Greetings from the casual world. Today I share yet another casual deck idea that has my playgroup hopping mad. You will see the deck’s underlying theory, the combo itself, and a general walkthrough of how to play it.
Why is Magic the greatest game ever? Because it has something for everyone? Economics? Politics? Creativity? Diplomacy? Infinitetude? One-ness with the Great Spirit?
While some of us will not find our religious salvation through Magic, it does stimulate our minds and sharpens our intellect. There’s elegant balance in the game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. In Magic the analogy applies to the Aggro, Control, and Combo archetypes. Except in Magic, we have hybrid categorizes like Rocksors and Scisspap.
There is a problem, however. In a recent experiment by R&D, Mirrodin, with its high power level and deliberate emphasis on Type I, was released and subjected to an Extended season. After some eye-opening performances by the pros, R&D sought to fix the problems they had created.
The truth of the matter is: Paper beats Rock AND Scissors if the environment is fast enough. If fast mana, tutors and combo pieces can outrace control’s disruption and aggro’s clock, then Paper is the only strategy. In the most extreme case, Magic games last only one turn maximum.
Welcome to the most extreme case.
The Forever Combo Deck relies on three of the best mechanics in Magic: fast mana, card drawing, and discard. While some players believe Black Lotus, Contract from Below, and Mind Twist top these categories, I offer you three different candidates.
Here are the three cards from Unglued that allow you to win every game on your 1st turn: Double Play, Double Take, and Double Cross.
Double Play 3GG
Choose another player. Search your library for a basic land and put that land into play. At the beginning of the next game with that player, search your library for an additional basic land and put that land into play. In both cases, shuffle your library afterwards.
Double Take 3UU
Choose another player. Draw two cards now and draw an additional two cards at the beginning of the next game with that player.
Double Cross 3BB
Choose another player. Look at that player’s hand and choose one of those cards other than a basic land. He or she discards that card. At the beginning of the next game with the player, look at the player’s hand and choose one of those cards other than a basic land. He or she discards that card.
These three cards will provide you free fast mana, free card drawing, and free discard at the beginning of the next game. When I say “free”, I mean at the cost of no cards, mana, or life. From the next game’s viewpoint, this is incredibly broken (the Pokemon card “Bill” parallels this “something for nothing” power level).
The ultimate goal of the Forever Combo Deck is to:
· Resolve 100 Double Plays against your opponent.
· Resolve 2 Double Takes against your opponent.
· Resolve 7 Double Crosses against your opponent.
This is called the Setup. It will provide you with an unbeatable board position next game.
How you accomplish this is mostly left as an exercise for you, though any infinite combo with a little tutoring will do; feel free to experiment. Here’s a deck I play that works, though the infinite combo is just there as a fun possibility:
3 Sunscape Familiar
2 Questing Phelddagrif
1 Sliver Queen
4 Rampant Growth
4 Wordly Counsel
2 Quiet Speculation
2 Deep Analysis
3 Grizzly Fate
3 Ordered Migration
1 Sliver Queen
1 Mirari’s Wake
1 Living Wish
2 Cunning Wish
2 Burning Wish
2 Holistic Wisdom
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Nantuko Monastary
*Note – This deck has to Burning Wish for Double Play and Double Cross while using Cunning Wish for Double Take, if it isn’t obvious.
I feel now is a good time to explain how the Wishes interact with Mirari. Many of you already know how this works (so skim down), but since the above deck as well as the Forever Combo Deck that follows uses the Mirari+Wishes combo, I feel obligated to explain it in detail.
You can infinitely combo with Mirari, Burning Wish or Cunning Wish, and lots of mana. You have infinite card drawing and infinite tutoring and because the red and blue Wishes can fetch themselves.
Now, Mirari+Burning/Cunning Wish is not just infinite card drawing; it’s card drawing to a higher degree of infinity. Let me explain.
