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By: ynohtna123456, Anthony Bergstrom
Feb 02 2008 1:15am
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 Intro:  

So, most of you are probably wondering how a singleton deck can consistently win turns 3-5. This actually isn't that diffucult of a task when you consider all of the great tutors that are available to us. That being said, I'll start off by introducing the deck I'am currently piloting, give a quick explanation on how the decks works, follow that up with an in-depth look at the card choices, and finish off with a section on playing the deck.

                                            Dragon Explosion

 

Land

1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
1 Gemstone Mine
1 City of Brass
1 Forbidden Orchard
1 Undiscovered Paradise
1 Tarnished Citadel
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
1 Shimmering Grotto
1 Forsaken City
1 Grand Coliseum
1 Shivan Reef
1 Underground River
1 Sulfurous Springs
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Polluted Delta
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind
1 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Island
1 Swamp
1 Mountain

Creatures

1 Worldgorger Dragon
1 Ambassador Laquatus
1 Hapless Researcher

Instants

1 Brainstorm
1 Peek
1 Opt
1 Whispers of the Muse
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Read the Runes
1 Dizzy Spell
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Impulse
1 Lim-Dûl's Vault
1 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Mystical Teachings
1 Gifts Ungiven
1 Pact of Negation
1 Force of Will
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Entomb
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Volcanic Geyser
1 Tainted Pact
1 Insidious Dreams
1 Abeyance

Enchantments

1 Animate Dead
1 Necromancy
 

 

  Sorceries

1 Buried Alive
1 Duress
1 Thoughtseize
1 Ghitu Fire
1 Serum Visions
1 Ponder
1 Careful Study
1 Portent
1 Merchant Scroll

Sideboard

1 Draco
1 Erratic Explosion
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Xantid Swarm
1 Seedtime
1 Eyes of the Wisent
1 Krosan Grip
1 Living Wish
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Incinerate
1 Fire/Ice
1 Lava Spike
1 Pyroblast
1 Spell Snare
1 Pyroclasm

Worldgorger Dragon
Animate Dead

 

 Explanation of the Combos:

So for those that do not know, the goal of this deck is to get Worldgorger Dragon into the grave, and then reanimate it with Animate Dead or Necromancy. This causes an infinite loop because when Worldgorger Dragon comes into play, it will remove whichever enchantment is attached to it, putting the dragon back in the grave. This brings your enchantment back into play, allowing it to target the dragon again and create an infinite loop. You can generate as much mana as you need with this combo because your lands will come back into play untapped after each cycle.  After you generate enough mana, you generally win using Volcanic Geyser, Ghitu Fire, or Ambassador Laquatus. The other combo in the deck, Draco Explosion, can be brought in from the sideboard if deemed necessary. This works by casting Insidious Dreams and stacking the top of your deck so that Draco is on top of your library when you play Erratic Explosion. Some decks deal themselves a fair amount of damage, so sixteen damage can quite often be lethal.

 

 Card Choices:

Setting up the Combo-

To start off, the deck generally wants to get Worldgorger Dragon into the grave as soon as possible. This is easily accomplished because the deck runs three ways to directly put the dragon into the graveyard from the library in the form of Entomb, Buried Alive, and Gifts Ungiven. Considering that we are playing a singleton combo deck, redundancy is key in making sure the combo goes off smoothly. Now some might think that three ways isn't sufficient, but when you consider the ridiculous amount of tutors in the deck, producing any three of those cards becomes very simple. Here's a nice little list of the tutors you can use to get at least one, if not all three of these cards; Mystical Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Lim-Dûl's Vault, Mystical Teachings, Dizzy Spell, Merchant ScrollInsidious Dreams
, and Tainted Pact. It is also fine to tutor for a tutor to get any of the three cards.   

Next, we look at the other half of the combo that involves either
Animate Dead or Necromancy. Again, we have our redundancy, which is backed up with these tutors as well: Vampiric Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, Tainted Pact, Muddle the Mixture, Lim-Dûl's Vault, Insidious Dreams, and Gifts Ungiven (You generally gifts for Vampiric Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, Necromancy, and whatever else). Again, tutoring for a tutor is an option if that's what needs to be done to get one of the cards.

Before I move on I would like to point out that the deck runs a fair amount of cantrips and card draw, which allows you to generally draw into a combo piece naturally. Another note,
Insidious Dreams can set the combo up all on its own if you stack the top of your deck with Careful Study, Worldgorger Dragon, and Animate Dead.

