Yawgmoth’s Whimsy #125: Breaking Enduring Ideal?

Enduring Ideal is very expensive – but anything that lets you put cards directly into play, without regard to mana cost, is very powerful. Wizards obviously thinks so – the card costs seven mana, and prevents you from casting anything for the rest of the game. Those are some serious drawbacks. This deck is just food for thought now, but before you dismiss the whole idea, consider two things. First, it costs 5WW, but at least one Tier One deck also relies on a seven-mana sorcery. Second – Enduring Ideal says, “put into play.” That means I can Confiscate your North Tree.

This deck is just food for thought now, but before you dismiss the whole idea, consider two things. First, it costs 5WW, but at least one Tier One deck also relies on a seven-mana sorcery – nine mana with entwine. Second – Enduring Ideal says, “put into play.” That means I can Confiscate your North Tree.

Wizards has started releasing spoiler info on Saviors of Kamigawa – a set which will be legal when US Regionals rolls around. It’s too early to make any speculations about how Saviors will affect the metagame (the best spoiler I have seen has only forty-nine cards at the time I am writing this) but we can start looking at the cards that have been mentioned. The first of these is Enduring Ideal. It is obviously a fun multiplayer card, and nuts in 5-Color, but it may see play at Regionals. Really. Some of the rule interactions are interesting.

Enduring Ideal is very expensive – but anything that lets you put cards directly into play, without regard to mana cost, is very powerful. Wizards obviously thinks so – the card costs seven mana, and prevents you from casting anything for the rest of the game. Those are some serious drawbacks.

Let’s look at the drawbacks first. In the current standard environment, the deck has three big ones: mana, protection, and Cranial Extraction. The mana issue is a combination of being able to cast Enduring Ideals fast enough to matter (acceleration), and being able to have the deck operate if it does not draw Enduring Ideal (in other words, being able to cast the enchantments, if necessary).

The second issue is surviving long enough to cast Enduring Ideal, and to survive the extra turns necessary to set up a lock. The final issue is that any deck built around a single card like Enduring Ideal needs to have some method of ensuring that Cranial Extraction does not wreck the deck. Let’s take these in order.

Mana cost:

It needs seven mana, two of them white. That means lots of lands, Sakura-Tribe Elders, and probably Kodama’s Reach or Rampant Growth. The deck might even include Vine Trellis, which can act as a wall once you stop playing spells. Mana probably isn’t the worst problem, given the size of the spells that were slung at the last Pro Tour.

Staying Alive:

Here’s a bigger problem: you need to stay alive long enough to cast Enduring Ideal, and for a couple more turns after that while you stabilize. Ghostly Prison can help, as can Circle of Protections after sideboarding. Since it is a white deck, Wrath of God and Final Judgment solve problems with beatdown decks. Story Circle may also be worth considering, since the white commitment will be significant.

Note that Ensnaring Bridge isn’t an answer – once you stop casting spells, sooner or later you will have seven cards in hand. I’ll talk about some individual cards later.

Cranial Extraction:

This is the biggest problem. The deck needs to be base green for the best mana accelerators, and has a heavy white commitment in cards like Wrath and Enduring Ideal. The best cards to search for are blue, plus a smattering of other colors. They all work well with Enduring Ideal, but they can be a real pain to cast if Cranial Extraction nails Ideal before you play it. However, you can run Ivory Mask, which stops Extraction if you get it first, and if you build a mana base using Elders and Reach, you can run just enough lands to operate. It’s not pretty, but it is not impossible.

On the plus side, since most of your enchantments are going to be one and twos, toolbox style, CE is not going to be all that effective at nailing them, especially if one tool in the box is Ivory Mask.

Let’s look at some win conditions and other cards worth fetching once you have cast Enduring Ideal.


This is the one card that makes the whole concept feasible. Confiscate is being put directly into play, which means it does not target anything. You want to Confiscate untargetable creatures or lands, and there is practically nothing they can do to stop it. The only thing that will prevent Confiscate from stealing something is protection from blue and/or enchantments – and because the enchantment is coming directly into play, there isn’t a time for your opponent to respond once you’ve chosen that enchantment.

(Technically, the Enduring Ideal effect will go on the stack, and they can give something protection at that time, but only preemptively. They won’t know yet know what enchantment is coming into play. They can never use protection to fizzle the Confiscate.)

If your opponent casts Darksteel Colossus, you steal it. If they Tooth out a Leonin Abunas and Platinum Angel, you can still Confiscate the Angel immediately, or Confiscate Abunas one turn and the Angel the next.

The deck will almost certainly play four Confiscates, although the fourth might be in the sideboard. The only downside is that too many other decks run Disenchant effects, at least in the sideboard. Confiscate is only good while it stays in play.


