Welcome to the Machine

Posted in Feature on May 27, 2004

By Mark L. Gottlieb

Welcome, my son.
Welcome to the machine.
Where have you been?
It's all right—we know where you've been…

I can't even contemplate Machine Week without getting a Pink Floyd tune stuck in my head. That's the worst song on one of the best albums of all time, which is a weird thing to be. But classic rock concept albums have very little to do with artifact-heavy combo decks, so I'll switch topics now.

When a theme week comes up on the site, everyone is usually very careful to not overlap the aspect of the theme another writer has claimed. But not this week. This week, the themed articles act as their own little machine. Put them all together, and they connect up in a synergistic, comboriffic way. Rosewater wrote the first half of the story on the origins of the Stations, and Forsythe will continue it tomorrow—but in the meantime, I'm going to put them to use. I'll stuff some cogs, also mentioned in Rosewater's column, into a deck. I'll take a combo mentioned by Alongi and make it go infinite. I'm going to pick up Clock of Omens where Sullivan left off in his article and put that thing to work. I'm even going to use David-Marshall's new pet card in a combo deck. I am the monkey wrench that brings the gears of the Magic website to a halt.

Everything All the Time

OK, I've switched to The Eagles. Surely make you lose your mind. I figured the best thing to do for Machine Week was make a deck that had as many infinite combos as I could reasonably cram into it. I don't mean an 80-card singleton deck with fifteen separate combos you'd never assemble correctly during a game—I mean a robust, redundant deck in which you will hit a combo eventually. Feast your eyes on the true lunacy that is Fifth Dawn.

Interchangeable Parts

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So many infinite combos… The sad part is that you only need one to win. All the rest will be wasted each game.

1) Krark-Clan Ironworks + Myr Retriever + Myr Retriever in your graveyard + Summoning Station = infinite 2/2 creatures
Most of you have seen the Ironworks-Retriever combo by now. Throw a Retriever into the Ironworks, get 2 mana, and return another Retriever from your graveyard to your hand. Use your 2 mana to play the new Retriever. Repeat. How can you apply the loop? Add a Tangleroot to create infinite green mana. Add a Disciple of the Vault to create infinite life loss. Add a Genesis Chamber to create infinite Myr tokens—which easily converts to infinite mana because you can toss a million Myr tokens into the Ironworks to create 2 million mana. In this deck, you can add a Summoning Station to make infinite Pinchers. Every time a Retriever is melted down, the Station untaps.

2) Clock of Omens + Summoning Station + Mycosynth Lattice + Staff of Domination + Krark-Clan Ironworks = infinite colorless mana and infinite cards
Tap the Summoning Station to create a Pincher. It's an artifact creature thanks to the Lattice. Tap the Pincher and the Staff to have the Clock untap the Station. Throw the tapped Pincher into the Ironworks to get 2 mana. Use 1 mana to untap the Staff. Now you're exactly back where you began, except you have 1 colorless mana. Do it 999,999 more times to wind up with a million mana. Now you can funnel that mana through the Staff to draw your entire deck, find your Goblin Cannon, play it, and send the rest of the mana through the Cannon to win the game.

3) Clock of Omens + Summoning Station + Mycosynth Lattice + Battered Golem = infinite tapped 2/2 creatures
The easier version of combo 2. When you create an artifact Pincher token, Battered Golem untaps. Tap the Pincher and Golem to have the Clock untap the Station, and repeat. If you're not into 6- and 7-mana artifacts, the Mycosynth Lattice-Summoning Station pair used here and in combos 2 and 5 can be replaced by a Soul Foundry with an imprinted Ornithopter—but that wouldn't work for combos 1 and 6.

4) Clock of Omens + Staff of Domination + Staff of Domination + an artifact land enchanted with Dawn's Reflection = infinite colored mana and infinite cards
This is pretty simple. Tap the enchanted artifact land to generate 3 mana. Tap both Staffs to have the Clock untap the land. Spend 2 mana to untap both Staffs. Now you're exactly where you began, except you have 1 mana of any color. Guess what? Do it 999,999 more times, draw your deck, and set off the Goblin Cannon.

5) Clock of Omens + Intruder Alarm + Summoning Station + Mycosynth Lattice + any other artifact = infinite 2/2 creatures
Tap Summoning Station to make a Pincher, which is Latticified into an artifact creature. Tap the Pincher and any random other artifact to have the Clock untap the Station. Tap the Station again and create another Pincher. Intruder Alarm untaps all Pinchers. Tap two Pinchers to untap the Station. Make another Pincher, and all Pinchers untap. Those things breed like rabbits.

6) Summoning Station + Blasting Station + Mycosynth Lattice = infinite damage
Who needs the other two Stations? Turn the Pinchers into artifact creatures and these two Stations form an infinite loop all their own. Tap Summoning Station to create a Pincher and Blasting Station untaps. Tap Blasting Station and sacrifice that Pincher to ping your opponent and Summoning Station untaps. Whee!

Cogging the Drain

How about something a bit more reasonable, like a three-card infinite loop—where one of the cards is simply a land? Well, it's a better combo to play with… but it doesn't quite seem machinish enough for this week. But the combo needs a fourth card to win the game, so that helps. And one of the cards in the loop is March of the Machines, which is clearly quite machiney. And the simple combo is backed up by a redundant and overly complicated combo that's much more machinelike. Whew!

