He enables the combo, as well as brings an often giant Construct token onto the battlefield with him, and acts as both a mana and card advantage engine. The token is a legitimate threat on it's own given the number of artifacts we run, as well as providing a beefy blocker. Between Urza's 4 toughness and the Construct token, Urza provides a lot of defense against aggro strategies all on his own. His second key ability is his ability to tap any artifact you control for blue mana. Importantly this still works under Stony Silencebecause it's an ability of Urza, not the artifacts, and it also operates while Urza is being named by Pithing Needlesince it is also a Mana Ability. This allows Urza to generate a ton of mana fast, which leads right into his final ability. His final ability is likewise great and allows Urza to effectively draw many extra card every turn even without the combo. Always play 4 copies.
Thopter Foundry- Probably the second best card in the deck. Enables the combo and can also be a relevant threat on it's own. Even without Sword of the Meek, sacrificing artifacts to gain life and make flying 1/1s can provide a viable clock in longer matches, especially against control. Foundry is often your preferred turn 2 play most of the time, and you should probably play copies
Sword of the Meek- Easily one of the worst cards in the deck in a vacuum, it is necessary for the combo. It does very little on it's own, but it's important to remember it does have an equip cost that you can pay to pump up a construct, or an Urza, even if you'll very rarely actually use it. Really nice that this generally does not even need to resolve, as if it is countered and ends up into the graveyard, the combo can begin just as easily by sacrificing another artifact to make a token and return the sword. Only 1 or 2 copies are usually required in the deck.
Mox Opal- Obvious inclusion in any artifact based deck to speed up the deck. Our deck is not so heavy on cheap artifact that you can expect to be casting 2 drops on turn 1 very often, as the Opal is often not turned on until turns 2 or 3, however it's still a very good card for the deck. You should probably play 4 copies, or 3 at the minimum.
Mishra's Bauble- 0 drop card that cantrips (though delayed by a turn), which helps enable Mox Opal, Whir of Invention, etc. You can also bauble yourself with a fetchland in play, then based on if you want the top card or not, shuffle it away with the fetchland before your next draw. When to sacrifice Bauble and when to keep it in play for Opal or Whir is rarely a clearcut answer. You need to analyze your hand, and your opponent to determine if the extra card on your following turn is worth it, or if it's better to keep it in play to either enable an extra improvise on Whir of Invention, or if it's needed for Mox Opal's metalcraft. Play 4 copies
Arcum's Astrolabe- Astrolabe is a card that is easily overlooked or dismissed, however is it has become a major core of the deck since it's printing. Astrolabe is the only 1 cmc artifact in modern than can draw a card when it enters, which alone pretty much makes it worth an inclusion, however the additional ability to filter mana to any colour without having to sacrifice itself makes it excellent at fixing mana, enabling whir, or generating additional mana with Urza. The only downside is that it requires a very snow basic heavy manabase to enable it on turn 1 consistently, however given the nature of the colour requirements in the deck, this is generally very easy to justify. Play 4 copies
Whir of Invention- Whir enables the toolbox of the deck, as well as acts as an instant speed tutor for our combo pieces of Foundry and Sword. The fact that you can't reduce the coloured mana cost does make it a little slow at times, but still well worth it. Whir's triple blue cost also means you have very little room for lands that don't produce blue mana in the deck. Generally you will want copies.
There are several options for colour choices with the deck, but given the blue cost of Urza, Whir, and Thopter Foundry, blue will always form the core of the manabase. The hybrid cost of Thopter Foundry will also force you into black or white as a secondary colour. Occassionally you will end at a 2 colour deck, however the printing of Goblin Engineerthat can put a Sword of the Meekinto the graveyard for you, or act as a value engine, has often made red a key part of the archetype. This means the most common colour combinations for the deck will typical be Grixis or Jeskai, however straight Dimir, Esper, or even 4 colour decks are possible. Arcum's Astrolabeand Mox Opaldo an excellent job of fixing whatever colours may be needed. Green is splashed the least often of all the colours, as it's only real options tend be more reactive cards like Abrupt Decayor Assassin's Trophy, it however does remain a consideration.
Since the Urza + Foundry + Sword combo doesn't actually let you win the turn you go off, but the infinite mana lets you dig through your whole deck, most people choose to play a single copy of a card that lets them win on the spot. Here I'll outline the most common options and their pros and cons.
Spine of Ish Sah- Doesn't actually win on the spot, but you can sac it to Foundry, putting it back into hand, and using your "infinite" blue mana to recast it, repeating until you've blown up every permenant they have, including lands. I can't think of any decks that would still be able to win from that spot. It's also able to be fetched with Whir of Invention, and can potentially answer a single hard hate card like Leyline of the Void, or Stony Silence. Downsides are that it is expensive, so casting it without an Urza can be tough, it also doesn't work against multiple hate cards.
Ghirapur Aether Grid- Great at pinging off small creatures, pressuring walkers, and acting as a wincon against even a Stony Silence. Does require red mana, and can be shut off with Pithing Needleeffects, also can't be Whir'd for.
