Brewer's Minute: More Modern Combos
by SaffronOlive // Feb 17, 2017
Hey, everyone. It's time for another Brewer's Minute. A couple of months ago, we did a video talking about under-the-radar Modern combos. The great thing about Modern is that there are a ton of combos, so this week, we are going to break down six more sweet combos involving everything from infinite damage to infinite turns! Like last time, I don't have actual deck lists for any of the combos, so if you have some ideas for how we could turn these synergies into sweet and somewhat competitive decks, make sure to let me know in the comments!
Our first combo today is a Commander classic featuring Triskelion and Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. While both cards are a bit expensive at six mana, if we can get them on the battlefield together (perhaps with the help of ramp or reanimation), we have infinite damage. The basics of the combo are simple: we can remove a counter from Triskelion to deal damage to our opponent, and then when Triskelion dies, it comes back into play (with an extra +1/+1 counter, no less) thanks to the undying it gets from Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. The trick is making sure Triskelion dies (even though it's getting +1/+1 from Mikaeus, the Unhallowed), so what we do is use one of the counters on Triskelion to ping our opponent and the other two to ping the Triskelion itself, which in the end leaves us with a 2/2 Triskelion with two damage, killing it so we can get it back with undying!
While none of the pieces are especially powerful on their own (and some are downright bad), the combo of Conspiracy or Xenograft with Turntimber Ranger not only gives us an infinite number of 2/2 tokens but an infinitely big creature as well. The trick is to get the enchantment on the battlefield first, naming Ally, and then cast the Turntimber Ranger. When the Turntimber Ranger enters the battlefield, it will make a 2/2 Wolf, which will also be an Ally thanks to the Conspiracy or [[Xenograf]t]—this will again trigger the Turntimber Ranger, putting a +1/+1 counter on it and making another 2/2 Wolf Ally. We do this a few thousand times and then either win with our tokens or with Turntimber Ranger itself (maybe with the help of Fling or something similar to throw it at our opponent's face)!
This combo has been around for a while thanks to Jeskai Ascendancy, but it has gotten much, much easier thanks to the addition of Paradox Engine (which lets us be mono-green rather than four-color) to the format. The basic idea is to get some creatures on the battlefield (probably things like Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch, or Elvish Mystic to help ramp into Paradox Engine), get a Paradox Engine (or Jeskai Ascendancy) on the battlefield, and then cast a Sprout Swarm with buyback and convoke, tapping all of our creatures. This gives us a 1/1 Saproling token and untaps all of our creatures, thanks to the Paradox Engine. As long as we have at least five creatures on the battlefield (including the Saproling tokens we are making with Sprout Swarm), the end result is that we can make an infinite number of 1/1 tokens. Better yet, since Sprout Swarm is an instant, we can do all of this at the end of our opponent's turn to dodge sorcery-speed removal, untap, and win the game by attacking with a Saproling horde.
Up next, we have not one but two different ways to take an infinite number of turns in Modern. First up is Panoptic Mirror and any extra turn spell. If we can get a card like Savor the Moment imprinted on the Panoptic Mirror, we get an extra turn spell for free on each of our upkeeps (including our extra turns), which means that for the rest of the game, we are the only player who actually gets to play Magic! While it might seem weird to use Savor the Moment since we skip our untap step, it is the cheapest extra turn spell, and if we get every single turn, we should be able to figure out a way to win even without any untap steps.
Infinite turn combo number two is Time Sieve and Thopter Assembly. If we can make five artifacts every turn, we can sacrifice them to Time Sieve to take an extra turn (then, we can do this again during our extra turn). Thopter Assembly happens to be a way to make five artifacts, since it bounces back to our hand (assuming it is our only Thopter) during our upkeep and makes five 1/1 Thopter tokens. Then, since we are sacrificing all of the tokens to Time Sieve, we can simply cast our Thopter Assembly again—it will bounce back to our hand the next upkeep, and we take yet another turn!
Our last combo is actually two different combos that have the same end result. The problem with the end result is that the game ends in a draw! Unlike our other combos, Sporemound and Life and Limb or Ajani's Chosen and Enchanted Evening are literally infinite (in Magic, we often say "infinite" meaning "a really, really big number," but most of the time, there is an end to the combo eventually), meaning that once Ajani's Chosen starts making enchantment Cat tokens (which keeps triggering itself) or Sporemound starts making Forest / Saprolings (which keeps triggering itself), it just keeps going forever because none of the abilities are "may" abilities. In theory, the game continues until one of the players dies of old age, but a more reasonable solution is that game simply ends in a draw. While I'm not sure there is any practical purpose to these combos, if you are looking to get the "I broke Magic Online" badge, this is probably one of the easiest ways to do it!
Anyway, that's all for today. If you have some ideas on how (or where) we can use these combos, make sure to let me know in the comments! As always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.