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Budget Magic: Rosie's Infinite Squirrel Combo (14 Rare, Historic)


Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! Lord of the Rings is here and this week we're heading to Historic to take advantage of one of the most exciting uncommons from the set - Rosie Cotton of South Lane - by using it with Scurry Oak to make infinite Squirrel tokens, which often also gains us infinite life! We're also essentially Soul Sisters, which might mean after many years of predictions and waiting we've finally found a card that's good in Soul Sisters thanks to Lord of the Rings! Oh yeah, the best part? The deck only takes 14 rares to build on Magic Arena! Is Rosie good in Soul Sisters? How many Squirrels can we make? Let's find out on this week's Budget Magic!

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Budget Magic: Rosie's Infinite Squirrel Combo

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The Deck

Rosie's Infinite Squirrel Combo, as its name suggests, is a combo deck. We have multiple ways to make infinite 1/1 Squirrel tokens and also gain infinite life! If we can't win with the combo our backup plan is essentially Soul Sisters, gaining bunches of life to grow creatures like Voice of the Blessed and Trelasarra, Moon Dancer into game-ending threats!

The Combos

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We have two different infinite combos in the deck, both involving Scurry Oak. The easiest and best is the combo of Scurry Oak and Rosie Cotton of South Lane. The idea is simple: we play Scurry Oak and then play Rosie. When Rosie enters the battlefield it makes a Food token, which will trigger its second ability to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature. We choose Scurry Oak, which will trigger its ability to make a 1/1 Squirrel token whenever it gets a +1/+1 counter. The Squirrel token will then trigger Rosie, which will start the loop over again. We can do this as many times as we want, giving us infinite 1/1 Squirrel tokens and also an infinitely big Scurry Oak, which means best case our opponent doesn't have a blocker and we can win right away by attacking with the huge Ent. Worst case we can win the following turn by attacking with a massive mob of Squirrels.

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Combo number two is a bit more complicated because it takes three pieces rather than just two. For this combo we need Scurry Oak, Heliod, Sun-Crowned and a Soul Sister - a creature that gains us a life whenever another creature enters the battlefield - like Soul Warden, Prosperous Innkeeper or Lunarch Veteran. With this set up all we need to do is gain a life (which usually means have a creature enter the battlefield to trigger the Soul Sister) and we'll start the combo with Heloid triggering to put a +1/+1 counter on Scurry Oak which will make a 1/1 Squirrel token which will trigger the Soul Sister to gain us a life, which will trigger Heliod again to start the loop over. The drawback of this combo, as I mentioned before, is that we need three pieces to go infinite rather than just two, although the cost of playing the combo is pretty low because it involves cards we want in our deck for other reasons. The good news is that the combo also has a big upside: along with making 1/1 Squirrels we'll also gain infinite life, which means if something goes wrong (like our opponent can wrath our board) it's unlikely our opponent will be able to kill us in the near future, if ever, which gives us a lot of time to reassemble the combo.

The Backup Plan

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While the combo is the most exciting part of the deck we also have a solid backup plan in case we can't win with the combo in Trelasarra, Moon Dancer and Voice of the Blessed - creatures with get a +1/+1 counter whenever we gain life. Thanks to our endless stream of Soul Sisters, our deck is really good at gaining one life several times each turn, which means that Trelasarra and Voice quick grow into massive, board-dominating threats. Both creatures come with an additional upside, with Trelasarra letting us scry whenever it triggers, which helps us dig through our deck to find our combo pieces, while Voice of the Blessed eventually gains flying, vigilance and indestructible, making it really difficult for most decks to kill. While most of our wins will come thanks to the combo, there are some games where we almost accidentally win by growing one of these two-drops to massive proportions. 

The Glue

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I mentioned before that our deck plays just 14 total rares and mythics. Fully half of them are our two glue cards Collected Company and Kayla's Reconstruction. While the cards read a bit different, they essentially do the same thing: put two creatures of mana value three or less onto the battlefield from the top of our library. Since all of our combo pieces cost three mana Collected Company and Kayla's Reconstruction are great ways to find our combo. With a bit of luck we can hit both Rosie and Scurry Oak with just one of them, letting us assemble the combo out of the blue to catch our opponent by surprise. If we have Collected Company we can even do this at instant speed! 

