Want a combo in Legacy Silver Black that is cheap, powerful, and easy to put together? Look no further. This edition of Ben Brews is aiming to take Legacy Silver Black by storm with this classic combo.
Or as I also like to call it, "Do you like Eldrazi?".
By Benjamin Rude (Cageofpancakes)
Here is a little backstory before we get into the crux of this article. I just recently came to PureMTGO and with my coming I made a very interesting discovery. That being the fringe format Silver Black. I have been a big fan of pauper since coming to MTGO. With having recently settled on Affinity as my deck of choice (for the time being). Silver Black got my creative juices flowing due to its increased and diverse pool, so I began thinking of decks that work within such format. My first idea did not pan out with trying to recreate crystal rats (Chittering Rats Crystal Shard), but while brewing that creation someone made an off hand suggestion that led to one of my better brews.
"You know that the Cephalid Breakfast combo is essentially commons & uncommons right?"
I knew of the combo, but had never really looked at full lists. Imagine my displeasure when I found all of the same turn win conditions involved using a rare. The silver lining to this is that the engine that cranks out this combo is all intact, it just lacked the ability to win. You cannot just dread return any creature and expect to win, not in a format that includes most of the removal ever printed in Magic's history. An impact has to be made and you either need to win that turn, or put serious pressure on your opponent that they cannot overcome. The first solution I had was the best and most likely draws the most groans from the crowd, Eldrazi. Combined with Dragon Breath this allows you to apply massive damage, destroy a chunk of their board, and best of all put them on a fast clock. All the while making your opponent curse the gods for the creation of such beastly creatures.
Even with one problem solved, one still remained. I wanted more. I wanted to kill my opponent the same turn I combo, and take away their chance of drawing a potential answer. For about two days I struggled with that answer until I was browsing through every card in the format (That is how I brew). I posed a question to my chat. What allows me to shuffle my graveyard into my library on turns when I would like to combo off, without disrupting said combo, or requiring a mana sink? A viewer Spazywakjob came through and gave me the answer to the puzzle.
Now quest is a very unassuming card, however it grants us a second combo cycle netting us a second Eldrazi and the ability to hit for lethal. Keep in mind this is in a format of only commons and uncommons. The ability to do this is very very relevant. Also, adding in Quest does not hinder the deck as you still do not need it to combo off. Having Quest is the bonus of taking away uncertainty which is always welcome.
How it works:
Shuko vs Nomads:
Some decks do not run both, but since this is Silver Black I do, because this deck lacks the polish and the power its big brother has. It also makes it a bit easier for us to combo off. Here are the ups and downs of both:
Shuko is harder for opponents to interact with, but you equip at sorcery speed and leaves your Illusionist open to removal.
Nomads En-Kor is easier for opponents to interact with, but its ability is instant. So once you start milling, it's very hard for your opponent to stop your combo.
Why Pathrazer and Artisan:
The reason is fairly basic. We needed to figure out the easiest way to hit for twenty. Overall we went with Pathrazer of Ulamog and Artisan of Kozilek. I went with a mix because while I could run two of either, this allowed me to only run with one Dragon Fangs to achieve lethal and gave us a good annihilator count of five. So it was a good mix that achieved balance.
For those who are unfamiliar with the combo or just need a refresher course this is for you.
You will be going off with only two cards quite a bit. This deck is very consistent at just getting two of three cards onto the battlefield. That being Cephalid Illusionist + Shuko or Nomads En-Kor.
So here is the plan. I will not really go over how to get them into play here but what to do after they are in play. Let's say you have this on the field.
At this point, you want to target and equip your Shuko onto your Illusionist, over and over and over and over again. Milling your deck for three each time. Continue doing that until your board looks something like this.
So you now have your Narcomoebas in play. At this point you could go for your last two Narcomoeba, or as depending on your situation you might need to use this little gem.
This is used to get a much needed card from your hand into your graveyard. Or to send out a guess of a possible answer your opponent might have and to then follow up if they have something you need to strip from them.
