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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Aug 14 2013 8:49am
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Sundial of the Infinite

Sundial of the Infinite is a pretty strange card, you have to admit. It's the only card other than Time Stop that can do what it does. And although it's less flexible than Time Stop, it's a whole lot cheaper, and reusable as well.

So what does it do, anyway? A surprising amount:

  • Skips EtB penalties. Instead of casting Hecatomb for 1BB and four sacrificed creatures, you can just cast it for 2BB. Also consider the harsh penalties you can skip on Lord of Tresserhorn and (if you don't mind losing some friends) Phyrexian Dreadnought.
        Galepowder Mage
  • Makes flickering permanent.  Cast an Otherworldly Journey on an opponent's creature and they will never get it back. Galepowder Mage now does a Krond the Dawn-Clad impression, killing a creature each time it attacks.
  • Skips harsh upkeeps.  This means skipping most of your turn, so few decks will want to do this, but imagine a Glacial Chasm out with Sundial of the Infinite. You still get your untap phases, so you can cast instants and pay activation costs. And your opponent can never damage you!
  • Skips end-of-turn penalties.  Berserk no longer makes you sacrifice the creature. Neither does Shallow GraveDross Harvester requires no payment of life.
  • Unearth combos. You can now just reanimate the creature permanently. End the turn when Sedraxis Specter's sacrifice trigger is on the stack.
  • Evoke combos.  Stack the sacrifice trigger, THEN sacrifice the EtB trigger. Let it resolve, then end the turn before the sacrifice resolves. You just saved two mana on Shriekmaw, or three on Ingot Chewer.
  • Don't lose the game. It may not seem worth it to skip your whole turn just to avoid paying for your Pact of Negation, and it probably is. But think about what happens when you pair a Sundial with Final Fortune!  That's a 3-mana Time Walk!  Also, you can finally cheat a Phage the Untouchable into play without losing the game.

And truly, there is not a single one of those you could profitably do with a Time Stop.

So let's get to the practical applications and look at some decks! Be forewarned that these are all CASUAL DECKS.


Deck 1 red-green flinging

The key to a deck centered around a single card is, make it possible to function without that card.


For instance, Crumbling Colossus, Stone Idol Trap, and Giantbaiting all combo very well with Sundial of the Infinite. But what if you never draw a Sundial? Or what if you do and it gets shattered? We'll need some other cards that combo with them. As you could surmise by this deck's title, I went with Fling effects. Aside from Fling itself, Brion Stoutarm does a good job (and isn't half bad as a mindless attacker).

We do want to draw a Sundial though, so I went with a playset of Ancient Stirrings. They can also find a Bonesplitter (welcome on any creature—especially one about to be flung), a Mogg Cannon (another Sundial combo!), or, my favorite, Voyager Staff (in here, a discounted Brittle Effigy).

We'll need to stall a little bit while we set up our stuff, and we might as well do it with creatures, so we can later use them for (Giantbating)'s conspire. Stronghold's walls are still among the best creature stall in the game, so let's run copies of Wall of Blossoms and Wall of Razors.

One card that deserves its own paragraph: Nacatl War-Pride. I put it in the deck thinking I could make its tokens permanent, and get a couple more each time I attacked. It works even better than that. It doesn't just put 3/3 vanillas into play. It puts exact copies of itself into play. Which means, each token that survives and then attacks the next turn puts out its own set of tokens. So: attacking once gives you (say) two 3/3s. The next turn, you attack with three 3/3s, and each one of them gives you another 2 copies. That's already nine 3/3s, all attacking, and the next turn you can get up to 27!  And this is if your opponent has only two creatures in play.



Earlier versions of the deck experimented with cards like Hunted Troll, but it was a dead draw without the Sundial. I also tried Berserk, but it often felt superfluous. I admit it allowed for some pretty sick, out-of-nowhere wins when combined with Fling though. (Wasn't that an old Inquest combo?)


Deck 2 white-blue flickering

Up top, I mentioned how a Sundial of the Infinite can turn an Otherworldly Journey into an Unmake (that's more splashable and more versatile). Let's build a whole deck around that premise!

