Standard Build-Arounds

Posted in How to Build on January 17, 2017

By Luis Scott-Vargas

Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

With a new set comes new opportunities, and today I'm going to look at cards that jump out to me as ones that enable new decks. Time to find some combos!

Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai

If you have not heard of this might be in Consulate custody.

Let's start at the top. This is by far the loudest combo in Aether Revolt (cue screeching cat noises), and one I expect tons of people to try over the next few weeks. How it works is that you play Felidar Guardian and target Saheeli Rai to blink her, which resets her loyalty and lets you use her -2 ability on Guardian. Rinse and repeat, and you end up with any number of Felidar Guardians that you can attack with.

There are a couple directions to go here: combo-focused, or control with a combo finish.

The combo-focused version will lean harder on finding the combo, and will include other pieces like Aethergeode Miner, Whirler Virtuoso, Decoction Module, and Aetherstorm Roc. Here, if you get any combination of three Decoction Module or Aetherstorm Roc cards in play (which Saheeli helps with), Whirler Virtuoso can make infinite Thopters. Felidar Guardian offers the win with Saheeli, as well as by getting value blinking any of the other creatures present.

The control version of the deck will play like Jeskai Control, complete with Torrential Gearhulk, and play Saheeli and Felidar Guardian as finishers you can assemble with Glimmer of Genius to win out of nowhere. Remember that Guardian can blink a tapped land first, meaning you only need six lands to win the game. Guardian also goes infinite if you have two of them and Panharmonicon, giving you infinite mana and infinite blinks of another permanent.


Download Arena Decklist

This combo is the one with the most potential from Aether Revolt, but there are plenty more to come.

Sram, Senior Edificer

If you dream of casting a Bone might be in Consulate custody.

Sram is pretty clear about what he likes: toys, toys of all shapes and sizes. My first inclination would be to slot Sram into an Equipment-based deck with hits such as Bone Saw and Cathar's Shield, at which point you can go down the Stone Haven Outfitter route or the Paradoxical Outcome route (or possibly both). Glint-Nest Crane is also likely involved, as it can both find these artifacts or wear them.

There is also the more balanced approach where you leverage Vehicles and attempt to play a normal attacking game. Sram doesn't care—he will build whatever you tell him to.

Baral, Chief of Compliance

Baral is also straightforward when it comes to assembling a deck (or Contraptions, depending on what you are into). Stringing together card draw and removal, especially in the form of counterspells, is trivial when all your spells cost one less. Baral even provides a handy loot option to get rid of excess copies of himself, so his legendary status isn't as big a drawback as it would be normally.

The first place I would start with Baral is a blue-based control deck, complete with Glimmer of Genius, Anticipate, Disallow, and other interactive spells. Torrential Gearhulk slots in nicely as well, and if you are going deep enough, so does Dynavolt Tower. Disallow even quotes Baral, so clearly he approves of that card.

Baral Control

Download Arena Decklist

Another way to go with Baral is a more combo-oriented deck with things like Part the Waterveil, card draw, and bounce. If you are playing two to three spells per turn, Baral gives you a ton of mana, and it's not hard to imagine him as a replacement for Jace's Sanctum in the decks that tried to use that.

Mechanized Production

There are a few clues to how this is best used, which is literally by putting it on a Clue. Tireless Tracker is the best way to generate massive amounts of Clues, especially without sacrificing any card quality, but there are other Clue-makers ready to go as well. Ulvenwald Mysteries could work in a creature-heavy deck, and Trail of Evidence in a spell-based one. Either way, stacking up Clues and using Mechanized Production as a win with a one-turn delay is enticing. You can even copy big artifacts for value, but that seems a little riskier.

Indomitable Creativity

If you used Clues to invent magical might be in Consulate custody.

Clues once again rear their head, as Indomitable Creativity seems best when it's targeting your own cards. Sure, you can downgrade an opposing threat into something smaller, but I'm most interested in turning my Clues into awesome artifacts and/or creatures. If you really want to go deep, you can build a deck without many hits, and Creativity will get you right to them. This especially works if you are generating Clues from non-artifact, non-creature sources, making this a way to cheat something gigantic into play.

Crackdown Construct and Wandering Fumarole

This is another two-card combo that can win you the game, but it's a bit less reliable than Saheeli plus Felidar Guardian. Once you animate Wandering Fumarole, you can activate the zero-cost ability as many times as you want, leaving you with an arbitrarily large Crackdown Construct. This has the advantage of half the combo being a land, but needing to get the Construct through means you will want removal or cards like Slip Through Space.

There are many more build-arounds than what I've mentioned here, but I feel good about this as a starting point. I've included two different blue-red decks for your perusal, with the Construct plus Fumarole deck being a potential third, but there are many options that don't involve blue or red as well.

Finding sweet combos is a big part of the fun of Magic, so I hope you find some that speak to you.


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