Magicthegathering.Combos— Guildpact Edition

Posted in Feature on February 20, 2006

By Mark L. Gottlieb

My friends, you may have wondered what I've been up to in the past few months. You may have noticed that I've been shirking my duties as Magic Rules Manager—why, I haven't invented insane keywords like “substance” in over three months. You may have noticed that my secret volcano lair inside Mt. St. Helens has stopped erupting. You may have noticed that news reports of my army of genetically engineered nuclear mutant robot ninjas have all but vanished from the papers. So what have I been doing with myself? What new, secret project have I been working on? It's something I'm very excited about. And it's something you're all going to be very excited about as well.

Introducing my new enterprise, COMBO SECRETS!


Now YOU can learn all the best combos in Magic! From me, zero-time Pro Tour participant Mark Gottlieb! Take my demo! Download my videos! It'll be like I'm in your room, whispering in your ear, sitting on your lap, stealing your wallet!! I can give you the COMBO SECRETS!!

But don't take my word for it—unless you believe me! And you should!! Because I can back up my unprovable claims with absolutely provable proof. Check this out:

Izzet Chronarch & Riptide Laboratory

IS YOUR MIND BLOWN?? With this combo, you can play the Chronarch to return any instant or sorcery from your graveyard to your hand, play that spell, then use the Laboratory to return the Chronarch to your hand to start the loop all over again.

Now do you believe me? Now do you see that I can tell you the COMBO SECRETS? Not just that… I can tell you the SECRETS of COMBOS! Yes! Both things! And, for throwing in this new thing I just thought of, I'm only going to double the price for a little less than double of what two times the normal price would be! YOU HEARD ME!!! It's the deal of a lifetime! And to prove it, check out this SECRET of a COMBO:

Sins of the Past & Storm Herd

No! YES!!! No one has ever thought of this combo before, which is why YOU need ME! Why pay ten mana to get a stampede of Pegasus tokens when you can pay six mana instead? WHAT A DEAL!

Combos Guaranteed!

But let's take the energy level down a notch, okay? OKAY!!! How can I guarantee that my patented combo system (patent pending) is right for you? How do you know that applying the brainalyzical mem-o-gel and sleeping inside the combonautical chamber (available upon your membership to COMBO SECRETS for 147 easy monthly payments) will increase your daily combo output by at least 1.7%? Because if there aren't any combos available, I'LL CHANGE THE RULES SO THERE ARE!!!!!

Graven Dominator & Night of Souls' Betrayal

Thanks to some behind-the-scenes rules tinkering that happened when Ravnica was released, if Night of Souls' Betrayal is on the table when Graven Dominator comes into play, all other creatures will become 1/1 creatures that get -1/-1, making them 0/0 creatures, making them all scamper off to the graveyard. (You don't want to know how it would have worked before the Ravnica Comp Rules update. I can't quite explain the logic behind it, but all the other creatures would have wound up pooling their savings and buying a Virgin Islands timeshare. It makes no sense! That's why the rules changed!!!)

And what happens if I can't change the rules? THEN I'LL DESIGN THE CARDS MYSELF!!! That's right—I'll do anything to create COMBO SECRETS that I can teach you! That's why, for my own personal benefit, I designed Bioplasm. TASTE THE OOZE!!!!


Congregation at Dawn & Bioplasm & Autochthon Wurm

You can play Congregation at Dawn to put Bioplasm on top of your library, something else under it, and then Autochthon Wurm third. By the time you attack with Bioplasm, Autochthon Wurm will be on top, meaning Bioplasm gets a nice +9/+14 bonus. THAT'S RIGHT: Y=14!!!!!! Maybe the other creature you get is Elvish Herder to give Bioplasm trample, or Akki Drillmaster (which you put on top, making Bioplasm second) to give the Ooze haste when it shows up. Krosan Cloudscraper is even bigger than Autochthon Wurm, even though X would be the same as Y. (Yawn. Why even have a Y in that case?) And as long as you're playing with Congregation at Dawn, Killer Instinct seems like a pretty good plan. It's so good, I'm going to do this:

Killer Instinct & Congregation at Dawn

We're Practically Giving It Away!

