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Top Ten Combos from Zendikar Rising


Hello folks! I hope that you are having a great day and keeping yourself safe in our modern COVID-19 world!

Have you been following along with the Zendikar Rising spoilers? I have read them through a few times, and I have some cool ideas to make them work.

Today I want to take a gander at some great combos from this set. Ready? Let's begin!

Honorable Mention

I already decided to build around four cool combos in my article this week on "Decks Inspired by Zendikar Rising." Some of them would have hit my list proper, but instead I am going to give them a shout out in my honorable mention section.

Honorable Mention #1 - Life and Limb and Vastwood Surge

Life and Limb
Vastwood Surge

Use Vastwood Surge in a mono-Green deck and have Life and Limb. It will give all of your Forests that are now creatures, as well as the two you just fetched out the +1/+1 counters if you kicked it. I think you might win that game!

Honorable Mention #2 - Heartless Hidetsugu and Scourge of the Skyclaves

Heartless Hidetsugu
Scourge of the Skyclaves

Both play into the same space by taking out half the life of each player. You'll net a huge game-winning Scourge and you can use cards that'll win the game flat out like X spells in Red and Black. Enjoy this awesome combo!

Honorable Mention #3a - Shadowborn Apostle and Taborax, Hope's Demise

Shadowborn Apostle
Taborax, Hope's Demise

You need a lot of Clerics to win the game with Taborax. Guess what? You can run a lot of Shadowborn Apostles and they will sacrifice on their own without needing an engine en masse. They can tutor your deck for a nasty Demon to drop onto the battlefield. Enjoy!

Shout out to Dark Supplicant that plays a similar role as a one-drop Cleric that can turn Clerics into a searched up big beater from your library named Scion of Darkness.

Honorable Mention #3b - Sacrifice Engines

Phyrexian Tower
Goblin Bombardment

You can really make Taborax take flight with a nice sacrifice engine like Phyrexian Tower or Goblin Bombardment. Enjoy the sacrificing fun times!

Honorable Mention #4 - Full Party Mechanic and Changelings

Coveted Prize

The best way to ensure your deck meets the Full Party mechanic of cards like Coveted Prize is to run creatures that count as all of the creature types in one go. That will ensue maximum value for your full party all stars like Coveted Prize et all.

If you want to check out decklists that explore these four combos as well as another deck, then swing by my article!

Top Ten

Ready for the Top Ten proper? Let's do it!

#10. Tazri, Beacon of Unity and Old Allies

Tazri, Beacon of Unity
Hero of Goma Fada

I missed it the first time I read this card. Did you notice that word tucked in? Ally! Just like the old General Tazri will help lead a deck of five-color Allies, this one will lead a five-color party build. And it'll also help out your Allies! I totally missed it when I read it the first time. Did you see it? Was I the only one that missed it?

#9. Phylath, World Sculptor and Avenger of Zendikar

Phylath, World Sculptor
Avenger of Zendikar

Do you see it? Phylath, World Sculptor makes 0/1 Plant tokens on arrival equal to your lands. As does the grandfather, Avenger of Zendikar. Then as a landfall ability it'll let you pump up a Plant you control with counters, as does Avenger of Zendikar. Clearly these two are meant to play with each other, right? Right! Enjoy your Vegan protein.

#8a. Wayward Guide-Beast and Landfall

Wayward Guide-Beast
Plated Geopede

I've seen a lot of hatred come Wayward Guide-Beast's way from other writers and fans. It's better than you think. First, it'll make you mana! How so? On any turn in which you don't draw or have an extra land to drop you can tap your land, then bounce it and replay it. Here I'll show you!

Turn 4. You have three lands out and you don't have another in your hand. Tap two mana for a two-drop. Swing. Bounce a tapped land. Play it. You now have two untapped lands. Tap them for another two-drop. See?

The obvious synergy here is with landfall as you can ensure a landfall trigger indefinitely in each subsequent turn.

#8b. Exploration Effects


The beauty of Exploration effects at the kitchen table is that you can ramp very quickly by dropping extra lands. But the problem is that once you've dropped your extra lands...what now? The card just sits there. But with the Guide-Beast you can drop your land for the turn and the extra land from the Guide-Beast's self-bounce, which can give you two landfall triggers a turn and no land drops lost.

#8c. Gemstone Mine and Vivid Lands

Gemstone Mine
Vivid Creek

Sometimes you want to bounce a land! Gemstone Mine is a great way to make any color of mana without a disadvantage. But it'll only work three times. So, bounce it and keep it going! Check out the Vivid Lands like Vivid Creek as another example of these cards in action.

#8d. Enters-the-Battlefield Triggers

Radiant Fountain
Bojuka Bog

Another great way to make this effect pay off is to run lands that have enters-the-battlefield triggers like the lifegain of Radiant Fountain or an effect like Bojuka Bog. There are tons of these triggers that will do anything from creating a creature token to giving a creature a +1/+1 counter to giving you an energy counter. Enjoy them once again!

#8e. Modal Double-Faced Lands

Akoum Warrior

Did you need a land early on? Did you draw the dual card Akoum Warrior? You probably played it as a land to ensure that you hit all of your land drops. But now you have enough lands and you wish you could get that Akoum Warrior back. I hear you! Don't worry, this Beast is coming to your rescue!

Okay let's leave the little guy alone and head back to the rest of my article! The point is, don't sleep on the power and synergy of this landfall enabler.

