Have you ever discovered a combo or synergy you didn't expect, while playtesting?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Aug. 12, 2022, 2:51 a.m. by TypicalTimmy

It often happens that new cards have exciting interactions. And while the tournament-winning combos are usually discovered quickly, some go under the radar for months, even years, until one day your boardstate happens to have all the pieces aligned and something magical happens.

Has that ever happened to you? Where you discovered a combo or synergy that you had no idea even existed in your deck?

TypicalTimmy says... #2

Obviously this just happened to me.

I'm sitting in my bedroom playing my Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm deck to see if some swaps make sense after a few games.

Happened to get Wrathful Red Dragon out with a token copy of it. Interesting. So now whenever a Dragon I control is dealt damage, I'll have two WRD triggers. For example, if one Dragon is dealt 3 damage, both WRDs will see this and dish out 3 and 3. So I can nail two non-Dragon targets for 3 each, or hit the same target for a combined total of six.


A few turns later I cast Monster Manual and dropped Drakuseth, Maw of Flames. Token ETB and, thanks to Dragon Tempest, they both have haste.

Now, if I were to hit Drak with Tempest, he takes 5 damage as I have 5 Dragons. Both WRDs see this and will now allow me to expand that 5 into 10.

I can have the token also be dealt 5 from Tempest as they entered the battlefield at the same time, so Tempest sees both together.

  • Yes, and no. It matters how you stack things. When Drakuseth ETB, I have two triggers go on the stack. One is Miirym and one is Tempest. If I order them to resolve Miirym first, she creates a token copy of Drak. That token ETB and immediately triggers Tempest. So Tempest resolved for the token first, which sees 5 total Dragons. Then, down the chain, OG Drak is left waiting to resolve. Only now he too sees five Dragons, as well. So while it is true that they DO NOT ETB together, it is equally true that they do in fact both see 5 Dragons.

I digress.

So while I could ping Drak and the token for 5 each, and double each to 10 thanks to two WRDs, and dish out 5+5+5+5 or 20 total damage, I have something a bit more spicy.

If instead, I move to combat and swing with the two Drakuseth, Maw of Flame, I can have the following occur:

  • OG deals 4 damage to OG WRD
  • OG deals 3 damage to itself
  • OG deals 3 damage to the token

  • Tokenseth deals 4 damage to token WRD

  • Token deals 3 damage to OGseth
  • Token deals 3 damage to itselfth

Now, both Drakuseth have 6 damage marked upon them, and both WRD have 4 damage marked on them. Everyone survives with 1 point left.

  • WRD sees itself take 4
  • OG deals 4
  • Token WRD sees OG take 4
  • Token deals 4
  • WRD sees Token take 4
  • OG deals 4
  • Token sees itself take 4
  • Token deals 4
  • OG sees Drak take 3 from itself
  • OG deals 3
  • Token sees Drak take 3 from itself
  • Token deals 3
  • OG sees Drak take 3 from token Drak
  • OG deals 3
  • Token sees Drak take 3 from token Drak
  • Token deals 3


  • OG sees token Drak take 3 from OG Drak
  • OG deals 3
  • Token sees token Drak take 3 from itself
  • OG deals 3
  • Token WRD sees token Drak take 3 from OG Drak
  • Token deals 3
  • Token WRD sees token Drak take 3 from itself
  • Token deals 3

In total, 40 damage


So yeah, Wrathful Red Dragon + Drakuseth, Maw of Flames in a Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm deck is disgusting.

August 12, 2022 3:10 a.m.

I've had that happen a few times with custom cards, but in my Chromium deck Tallowisp was often one of the best keys to victory.

In Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, Nissa, Who Shakes the World was insanely good.

Dimir Infiltrator in a The Mimeoplasm deck allows you to grab Phyresis, then all you need to do is get a big creature into the graveyard (like The Tarrasque), then play Mimmy and make a big unblockable creature, then give it infect. Very good.

And finally, I discovered the Jace, Wielder of Mysteries/Mirror of Fate combo on my own, before I went online.

August 12, 2022 8:36 a.m.

My favorite combos are the ones where only half of it is in /my/ deck. Playtesting is one thing, but when you add (for commander) three other decks your potential for wild interactions goes through the roof. This is why I’m not a huge fan of the cards getting (generally) less interactive; this card does good things? It only affects your stuff. It does bad things? It only happens to other players. Asymmetrical interactions like that are a detriment to the game, in my mind.

August 12, 2022 11:13 a.m.

