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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Oct 28 2015 12:00pm
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Cotton Threads, today I would like to share fifteen different casual-room combos with you all.  It is my fervent hope that you will enjoy them. Perhaps you will even be inspired to make some decks or combos of your own.  Share them with the world.


& Spark Trooper

Spark Trooper is ordinarily not a good card: decks that want to deal 6 single-use damage tend not to care about gaining life. But... what about decks that want to deal 6 repeatable damage?

In a slower, more controlling deck, these two cards could serve as the grindy win condition that keeps the caster alive while it operates. Combined, they let you cast the Spark Trooper every turn. And unlike most combos that recur a Ball Lightning (for instance, Teferi's Veil), this one has added resilience, for Purgatory does not care if your creature is killed during combat. It's still ready to bring it back the next turn. And the next turn after that.

Basically, unless you run into an exile effect (uh, or a 1/1 first strike), you will be draining for 6 indefinitely.

    Purgatory     Spark Trooper
Ob Nixilis, Unshackled      Maralen of the Mornsong    

Ob Nixilis, Unshacked
& Maralen of the Mornsong

The problem with Ob Nixilis is that the opponent never ends up losing 10 life. That is because searching, and therefore shuffling, is nearly always optional. They can choose not to activate their fetch land. They can say no to your Boldwyr Heavyweights. And granted, dropping a drawbackless Boldwyr Heavyweights is an enviable position to be in... but what if there were a way to force our opponent to shuffle?

While we wait very patiently for Soldier of Fortune to come online, Maralen is one of the (very) few cards that forces opponents to shuffle rather than asking them if they wish to shuffle. And even if they use Maralen to tutor up an answer (which is usually how Maralen goes), they've already lost 13 life by the time it's in their hand.


Martyr's Cry
& Springjack Shepherd

Martyr's Cry has always been a card I've loved despite (because of?) its worthlessness. If you use it to kill your opponent's white creatures, you're helping them to recover at a rate not worth the mana you saved from a conventional wrath. And if you use it to kill your own white creatures, it's at an exchange rate not worth the mana you saved from a conventional draw spell.

But what if there was a card capable of putting so many white creatures into play for so cheap that you could break ahead on this formula? I present to you Springjack Shepherd. It requires some setup, but not an insurmountable one. Just enable her chroma with non-creature permanents, so they don't get exiled along the way.

If you create 4 tokens, you're spending six mana and equaling the power of Opportunity (the Shepherd himself will be the fifth creature, meaning you'll have a net gain of four cards). Anything beyond that is a bonus.

    Martyr's Cry     Springjack Shepherd


Stronghold Gambit     Ostracize    

Stronghold Gambit
& Ostracize

Perhaps one day, Stronghold Gambit will skyrocket in price the way Through the Breach did. (I bought a playset of Breaches back when they were 10 cents each. I sold them at 2 dollars apiece, counting myself lucky—now I wish I had waited!) Anyway the Gambit can get an Eldrazi into play, permanently, for two mana. What else do you need to know?

The only precaution you need to take is that your opponent's hand doesn't have its own creature in it. A single-mana Ostracize can help along those lines. Sometimes all you need is a Gitaxian Probe to make sure the coast is clear. This has the most spike potential of any combo in this article.


Search for Survivors
& Scrabbling Claws

Search for Survivors is meant to be random, but it doesn't have to be. Just remove anything in your graveyard that isn't a reanimation target, and you have a fully functional red Zombify.

Is Scrabbling Claws the best way to compress your graveyard? Withered Wretch is quicker... but if you have the black mana to cast Withered Wretch, you don't have any need for a red reanimation spell. Stick to Scrabbling Claws (and/or Scavenging Ooze)!

    Search for Survivors    


Wishmonger     Rusted Relic    

& Rusted Relic

It's always fun to break the symmetry of symmetrical cards. So how do you break protection from the color of your opponent's choice? By not running any colors! If all you're running is artifact creatures, the opponent gets no benefit whatsoever from your Wishmonger, while you're still free to grant immunity to your own artifact creatures.

Since you're already running white, you can also include Tempered Steel and Heroic Defiance to further strengthen your artifact creatures.


Crooked Scales
& Darksteel Juggernaut

If you lose the coin flip, you destroy your own creature. But what if your creature can't be destroyed?

With the right army, you can turn Crooked Scales into a significantly cheaper Altar of Shadows. It still won't hit every time, but the drawback when you lose isn't nearly as severe as it used to be.

    Crooked Scales     Darksteel Juggernaut


Scandalmonger     Dodecapod    

& Dodecapod

I've checked the rules—this really does work.

Unlike the other Monger combo above, your goal here is not to prevent your opponent from activating your Monger. It's to punish them for activating it.

Even though you own and control the Scandalmonger, when your opponent activates it, they control the ability. So when they make you discard a card, you can choose your Dodecapod (or Guerrilla Tactics, or whatever), and its ability gets triggered!

Maybe don't cram your deck FULL of cards like those, because once the opponent sees it happen once, they might not walk into the same trap a second time. But it can be good to slip a few of those cards into a deck that already wants a Scandalmonger in play. (For instance, a Howltooth Hollow deck.)

Or if you do want to cram your deck full of cards like those, and you want to pull the same trick more than once per game, there is a way to make sure your opponent cooperates: Mindslaver! No, I'm joking. The serious answer is by using Puca's Mischief to put an Oppression onto your opponent's side. Then they will indeed control the effect that makes you discard all of those cards.

And speaking of Puca's Mischief....


Puca's Mischief
& Duplicity

To save you the trouble of squinting through Duplicity's textbox, here's how this plays out.

