- 1x Ancient Tomb
- 1x Bayou
- 1x Bloodstained Mire
- 1x Boseiju, Who Shelters All
- 1x Breeding Pool
- 1x Cavern of Souls
- 1x Cephalid Coliseum
- 1x Command Tower
- 1x Drowned Catacomb
- 1x Dryad Arbor
- 1x Flooded Strand
- 1x Forbidden Orchard
- 1x Hinterland Harbor
- 1x Marsh Flats
- 1x Misty Rainforest
- 1x Overgrown Tomb
- 1x Polluted Delta
- 1x Reflecting Pool
- 1x Reliquary Tower
- 1x Riptide Laboratory
- 1x Scalding Tarn
- 2x Snow-Covered Forest
- 2x Snow-Covered Island
- 1x Snow-Covered Swamp
- 1x Strip Mine
- 1x Tolaria West
- 1x Tropical Island
- 1x Underground Sea
- 1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
- 1x Verdant Catacombs
- 1x Volrath's Stronghold
- 1x Wasteland
- 1x Watery Grave
- 1x Windswept Heath
- 1x Wooded Foothills
- 1x Blue Sun's Zenith
- 1x Consecrated Sphinx
- 1x Crucible of Worlds
- 1x Deathrite Shaman
- 1x Demonic Tutor
- 1x Eternal Witness
- 1x Green Sun's Zenith
- 1x Imperial Seal
- 1x Intuition
- 1x Jace, the Mind Sculptor
- 1x Leyline of Anticipation
- 1x Lim-Dul's Vault
- 1x Mystic Remora
- 1x Mystical Teachings
- 1x Mystical Tutor
- 1x Necropotence
- 1x Phantasmal Image
- 1x Sensei's Divining Top
- 1x Snapcaster Mage
- 1x Sylvan Library
- 1x Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
- 1x Vampiric Tutor
- 1x Yawgmoth's Will
- 1x Arbor Elf
- 1x Azusa, Lost but Seeking
- 1x Birds of Paradise
- 1x Burgeoning
- 1x Carpet of Flowers
- 1x Dark Ritual
- 1x Deathrite Shaman
- 1x Exploration
- 1x Grim Monolith
- 1x Lotus Cobra
- 1x Mana Crypt
- 1x Mana Vault
- 1x Mox Diamond
- 1x Nature's Lore
- 1x Oracle of Mul Daya
- 1x Skyshroud Claim
- 1x Sol Ring
- 1x Three Visits
- 1x Arcane Denial
- 1x Counterspell
- 1x Cyclonic Rift
- 1x Damnation
- 1x Dispel
- 1x Flusterstorm
- 1x Force of Will
- 1x Mana Drain
- 1x Memory Lapse
- 1x Misdirection
- 1x Nature's Claim
- 1x Pact of Negation
- 1x Remand
- 1x Spell Pierce
- 1x Stifle
- 1x Swan Song
- 1x Venser, Shaper Savant
- 1x Voidslime
This is a tournament-level combo control deck. It is designed to win in high-pressure environments by withstanding incoming disruption, suppressing opponents, and using efficient and powerful combos.
This deck is built around a network of synergies; the combos have interchangeable pieces, and the cards that support them can be used outside of the combo as general utility cards. Because the number of combo-only cards is minimized, the deck's resilience is increased, and the odds of drawing dead cards are decreased.
SHOW PRIMERHIDE PRIMER
The Primer High-Level Overview
Reading this decklistSHOWHIDE
This decklist is organized, by default, into my custom categories. Cards intended at the high level to have cross-category functionality will appear in multiple categories.
- Land: Self-explanatory.
- Utility: The tutor, draw, and recursion effects that improve the deck's function and support its fast, efficient style.
- Control: The counterspells and removal spells that allow me to respond to opponents' plays and control the game.
- Ramp: The ramp spells and permanents that allow me to accelerate mana production and outpace my opponents. Ramp is critical to winning before my opponents do, and it fuels the control elements in the deck so tempo isn't lost when responding to threats.
- WinCons: The win conditions used to achieve victory.
The sideboard is a working list of cards that are in the deck, but are being considered for elimination based on performance and developing theory.
The maybeboard is a working list of cards that are not in the deck, but are being considered for inclusion pending testing and developing theory.
I chose BUG because it offers what I believe to be the best mix of the essential elements of a combo-control deck: mana acceleration, draw power, responsive power (removal, counterspells), tutor power, and synergy. While some color combinations may excel more at one or the other, BUG is a solid performer across all of them.
Vorosh, the Hunter doesn't suit the combo goals of this deck because it doesn't offer much utility and it needs to attack to be useful. It was immediately excluded from the decision.
The Mimeoplasm can be used for combos, but its approach is more graveyard-based. It relies on Entomb effects and a reanimator strategy to work. I decided against this kind of strategy because traditional combo-control is more stable; you have more control over your flow of resources, and you risk less overall.
Damia, Sage of Stone is much of a Goldilocks solution: it's good in its own right, but it's the best because the other options are clearly worse. Damia, Sage of Stone brings strong utility to the deck, and it plays a critical role in stabilizing the deck after it spends its Stage I resources ramping ahead of opponents.
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant was released after the deck was more or less complete. It doesn't offer anything to the deck in terms of utility or viability, so it isn't worth considering here.
This deck excels at executing resilient, powerful ramp and control strategies and at maintaining a steady tempo throughout the game. Because it relies on efficient, powerful cards in addition to a fast ramp package, the deck is capable of explosive opening turns that quickly accelerate it beyond the reach of all but the most tenacious control.
The deck's primary weakness is fast control decks. Zur the Enchanter, Arcum Dagsson, and five-color Hermit Druid are examples of decks that have the potential to outrace this list and combo out before I get stabilized.
Anti-control cards like Stranglehold and Aven Mindcensor prove to be problematic if they resolve, but there are answers to such cards in the deck. Getting around these effects is a matter of drawing the answer the traditional way, which makes them harder to deal with. Draw power and countermagic are essential to stopping these cards once they hit (and ideally before).
Card Choices Explained
The land base in this deck combines optimized color fixing with strong utility effects.
- The 3-3-9 split
This is the optimal starting point for any three-color EDH deck. "3-3-9" refers to the set of three shock lands, three ABUR duals, and nine fetch lands playable in a tricolor deck. This setup guarantees (to the extent that anything can be guaranteed in EDH) that the deck will have access to the proper colors at the proper times. Furthermore, it allows the deck to play highly-saturated spells like Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Necropotence without losing tempo to go find more sources of another color.
- Drowned Catacomb and Hinterland Harbor
These cards should almost always enter the battlefield untapped (given that the deck plays the 3-3-9 split and has other ways to guarantee basic land types), and they provide /X with no real downside.
- Snow basics
Although the snow basics aren't strictly necessary, they help against monocolor decks that run snow lands and Extraplanar Lens to avoid accelerating their opponents. In a vacuum, the snow lands don't make a functional difference to this deck. You could easily run non-snow basics instead.
- Ancient Tomb
This card is basically the upgraded version of Temple of the False God, another EDH staple. It can tap for mana at any time, and the investment of life is a low price for the extra mana production. The only real downside is that this land won't allow you to combo off if you are forced to rely on it; it will kill you rather quickly.
- Boseiju, Who Shelters All
This card helps guarantee the combo against control decks. An uncounterable Tooth and Nail into Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir (see the section below on combos) shuts your opponents out of your turn and allows you to win the game unhindered.
The downside is that this land comes in tapped, and it can only produce colorless mana and only at the expense of life. It's definitely a late-game play to set up for your combo.
- Cavern of Souls
This card is in the deck for a few reasons. First, it's a powerful way to guarantee that your Wizards resolve. You can protect Damia, Sage of Stone, Snapcaster Mage, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, and Venser, Shaper Savant in this way. Second, you can name Illusion in order to protect Phantasmal Image and Palinchon for the combo.
- Cephalid Coliseum
This card makes the cut because it taps for and comes with a decent utility ability. This deck doesn't have any issues reaching threshold by Stage II or Stage III (see the section below on strategy), and the filtering can allow you to draw something you tutored to the top of your library or just help dig for an answer.
- Command Tower
The EDH classic, Command Tower is a staple in every multicolored EDH deck.
- Dryad Arbor
This card has definite upsides and downsides. It can be a turn-one find with Green Sun's Zenith to help ramp when there aren't many other options. It also serves as another fetchable land for the Forest-specific effects. Additionally, it can chump block a combat-oriented commander or utility creature if necessary.
