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Brewer's Minute: Seven Ikoria Combos for Commander


Hello, everyone! Ikoria is officially being released in paper this week, which means it's time to break down some of the crazy combos that the set enables in Magic's most popular paper format: Commander! While there is no doubt that Ikoria is an extremely strong Commander set in general, today, we're focusing in on one narrow slice of the set: combinations of two or three cards that either win the game immediately or go infinite in some way or another (which will likely win the game anyway). What new combos can you slot into your Commander decks? What Ikoria cards have the most combo potential? Let's break it down!

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Brewer's Minute: Seven Ikoria Combos for Commander

#7: Infinite Everything with Luminous Broodmoth

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The main goal here is to get Luminous Broodmoth on the battlefield alongside Solemnity so that whenever one of our non-flying creatures dies, it will come back into play (thanks to Luminous Broodmoth) but without the flying counter (thanks to Solemnity preventing creatures from getting counters). This essentially makes all of our non-flying creatures invincible, which is helpful for dodging our opponent's removal spells and wraths. Things get even crazier when we add some sort of sacrifice outlet into the mix. For example, Luminous Broodmoth, Solemnity, and Ashnod's Altar along with any non-flying creature gives us infinite mana since we can sacrifice the creature an infinite number of times with Luminous Broodmoth returning it to play. Replace Ashnod's Altar with Altar of Dementia, and we can mill the entire table to death! Another possibility is to use Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger or Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, both of which sacrifice themselves when they enter the battlefield as long as we don't escape them, with Kroxa burning the entire table out of the game with infinite discard triggers and Uro allowing us to draw our entire deck and put all of the lands we draw onto the battlefield. Of course, we can also use the tried-and-true method of a sacrifice outlet (like Woe Strider or Viscera Seer) and a Blood Artist to drain the table out of the game!

#6: Win the Game with Emergent Ultimatum

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I almost didn't include Emergent Ultimatum on our list since it basically wins the game all by itself, assuming we put the right cards in our deck to tutor up and cast for free, but it's close enough that it slipped through. The "combo" is simple: resolve Emergent Ultimatum and tutor for Omniscience, Enter the Infinite, and Expropriate. No matter which two cards we get to cast for free, we should win the game. 

  • Omniscience and Enter the Infinite: We have our entire deck (minus one card) in hand and can cast everything for free.
  • Omniscience and Expropriate: We get at least one extra turn and can cast everything for free, which should lead to us winning the game if we have anything else going on at all.
  • Enter the Infinite and Expropriate: We draw our entire deck and get at least one extra turn, which allows us to play something like Thassa's Oracle during our extra turn to win the game. 

#5: Infinite Mana and Card Draw with Escape Protocol

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While Escape Protocol is mostly a good value card for a cycling deck like Gavi, Nest Warden, with some work, it can also offer a backup plan as an infinite combo piece that not only makes infinite mana but also allows us to draw our entire deck so that we have plenty of cards to cast with our infinite mana. First off, we need either New Perspectives or Fluctuator so we can cycle for free. Second, we need any two instants or sorceries with cycling. Finally, we cycle a card, pay one mana to blink Priest of Urabrask (or if you are in black, Priest of Gix) to make three mana when it enters the battlefield, cycle our second instant or sorcery to use Escape Protocol to blink Scholar of the Ages, and then return both of our cycling instants and sorceries to hand with its enters-the-battlefield. Every time we go through this loop, we end up with one extra mana (we get three from Priest of Urabrask but only need to spend two to blink both creatures with Escape Protocol); plus, we get to draw two cards thanks to cycling!

#4: Exile Your Deck With Illuna

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Illuna, Apex of Wishes is a strange card. While it is mostly a value mutater, the way it is worded, when its mutate ability triggers, it exiles cards from our deck until it hits a nonland permanent. This means that if we don't have any non-land permanents in our deck, Illuna, Apex of Wishes will exile our entire library! Why would we want to exile our entire library? Thassa's Oracle, of course! The idea of Illuna combo is to build a Temur Spellslinger deck with no nonland permanents except for Thassa's Oracle but plenty of non-permanent ways to make tokens so that Illuna, Apex of Wishes has something to mutate onto. We then use a tutor or card draw to find Thassa's Oracle and something like Dream Cache or Fire Prophecy to put Thassa's Oracle to the bottom of our library. Finally, we mutate Illuna, Apex of Wishes onto a token, exile our entire deck down to the last card—Thassa's Oracle, which we put into play for free with Illuna's ability—and win the game on the spot! One of the sweet aspects of using this combo in Commander is that assuming Illuna, Apex of Wishes is our commander, even if our opponent ruins our first attempt at the combo (perhaps by killing the token we try to mutate onto), we can always try again since Illuna, Apex of Wishes will go back into the command zone when it dies.

#3: Infinite Card Draw with Ominous Seas

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When I first read Ominous Seas, I completely missed the fact that you don't have to sacrifice it when you remove eight foreshadow counters to make a Kraken, which gives the card some really interesting combo potential. The idea here is to use Ominous Seas with Greater Good to draw our entire deck. Since Ominous Seas gets a foreshadow counter whenever we draw a card we can use Greater Good to sacrifice a Kraken and draw eight cards (although we will have to discard three). This puts eight foreshadow counters onto Ominous Seas, which we can immediately remove to make another 8/8 Kraken, which we can sacrifice to Greater Good to draw eight more cards. Rinse and repeat!

#2: Infinite Mana and Non-Human Creatures with Kinnan

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Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy is one of the most combo-y legends that has been printed in a long time, offering a really easy way to make infinite mana early in the game, with one combo piece potentially starting in the command zone! Since Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy allows our nonland mana sources to tap for an extra mana, it makes infinite mana with Basalt Monolith, which,  with Kinnan on the battlefield, we can tap to make four mana and untap for just three mana, giving us an extra mana each time we go through the loop. While infinite colorless mana is great, if we add something like Gemstone Array into the mix to turn our infinite colorless mana into infinite colored mana, we can then activate Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy's second ability an infinite number of times to put every non-Human creature in our deck onto the battlefield, which should be more than enough to win us the game, maybe as early as Turn 3!

#1: Infinite Mana with Zirda

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Making infinite mana with Zirda, the Dawnwaker and Basalt Monolith is almost exactly the same as it is with Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy, but in reverse. Rather than making Basalt Monolith tap for an extra mana, Zirda reduces the cost of untapping it by two, which means we can tap Basalt Monolith for three mana and then untap it for just one, making two extra mana as we go through the loop. While Zirda, the Dawnwaker doesn't have a game-ending second ability like Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy does, it is even better at making infinite mana because Zirda doesn't just go infinite with Basalt Monolith but with Grim Monolith as well. With one combo piece starting in the command zone and two different mana rocks that can make infinite mana very early in the game, Zirda's infinite mana comes out on top of our Ikoria Commander combo list!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! Which of these combos do you plan on playing? What decks can they slot into? What other Commander combos featuring Ikoria cards did I miss? Let me know in the comments! 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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