Yawgmoth’s Whimsy # 79: Sifting Time And Forging Souls

I set out to break two cards – Timesifter and Soul Foundry – with one deck. The deck worked, and worked well, mainly because of some synergistic effects. The deck could win by taking infinite turns, while removing the opponent’s libraries from the game. It could also control the board or smash face with a variety of creatures.

I’m going to start talking about multiplayer decks with Mirrodin with one of my favorite decks from eleven months ago. I set out to break two cards with one deck. The deck worked, and worked well, mainly because of some synergistic effects. The deck could win by taking infinite turns, while removing the opponent’s libraries from the game. It could also control the board or smash face with a variety of creatures.

I’m kinda proud of this one. Here’s the original decklist:

Clone Machine

3 Wall of Blossoms

4 Yavimaya Elder

3 Wood Elves

1 Leonin Abunas

3 Thran Dynamo

1 Sol Ring

1 Voltaic Key

4 Scroll Rack,

4 Living Wish

3 Burning Wish

4 Soul Foundry

3 Timesifter

2 Mirari

1 Restock

1 Regrowth

4 Taiga

4 Savannah

1 Tolarian Academy

7 Forests

2 Plains

3 Mountains

The deck starts with a pretty standard three-color mana base: The Wood Elves can fetch dual lands. The Yavimaya Elders fetch basic lands. Those two build mana pretty quickly, which is important, because the deck wants a lot of mana. The artifacts help out as well. Tolarian Academy is present only because with eighteen artifacts, it also provides mana acceleration.

The deck does contain one of the best card drawing mechanisms green can play: Yavimaya Elders and Scroll Rack. The Elders provide a shuffle effect and draw – in effect – three cards. Combining that with Scroll Rack can often let you see at least half a dozen new cards every turn. This gets even better when Soul Foundry is set to crank out an Elder every turn. In this deck, Scroll Rack is better than Mind’s Eye, Sylvan Library, and even Sylvan Library/Abundance. It is almost enough to power the deck without anything else.

The first anything else is the Soul Foundry. The first Soul Foundry is generally cast to pump out Wall of Blossoms, Wood Elves, or Elders. This provides chump blockers and mana acceleration. Obviously, the Elders are the best option, then Wall of Blossoms, then Wood Elves. Leonin Abunas is also an option, but it only provides blockers – albeit big ones. The Abunas is better used to protect the Foundry from removal, but it can work in a pinch.

The second Soul Foundry is, generally, the one that wins the game. By the time you are ready to cast it, you should have found a Living Wish, and gotten whatever creature fits well. I’ll have a list below.

I didn’t include it in this deck, but I would note that Soul Foundry does combo pretty well with Seedborn Muse. The best combo with Muse is probably Thundermare. Just wait until the opponent declares their attack phase, then create a Thundermare before declaration of blockers. Everything is tapped, nothing attacks – it’s a perpetual Fog that leaves a bunch of 5/5 beatsticks around to play with on your turn.

If you play the deck without the Timesifters, I would replace those with Muses and some other useful stuff.

Speaking of the Timesifters, that is the second combo in the deck. You need Mirari, Scroll Rack, and the Wishes to make this work; this is also why you need a lot of mana.

To start the combo, cast Living Wish, with Mirari, and get two Dracos. Then cast Timesifter. (I said this requires a lot of mana, but you can spread it across two turns.) At the start of the next player’s turn, Timesifter triggers. In response, use Scroll Rack to put both Dracos on top of your library. Draco is, I believe, the creature with the highest casting cost in existence – so you should win the next turn. The player after you completes their turn, and you get the next one (your first extra turn).

(Note that you need to fetch two Dracos, to make sure you win the extra turn when Timesifter triggers during upkeep on the turn after you cast Timesifter, then during your upkeep on your first extra turn.)

On your first extra turn, you cast Burning Wish with Mirari to get the Burning Wish in the sideboard, and the Living Wish. Then you cast Living Wish to get Draco and do the Scroll Rack thing again. And you win the second extra turn. You can keep this going indefinitely.