The downsides include its vulnerability as a creature (losing lands to board wipes is suboptimal) and the fact that it has summoning sickness on its first turn (which means it can't be an immediate asset as a mana source).
- Forbidden Orchard
This card functions as an additional Command Tower with virtually no downside. The tokens it makes won't lose you the game, and they can be used politically to help temporary allies survive.
- Reflecting Pool
This card functions as an additional Command Tower. Because this deck runs the 3-3-9 lineup and the most powerful dual-fetching ramp spells, you're basically guaranteed to have the color fixing to assure that Reflecting Pool is never anything less than a dual land. It'll almost always be a Command Tower by turn two or three.
- Reliquary Tower
This card is extremely useful in conjunction with the deck's draw engines. Although it doesn't directly synergize with Damia, Sage of Stone, it's still very useful in breaking Necropotence and its ilk even further.
- Riptide Laboratory
This card enables a combo with Venser, Shaper Savant (see the section below on combos), and it also allows you to recur Snapcaster Mage. In a pinch, it can be used to keep Damia, Sage of Stone from costing an extra if a board wipe is about to resolve.
- Strip Mine and Wasteland
These cards have the benefit of both producing mana and serving as low-investment solutions to opponents' utility lands. They're very capable of dealing with an opponent's Boseiju, Who Shelters All or Cavern of Souls and clearing the way for the deck's counterspells.
- Tolaria West
This card functions as a tutor for Pact of Negation, Mana Crypt, or Mox Diamond, depending on the situation. It's slow as a regular land play, but sometimes it's needed as an additional land. Exploration effects help mitigate the ETB-tapped downside by allowing you to play other lands for immediate use.
- Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
This card allows me to focus even more heavily on / lands (which are the most important in the deck) and helps make Necropotence more playable. Although it can also help opponents with color fixing, it should usually provide enough utility to mitigate that downside.
- Volrath's Stronghold
This deck capitalizes on efficient ramp effects in order to outpace opponents, accelerate its win, and maintain pressure.
- Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Burgeoning, Exploration, and Oracle of Mul Daya
- Nature's Lore, Skyshroud Claim, and Three Visits
These cards are powerful ramp spells that are capable of finding shocks and ABUR duals. The ramp and color fixing they provide is invaluable.
- Grim Monolith and Mana Vault
These cards are low-cost ramp rocks that allow the deck to produce the extra mana it needs for its two high-cost staples: Damia, Sage of Stone and Tooth and Nail. Don't worry about paying to untap them; they're typically used as single-shot mana sources.
- Mana Crypt and Mox Diamond
These cards enable explosive opening turns because they require no mana investment, and they're still viable plays later in the game. Although each one has a downside, neither downside is ultimately significant in most games.
- Sol Ring
The EDH classic, Sol Ring is an auto-include in all decks.
- Arbor Elf
This card costs only and interacts well with the optimized land base because it untaps duals.
- Birds of Paradise
This card costs only and helps make highly saturated payments easier in the early game.
- Carpet of Flowers
This card excels in competitive EDH metas, where most players play some form of blue deck. It's a very cheap, very powerful ramp card that only increases in power as the game progresses. It provides the kind of acceleration that control decks desperately hate to fight.
- Deathrite Shaman
This card excels in competitive EDH metas, where most players play fetch lands. Even if I am forced to exile my own fetches, the ramp is worthwhile. The fact that Deathrite Shaman can also shut down graveyard strategies and effects is an added benefit.
- Lotus Cobra
This card is extraordinarily powerful in a deck that plays nine fetch lands and plenty of Exploration effects. It's a favored find with Green Sun's Zenith, and it makes even regular land plays more valuable.
This deck uses powerful and efficient control cards to disrupt opponents and protect its combo.
- Counterspell and Mana Drain
These cards are classic counterspells. They hit every kind of target, and they cost only each. Mana Drain comes with the added benefit of also ramping on the following turn.
- Force of Will, Misdirection, and Pact of Negation
These cards are all free counterspells, and they're extremely important for that reason. Although they all have some kind of downside, they're fantastic for protecting plays that consume all of the deck's resources or for protecting the combo when it goes off.
- Dispel, Flusterstorm, Spell Pierce, and Swan Song
These cards are powerful in counter wars because they're cheap, efficient, and hit opponents' counterspells with ease. Although two of them aren't technically hard counters, it's likely that they'll effectively be hard counters in the situations in which they're needed.
- Arcane Denial, Memory Lapse, and Remand
These cards all come with downsides, but their costs make them cheap and efficient control spells. The tempo shift is often worth the consolation advantage it gives to the opponent.
- Cyclonic Rift
This card helps blow opponents out if they get too far ahead in the game. It can sometimes cause opponents to concede if it resolves in the late game, as there's no time to recover before I combo out.
This card is one of the only creature removal spells in the deck, and it's powerful against heavily creature-oriented strategies (for obvious reasons).
- Nature's Claim
This card is a cheap, efficient solution to early-game advantage generators like Sol Ring and Sylvan Library, and it remains just as effective when used against other threats in the late game. The lifegain it permits is irrelevant overall because this deck wins the game in one turn through combos.
This card is a cheap, efficient solution to ability-based combos, and it can often provide advantage at a critical moment in the game. It also has the advantage of being relatively unanticipated; only a few cards can counter abilities, and very few players use them.
- Venser, Shaper Savant
This card is effective at answering both permanents and spells, and it also serves as a combo piece (see the section below on combos) to help secure the win.
- Consecrated Sphinx, Mystic Remora, Necropotence, and Sylvan Library
These cards all provide powerful, persistent card advantage.
- Demonic Tutor, Green Sun's Zenith, Imperial Seal, Intuition, Mystical Teachings, Mystical Tutor, and Vampiric Tutor
These cards are vital to finding combo pieces and other critical cards. Tutors greatly improve the consistency of the deck, and they are indispensible assets.
- Eternal Witness, Yawgmoth's Will, and Snapcaster Mage
These cards allow me to recur or reuse cards from my graveyard as necessary. They're most useful during the combo turn, when they allow for the recasting of Tooth and Nail or a counterspell. However, they can be used as general utility spells as well.
- Lim-Dul's Vault and Sensei's Divining Top
These cards manipulate the topdeck to help set up important plays and filter less relevant cards away from draw range.
- Blue Sun's Zenith
This card is a decent utility spell, especially because it's an instant, but its primary purpose is to serve as a win condition (see the section below on combos).
- Crucible of Worlds
- Deathrite Shaman
This card, apart from being an effective ramp creature, is a strong utility creature because it can disrupt reanimator and other recursion effects for little cost.
- Leyline of Anticipation
This card enables a more aggressive control game if it happens to start on the field. It's not the best card to draw into, but it can still be used to fuel Force of Will or Misdirection later in the game.
- Phantasmal Image
This card serves double duty as a combo piece (see the section below on combos) and as a general utility creature, depending on which is most advantageous. Sometimes, it's best saved for the combo. Other times, it's best used to copy a ramp or utility creature.
- Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
This card helps to secure a win by locking opponents out of the combo turn either as an EOT cast or as a Tooth and Nail drop (see the section below on combos).
The win conditions in this deck were chosen for their synergy and general usefulness outside of combos. See the section below on combos for more information about these cards.
- Blue Sun's Zenith
This card is the primary win condition because it instantly forces opponents to lose by causing them to draw more cards than are in their libraries. It also functions as a utility spell, which is vital because it means the card isn't necessarily a dead draw before the combo.
- Deadeye Navigator
This card is a powerful combo enabler because it provides ETB abuse without the risk associated with recasting spells (it's harder to counter an ability than it is to counter a spell).
- Phantasmal Image
This card provides a backup infinite mana combo if Deadeye Navigator is unavailable due to resource constraints or disruption.
- Rune-Scarred Demon
This card is used to tutor for other win conditions, and it can be abused with Deadeye Navigator to tutor the entire deck.
- Tooth and Nail
This card is the primary combo enabler because it assembles two-card combos at once, and the creatures it puts onto the battlefield cannot be countered.
- Venser, Shaper Savant
This card can be repeatedly bounced to remove each opponent's permanents from the board, and it doubles as a general utility creature.
Cards that don't work in this deckSHOWHIDE
The following cards are commonly used in BUG decks, but they have been excluded from this list for one reason or another.
This card may be a decent finisher, but that's all it really is. It can't be relied upon to be a useful utility spell if it's drawn before it's needed. In order to reduce the number of dead, single-use cards in the deck, this card has been excluded.
- Seedborn Muse and Prophet of Kruphix
These cards are often played because they help generate a good deal of advantage, especially in control decks. However, they are expensive to cast. They've been omitted from this decklist because they aren't practical and often require quite some effort to play and protect.