My worst fears have been realized—I'm not getting through to enough of you!! I can tell because very few of you have emailed me your Swiss bank account access numbers so far. Well then, what if I show you this COMBO SECRET?

Vedalken Plotter & Undiscovered Paradise

You can't fool the Plotter. When it comes into play, if you target two lands and then return the targeted land you control to your hand in response, the exchange won't happen. Both lands have to be in play to complete the trade. Just like with, you can't get something for nothing—and just like with Vedalken Plotter, I will accept deeds to your property as payment! A half acre or more will get you automatic consideration for Preferred Membership!! So how CAN you fool the Plotter? The COMBO SECRET is to give your opponent an Undiscovered Paradise that you tapped to play the Plotter! During your next untap step, Undiscovered Paradise will return to your hand regardless of who controls it. Also good is to give your opponent a land enchanted with your Wellspring. Next turn, you'll get that land back anyway!

But the amazing splendiferousness of my program doesn't end there—NOT BY A LONG SHOT! Of course I'll teach you the COMBO SECRETS of top-notch tournament staples like Vedalken Plotter. That's easy. But it takes only five to seven brainwashing sessions before you'll be able to divine the COMBO SECRETS of high tier 2 cards like Poisonbelly Ogre! See for yourself:

Varchild's War-Riders

Poisonbelly Ogre & Varchild's War-Riders

That's a cumulative upkeep cost of “your opponent loses 1 life”!!! Six turns of that and your opponent will have lost a total of 21 life! AND HE ONLY STARTED WITH 20!!! Of course, you'll need some way to prevent your opponent's Survivor tokens from smacking you into next Thursday. Having a 3/3 creature and a 3/4 creature helps, but that's nothing compared to this:

Poisonbelly Ogre & Varchild's War-Riders & Night of Souls' Betrayal & Forbidden Orchard

That's right!! I tossed the Forbidden Orchard in there for free because I LOVE COMBOS SO MUCH!!!! With the Ogre and the Night of Souls' Betrayal covering your back, the Orchard is the anti-City of Brass. It taps for any color and YOUR OPPONENT loses life! In fact, with Poisonbelly Ogre and Night of Souls' Betrayal rockin' the house, you can try many other enemy token-producing, and thus life-loss-riffic, support cards, like Greener Pastures, Infernal Genesis, or Mogg Infestation, or Phelddagrif!

Don't worry—Just because my special dietary supplements made out of all-natural organic yeast, crab apples, and Minnesota lake algae (that's brain food!) will enable you to learn crazy obscure COMBO SECRETS doesn't mean you'll lose the ability to see the completely obvious COMBO SECRETS as well! In fact, you'll see those even better!!! Like this one:

Hatching Plans & Auratog

Duh, right? DUH, INDEED!!! You'll be full of duh after completing the five-month intensive COMBO SECRETS training session at my secret Himalayan monastery in Rancho Mirage, California!! You might combo Hatching Plans with Greater Harvester instead! Or Barrin, Master Wizard, Claws of Gix, Endless Wurm, Dispersing Orb, Read the Runes, or LOTS OF OTHER THINGS!!!!

My Matrix-like COMBO SECRETS brain-jacking programs (available only to participants with brain jacks) are so advanced that they can help you turn bombos into combos!! As no-fun-meister Aaron Forsythe (a.k.a. The Man) said in a recent column, Wurmweaver Coil can enchant only Green creatures because otherwise it forms a combo with Auratouched Mage that gives you a 9/9 creature for . Oh, no!!! That would have been TOO FUN!!!! Well, don't let The Man keep you down! Toss in Shifting Sky, making every nonland permanent Green, and you can pull off exactly the combo that Wizards of the Coast doesn't want you to pull off!

Wurmweaver Coil & Auratouched Mage & Shifting Sky

Results from Graduates!

