I played a game of Magic: The Gathering.
Well, my Golos isn’t a “cast goodstuff from the top of your library”, but isn’t “Maze’s End” either. It’s strictly combo and I think that is where he shines – early game he fixes your mana or grabs tool lands, mid game he can be used for value casting off the top of your library with the cards you play anyway, but where he shines is when you assemble an infinite that makes WUBRG – then he just plain wins the game. That’s what my build is doing, assembling either Bomberman ([[Auriok Salvager]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]) or [[Grand Architect]] and [[Pili-Pala]] and going from there. The rest ist protecting my combos with silence effects and counter spells.
The thing I like about him the most is that he can be cast very easy, but still provides the full WUBRG spectrum of cards to choose from. My build is Esper Artifact centered, because that’s how it started out, using G and R only for splashes. So you can use him as a very good build-around WUBRG commander that can take many different directions, but is guaranteed to be online easily, with much easier mana base requirements than other WUBRG commanders. I mean, if you go budget, just slap in a [[Cascading Cataracts]] that he fetches ETB and that way prepares WUBRG next turn easily.
[[Drafna’s Restauration]] for artifact storm decks. It is really bonkers, you can rearrange your next draws for just one mana. This in a Jhoira WC deck can do crazy stuff, you almost long for your opponents to vandalblast you, just so you can play this little gem.
This resource is intended to explain the ideas behind winconless decks, when to cut wincons and some of the most basic “winconless” approaches.
First up, “Wincon” is short for “Win Condition”, but what counts as one?
The waters around this can be a little bit muddy. Some people say that the combo set up is the wincon, while some focus on the outlet.
In a deck like Breakfast Hulk; Hermit Druid, the Breakfast Combo, Laboratory Maniac, Hulk Death Trigger or even Ad Nauseam could all be described as “wincons” in different contexts.
When discussing “winconless”, it’s typically the piece that takes you from “comboing off” to “dead opponents” that is counted as a wincon. In Breakfast Hulk, that would be the Laboratory Maniac.
There is a spectrum of how useful outside its role as a win condition a given spell is.
Near the bottom would be a card like Exsanguinate. Killing players in a non-infinite way is very difficult, and it doesn’t really have utility outside killing people. When you aren’t winning with it, Laboratory Maniac is a Gray Ogre, which is a card often used as the butt of jokes about bad cards.
Up from there would be a card like Grapeshot. Doesn’t do much, but in a pinch can remove a truly problematic permanent. Slightly better is something like Blue Sun’s Zenith, which is a mediocre card draw spell, or Walking Ballista, which has a moderately useful board presence.
Winconless decks seek to win using cards closest to the “useful spell” end of this spectrum.
One of the first decks to go “winconless” was Tasigur. Beast Within and Reality Shift are both passable removal spells, and when looped infinitely with Tasigur, they let you destroy all of someone’s permanents and exile their library.
Some Green-based decks like Selvala and Momir went for Eternal Witness loops, repeatedly casting some standalone spells to win.
We see it in lots of other decks as well, perhaps most famously in Scepter Thrasios, where the “Twister Loop” was used to recur some spell to kill.
It comes down to card quality. If you have infinite mana and access to your whole library, who cares if your win is pieced together from 5 cards? But when you are trying to play the game and avoid losing, wouldn’t you prefer if you didn’t draw Aetherflux Reservoir?
The combos most friendly towards being made winconless are ones that involve infinite mana or draw, such as Scepter with an outlet in the CZ, Top + Future sight etc.
One of the most common culprits is Laboratory Maniac or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries in decks without Tainted Pact/Demonic Consultation. If you have to draw your entire deck to win with a card, chances are you can cobble together a win out of the cards you drew, rather than running a dedicated wincon. This, and other similar scenarios, are when to look for cutting wincons.
Not that all dedicated wincons should be cut, for example, storm decks can “manually” use Aetherflux Reservoir when not going infinite, or certain spells may allow you to win at instant speed, or through some disruption or hate piece. “Winconless” should be applied only to cards that do not enable wins that are otherwise unavailable.
Some examples of decks that commonly include unnecessary wincons, and could go winconless:
Laboratory Maniac or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries in Urza, Lord High Artificer
You are casting your whole deck for free. Look for Twister/Narsets Reversal loops, or Codex Shredder + scepter to mill.
Laboratory Maniac or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries in Chulane, Teller of Tales
Your various combos draw your deck, and typically have a way to start generating mana once you draw a given piece. You also have tons of ways of repeatedly using Eternal Witness, and often Finale of Devastation
A life loss spell in The Gitrog Monster
You make infinite mana and loop your whole deck. You can use Finale of Devastation, Assassin’s Trophy etc.