Duncthelunk says... #5

OMG. Yeah. I got this from watching command quarters originally, but then my mind blew apart when I eventually caught this. Cultivator Colossus and Golgari Rot Farm. Just keep bringing the rot farm back to your hand and keep drawing cards. If the right sac outlet and you're one shotting players.

August 12, 2022 11:59 a.m.

Last_Laugh says... #6

Authority of the Consuls + Archangel of Thune is something I realized had synergy in my deck but I severely underestimated the 2 cards together.

August 12, 2022 1:46 p.m.

DoomNoodle says... #7

Any esper deck I seem to build contains stupid dumb janky combos that were never intended or discovered until play tests! So I'm just gonna go with the whole of esper clan haha!

August 12, 2022 2:28 p.m.

Gidgetimer says... #8

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Cultivator Colossus doesn't have any interaction with putting a bounceland into play with it. Returning a land to hand with a bunce land is a triggered ability, and triggered abilities are going to wait to go on the stack until after you are done repeating the process for each land you put into play.

You repeat the process as part of Cultivator Colossus's triggered ability's resolution. If the land you put onto the battlefield caused any abilities to trigger, those abilities won't go on the stack until after the ability has finished resolving.
August 12, 2022 8:46 p.m.

Necrosis24 says... #9

During a game with my The Beamtown Bullies deck I had a Leveler in hand and a Greater Good in play but no other creatures on board besides my commander. So I was unable to discard Leveler without sacrificing my commander, but in doing so I would not have enough mana to recast my commander and one of my opponents would win next turn thru combat damage so I did not have time to wait.

So my only option was to hard cast Leveler which would exile my library and in response I sacrificed Leveler to Greater Good to draw 10 cards then discard three cards. Then Leveler's ability would resolve and exile my library. Luckily I drew Tel-Jilad Stylus which is meant to combo with Oriq Loremage, but in this case it would keep me from decking myself completely.

On my next opponent's upkeep I reanimate Leveler thus exiling their library and they would lose on their draw step. So then I activate Tel-Jilad Stylus targeting Leveler putting it into my empty library so now when it comes back to my turn I don't lose when I draw a card.

August 13, 2022 1:02 a.m.

Fuzzy003 says... #10

Think my biggest accidental was putting a Sword of Feast and Famine in a big cost beast deck. Liked the ability as it let me cast in second main, didn't think of the Aggravated Assault I had in the deck until I had both in play...

August 13, 2022 11 p.m.

Fuzzy003 oh lord, that's definitely a fun accidental to stumble upon.

I was reminded of another accidental gameplay in Commander when I happened to gain control of a Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain in my cheap artifact/enchantment custom commander deck. I knew that Jhoira was strong, but I was blown away by just how much impact she was able to have on the board, especially after I Spark Doubled her.

August 13, 2022 11:22 p.m.

Niko9 says... #12

I had opened a few Savage Swipes in booster packs and thought, there might be something to this, so then built a deck around 2 power creatures that can use swipe, remove creatures, and also get buffs before attacks. Monastery Swiftspear wasn't my first choice for the deck, but when I realized that prowess will trigger her to 2 power, then she became maybe the best target for Savage Swipe. A turn 1 swiftspear into turn 2 swipe to remove a dork, and then attack for 4, and then still have mana to use, that sometimes just sets a pace that the opponent can't catch back up from.

Also, I built a deck that uses Resplendent Marshal to put counters on flying creatures and then Oona's Blackguard to all at once dump hands. It's not the most effective deck, but when it works, it works very well : )

August 14, 2022 12:21 p.m.

Niko9 says... #13

Aaalso, and sorry to double post : ) but The Wandering Emperor plus Brought Back was one of those moments of, this can't work, does it? But it definitely does. Play the emperor on their turn, use her ability, use it again on your turn, then when they go to kill her, Brought Back brings her back on the field at instant speed, then you can use her on that opponent's turn, then again. It sets a weird place of, sometimes when they try to get rid of her, they make her stronger.

August 14, 2022 12:27 p.m.

instead of saying "og", just say the card name. also, the dragon taking the damage is the one dealing the damage, not the Wrathful Red Dragon

August 14, 2022 10:34 p.m.

Fuzzy003 says... #15

Found the remains of a G/R land destruction deck the other day... Thresher Beast and Destructive Urge sitting next to each other. Braid of Fire, Brand of Ill Omen and Magmatic Core were in there as well...

August 20, 2022 11:56 p.m.

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