One of the most common bits of praise I get from satisfied COMBO SECRETS customers is the whiny complaint, “O Great Mago, I have learned your COMBO SECRETS, thus making me invincible at Magic , but so has my opponent, so now we're both invincible! How can I possibly win?” EASY!!!!! By paying me more money!! Whichever one of you has devoted more cash to unlocking the SECRETS of the COMBOS is, by definition, even more invincibler!! If you do so, you'll make sure you win by depriving your opponent of cards so she CAN'T PLAY COMBOS!!!! You can do it like this:

Quicken imprinted on Isochron Scepter & Mind Peel

You can play Mind Peel with buyback during your opponent's draw step EVERY TURN! Or you can do it like this:


Cryptwailing & Mesmeric Orb & Abyssal Nocturnus

The Orb feeds your graveyard so you have enough creatures to activate Cryptwailing each turn, which then makes your Nocturnus LARGE and ANGRY!!! Or you can do it like Successful COMBO SECRETS Graduate Artemis the Hunter does:

Debtors' Knell & Chimney Imp & Thoughtpicker Witch

Sacrifice the ultra-uber-broken Chimney Imp (mascot of the COMBO SECRETS Ultimate Frisbee team) to the Witch during each of your opponent's draw steps, then pop the Imp back into play on your turn with Debtors' Knell. It's a COMBO LOCK!!!! (Artemis also suggests trying this with Angel of Despair instead of Chimney Imp. I guess that's good too.) Like all Successful COMBO SECRETS Graduates, Artemis belongs to the Cult of Mago, and he posted this combo on their cyber hangout, the Fall of the House of Cards thread on the Magic Message Boards. Why? Because all those who read that thread deserve to know and generate COMBO SECRETS!!!!

If you read that thread, you would also know the COMBO SECRET that Successful COMBO SECRETS Graduate Dracsin posted:

Blood Funnel & Boseiju, Who Shelters All

What? That's a Ravnica combo, not a Guildpact combo? I DON'T CARE!!!! If you use mana from Boseiju to play your cheaper-by-2-mana noncreature spells, Blood Funnel can't counter them! Sacrifice nothing!!! (Well, except for 2 life per Boseiju use. That's one thorny tree.) Remember: Blood Funnel puts the “blood fun” in “Blood Funnel”!!!! Dracsin isn't the only one to come up with this combo. I heard it in the Pit in R&D. I heard it from Rachel Reynolds, Programmer Extraordinaire of Magic Online. I heard it on the Rules Guru mailing list. And I heard it from Wizards Customer Service. Except none of those people were saying that it's a combo—they were asking ME if it works. And I said that it does!!! And they were asking what happens if the spell you play is Consume Spirit. And I said that works even better!!!!!! Consume Spirit's “spend only black mana on X” restriction doesn't kick in until you pay the cost. But before you pay, Blood Funnel's ability reduces the cost. You can apply the 2-mana reduction to X , since an X in a cost is just generic mana (as I said, the “black mana” restriction comes later), and pay for the 1 in the cost with mana generated by Boseiju. It all works!! AND THAT'S HOW COMBO SECRETS ARE BORN!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then there's the heartwarming story of Successful COMBO SECRETS Graduate Bran Dawri, who rose from being an illegal monkey egg smuggler all the way to a respectable comboteur, despite the nearly unbearable hardship of having to resort to illegally smuggling monkey eggs to pay the course tuition. He has found the COMBO SECRET of:

Sky Swallower

Sky Swallower & Balance

Play Sky Swallower with two mana floating, then play Balance. A lesser student would have paired Sky Swallower with Brand. Why merely take back your permanents when you can blow up every land on the board as well as every creature except your 8/8 flying Leviathan and whatever lonely single creature your opponent decides to keep?

Testimonials from Famous People!

