The Kitchen Table #160: Penance for the Cloudstone Curio

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I was recently reviewing a card for an article I have yet to write when I realized a powerful combination that it allowed in another area. I began to brainstorm a bunch of ways to win using that combo as the foundation. It was a lot of fun, and I realized that I had the beginnings of a new Silly Card Tricks article…

Hello folks, and welcome back to the article series that explores all things casual. Today I want to draw inspiration from a previous article published back in March. In that article, I examined three separate cards in significant detail, and included three sample decklists utilizing the power of those cards.

I was recently reviewing a card for an article I have yet to write when I realized a powerful combination that it allowed in another area. I began to brainstorm a bunch of ways to win using that combo as the foundation. It was a lot of fun, and I realized that I had the beginnings of a new Silly Card Tricks article.

However, as I began to write the article, I realized that I had enough tricks with just this one card that I didn’t need to find other cards. I could easily fill up the article with just the one card and various tricks. What card is it? Well, obviously I’ve now titled the article, so you the card in question is no secret. For purposes of suspense, however, I’m going to pretend that it’s not in the title, and if you’ll also close your eyes to the obvious, we can just progress throughout the article as normal.

The goal of these articles is to get you to consider using a new card for your group. In the last article I featured Mizzium Transreliquat, Mages’ Contest, and Portcullis. None of those cards were getting played in mammoth numbers, so suggesting them hopefully opened a few decks to new cards and a few players to new ideas. Therefore, without further ado, allow me to present the first and only card highlighted in today’s article.

Cloudstone Curio

The abovementioned card that tricked me into writing this article was Cloudstone Curio. I was beginning preparation on a large Equinaut Primer article, and was considering the Curio as one of the cards you might want to slide into. It was at that point that I remembered you could not use something like Ornithopter to trigger the Curio, because it was an artifact.

Now, you could use the Curio for something like, say, bouncing your own creature back to your hand so that you can reuse a 187 ability. Maybe you want to use its ability this time, like transmute, cycling, or channel. You might want to kicker it this time. Perhaps the conditions exist to make the creature better this time, like Dralnu’s Pet.

You could bounce a creature because it has been the victim of an unfortunate Arrest or Pacifism type aura. You could play a creature with flash and return another creature that is the target of spell or ability, or even to save a creature when lethal damage is on the stack.

You might prefer to have some creatures in hand and others in play, especially if you suspect mass removal or a Balance effect. You might also want to play a creature to trigger an ability. For example, bouncing a spirit back to your hand to reuse one of the many Spiritcraft triggers in Kamigawa block would be a smart play.

In addition to creatures, you can use the Curio to bounce lands if you want. Play a land and then, if you want, bounce any land back to your hand. With a Fastbond out, you can make as much mana as you like with the caveat that you take a damage for each land play after the first. Combine with something like Lifegift and you make as much mana as you like.

This deck uses the bouncy land idea to make a bunch of mana, and then decks an opponent with a Braingeyser or Stroke of Genius. As mentioned above, this deck use Curio to bounce a land after tapping it for mana, and then playing it again through Fastbond. The key cards are the Curio, Fastbond, and Lifegift.

Since the Curio and Lifegift each cost three mana, I tossed in a pair of Drift of Phantasms in case tutor was needed. They can also get a winning condition, the Stroke. I threw in Dizzy Spells for the Fastbond (or a Mystical Tutor or Feldon’s Cane).

To this I added a Mystical Tutor, four Impulses and a pair of Fact or Fictions. With all of this card drawing, card searching, and card tutoring, you should find the pieces that you need.

Sakura-Tribe Elders are great blockers and can play defense. You can also go get a land the turn before you would go off so that you are ready, or sac early to get any much-needed land. Whatever you use them for, I’m sure you’ll d find them valuable.

Next up are the dual counters of Counterspell and Mana Leak. These seven spells help to keep you from being overrun by removal, creatures, or countermagic by giving you backup. Each of these three things poses problems for your deck, and only countermagic can stop all three simply.

