Welcome to my fiftieth article for StarCityGames! I have been a Featured Writer for this site for a little over a year now, and I thought that I’d do something special for this article.
Mirrodin is out and we noticed right away that it was a very synergetic set. Mark Rosewater confirmed shortly later that the set was designed to be open-ended, with a lot of potential for combining cards from the past with Mirrodin.
I began searching for a new deck idea or something to that effect. I found a bunch more combos than I expected in just a short time. So my article idea hit me – one combo for every article published. Fifty combos!
Now, some of these combos are really combos in the classic sense of the word. They win you the game. Others make a lot of mana, or are cute synergies. Some will sweep the board, some will put you in a winning position, some are fun. This is multiplayer, not States. Feel encouraged to play with something fun.
Many of the ideas suggest other possible cards. Hopefully, these ideas will spark a deck idea for you. If you start building a deck from one of these ideas, please let me know how it goes in the forums.
I’ve tried to steer clear of the most obvious combos; Leveler and Shared Fate or Broodstar and artifacts is pretty easy to figure out. And I didn’t touch cards like Mindslaver and Timesifter, knowing that most people would already have gravitated to those sorts of cards.
One note: Virtually all of these combos use cards from outside Mirrodin. A Mirrodin card is listed first in each entry. Anyway, without further ado:
1. Myr Incubator – Epic Struggle
In one card, you can make twenty-plus token Myrs with a commitment of six mana. You’ll need an artifact-heavy deck, obviously. You’ll also have to wait around a turn before winning, which could prove difficult against Disenchant effects. My recommendation is to play the Incubator first, pop it at the end of somebody’s turn for twenty-five Myr in order to have a safety net… Then play some Time Walk effect and drop the Epic Struggle. It gives players no chance to play their sorcery-speed removal like Hull Breach. Sterling Grove might also be a nice choice, since it makes the Epic Struggle untargetable. For another artifact way of making creatures, see the rather innocent-looking Nuisance Engine, which will pump out 0/1 Pests.
2. Dross Harvester – Firecat Blitz
Get out the Harvester then play a bunch of cute 1/1 kitties and swing for some damage. They’re dying anyway, right? Might as well bring some love with you. Then gain a bunch of life as the kitty timeline expires and the cats *poof* away.
3. Loxodon Peacekeeper – Necropotence effects
Don’t use the original Necropotence, because it’s too flimsy. Try Phyrexian Arenas and stuff to keep your life total low enough to keep the Loxodon. Spread the love slowly among other players. Please note that our next combo also uses tasty cards in the Necropotence vein.
4. Empyrial Plate – Yawgmoth’s Bargain
Again, Necro itself is a bit limiting and slow. But Yawgmoth’s Bargain? Slap a Bargain down, attack with an Empyrial Plated creature, and then draw some cards instantly to add a punch. Creature pump never had it so good. Put the Armor on something like, say, a Spikeshot Goblin in order to hit somebody for a bunch of damage. Toss in a black creature like El-Hajjaj or put Loxodon Warhammer on a creature to gain your life back. Card drawing never had it so good…
5. Second Sunrise – Goblin Bombardment
Sac a bunch of creatures, rinse, and repeat. If those creatures have come into play effects (hint, hint), then you could cause a whole heap of hurt. Nekrataal, Uktabi Orangutan, Man o’War, Avalanche Riders, Ghitu Slinger, Wall of Blossoms, Cackling Fiend, and so forth. You could really sweep the board.
6. Second Sunrise – False Prophet
Sac a bunch of creatures to some effect – Goblin Bombardment, Ashnod’s Altar, Altar of Dementia, something. Then after all of them have resolved, sac your last creature – a False Prophet. Oops, everybody’s creatures get removed from the game. Then play Second Sunrise and get your creatures back. Since the other creatures were removed, they aren’t coming back. Bang! Insta-army, just add Fervor. Or a Time Warp.
