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100 Combo Decks, Part 9


Hello, folks! Back in December, I decided to begin a project to build 100 Combo Decks in 20 Weeks. These decks would be built from my own card stock, and I would share them with you, ten decks at a time. Well, it’s my pleasure to inform you that as of the writing of this article, in late March, I am done! I was really ahead of schedule and knocked out all of the decks. We still have thirty decks to bring to you, and you’ll still get them in ten-deck chunks. It’s nice to see the end of this mammoth project.

Today, you’ll see another ten decks and then have a chance to vote on your favorite. Once we have the top ten favorites from each article, we’ll have a final vote in a later article for the ultimate fan favorite of my 100 decks! I can’t tell you how excited I am to finish this up and clean up my apartment! It looks like a Magic tornado hit it and threw up piles of Magic cards everywhere.

Since we have ten decks for your perusal, let’s skip the five- or six-paragraph intro and just move to the decks. Think you can handle it? Prepare yourself for deck overload!

Deck 71 – The Clan of the Times

This is a deck built around making enough mana with the Ironworks to fuel a big Snake Basket. Then, you overwhelm your foe(s) with twenty-six or thirty snakes. Simple, right? We have a metric ton of artifacts to give us enough volume to break out. Then, once everything is sacrificed, you can bring it all back with either a Roar of Reclamation or Open the Vaults.

As a backup to the Snake Basket plan, we also have a single Myr Incubator. Between the thirty-one other artifacts in the deck, you have a good shot at finding enough to go lethal. The deck includes some classic mana acceleration in the form of artifacts. Feel free to drop and abuse things like Sol Ring, Mana Vault, and Signets.

Since we have a clear theme, the few support cards were easy to add. We want a lot of card-drawing, so check (Thoughtcast and Thirst for Knowledge, plus Spellbombs and Stars). We need to search for specific artifacts, including Snake Basket and Ironworks, so in went Tinker and Fabricate. With mana acceleration, card-drawing, smoothing mana, and more, this deck very quickly drops the big stuff and slides into some serious pain. It’s very consistent and among the most deadly combo decks in the project. Here it is:

Deck 72 – I Hate You; Do You Hate Me?

This deck wants to begin with a powerful creature on turn one or two, and then Dark Ritual into a Hatred on turn three and kill you. Because you need a Ritual and Hatred to kill on turn three, you may want to aggressively mulligan until you have the components—we don’t have time or mana for card-drawing.

We have eight 1-drops and twelve 2-drops. Ideally, you can play one on the first turn, a second one the turn later, and swing with two creatures to Hatred whichever is not blocked or Shocked or whatever. I tried to include creatures that were evasive where I could. Hatred is a gamble, but if you Hatred an infect creature, you only lose 9 life, so if it’s countered or the creature is killed, you can still recover.

Since the deck is taken up with Swamps, fast creatures, Hatred, and Dark Ritual, there’s not a lot of space for other stuff. I tossed in Duress because you’ll often have an extra mana or two as you prepare, and you can use it before you go off to insure that your foe doesn’t have anything too stressing in hand to prevent you from winning.

Finally, Dismember is included to be a cheap way to clear a path. At first, I wasn’t sure if the potential life loss would work with Hatred. If you are Hating an infected creature, the life loss isn’t noticed. You often hit someone for enough damage to just pump 17 or 15 life into the Hatred, and then you can absorb a Phyrexian mana or two. It works enough of the time, and I wanted something more reliable than Doom Blade. You can kill anything that early with −5 to the backside, but Doom Blade can’t off any black speed bumps.

The deck is one big gamble. Can you go off? It’s also a combo deck that doesn’t take a while to win or lose. Either you’ll have a combo to blar someone or you’ll drop a few beaters on the first few turns, follow them up with nothing, and dwindle and die a few turns later. The big gamble is below:

Deck 73 – Seeing Red

This deck wants to drop Swirl the Mists and declare everything red. Once that happens, the rest of the deck kicks in. Now all of my protection-from-red cards have protection from whatever color my foe has the most of. Swirl the Mists even works with spells, changing their words to the chosen color. That means my Hydroblast can counter a card of a different color or destroy a different-colored permanent if necessary.

