In this experiment, we awaken all the lands and clutch infinite currents.
Awakening lands is all the rage in Battle for Zendikar, but we’ve seen cards that produce effects like this before. Incidentally, as Luis Scott-Vargas mentioned in a recent episode of Limited Resources, it’s possible to create a recurring loop between Clutch of Currents and Halimar Tidecaller in Battle for Zendikar Limited. That rang some alarms in my head, so I jumped into the current.
Simply adding Intruder Alarm into the mix of Clutch of Currents and Halimar Tidecaller introduces some interesting potential. The basic concept between the Battle for Zendikar cards is that we Clutch of Currents Halimar Tidecaller while adding counters to our land. We then cast the Tidecaller again and return Clutch of Currents to our hand, leaving ourselves down 8 mana and up three +1/+1 counters on a land, which, if it wasn’t already a creature, is now a creature.
By adding Intruder Alarm, we get to untap all our creatures every time we resolve the Halimar Tidecaller. That means if we have creatures that, collectively, produce 8 or more mana, we can add infinite +1/+1 counters, in multiples of three, to our lands. Rather than play Llanowar Elves and Kiora's Followers, though, let’s just stick with what’s already on theme: creature lands.
Since we’re already animating lands, let’s dig into one of those pre-BFZ land-animating spells. Natural Affinity lets us go off when we want to. Something like Nature's Revolt, Living Lands, or Life and Limb might be reasonable and let us go off whenever we want to without having to spend extra mana on the turn when we’ll need it the most. But the downside of that metaphorical coin is that our lands will be vulnerable up until the point when we’ll want to use them, and while that effect may be symmetrical, we’re not planning to take advantage of the effect from our opponent’s side—whereas something as simple as a Wrath of God could totally wreck us.Natural Affinity, all our creatures will become 2/2s until end of turn, which means Halimar Tidecaller will give them flying. That’s a pretty good bonus. And if we cast the Tidecaller after Natural Affinity, Intruder Alarm will let us untap all those lands we’ve tapped for mana this turn.
So just those three cards together (and six lands) combine to let us attack for 12 flying damage. Casting a Clutch of Currents (and having eight lands instead) lets us add three +1/+1 counters to a land and return the Tidecaller to our hand. Casting the Tidecaller untaps all our lands (creatures) again and gives us back the Clutch of Currents, ready to repeat. From there, we can proceed to make eight creatures of unbounded power and toughness.
Note that Natural Affinity turns our creatures into 2/2s, but awakening our lands afterward (which we’ll have to do in order to give them counters) makes them into 0/0s. That’s okay, but it means the first time we awaken a land affected by Natural Affinity, it will turn from a 2/2 into a 3/3, as opposed to a 5/5 as we might expect. The second time a land is hit with awaken 3, it will become, as expected from there, a 6/6.
It’s also worth noting that lands are normally affected by summoning sickness when they become creatures. So if we play a land and then resolve Natural Affinity, that just-played land will be a 2/2 creature land that has summoning sickness and, therefore, can’t be tapped for mana or attack. That means it’s a great choice to tap when casting the Natural Affinity in the first place (since we can gain value from it before it becomes affected by summoning sickness). That land is also a great choice for awakening—part of awakening a land is giving it haste, so our just-played land won’t have to deal with that drawback anymore, and we won’t have to track it separately from our other lands anymore.
Farseek — This will let us search up more lands to ramp until we have the requisite number of lands for our combo. This combines nicely both with the shock lands and with the new Battle for Zendikar dual lands, such as Canopy Vista.
Selesnya Evangel — With Intruder Alarm, Selesnya Evangel can go infinite with any creature land (such as an awakened one or one affected by Natural Affinity) and any other creature (land or otherwise). Tap the creature land and the Evangel to make a Saproling, which untaps the creature land and Evangel from our broken Stronghold enchantment.
Hunting Wilds — This can be used like a doubled Farseek (a.k.a. Explosive Vegetation) to ramp us, but it can also find our Dryad Arbor, an already-awakened land, which makes it even better with Selesnya Evangel. Finally, if we’re able to cast it with the kicker cost, we can search up two lands that will already be 3/3 creatures with haste. That means we can use them right away without awakening them, and since they enter the battlefield as creatures, we can untap all our creatures twice. So a nice sequence might be to cast Nature's Revolt, play some creature to untap our lands, and then cast a kicked Hunting Wilds to untap all our lands twice, floating mana in between resolutions. That’s overkill if we’re already able to go infinite, but otherwise, we’ll be making a lot of extra mana we can use for things like casting awakened Coastal Discoveries and Planar Outbursts.
Coastal Discovery — Like Sheer Drop, this is an awaken spell that doesn’t really power our combo. It can help us find the pieces we need as an expensive Divination, it can awaken something when we need it to, and we can return it when necessary with Halimar Tidecaller.
Planar Outburst — Our final awaken spell, this one can actually help us combo. When we have eight or so infinitely large flying creatures, one of our limitations to immediately ending the game will be opposing blockers, such as swarms of Birds, Thopters, or Pegasus tokens or an opposing Platinum Angel. Since all the creatures we care about will be our lands, we can use Planar Outburst to clear away potential blockers from our opponents. Of course, we can also use the Outburst to buy time in the midgame and then return it to our hand on our winning turn with the Tidecaller.
Awakened Intruders ? Casual | Andrew Wilson
- Spells (29)
- 4 Natural Affinity
- 2 Planar Outburst
- 3 Coastal Discovery
- 4 Clutch of Currents
- 4 Farseek
- 4 Hunting Wilds
- 4 Sheer Drop
- 4 Intruder Alarm
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