The Kitchen Table #155: Four Time Spiral Combo Decks

I thought I’d take a week off from the heady, long, stuffy Casual Metagame series and the previous Battle Royale. Instead I’m just going to build a few decks featuring Time Spiral cards. It should be a much-improved atmosphere here as a result.

Hello everybody! I thought I’d take a week off from the heady, long, stuffy Casual Metagame series and the previous Battle Royale. Instead I’m just going to build a few decks featuring Time Spiral cards. It should be a much-improved atmosphere here as a result. First, let’s take a look at a few of my Time Spiral stories.

I purchased seven booster boxes of Time Spiral, and I was opening my product. I had gotten through five boxes and was depressed because I had only cracked a single Ancestral Vision. So I resignedly open my last two boxes and get three Ancestral Visions, including one foil! That was a nice rally.

You know that I love Vhati il-Dal. Not only would he be on my Top 10 list of favorite cards of all time, but he’d also be on my Top 10 list of underused cards of all time. I just love him. Imagine how happy I was when, in the first box I cracked, I opened a foil Vhati. The Happy Dance ensued.

I cracked fifteen Timeshifted foils in seven boxes, which seems high to me. Since you only get around one foil rare a box, shouldn’t you also only get one foil Timeshifted card a box, instead of averaging two? I’m not upset, because I got my happy foil Vhati, but I was just wondering if anybody had done the math on this and knows the answers. If you do, hit the forums up with your thoughts.

I cracked eight Time Spiral foil rares, including two Moonlaces. Ugh. No one wants two Moonlaces. On the plus side, my other foil rares including a happy Bogardan Hellkite and Hypergenesis. Both of these foil rares are going into Abe’s Deck of Happiness and Joy.

On both occasions when I cracked an Akroma, I opened an Avatar of Woe in the following pack.

In the pack with the foil Ancestral Vision was a Psionic Blast and Flagstones of Trokair. According to the price here on SCG at the time of this writing, this pack was worth, approximately $61. [Nice job! — Craig.]

As you can see, the cool Timeshifted cards – along with the new policy to take a common slot for a foil regardless of its commonality – has led to interesting times with my cards. I want to open even more Time Spiral, despite the fact that I got everything I wanted in my seven boxes. Geez.

Why do I, a recognized casual geek, buy so many boxes of product for a set I like? I am often the provider of new cards to those in our playing circle who need some extras. I can hook up a new player with some good commons, or some new cards that may fit a deck idea. Therefore, I like to buy a few boxes of every set. I just liked Time Spiral enough to buy more than a few boxes.

Today I want to focus on building combo decks. I really like the combo, but more, I enjoy decks with some combo in them but that don’t need to combo out in order to win (see Saffi, We Hardly Knew Ye for an example).

Well, let’s go ahead and look at some decks.

One Good Turn Deserves Another

Sure, I like Time Walk. Who doesn’t? My casual group has seen me put a lot of turns into the back before, so I removed a lot of the cards that enable mass Temporal Manipulation from my main highlander deck. I still like the concept, though.

A buyback Time Warp has to be careful not to be abusable. Is Walk the Aeons abusable? How would I build a deck around the infinite taking of turns? Like my Oboro Breezecaller decks that made infinite mana, this deck will also have to be Blue/Green. Let’s take a look:

This deck will get infinite turns via this combo:

1). Walk the Aeons — sac three Islands.

2). Use Crucible of Worlds to play an Island from your ‘Yard.

3). Use Azusa to play two more Islands from your ‘Yard.

One you have infinite turns (until your deck runs out), you can kill through two methods; namely the unblockable Deep-Sea Kraken or a horde of saprolings made by Thallid Shell-Dweller. Either will suit your purposes.

As soon as you have six mana, Crucible and Azusa out you can start your infinite turns. Don’t worry about getting a kill mechanism, because once you start taking turns, you’ll get three free mana after you return your Islands to play, and these can be used to suspend the Deep-Sea Kraken.

To help you set up, the deck comes with Thallid Shell-Dwellers to block, Sakura Tribe-Elders that often get a block in before they are sacked for land, and Drift of Phantasms that you can use as a wall if you need to.

Drift will tutor for Azusa or Crucible as well as a Forbid in case you are going up against another counter deck. Mystical Tutor will grab a Walk the Aeons or a piece of countermagic as well.

You’ll need to kill before you run out of cards. This is easily done against one opponent, but if you are at a multiplayer table of some size, you might want to wait to go off until you have a Kraken in hand, in play or suspended. You’ll also want to keep countermagic mana up at all times in case of stray Swords to Plowshares, Disenchants, and whatnot. In this case, I’d modify the deck slightly with a Feldon’s Cane, more countermagic, more card drawing, and fewer combo pieces and I’d probably pull the Elders.

Yet Another Funky Combo

Sometimes I just alight on funky combos, like my Justice deck from a few dailies ago. This one will also use Donate in an interesting way. Let’s take a look:

Okay here is how this deck works, ideally:

1) Play Hivestone, turning all of your creatures into Slivers.

2) Give Hivestone away using either Donate or Legerdemain.

3) Play – or already have in play – a Plague Sliver

4) Use your stall methods (Humility, Island Sanctuary, Exhaustion) to keep alive until a person dies from their own “slivers.”