This works very well with mono-colored decks, but against decks with two colors (or more), it’s much weaker. Enter Distortion Lens. It taps to make any permanent the right color for my protection guys. (Or Hydroblast.) After tossing in all of the cool things this deck does, there was little space for support cards. I wanted to destroy artifacts and enchantments and have card-drawing, so in went Dismantling Blow. Foresee and Thought Courier joined the card drawing fun. Repeal is an emergency bounce effect and card-drawing. Ponder adds some more card sifting and drawing while Cancel adds more reliable counters than just the Hydroblasts.

The deck is fun, and it just clobbers a mono-red opponent without the combo elements needed. It has the aforementioned weakness of playing against decks with many colors, and it’s more of a fun combo than anything else. It is yonder:

Deck 74 – The Law of Nature

This is one of several decks I made in the last part of the exercise when my deck stock was running dry. I just sort of put a bunch of cards that wanted to be in four-ofs to build their own deck into one deck. Sure, this deck wants a full set of Natural Order and/or Survival of the Fittest, but we don’t have that. I wanted a deck to search up powerful creatures for the later game. With this powerful set of different creatures in the deck for different needs, things are looking good.

It really doesn’t matter how many types of tutors we have because this is a deck with a large variety of creatures for different needs and various ways of finding them. Do you need a giant beater? We have that! Do you need to destroy a noncreature permanent? We can do that! We even have creatures that find other creatures (the Exarch and Empath). From Tornado Elemental to Regal Force, each of these does something fun.

The deck is quite interesting because it lacks mana accelerants. The deck really didn’t have a lot of space for Llanowar Elves and such. With the powerful Yavimaya “Ancestral Recall” Elder in the deck, we can grab a lot of lands, but there’s no way to pump them out faster. If I had them, this would be a good place for Terrain Generator. Anyway, the deck works pretty well once it has the mana out. Interested is seeing it?

Deck 75 – Æther Pits

This deck wants to have both a Death Pits of Rath and AEther Flash on the battlefield. Once it’s done that, any creature that enters the battlefield will take 2 damage and then die.

At first, I wanted to include regenerating creatures in my deck, and I started to pull Sedge Trolls. Then, I saw that Death Pits of Rath doesn’t allow regeneration. Instead of adding indestructible creatures in lieu of my regenerators, I just decided to roll with this creatureless deck. We would turn other permanents into creatures.

This deck leans on Death Pits a lot. If my foes have creatures in play before the Death Pits arrives, they won’t attack into a Circle of Flame. I can also sweep all creatures with a Slagstorm or Evincar's Justice. Finally, Forked Bolt becomes an obvious burn spell (as does Fireball as my X-spell finisher).

Once I’ve done all of that, I wanted creatures to kill. The number one choice was Genju of the Fens. With few to no creatures out, it can win in a few hits. If you kill my Genju, I may lose the Swamp, but the enchantment comes right back. After that, I wanted man lands. Lavaclaw Reaches was an obvious choice. Also joining the deck are Ghitu Encampment and Mishra's Factory. Then, as I was fixing up my deck, I saw a need for a few more creatures, so in went a play set of Guardian Idols.

Once I had my cards, creatures, and removal, there was little left. I wanted some card-drawing, and my options were limited, so in went the annoying Sorcerer's Strongbox. Syphon Mind adds some more drawing, and it’s very hot in multiplayer. Finally, I added a pair of Diabolic Tutors to fetch important combo pieces or whatever else may be needed.

The deck is fun to play, and if you can make the Aether Flash and Death Pits stick, you are very likely to win. This combo shuts down all other creature-based combos in the metagame. It’s weak against decks that don’t care much about creatures. Voici!

