From_the_Lab

There's the Door

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The letter W!elcome, Johnnies and Johnettes! As many of you are aware, I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting decks from you all. Even if I don't have the time or inclination to write about every deck I receive here, I always at least look at them. Every once in a while, however, I get something really special.

A few weeks ago, I received an email about an exciting and incredibly ambitious Johnny deck. I'll allow the author to explain:

My friend, Drew "RulerOf" Bobulsky came up with the meat and potatoes (I'm like Shake 'n Bake: I helped!) of a great Johnny deck. Basically, if the deck works and your opponent doesn't concede, the deck wins by having your opponent use Door to Nothingness on himself. And not just any Door to Nothingness: a Door to Nothingness you gave to him."

—Dan "Zotmaster" Christler


That's certainly one of the most creative concepts I've heard in a while, and I was interested to see the execution. The deck turned out to be even more awesome than I had imagined. Here's the current list.


Smile and Wave

The first step in getting this deck running is often the last step in other decks: Make a large amount of mana and cast Genesis Wave. The goal here is to get one of the infinite mana combos on the battlefield, along with Staff of Domination. Metalworker and Voltaic Construct is the main one, and Mycosynth Lattice enables Priest of Titania to work with the Construct as well.


Another Genesis Wave will put your entire deck on the battlefield, and Elixir of Immortality will shuffle all the nonpermanent cards into your deck, where you can draw them with Staff of Domination. The end result should be every permanent in your deck on the battlefield and everything else in your hand.

Cast the Research half of Research & Development, grabbing a few cards from your sideboard. (Mycosynth Lattice means you don't have to worry about the colored mana.) Shuffle everything back in with Elixir of Immortality, and draw it all with Staff of Domination. Repeat this process until all your sideboard cards are in your hand.


Cast Hive Mind, then cast Channel the Suns to add one mana of each color to your mana pool as well as your opponent's. Shuffle it back in with the Elixir and draw it with Staff of Domination, casting it repeatedly until both players have an arbitrarily large amount of mana of each color in their mana pools.

After that, you'll need to cast Vedalken Orrery, Mirror of Fate, Cast Through Time, and Door to Nothingness. Here's where things start to get a bit crazy.


Stack 'em Up

Use Staff of Domination to put its card-draw ability on the stack seven times. Then sacrifice Mirror of Fate, putting its ability on the stack as well. Mirror of Fate doesn't target, so you can worry about what you'll be choosing later.

Now cast Paradigm Shift. Hive Mind will give your opponent a copy of the spell. Cast Through Time will give it rebound, so that the card will be exiled when it resolves instead of being put in the graveyard. You won't be choosing to cast it again on your next upkeep, so you don't need to worry about remembering that bit. Sacrifice Elf Replica, targeting Hive Mind, letting just that ability resolve. Cast Decree of Annihilation, which will also be given rebound for the sole purpose of exiling it.


With all of these things still on the stack, cast Oblivion Ring and let it resolve, exiling Door to Nothingness. Cast the second one and exile Vedalken Orrery. Now it's time to let the stack resolve. It should look something like this:

Decree of Annihilation
Paradigm Shift (opponent's copy)
Paradigm Shift (original)
Mirror of Fate's ability
Seven instances of "Draw a card"

Decree of Annihilation resolves, exiling all cards from all graveyards and hands, and thanks to Mycosynth Lattice, all permanents of any type. Thanks to rebound it will be exiled, so your graveyard will still be empty afterward. Vedalken Orrery and Door to Nothingness return to the battlefield from their Oblivion Ring-induced exile. Now Paradigm Shift resolves for each player, exiling both libraries and leaving no cards in any zone other than exile.


Now Mirror of Fate's ability resolves. In order to continue, get back these seven cards:

Upwelling
Omen Machine
Lich's Mirror
Donate
Twiddle
2 Oblivion Ring

The last thing on the stack is the seven copies of Staff of Domination's "draw a card" ability. Let those resolve, putting the seven cards you just retrieved into your hand.

Cast each permanent save the two Oblivion Rings. Use Donate to give your opponent Door to Nothingness, and Twiddle to untap it. Remember that both players still have an arbitrarily large amount of mana of each color from Channel the Suns, since you haven't changed phases yet.