- Progenitor Mimic
This card is strong in semi-competitive metas, but it doesn't serve a purpose at the competitive level. It's slow, expensive, and awkward to cast and protect. Additionally, it would only be useful for copying utility creatures or opponents' creatures. That's not a strong enough warrant for its inclusion.
- Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Triskelion
These cards are often played in combo decks because they form a two-card combo that needs no additional support in order to win the game. However, both of these cards are completely useless outside of their one combo, so including them means creating dead draws and reducing the number of viable utility cards in Stage I and Stage II. That's too big a risk.
- Defense of the Heart
This card is sort of like a mini Tooth and Nail, but it's more vulnerable, more obvious, and less reliable. The timing is awkward because getting it to go off and win means having an opponent that controls three or more creatures and having the cards in hand to protect whatever the ability finds (and then win from it). That's a lot of effort and chance, and it's not worthwhile when there are much more effective ways of accomplishing the same task.
This deck was built for heavy control and high consistency. It is played most efficiently using a three-stage approach:
- Early game - Ramp, control, set up draw engines
- Mid game - Control, set up utility engines
- Late game - Control, execute combo
These stages are discussed at length in the sections below.
Stage I - Early GameSHOWHIDE
- Establish early draw engines
The main point of Stage I is to set up enough advantage to guarantee a steady lead for the coming turns. The extra resources you gather now will be what fuel your countermagic and on-turn plays in Stage II; you will need to maintain tempo and still have the ability to shut down threats.
The first two to three turns should be spent casting ramp spells and mana rocks like Nature's Lore and Mana Crypt to accelerate your mana production. When you can afford to, cast draw engines like Mystic Remora. Setting these up early means you have longer to reap their rewards and aren't spending your mana on them in the midgame when you need to have countermagic up. Green Sun's Zenith can provide additional ramp in this portion of the game.
Stage II - Mid GameSHOWHIDE
- Control the flow of the game
- Cast Damia, Sage of Stone or capitalize on other draw engines
- Tutor for combo pieces
The main point of Stage II is to suppress opponents and dig for your win conditions in preparation for your final turn.
This deck transitions to the mid game when its ramp begins to wind down. Although ramp and control are important elements of both Stage I and Stage II, the emphasis in Stage II is on control and tutoring (or digging with Damia, Sage of Stone) for a win condition. Stage II typically lasts from turn three to turn four or five, depending on the board state and on draws.
Stage III - Late GameSHOWHIDE
- Maintain control of boardstate
- Combo off
The main point of Stage III is to win the game. It's that simple.
Stage III begins when you have a win condition in your hand and are at or rapidly approaching the turn during which you will be able to combo off.
Don't begin casting into your combo until you have sufficient resources (mana, counterspells) to play and protect it in one turn. Spreading out combo pieces and putting them into play over several turns leaves the strategy vulnerable to removal and lets your opponent know you're gearing up for the endgame. The combo should be assembled and executed in one turn. At the same time, don't wait too long to go off. Every turn you take means more opportunities for your opponents to break through your control setup and take the game; this deck's resources are vast but they are not unlimited. Use your discretion. The perfect opportunity will not always arise and you will occasionally need to take a calculated risk to win. Just make sure to keep countermagic up and think everything through at least twice and preferably three times before executing the combo.
This deck is typically played in games that use a Partial Paris mulligan with a free first mulligan.
The first and foremost rule when taking mulligans with this deck is that you must not be afraid to take aggressive mulligans. If a card is dead in the first two turns of the game, you probably don't want it in your opening hand. If you see a spell with CMC 3 and no way to play it on turn two, consider pitching it.
Generally speaking, you want to see three or four lands in your opening hand. This gives you security for the first few turns. Ideally, you'll start with fetches or duals of some kind. If you have two or more colorless-only lands, consider pitching some (try to keep at least one) to try for color-producing lands.
Additionally, you want to see at least one ramp artifact or Exploration effect playable on turn one (turn two is acceptable, but not as good). A counterspell or tutor is also a welcome sight.
Always mulligan win conditions and high-CMC utility cards. Remember, you start in Stage I, and your main goal out of the gate is to ramp into a stable lead. Don't let late-game cards tempt you into bad openers.
This section will detail the combos and how to use and support them.
- Blue Sun's Zenith using infinite mana
- Venser, Shaper Savant + Deadeye Navigator + Palinchron to bounce all permanents I don't control
- Venser, Shaper Savant + Phantasmal Image + Palinchron + Riptide Laboratory to bounce all permanents I don't control
- Crucible of Worlds + Azusa, Lost but Seeking + Strip Mine to wear opponents down through attrition
See the following sections for more detail about the nuances of using these combos.
Not counting the setup in Stage II (see the section above on strategy), there are three basic steps to comboing with this deck:
- Step 1: Assess your options. This deck has many subtle nuances that allow you to micromanage your combo to minimize the risk of disruption. Consider the following:
- Opponents' colors and untapped lands, which could indicate possible responses like counterspells or removal spells.
- What permanents you already have on the battlefield (in particular, do you control Snapcaster Mage or Eternal Witness?).
- What cards you have in your hand (in particular, do you have a way to recur Tooth and Nail, a way to tutor a win condition into your hand, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, Rune-Scarred Demon, Venser, Shaper Savant, Phantasmal Image, Deadeye Navigator, or Palinchron?).
- What cards are in your graveyard (in particular, do you have any tutors or win conditions in your graveyard?)
- Step 2: Plan your combo. How exactly will you play around possible threats (such as countermagic) and execute your win? It's often not as simple as Tooth and Nailing into Deadeye Navigator and Palinchron; you need to actually win the game with your infinite mana. Consider the following:
- What do you need to do to minimize the risk of incoming disruption?
- What will you find with Tooth and Nail?
- How will you find a win condition?
- Step 3: Execute the combo. Hopefully, you properly planned your moves during Step 1 and Step 2. If you find at some point during the combo that you overlooked something and might need to take a different approach, pause whatever move you're currently making and think through your options again. Don't panic.
How to use the combo cardsSHOWHIDE
The infinite mana combos use the following cards in the specified manners.
- Deadeye Navigator
Use this card to blink Palinchron to produce infinite mana. If you're relying on a creature-based win instead of on Blue Sun's Zenith, blink Deadeye Navigator after the infinite mana combo and repair it with the other creature you need to blink.
Use this card's ETB ability to untap lands, then blink it repeatedly with Deadeye Navigator or use Phantasmal Image to produce infinite mana. You can also use Palinchron to set up for the combo by providing the land untaps to hardcast the second combo piece.
- Phantasmal Image
Use this card to copy Palinchron, then use its copied activated ability to return it to your hand. Continue to recopy Palinchron to produce infinite mana. You can then recast it to copy Eternal Witness, Snapcaster Mage, or Rune-Scared Demon to enable your win.
The following cards all support the infinite mana combos in one way or another.
- Blue Sun's Zenith
Use this card with infinite mana first to draw your deck. Then cast Rune-Scarred Demon or use another means to draw it again. Cast it on an opponent for X=101. Redraw it and repeat for each opponent until you win.
- Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Use this card at the end of the pre-combo turn, or put it onto the battlefield with Tooth and Nail in order to make the rest of your turn unanswerable.
- Rune-Scarred Demon
Use this card with Deadeye Navigator and infinite mana to put your entire deck into your hand, then win from there. You can also cast this card prior to the combo in order to find Tooth and Nail (if you're in a situation that demands that you do so).
- Snapcaster Mage
Use this card to recast Tooth and Nail or a tutor spell in order to find a win condition. You can also use it preemptively to guarantee a counterspell in order to better protect your combo. Just don't forget about flashback's replacement effect.
- Yawgmoth's Will
Use this card to recast Tooth and Nail or a tutor spell in order to find a win condition. You can also use it early in the turn to guarantee access to countermagic from your graveyard. Just don't forget about its replacement effect.
- Eternal Witness
Use this card to recast Tooth and Nail or a tutor spell in order to find a win condition. You can also use it to return a counterspell to your hand in order to better protect your combo.
Tooth and Nail picksSHOWHIDE
These are the most common Tooth and Nail picks and when to use them. These pairs are what you'll be putting onto the battlefield with Tooth and Nail (most of the time). Make the necessary fetches depending on what you have in your hand.
- Deadeye Navigator + Palinchron
This is the most basic pair. Find these two when you have a tutor or win condition in your hand already. It's safer to use the Deadeye Navigator combo instead of the Phantasmal Image combo because it's based only on activated abilities rather than on recasting a creature ad nauseam.