Even discounting the combo-assembling potential of these cards, they are both just solid value plays as well, dumping multiple bodies on the battlefield, helping us rebuild after a wrath or string of removal spells or find Voice of the Blessed or Trelasarra, Moon Dancer if we end up on our backup Soul Sisters plan. While Collected Company and Kayla's Reconstruction do eat up a lot of our budget, our deck would by way less consistent without them. They are more than worth the cost.

The Mana

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As far as the mana, this is the main place you can really see that we are playing a budget deck. All of our dual lands are commons and uncommons, which means they mostly come into play tapped. While the mana is functional and color-screw isn't typically a problem, there are times when playing so many tapped lands does cause problems (see the game where we needed to draw a land to play a potentially lethal Collected Company, but drew a tapped land and ended up losing), but such is life in the world of 14 rare budget decks.

The main reason I wanted to mention the mana is to talk about upgrades. The easiest way to improve Rosie's Infinite Squirrel Combo is by upgrading the manabase with rare dual lands like Temple Garden, Razorverge Thicket and Sunpetal Grove which come into play untapped. The good news is that it doesn't really matter what rare lands you add, pretty much all of them represent an upgrade over the common and uncommon duals. You don't need to run out and spend 12+ rare wildcard on a new manabase, but you should add whatever rare dual lands you have in your collection to the deck over the lower rarity duals. 

Wrap Up

Record wise Rosie's Infinite Squirrel Combo was pretty solid for a budget deck. We went 3-2 a mythic on Magic Arena and even managed to beat Izzet Wizards, which is a deck I feel like I almost never beat. While we probably got a bit lucky to dodge control, which is our hardest matchup (a pile of wraths, removal and counters make it hard to combo and control decks don't really care about how much life we gain because they can always win by looping Teferi, Hero of Dominaria), in general the deck felt a competitive budget option that could be even more with an upgraded manabase.

As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, as I mentioned a moment ago, it's really just the manabase and sideboard that can be improved, the non-lands in the main deck are close to optimal (although I would like to try a couple copies of Arwen, Mortal Queen as additional protection that works with the lifegain theme). Unfortunately all of these upgrades require adding more rares to the deck, so I'm not sure there is much to do to improve the budget build without adding cost.

So should you play Rosie's Infinite Squirrel Combo in Historic? I think the answer is yes! If you are a fan of lifegain, combos or just Squirrels the deck felt like a good budget option that has the ability to compete at the high ranks on the Magic Arena ladder! If you already have a lifegain deck you should probably consider adding the Rosie Combo, it's a great way to close out the game by surprise, and we had several games where we were only a turn or two away from losing only for the combo to squirrel us to a victory, which is something more traditional Soul Sisters or lifegain decks don't usually have access to. Considering how tricky it is to find competitive budget decks for arena, especially ones that aren't mono-colored aggro decks, Rosie's Infinite Squrrel Combo seems like a great entry deck to the Historic format which plenty of upgrade potential!

Ultra-Budget Rosie's Infinite Squirrel Combo

No ultra-budget build this week. The only rares in our deck currently are Voice of the Blessed, Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Kayla's Reconstruction and Collected Company, all of which are essential to the gameplan. If you put a gun to my head and told me I had to cut one of the rares it would probably be Voice of the Blessed because it's part of our Soul Sisters backup plan rather than our primary combo plan, but the deck would get a lot worse without its power.

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Finally, our non-budget build looks pretty similar to the one we played in the video, at least in terms of main deck non-land card with the only change there being Arwen, Mortal Queen over Lunarch Veteran. While losing a Soul Sister hurts our backup plan, Arwen still has some lifegain shenanigans, plus it's a good way to protect a combo piece from a targeted removal spell which I think probably makes it worth the cost. On the other hand, our manabase and sideboard look a ton different than the budget build, which is also reflected in the deck cost. Rather than 14 rares like the build we played for the video the non-budget build costs a massive 54 rares, which is mostly an optimal manabase full of rare dual and utility lands and also an upgraded sideboard featuring removal like Skyclave Apparition, disruption for control and combo in Elite Spellbinder and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Guardian of Faith to protect from wraths, Rest in Peace for graveyard hand and Fragment Reality as a catch all removal spell. As I mentioned before, don't feel like you need to run out and spend 54 wildcards to play the deck - the budget build felt solid - but if you do decide to upgrade the deck start with the mana which is where you'll get the most bang for your buck, not just by improving this deck, but by adding dual lands to your collection that you'll use over and over again in many decks.

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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