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By: jcf, Jose Freitas
Aug 19 2020 12:00pm
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Hello my friends, here we are writing about limited again! Core Set 2021 draft is an awesome format and I love it!

This time, I would like to addressing the most absurdly powerful combos possible while playing Core Set 2021 Limited.

Oh no, ladies and gentlemen, we are not talking about our everyday bread and butter powerful synergies, like enchanting Drowsing Tyrannodon with Rousing Read and attacking for four in the air by turn three (ok, that sounds pretty powerful actually).

Not even those corner case interactions like combining Defiant Strike with Legion's Judgment to kill that 3/3 that is causing trouble. We are looking for those powerful (and sometimes rare or expensive) combos that win games in an epic way. 

I honestly can't say I accomplished everything I wanted in this format. I do have some of my checkboxes marked, like building a good Shrines deck or winning one or more games by resolving Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. In my conception of a perfect world I would be able to assemble all those absurdly powerful combos at least once and never ever God forbid have to face them on the other side of MTGO's virtual table. Sadly that is not the case, many of those combos I got to know while they were smashing and crushing my dreams of a trophy. But at least they gave me a story to tell, and here I am telling the tale.

So, let's take a look at those:

Incredibly Powerful Combos in Core Set 2021 Limited!

1) Peer Into the Abyss and Teferi's Tutelage:Peer into...

Let's start with my favourite. Ok, I have to confess I never really tried or face it. But I certainly would if I had the right colors and the right deck for it!

In many aspects, Peer Into the Abyss is a clunky card. Tapping out for seven mana and losing half your life to draw fifteen cards  often means you won't even get to play those cards, since you are going to die next turn, opponent certainly will do everything they can to seize this vulnerable moment.

You could try to target opponent as well, hoping to just kill them with evasive combat damage after the spell, but that card doesn't really fit very well into aggressive decks.

It could fit in a very, very defensive deck with some heavy lifegain to keep you safe along the way. But even that doesn't sound compelling to me, oh no we different plans.

If I am paying seven mana and losing half my life, I want to win the game on the act, or as close as possible. What if you have a Teferi's Tutelage in play ?

Well, considering at that point Tutelage already milled some cards from opponent's deck, it is very likely drawing half your deck will simply empty their library! That means they don't even get a combat phase to seize your vulnerable moment. All they get is one upkeep phase to burn you in the face with instants and/or effects. If you manage to actually pull this combo off, it pretty much reads "win target game" 99% of times. What could be more powerful that that ?!

What I think is really cool about this combo is that it transforms a sort of clunky and hard to use card into an instant killing device. Just make sure you manage to survive enough to pull it off.


2) Palladium Myr and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon:

Another card that almost reads "win target game" is Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Ok, eight mana isn't a joke, but if you do manage to cast it you are taking over most games when it happens.

Palladium Myr is a solid card. A 2/2 for three mana isn't terrible and the possibility to ramp for two mana can be awesome depending on the follow up. Sure, it dies a lot, but at least that consumed tempo and a removal spell and them if it survives.

They were made for each other, Myr and Ugin. Playing Ugin on the sixth turn isn't unreasonable at all and Palladium Myr is colorless so it will survive the board wipe. Bonus points if you also have Chrome Replicator in play!


3) Teferi, Master of Time and Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse:

I know, this is a rare and a mythic, but believe it or not I did face this one once and... oh well, I got crushed.

Believe me Teferi, Master of Time will take over the game if left untouched and having a 2/2 blocker token every turn to protect it while looting for useful spells ? You guessed it, absurd.

Unlike our prior combos, this is one is quite easy to cast, by fourth turn you could have it ready and running.

Did I mention it also transforms your Opt or any instant cantrip into extra tokens on opponent's turn? So it is not extremely hard to get two tokens per round considering you are looting for those cantrips. Eventually Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse will pump the team and end opponent's misery! If you ever face this combo like I did, my condolences, I hope you die as painless as possible.

I wonder if this one is actually good enough for constructed, maybe there is a standard deck using it.


4) Shipwreck Dowser and Sublime Epiphany:

Sublime Epiphany does it all and a bit more. Most games you get to cast it you are probably winning! 

I did lose once while casting it, facing an aggro deck, opponent had a timely Feat of Resistance to protect their flier I was trying to bounce. But that happened once, every other time I got to cast this card it sort of took over the game for me.

But the one time I had Shipwreck Dowser in play felt really really special. If you get to this fortunate situation, you get to:

Well... needless to say game is heavily favored to your side at that point.


5) Volcanic Salvo and Double Vision:Volcanic Salvo

While Volcanic Salvo does require a bit of setup, it is a hell of a card. Most of the time you to get to cast it you will kill opponent's two best creatures.

But, sometimes that is just not enough, right ? Suppose you have Double Vision in play while casting it. Oh, well... let's call it a one sided Wrath of God. Powerful enough to be on that list ? You can bet on it!

The tricky part is to build a deck capable of supporting both cards, since Volcanic Salvo requires you to have many high power creatures in your deck while Double Vision is better in decks with a lot of sorceries and instants. Cards like Spellgorger Weird and Experimental Overload might be key to find that balance.