- Palinchron + Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
This is a more advanced pair. Find Palinchron and Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir when you already hold either Deadeye Navigator or Phantasmal Image in your hand and need to guarantee that opponents can't interfere with the rest of your combo. Once Tooth and Nail begins resolving, your opponents are locked out of the rest of your turn because there's no point at which they can respond to the Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. Put Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Palinchron onto the battlefield using Tooth and Nail, then hardcast your other combo creature.
- Palinchron + Rune-Scarred Demon
This is a more advanced pair. Find Palinchron and Rune-Scarred Demon when you have no tutor options available and no way to recast Tooth and Nail. Put both Palinchron and Rune-Scarred Demon onto the battlefield using Tooth and Nail, then use Rune-Scarred Demon's ability to find Deadeye Navigator or Phantasmal Image to combo off.
Want to Build This Deck?
Understanding the deckSHOWHIDE
Aside from monetary investment (and perhaps the difficulty of finding some of these cards), the largest challenge you'll face when building this deck is understanding all of its subtleties. There are hidden synergies and interactions everywhere, and some of them can only really be learned through experience with the decklist (since I'm not exhaustively listing all of them in this primer). Combo-control tends to be among the hardest archetypes to learn because it's a mix of correct plays and raw deck and format knowledge. I highly suggest playtesting the deck many times before committing to building it. Feel free to ask for clarification on any aspect you don't understand.
Also, keep in mind that this deck has been optimized for a competitive multiplayer environment. If you're playing in a different environment, the deck may need to change. For example, I don't include some of the slower staples like Seedborn Muse because they don't really add much to the deck at the tournament level. A player taking this list into a semicompetitive meta might find such cards useful, though.
Lastly, make sure that you play this deck in a sporting way. Don't take a combo-control deck to a casual pod where players are still learning the format or looking for a different kind of experience. You'll win, but it won't be enjoyable for anyone else.
On a budget?SHOWHIDE
As you may have guessed, this deck isn't the easiest to build on a budget. You'll run into issues preserving the consistency and power of the list if you have to make too many changes. In general, try to make replacements that maintain the deck's functionality (for example, swap an expensive tutor for a less expensive tutor, or swap a dual land for a less expensive land that taps for the same colors of mana).
A large part of the deck's cost comes from the mana base. I run an optimized land base, and the three ABUR duals and nine fetch lands cost quite a bit. You could cut them to make the deck easier on the wallet, but doing so will reduce the deck's ability to color fix. You'll also reduce the effectiveness of some cards (such as Lotus Cobra) if you lose the fetch lands. Mana Crypt can also go. Try to at least keep the other ramp rocks and the Exploration effects.
For replacements, consider reliable staples like the check lands, pain lands, and filter lands. They aren't as powerful as the ABUR duals and fetches, but they at least provide fast color fixing. You should also include cards like Coalition Relic and Chromatic Lantern to help with fixing and acceleration.
Some of the less efficient tutors (e.g. Diabolic Tutor) cost much less than Imperial Seal and Vampiric Tutor. Substitute these lower-power tutors to maintain some of the deck's functionality while reducing the price tag.
Thankfully, the combos themselves involve relatively inexpensive pieces. You can preserve them if you reconfigure the deck to run on cheaper ramp and utility cards.
Some cards can't be replaced. For example, there's no cheaper version of Azusa, Lost but Seeking. If you cut these cards, think about other ways to strengthen the deck that may not directly correlate to the cards you lost.
The following cards are being considered for removal from the deck.
- Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Although JTMS is a powerful card and can generate advantage for its investment, its mana cost places it in an awkward position in this deck. CMC 4 cards are somewhat restrictive in that they consume a large amount of mana and leave me with less to protect myself and my strategy. I might move this card out of the mainboard and side it in as necessary.
The saturated mana cost of this card makes it somewhat difficult to cast. It is an unwelcome sight in the opening hand because it's a dead card for at least two turns (it's unrealistic to leave three mana up until Stage II of the game). It is also difficult to use properly in Stage III of the game because it requires me to leave more mana open outside of my combo. The CMC 1 and 2 counterspells are better suited to protecting combos and other plays.
The following cards are being considered for inclusion in the deck.
- Diabolic Intent
This card is an effective low-cost tutor that allows me to find a combo piece or utility card by sacrificing a utility or ramp creature. This is a small price to pay for the effect.
- Gitaxian Probe
This card allows me to anticipate responses to my combo or to check whether a play is safe. It can be cast for free (the life cost is negligible), and it replaces itself. The downside is that, in a multiplayer game, it may not be powerful enough to justify a slot.
- Muddle the Mixture
This card serves double duty as a counterspell and a tutor, but it is also less efficient in both respects because of this added functionality.
- Pongify/Rapid Hybridization
These cards would help to mitigate the issues posed by the lack of permanent removal spells in the deck. They are cheap, efficient, and without targeting restrictions.
- Toxic Deluge
This card is a cheaper board wipe that hits indestructible creatures and can be used selectively to clear certain ranges of threats.
This deck has been entered into only one official Commander tournament. The other events are single-pod matches.
- May 30, 2012: 1st place - Icon's Comics & Games EDH Tournament (pod record 1st/1st/2nd)
- (Date unknown): 1st place - Commander Pod #2, The Days of Knights
- August 05, 2012: 1st place - Commander Pod #7, SCG Open D.C.
I spent about half an hour creating this game state out of nothing. It's loosely based on some scenarios I've faced before, but I figured I'd give you all a challenge. If you backtrack from the current state, you can actually simulate the previous turns in the game. Don't assume that you can win. I may well have spent this time to construct a devious game state that will force you to think for ten minutes before realizing it can't be won.
It's been a close, but decent game so far. You're in a multiplayer (4-person) pod competing in an SCG side event for some credit. You're up against Arcum Dagsson, Riku of Two Reflections, and Sharuum the Hegemon. The bad news is that all of your opponents are playing blue. The worse news is that you haven't been drawing creatures, and the Riku player likes to punish exposed, fleshy faces because he plays RUG and his creatures have nonzero power. Luckily, you went first and have been getting otherwise decent draws.
Oh, and you're at 4 life.
None of your opponents control any creatures except for the Sharuum player, who Damnationed one turn ago and now controls Sharuum the Hegemon. Arcum has an Island untapped. Riku has Volcanic Island and Breeding Pool untapped. Sharuum has a Plains, Hallowed Fountain, and Underground Sea untapped. All three players have between 2-5 cards in hand.
You suspect that Arcum and Sharuum are approaching combo, and you're at 4 life anyway. It's your first main phase. If you can win, you have to do it this turn.
Explain whether you can win the game this turn (and, if so, give a play-by-play) or not (and, if so, why not).SOLUTIONHIDE
- Play Cephalid Coliseum and Riptide Laboratory.
- Cast Tooth and Nail entwined using Boseiju, Who Shelters All.
- Resolve Tooth and Nail, fetching and putting onto the battlefield Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Palinchron. This will protect the rest of your turn because your opponents can't respond to Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir before it enters the battlefield. Declare the targets for Palinchron's ability to be the six lands that don't cause you to lose life when you activate their mana abilities.
- Float the two mana from your remaining mana sources, then resolve Palinchron's ability.
- Cast and resolve Mana Vault.
- Cast and resolve Demonic Tutor, fetching Deadeye Navigator.
- Cast and resolve Deadeye Navigator.
- Resolve Deadeye Navigator's soulbond ability, pairing Deadeye Navigator and Palinchron.
- Initiate the Deadeye Navigator + Palinchron combo.
- Flash back and resolve Mystical Teachings, fetching Snapcaster Mage.
- Cast and resolve Snapcaster Mage. Target Tooth and Nail using Snapcaster Mage's ability.
- Flash back Tooth and Nail and entwine it. Resolve Tooth and Nail, fetching and putting onto the battlefield Rune-Scarred Demon and Venser, Shaper Savant.
- Target with Venser, Shaper Savant's ability any permanent an opponent controls. Then put Rune-Scarred Demon's ability onto the stack.
- Resolve Rune-Scarred Demon's ability, fetching Blue Sun's Zenith.
- Blink Deadeye Navigator.
- Resolve Deadeye Navigator's soulbond ability, pairing Deadeye Navigator and Rune-Scarred Demon.
- Initiate the Deadeye Navigator + Rune-Scarred Demon loop to tutor your entire deck.
- Cast and resolve Blue Sun's Zenith targeting any opponent for =100.
- Blink Rune-Scarred Demon.
- Resolve Rune-Scarred Demon's ability, tutoring Blue Sun's Zenith.