Scrap Trawler- Works with Pyrite Spellbombto burn them out. Sac the spellbomb for 2 damage, then sac a Mox Opal to make a thoper, then sac sword to get back Spellbomb, and then sac sword again to get back Opal to pay the red to activate spellbomb again. Also can be tutor'd with Whir, and works as a great value engine when sacrificing artifacts for value with engineer or foundry. Scrap Trawler additionally has an infinite combo without Urza. If you have Scrap Trawler, Thopter Foundry, Sword of the Meek, and 2 Mox Opals, you can pay Foundry's activation cost with Mox Opal, then Sacrifice Sword, returning the 2nd Mox Opal from the graveyard with the Scrap Trawler trigger, as well as returning the sword. Repeat as many times as you wish as each time you return 1 Opal, the other will die due to the Legendary Rule. Weak to creature removal and graveyard hate.
Grinding Station- Mills the opponent out, since each Foundry activation yields 2 triggers (for sword and the token) and you can sac the token each time to mill your opponent. Also works as a small mana engine with Urza, allowing you to tap it for mana, then untap it if you cast an artifact, tapping it again for mana. Interestingly also triggers off opponent's artifacts entering, so possible extra utility in the mirror
Time Sieve- Can allow you to take infinite turns. Also works as an infinite combo without Urza, with just Thopter Foundry, Sword of the Meek, Time Sieve, and at least 5 mana. Allowing you to make 5 tokens, sac them to take an extra turn, and eventually net more and more leftover tokens as you play more lands.
Mirrodin Beseiged- Mirrodin option can make tokens for value, while the Phyrexia option can win the game for you on your end step. Not vulnerable to artifact hate, however the Mirrodin side is worse than Sai, Master Thopteristand the Phyrexian side is poor against graveyard hate.
Here I'll outline other commonly played or considered cards and group them by colour. I will include multicolour cards that are partly blue with the card of the 2nd colour (ie: UW cards with the White cards)
All of these artifacts have the advantage of working with Whir of Invention, and most also work with Goblin Engineer, so the cost of including them in the deck as even 1 ofs is pretty low
Grafdigger's Cage - Commonly played maindeck graveyard hate. 1 mana artifacts are good, graveyard hate is good in this graveyard heavy format. Usually only play 1 max in the main
Nihil Spellbomb - Similar to Cage above. One shot effect, but can also cycle in matchups where the graveyard hate is relevant, so it's a decent maindeck card.
Tormod's Crypt - Can't cycle when it's bad, but costs 0.
Pithing Needle - Also a commonly played 1 or 2 of in the main. There are few matchups where it's dead, and it's great against planeswalkers.
Pyrite Spellbomb - Artifact based removal spell that can also cycle when not needed. Pretty solid option overall
Ichor Wellspring - Cantripping artifact. Works great with Goblin Engineer or even a nice option to sac to Thopter Foundry. Most lists only run 1 for when Engineer needs to grab a value option in the face of potential graveyard hate, but anywhere from 1 to 4 copies are seen in various lists.
Mind Stone - Helps you ramp into Urza, while also cycling for a card late game
Pentad Prism - Also helps you ramp into Urza. Slightly faster than Mind Stone, at the cost of being a terrible top deck late game
Ensnaring Bridge - Great against a lot of creature decks. Some decks can't beat it in game 1. 1 copy is the most commonly played number, as the effect isn't needed as much with the combo, but still often an excellent option to have access to in a deck with Whir
Chromatic Star - Fixes colours, can cantrip. Downside is that it only cantrips when you sac it, which means Leyline of the Void/RiP shut it off, and it's not reusable. Definitely much worse than Arcum's Astrolabe, but it's another option for a 1 mana artifact that can draw you a card
Terrarion - Same deal as star, but entering tapped and costing 2 to activate makes it a worse version of star.
Serum Visions - Solid draw card, can help consistency, but takes slots away from artifacts. If you're going to play it, you probably want copies
Sai, Master Thopterist - 1/4 blocker than makes flying tokens and can help draw you extra cards. It's extra silly with Urza as the new thopters will net mana. Sacrificing a Sword of the Meek to his ability is often good, as if you draw and cast an artifact, it will make a token, returning Sword to the field. Excels against midrange/control decks and can win games almost by himself. He also makes it sometimes worthwhile to sandbag 0 mana artifact in hand until you've cast a Sai, if you don't need them sooner, so you can get immediate value.
Ceremonious Rejection - Sideboard card that is fairly commonly played as primarily an answer to Karn, the Great Creator
Counterspells - Always an option, though don't always play nicely with cards like ensnaring bridge, or the more tapout nature of the deck.
These will mostly slot into just sideboard cards, but depending on metas could move into the main
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas - Probably one of the best alternate wincons. His +1 can dig you for answer, as well as quickly threaten a lethal ultimate. His -1 can also put a lot of pressure on the opponent quickly, as targeting an artifact that doesn't have summoning sickness will effectively give you a hasty 5/5.
Dead of Winter - Really effective wrath effect that is enabled by our manabase and Astrolabes
Fatal Push - Solid removal, is there more to say?
Discard - Effective vs control and combo decks
Leyline of the Void - While technically playable without black, Leyline always feels terrible if you can't cast a topdecked one late, even if at that point its effectiveness is lower. Possibly the most effective, but narrow, graveyard hate card we have.
Collective Brutality - Discard, removal, and damage all in one. Works well with Ensnaring Bridge, and amazing against Burn.
