Deep Analysis – Combo Breaker

Deep-Analysis

Welcome back to Deep Analysis!

Continuing on our tour of the Legacy format, let’s move into an area of great speed, the combo decks.

Killer Instinct Gold

Killer Instinct Gold

If a card can be broken, it usually happens in Legacy.

With 23 years worth of cards, sometimes even the most obscure (and seemingly harmless) card in other formats can be broken in Legacy.

Let’s go over some of the Combo Decks you can expect to see in Legacy.

Ad Nauseam Tendrils

  Sideboard
1 Ad Nauseam
2 Dark Petition
3 Cabal Therapy
4 Ponder
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Infernal Tutor
3 Duress
1 Past in Flames
1 Tendrils of Agony
2 Preordain

4 Lion's Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
4 Brainstorm
4 Cabal Ritual
4 Dark Ritual
1 Rain of Filth

4 Flooded Strand
2 Island
4 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp
2 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island
3 Abrupt Decay
1 Cabal Therapy
2 Chain of Vapor
2 Chrome Mox
2 City of Solitude
2 Disfigure
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Tropical Island

The Ad Nauseam Tendrils deck in Legacy is a Storm based combo deck.  The deck’s primary win condition is Tendrils of Agony.  The deck uses numerous draw manipulation spells (Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain), cantrips (Gitaxian Probe) and 1 major card drawing spell in Ad Nauseam to setup its hand so that they can cast enough spells to trigger Storm on Tendrils enough to kill you.  In this deck, it is usually done through cheap mana producing artifacts (Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond) and ritual effects (Cabal Ritual, Dark Ritual, Rain of Filth).  The last piece that makes the deck so potent is the redundant copies of spells that it uses to kill you with in the form of tutors (Dark Petition, Infernal Tutor).  The deck uses a small amount of permission in the form of Cabal Therapy and Duress to disrupt their opponent.

Elves

  Sideboard
1 Birchlore Rangers
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Elvish Visionary
1 Gaddock Teeg
4 Heritage Druid
4 Nettle Sentinel
3 Quirion Ranger
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Shaman of the Pack
4 Wirewood Symbiote
1 Wren's Run Packmaster

1 Sylvan Library
1 Crop Rotation
4 Glimpse of Nature
4 Green Sun's Zenith

2 Cavern of Souls
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Forest
4 Gaea's Cradle
3 Misty Rainforest
1 Pendelhaven
1 Savannah
1 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills
2 Bayou
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Cabal Therapy
1 Karakas
1 Null Rod
2 Pithing Needle
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Thoughtseize

You wouldn’t normally think of a tribal deck to be a combo deck, but Elves certain is.  The deck usually plays a large number of elves through Heritage Druid and the numerous elves that power his ability by untapping creatures (Nettle Sentinel, Quirion Ranger or Wirewood Symbiote) to produce large amounts of mana and then there is Gaea’s Cradle.  Of course, this means you’ll need to keep your hand full of creatures to keep this going.  Enter Glimpse of Nature.  With every creature, another card comes.

The endgame is usually Craterhoof Behemoth but also could include Shaman of the Pack

Belcher

  Sideboard
4 Burning Wish
3 Empty the Warrens
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Land Grant

4 Desperate Ritual
4 Manamorphose
1 Pyretic Ritual
4 Rite of Flame
4 Seething Song
4 Chrome Mox
3 Lion's Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
4 Goblin Charbelcher

4 Tinder Wall
4 Elvish Spirit Guide
4 Simian Spirit Guide

1 Taiga
2 Carpet of Flowers
1 Diminishing Returns
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Infernal Tutor
2 Pyroblast
1 Reforge the Soul
1 Reverent Silence
1 Shattering Spree
1 Tendrils of Agony
4 Xantid Swarm

Belcher is named after the deck’s namesake, Goblin Charbelcher.  Now the Charbelcher deck is somewhat unique as the deck only runs 1 land.  How can a deck win on only 1 land? The deck runs on a large number of cheap mana produces that cost little to no mana (Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Elvish Spirit Guide, Simian Spirit Guide), mana accelerants (Tinder Wall, Desperate Ritual, Manamorphose, Pyretic Ritual, Rite of Flame, Seething Song) to set up casting a Goblin Charbelcher and activating it in the same turn (that costs 7 mana just for the spell and the activation cost).  By using the cards Land Grant, you get to search your deck for the only land in it (a Taiga) thereby making Charbelcher lethal on any 1 activation.

ULTRA CCCCOOOOMMMMBBBBOOOOO!

ULTRA CCCCOOOOMMMMBBBBOOOOO!