Deck 76 – Scorpions and Myr

Do you like this infinite combo deck? You don’t see it? Okay, let’s look closer. You need Dross Scorpion, Myr Turbine, and Blasting Station.

Tap the Myr Turbine to make a 1/1 artifact creature. Then, tap the Blasting Station to sacrifice it and deal a damage to something. When it dies, trigger the Dross Scorpion to untap the Turbine. Tap it to make a creature, which untaps the Blasting Station. Repeat until everyone is dead. You can add a Summoning Station to the combo to make infinite 2/2 Pincher tokens as well. That allows you to kill someone behind Ivory Mask or something.

After that, the rest of the deck is seasoning. We add whatever we need to make it work. Would you like some scry and creature kill? Say “hello” to Judge Unworthy. Would you like some additional creature kill? Dispatch suits our need. Metallurgeon will save one of our artifacts from dying to removal, and Razor Hippogriff will bring that artifact back if it does die. Gold Myr adds to our artifact count and accelerates our mana development. Chrome Steed adds a threat to the board and increases the number of artifacts we have running around.

The result is a deck with an infinite combo that actually doesn’t need that many pieces to win. It’s still fragile to removal, but it can and will go off. Would you like to peruse it?

Deck 77 – The Nightstalkers Returneth

This is just one of those pure-fun decks. It wants to play Ashes of the Fallen to make all of the creatures in your graveyard Nightstalkers. Then, once you’ve done that, you can play Return of the Nightstalkers and bring them all back to play. You also have to destroy all of your Swamps, but we conveniently forgot to add any to the deck. Oh my!

Return of the Nightstalkers is much better than many other choices. Patriarch's Bidding allows your opponent to recur some creatures as well. Other cards—such as Twilight's Call—have the same issue. Meanwhile, cards such as Living Death and All Hallow's Eve also have complications. The Return works perfectly in conjunction with Ashes of the Fallen. Ideally, you will discard a ton of creatures to Wild Mongrel just before you Return away!

Once we had that deck idea, I wanted some mana fixing. In went cards like mana Elves and Explore. Eight big beaters were added to give us good choices for reanimation via a Return. You can also Return Elves and Mongrels, too. After that, we added some cards to kill things that interfere with the plan (Relic Crush and Go for the Throat) and a pair of Tutors to round everything out. The result is a deck that tries to abuse a crazy Portal Second Age card to good effect. It’s a bit inconsistent when you play it, but it’s so much fun!

Deck 78 – Dancing Golems

This is another infinite combo deck with extra pieces added. The combo involves Composite Golem, Corpse Dance, and Disciple of the Vault. You need to have the Golem either in play or as the top card of your ’yard. You Corpse Dance with buyback it into play, and then sacrifice it for 5 mana. You use all of that mana to buyback another Dance and keep doing that over and over. As you do, the Disciple is triggering again and again. Soon, you’ve killed everyone at the table. I also tossed in my only Mortician Beetle to give me a fourth card that’s combotastic. You can make it an 18,054/18,054 creature and swing.

After that, I added more cards to flesh out the combo. Since I have Corpse Dance already, I built the Dancing Gnomes combo in (with Bottle Gnomes to generate 3 life for each iteration of the Dance). I didn’t have the Memory Crystals and Jet Medallions for a combo deck built around the Dance, but since I have a different combo, it was okay. I also threw in a pair of Ticking Gnomes to both increase the Gnome density of my creatures and to add another creature that works well here. Another creature that sacrifices itself is 1-drop Death Cultist and the card-drawing Moriok Replica.

I then added Vampire Nighthawk as a solid body for the deck. I wanted some creatures that could stay out for a while without worrying about mana or Dancing. They are powerful, and the combination of abilities keep back larger things and occasionally pump your life total back up a bit. Rounding out the deck is a pair of emergency-creature-removal spells and a pair of Tutors to find the combo cards.

