Which Combo Deck Will Dominate Pioneer At SCG Indianapolis?

Two strong combo decks loom over the Pioneer metagame going into SCG Indianapolis. Who’s advocating for playing them? Who’s bucking the trend?

Dig Through Time, illustrated by Ryan Yee

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Welcome to What We'd Play! With SCG Indianapolis this weekend, many are unsure what they’d play in such a high-profile tournament. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this last-minute advice aids in your decision making! Be sure to vote for what decks you would play at the end!

Ari Lax – Dimir Inverter

Lotus Breach is a broken deck, but Dimir Inverter is a broken deck with more flexibility and interaction in the face of hate. You can generally combat Damping Sphere with Lotus Breach, but there’s an element of luck inherent in drawing the pieces to combat it in the right timeframe.

Dimir Inverter has Thoughtseize. That’s it, that’s all you need to make it easy.

I don’t have much to change from the list Corey Burkhart won the Players Tour with since I tested with him and played a very similar list at the event. Drown in the Loch is great, Pack Rat is great, and Omen of the Sea is great even if I’m one of the few who thinks that. I’m trying the fourth Jace, Wielder of Mysteries over the fourth Thassa’s Oracle after drawing the second Oracle a few too many times and since Jace is a great draw in mirrors. This might make the Ipnu Rivulet worse since you have less five-mana self-mill plus Oracle kills and the painful blue comes up more, but I haven’t gotten that far on adjusting yet.

Corey Baumeister – Lotus Breach

It’s very clear to me that SCG Indianapolis is going to be all about combo decks. If you don’t think the same thing, you aren’t paying close enough attention! Lotus Breach and Dimir Inverter have proved their dominance at the top of the metagame over the last three weeks, and while I do agree Dimir Inverter is going to be more popular, I don’t think it’s because it’s a better deck than Lotus Breach. I just think it is way easier to play and the path to victory is often much clearer.

With the more straightforward combo deck comes a price: the hate is much more straightforward as well. The reason I love Lotus Beach is the majority of hate cards do absolutely nothing against it! With the exception of Damping Sphere, when your opponent casts a hate card, you just have to kill your opponent in a different way.

So expect to see me doing some dancing this weekend. Dancing around my opponents’ hate, that is! 

Cedric Phillips – Bant Spirits

If combo is going to be everywhere at SCG Indianapolis, and I have no reason to believe it won’t be, there’s nothing like some pressure plus disruption to really mess things up. Dimir Inverter and Lotus Breach are both extremely powerful decks but I think Bant Spirits provides a quick enough clock and just the right kind of disruption in Mausoleum Wanderer and Spell Queller to overcome things.

How much Mono-Red Aggro, Sultai Delirum, or Mono-Black Aggro will be in Indianapolis this weekend is anyone’s guess. All three decks were popular heading into the Players Tour events as well as SCG Richmond and SCG Philadephia earlier this month, but they don’t have the press that Dimir Inverter and Lotus Breach currently do (and they aren’t that bad of matchups anyway).

So while I’m not willing to call this metgame of Pioneer anything hip and cool like Combo Winter (because that’s rather insulting to those who know Magic’s history), I will say that combo is the name of the game this weekend in Indy and Bant Spirits is a great way to turn the heat up.

Emma Handy – Dimir Inverter

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Dimir Inverter is Splinter Twin. What makes the deck Twin isn’t in the specific details of how it combos, it’s in its ability to adapt.

With the deck being a known quantity, and hanging around in spite of players’ best efforts, we can assume it’s not going anywhere.  With the deck taking home the trophy at Players Tour Phoenix a few weeks ago, and Dylan Donegan closing out the Magic Online PTQ last weekend with the archetype, it’s hard to deny its staying power.

As long as there’s a Fatal Push / Thoughtseize / Dig Through Time shell, there’s going to be something abusing the package, with a complementary threat suite.  In an aggro and combo-heavy metagame, having a combo finish, complete with a card-drawing planeswalker as a combo piece, is a splendid place to be.

Shaheen Soorani – Dimir Inverter

Between this and Lotus Breach, the control mage has an easy decision.  It felt like just yesterday I was able to sleeve up some sweet control answers, add Dig Through Time to produce the requisite card advantage, and then finish the game in long, painful fashion with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.  This control utopia was shattered with the emergence of Dimir Inverter and Lotus Breach.

Dimir Inverter is the real culprit here, effortlessly running seven hand disruption spells; Mystical Dispute; Narset, Parter of Veils; and a resilient combo all maindeck.  I’m used to fighting off hate from the sideboard, but Dimir Inverter brings the arsenal Game 1.  To top it all off, this combo deck plays four copies of Dig Through Time, shattering any element of fairness that could exist otherwise.  The reason I am choosing this deck over Lotus Breach is because it plays like a control deck, while having the threat of a quick victory after the disruption does the heavy lifting. 

Dimir Inverter may not be more powerful than Lotus Breach, but it rewards players with prior control experience.

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