In most cases when you 'go off' and draw infinite cards, you are limited to the cards in your deck, though you can play these cards over and over again. When you draw infinite cards with Mirari+Burning/Cunning Wish, you are limited by the cards in your collection. It's the equivalent of dumping your 5000+ commons box on the table and "swinging with everything." Personally, I've only threatened to do this to my foes - my commons box is alphabetized, but I imagine it would be sheer bliss.
Here are some quick explanations of the craziness that can go on when Mirari runs wild on Wishes.
To put any sorcery you own from outside the game into your hand (in this example, we are recurring spells from our graveyard):
· Using 4R - Play Burning Wish and 'mirari' it. You can search for two Sorceries you own outside the game. Fetch a Restock and a replacement Burning Wish.
· Using 3GG – Play Restock on your two favorite cards in your graveyard.
Restock is nice because it removes itself from the game so Burning Wish can fetch it again. Yawgmoth’s Will and Holistic Wisdom can also facilitate removing your spells from the game, especially if you only own a single copy of a quirky and fun spell that you wish to recur. An even more convoluted way of doing things is imprinting several Spellweaver Helixes.
You can also easily Burning Wish into Time Stretch for infinite turns which makes lots of tricks easier. You may need a Words of Worship or similar to prevent decking yourself.
To put any instant you own from outside the game into your hand (in this example, we need more mana):
· Using 5U - Play Cunning Wish and 'mirari' it. You can search for two Instants you own outside the game. Fetch an Early Harvest and a replacement Cunning Wish.
· Using 1GG - Play Early Harvest. This untaps all your basic lands.
If you want to put an artifact or enchantment card you own from outside the game into your hand...
· Using 4R - Play Burning Wish and 'mirari' it, fetching a Golden Wish and a Burning Wish.
· Using 3WW - Play (and optionally pay 3 and 'mirari' it) to fetch an artifact or enchantment card you own from outside the game.
If you want to put a creature or land card you own from outside the game into your hand...
· Using 4R - Play Burning Wish and 'mirari' it, fetching a Living Wish and a Burning Wish.
· Using 1G - Play (and optionally pay 3 and 'mirari' it) Living Wish to fetch a creature or land card you own from outside the game.
From some combination of the above, we can resolve Double Play 100 times, resolve Double Take 2 times, and resolve Double Cross 7 times. There are plenty of other ways to do this besides the way I’ve shown you. However you go about doing it, you will need to perform The Setup by any means necessary.
Why does The Setup require you to Double Take 2 times? It can be modified, but 2 Double Takes will give you 4 extra cards next game. These 4 extra cards will form your ‘god-hand’ as it’s called. I chose 100 Double Plays because it’s a nice round number. The 7 Double Crosses will destroy your opponent’s opening 7-card hand.
Now we are ready to unveil our secret weapon:
The Forever Combo Deck
1 Burning Wish
1 Cunning Wish
100 Assorted Basic Lands
This is our 100% First Turn Kill Combo Deck. Our god-hand is Mirari, Burning Wish, Cunning Wish. We have 100 basic lands for mana. Our strategy is as follows:
1. At the beginning of the game (after the die roll and the mulligans), your 100 Double Play, 2 Double Take, and 7 Double Cross triggers go on the stack (they will resolve almost immediately during the next upkeep).
2. Stack your Takes first, then your Plays, then your Crosses.
3. Resolve 7 Double Cross triggers, destroying your opponent’s hand.
4. Resolve 100 Double Play triggers to get most of your basic land on the table. If you are playing first, leave exactly 4 cards in your library. If you are drawing first, leave exactly 5 cards in your library or you will deck yourself.
5. Resolve your 2 Double Take triggers, drawing 4 cards. You now have an 11-card hand consisting of Mirari, Burning Wish, Cunning Wish, and 8 random basic land.
6. If you are drawing first, your opponent will most likely drop a basic land and be done. Draw the 5th and final card of your library.
7. Drop Mirari and perform The Setup.
8. Once completing The Setup, perform The Kill.
*You will need a card drawing replacement effect, like Words of Worship, to prevent decking yourself with Double Take during The Setup. You could simply add a Words of Worship to the Forever Combo Deck as the 4th card in your god-hand.