Once this has its combo, it’s game over. You can drop your 1-mana combo piece earlier, so you can go off on turn six as soon as you cast the Golem. I hope that you like the deck:

Deck 79 – I Call Shenanigans!

Goblins have a tendency to go boom! This deck harnesses that desire into a powerful sacrificing engine. I really wanted to build a deck around the Shenanigans, but I only found one. That’s sad. I added Rage Thrower to the deck to give me a little extra oomph in that area, but it’s not the same thing, and we know it.

Tar Pitcher and Siege-Gang Commander both sacrifice Goblins as a way to deal damage to creatures or players as you have need. Then, we make a ton of Goblin tokens to blast through defenses with these sacrifice outlets. The goal of this deck is to Goblin up our self-sacrifice theme to the next level. I also have the Goblin combo in here. Let me explain. I built a few decks around this combo in real life, including a Commander deck, but here it is:

  1. Moggcatcher is in play; you must have at least one other creature out as well.
  2. Tap the Moggcatcher to search your library for a Goblin Assassin and put it into play.
  3. Everyone flips a coin, and many players are forced to sacrifice a creature. (Sacrifice the third creature if you lose.)
  4. Search out a Goblin Marshal with the Moggcatcher on your next turn. That makes three Goblin Assassin coin flips. Everyone flips three times and sacrifices creatures. Did you lose at least once? Sacrifice the Marshal to make two more Goblins and force two more flips on people.
  5. Continue this with everything from Dragon Fodder to Siege-Gang Commander and more until you’ve cleared out all creatures on the board other than your own. Then, swing and win!

I discovered this little combo when building a deck a long time ago, and I still love it today. Now imagine this combo going off and all of the Goblin sacrificing when combined with Boggart Shenanigans or Rage Thrower. Yeah!

The rest of the deck is the obvious pro-Goblin strategies. We want a Warchief to swing with Goblins when they enter the battlefield. We want a Ringleader and Recruiters to tutor Goblins. We want Tuktuk and the Arsonists as sacrifice tools to give us something extra when they die. We want Goblin Dynamo to tutor up something big and to have some late-game beef. This deck is downright Goblin-tastic!

There’s nothing like throwing up a fun Goblin combo deck against all of these other combo decks. You don’t usually win against other combos, but it’s fun to try!

Deck 80 – A Different Sort of Pebbles

I had the cards for a Pebbles Combo, so I decided to go ahead and built it. For those unfamiliar, a Pebbles combo deck was originally a powerful tournament deck built around a combo win with Shield Sphere, Enduring Renewal, and Goblin Bombardment. You would sacrifice the 0-cost Sphere to the Bombardment, recur it to your hand with the Renewal, and then replay it for no mana, repeating until someone died. Because of the cheap cost of the combo elements, it made a real impact in several different formats in its day.

Instead of Shield Sphere and perhaps Phyrexian Walker, we have Memnite and Ornithopter. Since I only had a pair of GBBs, I added a single Grinding Station. It can sacrifice the artifact guy to mill your opponent. It untaps when you replay your 0-mana dude.

Once I had the combo, in went elements to help me survive long enough to go off. Teroh's Faithful makes a blocker and gives me life. The Goldenglow Moth can block a flyer, can be played early for little mana, and gains me a bunch of life when it dies. Both of these combine to make nice speed bumps for opposing decks. Then, Flame Slash and Orim's Thunder off annoying permanents. The Thunder is especially nice since it can take out both an artifact or enchantment and a creature. Finally, Boros Fury-Shield is a nice surprise to prevent all damage an attacking dork would deal to you.

After that, I included Pilgrim's Eye to find lands and jump in front of attackers. And that was it—another deck in the queue! Here’s Mr. 80.

Which of the decks in today’s article really sang to you? Choose your favorite right now! Vote early and often.

[poll id="149"]

Twenty more decks to go! Are you ready for the fun to end? Next week, we’ll countdown ten more decks from the project.

See you next week,

Abe Sargent

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