7. Solar Tide – Glorious Anthem
If your own creatures are all mega-big due to enchantments like Glorious Anthem, then a Solar Tide hitting all of the small annoying creatures that spawn in multiplayer games would be a nice addition. If all of your creatures are initially 2/2s or smaller, then you could use the Tide early and take out big nasties without any worry of your own creatures taking the fall. You can use both halves of Solar Tide when you need to and keep your creatures alive.
8. Sphere of Purity – Copper Tablet
Play with several of the artifacts that hurt everybody each turn like Barbed Wire… Then slap down a Sphere of Purity so you take nothing from all of these pings. Guardian Beasts or Leonin Abunas will help protect your artifact horde. If you play”slow down” cards like Winter Orb, Rising Waters, or Static Orb, then you can deal more damage over periods of time.
9. Fatespinner – Recycle
Play with cards that give you a powerful effect but cause you to skip your draw step, like Necropotence, Yawgmoth’s Bargain, or Recycle. Just choose”draw step” when you play your Fatespinner, and you lose nothing. But each of your opponent’s will have to skip a step or phase that they care about.
10. Inertia Bubble – Twiddle
Although you can, of course, lock down artifact creatures with Inertia Bubble, the idea here is to permanently take out one of those artifacts that are turned off when they are tapped. Winter Orb or Static Orb got your playgroup down. Turn that sucker off permanently, which has a much greater”In Your Face” quality than mere disenchant effects. And it’s in blue. Of course, there are probably better choices than Twiddle, like Mind Games.
11. Psychic Membrane – Nettling Imp
I hate it when I have a good creature like the Psychic Membrane sitting around and nobody attacks into it. Let’s start forcing some attacks here people. Hey, you – Royal Assassin dude! Attack. Or kill my Imp…
Still, barring Assassin-dom, the Imp is pretty good for manipulating a table.
12. Quicksilver Elemental – Avatar of Woe
Make it a Morphling or a Psychatog or something and it’s pretty good. Make it into an Avatar and it becomes much better. Play the Elemental first in order to avoid summoning sickness, and then when Mr. Clown Face arrives on the scene, you have the ability to kill right away.
13. Temporal Cascade – Lavaborn Muse
Everybody loses their hand. Boom! Everybody takes damage every turn. Plus, they have no cards in hand to kill the Muse with. Watch as a table withers away. Unless they topdeck Muse Removal, in which case, I’d want a backup plan like Wheel of Torture.
14. Contaminated Bond – Sleeper Agent
The great thing about Sleeper Agent is that you can kill someone by giving them a 3/3 on the first turn. Of course, they usually stomp after you. Take the life total advantage by forcing them to suck up an additional three damage to attack with the Sleeper Agent. Five life a turn to only deal three seems rather uneven. First-turn Sleeper Agent, second-turn Contaminated Bond? Ouch.
15. Atog – Myr Incubator – Fling
Pop the Incubator as an instant and make a bunch of baby Myr. Then use either Atog or Megatog to make a big huge creatures by sucking in all of the little cute Myr. And with your big creature, use Fling (or the Mirrodin version in Grab the Reins or Bloodshot Cyclops) to throw the Supatog at somebody for a whole heap of damage. You could easily deal fifty or sixty damage with a normal sixty-card deck.
16. Quicksilver Fountain – Capsize
Make a bunch of lands islands – then just, before the flood waters recede and lands return to their normal state, bounce the Fountain, leaving behind a flooded landscape. It hurts your opponent’s mana base significantly. Tricky blue mages.
17. Quicksilver Fountain – Seasinger
So there’s this cheap 0/1 merfolk that taps to take control of any creature, so long as that creature’s controller controls an island. How could you ensure that every one of our opponents has an island? Hmmmm……
18. Vulshok Battlemaster – Soul Nova
Attack with your Vulshok equipped with everybody’s equipment all around the table. That’s a mighty big swing. Put damage on the stack, and Soul Nova your own Battlemaster. You deal a lot of damage to someone, and you get to remove everybody’s equipment from the game.
19. War Elemental – Armageddon Clock
Get your War Elemental into play by Shocking somebody or something silly, then every upkeep, your Elemental will grow in direct proportion to the number of players. All of the damage that gets flung at each other simply causes your Elemental to grow.
