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The Degenerate's Combo Guide to Amonkhet


I'll never forget the first time I picked up a combo deck. It was in a baseball card shop in Rutland Vermont. I’d just started playing Magic, but the local crowd were long-time players, so Extended and Legacy were the formats of choice. I didn't have many cards for those formats, so my Magic mentor (of sorts), Chris Ringquist, loaned me one of his decks. It was a br deck, that was full of burn spells like Lightning Bolt and the like. It also had these two cards:

That night, I only remember one turn. It was the turn that I Lightning Bolted my opponent, and then started the terrifying walk toward comboing out. I pumped the Wall of Blood. My opponent nodded. “Pump it again?” Another nod. After we did this dance for a while, I stopped with two life points left. I could feel the fear in throat, I swallowed it — there was no going back now. "Fling?" I said tentatively. My opponent paused, then shook his head, and scooped up his cards. VICTORY!

Since that day, I've never met a combo deck I didn't like. There's something exhilarating about putting your eggs in one basket, then throwing the basket off a cliff and seeing if those eggs hold together. Today we're going to talk about many of the combos in the new set Amonkhet, and how you can exploit them to gain sweet victory, like I did with that Wall of Blood so many years ago.


I tried to pick combos that can be repeated "infinitely", instead of merely synergistic card combinations (with one exception). Keep in mind, that technically you have to pick a number, you can’t say infinity in a game — so when I say infinite, I mean an arbitrarily large number. All combos include cards from Amonkhet as part of the core combo engine. These combos will span different formats and as with all combos in game with variance (like Magic) your mileage may vary. Let's dig in!

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons + Blowfly Infestation

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons
Blowfly Infestation

Result: Infinite death triggers.

Key Rules Text:

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons — Whenever you put one or more -1/-1 counters on a creature, create a 1/1 Green Snake creature token with deathtouch.

Blowfly Infestation — Whenever a creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, if it had a -1/-1 counter on it, put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.

Setup and Execution:

You need to have the following in play to get this engine started: Hapatra, Blowfly Infestation, and any two creatures with 1 toughness (this can be opponent’s creatures). Then either deal combat damage, with Hapatra, or use something like a Contagion Clasp to kill one of the X/1 creatures.

The placement of the -1/-1 counter on the one-toughness creature will trigger Hapatra to make a 1/1 snake. Then the death of the one-toughness creature will trigger Blowfly Infestation, which will allow you to target the other X/1 creature with the ability from Blowfly Infestation. You can continue this loop to your heart's content, and you now have infinite death triggers! Maybe that doesn’t sound exciting, but let's see what you can do with infinite death trigger.

Blood Artist
Nest of Scarabs
Bitter Ordeal

Blood Artist — Infinite Damage.

Nest of Scarabs — Infinite Creatures.

Bitter Ordeal — Remove as many libraries from the game as you want (*cough* Commander*cough*).

Now that's exciting! Keep in mind, these are only a few of your options, feel free to dig up your own options! All right let's look at another infinite combo.

Vizier of Remedies + Devoted Druid

Vizier of Remedies
Devoted Druid

Result: Infinite Green Mana

Key Rules Text:

Devoted Druid — Put a -1/-1 counter on Devoted Druid: Untap Devoted Druid.

Vizier of Remedies — If one or more -1/-1 counters would be put on a creature you control, that many -1/-1 counters minus one are put on it instead.

Setup and Execution:

This combo requires a non-summoning sick Devoted Druid, and a Vizier of Remedies in play. This can easily be setup with a Collected Company at the end of turn. If you want you be sure not to miss, you could always Congregation at Dawn before casting Collected Company. Once the setup is complete, you simply tap Devoted Druid for mana, then use its ability to put a -1/-1 counter on it and untap it. This trigger's Vizier of Remedies ability and you can neglect to put a -1/-1 counter on the Druid, allowing you to repeat this any number of times for infinite Green mana!

What can you do with all the Green mana? Well since you're also in White, you could White Sun's Zenith for a million cats, actually make it two million. Or maybe we shouldn't be so fancy, Genesis Wave your deck into play seems fine, especially if you run a couple of Craterhoof Behemoth's and a bunch of dorks. We could even add a Temur Sabertooth to the mix, then cast an Acidic Slime over, and over again. Ok, ok, I'll stop we have an entire article to write so let’s keep moving.

Oracle's Vault + Mana Severance + Paradox Engine

Oracle's Vault
Mana Severance
Paradox Engine

Result: Cast your entire library in one turn.

