Severe Brainstorm Warning
Whenever I'm trying to come up with new ideas, I pull up the latest set in Gatherer and look through it for potential opportunities I haven't taken advantage of yet. Sometimes, that leads me down a fairly straightforward path to a deck that uses one or more of the new cards. However, sometimes the path is winding and twisted, and the deck I end up with is nothing like the idea that started it. My first deck today is a result of the latter form of inspiration.
The card that first caught my eye was Riddle of Lightning. I considered pulling the old Draco/Erratic Explosion trick with it, but most people are aware of some variation of that combo, whether it be the original or the more recent version with Worldspine Wurm and Blast of Genius. In addition, I felt fairly certain I'd written about it before at some point.
Next, I looked for ways to punch up the old combo. One idea I had was to make it so Draco is the only card in your library. Then you could cast Erratic Explosion and it would remain on the top of your library, ready for a second Explosion to finish the job. At first, I thought about using Mana Severance and Selective Memory to exile everything, but I wanted to find a way to do it with just one card.
Myr Incubator was the next card I thought of, but there were several problems with it. For one thing, exiling your entire library with it would give you enough Myr tokens to just win the game anyway.
Wait a minute...
Why don't I just do that?
Although Myr Incubator decks were fairly well known in their day, that was eleven years ago now, and the combo has been largely forgotten. I hadn't even thought about the card in years. It seemed like a prime opportunity to both show off an old combo card and punch up the deck in classic From the Lab style.
Made With 100% Artificial Ingredients
As soon as I settled on Myr Incubator, I knew I would have to make an all-artifact deck. Fortunately, the six artifact lands from Mirrodin block make that a lot easier. With the deck's twenty-four lands in place, I just had to figure out what other artifacts to include.
Coalition Relic and Worn Powerstone both accelerate your mana, allowing you to cast Myr Incubator as soon as turn four. Krark-Clan Ironworks is even more powerful. It effectively makes all your lands produce three mana, provided you won't be needing them again, and can sacrifice itself or anything else you don't need for extra mana as well. Provided you've already cast a couple artifacts, you can cast this on turn four and make the twelve mana to combo off before you even untap.
Since I wanted to exile my entire library, I needed a way to win the game on the spot, without having to wait a turn and attack with the tokens. Blasting Station and Grinding Station both work perfectly. When all the tokens enter the battlefield, you'll put some absurd number of untap triggers on the stack. You can then activate the Station in between each one, sacrificing the Myr one at a time until your opponent has either 0 life or no cards in his or her library.
The final piece of the puzzle was perhaps the most brilliant. Since the deck is entirely made up of artifacts, Skill Borrower will always inherit an activated ability from the top card of your library, provided it's not another Skill Borrower. It can produce mana, sacrifice artifacts to search for Myr Incubator, or even replace the Incubator itself, letting you end the game a turn earlier than you would otherwise have been able to.
It's a Conspiracy! No, the Other One
I started with Day of the Dragons. Using Conspiracy to change the type of your creatures to something you want is old hat, but many people forget that Conspiracy makes your creatures lose their original type as well. With Day of the Dragons, that means that if the enchantment leaves the battlefield, you get to keep all of your not-Dragons around in addition to the creatures you exiled.
If you also have Venser, the Sojourner, this can get out of hand very quickly. Say you have just three creatures on the battlefield. Then you cast Day of the Dragons. Those creatures get exiled, and you get a trio of 5/5 not-Dragon tokens. Now flicker the Day with Venser, the Sojourner. You don't sacrifice your not-Dragons, and your original three creatures come back. At the end of your turn, Day of Dragons will come back and exile all your creatures, giving you six tokens this time.
I wanted other cards to flicker Day of the Dragons, preferably creatures that could also be exiled with it. Flickerwisp and Glimmerpoint Stag fit the bill, with the ability to flicker any permanent. They also happen to have a cool interaction with Venser, the Sojourner. If you use Venser, the Sojourner to exile a Flickerwisp, it will return during your end step. Then Flickerwisp can exile Venser, the Sojourner, and he won't return until the beginning of the next end step, on your opponent's turn. While he's safe in exile, your opponent can't attack him, and he'll return just in time to be activated again on your turn.
Inquisitor Exarch gives you something good to flicker when you're just putting out creatures, and Healer of the Pride will give you some extra life no matter what you target. In fact, you can even have Flickerwisp and Glimmerpoint Stag take turns exiling each other to gain 2 life at the end of every turn.
Since I've already included a number of cards that take advantage of flicker effects, I added in Restoration Angel as well. Although it can't target Day of the Dragons, it can target a creature that can. As Gavin discussed, it can also flicker itself indefinitely with Conspiracy, making it a non-Angel creature, which in this case allows you to gain an arbitrarily large amount of life through Healer of the Pride.
Although Day of the Dragons is fun, I wanted another option with a more immediate impact. Reaper King was the card that best served that function. If you choose Scarecrow with Conspiracy, you can have your Wisps and Stags flicker each other all day long, destroying permanents each time. In fact, Restoration Angel can be used to destroy all of your opponent's permanents in one turn, leaving him or her utterly defenseless.
I also included a play set of Enlightened Tutor. It can search for any of the main combo pieces. Conspiracy and Day of the Dragons are enchantments, and Reaper King is an artifact. In the mana base, I added in Cavern of Souls. With Conspiracy out, it can be used for any creature, but its main purpose it to make Reaper King cost a bit less. The deck has three colors already, but with a Cavern of Souls to make a fourth, you can cast the King for just six mana, making him uncounterable at the same time.
Tell Me a Story
With the Artifactory's blazing fast combo kill, it didn't seem fair to pit these two deck against each other in the arena. Therefore, I've decided to throw you all in instead!
It's time for another contest, and this one will be a bit special. Although I usually focus on combo decks in this column, there's another kind of Johnny deck building that often gets neglected: The Vorthosian Theme Deck. The idea is to take an idea, whether that be a story, a character, or even a movie title. (A friend of mine has a Snakes on a Plane Commander deck)
So, the challenge for you, my fair readers, is to come up with a deck based around one of the storylines in Magic. You can go old school with something like the Weatherlight saga, or build a deck based on the plot of Theros. You could even choose a Planeswalker novel or an Uncharted Realms article if you like.
Once you have your deck worked out, send me the list along with a description using the email link below. Make sure I know which story you're referencing, and explain at least the most important card choices. The contest will remain open for two weeks, so you'd better get started. See ya!