Storm Payoffs in Elsha/Kykar
These decks do Top+Future Sight style combos and draw the whole deck. It’s easy to net mana and go in to some loop
There are lots of tools available to winconless decks, and many of them are both recent quite affordable (with a couple exceptions). They fall in to a few different categories:
These are spells that will actually win you the game if cast infinite under the right scenarios:
- Swan Song for infinite 2/2 birds (requires haste or the ability to survive a turn cycle)
- Assassin’s Trophy to destroy all of your opponent’s permanents
- Winds of Rebuke to mill your opponents infinitely
- Extract to exile your opponents libraries
- Praetors Grasp to exile your opponents libraries
- Finale of Devastation to kill with infinite mana and some creatures
Note that Winds of Rebuke and Assassin’s Trophy may not be suitable for Twister loops as Timetwister will reset your progress.
These are spells that let you leverage infinite access to your deck by recurring spells (through draw or something like Urza/The First Sliver)
Multi-Buyback spells such as:
Timetwister, Memory’s Journey, Echo of Eons. Any spell that lets you put more than one card from your graveyard back in to your library to draw again. These will put both Payloads and single buyback spells back in to your library
Single Buyback Spells such as:
Regrowth, Noxious Revival, Eternal Witness, Codex Shredder. These let you buy back your multi-buyback spell of loop enabler, and will in turn be bought back by them.
Copy Artifact – Copying your Isochron Scepter with Dramatic Reversal and putting a payload under it
Narset’s Reversal – Either under Scepter or with Bonus Round, this spell lets you copy payload spells infinitely. It can also function as a single buyback spell by copying your multi buyback spell and returning it to your hand
The basic Twister Loop:
Requirements: Some way to infinitely cast spells that are in your library, either a combo of Infinite Mana + Draw, or infinite cascade, infinite urza activations or similar. Timetwister or an analogue, Regrowth or an analogue, Payload spell.
- Find your Payload spell
- Cast your Payload spell
- Find your Twister effect
- Cast your Twister effect (shuffling in your Regrowth and Payload effects)
- Find your Regrowth Effect
- Cast your Regrowth Effect, returning Twister
The basic dual scepter setup:
Requirements: Isochron Scepter + Dramatic Reversal making infinite mana. Access to your whole deck. Copy Artifact, Payload that can go under scepter (or payload that can’t + narset’s reversal).
- Cast Copy Artifact, copying Isochron Scepter, Imprinting Narset’s Reversal
- Cast your Payload Spell.
- Activate the Scepter with Narset’s Reversal, returning your Payload to your hand and copying it
- Let the Copy Resolve
- Activate the Scepter with Dramatic Reversal, untapping both Scepters
If you have a payload that goes under scepter, you can skip steps 2 and 4, and modify step 3 to cast the payload off of scepter.
Downsides of going Winconless
- Winconless combos often require more cards, so there can be increased risk of losing access to something important.
- Most winconless lines are not shortcuttable, which means you will have to execute an obnoxious combo if somebody asks you to
- Winconless combos can be more difficult to execute
If you have any suggestions or questions, please feel free to comment, I will probably turn this in to a nicer formatted and updated doc someday.
Revoker only hits non-land cards but all abilities. Pithing needle only hits non-mana abilities but all card types.
You can do creature shenanigans easily with Revoker, and Revoker can switch off mana abilities of mana dorks or artifacts, but can’t affect lands (like fetch lands or strip mines). Pithing needle can impact lands, but can’t stop mana abilities. Pithing needle can be found from some cheap tutor effects like Trinket Mage or Artificers Intuition, no idea if that actually is any relevant in Modern. It is in EDH. And well, Phyrexian Revoker is a blocker, if needed, and can attack into planeswalkers, which might have become more relevant with WAR.
Many of my friends and family have been playing Magic during their school years, some as early as 1995, but go on long breaks afterwards. Every few years we had a phase where every few months or weeks we would play 60 card decks against each other, either 1v1 or multiplayer, but we didn’t play a format so the power levels were wastly different, and the games weren’t fun for many of us. Imagine the one guy who didn’t upgrade his deck in the last 20 years against someone with the thopter sword combo.
Years later, we have a thriving playgroup, having magic nights multiple times per week and having much more fun. What happened?
Well, first commander happened but it only caught the ones who were both competitive and had a large card pool. The others reluctantly tried it but never had enough of the right cards to have any chance of winning. Imagine a reanimator deck full of reanimation spells and fatties but the player didn’t have any spells to put them into the graveyard.
It was so stressfull going through the period of RL card spikes when you wondered whether you could get that dual land you need for that deck before it got unobtainable. Or the wasted money when ordering cards for a new deck only to find that the deck was boring for the player and the cards never get used. Or having to limit yourself to a number of decks equal to your number of Sol Rings or whatever key card the decks needed. Or all the time spent looking at finance posts trying to find the best time to get that card. Or having to buy certain cards while they were still cheap just on the chance that you need them some day when you can’t afford them anymore.