Salvaging Operation

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March of the Machines
7) Salvaging Station + March of the Machines + artifact land = infinite birth and death
You have March of the Machines in play. Tap Salvaging Station to return an artifact land (or any other 0-mana or X-mana artifact) from your graveyard to play. The land was a noncreature artifact in your graveyard—but with March out, it enters play as a 0/0 creature. It immediately dies, and Salvaging Station untaps. You can do this forever.

How do you capitalize on this? Anything that triggers on an artifact coming into play (Arcbound Crusher), an artifact going to the graveyard from play (Disciple of the Vault), a creature coming into play (Genesis Chamber), or a creature going to the graveyard from play (Goblin Sharpshooter) will trigger once per iteration of the loop.

8) Salvaging Station + March of the Machines + Lantern of Insight + Mass Hysteria + Psychogenic Probe = infinite damage
It's the same thing as the last combo, but more complicated! Anthony suggested the core of this on Tuesday; I merely infinityized it. With March and Probe out, tap Salvaging Station to return Lantern of Insight to play. Mass Hysteria takes away summoning sickness so you can tap and sacrifice the Lantern to force your opponent to shuffle his deck. He takes damage from Psychogenic Probe, and Salvaging Station untaps so you can repeat the loop.

The rest of the deck is full of cogs—delicious, nutritious cogs—that interact nicely with both Salvaging Station and Disciple of the Vault.

Above and Beyond the Call of Sanity

A pair of readers sent in two needlessly complex infinite combos that I smushed into the same deck.

9) Coretapper + Lightning Greaves + Arcbound Reclaimer + Sadistic Glee + Magistrate's Scepter = infinite turns
This was suggested by Steven Odhner, who suffers from the same disease (Extraneous H Syndrome) as Erhnam Djinn. Play Coretapper. Equip Coretapper with Lightning Greaves. Tap Coretapper to put a charge counter on Magistrate's Scepter. Sacrifice Coretapper to put two charge counters on Magistrate's Scepter. When Coretapper hits the graveyard, add a +1/+1 counter to your Arcbound Reclaimer enchanted with Sadistic Glee. Remove a counter from the Reclaimer to put Coretapper on top of your library. Tap the Scepter and remove three counters to take an extra turn. You can repeat this turn forever! This is all just to maintain the status quo; you have to add a 6th combo piece, like Telim'Tor's Darts, to actually win—unless your opponent has no blockers and you can attack with your Reclaimer.

Steve's original suggestion had Arcbound Overseer to add a counter to the Reclaimer each turn. Energy Chamber is a better choice than the Overseer; it fills the same purpose, but for 6 less mana (though it won't turn into an arbitrarily large attacker). I initially swapped out the Overseer for the duo of Arcbound Crusher and Power Conduit. They're cheaper and more versatile, even though finding two cards is harder than finding one. I ended up using Sadistic Glee instead because it's super cheap and interacts with the deck's other combo as well.

10) Coretapper + Coretapper in your graveyard + Lightning Greaves + Goblin Welder + Intruder Alarm + Pentad Prism = infinite colored mana
This was suggested by Nemephosis. Tap Coretapper to put a charge counter on Pentad Prism. Weld one Coretapper into the other. The Welder untaps thanks to Intruder Alarm. Equip Coretapper with the Greaves. Repeat. When the Prism is buried under a pile of counters, you can remove them all for mucho mana… but you still need something to do with it.

Note that if you have Sadistic Glee on a creature (maybe the Welder?) as you go off, it will get gigantic. Also note that you could change the Prism into a Magistrate's Scepter and get infinite turns this way too.

How about a victory condition? Both combos need one. Staff of Domination can help again. In the first combo, it can tap your opponent's creatures (if you have enough mana) so you can attack with your Reclaimer. In the second combo, you can use it to draw your deck—but you still need to find another card like Goblin Cannon to actually win. Instead, I like Magma Mine here. While taking infinite turns, you can add a single pressure counter to the Mine each turn (assuming you have 7 mana sources when you go off) until it's ready to pop. While creating infinite mana, you can load it up with a billion pressure counters at once. To quote a flavor text maestro, “BOOM!”

Rotten to the Core

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The Best Combo Ever?

I'll leave off today with a brilliant machine-oriented combo sent in by an anonymous reader identified only by the cryptic name “Alias Misnomer.” He wrote:

The next combo I think you will agree may turn out to be one of the best in the entire game of Magic.

Underworld Dreams + Fluctuator + Black Lotus + Vibrating Sphere + some tin foil + bits of string + the New York Post + Richard Garfield + Unholy Strength + Mindslaver + 2 rubber bands + MacGyver

Playing this is extremely difficult but the end result is that Richard Garfield and MacGyver end up making you a completely new card with which you win the game. You can try substituting in Lodestone Myr for Fluctuator or Martha Stewart for MacGyver, but obviously she either needs to be out of prison or you have to move your game. I tried swapping Garfield out for the less expensive Mark Rosewater but it just didn't work right. (He goes on the stack all funny.)


Until next week, it's all right—we told you what to dream.

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