira Company did, but you can also get infinite mana by putting Devoted Druid into the deck.
Devoted Druid is actually a pretty good creature on its own, so even without a Vizier of Remedies it is still an important mana producer. There are lots of mana sinks in the deck, so there is almost always some way to make the most of additional mana. Of course, if you are able to make infinite mana there needs to be a way to win the game on the spot, and luckily there is. After making infinite mana, either Chord of CallingDuskwatch Recruiter or just already having Walking Ballista in play will win the game.
Chord of Calling finds Duskwatch Recruiterwhich can then be activated infinite times to find Walking Ballista. Walking Ballista comes into play with as many counters as you want it to, and simply deals damage to your opponent. With four Chord of Calling and four Collected Company the combo pieces are fairly redundant. The deck is able to play the full amount of both Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid. There are a bunch of mana dorks here, and that shouldn't really be much of a surprise.
Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch are keys to making sure this type of deck is fast enough to keep up with other combo decks. Games where you have a mana creature on turn one versus games you don't have one are incredibly different.
With so many mana sources there need to be some lands that do more than simply produce mana, and Gavony Township is a classic way to turn mana creatures into legitimate threats to provide an alternative route to winning. Horizon Canopy can be cashed in for a card, though you don't want that land versus aggressive decks like Burn. The Counters Company deck is here to stay, and I would consider it a tier one deck at the moment.Competitive multiplayer EDH is full of all kinds of different and insanely powerful and fast combos.
At the heart of most of these combos but not all mind you is an infinite mana base. There are tons of ways to produce infinite mana in the competitive landscape, some produce colored mana, some produce colorless. It's a matter of what type you will need when it comes time to combo off to victory. Today we are going to explore some of the more common infinite mana combos you will encounter in a competitive EDH game, and we are going to start by exploring combos that produce infinite colorless mana.
The most iconic and often most easily assembled infinite mana combo.
Untapping a basalt monolith is an activated ability, therefore you can pay for rings to trigger the untap twice. While the second untap is still on the stack, you tap the monolith a second time. Nets 3 colorless mana each time you repeat the cycle. The Workhorse synergises perfectly with Mikaeus, people familiar with the Mike and Trike combo will recognize this interaction.
Using all the counters on Workhorse to generate 4 colorless mana, sac it to an outlet, it comes back thanks to the Undying mechanic.
Rinse and repeat as many times as you need. Umbral Mantle is gonna pop on this list more than once as it is a central part of alot of infinite mana combos. This one relies on Mana Reflections to allow Palladium Myr to tap for 4 colorless mana, giving you the mana you need to untap it using Umbral Mantle. Rinse and repeat until thoroughly satisfied. Infinite colorless mana can be a huge help when trying to pull of your winning combos.
It can be a huge help when you have an outlet like Thrasios, Triton Hero, or Staff of Domination and you need to draw a few cards or your entire library should you have a Lab Maniac in playbut what happens when your winning combo requires a little bit of colored mana to pull off? Look no further! Let's dive into some infinite colored mana combos next. Once again we are gonna start off with one of the more commonly encountered combos.
Palinchron and Dead Eye work together to give you infinite Palinchron triggers, and by extension, infinite land untaps. Another iconic infinite mana combo, Pili-Pala has lots of ways to be abused into infinite mana, but this one is the most simple and by far my favorite version. Use Grand Architect to turn Pili-Pala into a blue permanent that can be tapped for 2 colorless, use the 2 to untap Pili-Pala and net one mana of any color. I told you it would be back.
Umbral Mantle is a powerful equipment and is central to several different infinite mana combos. Here we use an elf like Priest of Titania to net us enough mana to yield a positive amount after untapping the Priest with Umbral Mantle.Throne of Eldraine contains many new cards that enable sweet Standard-legal or Modern-legal combos.
Some of them enable minor two-card combos that simply provide some additional value. For example, combining Hushbringer with Clackbridge Troll to prevent your opponent from creating Goats, combining Tolsimir and Garruk to get free life and fight triggers, or combining Enhanced Surveillance and Syr Konrad, the Grim to damage your opponent for a bunch.
The combos that fascinate me are generally a bit more convoluted, but they allow you to go infinite and win the game right away. This article collects nine such combos. Some are close to competitive. Others well, most of them are more questionable. But all of them are fun to consider. This combo is reminiscent of the Melira combo that saw lots of play in Modern back in the days. In this Goblin variant, Skirk Prospector eats Murderous Redcap, which immediately persists back onto the battlefield.
Since all the combo pieces are tutorable via Goblin Matronhittable via Goblin Ringleaderand playable on their own, this three-card combo actually seems competitive. In Modern Goblins, a green splash for Grumgully is definitely worth exploring. In Standard, you could combine the two to get a free chump blocker and a free enters-the-battlefield trigger per turn cycle.
The end result is infinite drains. You know what else can be animated with Karn? The Great Henge! In Modern, however, you can add Voltaic Construct to gain infinite life. You can now keep tapping and untapping The Great Henge as often as you like, gaining two life every time. Normally, mana creatures tap for one or two mana. But Faeburrow Elder can potentially tap for five!
So if you have enough colors among permanents you control, then you can generate infinite mana via High Alert or Gauntlets of Light. If you control either of these enchantments along with Theater of Horrorsthen you can generate one red mana per loop and eventually sink that into the Theater for infinite damage.
Maybe this is a combo to consider in Niv-Mizzet Reborn decks in Standard? Every loop, you ping one damage and gain one green mana, and you can repeat this as often as you like. Emry, Lurker of the Loch is a powerful card that just screams to have an infinite engine built around her. In Modern, this is relatively easy. Thanks to Yarok, it untaps both Emry and Firemind Vessel when it enters the battlefield.
Then, a Yarok-fueled Marauding Raptor pings Corridor Monitor for 4 damage total, sending it back to the graveyard.