The Mana Base-

The mana base was designed to give the deck access to the colors it needs when it needs them. There are four colors present maindeck, with the possibility of the fith from the sideboard. The land count may seem kind of high at twenty three, but the last thing this deck wants is to be stuck on one or two mana because that will slow you down. There are plenty of tutors and cantrips in the deck, so it is pretty easy to play around any extra mana that might pop up. 

I purposefully made sure there were no duplicate basic lands in the deck because with every card in the deck different, Tainted Pact essentially becomes an instant speed Demonic Tutor. One land I would like to point out is
Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind. While you have a dragon loop going, nivix comes into play untapped each time, allowing you to use it's ability to dig through the deck repeatedly. This lets you find any one of your win conditions.

Protecting the Combo-

Every combo decks needs to have a way of protecting their strategy, and this one is no exception. There's the proactive protection in Thoughtseize, Duress, Peek(lets you know if it is safe to combo out), and Abeyance. Then we have reactive protection in Pact of Negation, Force of WillMuddle the Mixture, and Chain of Vapor. The sideboard gives us Xantid Swarm, Pyroblast, Eyes of the Wisent, Krosan Grip, Spell Snare, and Seedtime. Living Wish can also be brought in if you think they might have some way to remove Worldgorger Dragon from the game.

Win Conditions-

Since the combo goes off at instant speed, we need to be able to play our win conditions at instant speed or break the loop by reanimating a different creature. The two most obvious win conditions are Volcanic Geyser and Ghitu Fire. Both can be played at instant speed, which works wonderfully with the combo. The other win condition is Ambassador Laquatus. You don't use this route too often, but if you can get it into the grave before or while you combo out, you can break the loop by reanimating it and decking your opponent. 

While these are the only three win conditions, there are many cards that you can have either in hand or in play to get you a win condtion. They are Whispers of the Muse, Read the Runes, Mystical Teachings, Gifts Ungiven, Entomb, Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind, and Tainted Pact. You can also win if you have instant speed draw in hand with any of these cards; Vampiric Tutor, Mystical Tutor, (Lim-Dûl's Vault), and Insidious Dreams. So, to sum that all up you generally have some way to win at your disposal whenever you combo out.


Ghitu Fire
 
Ambassador Laquatus


The Sideboard-


It is built to mainly combat control strategies with a lot of counters, and of course to bring in an extra combo to throw your opponent off guard. The burn in the sideboard is there incase you decide to convert the deck into a Draco explosion deck only. Reclaim goes in if you're up against discard. It's not much, but can win you a game here and there. Boseiju, Who Shelters All works well with the Draco combo because Insidious Dreams allows you to stack the deck so that you can play Erratic Explosion without worry about it being countered.

Playing the Deck: 
  
General Strategy

Well, since this is a combo deck the goal is to set it up as quickly as possible and win. The deck does it consistently on turns three to five, which is based off of my testing a ton of games in the casual and tournament practice room on MTGO along with goldfishing a fair amount. Turn 3 wins are generally hands that contain either
Animate Dead or Necromancy along with Mystical TutorVampiric TutorEntomb, or several other combinations of cards. Turn 4 and 5 wins are more likely, but turn 3 isn't really all that uncommon. Of course the deck does have a few hands that win on turn 2, but that doesn't happen happen very often. 

Going off so early might not always be the best option though, especially if you suspect your opponent has an answer in hand, it could really screw you over. I often take an extra turn or two to fill my hand with goodies like
Duress, Thoughtseize, Force of Will, etc if I am playing against a control deck. Against aggro I am generally not as cautious because they will more often than not be tapping out to play threats. You shouldn't have much of a problem racing aggro decks because from my experience they are hard pressed to deal twenty damage before you combo out.

Weaknesses of the Deck-

Counter heavy decks can pose a problem, but thankfully this is singleton so your opponent might not draw their most efficient counterspells. Creature and enchantment hate are another problem, but the tools are available in the deck to prevent these from ruining the combo. The biggest concern for the deck though is the ability for other decks to potentially remove
Worldgorger Dragon from the game. While this isn't too commonly seen pre-board, you have to watch out for it in game two. Living Wish helps with this, as does the alternate combo.

Should you Bring This to a Premeir Event?-

Unfortunately I have no results to present based upon bringing this to a premier event mainly because I haven't had this deck together for too long, and I tend to be busy on Saturday's. That being said, I do intend to bring this deck to a premeir event in the near future when I have some free time on a Saturday. All of the testing I have done so far (around 130 or so games against opponents, 50-60 goldfishing) indicates that it has the potential to do quite well. It has a great matchup against aggro in general, and can hold its own fairly well against the mid-range and control decks. This deck will definitely have the surprise factor going for it because most people can't figure out what you're playing until the turn you beat them. 