Do you want zazz? Star power? People you've heard of before? NO PROBLEM!!!! Many members of Wizards of the Coast R&D have spent the weekend at High-Intensity Combo Camp in my garage, and each and every time, the police couldn't get the charges to stick!!!!! For example, here's what combomeister Mons Johnson would have said had I not made up this entire endorsement:

“Mark is great! Thanks to his COMBO SECRETS seminars, orthopedic footwear, and scented body oils, I can now find combos like this one that I recently played in the Future Future League:

Teysa, Orzhov Scion & Mind Bend

“Whip that Mind Bend at Teysa to change “white” to “black” OR “black” to “white”!!!! Now whenever you sacrifice a creature of the right color, you'll get a token creature of that same color that's all ready for some sacrificin'! Add in a sacrifice outlet, like Nantuko Husk, and a single creature to sacrifice to get the ball rolling, and you can go infinite! Or, if you have three spare creatures to sacrifice, you can remove all your opponent's creatures from the game, one right after the other!”

Wow, Mons! That's fantastic! But what does combotator Devin Low have to say in this imaginary interview?

“Mark is great! Thanks to the fact that his desk faces mine and he spends at least three hours a day staring straight at me to beam the COMBO SECRETS directly into my brain, I can now find combos like this one that I recently played in the Future Future League:

Leyline of Singularity & Hunted Horror

“Put the Leyline into play before the game starts, then play a 7/7 trampler on turn 2 with no drawback!!! Both Centaur creature tokens that the Horror gives your opponent are immediately put into the graveyard due to the 'legend rule' because they're both named 'Centaur'! Then the drawbackless Hunted Phantasm comes out on turn 3!”

Wow, Devin! That's superb! But what does combobobulator Aaron Forsythe (who's a great guy, no matter what the Internet columnists write about him) have to say without either his consent or knowledge that he's saying this?

“Mark is great! Thanks to the electropulses that are transmitted from his COMBO SECRETS satellite into the COMBO SECRETS implant at the base of my medulla oblongata, I can now find combos like these three that I recently played in the Future Future League:

Ink-Treader Nephilim & Lightning Helix

Ink-Treader Nephilim & Electrolyze

Ink-Treader Nephilim & Wildsize

“Why play Brightflame or Cleansing Beam when a simple Lightning Helix aimed at my Ink-Treader Nephilim will deal 3 damage to every creature on the board and gain me a ton of life? Electrolyzing the Nephilim is even better! The Nephilim's ability will copy Electrolyze as long as the Nephilim is Electrolyze's only target. When the smoke clears, each creature's been dealt 2 damage and I've drawn a ton of cards!!!! I draw the same amount with Wildsize, and all creatures get bigger!!!!!!

Wow, Aaron! That's unbelievable! But it's true!!! IT'S UNBELIEVABLY TRUE!!!!!!!

One Last Celebrity Endorsement

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind Who is it? WHO COULD IT BE????? How could I top the cavalcade of awesomeness of the last section??? Here's a little hint. In a recent Saturday School column, a guy named Mike wrote in to ask about this combo:

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind & Curiosity

If you enchant Niv-Mizzet with Curiosity, you'll create a draw-a-card-deal-1-damage-draw-a-card loop that will end when your opponent takes lethal damage and you win, or when you decide to stop drawing cards because you're going to run out of them! (Hint: Don't do this unless the number of cards in your library is at least as large as your opponent's life total!) You may think that Mike, the person who submitted the query, knows the COMBO SECRETS. Nope. You may think that John Carter, the person who answered the question and who writes the column in which so much tasty combo goodness (under the guise of “does this work?” rules questions) can be found, is a COMBO SECRETS shareholder. Wrong again. So who's the Successful COMBO SECRETS Graduate? Niv-Mizzet!

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind & Teferi's Puzzle Box

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind & Mindmoil

SO MUCH CARD DRAWING!! SO MUCH DAMAGE!!!!! Which, of course, leads to…

Cerebral Vortex & Teferi's Puzzle Box

Which leads to this deck, highly endorsed by the Multiverse's Smartest Dragon, Niv-Mizzet!!!!

Smarty Pants

Download Arena Decklist

Now you've seen the kind of combos that you won't be able to see until you sign up for COMBO SECRETS!! Payment may be made in cash, property, gold bullion, monkey eggs, or souls (don't worry, they don't have to be yours). Sign up today!!!!

Until next time, have fun with COMBO SECRETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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