#7. Leyline Tyrant and Red Mana Ramp

Leyline Tyrant

Leyline Tyrant is an awesome card for red players. A mono-Red deck can float mana from one turn to the next and build up a nasty reservoir of mana. It reminds me of Omnath, Locus of Mana from the original block and a set you may have heard of called Worldwake. However, unlike that card, here there is something to do with all that extra mana! When the Tyrant dies, you can kill something. Or somebody. One way to ensure you have enough mana is to run mana ramp spells like Geosurge and Mana Geyser. Then you'll have enough mana at that party to kill someone!

#6. Skyclave Shade, Drownyard Temple, and a Sacrifice Engine

Skyclave Shade
Drownyard Temple
Claws of Gix

Skyclave Shade immediately grabbed my attention. It can be a broken sacrifice tool as all you need to bring it back is mana and a landfall trigger on your turn. But how can you reliably landfall on your turn? Enter Drownyard Temple, the land you can bring back from your graveyard to your battlefield. And that's pretty cool! But how do you make sure that you can get them back to your graveyard. There are many sacrifice engines for the Shade since it's a creature, but what about the Temple? We have a few engines that will sacrifice any of yours cards. My favorite is Infernal Tribute that will let you trade two mana to sacrifice for a non-token permanent and net a card. You'll get two cards per iteration with that. Also don't sleep on Claws of Gix. It plays into this same space, has a cheaper, trigger and will get you some life. Now all you need is some mana, but I suspect you already have that covered my combo loving sibling.

#5. Kargan Intimidator and Unnatural Selection

Kargan Intimidator
Unnatural Selection

Look at the latest Boldwyr Intimidator, which was always one of the most flavorful Giant Warriors you'd come across. Cowards can't block Warriors! So flavorful! Kargan Intimidator is a little version of its big brother, and you cannot activate its Coward-making ability more than once per turn. So sad. Enter Unnatural Selection! Make the whole team Cowards! They can't block at all! If you need Warriors you can use it as well!

Shout out to Pyrophobia, which you'd want to toss into this deck as well as kill spell that prevents Cowards from blocking anything not just Warriors.

#4. Orah, Skyclave Hierophant and Cabal Archon

Orah, Skyclave Hierophant
Cabal Archon

I really enjoy Orah, Skyclave Hierophant! When I first saw it, I figured there was a sacrifice chain you do could and sacrifice a three-drop for a two-drop for a one-drop, but those self-sacrificing Clerics are limited in quantity and power and include wonders like Benevolent Bodyguard or Martyr of Sands. You'll need to run a Cleric-sacrificing engine instead. Enter Cabal Archon, one of the best. You can sacrifice a Cleric for a single mana and drain a foe for two life. It'll trigger life gain triggers and kill your foe. It's a double dose of painful sacrificing love. And you can chain down and net many Clerics from your graveyard to make more sacrifices. Shout out to Cleric of Life's Bond... It's cheap enough to chain, gains you life as your Clerics arrive and gets a little bigger each turn as well. Enjoy it in this shell!

#3. Confounding Conundrum and New Frontiers

Confounding Conundrum
New Frontiers

Hello fans of ramp. Do you like helping your foes by having everyone search their library with cards like Veteran Explorer and New Frontiers? Do I have the card for you! It's Confounding Conundrum! Did more than one land enter the battlefield under a foe's control in the same turn? Then they must bounce a land. It's an amazing break on mana ramp in casual land and Commander. But what happens when multiple lands hit the battlefield at the same time?

Let's check out the release notes.

"If an opponent has had no lands enter under their control and then two or more lands enter at the same time, Confounding Conundrum's second ability triggers for each of those lands."

If you set New Frontiers to three mana, then everyone can ramp three basics onto their battlefield. You will! But your foes will get three triggers and then bounce three land to their hands, likely the ones they just got. They will still get the lands; they just won't be able to use them immediately and they'll have to drop the slowly over future turns. Note that they will still get triggers like landfall, but it'll slow them down. Enjoy this combo!

#2. Ancient Greenwarden and Dark Depths

Ancient Greenwarden
Dark Depths

Hello fans of dropping lands from graveyards. There are tons of synergies here like sacrificing lands such as Terramorphic Expanse, sacrifice triggers like the aforementioned Claws of Gix, and loads more! But something that may have gone astray is Dark Depths. After you've pulled off the final Ice counter and you get your game-winning Marit Lage, the land heads to the great land graveyard in the sky! But you can get it back for more hijinks with Ancient Greenwarden. (Although it'll return with 20 counters, so you'll need a lot of mana or, more likely, a way to cheat the counters away like Vampire Hexmage.) Enjoy it!

Also, a shout out to the Vivid Lands and Gemstone Mine mentioned above because here you will enter the battlefield with twice the counters! Also a shout out to the ETB lands mentioned above as well for double the triggers.

#1. Ashaya, Soul of the Wild and Protean Hulk and Zero-Cost Creatures

Ashaya, Soul of the Wild
Protean Hulk

No creature wants token creatures more than Ashaya does! They'll all become lands and pump up her power and toughness. But, unfortunately, she has that "nontoken" creature clause so you cannot go wide. You must do it fairly with normal creatures. Unless you kill your Hulk! Then you can search your library for any number of creatures with a converted casting cost of six or less. Get six one-drops and call it! That's six power and toughness and six mana (and six landfall triggers by the by). But you are cleverer than that because you can net all the zero cost dorks in your library and six one-drops too. Cards like Memnite and Ornithopter suggest themselves. You can easily get Ashaya to lethal death dealing and make a ton of creatures and mana.

Alright and there you have it! What did you think of my combos? Anything in there that you agree or disagree with? Anything in here inspire your deck building juices? Just let me know!

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