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Against the Odds: The One Ring, but Infinite | Historic

The One Ring is busted, there's no doubt about that. Ever since the artifact was released in Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth, it has had a major impact on essentially every format where it is legal. We've played it a few times already but always fairly (or at least as fairly as you can play a broken card like The One Ring). Today, we're going to see what happens when you go all-in on playing The One Ring unfairly by untapping it a bunch of times with Paradox Engine, which will hopefully let us draw our entire deck and win the game with Aetherflux Reservoir as early as Turn 4! Let's get to the video and find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

Against the Odds: The One Ring Paradox

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The Deck

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Our deck today is built around two key cards: Paradox Engine and The One Ring. We've played Paradox Engine combos in the past, with the main idea being to overload your deck with mana rocks for Paradox Engine to untap and then try to chain together enough card-draw spells to keep untapping them until you eventually find a way to win the game. The problem with past Paradox Engine decks is that they tend to fizzle.  You spend 20 minutes tapping and untapping, desperately digging through our deck by sacrificing Mind Stones and Hedron Archives until you eventually run out of spells to cast and are forced to pass the turn in shame to an opponent who is very willing and ready to kill you since you just made them sit through 20 minutes of your comboing for no reason. Today's deck is similar, except there is one huge difference: now, we have The One Ring, which makes it more or less impossible to fizzle!

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The idea is actually pretty simple: play as many mana rocks as possible so we have nonland sources of mana that Paradox Engine can untap, then play Paradox Engine and The One Ring. With this set up, we can tap The One Ring to draw a card and play that card using our mana-rock mana, and Paradox Engine will trigger to untap all of our mana rocks and The One Ring. Now, we can tap The One Ring to draw two cards, then three cards the next time through the loop, and then four. At this point, it basically becomes impossible for us not to draw a spell to cast, which functionally (although not technically, because in theory, we could have 20 lands in a row on the top of our deck) makes us infinite. 

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Since more than half of the nonlands in our deck are mana rocks, many of the spells we'll be casting during our combo turn will produce mana, which means we also end up with functionally infinite mana. We can tap all of our mana rocks to float a bunch of mana (pro tip: on Magic Arena, you can press QQ to tap all of your mana at once, which is a lifesaver with this deck), cast a spell to untap everything, and have a bunch of leftover mana floating. As we combo off, it's not uncommon for us to literally have 100 or more mana in our mana pool, which means we don't just have the ability to draw our entire deck with The One Ring but also the mana to cast all of the cards in our deck too!

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Thankfully, we don't actually have to cast all the cards in our deck. Once we start comboing, we really only need one card: Aetherflux Reservoir. Aetherflux Reservoir is basically a colorless Tendrils of Agony, making it the perfect finisher for a colorless storm-style combo deck. Once we find Reservoir, we cast a few more spells, get up over 50 life, and shoot our opponent for 50, winning us the game on the spot!

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And that's essentially our deck, although we do have a few more support cards. Mystic Forge is basically our backup The One Ring. While not nearly as powerful, the combination of being able to cast colorless cards (which is our entire deck) from the top of our deck and the ability to tap to exile the top card of our library (so we can get rid of extra lands) is powerful with Paradox Engine as we dig for The One Ring. Karn's Sylex offers some removal, while Forsaken Monument doubles our mana, which probably isn't necessary but is super fun.

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Last but not least, we have one of my least favorite cards in Magic: Karn, the Great Creator. While I sort of hate Karn, it is too perfect for our deck to pass up. Its main purpose is to tutor combo pieces from our sideboard, where we have a copy each of Paradox Engine, Aetherflux Reservoir, and Mystic Forge hiding out alongside more removal like Karn's Sylex, The Mightstone and Weakstone, and Cityscape Leveler. This adds a ton of consistency to our deck, letting us get away with playing just a single copy of Aetherflux Reservoir in our main deck but still being able to find it consistently when we need it to close out the game. It also gives us a backup plan for winning if we can't combo: worst case, we can always use Karn's +1 to turn The One Ring into an indestructible 4/4 and try to win by beating down.

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Oh yeah, one last thing about the deck: while being colorless might seem strange, it comes with a huge upside in that we get to play a ton of powerful utility lands. Buried Ruin and Inventors' Fair help find our combo pieces, Radiant Fountain and Blast Zone keep us alive against aggro while we are getting the combo set up, and Zhalfirin Void and Crystal Grotto scry for combo pieces. Plus, it's nice to never have to worry about getting color screwed, making our mana super consistent.


Record-wise, the deck was great. I started off at the bottom of Platinum on Magic Arena and made it to Diamond over the course of 37 games with a record of 26 wins and 11 losses, giving us a 70% match-win percentage in a pretty large sample size. A 70% win rate is absurd, like top-tier best deck in the format absurd. I know I like to jokingly ask "Did we break it?" but in this case, we might have actually broken it.

The deck does have one big problem: Karn, the Great Creator. Karn is very close to unbeatable for our deck since it shuts down The One Ring and all of our mana rocks for as long as it's on the battlefield, and our deck isn't great at getting it off the battlefield. We did beat it a couple of times, mostly by playing our own Karn and using it to turn an artifact into a creature to attack our opponent's Karn. And in theory, we can get Cityscape Leveler from our sideboard to blow it up or maybe even add enough counters to Blast Zone to destroy it. But Karn is—by far—our deck's biggest weakness. Thankfully, there are a couple of ways to solve it, with one being adding some creaturelands to the deck to have more attackers. If Karn became too big of an issue, we could also splash into a color to have hard removal or counters. 

While I am happy with how the deck turned out, and our record was great, I do think the sideboard could be improved a bit. One thing I noticed during the games is that there were times when I wanted to be able to tutor up a free artifact with Karn, the Great Creator to trigger Paradox Engine while fully tapped out. As such, I plan to add one Tormod's Crypt to the sideboard over Forsaken Monument, which is fun and funny but not usually necessary. Along with being a free artifact for combo purposes, Tormod's Crypt would also give us some graveyard hate, which would be helpful in some matchups. One of our other losses came to a Dredge deck that managed to assemble a massive board from their graveyard quickly enough that we couldn't get our combo pieces online. Tormod's Crypt would have helped there as well!

So, should you play The One Ring Paradox in Historic? I think the answer is yes, at least in best-of-one. Our record was great, the deck is super fun to play, and while not exactly Budget Magic cheap, it's also fairly cheap for a Historic deck, costing just 29 rares and mythics (and you can cut this down to around 25 by cutting some of the less necessary utility lands like Labyrinth of Skophos and The Mycosynth Gardens). On the other hand, I think the deck would perform a lot worse in best-of-three, where opponents would be able to sideboard in a bunch of Negates or Abrades, which would fizzle our combo cheaply and easily. For best-of-one, though, I think the deck might actually be legit!


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

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