The fun started when we began proxying. And I don’t mean one or two cards, I mean full on proxying, like decks with 100% proxies, including proxy basic lands included for a matching style. And I have to tell you, it has been liberating!
In our final push of proxying, even the ones who have cards like duals and fetches actually took them out of their decks and replaced them with proxies and it has been great! I actually like the Masters Edition black bordered duals more than the faded white bordered revised ones. There are beautiful alternate artworks that I would actually buy if there are real, like from [[Emrakul, the Promised End]].
But it’s not like we never buy cards. Sometimes the original is really nice and affordable. Then I buy a large amount of a card that are good in many decks, like [[Compost]], and give out a few. Or I really want to have that judge foil old border [[Sword of Feast and Famine]]. Or that From the Vault Set. But it doesn’t have to be when I build the deck but at a later point when there is a good offer on Card Market. Or when the card rotated out of standard but I don’t have to wait 2 years before you can use the card in a deck.
And it is so much less stressfull than carrying around hundreds of €s around every time. We play in the garden. We play when there is a strong wind and cards fly around. We play near the camp fire. We put our drinks on the table near our cards. We try new decks and new ideas. We have fun with crazy expensive cards like [[Eureka]]. And I suggest you do to!
My guess it is about the funny quip at the end. I like how those sneak in every now and then.
My meta is weird, not many artifacts out in games most of the time. Land Ramp, Mana Dirks, but almost none Mana rocks, so he would come in without a big effect. Sadly, because I love the idea of the extortionist. But that is why I also don‘t run Treasu…
I like that this years precondition look like they have a good and solid build. Sure, the Landmasse suck, but they always do. I preordered the Sultai one and the Jeskai one. I plan to at least try and keep them in their primary direction, just tuning t…
Yeah, K‘rrik should be great in more black leaning Grenzo lists, playing stuff that got stuck in your hand the „normal“ way. Mine is a bit more red, though, as I lean more into Goblins, so not yet sure if he will work. But definitely one of the singles…
Elsha the Infinite. Future Sight in your command zone is just amazing and half a combo with sensei‘s divining Top. Adding Flash onto the casting makes it even more absurd. Oh, yeah, and replace the box face commander by Kykar. Elsha and Kykar just want…
I preordered the Sultai and the Jeskai one, because both look like they could be turned into solid little casual decks I can keep around for lower power level groups. Both have some cards that don’t really synergize that much, but they can easily be switched out for other cards more in sync with the game plan. Probably over time I will start to break the Jeskai one, because that one looks most likely to be breakable, and will probably keep the Sultai one around as face down tribal.
/u/bboomslang on Dies To Removal 15 – Why Magic: The Gathering Formats Fail! Tiny Leaders, Frontier, and Brawl
This! It is as close to Legacy Singleton Multiplayer as you can get. And it has hilarious broken options. And the small life total you start with makes aggro viable and combo acceptable, because aggro really can take you out before you combo off. Still…
Oh yeah, I love those „you always win out of nowhere, I don‘t like combo“ after I had three activations of Rune-Scarred Demon … that‘s not my definition of out of nowhere 😉
Yeah, Grenzo is tons of fun. I have a cEDH doomsday Grenzo deck that is totally glad cannon, and the slot machine build from the primer for casual. I run a little transformational sideboard to reduce combos when people get salty when they lose to metal…
[[Springjack Pasture]] and it also kinda makes Mana!
I built a Slobad artifact list, but when playing at the game store they suggested to start with a precon and build from there. Back then Mimeoplasm was one of the precons and I liked the colours and the ability of Mim. Over time I optimized it, but Mim is just too fragile and too easy to stop. So fast forward to Dominaria and Muldrotha. That really caught my eye, as I envisioned to build a more controlly deck based on permanents only around her ability to grab stuff for a second or third go from the GY. It now is a controlly build not unlike moderns blue moon – just based on permanents (even the stack interaction) only. Wincon being Palinchron and Vorinclex with Jarad and repeated casting and sacing of Muldrotha or a giant Consuming Aberration or just plain old Aberration mill. Quite fun to play and it really became one of my favourites.
My artifact deck over time turned now into a cEDH viable Jhoira Stax/Storm build that I totally love. Just don’t get to play that often. But that one and Muldrotha are the ones I even went out to get Dual Lands for.
I do play some other stuff like a Brudiclad token deck or a Grenzo bottom matters deck and a Locust God spell slinger deck, but Muldrotha is the most solid one (aside from my cEDH decks, of course).
Blightsteel Colossus. Keep him in hand until you control the stolen board, then punch in three times.