The Coolest Combo Deck you've never played
reireibarker - February 1, 2019
Greetings, combo enthusiasts! I finally cracked the code. End of the Barrel combo is here at last, paired with everyone’s favourite Promo - Tamarys, The Geomancer. I have been tuning it for months, but whenever I told people about it they’d nod politely. Then, in Friday’s ECL, I OTK’d Yurick Yu(shout outs) on turn 7 then turn 6. Some people had questions, but I fortunately recorded it. Just watch it. I’ll wait. I’m shit at Youtube so turn it to 2x speed.
This is not a deck tech. This deck is not finished, in fact, it can never beat an aggro deck in a million years. It's about a dream! An ideal. A vision of a moment when the fantasy of casting your whole desk and killing from hand becomes exquisite reality. It may never happen. I happily toil ensorcelled with hope, faith and 4 copies of End of the Barrel inching slowly towards the promised land. I want to share with you all how I got to here, and how maybe it can be improved, or at the very least be an interesting thought exercise.
So what the hell am I talking about? If you've played Magic, Storm is a good way to describe it. Sometimes you draw a few cards and then die, but sometimes you kill them turn 6 with a board full of dragons. C-c-c-combo! So the question is, can this inconsistent idea be shaped into something real? Let's explore.
The core 'infinite' engine is having two Tamarys, the Geomancer in play so that all the 2 cost cycle and draw cards are free. Strategize, Second Sight, and Treasure Trove enable you to draw *tons*. End of the Barrel and Kindle are a much better deal with Tamarys in play, and End's warp means that Second Sight and Excavate can both be used to rebuy, netting more power. Riddle Game is arguably part of the deck’s core because the ceiling is so high, but you need to have it at the right time. If the first Riddle Game draws 2, you just fizzle, but when you draw 10(or 60) it's business time.
So the core as it stands is:
4 End of the Barrel
4 Second Sight
4 Mirror Image
4 Wisdom of the Elders
X Riddle Game
The core is not set in stone but currently can go off as early as turn 5 and pretty consistently on turn 7/8. That just isn't fast enough. Anything but the slowest of decks will just kill you. Granted, how I prefer to work on combo decks is making them as fast as possible vs the goldfish, and then adding interaction after. I feel comfortable that we have an engine capable of continually drawing cards without running out of power until we ‘win’ assuming we have 2 or more Tamarys. Included in that is market access, quite a few options to parse. Let’s boldly examine some different ways for us to win the game.
Currently the deck wins by playing a Calderan Cradle pre-big turn then using Etched Monolith to make them have charge.
Pros - can be used over multiple turns
Cradle can be a win con incrementally through circumstance or necessity
Hard to disrupt
They're relics. Boo.
Place hefty restrictions on your market
Must be in play before going off(mostly)
Icespear Chucker + Hunter's Harpoon is another way to do it. You don't technically need the Harpoon but I suspect one in the market would be a nice tool to access. I suspect it would be very hard to lose if you have that going.
a lot less counting. All you need to do is cast 25 spells with Chucker in play to win.
More versatile market options
Doesn't require attacking
Sounds really cool
Resilient to sabotage
Levitate becomes a combo piece
Rise to the Challenge an option
Potentially allows for cheaper spells overall
Easier to disrupt mid combo
Lowers spell density
This isn’t quite there but has a lot of potential, and could even have a place as an alternate win condition at the cost of two Market slots.
The Four Heralds + Mirror Image
I love this on paper. You just need to make 10 power and draw til you find the four pieces/grab them from the market. Easy Peasy!
Really hard to disrupt
Fits in a Peaks shell quite well
Access to multiple tutors
Masquerade as a normal stupid non-combo deck
The 3rd dopest animation in the game
Wins through Aegis, high life totals
Needs all four pieces to do anything. It's like game of thrones - you win or you die.
You forfeit a lot of market functionality
You have to put a bunch of useless flyers in your deck
Weak to a single counterspell
There could be something here. Normal WWH combo may be easier but this felt great, if a little cute.
The Kennadins Approach
End of the Barrel and End of Hostilities are from the same glorious cycle. T’would be cruel to keep them apart. Emikaela and I entertained a few builds in this vein but Neon pointed to this route having promise after streaming the deck for a while. The challenge is to take what makes Kennadins good and theoretically strengthen it with elements of STORM! Two ways spring to mind that share a great deal of synergy. The first is finding a way to give Kenna either Overwhelm or Charge, depending on matchup/situation, and the second is the Kaleb from Howling Peaks’ agenda. I think Neon was right. After 10 or so games I landed here. A good deckbuilding question ask oneself in these situations is ‘is this just a worse Kennadins? For now, of course. But it’s a bloody good start of something cool.
That’s four potential places to evolve the combo, and after the ~50 games it took to write this article I think I’ll be calling it a day. What do you think? Which of these is your favourite, and do you have any ideas for different approaches? I’d love to hear them and thanks for reading! Catch me on Twitter or in game! <3