- Repeat steps #18-20 for the remaining two opponents.
Comments, suggestions, criticisms, and ratings are all welcome!
When recommending cards, please remember that this deck is tournament-oriented and must only contain the most efficient and powerful cards available. Please do not suggest casual or otherwise nonviable cards for inclusion. Also, please keep in mind that the deck is based around a network of synergies; combo-related cards should be useful outside of their combos.
If you like the deck, please show your support by upvoting!
I finally got around to updating the barebones description. I say updating, but it was more of a total overhaul.
This deck now has a worthy primer that will walk you through everything from the card choices to the combos, and it even offers advice on recreating and adapting the deck.
Feel free to explore the new material and offer comments for the deck or primer as you see fit.
This deck is performing well, but I still feel that it should be faster and more consistent. Maybe I'm just greedy.
Speaking of greed, I have a list of cards to acquire.
I had the opportunity today to play a couple games with this deck, and I also spent a good deal of time speaking with its codesigner. He has opted to drop many of the expensive counterspells and ramp cards in favor of their faster counterparts. He also runs a few mana dorks - a choice with which I don't necessarily agree. However, I more frequently play in multiplayer pods, so I face a higher risk of playing against sweepers.
I cut the filter lands for basics because, after talking with my friend, I realized they weren't always optimal. Running two of each basic allows me to squeeze a few extra uses out of my fetches. I also upgraded the basics into snow-covered basics in case I run into anyone using snow lands any Extraplanar Lens.
Finally, I dropped Survival of the Fittest for Lotus Cobra. I don't run enough creatures for Survival of the Fittest to really do what I need it to do, and Lotus Cobra is stupid with nine fetches, Nature's Lore, Skyshoud Claim, and three Exploration effects.
I'm considering dropping
- Mana Web - It's limited in application, and completely irrelevant in some games.
- Bribery - It's great when it works, but there have been many games where I didn't even cast it.
- Mystic Snake - It has a good interaction with Deadeye Navigator, but I rarely play Deadeye Navigator outside of my combo, and Mystic Snake itself ends up being little more than an expensive counterspell.
- Cryptic Command - Although I like Cryptic Command as a card, it's prohibitively expensive for a deck that wants to ramp and control as much as possible.
- Fact or Fiction - I like the instant-speed card advantage, but I often find the mana cost inconvenient.
- Leyline of Anticipation - I'm on the fence about this one. It's great to have on the field from turn 0, but it's inconvenient to cast if I ever draw it.
In the wake of the RC's horrendous decision to ban Primeval Titan, I have made the following changes to the deck:
- Primeval Titan
- Cabal Coffers (it isn't good enough without Primeval Titan to find it)
- Mindbreak Trap (it hasn't impressed me in the time I've been testing it)
Interesting deck set up, how's that done? Love the way everything is set up and such. Good job!
December 25, 2014 9:17 p.m.
@CharlesMandore: I'm not quite sure what you mean when you ask "hows that done?"
In terms of performance, it's done quite well. There are always cards to be tested and improvements to be made, but the deck is strong.
In terms of how it was achieved, the deck has evolved slowly (with a few radical changes interspersed) over a period of about two and a half years. The changes were all aimed at making the deck faster, more efficient, and more reliable.
December 25, 2014 9:26 p.m.
Let me clarify, your deck is sorted differently, is this a feature I'm merely unaware of?
December 25, 2014 9:33 p.m.
@CharlesMandore: See the newest post in the Site Updates forum. You can now tag cards and choose to sort the decklist by tags (you can actually choose from a number of default sorts).
@imarockyou: I cut Hinder for testing purposes. I want to experiment with 37 lands in the deck, and Hinder is kind of awkward to use. Yes, it's very effective at stopping generals, but it's also a three-mana counterspell. Homeward Path didn't really prove very useful in the competitive environment. Although it's a good card, it isn't relevant often enough for me to justify running it instead of another on-color land.
December 25, 2014 11:12 p.m.
@atgarnett: Negate is good, to be sure, but I don't think it's better than the counterspells I currently run. There could be some argument as to whether it's more optimal than the fully-saturated, three-mana Voidslime, I suppose.
December 25, 2014 11:26 p.m.
Have you considered Library of Alexandria? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it.
December 26, 2014 3:34 p.m.
It's not a very difficult consideration since it's banned.
December 26, 2014 3:36 p.m.
And now I feel dumb. Haha. Sorry, I'm not very familiar with the EDH banlists.
December 26, 2014 3:39 p.m.
If it weren't, it would certainly be in the deck.
December 26, 2014 3:45 p.m.
What do you think about Empty the Pits? I have a list similar to yours but I have had some good success with the card since it's instant and can typically catch others off guard.
December 27, 2014 12:37 a.m.
@Jigsaw107: Empty the Pits isn't useful in this deck. I almost never attack, and the deck's sole purpose is to combo. I don't want to include non-combo cards that don't support the win conditions; it's not an efficient or effective use of deck space.
December 27, 2014 5 a.m.
I doubt any one has asked you this but what cards could be added or removed to make it 'more fun' to play and play against?
December 27, 2014 12:25 p.m.
More fun to play? Probably nothing. Fun is subjective, and I love playing high-power decks in high-pressure games. I don't like randomness or the theme decks that are most often associated with "fun" EDH.
More fun to play against? Not sure. That's not really my issue. I only play this deck in competitive environments where it's understood that this is the caliber of deck that everyone's bringing to the table.
Of course, if you wanted to adapt the deck for your own playgroup, you'd have to be careful. Combo-control is a very oppressive archetype, and it does not fit into all playgroups. You'd probably be better off building something else for a casual pod.
December 27, 2014 4:28 p.m.
I'm more strongly considering cutting Voidslime and adding Diabolic Intent. It seems like the most appropriate cut at the current moment. See the "Possible cuts" and "Possible additions" sections of the primer for an explanation.
December 28, 2014 7:41 p.m.
Due to Diabolic Intent's sorcery speed, I would rather propose Negate as a replacement for Voidslime. Grim Tutor also seems to be largely better than Intent due to the unreliability of having an insignificant creature to sacrifice.
December 28, 2014 9:50 p.m.
Sorcery speed doesn't really hurt Diabolic Intent. The significant thing is that the card goes directly to my hand. And I usually have a creature to sacrifice (typically a ramp creature).
I don't like Grim Tutor because it's . Increased cost is a very big deal in this deck, and it's the reason I'm considering cutting Voidslime and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Higher costs are a lot harder to work around because they force me to wait longer for a card to become viable and to delay more actions because I need more mana to cast each spell.
December 28, 2014 10 p.m.
The 1-black-mana difference is very significant, yes. It's the reason that I prefer Toxic Deluge over Damnation in this deck. However, in this case, the cost of the creature may also need to be factored in, and that can raise the functional cost of the tutor. In addition, sacrificing a ramp creature is effectively a negative ramp; this leads to my preferring the 1-mana-higher Grim Tutor. That said, I think that both Grim and Intent should be tested in that slot if you choose to go with the tutor rather than the counterspell.
December 28, 2014 10:08 p.m.
I suppose it depends largely on when you intend to be casting the creature. For the most part, Diabolic Intent is a Stage II or Stage III tutor, which means I can afford to sacrifice ramp dorks like Birds of Paradise or Azusa, Lost but Seeking.
True, the functional cost of the tutor is increased for these choices, but it's a matter of whether the creature has already generated the advantage I needed it to and whether I need it later. In most cases, I'll have already gotten use out of the creature, and I probably won't need it on my combo turn. The nice thing about the ramp in this deck is that it's exponential. If I play Birds of Paradise on turn one, then use it to cast Nature's Lore on turn two, then use it to cast Skyshroud Claim on turn three, then I can afford to lose Birds of Paradise (for any reason) because it's already given me a substantial return on investment. Now, it won't always play out like this, but the ramp normally compounds in a way that mitigates the deficit of losing a ramp creature later in the game.
I suppose the worthiest counterargument would be that there will be times when Diabolic Intent can't realistically be cast, but I think it will, on the whole, be more frequently viable than Grim Tutor, which is much more expensive to cast.
December 28, 2014 10:17 p.m.
December 30, 2014 7:33 a.m.
Defense of the Heart is too risky - without other enablers it often does absolutely nothing. Even when it does do something, it's too slow.
December 30, 2014 8:06 a.m.
Basically that. Defense of the Heart is slow, and it lets my opponents know the combo is coming. Unless I use it to find Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, and I have a tutor in hand, I can't effectively win with it.
One of the reasons Tooth and Nail is such a central combo piece is that it can be recast and immediately find other components to the combo.
