This article was originally written for the "Type Fun" blog operated by CPA members Oversoul
and Al0ysiusHWWW. All such articles archived here were written by one or both of those individuals.
One of the most comprehensive posts I've written here so far dealt with Academy Rector. Yesterday, I discovered that I left something big out, because a card from the Morningtide expansion has dramatically changed the potential of Academy Rector and Pattern of Rebirth. That card is Reveillark.
Sometimes a card is printed that has some property making it perfect for infinite combos. It becomes a casual favorite and often sees use in tournaments if it's efficient. An early example was Enduring Renewal, sometimes known as "the mother of all infinite combos," which could repeatedly recur a free creature to provide any amount of sacrifice fodder for any of several cards with activated abilities requiring a creature sacrifice. The centerpiece of one of my longest-lived decks was Sliver Queen, which allowed for the easy generation of massive armies of sliver tokens. There's also Aluren, Palinchron, Earthcraft, Aggravated Assault, etc. And now, there's Reveillark.
It's not at all obvious at first, but the key is that when Reveillark dies, you can grab something that comes into play as a copy of it. Body Double is the best choice, but off the top of my head, Volrath's Shapeshifter would also work (and Clone would work if Reveillark was in play instead of the graveyard). The copy can be sacrificed, go to the graveyard, and then have its copied Reveillark ability target itself, coming back into play repeatedly. But it's even better than that. Any other creature small enough for Reveillark to bring it back can also hop on for the ride. This allows for myriad infinite combos, but the most cut-throat is to use Mogg Fanatic and damage the opponent each time you bring it back (although replacing Fanatic with something else could give you a life-gaining or card-drawing loop or practically anything else you wanted to do).
And I've found that there are now at least two ways to abuse such a Reveillark loop with Pattern of Rebirth. These combos require some chaff in the library, but all you need to start with is something that you can sacrifice creatures to, like Phyrexian Ghoul (although for this purpose, it's not the best and I'd probably go with Carrion Feeder), as well as any creature and Pattern of Rebirth enchanting that creature. Recall that if you don't have Pattern of Rebirth in play, you can easily sacrifice Academy Rector to get Pattern of Rebirth, so this works with either of those cards. From here, if you aren't disrupted, you win.
The first method is to create a combo reminiscent of the one used in Vintage before Flash was restricted. Use Pattern of Rebirth to search your library for Protean Hulk and put it into play, then sacrifice it. This triggers Protean Hulk's ability, which you'll use to search your library for Body Double and put it into play. Sacrifice Body Double, which is a copy of Protean Hulk, and use the ability to search your library for Reveillark and Mogg Fanatic, putting both into play. Then you have everything you need for the loop I described. Sacrifice Mogg Fanatic for 1 damage to your opponent, sacrifice Body Double to your sacrifice outlet, use its copied Reveillark ability to bring itself and Mogg Fanatic both back into play, then repeat until your opponent is dead (or until all of your opponents are dead, as this works just as well in multiplayer).
The second method ultimately exploits the same loop, but starts it differently. Instead of using Pattern of Rebirth to search for Protean Hulk, instead use it to get Iridescent Drake (one of my favorite creatures). Use Iridescent Drake's ability to get Pattern of Rebirth back enchanting it, then sacrifice the Drake and use Pattern of Rebirth to find Reveillark and put it into play. Sacrifice Reveillark to bring Iridescent Drake back into play and use the Drake's ability to get Pattern of Rebirth again. Sacrifice the Drake and use Pattern of Rebirth to find Body Double, copying Reveillark. Here's where this method gets really cool. At this time, you can simply use the Body Double's copied Reveillark ability to bring itself and Iridescent Drake both back, using the Drake to bring back Pattern of Rebirth again to get Mogg Fanatic and do the infinite damage loop just like with the first method. But at any point, instead of recurring Mogg Fanatic, you could get the Drake and Pattern of Rebirth instead. So you can put any and every creature from your library into play. For most practical purposes, you'll just use the Fanatic to win, but there really are a lot of possibilities with this.
I'm tempted to say that this makes the old toolbox version of Pattern-Rector obsolete. But I've yet to see an actual deck built around this concept, so it's not yet clear if that's the case. Academy Rector might not even be necessary here, although it seems like it would be a perfectly good card to use. If you do want to take a shot at building this deck, keep in mind that Hulk Flash decks found it worthwhile to run a Body Snatcher. That way if either Reveillark or Body Double is in your hand instead of your library, you can instead put Body Snatcher into play, discard the combo component, and kill Body Snatcher to put the combo component into play. Good luck.