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Brewer's Minute: Rivals of Ixalan—Seven Modern Combos

Hey, everyone! It's time for another Brewer's Minute! It's release weekend for Rivals of Ixalan, which means it's time to break down some of the sweet new combos the set enables in Modern. While some of these combos are pretty janky and probably more worth of a slot on Against the Odds than an appearance in a tournament deck, there are some super-fun things we can do with Rivals of Ixalan in Modern, and today, we're going to break them down! Then, if you have some more sweet #MTGRIX combos for Modern or some ideas for deck lists that could abuse the combos we talk about today, make sure to let me know in the comments!

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#7: Famished Paladin + Resplendent Mentor 

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I promise we aren't just going to rehash all of last week's Commander combos, but I did want to quickly mention Famished Paladin and Resplendent Mentor because there's already a perfect Modern deck to take advantage of the infinite life combo in Soul Sisters. While the basic idea of the combo is the same as in Commander, with Resplendent Mentor allowing Famished Paladin to tap and untap itself to gain infinite life, the fact that you can just throw both cards into Soul Sisters—and they would be pretty good even without the combo, with Famished Paladin being a reasonable two-drop and Resplendent Mentor offering more ways to trigger Ajani's Pridemate—makes the combo even more competitive in Modern.

#6: Blood Sun and Bounce Lands

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While using Blood Sun to lock the opponent out of the game is great, the real power of the enchantment might be using it to negate the drawback on some of our own lands. For example, with a Blood Sun on the battlefield, all of the Ravnica bounce lands enter the battlefield untapped and don't bounce a land but still add two mana, which is an absurd amount of ramp. We've seen lands that tap for two mana be great in Modern (for instance, Eldrazi Temple and even the bounce lands in conjunction with Amulet of Vigor and Summer Bloom), and now with Blood Sun (alongside Amulet of Vigor), we have even more ways to play a mana base full of Ancient Tombs. 

#5: Warkite Marauder + Izzet Staticaster

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The combo of Warkite Marauder and Izzet Staticaster is pretty simple: you attack with Warkite Marauder, make your opponent's Tarmogoyf or Death's Shadow into a 0/1, and then simply tap your Izzet Staticaster to snipe it from the battlefield, and then you do this over and over again, each and every turn, while also hitting for two in the air! The main reason the combo is exciting is because Five-Color Humans is already a popular deck, and it already plays Izzet Staticaster in the sideboard, so the combo already has a ready-built tier home in the format!

#4: Crafty Cutpurse + Hunted Creatures

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This one is pretty janky, but it also seems like a ton of fun. The main idea is to use something like Aether Vial to cheat Crafty Cutpurse into play and then use our mana to cast creatures like Hunted Horror and Hunted Phantasm, which are amazingly good deals when we are getting the tokens from their enter-the-battlefield abilities instead of our opponent. Hunted Horror represents 13 power and toughness across three bodies for just two mana, while Hunted Phantasm gives us a total of six creatures (including the unblockable Hunted Phantasm) for just three mana!

#3: Journey to Eternity + Sakura-Tribe Elder

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The plan here is simple. Play a Sakura-Tribe Elder on Turn 2, play a Journey to Eternity on Turn 3, and sacrifice the Sakura-Tribe Elder twice to ramp, while also getting Atzal, Cave of Eternity for grindy graveyard value. Then, we untap with six or seven mana on Turn 4, which is enough to start casting huge threats like Grave Titan or even Scapeshift to win the game with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle! While we've already played this one for Against the Odds (see above), that's only one example of what the combo can do, and there are tons of other fun possibilities!

#2: Rites of Passage + Forerunner of the Empire + Polyraptor

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We've talked about Polyraptor combos a few times before, but in Modern, we get another interesting piece that allows the combo to go truly infinite: Rite of Passage. The basic idea of the combo is that we get Rite of Passage on the battlefield, use Forerunner of the Empire to find our Polyraptor, and then when Polyraptor enters the battlefield (perhaps with the help of something like Through the Breach or Dramatic Entrance), we make an infinite number of infinitely huge Polyraptors! Each time a Polyraptor enters the battlefield, Forerunner of the Empire does one damage to everything. Normally, this would kill off the Forerunner of the Empire after three pings, but with a Rite of Passage on the battlefield, every time Forerunner of the Empire pings our creatures, our team also gets a +1/+1 counter! The end result is we make as many Polyraptors as we want while also sweeping away all of our opponent's creatures and making all of our Dinosaurs huge with +1/+1 counters!

#1: Zacama, Primal Calamity + Dictate of Karametra / Mana Reflection + Temur Sabertooth

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While Zacama, Primal Calamity is mostly getting hype as a commander, the fact that it enters the battlefield and untaps all of our lands gives it build-around potential in Modern as well. The basic idea of the combo is that we play things like Dictate of Karametra and Mana Reflection to double our mana; then, we tap all of our lands, cast Zacama, Primal Calamity to untap them (hopefully floating some extra mana in the process), and then use Temur Sabertooth to bounce the Zacama, Primal Calamity to do it all over again. If we have lands that can make at least 11 mana total, this gives us infinite enters- and leaves-the-battlefield triggers, which lets us win with something like Impact Tremors, and once we get a total of 12 or more mana from our lands, we can make infinite mana because we'll gain some number of mana each time we go through the loop. After we get infinite mana, it should be pretty easy to find a way to win, whether it be casting a massive Banefire at our opponent's face or using Genesis Wave to get our entire library onto the battlefield!


Anyway, that's all for today. Do you have some ideas for decks that could take advantage of these combos? How about more Modern combos featuring cards from Rivals of Ixalan? Let me know in the comments! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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