Going Infinite In Standard

There is at least one infinite combo in Standard. Wizards doesn’t print many of these. When they do, no matter how clunky they are, these decks seem to perform. This infinite combo isn’t as elegant as Pestermite + Splinter Twin, but it doesn’t need to be.

This combo reminds me of the Fiend Hunter, Angel of Glory’s Rise, Falkenrath Aristocrat deck that became a major story at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored. Maybe this new infinite combo will show up at the impending Pro Tour. We will see.

The combo starts off in a ramp shell. It uses Retreat to Coralhelm with mana dorks. Whisperer of the Wilds, Shaman of Forgotten Ways, and Circle of Elders are the best options because they tap for 2 to 3 mana.

With this combo, an untapped, ferocious Circle of Elders can produce 10 mana with just one fetchland. This is dumb. But so far it’s not infinite.

Combining Temur Sabertooth with Oblivion Sower is the key. For every 8 mana, you get a chance at another 8 or more. If your mana engine is set up, you can exile the opponent’s whole deck.

Most opponents’ decks will contain roughly 40% land.

With 4 triggers and a 40% chance on each, Oblivion Sower will make 0.4×4=1.6 land drops.

1.6 mana from new land drops plus 1.6 land drops times 3 mana from Circle of Elders equals an expected 6.4 mana per Oblivion Sower.

This is less than 8, which means you need a second Retreat to Coralhlem to have a shot to go infinite. But once you have two Retreats, Shaman of Forgotten Ways also allows you to combo.

1.6 mana from new land drops plus 1.6 land drops times 4 mana from Shaman of Forgotten Ways equals 8 mana exactly. On average this loops, which means a chance of infinite victory on the spot.

However, it’s even easier, because many opponents will be rocking fetchlands. Each fetchland allows you to double your landfall triggers, so long as you have fetchable lands in the deck. You can plan ahead by including fetchable dual lands of all types.

Your mana base could look something like this:

The question is how to fill out the rest of the deck? You want the deck to function without the combo, but also make the combo more likely. The key is to find the right set of ramp tools to make this happen.

First, you should consider additional ramp options.

Also consider more ways to get value out of Temur Sabertooth. Elvish Visionary works for draw, Nissa works for lands, Den Protector or Greenwarden of Murasa work as Regrowths, Siege Rhino works for drains, and Woodland Bellower works for bodies and value.

And then you have several potential creature tutors to set up your combo. I particularly like See the Unwritten for grabbing both Oblivion Sower and Circle of Elders in one go.

If you want to push your combo potential, Temur Ascendancy can draw infinite cards, or provide haste to a lethal army created by Omnath or Zendikar’s Roil and save you the trouble of going infinite.

Finally, since you are making so much mana you can sink it into a big expensive threat at the top end. Eldrazi could work well, but Dragonlord Atarka is still insane and will serve to take control of the skies. Bonus points: it combos with Temur Sabertooth!

A researched but preliminary sketch might look like this:

Coralhelm Combo

For my first list, I’m choosing to showcase some of the options with an abundance of 1-ofs. A more focused list would probably fare better, but it will take some more development to get there.

Standard Infinite Combo

This deck has serious promise for the slower new Standard format. It has its weaknesses and could be gobbled up by sweepers. But it’s a solid ramp deck with a crazy mana engine, a crazy value engine, and a bonus infinite kill. The potential is here and I’m hoping to see an evolved version do some work at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar.

I would like to get a video of this deck up as soon as possible, but this is unlikely to be the first Battle for Zendikar list that I put together to play on video.

My plan is to start with budget Eldrazi ramp and work my way down from there, but we may have a surprise for this Friday.

Let me know what other cards I might have missed, or how you would build the sideboard. What do you think the ceiling is for this new archetype?

Stay tuned for updates and videos!

2 thoughts on “Going Infinite In Standard”

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