With the combo elements, lands, countermagic, card drawing, and tutoring, you should be fine. Good luck with your infinite mana deck!

But Wait, There’s More

You could bounce an enchantment. Perhaps you have the Comes Into Play ability enchant creatures – like Galvanic Arc and Faith’s Fetters – in your deck. Maybe you want to play and bounce them back in order to reuse them. Maybe something bigger has arrived that you would like to use your Control Magic on.

Here is the enchantment-based Curio deck that I mentioned above. The deck works on a couple of levels, so let’s peer under the bonnet and see how this thing works.

Both Flight of Fancy and Sisay’s Ingenuity will draw you happy cards. You want to play them early and often. Feel encouraged to slap them on opposing creatures early in the game when you don’t have any creatures. You’ll love both as bounce targets, but I think you’ll especially like the Ingenuity in the machine, since you can replay it for a single Blue mana. Get two of them with a Curio and you can draw as many cards as you want for the small price of one Blue mana.

Imagine the card drawing opportunities with a Presence out.

Galvanic Arc serves several purposes, but there are just three in deck, along with three sources of Red mana. This is a definite splash, but if you don’t get both at the same time, despite your card drawing, don’t worry.

The Arc can be used as simple creature control, taking out numerous small and medium sized problems. However, later in the game it is one of your better winning conditions. That’s why it doesn’t matter if you can’t draw Red mana and an Arc both early, because you may only need them to combo out later. Bounce the Arc, replay it, deal three to an opponent, play something to bounce the Arc, then bounce the Arc, deal three damage when you replay it, etc.

Another winning condition is the quartet of Treacheries that the deck has. In addition to being the normal creature control, Treachery works well with the deck, and you can bounce and replay it anytime you need to switch controlled creatures because something better came along.

Why am I playing that janky Teferi’s Isle? Because it taps for two Blue mana at the same time. Why is that important, you ask?

Tap an Isle and four other land to make six mana. Play a Treachery, untapping the five lands, with an extra Blue mana in the pool. Curio bounce Sisay’s Ingenuity. Play the Ingenuity with the extra Blue mana. Draw a card and bounce the Treachery. Repeat until you have drawn your deck. Then make mana with the Treachery using different mana and combo win the game with an Arc and a Red source of mana.

Not bad for a jank rare, eh?

Bonus: Want to make this deck Magic: the Electronic legal? The only major cards that currently aren’t available online are Treachery and Replenish. Without the Treachery, you can pull Teferi’s Isle. Something like a pair of Persuasions would still be useful. There are several cards in the deck that can use more copies — like Fists of Ironwood, Galvanic Arc, Faith’s Fetters and Yavimaya Enchantresses. Feel free to add to them to make up the difference.

What Else?

You can use the Cloudstone Curio to reset the cumulative upkeep of various cards by bouncing said card and replaying it.

Note that you can bounce an artifact if it has another type and you play that type. You can’t bounce a Brass Man by playing a Book of Rass, but you can by playing Scarwood Hag.

There are other ways to abuse the Curio of course. You could use, say, a zero casting cost creature from Legends. Actually, there were three of them printed. You could use the Kobolds.

By playing a Kobold for zero mana, you could return any creatures of yours to your hand. Why would you want to do this? Well, you could return another Kobold. After all, you can play with twelve in your deck, so having two at the same time is no great feat. Return the Kobold, and then play it for no mana, returning the first Kobold. Repeat this loop ad nauseam and you can play and bounce creatures repeatedly.

Why is this powerful? Well, let’s just say that there are several interactions this can cause. Would you like to see a few?

Angelic Chorus, Soul Warden, etc: Using one of these permanents (and there are others that do the same thing), you can gain any amount of life, from fifty to five-hundred-thousand-and-fifty. Once you have essentially infinite life, you can probably win the game.