Timesifter requires all players to remove the top card from their library every turn. By repeating this sequence every turn, you will eventually remove your opponent’s libraries from the game. However, since you are both removing the Draco every turn and drawing a card for your turn, you will draw your library as well. However, Scroll Rack can solve that problem: Just put extra cards on your library before your draw.

It may be clunky, but it works.

Most people will concede when you demonstrate the combo, but some may realize that you cannot just empty their library, then let them have a turn and die to decking. Once they have no library, you will automatically win all the turns, since any card you reveal beats nothing. If you both have no cards, then the game is a draw.

My answer, when an opponent asked how I planned to win was”I will kill you with Timesifter.” I did – I removed his library, cast Karn, animated Timesifter, and attacked with it. He had the choice of blocking, which would kill Timesifter, or taking lethal damage (spread over several extra turns.) Since killing Timesifter would mean that he got a turn, and would lose when he could not draw a card, this was not much of a choice.

The better option is to use all those extra turns to generate tons of Soul Foundry tokens and beat down. You have as many extra turns as you want, so you can attack with two thousand Yavimaya Elders if you so choose.

What makes this combo deck good is that the parts are, with the exception of Timesifter, all good on their own. That’s a cue for the dreaded card-by-card analysis – but I’ll keep it short.

Wall of Blossoms

Sends attackers elsewhere, and is a cantrip. Dig for the parts.

Yavimaya Elder

The green Ancestral is really good in any case, but it is amazing in the Soul Foundry.

Wood Elves

They fetch dual lands, which makes them pretty fair in a Soul Foundry.

Viashino Heretic

Artifact kill is necessary these days, and he is reusable. There are more in the sideboard for Living Wish.

Leonin Abunas

He protects your artifacts, and is a reasonable wall.

Thran Dynamo, Sol Ring

Mana artifacts.

Voltaic Key

There’s only one, because it’s restricted in Type One. If you cut the Regrowth and Sol Ring, you can play it as Extended and use more. In that case, Grim Monolith might be better than Thran Dynamo.

Scroll Rack

This helps you dig for combo pieces, as well as being completely nuts with Yavimaya Elders. It is also necessary for taking all the turns with Timesifter.

Living Wish

In the mid-game, you will be safe behind your walls, and you can use this to load the Soul Foundry with the best card in the given circumstances.

Burning Wish

Critical in the late game and to get Timesifter, but also useful for getting those emergency cards to save a lost game, like Earthquake and Decimate.

Soul Foundry, Timesifter

What the deck was built to exploit.


Necessary to fork the Wishes to keep the combo running, but also good if you fetch other sorceries with Burning Wish.

Restock, Regrowth

Occasionally, someone nails a component before you can go off. These can solve that problem.

Taiga, Savannah

Dual lands make sure you have enough Forests to play the Elder, while having access to the other colors.

Tolarian Academy

You have enough artifacts to make this work. I also keep a Gaea’s Cradle in the sideboard, which has the same effect if opponents are not playing Wrath of God-style effects.

Forests, Plains, Mountains

You need the basics to give you something to fetch with the Elders. Never put all of these into play – you want some to put into your hand, then back into the library with Scroll Rack. Soul Foundry/Elder and Scroll Rack is at least as good as Land Tax/Scroll Rack.

The sideboard is all Wish targets. I’ll start with the combo components first, then go through the other sorceries, then creatures to load into Soul Foundry.

The combo components are Burning Wish (you need to have one in the sideboard to get with the first Miraried Wish) and the two Dracos. I also included a Decimate, an Overrun, a Disintegrate (to deal with regenerators) and a Wildfire as board control. Hull Breach and Earthquake could also have made the cut.

The list of creatures for Soul Foundry was much more fun to put together. When I playtested these cards, Soul Foundry had an activation cost of four, which meant that I could use some very expensive cards. Teeka’s Dragon, Crater Hellion, Reiver Demon, and Shivan Hellkite are pretty good at that point, as are cards like Archangel – but Soul Foundry has been fixed now. Clearing the board with Crater Hellion is a lot more difficult now that it requires Voltaic Key and thirteen mana. Of course, if you are playing this as an Extended deck, it could still work.