Battle at the Bridge - Solid removal that can hit even large creatures and indestructible creatures. Incidently lifegain is also often relevant, especially against burn. Main downside is sorcery speed, and that it is bad against Gaddock Teeg
Path to Exile - Best removal in the format
Teferi, Time Raveler - Excellent planeswalker. Can protect your combo while also dealing with hate cards and providing card advantage with his
Wear // Tear - Obviously need to also be in red, but great removal against opposing hate cards, which are often enchantments or artifacts.
Deputy of Detention - Creature based removal for hate cards. Being a creature it can often avoid the Negate type effects people play, or the artifact/enchantment removal, however is vulnerable to creature removal. Also not exiling your own cards can be helpful in the mirror
Detention Sphere - Similar to above, but vulnerable to different removal
Tempest of Light - For when you really just hate enchantments
Goblin Engineer - The primary reason to dive into red. A powerhouse 2 drop. Tutors a Sword of the Meek into the graveyard for us, can become a value card draw engine by swapping Astrolabes and/or Ichor Wellsprings
Lightning Bolt - Solid removal spell that can hit players and pressure walkers
Galvanic Blast - Same as Bolt, however with metalcraft it's slightly better than bolt, and slightly worse without metalcraft. Blast is more commonly played than bolt, but Bolt is more consistent if you're worried you may not always have metalcraft. Especially against Infect, casting Blast with metalcraft is not super reliable on turn 1, and a Mutagenic Growth will make you wish it was a bolt.
Magmatic Sinkhole - Can sometimes be better than even galvanic blast, as our heavy fetchlands fuel delve, but probably can't afford more than 1 in the
Abrupt Decay - Solid removal that can hit most of our most feared hate cards, though can't hit Leyline of the Void. Uncounterable is very relevant against UW Control
Assassin's Trophy - Similar to Decay, but counterable against UW, but hits Leyline of the Void.
Maelstrom Pulse - Hits everything, includes multiple copies, but 3 mana and sorcery speed.
Back to Nature - For when you really just hate enchantments
Here is a deck repository managed by someone else that can compare certain top decks
Last edited by Systrill2 years ago, edited 16 times in total.Sours: https://www.mtgnexus.com/viewtopic.php?t=
Modern Thopter-Sword: Infinite Turns Wins Games
When I last wrote on UB Thopters in Modern I was high on cards like Glint-Nest Crane and Fatal Push, and uncertain on whether Whir of Invention was too mana intensive to find a home in the deck. Seven months later and I’m currently on a list with no copies of Push or Crane, and a full playset of Whirs. That’s Magic, right?
This dramatic reversal is partly due to metagame changes, but mostly due to how much space there is to brew around the Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, Thopter Foundry, Sword of the Meek core. The deck naturally includes elements of combo, prison, and control, and you can focus on any of those archetypes as the backbone of your strategy.
After much testing I’ve had the most success with a build that focuses on quickly assembling the combo, as seen in my current list below:
This build has lots of tutors and cantrips to dig for the combo quickly, alongside a high count of low CMC artifacts to consistently enable Whir of Invention for a combo piece by turn three. As necessary, the deck can detour to instead deploy silver bullets like Ensnaring Bridge or Grafdigger’s Cage, and if the combo is slow to materialize or gets disrupted we have Tezzeret as our contingency plan.
The move to a combo-centric build means we want three blue sources on turn three more often than not. Mox Opal, Talisman of Dominance, and Chromatic Star can cover up a few non-blue sources in the deck, but not many and not consistently. As a result we have cut all copies of both Darksteel Citadel and Ghost Quarter, leaving behind a single Academy Ruins and Inventors’ Fair as our non-blue-producing utility lands. A single swamp also makes the cut as a non-blue land, providing a way to shave some damage in the early game versus burn, and improve our ability to cast black spells under a Blood Moon.
Perhaps the most significant addition to the deck is the single copy of Time Sieve. For a long time I dismissed this card as a classic example of “win-more”, as it does nothing if you don’t have thopter-sword combo already on the battlefield with access to five mana. It turns out there are many decks in Modern that can win through a slowly building Thopter army (Taking Turns, Valakut, Vizier Company, etc), and others may draw an out if given several draw steps to try. So being able to just whir for a Time Sieve and take infinite turns, gain infinite life, and deal infinite damage is surprisingly relevant, and a bargain at the cost of one card slot.
Ultimately UB Thopters is a deck that's very good at winning game one, but struggles to be effective in games two and three. Virtually every deck in Modern sideboards some sort of artifact hate and some sort of graveyard hate, and the thopter-sword combo is vulnerable to both. We cannot board out the combo without gutting the deck, so we make an attempt to fight through it. Stony Silence is public enemy number one, and the reason we splash green for Abrupt Decay (which can be tutored with Muddle the Mixture!)and Maelstrom Pulse.
Recognizing that we likely won’t win post-board games by funnelling everything towards a fast combo, we increase our generic interaction with cards like Thoughtseize and Damnation, increase our “plan B” planeswalker count, and bring in matchup-specific high impact whir targets like Ethersworn Canonist and Witchbane Orb. These cards give us a fighting chance, but there are no free wins after game one.
Which brings us full circle to the criticism I myself laid on the deck last time around: why not just play Lantern of Insight control? To the extent there is a rational competitive reason, I would say that UB Thopters is less reliant on Ensnaring Bridge since it can chump block and go infinite, and that as amazing as Ancient Stirrings is, Whir of Invention is also extremely powerful as it always gets what you want and at instant speed. That doesn't mean there is, or ever will be, a meta where UB Thopters is a better competitive choice than Lantern, but it is at least a plausible reason to sleeve up Thopter Foundry over Lantern of Insight.
