I hope you are having a wonderfully delightful Tuesday. If you went to the Rivals prerelease, then I hope you enjoyed it! I have found that Rivals of Ixalan set to have a lot of really intriguing combos within, and should not be dismissed as "Just a Tribal Set." I have added Phyrexian Dreadnought to Ghalta, Primal Hunger to make a powerful Commander concoction with two 12/12 tramplers out with just a 5 mana investment. I also had a Commander deck yesterday with a number of infinite combos, like tokens and mana and death triggers from Elenda, the Dusk Rose. So don't sleep on the power of Rivals.
If you read my article yesterday, then you may recall I am without my PC for a while, and thus I had to write this article very, very quickly to replace the missing one. What would I write on? Well the set was something that really seemed rife with combos! Why not take that into a Top Ten list?
Given that I thought it would be really good to delve into some cool combos for your decks that you can unpack from the set. Some of these are instant wins, and some are just very powerful synergies. But all can make an interesting deck at your next Magic night.
Are you ready to combo on?
Honorable Mention -- Slaughter the Strong, Thran Weaponry
I wanted to pull this combo out of mothballs for you. I created a combo around the original Slaughter the Strong, Retribution of the Meek, and Thran Weaponry. It began when I randomly hit Thran Weaponry in a deck-building challenge around bad rares, and then was forced to come up with something that would work. The resulting combo was amazing. Here's how it works. When you tap Thran Weaponry, everything gets +2/+2, including your foe's stuff. That means a lot more creatures are going to die to Slaughter the Strong. In fact, everything is going to die unless it began with 0 or 1 power. That will rise to 2 or 3 and still be safe. So you have an entire team of guys that will be fine, like Amrou Kithkin and such, and you'll destroy precisely none of your creatures while most or all of your flies, and then you'll win. Now this is a combo I made, but it's not a new combo, so I wouldn't want it to count as one of my top ten. So I felt an Honorable Mention would be good either as a reminder for the handful of readers who remember that deck, or for the vast majority who are have never encountered it!
10. Everdawn Champion, Pariah, Pariah's Shield
I'm sure you've noted that the Everdawn Champion is never defeated in combat and has a lot of value as a Fog Bank variant in casual land. But she'll also prevent all combat damage to yourself with a Pariah or Pariah's Shield on her. Anything that slips through is redirected to her, and she'll just chuck it off. Now, she will die to non-combat damage pretty quickly. Your foe could aim a Lightning Bolt at you to kill her or use a Swords to Plowshares or something. But, your foe already could kill her with a Lightning Bolt or Swords anyway, so it's not like that changed the score or somehow weakened her. I particularly like the Shield as it'll stick around for other uses post-death of your first Champion.
9. Gruesome Fate, Lingering Souls
Decks that want to go wide with a lot of creatures, especially token creatures, often wind up with a number of weak creatures later in the game that can't stand with the bigger stuff that has arrived, and it's hard to make an impact on the board. This is especially true in multiplayer, where one player with a number of 1/1 tokens is quickly outclassed by three opponents. It's hard to suss out who to attack. That's where Gruesome Fate comes in. Previously we had Harsh Sustenance as our only real option for winning, but while it could kill a creature and that was useful extra flexibility, you could only take out one player, but Gruesome Fate can hit a lot of folks, and it's life loss, not damage dealt, so there's fewer ways to get around it. The result is a better finisher when you are playing multiplayer, and you aren't required to play both White and Black, and you can add the Fate to a or mono-Black just as easily.
8. Induced Amnesia, Barrin, Master Wizard, Read the Runes
When you target yourself with Induced Amnesia, you are basically casting Tolarian Winds. Discard your hand and draw that many cards. But instead you exile it. There's a nice card flow to it. But you have the ability to hit your opponent instead if it's the right plan. A lot of folks online have talked about using on your foe as a three-mana Mind Twist with cards like Leovold, Emissary of Trest or perhaps a little Notion Thief action. But yes, you can turn it at your foes if needed, but prefer to aim it at myself. Exile some goods from my hand, draw a bunch more cards, and then if I can kill this Amnesia, then I can get my old hand back two and now I have two hands of cards. Blue and its ally colors have quite a few ways you can sacrifice that Amnesia. My favorite is Barrin, Master Wizard. He's cheap, can bounce creatures over and over again, and can sacrifice the Amnesia to do so, giving you another hand. Another great card is Read the Runes! Cast for as little as and you can sacrifice your Induced Amnesia while drawing. On that same genre, Perilous Research will play a nice role, and in this case, it'll obviously sacrifice and draw two, although I prefer the flexibility and general usefulness of Read the Runes here instead. There are other effects here I've noted from Claws of Gix to Extricator of Sin.
There is also a super-secret combo here as well. Do you see it?
Since Masterful Ninja is in your hand too, you can draw another card with it! Oh, and if you are going the Notion Thief route and hitting your foe, then why not give them X so you can draw another card while also getting your X back?
7. Tilonalli's Summoner, Mana Echoes
This combo is designed to go off and make you enough mana to win the game with a follow up. Cast the Summoner. Swing. Put as much mana into the making of the Elementals as you can. Then they'll hit the Echoes and blow up your mana base. For example, if you attack and make just four 1/1 Elementals, then you'll have made 16 mana. You could easily have a win with a Rocket Launcher or something. 6 dorks are 36 mana, and that's 18 damage with the Rocket Launcher, enough to kill a player that began with 20. And it spirals from there, and you'll have ascended for future activations! You've got this.