This deck uses a variety of search methods in order to set up. There are four tutors that can get the combo pieces that you need. After that, there are four Impulses to help you dig, find land, or set up. Two Scroll Racks join the list of cards that help you search and dig.

After search and combo pieces, all that is left is room for four humble Counterspells as protection. Use these well and don’t waste them on annoying things like Akroma when you can always play Humility.

This deck is just a funky combo deck designed to use Hivestone and Plague Sliver to win the game.

Okay, let’s look at the next deck!

Saffi, We Hardly Knew Ye

This deck has a lot of traditional Abe elements, like recursion and a Goblin Bombardment plus 187 creatures. It would score highly on the Abe charts. Let’s take a look:

This four-color deck ultimately works simply. You want to get out a Bombardment, Saffi, and Crypt Champion. Then you deal infinite damage. How?

1) Sac Saffi to put the Champion back into play if it dies that turn.

2) Sac Champion to GBB to deal a damage to something.

3) Champion comes into play, ability triggers.

4) Everybody returns a creature with a casting cost of three or less to play from their graveyard. You choose Saffi.

5) Repeat as needed to kill all at the table.

The deck also has a host of interesting 187 creatures for you to Champion or just play in order to slow down opponents and get some board control. Ghitu Slingers, Viridian Shamen, and Bone Shredders join your cause (there’s no enchantment popping because you don’t want to off your own GBB).

With four colors, we need some help. Enter Birds of Paradise and Kodama’s Reach. The BoPs are the ubiquitous mana-smoothing element for four- or five-color Green decks. Kodama’s Reach can grab two basic lands, netting you two colors that you need.

I love Wall of Blossoms and use it all the time in my decks. It’s not only a 187 creature that nets you a card, but also a cheap, solid blocker as well. Wall of Blossoms is simply great.

There’s a pair of Living Deaths as emergency reset buttons or a way of returning after someone else has reset the board. You could easily win by having the combo creatures in your yard and playing Living Death in order to win.

As mentioned above, this deck can still win without comboing out. It has a large section of creatures that can overwhelm unprepared decks or enough recursion and removal to smack down aggro decks.

Other classic Abe cards also work here, like All Suns’ Dawn, Gravedigger, Scroll Rack, and more. If you desire, you could build a different version of the deck to suit your own preferences.

Incidentally, it was here that I first realized that I had a combo theme going on. Initially I was just building some Time Spiral decks normally, but my first three creations were Crazy Combo Man, so I decided to finish that out.

With that said, let’s look at another deck using one of the classic bad rares of all time.

This is a more complex combo deck, so let’s take a look.

At the core of the deck are Sengir Nosferatu, Soul Warden/Auriok Champion, and Carnival of Souls. Let’s take a look at the minimum needed to use the combo — two Carnivals, two Warden/Champion, and one Nosferatu:

1) Use the Nosferatu’s ability to put a bat token into play and remove it. Two Carnival triggers and two Warden/Champions trigger.

2) Triggers resolve. You lose two life and gain two life. You also gain two Black mana.

3) Use the bat’s ability (which costs, conveniently enough, two mana) to bring back the Nosferatu. Triggers repeat.

4) Repeat effect as much as you desire.

Now, that alone will not win you the game. However, I’ve filled the deck with effects that will. First, if you have another Warden/Champion in play, you can gain any number of life. That’s pretty good in itself.

Second, you could have another Carnival and make any amount of Black mana. Use a Consume Spirit to kill a person and gain more life of happiness and joy.

Third, I tossed in Teysa. When a Black creature goes to the graveyard, she brings a 1/1 White creature to the board. The Nosferatu will not trigger Teysa when he is removed from the game, but the bat token will. You can make any number of White token creatures, and then sac some to remove opposing creatures from the game (using Teysa’s other ability), and win through token beats.

Fourth, I included Black Market. You can load it up with any number of counters and then make any amount of black mana during your next precombat main phase. Use that mana plus Consume Spirit to off someone.

Fifth, Grave Pact will trigger and you can use it to off every opposing creature, period. Indestructible and creatures with protection will equally fall.

Quick Aside – We need a name for a creature that cannot be targeted. Shielded? Guard? Panoply? Camouflage? Conceal? I like camouflage, which sounds Green, but Blue also has the ability and camouflage doesn’t fit as well there. Let’s go with Conceal.
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Grave Pact will even hit creatures with conceal.

Finally, dying Bats will put tokens on a Soulcatcher making a ginormous flyer of death and destruction out of a pigeon. I find that to be funny.

Most of these abilities involve enchantments. In order to get the enchantment you need, I tossed in a quartet of Academy Rectors to jump in front of attacks and fetch an enchantment. If no one attacks you or kills your creature, feel free to use Teysa liberally (most creatures in the deck are White).

To protect your happy enchantments, use your Fountain Watches liberally, especially against opponents who you suspect of running enchantment kill. Fountain Watch gives your enchantments conceal, so it’s pretty useful. It also makes a solid defender and fodder for Teysa is a pinch.

I really like this deck because it’s pretty outside the box for me. I don’t play any of these cards much, so it’s pretty foreign of me to think about these combos. Other than Academy Rector, and the Warden/Champion, I don’t think I’ve ever used any of these non-lands in a deck. Awesome!

Well, there you have it folks. We have four combo decks of death and destruction and happiness and joy. I hope you found something here you can use!

Until later,
Abe Sargent