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Against the Odds: Infinite Intruder Alarm (Timeless)


A few months ago, when Wizards added Intruder Alarm to Magic Arena for the first time in Wilds of Eldraine, they thought the card was so scary that they pre-banned it in Historic! While Intruder Alarm is known as a combo piece, it's never really been in a competitive deck, at least as far as I know, which made me question whether the pre-ban was actually justified. Well, today, we're going to try to find out by seeing if we can make infinite creatures with the enchantment in Timeless! Going infinite with Intruder Alarm is shockingly easy. All we really need is a creature with an ability that lets it tap to make another creature, which will then untap the original creature and let us repeat the process as many times as we want to make a massive board of infinite tokens! But is the plan actually any good? What are the odds of going infinite with Intruder Alarm in Timeless? Let's find out on today's Against the Odds!

Against the Odds: Infinite Intruder Alarm

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The Deck

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Intruder Alarm is a unique card. It keeps creatures from untapping normally during untap steps, but it untaps all creatures whenever any creature enters the battlefield. This isn't especially useful by itself, but the ability to untap all creatures whenever a creature enters the battlefield enables an absurd number of combos. While some are pretty convoluted or require a bunch of mana dorks on the battlefield, others are pretty straightforward. For example...

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The easiest way to go infinite with Intruder Alarm is with a creature that has an ability allowing it to tap to make another creature, like our best combo creature Steward of Solidarity. Steward can exert and tap itself to make a 1/1 Warrior. Assuming we have Intruder Alarm on the battlefield, the 1/1 entering the battlefield will untap all creatures, including Steward of Solidarity, so we can repeat the process to make infinite 1/1s! As a backup, we also have Xerex Strobe-Knight, which does essentially the same thing except it makes 2/2 tokens but has the downside that we can only activate it if we cast at least two spells each turn. Normally, this drawback isn't really an issue if we are aware of it, but there are occasionally awkward games where we're empty-handed and top-deck Xerex Strobe-Knight but still can't combo because we're missing a second spell to enable its ability. As you can probably see, the biggest upside of our combo is its speed. In theory, we can play Steward of Solidarity on Turn 2, play Intruder Alarm on Turn 3, make infinite tokens, and then win with a massive attack on Turn 4!

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The rest of our deck is dedicated to two main things: finding our combo pieces and protecting our combo. Collected Company and Chord of Calling help us find Steward of Solidarity and Xerex Strobe-Knight, while Moon-Blessed Cleric tutors up our Intruder Alarm to up our consistency. 

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For protection, we turn to Giver of Runes, which is pretty important to our plan. The biggest drawback of our combo is that it revolves around keeping a small creature on the battlefield long enough for it to lose summoning sickness, which means popular removal spells like Fatal Push and Lightning Bolt can ruin our day. Giver of Runes helps ensure that our Steward of Solidarity or Xerex Strobe-Knight sticks around long enough for us to go infinite with Intruder Alarm and win the game.

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Our last notable cards (discounting a touch of removal in Swords to Plowshares and Skyclave Apparition) are mana dorks that serve two purposes. First and most obviously, they ramp us into our combo pieces a bit quicker, allowing us to get Intruder Alarm on the battlefield as soon as Turn 2! Second, the mana dorks offer bodies to convoke Chord of Calling to help find our combo pieces. They can also do some cool tricks with our combo—we can generate infinite mana if we happen to have a Delighted Halfling on the battlefield while we combo, although this doesn't usually matter in practice since we're winning with our infinite tokens anyway.

Wrap-Up

Record-wise, we played 21 games with the deck and won nine, giving us a very Against the Odds–ian 43% win percentage. The good news is that the combo turns themselves are super effective and can happen surprisingly early in the game! I don't think we lost a single time after going infinite. On the other hand, the deck's biggest issue is that it's fairly easy to disrupt, and in all honesty, we're built around some pretty janky cards, which means we're unlikely to be able to win fairly if our combo gets disrupted. All in all, I came away feeling like Intruder Alarm is fun and a great Against the Odds card but not all that competitive. Does it really need to be banned in Historic? I don't think so.

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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