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Against the Odds: Infinite Cauldron (Standard)


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Against the Odds! Wilds of Eldraine is here! While our new Standard format looks pretty interesting in general, perhaps the most interesting part of Wilds of Eldraine is that it added multiple new infinite combos to Standard! As such, today, we're playing a deck that can go infinite in just about every way possible—infinite mana, infinite card draw, infinite damage—with the help of one of my favorite cards from the new set: Agatha's Soul Cauldron! What are the odds of going infinite in Wilds of Eldraine Standard? Let's find out on today's Against the Odds!

Against the Odds: Infinite Cauldron

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The Deck

Today's deck is a combo deck—we're all about assembling the right combination of cards that will let us go infinite in basically every possible way. As a result, probably the easiest way to understand the deck is just to walk step by step through the combos we're trying to pull off.

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Agatha's Soul Cauldron is by far the most important card in our deck. Without its ability to give our creatures the activated abilities of creatures it exiles from our graveyard, none of our infinite combos would be possible. The two-mana legendary artifact has a ton of text, but the important part is that it can exile a creature from a graveyard to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature we control and gives all of our creatures with +1/+1 counters the activated abilities of the creatures it exiles. While functioning as graveyard hate (it's almost an Unlicensed Hearse) and growing our creatures are nice, the real power of Agatha's Soul Cauldron is that giving our creatures activated abilities they aren't supposed to have opens the door for some truly absurd game-ending combos!

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The most straightforward (and most important) combo in our deck is using Agatha's Soul Cauldron to make infinite mana. For this, we need two things. First, we need a creature that taps for at least three mana. For this, we turn to Kami of Whispered Hopes and, as a backup, Deathbloom Ritualist. The most common way we'll combo is by playing a Kami, exiling a creature to Agatha's Soul Cauldron to put two +1/+1 counters on it so it can tap for three mana of any color, and then proceed to make infinite mana with the help of another card we'll talk about in a minute. But it's worth mentioning that our combo can also work with Kami or Deathbloom Ritualist in the graveyard since we can exile them to Agatha's Soul Cauldron and give another creature the mana producing activated ability. In general, one of the weaknesses of creature-based combos is that your combo pieces die to creature removal, but, in a weird way, Agatha's Soul Cauldron gets around this. We can play a Kami of Whispered Hopes, try to combo with it, and, if our opponent can kill it, simply exile it to Agatha's Soul Cauldron to restart the combo by giving another creature its ability.

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The second piece of our infinite-mana combo is a creature that has an activated ability that can untap itself. The best option here is Sleep-Cursed Faerie, which can untap itself for just two mana, although Depth Charge Colossus can also work.

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The primary goal here is to give the creature that can tap for multiple mana—like Kami of Whispered Hopes—the ability to untap itself for less mana that it makes with the help of Agatha's Soul Cauldron. There are a few different ways we can do this, but a super straightforward example is we play Kami, get Sleep-Cursed Faerie in the graveyard, and exile it to Agatha's Soul Cauldron to put two +1/+1 counters on Kami. This gives us a Kami of Whispered Hopes that can tap for three mana and then untap for two mana, giving us infinite mana of any combination of colors. (It's also worth mentioning here that Agatha's Soul Cauldron's ability to fix our mana for activated abilities is helpful here since we don't really need to worry about which colors of mana we are making—they all work.)

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Once we make infinite mana, there are a couple of ways we can win. But before we get to the finishers, we need to talk about Fauna Shaman, which is probably the most important non-Cauldron card in our deck. Fauna Shaman's ability to not only tutor the perfect creature in our hand but also discard the perfect creature into our graveyard so we can exile it to Agatha's Soul Cauldron in order to steal its activated ability is absurdly powerful in our deck. When we are looking to set up our combo, Fauna Shaman finds Kami of Whispered Hopes and gets Sleep-Cursed Faerie in the graveyard, all for just one mana. And if our opponent can kill the Fauna Shaman, we can always exile it to Agatha's Soul Cauldron to give other creatures its ability! Once we go infinite, we can use Fauna Shaman to find a finisher and close out the game immediately. If we happen to go infinite and also have a Fauna Shaman exiled to Agatha's Soul Cauldron, we can activate it an infinite number of times to tutor every creature in our deck into our graveyard, if we want to! Basically, Fauna Shaman does everything we could possibly want in our deck, and it's largely responsible for making the combo surprisingly consistent. 

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As far as actually winning the game, our two main win conditions are Realm-Scorcher Hellkite and Triskaidekaphile. With infinite mana, Hellkite offers infinite damage—we can tutor it up with Fauna Shaman, play it, and use its activated ability to ping our opponent an infinite number of times. Meanwhile, Triskaidekaphile's activated ability lets us draw our entire deck (to find Realm-Scorcher Hellkite for infinite damage). Or, if we are feeling spicy, we can always draw to exactly 13 cards in hand and try to win with Triskaidekaphile's "you win the game" ability on our upkeep.

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The support cards in our deck are mostly graveyard fillers like Urborg Lhurgoyf, Cruel Somnophage, and Old Stickfingers that can help us mill combo pieces to set up our Agatha's Soul Cauldron kill. Apart from supporting our infinite combos, these creatures also give us a legitimate backup plan since they end up massive once our graveyard is full. While it doesn't happen often, we occasionally win by making a couple of 10-ish-power Lhurgoyfs or Somnophages and beating down.

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Last but not least, we have Colossal Skyturtle, which is surprisingly important to our deck as a way to help find Agatha's Soul Cauldron. The idea is that we can cast our self-mill creatures to fill our graveyard, hopefully mill a Agatha's Soul Cauldron, and then channel Colossal Skyturtle to return it to our hand and start the combo. It also gives us a bit of removal thanks to its bounce mode, which we can tutor up with Fauna Shaman in a pinch.

Wrap-Up

While our record should be taken with salt because we were playing the deck on early-access day (thanks to Wizards for the free account!), the combo was way more consistent than I expected. I figured we would mostly lose a lot but combo off spectacularly once or twice, but we ended up playing nine games with the deck and winning five of them, all by going infinite! It turns out that the combo is surprisingly easy to set up, and Agatha's Soul Cauldron is a pretty ridiculous card. The ability to not only support combos but also protect the combos from removal by exiling combo pieces from the graveyard to reassemble is way stronger than I expected. Whether the deck can be competitive outside of early-access day remains to be seen, but I was shocked at how much better than deck was than I expected it to be. Not only did we pick up a lot of wins, but we even managed to beat removal- and disruption-heavy decks like Faeries! If you like the idea of going infinite in every possible way in Wilds of Eldraine Standard, give Infinite Cauldron combo a try. The deck is super unique and fun, and it might even be good!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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