You will have lots of mana, and nothing much to do with it once you can no longer cast spells. That makes the Genjus a possible addition, especially after turn one. If you can cast Enduring Ideal, you can certainly put Genju of the Fields on a plains the next turn, triple-activate it and gain six life. But why bother with that? Simply fetch Genju of the Realm and start beating with an 8/12 trampler.


You cannot play spells, but you can certainly play lands and activate abilities. Blinkmoth Nexus and Stalking Stones can become attackers or blockers, slowly. Remember, however, that your opponent will be playing out spells while you are putting enchantments in play. Stalking Stones is playable when your are countering everything in site, but not when you are not reacting. Nice though they are, they just don’t work in this deck.


The Hondens are obvious, but slow. You can start triggering Honden effects after you cast a seven-mana sorcery, and build slowly. The Hondens will become quite powerful, assuming you are still alive… but I wouldn’t bet on it. One white Honden might be worth keeping around, however, because it does combo pretty well with the next card.

Zur’s Weirding:

Pay two life, deprive your opponent of the topdeck that gets them out of this mess. Assuming you are ahead on life a bit, and can expect to get a white Honden or other lifegain effect into play soon, Zur’s Weirding can assure you that your opponent will never draw an answer. It is not a panacea – since you will be losing life to the Weirding and to whatever is on the board, but one copy should make a lot of sense.

Or almost – there is a better option a card down.

Worship/Living Terrain:

If your goal is to not lose until you can get your megacombo in play, then Worship is worth considering. It does give beatdown deck fits, but only if you can keep a creature around. Since you won’t be casting any (other than maybe Sakura-Tribe Elders early, and they don’t last), you need something that starts as an enchantment. Genjus work, but you may not have enough mana to activate them often enough (stack Shock atop activation, atop Magma Jet, atop activation, atop combat damage).

Living Terrain might be an answer – it is a permanent 5/6 that you can cast in a base green deck before resolving Ideal. Beatdown decks might have some trouble with Ghostly Prison, Wrath, Worship, and Living Terrain. At least that’s the theory, but it’s not that great in practice. Against beatdown decks, Living Terrain is quite good – but you probably beat those decks with Wrath.

Seismic Assault:

This is a weak finisher, but a possibility. You won’t be needing lands or mana, so pitching lands for damage is one of the few uses they might have. You could even play Trade Routes to pick up your lands in play prior to pitching them. However, deck space is limited, so this is almost certainly worse than Honden of Infinite Rage.

Shared Fate:

Another option to ensure that your opponent does not draw anything helpful, as well as ensuring that you do not deck yourself. (Decking is a real concern – you are searching and drawing every turn.) The important thing is that, although you will draw off your opponent’s library, you still search your own for enchantments. This really does break Shared Fate – you can play with win conditions in your deck, and get them with Shared Fate in play. It really, really works.

If your opponent is not playing blue (so that they cannot play your Confiscate), or all five colors to let them play your Genju of the Realm, they will not draw anything useful in your deck. (Even if they draw and cast Enduring Ideal, they search their own decks for enchantments.) You won’t draw anything you can use off their deck, except maybe a man land, but that’s because you cannot play anything but lands in any case.

A possibly serious use for Shared Fate – who’da thunk it?


Enduring Ideal prevents you from casting spells, not playing abilities. The new set contains a set of spells with the Channel ability. Channel lets you pay mana and discard the card to have some effect, but that is not a spell. So far, the Channel cards do not look that interesting (minor pump spells and the like), so they probably won’t make the deck, but that might change if Saviors has a good, channel-based burn card.

I have also thought about some less useful combos; for example, Wrath of Marit Lage and Shifting Sky are both permanents, and could do some serious harm to creature decks. Once again, however, the option seems too slow. A single Wrath of ML, however, might be worth playing in the sideboard, both against med red, and to annoy anyone casting Kiki-Jiki.

Here was my first shot at the deck:


Sacred Ground, Ivory Mask, Wrath of Marit Lage, Night of Souls’ Betrayal, Blood Moon, Honden of Night, Circle of Protections, Arrest, etc.

After playing this for a while, a couple things became evident.

First, the deck is really short on room. I want to include a lot of silver bullets here, but there is no place to put them. I also tried yanking the other basics to prevent Tooth from destroying the mana base with Sundering Titan, but you lose to Titan with or without the Swamp, Mountain, and Islands. On the flip side, I have often hard-cast the Genju, and occasionally hard-cast Confiscate.

That version rolls over to Mono-Blue Control – but I knew that. I anticipated playing a transformational sideboard, with multiple copies of Kodama of the North Tree and Troll Ascetics. The deck needs something – Genju of the Cedars is the best option.

Worship and Living Terrain work, but not often enough to be worth the space. Worship just doesn’t cut it. When you have time to set it up, you can just win without it – and the other times, you have Worship and no creatures.

