Playing Combo in Aether Revolt Standard – Infinite Potential, with George Mostyn
- Cadaverous Bloom…
- Enduring Ideal…
- Memory Jar…
- Blazing Shoal…
- Jeskai Ascendancy…
- Rally the Ancestors…
Standard has been blessed with some degenerate yet intricate combo decks over the years, meaning the Jonny, Combo Players of the world can continue to stray from conformity and stay true to their routes, opposing the aggro-midrange-control trifecta that bolsters the Standard metagame of today. I am delighted to be returning to writing for Manaleak.com and discussing the huge combo potential within the final chapter in the Kaladesh storyline, Aether Revolt.
A successful combo deck in Standard is a true ‘diamond in the rough’, being derived from a highly limited card pool and having the consistency and tenacity to fight through any possible interaction or ‘hate’ available to the rest of the metagame. Some combos are the end-all-be-all, game winning plays, whilst the synergies developed by others form highly efficient engines from which their respective decks function.
Back in 2011, Wizards released Deceiver Exarch in New Phyrexia and, by accident as far as we the players are aware, unleashed a terrifying, format-defining, two-card infinite combo upon Standard alongside Splinter Twin, something unheard of for many a rotation. Utilising the likes of Ponder and Preordain, both legal at the time, the consistency of “Twin-Exarch” made it a dominant force in the Zendikar–Scars Standard for its duration.
This coming weekend, we dive headfirst into one of the most exciting and high power level expansions of recent times – Aether Revolt. With infinite combos being hotly discussed since the release of the full spoiler this week just passed, the sheer fact that the set possesses the tools to create not one, not two, but three two-card, infinite combos in Standard is something to be heralded ahead of Pre-Release weekend. Today I will be introducing you to the infinite potential of Aether Revolt, as well as some extremely powerful engine cards I believe will make an impact on combo Magic in Standard in the coming months.
The Top 3 Infinite Combos In Aether Revolt For Standard
3. “Servo-Sword” – Animation Module + Metallic Mimic
Lets start with a combo in Aether Revolt Standard that is a genuine first – A completely colourless, two-card infinite combo. Thopter Foundry–Sword of the Meek became a powerhouse during the days of Extended, and has made a splash in both Legacy and Modern over the years. Fast-forward almost a decade, and Aether Revolt brings its own iteration to the fore.
Metallic Mimic has been mainly discussed for its tribal benefits and potential in aggressive builds, most significantly as additional copies of Thalia’s Lieutenant for the Humans archetype, but alongside the Kaladesh ‘sleeper’ Animation Module you can infinitely create 2/2 Servo creature tokens for the cost of a single colourless mana beyond the first, much alike to its predecessor.
How Does It Work?
- Cast Metallic Mimic, naming Servo as the creature type.
- Use Animation Module or another source to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature you control.
- Pay one generic mana to create a 1/1 Servo.
- The token enters with an additional +1/+1 counter and triggers Animation Module.
- Repeat to create a 1/1 Servo with a +1/+1 for one generic mana and continue the loop.
Much like its Eternal playable counterpart, the combo is ‘infinite’ yet mana intensive, but can create a winning board state from absolutely nothing for a very low initial mana investment. With all of the hype surrounding the “CopyCat/CatLady” combo, this is the combo flying most under the radar so far, with potential applications as a control deck win condition or as a vital piece within an all in combo build.
2. Why Is Fling Not In Standard?! – Crackdown Construct + Wandering Fumarole or Kazuul’s Toll Collector
Aether Revolt has already been heralded as one of the most powerful Standard expansions of recent times, stretching beyond the rares and mythics that normally define a Magic: the Gathering set. The power level of the uncommons, however, is nothing short of astounding, proven yet again by our second infinite combo, featuring Crackdown Construct alongside its pals from Oath of the Gatewatch, Wandering Fumarole and Kazuul’s Toll Collector.
How Does It Work?
- Animate Wandering Fumarole or Kazuul’s Toll Collector targeting an Equipment card.
- Activate their zero costing abilities any number of times.
- Crackdown Construct gets +1/+1 for each activation.
- Attack with an infinitely large Crackdown Construct.
Why?! Why is Fling not in Standard right now?! Alas, combo players in Standard will have to make do with Slip Through Space to throw the lethal Construct through the red zone. The win condition is highly dependent on the board state and, as is the case for “CopyCat”, is vulnerable to cheap interaction, but being able to fuse a key combo piece into your manabase makes Crackdown Combo far more efficient than first perceived. With Fumarole being able to cast Saheeli Rai, could Crackdown Combo sneak its way into an all-in combo build, perhaps integrating our final combo within the 75?
And talking of Saheeli Rai; the combo that is currently on everyone’s lips…
1. “CopyCat/CatLady” – Saheeli Rai + Felidar Guardian
Two card combinations don’t come much cleaner than Splinter Twin-Deceiver Exarch, and now it seems as though the demon of Standard formats past has reared its ugly head once more. Saheeli Rai, one of the brightest of inventors on Kaladesh, has teamed up with the unassuming Felidar Guardian to make infinite 1/4 Cat Beast tokens with haste with a simple -2 of the thus far underwhelming blue-red Planeswalker.
How Does It Work?
- -2 Saheeli Rai targeting Felidar Guardian.
- Create an artifact token copy of Guardian.
- Enter the battlefield trigger targeting Saheeli.
- Repeat to create infinite copies of Guardian with haste.
The debate has raged on since the revelation of the full Aether Revolt spoiler about the power level of this particular combo in Standard. Many have argued that the removal suite available in the format between Shock, Fatal Push, even Walking Ballista and Implement of Combustion, and the like will be sufficient to keep the combo under control, while others maintain that a turn four infinite combo will stretch Standard beyond the limitations of what is considered a ‘fair format’.
Personally, the level of consistency of Twin-Exarch thanks to some of the most powerful cantrips of all time was absolutely vital for the deck’s success. Only time will determine just how consistent “CopyCat” will be in Standard, but I for one am excited for the return of a ‘tier one’ combo deck in Standard once again.
The future is truly bright for every single one of these combos in the coming Standard, and Aether Revolt is full to the brim with some incredibly powerful engine cards yet to be broken: Paradox Engine alongside Cryptolith Rite, the right shell to maximise the power potential of Inspiring Statuary, and the thought of just how powerful Scrap Trawler could become in combination with Metalwork Colossus makes me thrilled to be playing Standard this coming season.
Could this be the destined return of tier one combo Magic in Standard? The last time artifact synergies and combos dominated the Standard metagame was in Mirrodin block, highlighted by the banning of ten format-defining cards. Coincidence? Let’s find out…
Community Question: Which combo, infinite or otherwise, are you excited to brew with in Standard upon the release of Aether Revolt?
Thanks for reading,