20. Living Hive – Berserk
Living Hive plus any sort of pump is pretty good. But the granddaddy of pump will add six power and trample so you’ll get through. Getting ten or twelve insect tokens is a beautiful thing. For a Mirrodin card that does a similar thing, see Predator’s Strike. This is also an interesting way to get to Epic Struggle level.
21. Bosh, Iron Golem – Draco
Take two of the biggest artifact creatures around and what have you got? A whole lot of pain. Draco is certainly castable in multiplayer games, especially in multicolor decks. You can also get Draco in play in a variety of other ways. My favorite Draco-Bosh combo? Sneak Attack. Sneak out Draco, slap a player silly for nine, then fling the dying Draco at somebody for sixteen. That’s a hit that’ll keep a player down.
22. Crystal Shard – Battlemages
Bouncing a 187 creature with Crystal Shard is easy to figure out. What you want to do is find a creature with a high degree of versatility. Thornscape Battlemage, for example, can kill a small creature and break an artifact. Pop an enchantment and cause the discard of two cards with Thunderscape Battlemage. Kill a flyer and draw some cards with Sunscape Battlemage. Those are the three good ones that you can really invest in.
23. Crystal Shard – Sneak Attack
Another Sneak Attack trick is to Sneak out your big nasty, then bounce that critter back for more nasty action. It keeps your creature free from sorcery-speed kill, and you can protect it from death by bouncing it in response to cards like Chastise and Exile.
24. Dross Scorpion – Ashnod’s Altar – Isochron Scepter
Dross Scorpion appears to be one of the powerful combo engines of the set. In this incarnation, Imprint a burn spell under the Scepter. Then make a bunch of Artifact creatures, by, say a Myr Incubator – which also appears to be a powerful card. Now sac a Myr token to Ashnod’s Altar to make two mana, the Scepter untaps from the Scorpion, and you have the mana to burn your opponents ad nauseum. If you Imprint a Lightning Bolt or Incinerate, then a Myr Incubator that pulls out twenty Myr could do sixty damage – enough to kill anywhere from two to four people at a multiplayer table. Plus, you could stop early and have a heap of extra mana to use.
25. Fireshrieker – Blinding Angel
Make your opponent skip two combat steps. In fact, Fireshrieker has this potential with a lot of cards. For another Mirrodin trick, see Mask of Memory.
26. Gate to the AEther – Scroll Rack
Make sure that the biggest, nastiest, most expensive cards are on top of your library. Break the Gate’s symmetry by having bigger critters come out more often.
27. Goblin Charbelcher – Soothsaying
Sure, we’ve heard about combining with Mana Severance – but seriously, Mana Severance is a bad card. Without the Charbelcher, it would do nothing. On the other hand, Soothsaying is pretty good, and you can dig and set up your deck as deeply as you have mana. See #24 above if you want twenty or thirty extra mana to activate a Soothsaying and a Charbelcher and kill another opponent.
28. Leonin Bladetrap – Siren’s Call
When you have a lot of small weenies on one side of the board, they will never attack with the Leonin Bladetrap out. There’s simply too much warning. Force them all to attack with a lovely Siren’s Call. You could also use Incite War, but Siren’s Call kills all creatures who do not attack – thus wiping out Assassins, Wellwishers, Sparksmiths, and the like.
29. Lightning Coils – Sneak Attack
Wow, I would sure love an explosive way of quickly charging up my Lightning Coils while also swinging for a lot of damage. Enter the Sneak Attack. Bring pain with big nasties and fill up the coils quickly. Then bring more pain the next turn with hasted swiftness.
30. Lightning Greaves – Desolation Angel
I find that a Desolation Angel can quickly allow me to win the game… But if a few players have artifact mana, creature mana, or lands held back, along with cheap removal, the Angel won’t win the game. In order to ensure that the Angel wins, I’d love a mana-less way to protect her. Enter the Greaves. The Angel swings earlier and it can’t be targeted. It takes a lot of mana to be able to play the typical-board sweeping spells that would kill the Angel – so for the next three or four turns, just smash the player with the sweeping removal.