December 30, 2014 12:57 p.m.
December 31, 2014 5:31 p.m.
1/1s don't matter, especially when everyone is using combos to kill the other players rather than combat. Exotic Orchard is quite good, but the drawback on Forbidden Orchard is so insignificant that it is just a better choice. The risk of inconsistency is not necessary.
Also, stop calling him Master. It's rather vomit-inducing.
December 31, 2014 5:55 p.m.
I can always be sure that Forbidden Orchard will produce all three of my colors. I can't be sure that Exotic Orchard will do the same. And, as GlistenerAgent said, 1/1s don't matter. Even if I had to combo with Forbidden Orchard and therefore give an opponent infinite tokens, I'd kill everyone before they had a chance to do anything with them.
December 31, 2014 6:29 p.m.
@Epochalyptik Wouldn't Exsanguinate be much better than Blue Sun's Zenith as a combo finisher to kill everyone in a multiplayer game? Considering Zenith only hits one player, it's less efficient, and mana-wise it seems like it would be harder to cast already. Thoughts?
December 31, 2014 8:03 p.m.
I love this effing deck. Makes my spike hard. Lol.
Now to go in my corner and make Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund competitive...
December 31, 2014 8:11 p.m.
@DMR Exsanguinate does nothing to help the deck's game plan outside of the combo. BuSZ is a good draw spell outside of the combo.
December 31, 2014 8:19 p.m.
Forgot to mention when this deck wins he tutors his entire deck at instant-speed. finding zenith to cast again is no trouble.
December 31, 2014 8:21 p.m.
Guys, this deck has a really in-depth and easy to follow description now. Remember, descriptions are really important to read as they often have answers to questions you might have.
December 31, 2014 8:29 p.m.
Basically what Gspot said. Exsanguinate is a good finisher, but that's all it is. Part of what helps this deck last until Stage III is that it's built on win conditions and combo pieces that can be viable outside of the combo if necessary. Blue Sun's Zenith is a decent utility spell if I need it to be (for example, if I can't get Damia, Sage of Stone to stick).
Additionally, when I win with Blue Sun's Zenith, one of two things happens:
- I cast Blue Sun's Zenith on myself to draw my deck, then combo my opponents out of the game by playing Rune-Scarred Demon to pick up Blue Sun's Zenith after each cast.
- I use Rune-Scarred Demon to grab Blue Sun's Zenith and the rest of my deck, then combo from there in the same manner.
Recasting Blue Sun's Zenith isn't an issue for me. Plus, mana efficiency doesn't matter when I use an infinite mana combo to enable the win. Fussing about mana efficiency at that point is like choosing what flagstones I want on the house I'm building after I knock yours down.
December 31, 2014 8:35 p.m.
Ah, very good points. Thank you for clearing that up for me!
December 31, 2014 8:42 p.m.
Do you not like the blue one? Allows you to draw 2 and discard any 1 from hand every turn for 3 mana.
January 2, 2015 4:24 a.m.
I did see that one, but I have two main problems with it.
First, CMC 3 is an awkward spot on the curve. A card with CMC 3 can't come down on turn one, and, if played on turn two, would probably be my only play. And I would need to deny myself a ramp spell like Nature's Lore unless I had a ramp rock from turn 1. (This isn't to say that CMC 4 is more realistic. But at least Frontier Siege pays for itself the same turn.)
It's probably worth testing just to be sure, but I have reservations about it.
January 2, 2015 4:29 a.m.
I don't think having extra draw is a bad thing but I understand the nonbo with various other pieces.
I'm not sure frontier siege does pay for itself as soon as you play it. It adds GG at the start of each main phase. Play it main phase 1 youll get GG in main phase 2 of the same turn. Play it main phase 2 you won't see any mana till the next turn. Still a good card though. Also given that mana drains at the end of each phase: adding GG on the turn you play it isn't that useful. If you tap out when you have 4 lands, you'll momentarily have an extra 2 mana in main phase 2 but you still won't have any for a counterspell in the opponents turn. I think that makes it a little awkward. To play it safely you'd still probably need around 6 land. Although with access to 5 you can play frontier siege then when it adds GG in the main phase play a ramp spell to get you to 6?
January 2, 2015 4:43 a.m.
With the ramp rocks and low-cost ramp creatures, Frontier Siege becomes viable as a turn two or turn three play. While it's true that the is only temporary, it would allow me to play other ramp cards during the second main phase and fund other spells in the coming turns.
Also, most of my turn occurs in main phase one. There's no reason to split the plays up, really. I almost never attack with this deck.
January 2, 2015 2:08 p.m.
That's fair enough. I think I was just pointing out that it doesn't fully fund itself instantaneously.
January 2, 2015 3:57 p.m.
Not fully, no, but getting back the same turn makes it much more forgiving than if it waited a turn (even though that is temporary).
Generating four free mana a turn is pretty big, though.
January 2, 2015 4:06 p.m.
But what would you take out for it? Oracle of Mul Daya? Its a really nice effect to be sure, but the biggest issue is that the mana you get is not GGGG but GG and next phase GG. So even though it gives you 4 mana, it's not like you can Skyshroud Claim off it or anything.
January 2, 2015 5:27 p.m.
I'd probably start with the cards in the sideboard (i.e. the cards I'm already considering dropping). I'm not an absolutist about adding and dropping within the same category (control, ramp, etc.).
And I'm completely aware that the mana is broken into two chunks, but the point still stands that you're getting four mana on each of your turns. Combo turn aside, most of my plays are in the CMC 2-4 range, so that extra is a huge boost, and it's still completely usable in two installments.
January 2, 2015 6:13 p.m.
Blue Sun's Zenith is in Utility list AND in Wincon list, some kind of error?
January 4, 2015 8:08 p.m.
You can give cards multiple tags. There's one in the deck, but it serves multiple purposes.
January 4, 2015 8:13 p.m.
Would Baleful StrixBe viable here? It's an automatic two for one. Also, why no Treasure Cruise or Dig Through Time? And would the frf card Temporal Trespass be good or is the triple blue too difficult to achieve?
January 4, 2015 9:29 p.m.
@Chubbub: Baleful Strix isn't really a two-for-one. Combat rarely exists at the competitive multiplayer level (infinite tokens aside), and a deathtouching blocker isn't really a good removal card. Baleful Strix just doesn't do much in EDH.
Triple blue is very easy to get in this deck. I usually have it by the second or third turn. However, I'm not a fan of power cards that exile themselves, especially if they cost quite a bit. Delve 8 isn't the best thing to be doing with my graveyard, and Temporal Trespass really isn't economical unless you're delving as much as possible.
January 4, 2015 10:16 p.m.
I know that many stores will follow the optional rule of 10 card side boards to quote mtgcommander.net "Players may bring a 10 card sideboard in addition to their 99 cards and 1 Commander. After Commanders are announced, players have 3 minutes to make 1-for-1 substitutions to their deck. Any cards not played as part of the deck may be retrieved by "wishes". " are you going to construct a side board for this deck?
January 5, 2015 9:47 p.m.
I could, I suppose. If I were to start playing it seriously again, I'd probably have some cards I'd bring along just in case.
January 5, 2015 9:50 p.m.
Damn, this is probably the type of list I want to work my Mimeo list up to eventually.
How does your Damia list hold up vs other T1 generals like Hermit Druid, Zur, and Sharuum?
January 6, 2015 5:19 p.m.
What are your thoughts on the new counter spell "neutralizing blast" (1 colorless + 1 blue, counter target multicolor spell)
January 7, 2015 8:11 a.m.
@Jaytron: You might want to be careful there. The Mimeoplasm can work with this shell but you'll need to modify the shell itself in some ways. The deck relies on the draw power Damia provides in order to refill its hand in Stage II. It's also not reanimator oriented.
As for matchups, they go back and forth. The Tier 1 competitive decks are all very good, and games often come down to draws and plays rather than pure deck design or archetype favor.
That said, this deck is not optimized for 1v1 games, and Zur often puts too much pressure on it in that respect.
@The-Xellos: It doesn't seem that useful. It's limited to countering some generals (mono blue does have a competitive presence, so Neutralizing Blast isn't a catch-all) and some utility spells. The problem is that most staples and wincons tend to be monocolored. Negate would probably be better.
January 7, 2015 11:50 a.m.
Oona, Queen of the Fae would give you another wincon for infinite mana.
January 7, 2015 9:29 p.m.
@rob_shifflett: If Mikaeus, the Unhallowed as used, Epoch may as well just use Triskelion as you need less bits to make the combo work (more free cards in the deck left over) and Tooth and Nail can fetch both the combo pieces then.