Until next time, good luck getting your infinite turns off while your Taking Turns opponent fumbles around with Howling Mines!
Last updated on August 9,
Omniscience | Illustration by Jason Chan
Time is an interesting concept, isn’t it? We’re bound by it no matter what we do and are aware that everything has an end as we desperately watch the clocks ticking. What a dramatic start right? This may be a dark way to start an article about MTG, but let me give you a hint so you can forget about the chains of time: you can use MTG to make your opponent suffer in an infinite loop and laugh as they realize they can do nothing to stop their inevitable loss. Unless they have a counterspell, which is always an option.
Let me lay it out plainly if you’re still lost: I wanna talk about some (there are a lot) infinite combos you can pull off in MTG. Specifically infinite combos in Modern and EDH.
As we all know, Magic is a very complex game. If you’re up for some academic reading, there’s a research paper by Alex Churchill, Stella Biderman, and Austin Herrick called “Magic: The Gathering is Turing Complete,” which argues that “MTG is the most computationally complex real-world game known in the literature.” There are more than 20, unique cards in MTG and more are added every year, so the number of plays you can actually pull off increases all the time.
What Are Infinite Combos?
With this many options, any experienced player could come up with a play that is literally unstoppable if the right conditions are set. There are some that provide infinite life, some that produce infinite mana, and some that can give one—occasionally all—of your creatures infinite power.
You could create endless armies or simply throw infinite spells at your opponent. I don’t know the exact number of infinite combos in MTG, but I’ll try to cover those that are most viable and well-known. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
This one is not about a single infinite combo, but a single card that has the potential to enable multiple infinite combos. Its ability looks pretty insignificant at first, but combined with certain cards, it can help you produce infinite mana, buff your creatures with a gazillion counters and draw at the same time, or even have infinite turns.
There are other combos that can go infinite with Temur Sabertooth, but we’ll focus on two in detail so you can get the hang of how infinite combos work in practice. I’ll be it a bit more succinct as we go down our list.
Zacama, Primal Calamity
So, here’s our first one. You need Temur Sabertooth, 12 mana, and Zacama, Primal Calamity. With Temur Sabertooth already on the board, tap your lands for 12 mana and play Zacama. As it enters the battlefield, Zacama will untap all your lands. Then you can use your floating mana to return it to your hand with Temur Sabertooth’s ability, which nets you an additional mana.
This is where the infinite combo comes into play: as your lands are untapped again, you can repeat the process until you gain infinite life. You can even play some enchantments that double your mana to gain faster access to this combo, like Mirari’s Wake.
Time Warp and Archaeomancer
Another combo you can use with Temur Sabertooth allows you to take infinite turns. This time you need two other cards: Time Warp and Archaeomancer. Once you’ve got all three ready to go, you only need enough mana to use them one after the other.
First, play Time Warp and return it to your hand with Archaeomancer. Next, use Temur Sabertooth’s ability to get Archaeomancer back to your hand. This is a certain win if your opponent doesn’t have a way to remove one of your creatures since you’ll be the only player that is, you know, playing. You can also replace Archaeomancer and Time Warp with any sorcery that gives you another turn before heading to the graveyard like Time Stretch or Time Walk plus a creature that allows you to bring a sorcery back from the dead.
Deceiver Exarch and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
A simple but effective combo that lets you create an infinite number of creatures to finish your opponent. First, get Deceiver Exarch on the battlefield and then play Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker targeting Exarch to create a copy of it. The new Exarch comes to the battlefield and untaps Kiki-Jiki. Repeat the process as many times as needed to finish your opponent since Exarch’s tokens will have haste.
This is also known as the Splinter Twin combo because the namesake enchantment works the same way as Kiki. You can also use Pestermite or Zealous Conscripts for your untapper.
Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid
This is a relatively cheap combo that produces infinite mana. Devoted Druid adds one green mana when tapped and can be untapped for a -1/-1 counter. Vizier of Remedies prevents it from getting this counter so you can continuously tap and untap Devoted Druid for infinite green mana.
You can also use Quillspike instead of the Vizier, which removes -1/-1 counters to get +3/+3, basically giving it an infinite amount of power with Devoted Druid. If you have any way to give it haste or it already got over its summoning sickness, the game is over. However, all it takes is a simple removal so your opponent can prevent their demise. Still, it’s a fun way to make your opponent sigh and give up the game.
Irencrag Feat, Prismite, and Nivix Guildmage
Another infinite-mana, instant-win combo that’s relatively easy to pull off. Irencrag Feat provides you with seven red mana, but also restricts you to casting one more spell that turn. But, this doesn’t prevent it from getting copied. So, tap Prismite to get a blue mana and just copy Irencrag with Nivix Guildmage. Then you can copy it again, again, and again to get an infinite amount of mana, which you can use to activate Nivix Guildmage’s draw/discard ability and get a spell like Banefire to kill off your opponent.
There are various ways to make this combo work, but I’ll go over just one since the concept is pretty simple. Morselhoarder comes into play with two -1/-1 counters and can add one mana by removing one of these counters. If you enchant it with Sinking Feeling, you can pay one mana to put another -1/-1 counter on and untap it. Finally, Power of Fire deals one damage whenever you tap Morselhoarder, and repeat the process unto forever.