6) Elder Gargaroth and Llanowar Visionary and Track Down:

The only thing more frightening than facing an Elder Gargaroth turn five is to face it turn four. Honestly, this card is so powerful by itself, the best "combo" you can accomplish with it is to cast it as consistently and early as possible. Both Track Down and Llanowar Visionary are awesome at that role, both digging your library for cards and helping you reach five mana on turn five!

Sadly, I never opened Elder Gargaroth in any of my core set drafts, but if I did I would surely try to go that direction building around it.


7) Conclave Mentor and Basri's Solidarity:

This combo won't work in any deck, you need to be playing some sort of Selesnya weenies and that is certainly a valid archetype.

Given that, as long as you have enough creatures in play, this is busted.

Just imagine: Turn one Anointed Chorister, turn two Alpine Watchdog, turn three Makeshift Battalion, turn four Conclave Mentor and Basri's Solidarity (well, in my dreams things run smoothly like that).

At that point you are adding eight +1/+1 counters among your creatures as early as turn four. Even if you don't have that perfect curve, the combo can be quite powerful.

Bonus points if you have either Wildwood Scourge or Siege Striker in play! Wildwood Scourge in particular will get huge, it will gain two +1/+1 counters from Basri's Solidarity and an extra four +1/+1 counters for each other creature in play including Conclave Mentor. Ain't that something!


8) Wildwood Scourge and Invigorating Surge:

Both Wildwood Scourge and Invigorating Surge are solid cards by themselves. Even if you can't take advantage of Wildwood Scourge's ability, it is a really solid topdeck late game and not a bad card to have in your initial hand as well.

Invigorating Surge is at least a solid combat trick, killing a blocker and giving your bear two permanent +1/+1 counters isn't something to be sad about.

Any combo that transforms your anemic 3/3 into a 10/10 at instant speed as early as turn five deserves a mention in this list, doesn't it ?

I know this is vulnerable to bounce and hard removal, but let's remember you did it at instant speed during combat phase, so you probably already gained some value or dealt a good bunch of damage

In my case, I had to face a 12/12 Wildwood Scourge and I have to say that wasn't a pleasant experience.

It is quite simple and relatively easy to pull it off, since we are talking about two humble uncommons in the same color. 


9) Kaervek, the Spiteful and Massacre Wurm:

Kaervek, the Spiteful is a strange card. While it is reasonably solid as a 3/2 with a relevant ability, it does require some build around because it might hurt your side of the table just as badly as opponent's side if you don't deckbuild properly. Take Fetid Imp as an example. I believe we can agree this little flyer is a staple card in black based attrition decks. If you drop Kaervek, the Spiteful, your little smelly flyer won't die exactly, but it will become an useless 0/1 chump blocker, not the destiny you planned for Stinky I would guess.

Kaervek works better with bigger creatures, because the impact of losing power/toughness is lower on those. A 5/5 trample wurm is still effective, a 0/1 deathtouch imp isn't.

It also works well with pingers, like Skeleton Archer. Kaervek is certainly not for any deck but it can be effective in a proper list for sure.

Massacre Wurm on the other hand is quite close to a bomb. I can't imagine any black deck that won't desire to play this one. Even as a 6/5 for six mana, it is certainly not terrible, specially for black that isn't famous for having beefy creatures in limited. But you are very likely to hit at least one of your opponent's creatures, gaining both value and reaping some life.

Well, I have to say Core Set 2021 limited is full of solid creatures with three toughness or less. If you manage to combine those two, you will often be very close to a one sided Wrath of God while incrementing your board and also taking down a nice chunk of opponent's life. Worthy of Dr. Evil's wildest dreams, isn't?!


10) Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge and Havoc Jester and Hobblefiend:

While this is a three pieces combo, any two of them will already give you some amount of power. All three are solid cards, Hobblefiend might at least help to enable Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge to start attacking, as long as you have some good creatures to be sacrificed on your side.

When the three meet together, they will quickly turn on this weird machine-gun effect: Havoc Jester will ping any target every time you sacrifice a treasure, Gadrak will create more and more treasures as opponent's creatures dies and Hobblefiend will help reaching creatures with 2 or 3 toughness, as long as you have something on your side to sacrifice. All that with three beefy creatures in play attacking every turn and being able to damage opponent directly if needed. I did face this combo once and I have to say, I would rather be trampled by a bus, it would be smoother probably...


11) Siege Striker and Garruk, Unleashed:

Finally I would like to mention those two. I know Basri Ket is a strong contender to take Garruk's place on that one, but when you are attacking with a 4/4 or bigger double striker, trample does add a bit to the hot pepper mix.

I never seen this combo specifically but I have to say Siege Striker is some card, I both won and lost games because of it. So don't forget to grab those Skeleton Archer for your sideboard!


That's it for today my friends, I hope you had some fun reading this article and that it is useful in some way!

Let me know in the comments if I forgot to mention any absurdly outrageous powerful combo from Core Set 2021 limited!

See you next time!