I had Sensei’s Divining Top in, took it out, then put it back into the decklist. It does help avoid drawing the win conditions you want to search out, and it combos well with all the land fetchers. The problem is that the deck is already slow, and this just makes it slower. More consistent, but slower.

The deck was occasionally getting color-screwed. That was the main reason for replacing Rampant Growth/Birds of Paradise with Wayfarer’s Bauble. The other reason is that the deck has few one drops – the Bauble and Sensei’s Top are it. Here’s the best list I can come up with so far:

The best cards in the deck are Shared Fate, the Genjus, and Story Circle. How sad is that?

Let’s look at some matchups:

Mono-Blue Control

(No chance, at best fair after board)

Let’s start with the bad news first: I quit playtesting the first version after four games. Even with new version, you need a miracle for game one, namely you get a turn 1 Genju of the Cedars, and then they cannot get the Shackles or a fourth Island. Or bounce. Bounce just destroys the deck – even when I managed to force Enduring Ideal past the counters, if they could bounce the Genjus and Confiscates, I lost.

Note that Echoing Truth, which is normally not too exciting against Genju, is solid here. They cannot bounce the land, but they can bounce the enchantment and you cannot recast it. The best you can do is activate it in response, and get in one hit. If they have Boomerang, you don’t even get that.

The best option I could come up with was sideboarding into aggro green, with Troll Ascetics and Kodama of the North Tree, and hope they don’t side in Hibernation. I also sided in Boil, since what you really want is something they have to counter at the end of their turn, to let you force something through on your turn. That works, but only if you can afford eleven sideboard slots against MUC.

Tooth and Nail

(Variable with the build, but bad)

Here’s the other half of the metagame, and it isn’t all that much better of a matchup. Your stupid, broken sorcery is cheaper than theirs – but you don’t have the Urzatron, and yours does not lock up the game as quickly. If they Tooth into Kiki-Jiki and Sundering Titan first, you have little chance of recovery. If not, you win. Grab Shared Fate, to keep them from drawing their win conditions, and then kill them with the Genju.

Your post-sideboard game, if anything, gets worse. You can try siding in Cranial Extraction, but they get Naturalize – and siding four Cranial Extraction, plus all the MUC answers, fills the sideboard.

Aggro Red:

(Fair, better after boarding if you can fit Circle of Protection: Red)

Playing against Adrian with his speed red deck was frustrating. I often managed to almost stabilize, cleared the board and sometimes even got Story Circle on red going, only to lose to Blinkmoth Nexus. Ghostly Prison helped some, but often not enough.

If you can go off and you do not need to Confiscate a threat immediately, Shared Fate is often the best option, to keep them from drawing another threat or burn spell. You can usually win with the Genju without problems, since nothing in their deck can deal with an 8/12.

Ponza is less of a problem, since if you can get a bit ahead on land you can usually pull it out. Stopping them usually depends on Story Circle and Wrath overcoming their Sliths, and that depends on double white. It can be a problem.

White Weenie:

(Not bad)

It is nice to have one decent matchup. White Weenie is fast, but Wrath and Ghostly Prison slow them down, and if you resolve Enduring Ideal, you can go get Confiscate. If they don’t realize what is going on, you can nab their Umezawa’s Jitte and use the counters.

(Note: If they let Enduring Ideal resolve, you get the first enchantment immediately, and you will control the Confiscated permanent before they get priority – meaning you get to abuse the counters.) If they know what’s going on and use the counters, you can steal their Kami of the Ancient Law. That Kami is your biggest problem – without him, Story Circle and Big Genju are game over. If their hand is empty, and they don’t have lethal damage on the table, Shared Fate can make sure they never draw their way out of their problems.

G/B Control:


I don’t have enough test games in against this, but it looks like you need to win game one, which can be hard to do if they can cast Death Cloud. Post-sideboarding, they get Cranial Extraction and Naturalize, making your life much worse. On the plus side, if you can go off, Shared Fate will, once again, often seal the deal.

It is scary how often Shared Fate is critical to making the deck succeed. Actually, the whole deck is a bit scary.

Right now, a week before the prerelease, the deck looks marginal. It is fun, it can win, but it needs something. Maybe that something will appear in Saviors. We’ll see. The deck is soooo close. One good enchantment that counts cards in hand could do it – something like an Ivory Tower in enchantment form.

I was going to talk about the card in multiplayer, but this is already longer than Knut likes. (Well, this is Ferrett editing it, but hey – T.F.) I’ll save that for another article. The same for Enduring Ideal in 5color.

Let’s just leave it with this: “Enduring Ideal for Saproling Burst. During my upkeep, put fading on the stack, then Ideal. Ideal fetches Pandemonium.”


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