You need four cards to make this combo work. First is Dramatic Reversal, which untaps all non-land permanents you control. Then you’ll need Elite Arcanist, allowing you to exile an instant card from your hand and copy it by paying its converted mana cost. You also need a creature or artifact that you can tap for two or more mana, like Hedron Archive. Finally, you need to have Guttersnipe on the battlefield to trigger its ability.
Here’s how it works: Hedron Archive and Guttersnipe are on the battlefield. Before you play Elite Arcanist, tap Hedron Archive to get two mana. Dramatic Reversal is then exiled and copied, untapping all permanents, which allows you to repeat the process infinitely. Since Dramatic Reversal will trigger Guttersnipe each time, you can deal infinite damage to your opponent.
Deadeye Navigator and Peregrine Drake
Deadeye Navigator is another flexible card that is widely used for combos. It pairs with another creature thanks to its soulbond ability, which allows you to exile that creature and bring it back to the battlefield for two mana. Peregrine Drake untaps five lands when it enters the battlefield, so each time you exile and bring it back, you get three additional mana. You can also swap Peregrine Drake with Palinchron or Great Whale if they suit you better.
Ral, Storm Conduit and Double Expansion
Most of the combos here aren’t legal in Standard, but this one is, at least for another month or so. You’ll need Ral, Storm Conduit, two copies of Expansion, four mana to cast them in succession, and enough mana to get the combo going.
First, Ral needs to be on the battlefield. Then, cast any cheap spell (like Opt) to start the combo. Cast Expansion on the spell, then cast another Expansion to copy that, creating an infinite loop. Ral will deal one damage each time an instant or sorcery is cast and with infinite loops comes infinite damage.
When talking about infinite combos, most people think about life or mana, but infinite counters are also a thing. Perhaps the easiest card to make this kind of combo work is Enduring Scalelord. It has a simple ability: whenever a creature gains a +1/+1 counter, Enduring Scalelord also gains one.
Unless you’re playing a singleton format, you can play two of them to start an infinite loop of counters. And if you are playing singleton, all you need is to replicate it like with Altered Ego, Clone, etc. The loop is actually, unstoppably infinite, but you’d need to stop it eventually if you want to continue playing. You may just say they each have a +million/+million counters to end the madness.
Yore-Tiller Nephilim, Medomai the Ageless, and Viscera Seer
This is one of those combos that give you infinite turns, but it’s kinda tricky. The combo is built around Yore-Tiller Nephilim, Medomai the Ageless, and Viscera Seer (or any creature with a sacrifice a creature ability). Medomai has an incredible ability which allows you to take an extra turn if it deals combat damage to a player, but it can’t be declared attacker during the extra turn.
So, you sacrifice Medomai with Viscera Seer’s ability during your extra turn and attack with Yore-Tiller Nephilim, which brings Medomai back to the battlefield, tapped and attacking. Since Medomai will once again hit your opponent, you get another turn. You can repeat this as long as you want. You should keep in mind that Medomai has to hit your opponent for you to get that extra turn. You can use something like Sleep to tap your opponent’s creatures or Deepchannel Mentor so it can’t be blocked.
Selvala, Heart of the Wilds and Freed from the Real
Infinite mana is always welcome, and this one is really easy. All you need is Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, Freed from the Real, and a creature with at least three power. Selvala can tap for one green mana to add mana equal to the greatest power among creatures you control and then you untap it for one blue mana thanks to Freed from the Real. If you have a creature with at least three power, you’ll always gain more than you’re spending.
Grand Architect and Pili-Pala
Grand Architect and Pili-Pala is used by a lot of players in various formats and is perhaps the most commonly known infinite mana combo. When you activate Grand Architect’s first ability, Pili-Pala becomes a blue creature and, with the Architect’s second ability, you can tap it for two colorless mana. You can then use Pili-Pala’s ability with this two mana to gain one mana of any color and repeat the loop as many times you want.
Riku of Two Reflections and Palinchron
This one is both an infinite mana and infinite token combo. If you have Riku of Two Reflections on the field, when you play Palinchron, you can choose to copy it. Since Palinchron untaps all of your lands, you can then return it to your hand with its ability and play it again to make an infinite number of tokens. If you have seven lands, you’ll also spend six mana to gain seven mana each turn, providing you with infinite mana.
Famished Paladin and Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord
It might take a while to put this combo in place, but if your opponent doesn’t stop it in time, you get both infinite life and damage. Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord provides your creatures with lifelink during your turn and Famished Paladin can untap whenever you gain life. All you need is to equip him with a simple Sorcerer’s Wand and he can deal damage and untap for infinite damage (and life, as if it matters at this point). It’s reasonably cheap, so you can use it competitively.
Duskmantle Guildmage and Mindcrank
MTG is such a marvelously broken game that you can defeat your opponent with just seven mana. Duskmantle Guildmage has two abilities: the first one makes your opponent loses one life each time a card is put in their graveyard, and the second puts the top two cards of their library into their graveyard. Meanwhile, Mindcrank makes it so your opponent has to put a number of cards in their graveyard equal to the damage they receive. This triggers an infinite loop of damage and mill, so congratulations! You just made someone hate you.
Spike Feeder and Archangel of Thune
This combo saw some play in Modern, but it takes a while to start and is relatively easy to prevent. Spike Feeder comes to play with two +1/+1 counters on it, and you can remove one of them to gain 2 life. Archangel of Thune puts a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control whenever you gain life, which means infinite life and infinite counters on creatures you have on the battlefield. Other than Spike Feeder, of course.
