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Much Abrew: Infinite Life Boros (Crimson Vow Standard)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Infinite combos—especially ones that are even a little bit competitive—are incredibly rare in Standard. Well, thanks to Innistrad: Crimson Vow, we have a new infinite-life combo, and it might even be good! The idea is to use something like Angelfire Ignition or Ollenbock Escort to give Ill-Tempered Loner lifelink and indestructible. Then, once Ill-Tempered Loner is dealt damage, we can use its ability to deal that much damage to any target on itself, again and again and again. Thanks to indestructibility, it won't die no matter how much damage it takes, and lifelink means that we'll gain some life every time Ill-Tempered Loner hits itself. We can keep going through this loop as many times as we want, gaining hundreds, thousands, or billions of life along the way! While this might sound like magical Christmas land, the biggest reason to be excited about the deck's potential is that pretty much all of the cards needed to pull off the combo are fine standalone cards, so even if we don't manage to go infinite, it's still very possible that we can win the game fairly. Is infinite combo back in Standard? How good is the plan of Ill-Tempered Loner hitting itself a bunch of times for infinite life? Let's find out on this week's Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: Infinite Life Boros

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, we finished 4-2 with Infinite Life Boros. While we didn't go infinite all that often, it didn't really matter. A big part of the deck's power (and the reason I think it might actually be competitive) is that Infinite Life Boros isn't an Against the Odds deck that plays a ton of janky cards to try to pull off a crazy combo. While Infinite Life Boros still has a crazy combo, the combo involves a bunch of strong Boros cards, which means we often just win like a normal Boros deck but with the upside of catching opponents by surprise with the game-winning infinite-life loop!
  • As far as the combo, as we talked about in the intro, we need to give Ill-Tempered Loner lifelink and indestructible and then have it be dealt damage. Once this happens, we can target it with its own ability and keep hitting itself a few hundred or thousand times until we gain all the life we could possibly need to win the game (or more realistically, keep gaining us life until our opponent realizes they can't win and scoops). There are a few ways we can give Ill-Tempered Loner lifelink and indestructible. Angelfire Ignition is the most straightforward, doing it all by itself. Ollenbock Escort also offers both lifelink and indestructibility but only if we can get a +1/+1 counter on Loner (which isn't too hard, thanks to Luminarch Aspirant, Showdown of the Skalds, and Homestead Courage). There are also some jankier ways that involve multiple cards, like using Lorehold Command to give Ill-Tempered Loner indestructible and enchanting it with Rune of Sustenance for lifelink, although a huge percentage of our combo kills involves either Angelfire Ignition or Ollenbock Escort
  • Of course, the last piece of the puzzle is dealing damage to Ill-Tempered Loner. While this sometimes happens naturally in combat (a lot of people still don't know about the combo and block or attack into Ill-Tempered Loner with Ollenbock Escort on the battlefield), we also have cards like Spikefield Hazard, Kabira Takedown, Shatterskull Smashing, and Lorehold Command that we can throw at Ill-Tempered Loner to start the loop.
  • The rest of the deck is mostly a bunch of good white cards. Brutal Cathar and Skyclave Apparition give us plenty of removal. Elite Spellbinder is great against control and Epiphany, potentially snagging a removal spell that could fizzle our combo. The one Clarion Spirit is mostly just curve-filler, although once again, it's a solid card that can offer a board full of 1/1 fliers if it sticks around. 
  • One note on the deck: Homestead Courage and Rune of Sustenance aren't really necessary. They are the two weakest cards in the deck and the only two cards in the deck that aren't very good outside of the combo. Cutting them for more copies of Clarion Spirit (or whatever good Boros card you want) should improve the deck a bit more. When I was building the deck, I wanted to have as many ways to combo as possible, but after playing the deck a bunch, I found Ollenbock Escort and Angelfire Ignition are more than enough support for the combo. Using the slots on something that improves our backup game plan of winning fairly seems wise.
  • So, should you play Infinite Life Boros? I think the answer is pretty clearly yes. The deck felt very competitive both with and without the combo. If you do pick up the deck, just keep in mind that most of the wins will come without the combo. Rather than thinking of Infinite Life Boros as a combo deck, think of it like a Boros aggro deck that also has the ability to go infinite. You don't need to mulligan for combo pieces or anything like that. Instead, just focus on playing a solid game of fair Magic, knowing that you'll sometimes get a free win by gaining infinite life!

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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