You can be very creative in how you kill your opponent. While most players might choose some kind of infinite damage source, there are plenty of other ways to win.
· Swing with Swamp Mosquito and infinitely recur Seize the Day.
· Drop Chance Encounter and infinitely recur Squee’s Revenge, choosing a very high number. This is very useful for putting tick marks on your Chance Encounters to track your wins with terrible cards, as I do.
· By extension, setup a win with Test of Endurance, Epic Struggle, Mortal Combat, Celestial Convergence, or Battle of Wits.
· Infinitely activate Soldier of Fortune (with an effect like Rootwater Mystic as backup so you aren't technically stalling). This works best against Power 10 and 5 Color players.
· Infinitely recur Ashnod's Coupon. Try to choose a very small glass and a water fountain that is very far away. Since the drink is targeted, you can choose a specific water fountain several buildings away. Magic players are extremely lazy when it comes to Unglued cards.
· Activate Mindslaver targeting an opponent. Donate a Mesa Chicken to that opponent. 'Mindslave' your opponent to stand up and cluck like a chicken. Again and again and again. Be sure to give pointers on pitch, tone, and wing-beating frequency.
If you perform The Setup and The Kill in tandem, you will defeat your opponent every game on turn 1. If you picked a really dense opponent or an innocent child, you may even get to walk your deck through several game wins before your opponent gets royally peeved and walks away since you insist on being an ass.
In theory, you can achieve a 100% win percentage even counting your initial loses before your first Setup. Let C be the number of games you lose before the Setup and N be the number of games you win after the Setup. Your win percentage can be calculated as follows:
N / N + C = .999… as N increases to infinity and C is a constant.
1/3 = .333…
2/3 = .666…
.333… + .666… = .999…
1/3 + 2/3 = 3/3
3/3 = 1.0
.999… = 1.0
Now that you have defeated one opponent for the rest of time, the next logical step is to increase the boundaries of your dictatorship. While you can best other individual players one at a time, I've found it's easier to get them all at once: multiplayer. If one of your previous victims enters a multiplayer game, shuffle up and join in. Once the mulliganing is over, kindly explain your free lands and cards thanks your previous pummeling of little Timmy, then unkindly combo everyone out. Once all the local yokels are under your control, make travel arrangements to expand your empire.
But alas, there is a flaw in this master plan. A flaw?! Yes, a flaw! The Achilles's heel, the Waterloo, the one way your opponent can wreck this deck: the concession. If your opponent concedes the game before you get to your Double shenanigans, you stumble out of your streak of infinite wins. No more 100 free lands, no more perfect opening hand, no more world domination, no more becoming King Geek of all Nerdom. You are thwarted.
You’ll find that most people will not take the clever way out; they will simply refuse to play with you. It is difficult to convince even some casual players to honor Unglued cards. This is understandable - Unglued cards are not tournament legal and there are some incredibly broken cards and mechanics in the set, as you hopefully see. For example, the best Multiplayer creature is Unglued's Deadhead, a black Hill Giant that comes right back into play from the graveyard if an opponent drops her hand of cards on the table. Deadhead is a fierce political tool combined with cards like Goblin Bombardment. You only need cooperation from a single opponent and the rest of the table dies at your whim. I've never had Deadhead stay dead for even a full turn in 4+ player Free-For-Alls. As I've said before, Magic players are very lazy, especially if they have to hold their hands while fetching a drink, shuffling, and clucking like a chicken.
Even so, I wish more players would embrace the spirit of Unglued. In the future I hope more Unglued concepts see print; unfortunately they will certainly not involve physical dexterity. 'Tis a pity. I would greatly enjoy seeing players in tournaments arm-wrestle for damage and draw cards by doing backflips.
So here ends the story of the little deck that could have almost destroyed the entire game of Magic.
Kenneth E. Nagle
Casual Green Mage Extraordinaire