Lion’s Eye Diamond and Auriok Salvagers
Lion’s Eye Diamond is a well-known artifact for infinite combos and there are multiple ways to use it, but I’ll stick to just one. This one works with Auriok Salvagers, which allows you to return Lion’s Eye Diamond from your graveyard. Each time you sacrifice Lion’s Eye Diamond, you get three mana of any color and you spend two to bring it back, essentially giving you infinite mana of any colors.
But you still need to find a way to draw some cards to actually damage your opponent or have a mana sink to use to convert your infinite mana into something useful, like Pyrite Spellbomb, which you can use with Auriok Salvagers to bring back and sacrifice infinitely since you have infinite mana.
Time Vault and Voltaic Key
Anyone who plays Vintage frequently has probably come across this combo at least once. Although it’s banned in EDH and Legacy and restricted in Vintage, it would be a shame to not mention it when talking about infinite combos. The fame comes from its simplicity and effectiveness: Time Vault taps to take an extra turn and you need to skip a turn to untap it. However, you can solve this problem with Voltaic Key since it allows you to untap Time Vault, take an extra turn, repeat it infinitely and basically win the game since your opponent will have no chance to play.
Hushwing Gryff, Wormfang Manta, and Conjurer’s Closet
Taking infinite turns is always welcome, so here’s another one. Hushwing Gryff prevents creatures from triggering their abilities when they enter the battlefield, so you won’t have to skip a turn when Wormfang Manta comes into play. But, when you exile it with Conjurer’s Closet and have it come back, you get to take an extra turn. Rinse and repeat until you win the game.
Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and Curiosity
Sometimes, dealing infinite damage is just too easy to be called fair. Niv-Mizzet has a couple of ways to make it work, but the concept is very simple. Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind deals 1 damage to your opponent whenever you draw a card. If you enchant him with Curiosity, you draw another card and create an infinite loop. This also works with Tandem Lookout or Ophidian Eye.
Time Sieve and Thopter Assembly
You need a solid mana base to make this one work since you have to cast Thopter Assembly each turn. Time Sieve needs to be on the battlefield first, and when you begin your upkeep with Thopter Assembly as the only Thopter on the battlefield, it will create five 1/1 tokens, which you will use as sacrifices to your Time Sieve. Thopter Assembly returns to your hand, you cast it again, continue as long as you want. You only need a couple of non-Thopter creatures or pretty much any way of ending your opponent, but it shouldn’t be that difficult at this point.
Enter the Infinite and Omniscience
An infinite draw and cast combo that can only be prevented by a solid counterspell, or death is inevitable. With Omniscience, you’re able to cast spells from your hand without paying their mana costs. Enter the Infinite allows you to draw your entire library, which means that you can just throw your library at your opponent and say, “I win.”
Personal Favorite: Mindslaver and Academy Ruins
As far as infinite combos go, this one is devilishly fun for me, and you’ll soon learn why. It requires some mana to work but is literally unstoppable unless you decide to stop it. Sacrificing Mindslaver allows you to take your opponent’s next turn. This alone makes it a powerful card, but if you also add Academy Ruins, you can tap it on your upkeep to put it back on the top of your library. Then you draw it on your turn, repeat the process, and play the game alone. It might reduce the number of friends you have, but you can’t deny it’s a great combo.
The Combo’s Over
Like I said earlier, there are just too many infinite combos in MTG to mention all of them. It’s a complex game, with complex mechanics and an outstanding number of cards to choose from, so it’s highly possible that there are some combos still undiscovered. If you think there are some combos missing that I should have mentioned, let us know in the comments below!
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Time sieve combo mtg
A large study makes sense when the study subject has shown promise and theres enough material to study. The interaction of Thopter Foundry with Sword of the Meek with Urza, Lord High Artificer enjoyed major tournament success in Modern even before the bannings, and now that Hogaak and Faithless Looting are gone, the future of the archetype looks brighter still.
People also provided a lot of data: they submitted a total of Urzas Sword Foundry lists across the four GPs in Barcelona, Minneapolis, Birmingham, and Las Vegas. For this article, I looked at all of them and tried to determine what construction and design decisions separated the more successful from the less successful.
Alas, the more recent team GPs provided no usable data at all. No one tracks individual players and, by extension, decks performance. Generally speaking, its impossible to do so accurately because the third match stops or stops being relevant as soon as two members of a team win their round. Thus, a person can finish first at a tournament without winning a single game, and three teammates can each go and still be in the standings. This last one actually happened once when I was doing coverage. It makes for a cool story about excellent timing, but not for compelling evidence regarding the merits of their decks.
The central combo generates an arbitrarily large amount of Thopters, life, mana, and Urza activations as early as turn three. Its a three-piece puzzle, one of which is Thopter Foundry.
Only a tiny minority of four players ran fewer than three copies of Thopter Foundry. A sample size this small usually doesnt settle anything. But their exceptionally poor performance suggests that the majority is right: three or four copies seem correct, though the minimal difference between either doesnt tell us which of the two numbers is better.
Then theres Sword of the Meek:
Again, the typical vastly outperformed the atypical, which leads to an even clearer verdict: Two appear to be the optimal number of Swords.