31. Loxodon Warhammer – Spikeshot Goblin
The beauty of the Warhammer is that it pumps the Spikeshot Goblin’s power to four – and then, when you essentially Lightning Blast something, you gain four life. The Warhammer’s life gain is not limited to combat damage, which makes the Spikeshot Goblin a rather tasty target.
32. Mindstorm Crown – Grafted Skullcap
The Skullcap gives you an extra card in your draw step, but you have to discard all of your cards every discard phase. Sad. But it means that you will never have a card in your hand during your upkeep, so the Mindstorm Crown will always give you an extra card and never cause unsightly damage. Three cards per turn, but they all have to be played that turn. I wonder what sort of deck that would fit into….
33. Mindstorm Crown – Null Brooch
Have you ever wanted the ability to counter spells in a non-blue deck? Counter something, then draw two cards to play, then counter something again. And the beauty is that outside of cards like Stifle and Bind, your counters are themselves uncounterable. Disenchantable, sure, but uncounterable.
34. Nuisance Engine – Grave Pact
What are you going to do with a cute little 0/1 Pest? Sure, you could save them up for an Epic Struggle or sacrifice them to a Goblin Bombardment or Ashnod’s Altar to net you one colorless mana – but seriously, what are you going to do? How about if we did all of that and make each opponent choose and sacrifice a creature? 0/1 Pests are nothing to sneeze at.
35. Nuisance Engine – Dross Scorpion – Power Artifact – Ashnod’s Altar
It looks a bit clunky, I know. But first of all, it uses the parts of combo number 24 above, so they can go into the same deck. Obviously, what you want to do here is make a Pest, sac to the Altar to yield 2 mana and untap the Engine. Then make a Pest, sac, untap, etc. If you have something that can kill right there, like Disciple of the Vault, then you can kill everybody. But that’s boring. Instead, power up that Nuisance Engine to make infinite mana. I’m sure that much mana will trigger some thoughts for you.
36. Myr Incubator – Ashnod’s Altar – Snake Basket
If 30 or so artifact creatures from a Myr Incubator isn’t enough to win (see combo number 1 above), then why not double your creatures by sacrificing them to the Altar and making a lot of mana. Toss in a Dross Scorpion and a mana producing artifact, and you could make a ton more mana for each Myr that dies. With a Mana Vault, Gilded Lotus, Grim Monolith, or Thran Dynamo out, plus a Myr Incubator that yielded thirty Myr, you could make a hundred and fifty mana. A hundred and fifty snakes? Pretty good. Find a haste method and you can conceivably kill everybody at the table in one grand fell swoop. They’ll be talking about that play for years.
37. Myr Incubator – Sword of the Chosen
I swear that Myr Incubator has got to be the combo engine card of choice for this set. Make a bunch of Myr, then fling them all at somebody in one grandiose statement. Kill one person with ease.
38. Proteus Staff – Nuisance Engine
Play a deck with few creatures and Engines. With a Proteus Staff, it’s essentially sac a Pest, Oath of Druids up a creature. Play with some good creatures in typical Oath style.
39. Rust Elemental – Juxtapose
Give the Rust Elemental to somebody without any artifacts and get a good creature in return. They’ll be unable to block or attack with the Elemental in order to get rid of it, because it’ll be tapped. So it’s four a turn while you have their most expensive creature. Go Akroma, Angel of Wrath!
40. Isochron Scepter – Brain Freeze
Sure, you can put a Fire / Ice or something under it, but people feel threatened by a broken Scepter. They don’t like you burning their creatures or them or drawing mad cards or something. So go with a more innocent Brain Freeze. That can’t hurt anybody, can it? By the time that people’s decks are low and they realize the danger, it’ll be too late.
41. Fireshrieker – Rith, the Awakener
Who doesn’t want a whole slew of 1/1s to go with the décor? Use Rith once, and get a bunch of 1/1s. Use Rith the second time to at least double your 1/1s and probably make more. You could easily have thirty or forty Saprolings after one combat. I think we have some combos here with multiple creatures…
42. Blinkmoth Well – Blinkmoth Urn
How ironic that two Blinkmoth cards would go well together. Blinkmoth Urn has that old-school”only works untapped” phrase. So add a bunch of mana to your pool, then use two of it to turn the Urn off for everybody else. Pretty handy mana supply if you have a few artifacts. You can also shut the Urn off when you don’t want the mana prior to your main phase in order to dodge mana burn.