Note that if you have some Elementals in play already when you start, you're mana will dial up considerably. My favorite here is War Elemental. It will later turn into a player-killer after you kill one person with a Rocket Launcher or something, and it's just a three-mana investment on theme to do so! It gives you another route to victory in multiplayer. In fact, attack with it in the same turn you go off, and it will swell with the Rocket Launcher or other damage by the time combat damage is dealt! Oh, know what else makes 1/1 Elemental tokens en masse? Firecat Blitz! (Oracle gives them Elemental Cat type).
6. Twilight Prophet, Vampiric Tutor, Draco
For this combo to work, you need a Twilight Prophet after you've ascended, and a single copy of Draco in your deck. At the end of someone's turn, cast Vampiric Tutor, putting Draco on top of your deck. Then reveal it, and each foe loses 16 life and you gain 16. That's going to kill a lot of folks. And the benefit is that Vampiric Tutor won't appear like a combo piece. It's just a Tutor. You can cast it early to get the Prophet and later to benefit from it. And you only need a single Draco. You could also get Emrakul, the Aeons Torn if you just wanted to deal 15, and if you add a Cabal Coffers or two you could cast them to help make enough mana to hard cast these if you needed it.
5. Pitiless Plunderer AND Gleaming Barrier, Goblin Bombardment AND Enduring Renewal inc.Revel in Riches and Dire Fleet Hoarder
Note that Pitiless Plunderer and either Gleaming Barrier or Dire Fleet Hoarder will substitute as a combo in the classic Pebbles combo (sacrifice a creature to the, bring it to your hand with Renewal, recast the dork and keep going). With more than one Plunderer you can get an additional Treasure each iteration, which you'll either use to win with Revel in Riches or for a huge amount of mana to win now with any effect you desire. Sounds like a pirating plan to me! Steal those wins with treasure!
3. Storm the Vault, Mishra, Artificer Prodigy
This combo works around ensuring you get a lot of artifacts quickly. Cast Myr Servitor, for example, when you control Mishra, and another will arrive on the battlefield. Memnite does the same. Memnite, for example, costs nothing, so you could drop it for free after Storm arrives and get two more artifacts out, even when you are tapped out. You'll easily have enough artifacts to transform it. But don't forget that this also just breaks the Vault of Catlacan as well. If all you have when you transform it areMyr Servitors and Memnites, you are tapping for a lot of mana. Imagine Cranial Plating and such in that style of a deck! Imagine the death about to hit someone on the 5thturn or so with that crazy mana available to you. Mishra makes Storm the Vault reliable, and they are in color.
2. Polyraptor, Mana Echoes
Polyraptor is a lot of fun and there are a bunch of cool ways to abuse it. But the most powerful that leaps into my mind is the always-abusive Mana Echoes. Note that Polyraptor makes copies when you sting it. That means you are getting another Dinosaur in play, which will get you Mana Echoes triggers. If this is the first time this turn you've make a Raptor, then you'll get just 2 mana, but it will quickly explode from there. How do you make a lot of Polyraptors? I'll give you one way to get an infinite amount of Raptors:
These two work. Tap the Pyromancer to shoot a Polyraptor. Make a Polyraptor, when the next one arrives, untap everything. Tap repeat. Note that you'll need to shoot different Raptors over time to not die. If you have out two Pyromancers, you can use one to make a Raptor and the other to kill everyone at the table. Another option would be to just swing and kill everyone with 1000 5/5 Raptors. Another would be to use the infinite mana from Mana Echoes to blow someone up.
1. Journey to Eternity, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Verdant Succession
The synergy here is pretty strong. Journey to Eternity brings back a dying critter and then flips into a great land. So cast Sakura-Tribe Elder on the 2nd turn, this on the 3rd, and then sacrifice the Elder for a land, and it comes and the Journey transforms. Then sac the Elder for another land. Result? On the third turn you have two basics from the Elder, three other lands you played, and a transformed Atzal, Cave of Eternity. That means if you manage to drop a land on turn four, you'll have 7 lands available! You just skipped the mid-game entirely with cards that already work. Shoot, you already have the mana to use the Cave. You could use it to return the STE and sacrifice for another land if you wanted to be abusive. But by that time, might as well start dropping the beats. For another combo, add in Verdant Succession.
In this shell, when a Green creature bites it, you search your library for a replacement. Now, bring back STE for a land, and your get all of the STEs from the library one after another and get four more lands. And that's just the beginning of the waves of synergy. You can bring back dead stuff with Atzal and keep the combo going as you bury your foes. You could add in something like Rude Awakening or Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer or even Ulvenwald Hydra. In the meantime, self-sacrifice stuff that's Green would seem like a great addition to the deck. You could spend a mana with Grave-Shell Scarab to draw cards, or just sacrifice Shambling Shell for +1/+1 counters and use something like Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord to sacrifice something else. You've got this!
And there we go! I hope you enjoyed this look at the synergic combotastic aspects of Rivals of Ixalan. What combos are you most looking forward to unleashing on your foes?