The data on Urza, Lord High Artificer looked similar to that for Thopter Foundry in that there was no proper control group. Only nine main decks featured fewer than four copies of Urza. But these nine decks earned half as many match points as those with a full set, so the recommendation is equally unequivocal: One should go as high on Lord High Artificers as possible.
The trio has an honorary fourth member in Goblin Engineer. Using this card makes for the fastest and most reliable way to assemble the engine. It also explains the two copies of Sword of the Meek, which might as well begin life in, of all places, the graveyard.
Both the public vote and the performance data suggest that four Engineers spoil the broth, while two may be too few.
Essentially all of the above also applies to Whir of Invention, and much in the same way. Even if the numbers are less clear, they dont cast any serious doubt on what appears to have become widely accepted consensus.
Regarding Mox Opal, almost every deck ran on four cylinders, and deviation from the norm met with dismal failure. The data on the required suspension didnt prove anything, except that it did prove more interesting. The seven main decks without the maximum of Mishras Bauble, for instance, underperformed by points. The five main decks with four Mox, four Bauble, and two Welding Jar, on the other hand, outperformed the overall average by points.
Slower forms of mana acceleration didnt do well:
Players without Mind Stone in their main deck won over two matches more than those with one Mind Stone and over one match more than those with two.
An additional explosive accelerant, by contrast, did very well:
This picture doesnt even tell the whole truth. The 14 players with two copies of Pentad Prism in their main deck earned points, their average exceeding the overall average by two match wins, while the single entrant with three copies ended up on 29 points. Chances are youve never seen a list with Pentad Prism, simply because its not very common. But these numbers indicate that to be a possible mistake.
Arcums Astrolabe was another open-and-shut case. Decks with four copies were way more popular and way more successful than those with fewer: a point average across players compared to a point average across seven players.
Similar to Mox Opal, the corollary again turned out to be more interesting. In a vacuum, more direct or indirect sources of snow mana for Arcums Astrolabe are obviously better. But so is finding room for actual duals that provide different mana on different turns, or for utility like Academy Ruins, Blast Zone, or Inventors Fair. As such, I expected the addition of further snow and fetch lands to yield diminishing returns after reaching some level of saturation. Well
Except for the little plateau between 14 and 15, each additional source of snow mana correlated with a noticeable increase in points. The development stopped at 17 because no one went beyond 17 sources, although things may be leveling off at this point anyway. I wouldnt go beyond 17 either, but I definitely wouldnt go below 16 now.
The Passenger Cabin
Safety first. Not having any Ensnaring Bridge in your starting 60 is clearly wrong. However, the advantage of versions with two Bridges might just be a function of these decks still having to deal with quick Hogaaks and Vengevines.
In fact, many aspects I could examine in this section run the risk of no longer being applicable to modern Modern. Main decks with Grafdiggers Cage performed a little better than those without, while the reverse was true for Tormods Crypt. Neither may be true now, whereas both may end up true again if Once Upon a Time supercharges Neobrand. The ability to draw from a toolbox is one of the decks biggest assets, but I dont want to focus on the more specific answers here.
Teferi, Time Raveler is somewhat of the opposite—an answer to just about anything but Karn, the Great Creator. Main decks with Teferi made points more on average than those without.
Pithing Needle was present in 95% of main decks. But neither presence nor absence made any difference whatsoever for points, and using Sorcerous Spyglass actively hurt.
Indeed, lots of things that people stuffed into their flex slots didnt exert any influence in the aggregate. 27 main decks with two copies of Sai, Master Thopterist outperformed the average by points, while 47 main decks with one copy underperformed by points, and the 92 main decks without any went above par. Karn,Spellskite, Chromatic Star, or Nihil Spellbomb—it was all the same.
The first Ichor Wellspring looks reasonable enough, as it can turn your Engineer into a one-Goblin value machine. But the second and third copy seem quite unnecessary. Rather, its surprising how many people found the space.
The Exhaust Pipe
After gaining all the life, adding all the blue mana, and generating all the Thopters in the world, you might not want to just pass the turn, at least not back to your opponent. After all, Urza allows you to cast your whole deck. So instead, you could grill the opponent on a Ghirapur Aether Grid or loop Pyrite Spellbomb via Scrap Trawler. At the least, you could break all opposing permanents on the Spine of Ish Sah or take all the turns via Time Sieve.
A lot of players even gave themselves several options
While Spine was better than being spineless, it is notable that only Time Sieve outperformed the none of the above option, and barely at that. It evidently proved more important to get Urzas Sword Foundry running in the first place than to worry about what more to do with it once operational.
With the mirror more prevalent nowadays, one shouldnt pass with millions of Thopters and allow the opponent to create billions of Thopters in return. Although Pithing Needle could always do the trick, Time Sieve does look appealing, precisely because it can do stuff even when the Lord High Artificer isnt around.