January 7, 2015 9:38 p.m.
@rob_shifflett: The problem with those cards is that they don't really fit into the deck very well. One of the things that helps make the deck so resilient is that most of the win conditions double as utility cards if they have to. I don't like including cards like Oona, Queen of the Fae, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, Woodfall Primus, or Altar of Dementia because they don't do that; these cards are ineffective as utility cards either due to cost or lack of power.
Of course, I don't deny that some of the alternate combos are fun to play. The problem is that I just don't have the space to include them in the deck because the list is already so tight.
January 7, 2015 9:38 p.m.
Have you considered Meekstone at all? Given its low mana cost and that you are rarely swinging into the red zone it can shut down a fair amount of decks. I'm not sure how many aggro decks actually exist in a hyper competitive version of EDH, but could be a nice sideboard card.
January 8, 2015 1:56 p.m.
@Jigsaw107: Meekstone doesn't really do much. Most competitive decks are combo decks, so there's very little combat during any given game. I'd rather not run a card to prevent further attacks or utility abilities if it doesn't do anything else; the utility is pretty marginal there.
Besides, I don't mind chumping with a utility creature if it keeps me alive for an extra turn to win the game.
January 8, 2015 2:21 p.m.
No that makes sense. I play in a less competitive group so that's why I use it to try and stall time. Makes sense though given how many combo decks are out there.
January 8, 2015 3:16 p.m.
Also, in case anyone was curious, this deck now has 2,194 comments (counting this one).
January 8, 2015 4:27 p.m.
Any particular reason why Ancestral Vision Was not included in the list
January 8, 2015 7:15 p.m.
I'll admit that I never did actually test it, but it would need to be a turn one play to even be justifiable. And that means I'm not playing a ramp dork (my main option would be to Mox Diamond the cost or land into Exploration into blue source to not screw my tempo).
Any later than that and I risk not even making it to the end of the suspend period. This deck likes to win in about five or six turns. If I drew it in the late game, I'd just be pitching it to Force of Will or something (which, in itself, isn't horrible, but it's not optimal if the card is otherwise dead).
January 8, 2015 7:19 p.m.
with your ability to make large amounts of mana, what about Curse of the Swine, as it'll help get around people playing Avacyn, Angel of Hope for example, or just clear the board and leave everyone with just 2/2s
January 8, 2015 7:45 p.m.
January 8, 2015 7:49 p.m.
Avacyn, Angel of Hope isn't a threat to me. Either I kill everyone before I'm threatened or I bounce the threat and go on about my business.
January 8, 2015 7:50 p.m.
What about Reality Shift then? It gives instant speed removal for cheap and the ability to potentially 2-for-1 them if the top card isn't a creature (especially with the prevelence of things like Mystical Tutor / Vampiric Tutor)?
January 8, 2015 8:16 p.m.
I'd sooner run Pongify for spot removal. There are very few indestructible creatures that are even relevant in competitive EDH, so the reduced cost is more valuable than the ability to get past indestructibility.
January 8, 2015 8:26 p.m.
Which is fair enough, however the other benefit is that when exiling a creautre it also can't be reanimated/returned from the graveyard. You used to run Beast Within yeah? did you ever have a problem with beasting something only to have the beast token swung into you repeatedly? in this case (and similar with Pongify), the fact that the creature is a 2/2 over a 3/3 is actually noticable when taking into account the average P/T of your creatures. Just something I've come across. Thoughts?
January 8, 2015 8:40 p.m.
P/Ts and combat don't matter. I'll win the game before a 3/3 can kill me. The most a token can normally do is annoy me and make Necropotence and Mana Crypt slightly more dangerous, but there's no real threat.
January 8, 2015 8:43 p.m.
I like what enpc was saying about Reality Shift. It is true that Pongify is a cheaper spot remover, but with people running card to put cards on there deck and some of your spells putting cards back on there deck. You could use that card and now it is a creature instead of a deadly spell for there combo killer. I can see this card more as a denial/delay more then a spot remover.
For instance you have your commander out (or another creature) and you Mystical Tutor your Tooth and Nail at the end of my turn. I can then answer with Reality Shift your commander (or another creature you have out) and now your Tooth and Nail is a creature and you cannot cast it and it isn't in your graveyard to get it back. Me knowing that will not kill that card for fear of one of the many combos in the deck. This would mean that you would have to kill that creature to play it from the graveyard, which would make 1 less removal that you can use on me. Same can be done if using Memory Lapse, but then you have to have both cards in your hand for it to work.
I see the needing to use on a creature probably a down side of it because if they do not have a creature on the field and you know that spell is next, there is nothing you can do about it.
January 9, 2015 8:58 a.m.
@The-Xellos: That's a good application, but it's only marginally relevant. I would have to know for sure that the top card of someone's library is a threat, and I would have to have up and Reality Shift in hand. It might be a cute trick once, if I could ever get that situation to occur, but it's not nearly consistent enough to base deckbuilding choices on.
It's like running mill as a substrategy. Some players think that a few mill cards might be useful in a non-graveyard deck because there's a chance they could get rid of something important in an opponent's library. This is a waste of cards because you have no idea where the most useful cards are and no way to guarantee that milling is actually disrupting your opponent in a significant way.
January 9, 2015 9:06 a.m.
Just outta curiousity, do you play IRL and if so do you own this and/or don't care about dropping some money on it?
January 9, 2015 2:21 p.m.
I rarely play, but I do own the deck. Most of it is pimped out, and the total value comes to around $4650 or so.
January 9, 2015 2:41 p.m.
@DokuNoSquid: Insidious Dreams isn't good. At , it's hard to use properly. I won't always have the mana available for it, and it's only really economical if I'm getting multiple cards from it. That means I have to discard quite a bit and have Damia still up (hard to guarantee around the cost). It's just too clunky and needlessly risky.
January 9, 2015 3:30 p.m.
Ah, i find it was useful for my damia deck, as a convenient "oh you tapped out? you dun goofed." Thought it might be something interesting
January 9, 2015 5:31 p.m.
In a less competitive environment, it's certainly worth considering. But competitive EDH is very unforgiving in terms of opportunities and suppression. You always have to consider the volume of disruption that's coming in and how you need to match it.
January 9, 2015 5:50 p.m.
Epochalyptik i want to build similar list to yours for 1v1 competitive environment do you have any suggestion or advice
January 14, 2015 10:57 p.m.
@jaceong: 1v1 or Duel commander? Because if you're going from the French EDH rules and banlist, I would recommend having a look at this deck:
January 14, 2015 11:17 p.m.
@asoFF: I'll answer your question here since it seems appropriate.
The deck was designed for traditional EDH rules and a multiplayer environment, although the deck as it is can sometimes handle 1v1 matches (it doesn't do as well against traditional EDH 1v1 commanders like Zur the Enchanter because they're optimized for single-opponent focus). Much of the deck's power comes from its explosive openers, which are enabled by cards like Mana Vault, Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, Grim Monolith, and Crucible of Worlds. Losing these cards would drastically hinder the deck's tempo.
With that said, I will also admit that I have very very limited knowledge when it comes to French rules. I'm not familiar with the tier one decks or with the tempo of the format. I can only really offer observations about how the deck would be affected in its current form by a change in the available cards.
As asoFF pointed out in a post on my profile, French rules don't actually ban any of this deck's combo pieces, so the win conditions are still theoretically viable. The game just becomes a matter of achieving them much more slowly and with fewer power plays.
I think you'd have to rely a lot more on the Exploration effects if you modified the deck for French rules. You might also want to run more basics to support some less efficient ramp spells.
January 15, 2015 12:47 a.m.
I noticed you said you don't play often. How do you test new inclusions nowadays? Anything from FRF that you are liking?
January 15, 2015 5:33 p.m.
I guess you can disregard my FRF question, I see there's been discussion on the cards I'd think to include :P
January 15, 2015 5:39 p.m.
For those who didn't see the Deck Help thread I created a few days ago, I've added a thought challenge to the primer. Test your knowledge and skill in a hypothetical scenario!
January 17, 2015 3:14 p.m.
Epoch. Do you think you should maybe clean up the update section?
This deck on a phone is a hellscape.
January 17, 2015 3:16 p.m.
I think yeaGO is working on a way to hide all but the most recent update (or there was talk of this idea, at least). I think the only way I could compress them would be do delete them all and create one large update holding something like 2,200 comments.
January 17, 2015 3:27 p.m.
January 17, 2015 11:42 p.m.
Those cards are far too risky to be practical.
