4UU, Sorcery, Odyssey Rare
Return all permanents to their owners’ hands.
1B, Enchantment, Odyssey Uncommon
Discard two cards from your hand: Put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token into play.
Last week, I participated in some Type II action. Now usually, the games are fun and I do all right – however, the fortunes must have frowned on me as I got whupped big time. I was running a U/G/W aggro-Hippo deck, complete with Phelddagrifs, Meddling Mages, and Calls. I ended up playing against an Upheaval-Infestation deck that ran Standstill and Psychatogs…
Ow! I was black-and-blue from the beatings it gave me.
There’s very little a person can do against a Psychatog sitting on under a Standstill. You can’t attack, and you definitely don’t want to give your opponent cards to feed that thing! Of course, when they go off… You tend to lose, too. As crowd control, the opponent also ran Cabal Pits and Repulses. Those Pits ate my Meddling Mages, which made it difficult for me to hold him down.
Curse you, Upheaval-Infestation!
Now that I’m licking my wounds, it’s time to get even.
The part that usually hurts is the Combo itself. Here’s a sample deck:
4 Shadowmage Infiltrator
1 Thieving Magpie
4 Fact or Fiction
4 Zombie Infestation
4 Underground River
4 Salt Marsh
2 Ancient Spring
Of course, you can always salt it to your own taste (Psychatog, more Ancient Springs, and that sort).
You have to remember that if your deck doesn’t steamroll, there is a chance they can combo you out. They can combo draw around turn 6 (two Springs, four lands). If you aren’t playing control and can’t goldfish by then, you’re toast. Of course, Upheaval decks will be throwing everything they’ve got to stall out. Recoil, Repulse, or Pernicious Deed in the U/B/g variants will hold you down. The first game will be a real shocker – but it’s the sideboard that will make a difference.
An Infestation sideboard can run any of the following cards:
As you can see, these cards are mainly focused on slowing down the beats or destroying any counter magic.
The best way to shut down Upheaval is to have a Sideboard that specifically hates Upheaval in response. It’s nearly impossible to hate the Infestation because it’s a zero mana ability, and you’ll only see it after an Upheaval.
2U, Enchantment, 7th Edition Uncommon
Each player can’t play more than one spell each turn.
Yes, that’s right! Now how does the Lab hate if Upheaval resolves? The point is that he can’t play Upheaval unless you have no countermagic. If you counter Upheaval with the Lab in play, it’s gone. It’s very risky, but it can be devastating. Of course, Arcane Lab is also an amazing card against those Rice Snack decks.”I Early Harvest and… Mana burn!”
2B, Enchantment, Planeshift Uncommon
Whenever a permanent is returned to a player’s hand, that player discards a card from his or her hand.
If you’re a real gambler, try this out. If they Recoil your cards, you’ll have to discard two and lose board advantage. On the other side, this completely screws the benefits of Upheaval. Remember that Devotion triggers on Upheaval because it”looks back in time” for the zone-change trigger. Confused? Look up 410.10d for the details. Devotion also hurts you big time, but if your deck is aggressive enough, it won’t be as painful as it is for your opponent.
W, Instant, Planeshift Rare
Kicker W (You may pay an additional W as you play this spell.)
Target player can’t play spells this turn.
If you paid the kicker cost, creatures can’t attack this turn.
Okay – this doesn’t exactly stop Upheaval, but it does hold down the Infestation. In response to Infestation, Chant? There is a big difference between casting Infestation with fifteen to twenty cards and seven. Stalling the extra turn means that you may be able to rebuild and force Infestation into generating card disadvantage.
Granted, the list isn’t very long because Upheaval is a difficult combo to fight, since all permanents are returned to their owner’s hand. Aside from an outright counter against the Upheaval, it is very difficult to disrupt the combo. The best method is to just go aggressively and hopefully the combo won’t be there. The more time the opponent is given, the more cards/permanents he has for the Infestation when it goes off. Upheaval-Infestation will be one of the most dominant decks in Type II unless a hoser can be found. With Madness in Torment, combos with the Infestation will only get worse. In the meantime, the only way to beat the deck is to gamble big – and these cards that I have suggested should make it anyone’s game after the sideboard.