Heres the outline of a list that takes everything into account:
Tags: CFB, channelfireball, Magic, Magic: The Gathering, Modern, Modern magic, Modern Thopter Sword, Modern Thopters, Modern Urza, Modern Whirza, MTG, mtg modern, Sword of the Meek combo, Thopter Foundry combo, Thopter Foundry Modern, Thopter Sword, Thopter Sword Combo, Thopter Sword Modern, Tobi Henke
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Artifactial Intelligence, A Breya Combo Deck
First off is the commander, Breya:
The utility that this card alone provides is outstanding. The ability to kill creatures, deal damage to your opponents, or gain life at instant speed can get you out of a lot of tricky situations. Next up would probably be the combos. The first of those is infinite turns, which is achieved with Time Sieve and Thopter Assembly
by sacrificing the 5 thopters created by Thopter Assembly each turn to Time Sieve and then replaying Thopter Assembly, or Thopter Foundry, Sword of The Meek, Time Sieve, and 5 mana,
sacrificing Sword of the Meek to Thopter Foundry 5 times and then sacrificing the thopters created this way to Time Sieve each turn. The next combo is infinite thopters and infinite life, along with infinite colored mana, which is gotten with Thopter Foundry, Sword of the Meek, Ashnod’s Altar/Krark-Clan Ironworks, and 1 mana.
You run this combo by sacrificing Sword of the Meek to Thopter Foundry, then sacrificing the Thopter created this way to repeat this process. That nets you 1 life and 1 colorless mana each time the loop is repeated. Then you can repeat the loop using your infinite colorless mana to activate Thopter Foundry to create infinite thopters. The next combo is one of the easiest to pull off and it gives you infinite mana of any color and wins you the game, using Grand Architect and Pili-Pala.
You activate Grand Architect’s ability, making Pili-Pala blue until end of turn, then tap Pili-Pala to activate its’ own ability and add infinite mana of each color to your mana pool. Then you can play Breya and sacrifice her to herself infinite times to kill your opponents using Breya’s deal 3 damage to target player option. The next combo is another instantaneous win combo, using Krark-Clan Ironworks/Ashnod’s Altar, Nim Deathmantle/Eldrazi Displacer, and Breya herself.
You sacrifice Breya and both of her thopters when using Nim Deathmantle, and return Breya to the battlefield using that mana, netting 2 colorless mana every time, then repeat the process, but only sacrifice 1 Thopter each time, and you gain infinite thopters. Then use your mana and thopters to hit your opponents for 3 with Breya’s ability, returning her to the battlefield each time with Nim Deathmantle. When using Eldrazi Displacer, sacrifice both of Breya’s thopters to flicker her, netting 1 colorless mana each time. Then use that mana to flicker Breya without sacrificing her thopters, gaining infinite thopters. Then shoot your opponents in the face for 3 damage repeatedly. Next combo is an infinite colorless mana combo, using Ashnod’s Altar/Krark-Clan Ironworks, Wurmcoil Engine, and Nim Deathmantle.
Sacrifice Wurmcoil Engine for 2 mana, than sacrifice one of its’ Wurms created when it dies to return it to the battlefield, then sacrifice the other Wurm so that you net 2 mana. This can also be done without sacrificing the second Wurm for infinite Wurms. The final combo is a complete boardwipe exclusively for your opponents, which is achieved by overloading Vandalblast while Mycosynth Lattice is in play.
Next are the cards that aren’t parts in my combos but in my deck. The first part of that section of cards is my creatures:
A lot of recursion and ramp, along with some assorted utility cards. Then comes my artifacts:
Primarily ramp, along jet some removal and protection. Then my sorceries:
Which are my tutors, recursion, and my uncounterable boardwipe. Next are my instants:
Which range from a tutor to removal to protection. Then comes the enchantments:
Which are used for digging through my library to find what I need. Then come the planeswalkers:
Saheeli can win alone if she ultimates, Tezzerer is mainly a tutor, and Daretti is fantastic card draw and recursion. And finally, the mana base:
So here’s the final decklist all typed out:
1 Breya, Etherium Shaper
1 Time Sieve
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Padeem, Consul of Innovation
1 Myr Retriever
1 The Antiquities War
1 Spirebluff Canal
1 Dimir Signet
1 Soul of New Phyrexia
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Thopter Assembly
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Trophy Mage
1 Coalition Relic
1 Mana Drain
1 Command Tower
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Crumbling Necropolis
1 Grand Architect
1 Inventors' Fair
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Sharuum the Hegemon
1 Executioner's Capsule
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Sanctum Gargoyle
1 Sword of the Meek
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Temple of Epiphany
1 Search for Azcanta
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Grixis Panorama
1 Izzet Signet
1 Path of Ancestry
1 Chief Engineer
1 Diabolic Intent
1 Canyon Slough
1 Trading Post
1 Mastermind's Acquisition
1 Open the Vaults
1 Eldrazi Displacer
1 Krark-Clan Ironworks
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Sai, Master Thopterist
1 Dispeller's Capsule
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Fetid Heath
1 Shivan Reef
1 Goblin Welder
1 Daretti, Scrap Savant
1 Lim-Dul's Vault
1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
1 Thopter Foundry
1 Sol Ring
1 Mystic Monastery
1 Scrap Mastery
1 Teferi's Protection
1 Mycosynth Wellspring
1 Saheeli Rai
1 Fetid Pools
1 Commander's Sphere
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Merchant's Dockhand
1 Whir of Invention
1 Nomad Outpost
1 Great Furnace
1 Rugged Prairie
1 Vedalken Engineer
1 Etherium Sculptor
1 Scrap Trawler
1 Irrigated Farmland
1 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Land Tax
1 Nim Deathmantle
1 Ashnod's Altar
1 Ethersworn Adjudicator
1 Hanna, Ship's Navigator
1 Mycosynth Lattice
This was my first attempt at a deck tech, let me know how I did and what you think of the deck. Any input and recommendations are welcome!