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The Winning Combination
By Eric Turgeon
As much as I love trying to neuter powerful combo decks in huge free-for-alls, thereís no denying how much fun they can be. I think combos, even the simple ones, are a big part of the reason why so many of us love playing this game so much. Simple card interactions and basic synergies can add up to huge effects. Itís fun to think about.

The other day, I was thinking about how cool it would be to create a 36-card combo. Finding 36 unique and essential parts of a combo and putting them into a deck means that the rest of the deck builds itself, right? Of course, it would never work in a real game situation, but who cares? Unfortunately, Iím not that creative and much too lazy to go about finding all the right cards to pull it off. But maybe someone else is. So Iíve decided to make this a contest - an actual, serious, no-kidding contest with prizes that people might actually want.

So hereís the deal: I want to find out the craziest, most complex combo available in the world of Magic. I also want to try and boost the activity here at the CPA, so this is going to be a combo contest and a writing contest. The first thing you need to do is try and find the most complex combo possible, where each card in the combo has a unique role in pulling off the combo. Iíll give you an example.

When Ravnica came out, I got really excited about the possibility of Coalhauler Swine + Pariahís Shield. This is a two-card combo that will deal a bunch of damage to each player until the swine dies. To make this a much more powerful effect, throw Shield of Kaldra into the mix. Now, your indestructible swine will deal infinite damage to all of the other players in the game. Itís a three-card combo with a much more powerful effect. I can increase it to four cards by adding something like Shock to serve as a catalyst. And thatís where the combo ends: I have a four-card, infinite damage combo. But letís say I want to continue to increase the complexity of this combo, so I throw in a card like Fork. This actually doesnít count since it doesnít really add anything to the combo. I can remove the Fork and the combo still works. An acceptable addition might be more along the lines of replacing the Shock with an Ember-Fist Zubera and a Dredge. Now I have a five-card infinite-damage combo that uniquely relies on each card involved.

And thatís how you come up with your combo. The next part is writing about it. Describe the purpose or the effect or the thought process of the combo in an interesting and engaging manner. Write it like an article that would get submitted to the front page. It can be funny, but it doesnít have to be as long as itís well-written. Also, make it at least 1000 words, since that sounds like a good arbitrary number that isnít too hard to reach, especially when trying to describe the craziest combo in Magic. Hell, this article is about 1200 words and I wrote it in about an hour.

Additionally, you donít have to submit a decklist in the article. You can if you want to, but itís not important. I have a feeling that some of the best combos are going to span all five colors of Magic and thereís no sense in trying to fit the mana requirements. Plus, I think we all know what combo decks look like:
~10 Combo pieces
~12 Cards to search for them
~14 Cards to control the game until the combo is in place
~24 Lands
There, I just submitted your decklist for you. If you still feel inclined to throw one in, then go ahead, but I want to stress that itís not a requirement.

Now, I am aware that a lot of people donít enter contests unless there are some decent prizes at stake and I can respect that. So for the first prize winner, I am going to offer one of the following cards from my collection:

Cranial Extraction
Exalted Angel
Blinkmoth Nexus
Goblin Sharpshooter
Extraplanar Lens (Foil)
Furnace of Rath (Foil)
Scalpelexis (Foil)
Pulse of the Forge (Foil)
Silent Specter (Foil)

The winner will get to pick which one they want. So all you have to do is spend some time coming up with a combo and providing a little write-up and the card is yours. Itís as simple as that. If this generates more interest than Iím expecting, I may award additional prizes. Weíll see.

Finally, some submission guidelines: Submit all articles to ME, not the CPA. My email is at the top of this article. You can send your article in either Word format or in the content of the email. The reason I want the articles sent to me is because Iím greedy and egotistical and I want to steal your work and claim it as my own. Not really. Actually, the reason is that Iím trying raise as much interest as possible in this contest. So if you submit your idea in the first week and have the craziest combo and a great article, other readers may be discouraged from entering after reading it. Or they may copy the combo, add a few more pieces and then submit their own, better article. And you donít want that, now do you? So, again, email your submissions to ME! Any articles posted on the front page wonít be considered contest entries.

Just to keep things organized, Iím going to set a deadline on the contest. How about the end of March? Sounds good to me. I think a month is plenty of time to come up with a combo and write about it. Iíll be using this as a pretty loose guideline, though, so feel free to submit after March 31st. Iíll just use that as the day that I start reviewing and judging the entries. The official end will happen once I post the winning combo article Ė probably a week or two after the deadline, depending on how many entries there are. Iíll also post any entries that I think are worthy of being posted.

In the event that youíve decided to skip over the previous nine paragraphs, hereís a summary of the contest I am sponsoring:

Theme: The craziest, most complex combo you can devise
Judging Criteria
-Complexity of the combo
-Power of the combo
-Originality of the combo
-Writing style

Guidelines:
-Minimum of 1000 words
-Submit to me by email by March 31st
-Each combo piece must be necessary for the success of the combo

Prizes:
-1st Prize Ė Your choice of one card out of the nine listed above
-Additional Prizes Ė awarded at my discretion

Have fun and good luck!

Read More Articles by Eric Turgeon!

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