Once you have figured out your plan of attack, and set all the ground work. It is now time to make your opponent feel the pain of a thousand suns. From your graveyard you are going to flashback:
Sacrifice whatever three creatures you have left, and upon Pathrazer of Ulamog coming into play you will get a few enchantments. That will look something like this.
Some people may ask why Dragon Fang, but for going off with two cards it allows us to put our opponent on a two turn clock. Also if you're not hitting for lethal, Pathrazer is going to be your best choice for dread return. It will destroy one more permanent then Artisan and has better evasion. Generally this will win you the game but you are vulnerable for a turn after you swing, but this combined with good Therapys and you should have the game sealed up.
Additionally, with the basic two card combo it is possible to combo off turn one. It will look something like this in your hand.
It is possible for turn one lethal, but to do that we would need to run Lotus Petal and I have been unsure about that. As I need to either cut more lands which could be problematic, or some of the fuel for the deck. I enjoy the Spirit Guide over petal as it allows for better end of turn plays, such as tutoring and it allows me to not have to give my opponent any information before it is needed.
This is much easier to explain as you only add one card to the mix.
It is that easy. Before starting the combo just make sure that Quest is in play, and after you either have a Pathrazer or an Artisan with Dragon Breath on it, pop the Quest and start cycling through your deck again. The big thing is you must watch your graveyard a bit more and make sure you do manage your cards well to make sure you have what you need for the second cycle.
This should be the final product.
Swing in and reap the rewards.
The Supporting Cast:
Careful Study: Allows us to cycle cards that we need in the graveyard from our hand, while netting us two new cards.
Gitaxian Probe: The ability to not have to fire blind shots at our opponent with Cabal Therapy is amazing. In addition of replacing itself in hand. It also lets us know if it's safe to pull a combo off.
Ponder: Dig, Dig, Dig, Dig, Dig. (Insert DigDug music here)
Trinket Mage: At one point I cut Trinket Mage, but once I added in Vedalken AEthermage it came right back in. The ability to tutor for this is great and will save you many a game. Should be called Shuko Mage.
Simian Spirit Guide: I spoke briefly why I play this over Lotus Petal, and while some disagreed with playing this, the ability to speed up my turns and combo off faster has been great. On top of unlocking the ability to combo off turn one.
Vedalken AEthermage: This guy is a big part of making this combo happen. He is a tutor for our combo. He tutors for both sides Cephalid Illusionist and Trinket Mage which nets us Shuko. Makes the deck run quite a bit smoother.
Craft this depending on your build, and what you perceive is your worst match-ups. I am new to the format and cannot offer my own opinion. If you look at the decklist posted, you can see a basic idea for a sideboard without any knowledge of the format.
Why play this:
While I know almost next to nothing about the Legacy Silver Black metagame, I can tell you this deck is the real deal. Consistent, fast, cheap, and it just puts your opponent in an awkward situation. You can win at almost any time and your opponent never knows if they can tap out or if you have the pieces to end the game. The deck can be hated out like all combo decks, but if you craft your sideboard to deal with problem match-ups you are a force to be reckoned with. Also let's be honest, combo decks are really fun to play and it is even better when you combo off and just destroy your opponent, but you will have to find this out for yourself.
Instant Breakfast in action!
Showing the three card combo in action!
A match against SB Discard. Showing how easy it is to combo off and win.
This deck has been a real treat to create and play. While it was an older archetype, it was still a challenge to port and power it up in Silver Black. This was my first good foray into this design space and I could not be happier. I do not know if I will brew anymore in Legacy. I think when it comes to Silver Black I will need to move onto Modern and Standard. Already in Modern I have a husk of a Shamans deck that has potential, but I have not been able to get my hands on the cards or test it yet to see what I can do with it. Standard I really have no clue what to do with. So with Silver Black it is up in the air. So only time will tell. I will generally brew once an idea is in my head that I can expand on and intrigues me.
A little self promotion:
If you want to contact me or maybe get a sneak peak at a current project or brew. Or even just catch me streaming games through different formats. Here is the ways you can contact me.
(I stream Monday- Friday mornings generally start around 7-8AM pst, and end at the earlier 12PM. You can catch me brewing, ask any questions, or just watch some games being played and have some fun.)