One Way Out

You opponent now has three choices: activate Door to Nothingness targeting himself or herself, activate Door to Nothingness targeting you, or do nothing. Getting your opponent to effectively concede using the Door is your goal, but it won't always be so easy.

If your opponent targets you with the door, cast the two Oblivion Rings with the ability on the stack, exiling Omen Machine and Vedalken Orrery. Once the Door's ability resolves, Lich's Mirror will shuffle everything into your library, then the draw seven cards bit will put it all back in your hand. Omen Machine and Vedalken Orrery will return to the battlefield. Thanks to the Orrery, you can cast everything at instant speed, essentially resetting the board and giving your opponent the opportunity to make the correct decision.


If your opponent does nothing, you'll eventually need to force the win. Use Oblivion Ring to exile Omen Machine during his or her upkeep. Even if your opponent tries to kill you with the Door in response, Lich's Mirror will prevent you from dying as well as getting rid of Omen Machine itself, clearing the way for your opponent to draw a card and lose the game.

If you're not so into giving your opponent choices, you can also replace Omen Machine or Lich's Mirror with Mindslaver, forcing your opponent to use the door.


Change it Up!

One advantage to this deck is that it's effectively a modular combo enabler. Thanks to Research pulling cards out of your sideboard, you can include almost any combo you want. Now, making your opponent use Door to Nothingness is pretty great, but if that's not your thing, I've come up with a few other ideas you could use.

Using Hive Mind and Paradigm Shift along with a way to exile the graveyard is pretty cool, and there are some fun things you can do with that. Of course, you could just pass the turn and let your opponent lose the game, but why not let him or her lose the game over and over again?

By including Shahrazad, you can start a subgame when your opponent has an empty library. Your opponent will attempt to draw an opening hand form an empty library and immediately lose the game. Elixir of Immortality lets you shuffle Shahrazad back into your library and keep casting it until your opponent is dead. Just make sure you have at least seven cards in your own library each time by casting your other sorceries and shuffling them into your library with the Elixir.


If you want a more slow and torturous death, you can also use the Decree of Annihilation/Oblivion Ring bit to exile all permanents, leaving you with Omen Machine and some innocuous method of destruction. Kobolds of Kher Keep and Orcish Oriflamme is amusing, but you could also use any one creature. Maybe something like... Storm Crow?


On the other hand, you could also go for a ridiculously over-the-top death. Casting Soul Foundry and turning it into a creature with Karn's Touch gives you an unlimited number of copies of any creature in the game, thanks to Voltaic Construct. You could cast a Jackal Pup, Donate it to your opponent, then use Soul Foundry to make a million copies of Blazing Effigy. Kill one by whatever method you prefer, then pop off the other Blazing Effigys in a chain reaction of death, eventually dealing an enormous amount of damage to the Jackal Pup.

Taking a simpler route, you could use the Foundry along with Mirror Gallery to make a thousand copies of Progenitus, giving them haste with something like Hammer of Purphoros.


You could also replace Soul Foundry with Prototype Portal, which would give you an arbitrarily large number of copies of any artifact in the game. Imprint a Booby Trap, and you can make enough tokens to name every card in the game a million times over. Then you wait until your opponent draws any card other than a basic land, setting off the mines you've laid.

In fact, imprinting Sculpting Steel on Prototype Portal allows you to copy any permanent on the battlefield, thanks to Mycosynth Lattice. You could make a few hundred copies of Standstill, then cast a spell to make your opponent draw far more than his or her entire library. Making a thousand copies of Pyromancer's Swath or Pyromancer's Gauntlet would let you cast Zap for a huge amount of damage. Another option would be to copy a Planeswalker, getting rid of the older copy to activate an ability as many times as you want. You could mill your opponent out with one of the various Jace incarnations, or use Chandra to win with damage.


The Monster at the End of This Week

I hope you enjoyed this brief foray into a world of endless possibilities. Keep sending me those deck ideas! I love reading them, even if I don't always give them as much attention as they deserve. Who knows, maybe you'll find your own creation on display one day.

Next week, we'll be returning to Theros for a look at the darker side of the plane. I've been working on a secret project deep in the basement of my lab. I won't tell you what it is just yet, but I'll give you one hint:

It's alive.

Until next time, keep those creative juices flowing. See ya!

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