Manaless Dredge

  Sideboard
3 Balustrade Spy
3 Chancellor of the Annex
2 Flayer of the Hatebound
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Golgari Thug
4 Ichorid
4 Narcomoeba
4 Nether Shadow
4 Phantasmagorian
4 Shambling Shell
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Street Wraith
4 Bridge from Below

4 Cabal Therapy
4 Dread Return
4 Gitaxian Probe
1 Ashen Rider
1 Chancellor of the Annex
3 Contagion
4 Mindbreak Trap
4 Sickening Shoal
2 Tormod's Crypt

Another deck that runs on a low number of resources is Manaless Dredge.  The deck is named after the major mechanic of the game, Dredge from Ravnica.  The deck runs absolutely 0 lands and 0 ways to produce mana.  So how does the deck even win?  The deck replaces its card drawing by dredging to mill over X cards and returns the dredge spell to your hand.  The idea is to put as many cards as possible in your graveyard until you can setup a turn where you can either cast Dread Return by sacrificing 3 Narcomoeba or some 2/2 Zombies that have been milled into play to create an number of 2/2 Zombies through Bridge from Below and returning Balustrade Spy to play targeting yourself.  This mills your entire deck. Next you would cast a second Dread Return sacrificing either 3 2/2 Zombies and/or Narcomoeba to return Flayer of the Hatebound to play.  If you sacrificed Narcomoebas then you should get 4 2/2 Zombies for each one Narcomoeba sacrificed.  This leaves you with enough to cast a 3rd Dread Return to return a Golgari Grave-Troll to play.  With the 2 triggers from Flayer, that should deal 30+ points of damage.

Food Chain

  Sideboard
1 Cabal Therapy
2 Manipulate Fate
1 Thoughtseize

4 Food Chain

2 Birds of Paradise
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Baleful Strix
1 Vendilion Clique
2 Fierce Empath
4 Misthollow Griffin
2 Gurmag Angler
1 Tidespout Tyrant
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
1 Misdirection

3 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
3 Forest
2 Island
1 Swamp
1 Tropical Island
1 Underground Sea
1 Bayou
3 Verdant Catacombs
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Carpet of Flowers
1 Dimir Charm
1 Disfigure
1 Engineered Plague
1 Flusterstorm
2 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Hydroblast
1 Null Rod
2 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Umezawa's Jitte

Food Chain is a slightly obscure enchantment that created an interesting combo deck.  The deck originally used Food Chain with a Goblin build but that has since been replaced by Misthollow Griffin.  Since you exile a creature to trigger Food Chain, Misthollow Griffin allows you to build up enough mana to cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

Sneak and Show

  Sideboard
4 Brainstorm
4 Spell Pierce
4 Force of Will
2 Preordain

4 Griselbrand
4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

4 Lotus Petal

4 Sneak Attack
4 Ponder
2 Gitaxian Probe
4 Show and Tell

3 Island
1 Flooded Strand
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Mountain
1 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
2 City of Traitors
3 Ancient Tomb
3 Volcanic Island
3 Blood Moon
1 Flusterstorm
2 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Pyroblast
1 Pyroclasm
2 Sudden Shock
3 Through the Breach
1 Wipe Away

These last 2 deck are more combo / control decks than any of the other on the list.  Sneak and Show attempts to put Emrakel, the Aeons Torn into play via Sneak Attack or Show and Tell.  If for some reason the deck has trouble finding the overlord, you can put a copy of Griselbrand into play to help dig for a Emrakel.  The deck runs a bit more permission than some of other decks to help protect the combo (Spell Pierce, Force of Will, Pyroblast, Flusterstorm)

Reanimator

  Sideboard
4 Brainstorm
4 Careful Study
3 Daze
4 Entomb
4 Force of Will
3 Izzet Charm

4 Reanimate
4 Exhume

4 Lotus Petal

1 Animate Dead
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
4 Griselbrand
1 Hapless Researcher
1 Inkwell Leviathan
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Tidespout Tyrant

1 Badlands
1 Island
2 Bloodstained Mire
4 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Swamp
3 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island
1 Ashen Rider
1 Coffin Purge
1 Contagion
1 Massacre
2 Pithing Needle
1 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
3 Show and Tell
2 Spell Pierce
2 Thoughtseize

The last deck that I am going to talk about is a strategy that goes back to the earliest history of the game, Reanimator.  The ultimate goal is to get a large creature (Elesh Norn, Grand CenobiteGriselbrandInkwell LeviathanIona, Shield of EmeriaTidespout Tyrant) in the graveyard (Entomb, Careful Study, Izzet Charm, Hapless Researcher), return the creature to the battlefield (Reanimate, Exhume, Animate Dead) and then protect it (Daze, Force of Will).  The deck also has a backup plan for game 2 and 3 to switch the reanimation spells for Show and Tell.

Next time we will continue the exploration of the Legacy format as its All About Control.

Exploration by Florian de Gesincourt

Exploration by Florian de Gesincourt

Until next time,

Nicol_Bolas@mtgdecktechs.com

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