Tainted Pact introduces the possibility of exiling a key combo piece before it's needed. If that happens, I'd be forced to choose it and have a dead card in hand for the next few turns. I'd rather just tutor for the card I actually want so I don't waste resources.
Demonic Consultation sidesteps the shortcoming of Tainted Pact, but it falls off the cliff in the process. If I exile the named card as one of the top six, I end up exiling my entire library. Demonic Consultation also doesn't come with the same "stop here and take a subpar card" safety feature that Tainted Pact has; you must continue revealing until you hit a predetermined card.
January 17, 2015 11:54 p.m.
Would you consider changing the commander to Tasigur, the Golden Fang? It has delve, it's a lot cheaper than damia, and also provides you with card advantage, and can put stuff into the graveyard. This deck isn't a graveyard deck as such, but more options for Eternal Witness, Snapcaster Mage and Crucible of Worlds etc are nice, and the relatively useless ones like basic lands or ramp spells (assuming you have enough mana at this point) can be used to fuel a recast of Tasigur. Admittedly, it's quite slow, and opponents having choice is never a good thing, but he's faster than damia and performs a similar role, by giving you access to more options. The ability isn't sorcery speed, so you can also just hold up countermagic and end-of-turn generate value.
January 18, 2015 1:03 a.m.
How do I link you on my page as source or inspiration?
January 18, 2015 7:31 a.m.
January 18, 2015 8:37 a.m.
@KingSorin: Absolutely not (no offense). Tasigur, the Golden Fang doesn't actually do anything useful in this deck. I generally don't want to exile too many cards from my graveyard because most of them are still useful. I could justify it if Tasigur, the Golden Fang provided some unbeatable utility, but all it really does is mill me and let an opponent choose the least relevant card to return to my hand. The reason I run Damia, Sage of Stone is that it refills my entire hand after I spend many of my resources ramping in the early game. It's a reset button that allows me to maintain advantage.
As for your other comment, I'm not entirely sure. The deck relies on Palinchron perhaps more than it should. But I don't think Palinchron will get the axe any time soon. It's one of the things that helps ensure combo has a home in EDH. Then again, the RC is mostly casual, so I wouldn't surprise me if they hated combo out some day.
Deadeye Navigator doesn't really have a replacement. You can still make everything work with Phantasmal Image alone, but it's less ideal, especially because it means Phantasmal Image can no longer serve as a utility creature.
Consecrated Sphinx isn't really a staple in the deck. Most of the time, I win without ever casting it (or drawing it, or tutoring for it). It's just there as backup utility.
January 18, 2015 1 p.m.
if you hit copy on a deck it will stamp it but its not editable later.
January 18, 2015 1:49 p.m.
Is there a way to add a field that accepts the URL of another deck and credits it as the source or inspiration material?
January 18, 2015 2:22 p.m.
January 18, 2015 5:35 p.m.
As you know, we're both Damia players. And i have been thinking about delve in this archetype. It sure makes Snapcaster Mage and Yawgmoth's Will a lot worse. But cards fill up in the grave fast, so delve cards like Dig Through Time and Temporal Trespass cost nothing.
Whats your opinion?
January 18, 2015 7:25 p.m.
January 18, 2015 8:21 p.m.
I dislike some cards, why not play Dark Confidant. Or is their a fear of taking too much damage?
January 19, 2015 1:50 a.m.
imarockyou; It's probably more that it's more inefficient than Sylvan Library, Mystic Remora, or Necropotence when it comes to card draw, on top of the fact that it's removed easier than any of those.
January 19, 2015 1:55 a.m.
Dark Confidant is okay, but that's about it. There's a chance that I would lose a lot more life than I can justify, but it's also not the best at what it does.
Then again, the deck's curve has been reduced quite a bit since I last even thought about Dark Confidant.
January 19, 2015 2:13 a.m.
Do you have any other EDH-decks? This deck is impressive, it would be interresting to see your other builds if you have any.
January 20, 2015 1:53 p.m.
Not really. I have some prototype decks, but I don't publish them because I don't own them and won't be testing them.
January 20, 2015 2:26 p.m.
I'm currently fixing the ramp in my bant deck, and I'm considering something similar to the spells used here. Do you think your ramp-spells here are optimal for U/G/x in general, or is it dependent on Damias ability and work only as good in this particular build?
January 23, 2015 5:30 p.m.
The ramp package is pretty much optimized solely as ramp. There's no dependence on Damia, although the draw power does help offset the drain of explosive openers.
January 23, 2015 5:44 p.m.
This is less of a question about the deck itself and more of a question about other deck choices: how do you feel about Tasigur, the Golden Fang as a combo deck compared to this? Or Mimeo I suppose, but Mimeo typically has a more reanimator style so it isn't as relevant in this discussion. It goes for (or at least mine does) the early-mid game reanimation for large advantage in comparison to Damia ramping into card draw.
Tasigur, on the other hand, seems like a better Oona deck. The commander itself draws the deck if you have infinite mana, making it part of the wincon. All it's missing is the ease of refilling the hand that Damia gives. I'm curious to hear your opinion on how such a deck would compare to this one.
January 24, 2015 6:26 a.m.
@Werekill: See post #94.
In my opinion, BUG functions better with Damia because it really benefits from faster openings. The more explosive your first turns are, the more you can do with your midgame. This is invaluable in combo-control because you need all the resources you can get to control the game and to set up your combo.
I guess the argument can be made that Tasigur, the Golden Fang is part of the combo once you go infinite, but there are much better ways to articulate the win than to run a subpar commander.
January 24, 2015 2:29 p.m.
How does this deck fair against decks like hermit Druid? Or zur? It's a great deck. I love coming back every now and then and see a funsy bug combo deck and seeing the changes you've made to it.
January 24, 2015 11:09 p.m.
@Epochalyptik, can u add me on skype, Joseph Yakhnin. I wanna discuss something with you. You're probably the only one who I know who can help me.
January 26, 2015 12:17 a.m.
@Emory: Zur is a 1v1 deck, and this deck is optimized for multiplayer. In general, this deck doesn't have favorable matchups against dedicated 1v1 decks because they're faster and produce better single-opponent focus.
Hermit Druid can be stopped if you're careful about the control, but it does combo faster.
January 28, 2015 7:08 p.m.
Just curious. Damia is a good commander but, since you're using combos that generate infinite mana, wouldn't it be easier if you just went with Oona as commander?
January 29, 2015 11:13 p.m.
I think the green is necessary for the mana ramp to get him the explosive turns he needs to combo off as quickly as possible.
January 29, 2015 11:20 p.m.
January 29, 2015 11:26 p.m.
Green is really important in EDH. The ramp is invaluable, and Tooth and Nail is a critical enabler because of how many unanswerable options you get.
January 29, 2015 11:31 p.m.
I see. But the only reason you really need to ramp as much is to have enough mana to cast Tooth and Nail. In a sense, it creates the need to have green in the deck.
I think my Oona deck, which was constructed using the articles you wrote as guidance, is pretty similar to your Damia deck especially in terms of how it operates and in its weakness (MLD, Blood Moon). What I did was to try and make the deck run on 4-6 lands making it faster and somewhat more resilient to MLD.
January 30, 2015 12:14 a.m.
When it comes to enablers, Tooth and Nail is about the best you can get. In a clear board state, you fetch the win. In a riskier board state, you protect Tooth and Nail and grab Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, which can't be answered. Then you find the win. Tooth and Nail doesn't create the need for green. It gives me one more way to win, and it happens to be in one of the two best colors.
Also, when you're trying to outrace three opponents, green's ramp power is invaluable.
January 30, 2015 1 a.m.
Couldn't agree more. I recently built a non combo bug deck (a chore in itself) and the sheer tutor power and land ramp alone wins most games
January 30, 2015 12:01 p.m.
Also, and I really hate double posting, but I have to ask. Why damia? Is it strictly for the card advantage or just the colors? If for colors then wouldn't mineoplasm work slightly better? His ability to pick combo pieces out of graveyard seems decent enough.
January 30, 2015 12:21 p.m.
There's a section in the primer about why I chose Damia.
January 30, 2015 1:38 p.m.
Any suggestions for a Less competitive meta? By that I mean decks less combocentric (If that's even a word,) more focused on a slower game with incidental combos and larger creatures.
January 31, 2015 4:37 p.m.
You probably don't want to play this deck in a meta that doesn't focus on combos. This deck only wins through combos.
If you're determined to mix the two, you'll probably end up where this deck started: BUG goodstuff with combo finishers "just in case." This isn't a very efficient model because it requires that you split your attention and resources between two different strategies, and there will always be the temptation to combo out and secure the win (and the corresponding criticism that this will draw from your opponents).