Another thing to consider though is how comfortable you are with playing combo decks. I try to play a combo deck in every format I participate in because I can't get enough of them, so that is why I built one for singleton. For those who don't feel comfortable playing combo, this deck probably isn't for you.

Conclusion:   
   
All in all, I think this deck has the potential to preform quite well in the singleton premeir events on MTGO. I encourage readers to put this deck together on one of the free programs available and goldfish several games to see how consistent it is(if you have problems getting it to go off by turn five, look back in the article for tips). I know many of you will probably dismiss combo in singleton, but I still want to hear some feedback on the deck. Hopefully this article has presuaded a few people to give this deck a whirl and have fun playing a combo deck in a format where few expect it.

9 Comments

by ynohtna123456 at Mon, 02/04/2008 - 10:03
ynohtna123456's picture

Hey sorry for not posting but I have been away from a computer all weekend. Anyways, I really appreciate all the feedback, but I want to address the occuring theme of this deck not being PE viable.

I gave my most updated decklist to someone who wanted it on friday(so many trolls), and he took it to a 3rd/4th finish in the PE room on Saturday. I think that says a lot about the deck in general if someone can pick it up a day before a PE and do that well in it. I'll concede that the deck might look inconsistent or vulnerable to hate, but it is actually quite resilient and pretty much always hits the combo by turn 5, if not earlier.

As for the updated decklist, There's not much new other than geyser is now a cunning wish, and the sideboard is a little different with orim's chant, geyser, and a few other cards now in it.

@iceage4life- I like the idea of City of Solitude. Eyes is now gone from the sb, so I think this will fit in nicely.

@tarmotog- I know what you mean about some of the decks methods for finding win conditions being unfriendly to the PE timer, but at most it only takes 6-7 mins to win. Cards like whispers and nivix would be exremely clunky if you had to go through every card in your deck, but when going through your deck you can speed up the process when you hit tutors instead of win conditions. Most of the time you only go through 5 or 6 cards before you find something that can lead you to a win condition.

Laquatus im afraind is a necessary evil as far as time requirements. This is mainly because it kills if you dont have a red mana source source available, and it gets around various damage prevention cards that pop up. While 40-50 mana might seem like a lot to generate, it only takes a couple minutes at most, so you really aren't threatened too much by the clock. 

by ynohtna123456 at Mon, 02/04/2008 - 10:04
ynohtna123456's picture

Hey sorry for not posting but I have been away from a computer all weekend. Anyways, I really appreciate all the feedback, but I want to address the occuring theme of this deck not being PE viable.

I gave my most updated decklist to someone who wanted it on friday(so many trolls), and he took it to a 3rd/4th finish in the PE room on Saturday. I think that says a lot about the deck in general if someone can pick it up a day before a PE and do that well in it. I'll concede that the deck might look inconsistent or vulnerable to hate, but it is actually quite resilient and pretty much always hits the combo by turn 5, if not earlier.

As for the updated decklist, There's not much new other than geyser is now a cunning wish, and the sideboard is a little different with orim's chant, geyser, and a few other cards now in it.

@iceage4life- I like the idea of City of Solitude. Eyes is now gone from the sb, so I think this will fit in nicely.

@tarmotog- I know what you mean about some of the decks methods for finding win conditions being unfriendly to the PE timer, but at most it only takes 6-7 mins to win. Cards like whispers and nivix would be exremely clunky if you had to go through every card in your deck, but when going through your deck you can speed up the process when you hit tutors instead of win conditions. Most of the time you only go through 5 or 6 cards before you find something that can lead you to a win condition.

Laquatus im afraind is a necessary evil as far as time requirements. This is mainly because it kills if you dont have a red mana source source available, and it gets around various damage prevention cards that pop up. While 40-50 mana might seem like a lot to generate, it only takes a couple minutes at most, so you really aren't threatened too much by the clock. 

by ynohtna123456 at Mon, 02/04/2008 - 10:02
ynohtna123456's picture

Hey sorry for not posting but I have been away from a computer all weekend. Anyways, I really appreciate all the feedback, but I want to address the occuring theme of this deck not being PE viable.

I gave my most updated decklist to someone who wanted it on friday(so many trolls), and he took it to a 3rd/4th finish in the PE room on Saturday. I think that says a lot about the deck in general if someone can pick it up a day before a PE and do that well in it. I'll concede that the deck might look inconsistent or vulnerable to hate, but it is actually quite resilient and pretty much always hits the combo by turn 5, if not earlier.

As for the updated decklist, There's not much new other than geyser is now a cunning wish, and the sideboard is a little different with orim's chant, geyser, and a few other cards now in it.