Key Rules Text:

Oracle's Vault — Tap: Exile the top card of your library. Until end of turn, you may play that card without paying its mana cost. Activate this ability only if there are three or more brick counters on Oracle's Vault.

Mana Severance — Search your library for any number of land cards and exile them. Then shuffle your library.

Paradox Engine — Whenever you cast a spell, untap all nonland permanents you control.

Setup and Execution:

You need to start with three "brick counters" on Oracle's Vault. You can do this the hard way — by activating it three times, or cheat it with things like Proliferate. Once you have three brick counters, it’s time to party! Cast Paradox Engine, then Mana Severance. Mana Severance will remove all the lands from your deck. Then simply tap the Vault, play a spell, untap the Vault (due to Paradox Engine’s Triggered ability) play the next spell. Continue this engine until you play a game ending spell.

This could be Tendrils of Agony, or a combination of Sunder and Blightsteel Colossus. The possibilities are endless! You do have to be careful with draw spells though, because you could in advertently draw your kill cards, or fizzle your engine. This is why it might be best to make sure that all your draw spells target a player. Then you can force an opponent to draw, which of course, carries its own dangers, but the key is to keep casting spells so that you can keep untapping. It may not be a bad idea to have a Reminisce and a Memory's Journey in the deck to loop your deck a couple of times if needed. Why you would ever need to do that is beyond me, but hey I’m not going to judge.

Shadow of the Grave + Seismic Assault (or Borborygmos Enraged)

Shadow of the Grave
Seismic Assault
Borborygmos Enraged

Result: Damage. A lot of it! Not infinite, but probably enough.

Key Rules Text:

Seismic Assault — Discard a land card: Seismic Assault deals 2 damage to target creature or player.

Shadow of the Grave — Return to your hand all cards in your graveyard that you cycled or discarded this turn.

Setup and Execution:

This combo is not “infinite” but it can do enough damage to win the game. I have a five-color 67-land Commander deck that wins with Seismic Assault, or Borborygmos Enraged. This card would be a great addition to the deck, especially with Mirrorpool shenanigan. Anyways I digress, this combo doesn’t take a lot to set up. You just need a hand full of lands, Shadow of the Grave (with enough mana to cast it), and a Seismic Assault in play. As I alluded to above, you can also use Borborygmos Enraged instead of Seismic Assault.

I also want to note that the card Shadow of the Grave has that peculiar quality of breakability. You can check out how Frank Karsten uses it in his article (linked below), and I can’t wait to see how other people end up using it.

Necrotic Ooze + Devoted Druid + Channeler Initiate

Necrotic Ooze
Devoted Druid
Channeler Initiate

Result: Infinite Mana (of any color).

Key Rules Text:

Necrotic Ooze — As long as Necrotic Ooze is on the battlefield, it has all activated abilities of all creature cards in all graveyards.

Devoted Druid — Put a -1/-1 counter on Devoted Druid: Untap Devoted Druid.

Channeler Initiate — Remove a -1/-1 counter from Channeler Initiate: Add 1 mana of any color to your mana pool.

Setup and Execution:

To set this combo up, you need a non-summoning sick Necrotic Ooze in play along with a Channeler Initiate, and a Devoted Druid in your graveyard. I like this combo because it’s a graveyard combo, which means that you can set it up by milling yourself, or simply casting Buried Alive. Once you have the combo setup, you can tap the Necrotic Ooze for a Green mana, then untap it by adding a -1/-1 counter to it, then tap it to make any color of mana that you like, removing the counter. This will give you infinite mana to do what you wish with. If you like living on the edge, you can cast Helix Pinnacle and hope for your upkeep to come around with it in play. You can also choose not to remove the counter and tap it for another Green mana. This could be useful in some situations.

For example, if you have a Quillspike in play (and ready to attack) you might want to use Quillspike’s ability with the floating Green mana, to remove the counter from the Necrotic Ooze — making the Quillspike a 4/4. You can repeat this process until Quillspike is abnormally large, then you can attack for the win. Or just Fling it at your opponent’s face. Imagine that, the same 2 mana instant that introduced me to Magic combos so many years ago, is back in Standard.

Ravenous Intruder + Fling

Result: Sweet Victory.

Key Rules Text:

Ravenous Intruder — Sacrifice an artifact: Ravenous Intruder gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

FlingFling deals damage equal to the sacrificed creature's power to target creature or player.