I tried to build my Living Wish/Soul Foundry sideboard like the old toolbox survival decks – including life gain, the ability to kill any type of permanent, board control, kill methods, etc. Anything with comes-into-play abilities are possible – some are better than others.

For lifegain, I played Radiant’s Dragoons, a personal favorite, but Teroh’s Faithful works as well (and maybe better).

For board control and utility I had Silklash Spiders and Thundermare. (I mentioned the Thundermare and Seedborn Muse combo before.)

For permanent control, I had a variety of creatures by type. I used Woodripper, Viashino Heretic, and Uktabi Orangutan (which can kill Cursed Totem). To kill lands, I had Avalanche Riders. To kill enchantments, I used Cloudchaser Eagle, but Monk Realist is cheaper. To kill creatures, I had Boneshredder, Dark Hatchling, Flametongue Kavu, and Ancient Hydra. To force discard, I had one Cackling Fiend in the sideboard.

As kill mechanisms, I had Deranged Hermit, Ancient Hydra, Karn, Silver Golem, and Highway Robbers.

It was amazing with an activation cost of four, but even with an activation cost of X, if you can get the mana to power Soul Foundry imprinted with Avatar of Woe, it is insane. Avatar of Woe is not legendary, so you can have a lot of them, and a lot of 6/5 fear creatures that tap to kill any creature is generally good enough to win.

Special Bonus: Soul Foundry”Tech” For States.

For those of you that like fragile, multi-card combos, Soul Foundry can be a central part of a number of combos. I know of three ways to make Soul Foundry infinite in Standard.

Soul Foundry imprinted with Ornithopter produces a creature for free. Soul Foundry imprinted with Cathodion can produce enough mana, if you have a way to sacrifice the Cathodion, to activate the Foundry again. If you can untap Soul Foundry, you can produce infinite token creatures.

The trick is to untap the Foundry. In the current T2, the best option, Karn plus Intruder Alarm, is not legal. That leaves three cards that can repeatedly untap the Foundry (ignoring the one-shot untaps like Twiddles and Galvanic Key). Dross Scorpion can untap the Foundry if an artifact hits the graveyard. Aphetto Alchemist can untap the Soul Foundry, and Intruder Alarm can untap him. Finally, March of the Machines and Intruder Alarm can let the Foundry untap itself.

The Dross Skeleton option would use Soul Foundry imprinted with Ornithopter, Dross Skeleton, something like Carrion Feeder or Nantuko Husk as a means of sacrifice and Disciple of the Vault as a kill card. It certainly works, and it is mono-colored in a color with good tutors, but it is not very strong. It relies on a four-mana artifact and having a couple x/1 creatures stay in play long enough to go off. Still, someone will try this at States.

The second option is using Aphetto Alchemist and Intruder Alarm to create a host of 0/1 creatures. Then you have to do something to win with them. If you have a mana creature in play as well, then you could imprint something with a higher casting cost, like Raging Goblin, and create a horde of 1/1 hasted goblins and win the game that turn.

This combo also works, but fails the classic test for combos – every piece of the combo has to either help you find the other parts or be good on its own. Almost none of these cards pass that test. Aphetto Alchemist is hardly a beatdown machine.

The third option is to use March of the Machines and Intruder Alarm. March of the Machines can also make artifact mana, both Myr and Talismans, untap when the Soul Foundry actives. The only question, then, becomes what creature to stick in the Soul Foundry. If you use something like Ornithopter, you have no kill. Creatures costing one mana are generally useless without Soul Foundry, and not all that useful in the Foundry (although Raging Goblin is still a possibility). Two-mana creatures, especially Myr, are useful to the deck outside the Foundry – but any two-mana creature requires having two artifact mana sources in play, in addition to the Soul Foundry, Intruder Alarm, and March of the Machines.


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