Aura Shards: If you have a multiplayer table chock full of annoying artifacts and enchantments, using and abusing the Curio / Kobold connection can result in you single handedly destroying each and every one of those problematic permanents. As long as they can be targeted and aren’t indestructible, Aura Shards will turn each Kobold into a free Disenchant effect. This is powerful on its own, but it can also be used in combination with other combos to clear out artifacts and enchantments that might otherwise prove a problem (Platinum Angel, Ivory Mask, Worship, etc)

Death Match: Do you like to kill creatures? Sure, we all do. Now, with Death Match and infinite Kobolding, you can Wither: 3 (Wither is my name for the —X/-X ability) all of the opposing creatures, no matter how many. Even indestructible creatures will fall before the Withering power of Death Match. Killing all of the creatures on the board can pave the way for a horde of Kobolds pumped by other effects like Orcish Oriflamme or whatnot.

Genesis Chamber: What’s better than making a horde of creatures with your Kobold engine? As long as you play Kobolds, you can keep making as many creatures as you desire. You can go ahead and swing right now with haste effects like Anger, Fervor, or Concordant Crossroads. Alternatively, you can just wait and attack every player in one big swing the following turn, hitting all of the players for thousands of damage each. You can also use the untapping Blasting Station to kill with direct damage in case something like Reverence prevents you from attacking.

Special Rules Note: You can make any number of Myrs with just one Kobold, you don’t need a second. The Myr coming to play will trigger the Curio and bounce back the daddy Kobold that made it.

Wretched AnuridDonate: What’s funnier than giving away a janky creature and then playing numerous creatures, thereby killing the one with said janky creature? Use Donate, Legerdemain, Cromeshell Crab or any number of methods to give away a Wretched Anurid, then laugh as you kill the person by playing many Kobolds. It’s not as good a combo as many of these others, but it is a lot funnier.

PandemoniumKobold Taskmaster: Any permanent power pumping effect will work just as well, like maybe Glorious Anthem… I just chose something in color. Play your Kobold now with power, and deal damage to someone. Then repeat ad nauseam until all players not named You are killed. You can also use this with the Genesis Chamber above. Alternatively, you could just use the next card…

Kyren Negotiations: Tap a Kobold to deal a damage. Then bounce it by playing a Kobold. Tap the newly played Kobold for a damage, then repeat.

Mana Echoes: Would you like infinite mana? Then play a Kobold, make some mana, bounce a Kobold, play the bounced Kobold, etc. Once you have infinite mana, I’m sure you’ll think of something to do with it. Note that Earthcraft will do the same thing and get you infinite mana, just via the Negotiations route and not the Echoes route.

Intruder AlarmGoblin Sharpshooter: This works just like the Pandemonium-Taskmaster combo in that it deals an unlimited amount of damage to your opponents. Tap the Sharpshooter to deal one, then play a Kobold, triggering the Intruder Alarm which untaps the Sharpshooter, which you can tap for another damage and then play the bounced Kobold…..Lotsa damage results. (You can use any pinger here)

I’m sure there are tons more; those are just some I brainstormed. So, with that said, how shall I build my own Cloudstone Curio / Kobold deck?

Here we have just one version of the Curio / Kobold engine that you could build. In this version, I chose to have a Genesis Chamber and Negotiations in order to have two winning conditions.

Since we have twelve Kobolds, I didn’t feel the need to have tutors specifically for them. With four each of the Negotiations and Chambers, I didn’t feel the need to have tutors for them either. On the other hand, with just four Curios, I wanted a way to get them quickly.

Gambles and Scroll Racks both can find the desired combo pieces, and both require you to keep a bigger hand for best effect, so don’t play extra lands or Kobolds unless you need to.

I find it ironic that I use Mages’ Contest from the previous Silly Card Tricks article to help protect a card combo here. To fully understand the power of the Contest, feel free to check out the predecessor article.

I hope that you enjoy this iteration of the combo. You can feel free to add and adjust at your leisure or use a different combo.

There’s a lot of nifty ideas here regarding the Cloudstone Curio. Since I’ve never really used the Curio until now, this article sorta feels like penance. You might see it pop its head out in future decklists every now and then. We’ll see you then!

Until later,

Abe Sargent