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Much Abrew: Gwenna Combo (Pioneer)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we're heading to Pioneer to try one of the most interesting new combos from The Brothers' War: Gwenna Combo! The idea is to untap with a Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea, tap it for two mana, and then cast Acererak the Archlich, which will venture into a dungeon and untap Gwenna. By itself, Gwenna basically makes Acererak cost just one mana. But if we add one more cost reducer into the mix, like Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma, Relic of Legends, Bontu's Monument, or a flipped Duskwatch Recruiter, our Acererak the Archlich becomes free, which will eventually kill our opponent by venturing through the drain room of Lost Mine of Phandelver an infinite number of times (while also making Gwenna infinitely large). Is Gwenna Combo actually competitive in Pioneer? Let's get to the video and find out on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: Gwenna Combo

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  • As you can see, the decklist above is titled Gwenna Combo 2.0. That's because we started off playing a build with Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy as one of our cost reducers. (Kinnan lets Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea tap for three, which is enough to cast Acererak the Archlich.) But we quickly realized that Kinnan is bugged with Gwenna on Magic Online. Even with both pieces on the battlefield, Gwenna still just taps for two mana when it should make three. Considering that the only purpose of Kinnan in the deck is to be a combo piece, we ended up rebuilding the deck with cards that aren't bugged on MTGO (more copies of Relic of Legends, Trophy Mage, and Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma). If you decide to try the deck in paper, keep Kinnan in mind—it's a great support piece for the deck but only if it works the way it's supposed to. 
  • The good news is that even after dropping Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy—our best cost reducer—the deck still crushed it. We ended up 4-1 in our Pioneer league, with our one loss coming in our very last match to Mono-Red Aggro in a close three-game match. Apparently, the combo is strong enough that you can drop one of the best combo pieces in the deck and still have success!
  • The combo is pretty simple: our only goal is to get to a spot where we can cast Acererak the Archlich an infinite number of times, which will win us the game by draining our opponent out of the game with the Dark Pool room of the Lost Mine of Phandelver dungeon. The simplest way to do this is with the help of Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea. Gwenna taps for two and untaps when we cast a creature with power five or greater, like Acererak the Archlich. If we add Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma, Bontu's Monument, or a flipped Duskwatch Recruiter to the mix to reduce Acererak's cost a bit more, Gwenna and Acererak go infinite. We can also do this with Relic of Legends. When we resolve Acererak the Archlich, it will bounce itself back to our hand, but it puts a trigger on the stack, so there is a window where we can tap Acererak the Archlich for a mana with the help of Relic of Legends, which essentially reduces the cost by one.
  • Speaking of Relic of Legends, the same trick (tapping Acererak in response to its bounce) also opens up some backup ways to combo without Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea. For example, Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma plus Relic of Legends lets us cast Acererak an infinite number of times, as does Bontu's Monument, a flipped Duskwatch Recruiter (or two flipped Duskwatch and zero Monuments), and Relic of Legends
  • The rest of our deck is to find our combo pieces and ramp into the combo to speed it up. Eldritch Evolution and Collected Company dig for Gwenna and Acererak. Trophy Mage tutors up Relic of Legends or Bontu's Monument. Mana dorks like Elvish Mystic, Llanowar Elves, and Prosperous Innkeeper let us play our combo pieces a turn early. And that's essentially the entire plan of the main deck.
  • Oh yeah, one quick Magic Online note. When we combo with Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea and Acererak the Archlich, we'll venture into a room that makes a Treasure token a bunch of times, which sort of gives us infinite mana. The one drawback of our combo is that if our opponent doesn't scoop, it takes a ton of clicks to venture through a dungeon enough times to win with drain. Once we make some Treasures, it is worth using this mana to tutor up Bontu's Monument if possible, not because we need it to win the game (infinite Acereraks is a deterministic win unless our opponent has more life than we have cards in our deck, which essentially never happens) but because it improves our quality of life significantly by letting us drain our opponent much faster, reducing the number of clicks the combo takes from several hundred to more like 50.
  • The other interesting part of the deck is the sideboard. The hardest matchups for our deck are removal- and counterspell-heavy control decks, which can keep our combo pieces off the battlefield, so we have cards like Koma, Cosmos Serpent and Carnage Tyrant that we can bring in to try to fight through this disruption. If you're in a matchup where it feels hard to keep a Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea on the battlefield or resolve an Acererak the Archlich, consider bringing these in as win cons.
  • So, should you play Gwenna Combo in Pioneer? I think the answer is an easy yes. We had to cut one of our best combo pieces because of the Kinnan bug on MTGO, and the deck still crushed it, coming super close to a 5-0. If the deck is that good without Kinnan, imagine how strong it will be in paper (or in the future once the bug gets fixed on MTGO) with Kinnan. If you like odd combos and venturing into dungeons a bunch of times, Gwenna Combo feels like a surprisingly legit option for Pioneer!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, or suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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