From_the_Lab

A Void Forever

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ZZZzzIIG||||||G...hello? Am I coming through? I'm bzzzzzzzzzZZZZzzzt i've been having trouble communicating lately. Squiiii||||||| I won't subject you to much more of C(AAAA/kk this, as it's a somewhat tepid device. Still, I like shaking things up arparparparp around here every now and again. And if I can capture both your reading attention and my current thought patterns in the same stroke, then, well, swell. llllllllllllllllllllllLLLLL~

Okay, right, welcome back! Today's laboratory jaunts stem partly from my reflection on last week's article. I featured some reader decks based around Omniscience, that new heady powerhouse. It was also Exalted Week, and I made use of Infinite Reflection, which stands in similar Johnny-jewel territory. I thought that in fairness to this also-illustrious blue enchantment, I'd share some more ideas concerning it this week. So it's a slight return to Avacyn Restored, a neat set which has been slightly dimmed in the wake of Magic 2013.

Infinite Rhinos

In returning to Infinite Reflection, it's worth it to take a quick scan over the card and remember what shenanigans to actualize with it. While turning all of your creatures into a copy of another is quite exciting, it's also beneficial to recognize that Infinite Reflection is a blue permanent. Why? Because of the exciting Reflective potential of everyone's favorite Rhino Soldier, Mirror-Sigil Sergeant.


Timothy Mellors emailed me about the idea, and included his take on it in sixty-card form. His deck was a green-white-blue concoction that used creature mana ramp to land its six-drops quickly, with Doubling Season perhaps injecting some crazy.

I liked the idea and decided to try my own version of the deck, taking some hints from my first Lab stab at the Sergeant (three years ago). This time, I left Paradox Haze on the bench (with some faint sadness) and suited up with Infinite Reflection and Followed Footsteps as my blue Auras of choice. To fetch them, I enlisted Totem-Guide Hartebeest. (Is there another type of Hartebeest, or is this the only type of Hartebeest? Hartebeest.) The Aura tutor effect opened a tiny window for Aura-shaped removal to enter the deck. The curt clampdown offered by Crystallization and Claustrophobia can keep some creatures kicked to the curb... and they're blue permanents for the Sergeant.

Instead of mana guys, I went with defense guys. A parade of walls and little skilled creatures hold down the fort and act as Infinite Reflection fodder later. Wall of Omens and Fog Back are great barriers that serve useful early-game purposes. Palladium Myr can launch you into six mana on turn four, which is welcome. Reckless Scholar provides an insular method of fiddling with your spells in hand, helping you find the right card. Finally, Ethereal Usher can transmute into any of your six-drops, be they Rhinos or Reflections (or the emergency Austere Command).


Manta Mantra

That's my latest research in multiplying Rhinos, and I hereby continue plowing through my inbox for elastic and spastic deck ideas. Frequent Lab luminary Will Cooper came up with a novel turn on Infinite Reflection. He wrote:

How would you like to turn a team of mana elves into 6/1 fliers that give you extra turns when they die?


Obviously this deck wants to start out by summoning a bunch of Elves (and maybe one or two Somberwald Sages). Once you have your Elves, there are a few things you can do with them:

  • The dream is to get enough mana to cast Wormfang Manta followed by Infinite Reflection in the same turn. At this point, your opponent has at most two turns to kill you (one turn if you left a creature untapped) or else he or she will be forced to give you extra turns just to stave off your 6-power Nightmare Fish Beasts. Or if your opponent is being uncooperative and holding off your guys without killing them, then Denizen of the Deep will let you cash in all your extra turns at once.
  • Alternatively, you can put Infinite Reflection on Soul of the Harvest and draw increasingly many cards for each new creature you summon. Soul of the Harvest can also help you draw into Infinite Reflection or whatever else you're looking for in the late game.
  • If you happen to draw Primal Surge with enough mana to cast it, then you are in excellent shape—every other card in your deck is a permanent, so you can dump most of your deck onto the battlefield. If that includes a Wormfang Manta and an Infinite Reflection, then even mass removal might not be enough to save your opponent.
  • And of course, if all else fails, you can pump up your guys with Elvish Archdruid (possibly with Infinite Reflection on it) and swing.

Mark of Eviction serves several functions in this deck. First, it serves as temporary but repeatable removal; Alchemist's Refuge is in here mainly to let you do this on your opponent's turn (otherwise he or she gets a turn to use the creature before the Mark can bounce it). Second, it lets you draw more cards every turn if you use it on Elvish Visionary or if you control a Soul of the Harvest. Finally, it lets you reset Infinite Reflection; this is particularly important with Wormfang Manta, since you don't want every creature you summon to make you lose a turn.

Spiffy list there. Wormfang Manta is one of the wackier extra-turn enablers out there, and sometimes a recently printed card finds enough synergy to dust off such Johnny relics, as is the case here.

Will's email ended with some scattered musings on Infinite Reflection, which you can pick through at your deck-building delight:

Other ideas: put it on a Shivan Hellkite and use Phyrexian Altar plus two copies of Bladewing's Thrall to generate infinite mana, which you can then feed into the Hellkite for infinite damage; turn an entire army into copies of Flayer of the Hatebound, and use a sacrifice outlet to blow up the world; fill your graveyard with small creatures and turn them all into Sun Titans; use a Reflected Stormfront Riders plus a zero-cost creature to generate infinite Soldier tokens; put it on Mystic Snake or Draining Whelk and play with a bunch of flash creatures...

Essence Harvest | Art by Daarken

Inbox Harvest

The e-crop's been good lately. I've had a number of inventive ideas hit my inbox this year, and I'm always happy to shine a spotlight on them. Reader Steffen Hagen recently sent me his new take on a mono-black strategy that highlights Essence Harvest, a lowly common from Avacyn Restored, and Disciple of Bolas, an awesome rare from Magic 2013.

Steffen wrote:

So, the deck plays Zombie Swarm until you get one of the devourers or Wall of Blood out and either draw X cards with Disciple of Bolas or drain your opponent directly with Essence Harvest. All the cards interact in highly symbiotic ways.


Steffen sprawled further on this idea:

Now, with this deck you can especially make a lot of cool plays. To show that you can also design completely broken decks, you might like to turn to this:

Darker Bloody Harvest

This is just sick. Thanks to Essence Harvest, Dimir Machinations can now find both parts of the combo, allowing this deck to win on about turn four quite often. The rest of the deck is there for serious redundancy—Rites work as Harvest five and six; Negator, Drinker, Avatar have great power-to-CMC ratios so they can deal quick damage and then be sacrificed away. This works especially well because Disciple only cares about power (unlike Momentous Fall). Soul Spike plays defense, deals extra damage if you need it (although with everybody playing fetchlands, shocklands, and Phyrexian mana you might not even need it), or can win the game in multiples after Disciple has drawn a number of cards. And if nothing else, I hear "Ritual, Negator, go" has also won a fair share of games...

And with those twin twisted lists, I'll wrap it up for this week. Until next time.



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