Oops, I Win

Posted in From the Lab on May 6, 2013

Welcome back, minions! Today I'll be taking a look at some more goodies from the new set, and I've put together an interesting pair of decks for your enjoyment.

Deadbridge Chant just might be my favorite card in Dragon's Maze, and as such I've been looking at different ways of abusing it. The card is somewhat similar in function to Debtors' Knell on the surface. Both are expensive enchantments that can return a creature from the graveyard to the battlefield every upkeep. This brought to mind the classic combo with Yosei, the Morning Star. By returning the Dragon to the battlefield and sacrificing it every turn, you can stop your opponent from ever getting an untap step, leaving you free to slowly kill him or her in whatever way suits you. Unlike Debtors' Knell, however, Deadbridge Chant can return any card. That means you can use a much more straightforward way to take all the turns: Time Warp.

Unfortunately, Deadbridge Chant does have a drawback. The card you get each turn is random, and just to make sure you have some options, it dumps ten cards into your graveyard when it enters the battlefield. This makes it more difficult to get Time Warp back every turn, but not impossible. You just need to get rid of all those extra cards. The first card I turned to was Loaming Shaman. It lets you get rid of exactly the cards you want and no more, leaving only Time Warp left in the graveyard. It also gives you a 3/2 for your trouble.

Another great option for exiling cards from your graveyard is Painbringer. You can cast it before Deadbridge Chant, and then you're free to clean up your graveyard without paying any more mana. You can likely also kill one of your opponent's creatures in the process. If your opponent doesn't have any creatures, Painbringer can target itself to allow you to activate the ability.

All right, so you have Deadbridge Chant on the battlefield and just a Time Warp in your graveyard. You can now take extra turns until you run out of cards in your library. Of course, it would be nice if your opponent was dead before that happened. There are several ways to make that happen. You could mill out your opponent with something like Jace's Erasure or attack repeatedly with an unblockable creature like Latch Seeker. The option I liked most was using an artifact or enchantment that causes your opponent to lose life on each of your turns. That way, you're not vulnerable to things like the legendary Eldrazi that prevent you from milling out your opponent or cards like Powerstone Minefield that would stop an unblockable creature.

The best card I found for the job is Caustic Tar. Since you've already cast Deadbridge Chant, you're sure to have the six mana to cast it, and since it makes your opponent lose 3 life per turn, you don't have to worry about having twenty cards left in your library when you draw it. You'll only need to have seven.

Johnny staple Diabolic Tutor helps you find a Deadbridge Chant to get the combo going, and Ranger's Path and Skyshroud Claim help get you to six mana ahead of schedule. Walk the Aeons gives you extra copies of Time Warp, and a single copy of Maelstrom Pulse will help you deal with anything that might stop your combo.

Time Chant

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    Stealing Ideas

Notion Thief is a card that many people have been excited about for tournament play, but it has some really cool applications for casual combo decks as well. Andrew Mestas suggested using the card in combination with Consecrated Sphinx. Notion Thief's ability is not optional, therefore, by giving it to your opponent, you force him or her to draw cards instead of you. Then, whenever your opponent draws a card, Consecrated Sphinx triggers, giving you the option of drawing two cards. If you choose to do so, your opponent will draw those two cards instead, triggering Consecrated Sphinx again. You can continue this until your opponent has drawn all the cards in his or her library and lost the game.

For this to work, you'll need to give your opponent your Notion Thief somehow. Donate is the simplest way, allowing you to simply give away one of your permanents. Legerdemain lets you trade Notion Thief for any other creature, and Spawnbroker allows you to trade it away so long as the creature you're trading for doesn't have greater power. Just in case your opponent doesn't have any creatures, Forbidden Orchard and Hunted Phantasm will be happy to provide some.

Worldly Tutor can search up either Notion Thief or Consecrated Sphinx, making sure you get both halves of the combo. You can also use Mystical Teachings to search for Notion Thief since it has flash, and if it's the Sphinx you need, you can use the Teachings to grab Worldly Tutor. Thanks to flashback, you can even grab both with the same card.

Dispel and Mana Leak can help you control the game, making sure your opponent doesn't kill one of your creatures or otherwise stop you from getting the combo put together. Note that if you have the mana, you can even use Mystical Teachings to grab one of these in response to your opponent casting a spell.


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    A Time for War

Our competitors have entered the arena, and the time has come to put these two decks to the ultimate test. Only one can leave alive. Will Deadbridge take total control, or will the Sphinx's gifts be too much to handle? Let's find out.

Game 1

The game started off uneventfully, with lands from both sides until Time Chant cast Ranger's Path on turn four to grab a pair of Breeding Pools. Giveaway cast Mystical Teachings at the end of turn to search up a Notion Thief. Time Chant cast Deadbridge Chant, and Giveaway summoned a Consecrated Sphinx.

Deadbridge Chant brought back a land and a Time Warp created an extra turn. Deadbridge Chant brought back Diabolic Tutor and Skyshroud Claim snagged two Forests. Walk the Aeons with buyback bought another extra turn, and Deadbridge Chant got back Ranger's Path. Diabolic Tutor searched up Loaming Shaman, and another Walk the Aeons with buyback grabbed yet another extra turn.

Deadbridge Chant found an Island, and Walk the Aeons created one more extra turn. Loaming Shaman shuffled in everything except Time Warp and Walk the Aeons from the graveyard, and many turns later, Time Chant won the game with Caustic Tar.

Game 2

Giveaway started things off by casting Worldly Tutor for Consecrated Sphinx, donating a Spirit token with Forbidden Orchard in the process. Lands for a few turns followed on both sides until Time Chant once again cast Ranger's Path on turn four, getting a pair of Overgrown Tombs.

Giveaway played a land and passed again, and Time Chant cast Skyshroud Claim, getting a Breeding Pool and a Forest. Diabolic Tutor searched up Deadbridge Chant, and Giveaway cast Notion Thief during the end step.

Giveaway cast Spawnbroker, trading the Thief for the Spirit token, and passed the turn. Deadbridge Chant hit the field, preparing for infinite extra turns, but a Consecrated Sphinx from Giveaway forced Time Chant to draw its entire deck and lose the game.

Game 3

Things started off with lands from both sides, and Giveaway used Worldly Tutor on the second turn to find a Consecrated Sphinx. Giveaway cast Mystical Teachings a few turns later, but Time Chant countered it with Dispel.

Time Chant cast Skyshroud Claim to get some extra lands, and Giveaway cast Notion Thief, then used Donate to give it away. Deadbridge Chant hit the board, but once again Consecrated Sphinx was there just in time to steal the game away.

    Playing Favorites

After talking about my favorite card from Dragon's Maze today, I thought I'd ask you all what your favorite card from the set is. Use the email link at the bottom of the page to send me your idea for a cool combo deck built around one of your favorite cards in the set. Include a quick rundown of your card choices and how the deck works, and I'll highlight some of my favorites in an upcoming article. Have fun, and I'll see you next time!

Mike CannonMike Cannon
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Mike Cannon signed on to write From the Lab at the end of 2012. An ardent casual player and lover of bizarre synergies, he'll be bringing you a selection of crazy combo decks every Monday.

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