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Much Abrew: Diamond Lion Combo (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. People love Diamond Lion. Since the creature-y Lion's Eye Diamond was printed in Modern Horizons 2, I've gotten a ton of emails and messages asking about how to break the card. My go-to answer has been that it seems really tough. A Lion's Eye Diamond that has summoning sickness and dies to most creature removal is a tricky card to use. But thanks to Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth, there might finally be a way to combo off with Diamond Lion, which is what we're going to try to do today! Is Diamond Lion good now? Let's get to the video and find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: Diamond Lion Combo

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, Diamond Lion Combo was pretty bad. We went 1-4 in a league but managed to snag a win in a 1v1 match, giving us a 2-4 record overall. But more on this in a minute.

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  • So, what is our deck trying to do? The goal is pretty simple: we're trying to kill our opponent with Orcish Bowmasters by forcing our opponent to draw cards. While we can do this with Burning Inquiry, our primary plan is to use Echo of Eons to force each player to discard their hand and draw seven cards, which also means we'll get seven Bowmasters triggers, giving us an 8/8 (at least) Orc Army and seven damage to snipe our opponent's board or throw at their face.

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  • This is where Diamond Lion comes in. The two-drop is Lion's Eye Diamond but on a creature. We can sacrifice it to discard our hand and make three mana. In general, discarding your hand to make three mana is pretty bad because you won't have any cards left over to use the mana on. But Echo of Eons happens to have a flashback cost that is exactly three mana. This means we can play a Orcish Bowmasters, play a Diamond Lion, sacrifice it to discard an Echo of Eons, and flash back Echo of Eons to get a bunch of Bowmasters triggers and a new hand, which will hopefully lead to us winning the game.

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  • The other key card in our combo is Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler, which does two things for the deck. First and most importantly, it lets us activate our Diamond Lion as if it has haste, which gets around the summoning-sickness problem and makes Diamond Lion work a lot more like a real Lion's Eye Diamond. Second, Tyvar fills our graveyard and reanimates both of our combo creatures. If we play an Orcish Bowmasters early in the game and it dies, Tyvar can get it back. We can even do a sneaky line where we activate a Diamond Lion to discard our hand, reanimate it with Tyvar, and then cast our Echo of Eons so if we wheel into another Echo of Eons, we can wheel again in the same turn! If we get a bit lucky, we might even mill over an Echo of Eons, which is even better than drawing it since we want it in our graveyard anyway.
  • So, now for the big question: why didn't we win much with the deck? I think there are really two issues. First, we are mostly a three-card combo. While we need Orcish Bowmasters and Echo of Eons for sure, we usually need the Diamond Lion as well to get Echo into the graveyard and let us cast it. While cards like Tyvar and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker help us dig through our deck, there are still some games where we simply don't find what we need to combo, and our deck is pretty underpowered without the combo. While we can theoretically win fairly, winning fairly isn't easy since a big chunk of our deck is dedicated to combo pieces like Diamond Lion, Echo of Eons, and Burning Inquiry.
  • But we ran into a way, way bigger problem: everyone else is playing Orcish Bowmasters, and cards like Echo of Eons and Burning Inquiry combo just as well with our opponent's Bowmasters as they do with ours. We had a couple of times where we thought we were about to combo off, only for our opponent to flash in a Orcish Bowmasters to kill our Bowmasters and go off with our Echo of Eons or Burning Inquiry, which is brutal. We spend a lot of time and cards setting up the combo, and seeing our opponent combo off instead of us is hilariously frustrating.
  • Basically, the TLDR is that we're a three-ish piece combo deck, except our combo doesn't necessarily win the game. (We make a big Orc Army and deal some damage, but we don't literally win unless we have multiple copies of Orcish Bowmasters or multiple Echo of Eons). And, since Orcish Bowmasters is so popular, our opponent sometimes combos with our Echo of Eons instead of us. Oddly, our Orcish Bowmasters deck would be better if Orcish Bowmasters were less powerful, as weird as that sounds.
  • So, should you play Diamond Lion combo in Modern? I think the answer is pretty clearly not at the moment. If you are trying to build Against the Odds: Diamond Lion, I think the deck is solid—it's still the best Diamond Lion deck I've played. But right now, too many opponents are playing Orcish Bowmasters for the deck to be super competitive. If the metagame shifts in the future and fewer decks are running Bowmasters, I could see Diamond Lion Combo being pretty solid. But for now, we are just as likely to get wrecked by our opponent's Bowmasters as we are to win with ours.

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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