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Against the Odds: Infinite Morph Combo (Pioneer)


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Against the Odds! One of the most interesting aspects of Murders at Karlov Manor is the return of face-down creatures through cloak and disguise. To support these creatures, Wizards printed Yarus, Roar of the Old Gods, which has an interesting ability: when a face-down creature dies, it returns to play and flips face up. Used fairly, this ability can protect a board full of face-down creatures from a wrath or sweeper. But today, we're trying to do the most unfair thing possible with Yarus: using it to go infinite with the old morph mythic Ashcloud Phoenix! When Ashcloud Phoenix dies, it returns to play face down. This means we can go infinite if we toss a free sacrifice outlet like Woe Strider into the mix, by sacrificing Ashcloud Phoenix so it returns to play face down and then sacrificing the face-down Ashcloud Phoenix so it will return to play and flip face up thanks to Yarus, Roar of the Old Gods! Even better, when Ashcloud Phoenix flips face up, it deals two damage to each player. This means as long as we have a higher life total than our opponent, we win the game on the spot! What are the odds of morphing infinitely with Yarus in Pioneer / Explorer? Let's find out on today's Against the Odds!

Against the Odds: Infinite Morph Combo

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The Deck

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As I mentioned in the intro, our goal is simple: win the game by morphing infinitely! The primary combo of our deck is Yarus, Ashcloud Phoenix and Woe Strider. If we can get all three on the battlefield, we can sacrifice Ashcloud Phoenix to Woe Strider, it will return to play face down thanks to its ability, and then we can sacrifice the face-down version of Ashcloud Phoenix to Woe Strider, and it will return to play thanks to Yarus, Roar of the Old Gods' ability and hit each player for two! As long as we start the combo with more life than our opponent, this combo will win us the game all by itself. But what if we don't have more life than our opponent?

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If we find ourselves behind on life, our plan is to use Pyrotechnic Performer to increase the amount of damage the combo deals to our opponent. By itself, our combo deals two damage to each player every time we go through the loop, which obviously means we'll die first to our own combo if we have less life than our opponent, which isn't ideal. Pyrotechnic Performer changes the math of the combo since whenever we flip a creature face up, it deals damage equal to the creature's power to each opponent. Since Ashcloud Phoenix is a 4/1, this means that if we combo off with Pyrotechnic Performer on the battlefield, every time we go through the loop, our opponent will take six damage, and we'll only take two, which means we can deal the full 20 damage to our opponent with as little as seven life. Pyrotechnic Performer also offers an oddly effective backup plan. Sometimes, we just draw two or three of them, use Hide in Plain Sight to get some face-down creatures on the battlefield, and win the game by flipping everything face up to burn our opponent out of the game in one of the stranger ways possible.

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The final piece of the puzzle is finding our combo pieces. Technically, we need at least three to win the game. For this, we turn to Smuggler's Copter and Hide in Plain Sight. Smuggler's Copter takes advantage of the fact that we're playing a bunch of mana dorks (which also make great crewers) to speed up the combo and gives us a way to loot through our deck to find Yarus, Ashcloud Phoenix, and Woe Strider. Meanwhile, Hide in Plain Sight is even better, especially with Ashcloud Phoenix. Since it doesn't really matter if Ashcloud Phoenix is face up or face down when we start the combo (assuming we have Yarus on the battlefield, it works the same either way), we can use Hide in Plain Sight to dig for our combo pieces and potentially combo off immediately. Worst case, if we hit a Yarus or Woe Strider, we can always pay some mana to flip them up the following turn and then go infinite, which makes the sorcery the perfect way to find the creatures we need to combo off and win the game!

Wrap-Up and Odds

All in all, I played nearly 30 matches with the deck and ended up winning 39% of the time—not an absurdly good record but fine for an Against the Odds deck. More importantly, the combo actually worked! While needing three pieces does hurt the consistency, and we did have a couple of awkward games against lifegain decks where we actually assembled the entire combo but couldn't win because our opponent's life total was so much higher than our own life total, we also pulled off some really sweet combo kills with the deck! 

While the combo is certainly the most exciting part of the deck, I was also super impressed by Pyrotechnic Performer. In a deck built around morphs and other face-down creatures, it can deal a shocking amount of damage, often winning the game by surprise after the board gets too cluttered up to attack profitably. I think the two-drop might current be a bit underrated and is probably worth exploring more, if not in Modern or Pioneer then at least in Standard!

So, should you play Infinite Morph Combo? I think the answer is yes but just for fun. The deck is more semi-competitive than truly competitive, as our 39% win rate suggests. But it is unique and fun to play, and it does win a reasonable amount of the time. Just make sure you don't accidentally combo kill yourself with Ashcloud Phoenix damage!

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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