    Cloudgoat Ranger

White and blue are obviously the world champions at flicker effects. And like the above deck, we'd like to be productive during those times (and games) when a Sundial isn't available, so let's add some other cards that combo with flickering. Merfolk Traders, Wall of Omens, Temple Acolyte, Wispmare, Riftwing Cloudskate, Mulldrifter, and especially Cloudgoat Ranger all look pretty good bouncing out of and back into play.  The above-mentioned Galepowder Mage lets us repeat it every turn, if we aren't using it on our opponent's creatures along with a Sundial to keep them off the board.

Dust Elemental is a card that combos with both halves of the deck. It gets a severe discount when a Sundial's out. Or it lets you do some severe double-casting with your EtB creatures if you prefer! Whatever the game state calls for.

We can also pull some other Sundial tricks. Angelic Favor is a cheap way to get an angel out, at the price of only one mana and a tapped creature. (Just make sure to cast it during your own combat if you want to keep the creature! That's how the Sundial works.) We can skip Fog Elemental's self-sacrifice clause. And speaking of 4/4 fliers, Geist of Saint Traft is pretty ridiculous with a Sundial in play—if it's within your price range, of course. (Since I'm writing about the casual room, I kept him out of my deck, but I wanted to at least mention the possibility.)


I originally experimented with Voidwalk, thinking it was an easy way to exile a creature every turn, but in the end it was just a worse version of Galepowder Mage, since the creature has to actually connect to work.


Deck 3 blue-black-red EtB

We end with the brashest deck of them all. The Timmiest deck of the three.  The deck that can only work when a Sundial is out. But how strongly it works when it does!

    Sky Swallower

This has all of the big, flashy Sundial plays you could ask for. Hunted Horror is 1BB for a 7/7 trampler! Sky Swallower no longer has a drawback! ("Would you trade the world for such a pet?" You don't have to!) I originally had Boldwyr Heavyweights as well, but red ended up becoming a splash color, since we casual players can't always afford expensive dual lands.

We can't have the WHOLE deck be dumb EtB beaters though, so let's employ some other tricks. I like the unearth strategy mentioned up top, and we're already in UBR, the very colors who own that mechanic. To recap, the Sundial lets their reanimation be permanent rather than for a single turn only. Sedraxis Specter was already mentioned. Fire-Field Ogre and Fatestitcher are two of the stronger options out there—at the low CMCs, that is. Remember that we're trying to keep a low curve. (If we had mana ramping, we would just cast an honest 7/7 trampler and not bother with the Sundial shenanigans). Corpse Connoisseur allows for some neat unearth tricks, including animating himself even.

Relying on the Sundial as much as this deck does, we'll need some ways to reliably get it out. And I'm not talking the five-card-glimpse that is Ancient Stirrings. I'm talking about the 60-card-glimpses that are Muddle the Mixture and Fabricate. If you already have a Sundial, Muddle lets you get something to do with it, in Hunted Horror. And Fabricate lets you get a different combo piece, in Mimic Vat. (Or you could always just get a backup Sundial, if you fear the first one's destruction.)


And now, I shall activate a Sundial myself and end the artic—


Hey, Cotton. I wanted to send by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 08/14/2013 - 15:05
Kumagoro42's picture

Hey, Cotton. I wanted to send you an email about an idea of mine for a collaborative article, but it appears you're a most elusive guy (meaning that I couldn't find any way to contact you except this one). If you're curious, drop a line at my account aicardigianluca :)

As you may be aware Sundial by Paul Leicht at Thu, 08/15/2013 - 02:48
Paul Leicht's picture

As you may be aware Sundial has been a pet card of mine since its first printing. In fact I devoted an article or two to it. Love the additional ways in which you show us how you like to abuse it. Fun times.

I'd like to see those! Can by CottonRhetoric at Thu, 08/15/2013 - 10:34
CottonRhetoric's picture

I'd like to see those! Can you send me links? I tried searching this site for your user name and Sundial but nothing turned up. by Paul Leicht at Thu, 08/15/2013 - 15:11
Paul Leicht's picture there is one. And I guess the other is still in my head as I couldn't find it elsewhere. lol. So one though...with about 4 decks. :)

Great! by Splendid Belt at Thu, 08/15/2013 - 04:51
Splendid Belt's picture

Some really fun looking decks here - love it! Going to try some of them out, probably starting with the uber-ridiculous last one!