43. Farsight Mask – Chain of Plasma
If your table will start repeating Chains a-go-go, then try this little number. Anytime someone Chains you, you get to draw a card for fuel to Chain back. It will likely keep people off of you and targeting each other instead.
44. Mind’s Eye – Prosperity
Turn a fun little card like Prosperity into a better Braingeyser. Prosperity for, say, one. If there are five other players at the table, then tap five more mana. Total mana used – seven mana, total cards drawn – six cards. Plus, everybody got a card, so they’re happy as well. Keeping people happy while find efficient ways of drawing is what multiplayer is all about.
45. Icy Manipulator – Relic Bind – 2 Dross Scorpion – Myr Incubator – Ashnod’s Altar
Use the Incubator, Scorpion, Altar tricks again to make two man, except this time you want two Scorpions because you’ll need to untap both your Icy Manipulator and the opponent’s artifact that you Relic Binded. If you don’t have the Altar, you can substitute a Goblin Bombardment effect or something similar with a Relic Barrier that doesn’t use mana. Relic Bind was a very poorly thought out card that comboed with Basalt Monolith a long time ago. Now you can either shoot people dead or gain a bunch of life. Why not both?
46. Tangleroot – Kobolds
Who doesn’t want more Kobold combos? Since you yield a green mana every time you play a creature, why not make mana? Windmill slap your Ornithopter, Phyrexian Walker, and Shield Sphere. When that gets old, take a look at the three Kobolds from Legends – Crookshank Kobold, Crimson Kobolds, and Kobolds of Kher Keep. Make a lot of mana quickly. Combine with some deck-sifting cards like Memory Jar and Goblin Welders, and you could make a lot of mana very quickly. Plus you’d have a horde of zero-power creatures just waiting for pumpage in the form of something like, say, Coat of Arms.
47. Grim Reminder – Highlander Five Color Decks
Grim Reminder definitely seems like a nasty little card, but how can you be sure that you can hit your opponent for six? After all, they could play any color of deck from game to game, and play any sort of card. The answer is simple: Play a larger deck with a ton of good cards plus cards of every color. And that’s Highlander Five Color. Good luck to you, by the way, in your chosen path…
48. Sun Droplet – A Big Multiplayer Table
Since the Droplet can be used every upkeep, you can take a lot of damage and gain it back at a large multiplayer table. The more players there are, the better this card becomes. Play with cards like Earthquake and Hurricane to hit everybody, only you’ll slowly gain your life back and keep your opponent’s win conditions off the table.
49. Solemn Simulacrum – 2 Workhorses – Recurring Nightmare – Initiates of the Ebon Hand – Ashnod’s Altar
While fooling around earlier today, I figured out a way to use these cards to draw your entire library. Then the phone rang and it was my boss. And now I forgot how to do it, and I don’t want to figure it out again, so consider it a puzzle.
50. Liar’s Pendulum – Kevin
We were playing multiplayer last week and I got out a Liar’s Pendulum. I started by using the Pendulum on one guy, but he guessed right, so I moved to Kevin, a player in our playgroup. Over the course of the game, I must have Liar’s Pendulumed Kevin around twelve times or so and he always guessed wrong. He wasn’t trying to screw up and give me cards or anything – he was truly missing again and again. Kevin makes the Pendulum broken.
Whew! That was a lot of combos. As you saw, near the end there, we were getting a little crazy; heh. You’ll notice some common threads, tools like Ashnod’s Altar, Myr Incubator, Dross Scorpion, and the like. These cards may become more valuable, in my mind, the more casual your playgroup becomes. After all, a 3/1 artifact creature can only be relied on so much considering how vulnerable it is.
Again, I hope that you get a deck idea or two from this article. If you do decide to build a deck from the ideas here, I’d love to hear about it in our forums. Happy deckbuilding!