Setup and Execution:

This combo is in Standard (as well as other formats). The trick is to have enough artifacts to sacrifice to Ravenous Intruder for the win. Without any help, you need ten artifacts. You can reduce that number to five, if you’re able to cast Insult before you Fling. Ordering can be important here, you’ll want to cast Insult, then your Ravenous Intruder with your artifact food already on the table, this will give you better game against a removal spell. Sounds juicy, but there’s still one question left: What artifacts are we going to use for food?

In Standard there are a number of artifacts that you can cast the fair way, but this is a “GO BIG” combo article, so let’s GO BIG. If you're not dead to a single Negate, you're doing it wrong! Step one for the go-big plan is to fill your graveyard with lands. This could be done with a combination of cycle lands, Evolving Wilds, and even cards like Cathartic Reunion. After your graveyard has the requisite number of lands, cast Tireless Tracker, followed by a Splendid Reclamation. This should give you a pile of Clue Tokens, also known as Intruder food. To finish the combo, cast Ravenous Intruder, sacrifice your clue tokens, and Fling the Intruder to victory!

New Perspectives+ Esper Sojourners + Mind Over Matter + Skeleton Shard

New Perspectives
Esper Sojourners

Mind Over Matter
Skeleton Shard
Dimir Aqueduct

Result: Everything, and the Kitchen sink! Draw your entire deck (many times), Infinite; Mana, Cycle Triggers, Damage, and Creatures!

Esper Sojourners — When you cycle Esper Sojourners or it dies, you may tap or untap target permanent.

New Perspectives — As long as you have seven or more cards in hand, you may pay 0 rather than pay cycling costs.

Skeleton Shard — Return target artifact creature card from your graveyard to your hand.

Mind Over Matter — Discard a card: You may tap or untap target artifact, creature, or land.

Setup and Execution:

Since this is the final combo for today, I decided to go really deep. To set this up, you need the following things; a seven-card hand (one of those cards should be Esper Sojourners), and the following card in play: New Perspectives, Mind Over Matter, Skeleton Shard, and one Karoo land (that can generate Black mana). Since New Perspectives makes Cycling free, it allows you to Cycle Esper Sojourners untaping your Karoo land to net mana. To get Esper Sojourners back from the graveyard, you can tap Skeleton Shard (using a Black mana from the Karoo land). You can repeat this process as much as you want, using Mind Over Matter to discard a card and untap Skeleton Shard. I know, I know, it's snowing right now in Magical Christmas Land, but is this really as hard to set up as it looks? I propose, not, because of these cards.

Open the Vaults
Boseiju, Who Shelters All

Open the Vaults can bring this entire combo from your graveyard into play! It's true that you need Esper Sojourners in your hand to combo, but you can always make sure you have an Aether Spellbomb in the graveyard before you Open the Vaults. This will give you the ability to bounce the Esper Sojournersback to your hand — Crystal Shard can do the same thing. The benefit of setting up with Open the Vaults is that you can use Boseiju, Who Shelters All to ensure that no counterspells spoil your fun.

After your engine is in place, that's when the fun begins. As it stands, you can draw your deck and make tons of mana. Keep in mind, to make infinite mana, you need to have a way to shuffle your graveyard back into your deck. An Eldrazi with the shuffle clause works well for this purpose, because you can discard it to the Mind Over Matter to uptap Skeleton Shard, and shuffle your graveyard into your deck. We've talked about many ways to end the game with Infinite mana, but I think these enchantments are some of the coolest ways to do it with this combo.

Lightning Rift
Faith of the Devoted
Drake Haven

Lightning Rift — This deals infinite damage.

Faith of the Devoted — This drains the whole table.

Drake Haven — This makes A LOT of drakes. If you combine this with Time Warp you can claim victory with your fleet of drakes.

Wrapping It Up (and Embalming It)

I hope you all enjoyed this look at some crazy Amonkhet combos! Do me a favor and post in the comments if you have a sweet combo that wasn’t covered here, or if you can improve on the ones that I wrote about. Before I leave, I wanted to point you to two other article that feature Amonkhet Combos in Standard. I purposely didn’t talk about these combos since they are nicely covered in the articles below. Give them a read!

Frank KarstenFeaturing Three Amonkhet Combos in Standard

Saffron Olive — Featuring the Shadow of the Grave Discard Combo in Standard.

Thanks for reading, and may all your combos go infinite. <3

Jonathan Medina


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