  • Cast Puca's Mischief.
  • Play the game normally.
  • Wait until your hand doesn't have much useful stuff left in it.
  • Pay 3UU for Duplicity, exiling five cards.
  • Discard a card at the end of that turn (if you have one).
  • During your upkeep, stack the Puca's Mischief trigger below Duplicity's.
  • Put those five exiled cards into your hand.
  • Give your opponent the now-worthless Duplicity.
  • Wreck house with those five extra cards you drew.
  • Laugh as your opponent discards a card every turn.

Ha ha ha ha!

    Puca's Mischief     Duplicity


Mayor of Avabruck     Necrogen Mists    

Mayor of Avabruck
& Necrogen Mists

It's easy to make your human transform, but how do you keep the opponent from casting two spells in one turn to revert them? Not even a flipped Erayo, Soratami Ascendant can pull that off!

A better way is to prevent your opponent from having two spells in their hand in the first place. And as I've observed before, a single Necrogen Mists is enough to empty your opponent's hand. They'll be stuck casting whatever they can topdeck, which in most games is only a single card per turn.

And I hear all of you clamoring to mention Arcane Laboratory. But consider this!

  • That doesn't destroy the opponent's hand quite as well.
  • That doesn't enable your Howltooth Hollow
  • That doesn't enable your madness and/or graveyard strategies either.


Mastery of the Unseen
& Fathom Seer

In a deck running Mastery, you are probably happy to get a regular 2/2 every turn. But what if this card could be better than a cheaper, non-tribal Volrath's Laboratory? What if you could manifest creatures doubly-worth manifesting?

The two main routes are cheap creatures with nasty drawbacks you can skip (Phyrexian Dreadnought being the poster boy here) or creatures with tough morph costs you can skip (look slightly to the right for a sample of those).

Basically, if a card is good with Illusionary Mask, it is good with manifest.

        Fathom Seer


Ravenous Demon     Bloodsoaked Champion    

Ravenous Demon
& Bloodsoaked Champion

Everybody wants to use Ravenous Demon. I assume. Well, I want to use him, anyway! But what humans should I sacrifice?

For all of the human creatures in print, and indeed there are a lot of them, in fact, there are more of them than there are blue creatures, not a whole lot of them involve self-recurring. Some give you a bonus creature, like Flesh Carver or Blade Splicer, and some grant some other bonus first, like Imperial Recruiter or Manic Vandal, but, to date, only a single one out of the 1,738 humans puts themselves from the graveyard onto the battlefield, ready to be sacrificed again and again to your transformed Archdemon, and I could keep making this sentence go on even longer, but I think that's enough.


Reins of Power
& Sword of the Ages

What do you do with your opponent's entire army? You could attack with it, but then what? And so what? That can't be your entire plan, because you don't know what your opponent's army will look like.

Whether or not you attack with them, it's better to make sure the opponent doesn't get them back at the end. You could sacrifice them all to Reprocess, but that's highly mana intensive, since you would need to cast it on the same turn as the Reins. No, I think a better option is to sacrifice them all to a Sword of the Ages, which you can drop on a previous turn.

A cheaper but lower-output option is to use Goblin Bombardment instead.

    Reins of Power     Sword of the Ages


Aboroth     Quillspike  

& Quillspike

Aboroth is not a good card. In an ordinary situation, he will attack for 16 before killing himself (8 + 6 + 3). And if 16 for 6 mana sounds like a good deal, remember that a lousy Craw Wurm will attack for 18 from the same three attacks (and he'll still be around for a fourth attack later). So to even consider him, we need to upgrade him somehow. There are a few ways:

  • Give him haste to slip in an extra 9, which is better than Craw Wurm would get (but still not great).
  • Remove those age counters, with either Power Conduit or Chisei, Heart of Oceans. He'll still shrink, but now at a steady one per turn. So he'll attack for 8 + 7 + 6 et cetera. (Still not great.)
  • Put those -1/-1 counters to work! Quillspike is by far the best option here. Aboroth will always stay a 9/9, and although the mana you need to eat his counters increases over time, if you could cast Aboroth in the first place you can sustain him for at least six turns—all while your Quillspike grows at an alarming rate. (4/4, then 7/7, then 10/10, and so on.)

Both of your creatures are only vanilla, with no trample or anything, but they are still way larger than we're used to seeing at those CMCs.



& Hunted Horror

"Bonk!" Winnow has some of the funniest artwork and flavor in Magic.

Let's say your opponent has two Artisan of Kozileks in play.  "Bonk!"  Knock their heads together. (The flavor text is fine as it is, but I kind of wish it was just "Bonk!")

Sadly, you can't always rely on your opponent having two of the same creature in play (or, better yet, one of a creature that you also have), which is why Winnow only costs two mana and is a cantrip.

The obvious solution is to pair Winnow with Clone, but really, isn't that just an expensive Control Magic? A better option in my opinion is to pair it with a card that gives your opponent two of the same thing. And most cards that do that just work with piddling 1/1 tokens, so Hunted Horror's 3/3s are stronger than normal. In the end, you'll have paid only 1WBB for a 7/7 trample. It cost two cards to set up, but one replaces itself. Not a bad deal!

(Another option is to pair Winnow with Dual Nature, although it gets a bit risky as you may create more than you can deal with.)

    Winnow     Hunted Horror


See you next week!


I will need to reread this to by Paul Leicht at Wed, 10/28/2015 - 20:12
Paul Leicht's picture

I will need to reread this to soak all of this in. But I will say you are definitely one of the past masters of combo I enjoy reading stuff from.