@iceage4life- I like the idea of City of Solitude. Eyes is now gone from the sb, so I think this will fit in nicely.

@tarmotog- I know what you mean about some of the decks methods for finding win conditions being unfriendly to the PE timer, but at most it only takes 6-7 mins to win. Cards like whispers and nivix would be exremely clunky if you had to go through every card in your deck, but when going through your deck you can speed up the process when you hit tutors instead of win conditions. Most of the time you only go through 5 or 6 cards before you find something that can lead you to a win condition.

Laquatus im afraind is a necessary evil as far as time requirements. This is mainly because it kills if you dont have a red mana source source available, and it gets around various damage prevention cards that pop up. While 40-50 mana might seem like a lot to generate, it only takes a couple minutes at most, so you really aren't threatened too much by the clock. 

by Tarmotog at Sun, 02/03/2008 - 21:18
Tarmotog's picture

Frankly, control decks showing up in masses is a good thing for this deck. The fact that this necromancy is instant speed can mess things up. However, this deck is not at all "turn 3-5 consistent" even though it can get to the win fast. I hate playing this deck against aggro decks because they really set the clock for you to combo off. Especially because this is not a 2 card combo but a "2 card combo with another win condition".

Of the many combos available, this combo is the clunkiest to set up but should be one of the easiest to. Easiest because you can have a variation to the cards you need. Clunkiest because your tutors cannot hit the same target at the same time. 

Also, I think you can clean up the deck abit because if you want to combo off in a PE, you are going to take forever with laquatus. Seriously, I doubt you want to generate 40-50+ mana and mill the fella to death. Maybe you've done it in duels where people scoop cos they see the thing and there's no point in playing but in the PE where they will let you play it out and I believe anyone trying to take this deck will lose not because they lose but because of the time issue which can be very real when you are busy trying to go off.

What I mean by cleaning up, is to refine the cards used for a more PE friendly deck. For instance, you don't need ghitu fire. Nivix and whispers of the muse are both very difficult to use well given time issues and the tediousness to. Some of the lands are bad in the deck too especially oboro or urborg that don't serve any special purpose besides fufilling the "full singleton".

I believe that the living wish for dragon is not what you want to achieve. Research/Development would be alot better because besides careful study,insidious dreams and read the runes, you wouldn't be able to discard it whereas you can do plays like eot research, entomb, necromancy.
Your sb needs more work too. I doubt your opponent will have trouble with eyes and such because they only have to mess up 3 cards to win.

I believe that this deck can get into the top 8 of PEs, provided:
1) The deck is very well refined
2) The pilot is very skilled
3) The cards people play do not include too many castable cards in a short time span like slaughter pact because you don't have that many cards to disrupt you opponent but you would usually be able to disrupt past the strong cards to win
4) No active counterbalance

UW is ok.. UGW is ok.. UB is slightly bad because of discard which can hurt the plan.. RG is ok if your hands are good.. Other combo = good provided you can combo off first..

The deck concept itself is good but the cards to assemble them are not as efficient as in other combos. If I were to play this, I would play this only once in a while.

by iceage4life at Sat, 02/02/2008 - 16:51
iceage4life's picture

Similar as in both are combo decks?  I don't see much connection between a Heartbeat Desire deck and a Worldgorger Dragon deck.

But hey, what do I know?

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 201.230.143.100 (not verified) at Sat, 02/02/2008 - 13:32
Anonymous (Unregistered) 201.230.143.100's picture

... a question, how you end dragon/animate infinite loop?

by iceage4life at Sat, 02/02/2008 - 12:17
iceage4life's picture

Well done, nice first article.  I would love there to be a PE viable combo deck in singleton but I think this won't cut it.  The fact that the last top eight had 5+ blue-based control decks means a combo like this will have issues.

I would also want to fit Duress and Thoughtseize into the maindeck or at least the sideboard.

Last: City of Solitude would probably beat say Seedtime or Eyes of the Wisent for a sideboard slot.

Like the deck, maybe it will be viable some day. 

by Underthehammer (Unregistered) 139.133.7.37 (not verified) at Wed, 01/30/2008 - 06:46
Underthehammer (Unregistered) 139.133.7.37's picture

I playtested a similar build some months ago.  I found against PE calibre decks it just did not cut it.  Its a fun deck and id recommend it for the TP/casual rooms.  But if you turn up to a PE with this you wont be making T8.  Nice article nevertheless.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 139.133.7.37 (not verified) at Wed, 01/30/2008 - 11:10
Anonymous (Unregistered) 139.133.7.37's picture

Also a very similar deck was recently covered in another article on Puremtgo by tarmotog.  So this is not really anything new for the readers