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Going Infinite in Standard - Jesse Bradford Smith (8/29/2010)

Flash
Flash
FlashSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
67
Artist:
David Ho
Text:
Put a creature card from your hand into play. You may pay its mana cost reduced by up to 2. If you don't, sacrifice it.
back to the Rise of the Eldrazi pre-release with me for a moment if you will. My boyfriend and I were standing out in front of Pandemonium
Pandemonium
PandemoniumSet: Exodus
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
93
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Whenever any creature comes into play, that creature's controller may choose to have it deal damage equal to its power to target creature or player.
in Garden City, Michigan for a smoke between matches. He suddenly drops his cigarette and pulls out his cards, finding the copy of Training Grounds
Training Grounds
Training GroundsSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
91
Artist:
James Ryman
Text:
Activated abilities of creatures you control cost up to {2} less to activate. This effect can't reduce the amount of mana an ability costs to activate to less than one mana.
he had obtained from his card pool.

"What is that?" I ask, pointing at his card.

"The way to go infinite in Standard," was his reply.

He went on to remind me of a card from Shards of Alara I'd completely forgotten about: Filigree Sages
Filigree Sages
Filigree SagesSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
44
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
2U: Untap target artifact.
. With one of them, a Training Grounds
Training Grounds
Training GroundsSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
91
Artist:
James Ryman
Text:
Activated abilities of creatures you control cost up to {2} less to activate. This effect can't reduce the amount of mana an ability costs to activate to less than one mana.
, and a Khalni Gem
Khalni Gem
Khalni GemSet: Zendikar
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Franz Vohwinkel
Text:
When Khalni Gem enters the battlefield, return two lands you control to their owner's hand. {T}: Add two mana of any one color to your mana pool.
in play, you can generate infinite mana of any color. My boyfriend is a genius.

Going on that strategy, I put the following deck together:

“Thompson”
Standard-Legal; Mono-blue; 60 cards

Blue (33)
4: Training Grounds
Training Grounds
Training GroundsSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
91
Artist:
James Ryman
Text:
Activated abilities of creatures you control cost up to {2} less to activate. This effect can't reduce the amount of mana an ability costs to activate to less than one mana.

3: Enclave Cryptologist
Enclave Cryptologist
Enclave CryptologistSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
66
Artist:
Igor Kieryluk
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Level up {1}{U} ({1}{U}: Put a level counter on this. Level up only as a sorcery.) LEVEL 1-2 0/1 {T}: Draw a card, then discard a card. LEVEL 3+ 0/1 {T}: Draw a card.

2: Crab Umbra
Crab Umbra
Crab UmbraSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
58
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Enchant creature {2}{U}: Untap enchanted creature. Totem armor (If enchanted creature would be destroyed, instead remove all damage from it and destroy this Aura.)

4: Mana Leak
Mana Leak
Mana LeakSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 3.

2: Negate
Negate
NegateSet: Morningtide
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
43
Artist:
Jeremy Jarvis
Text:
Counter target noncreature spell.

4: Etherium Sculptor
Etherium Sculptor
Etherium SculptorSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Artificer
Rarity:
C
Number:
42
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Artifact spells you play cost 1 less to play.

4: Filigree Sages
Filigree Sages
Filigree SagesSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
44
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
2U: Untap target artifact.

1: Ethersworn Adjudicator
Ethersworn Adjudicator
Ethersworn AdjudicatorSet: Conflux
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Knight
Rarity:
M
Number:
26
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying 1WB, T Destroy target creature or enchantment. 2U: Untap Ethersworn Adjudicator.

1: Tezzeret, the Seeker
Seeker
SeekerSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Target creature cannot be blocked except by white creatures and artifact creatures.

4: Sphinx of Magosi
Sphinx of Magosi
Sphinx of MagosiSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Sphinx
Rarity:
R
Number:
89
Artist:
James Ryman
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying {2}{U}: Draw a card, then put a +1/+1 counter on Sphinx of Magosi.

4: Mind Spring
Mind Spring
Mind SpringSet: Morningtide
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
41
Artist:
Mark Zug
Text:
Draw X cards.


Colorless (5)
4: Khalni Gem
Khalni Gem
Khalni GemSet: Zendikar
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Franz Vohwinkel
Text:
When Khalni Gem enters the battlefield, return two lands you control to their owner's hand. {T}: Add two mana of any one color to your mana pool.

1: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Emrakul, the Aeons TornSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
15
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Eldrazi
Rarity:
M
Number:
4
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
15
Toughness:
15
Text:
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn can't be countered. When you cast Emrakul, take an extra turn after this one. Flying, protection from colored spells, annihilator 6 When Emrakul is put into a graveyard from anywhere, its owner shuffles his or her graveyard into his or her library.


Land (22)
1: Misty Rainforest
Misty Rainforest
Misty RainforestSet: Zendikar
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
220
Artist:
Shelly Wan
Text:
{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Misty Rainforest: Search your library for a Forest or Island card and put it onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library.

1: Scalding Tarn
Scalding Tarn
Scalding TarnSet: Zendikar
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
223
Artist:
Philip Straub
Text:
{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Scalding Tarn: Search your library for an Island or Mountain card and put it onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library.

20: Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.


SIDEBOARD
Blue (15)
4: Spreading Seas
Spreading Seas
Spreading SeasSet: Zendikar
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Number:
70
Artist:
Jung Park
Text:
Enchant land When Spreading Seas enters the battlefield, draw a card. Enchanted land is an Island.

4: Flashfreeze
Flashfreeze
FlashfreezeSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
33
Artist:
Brian Despain
Text:
Counter target red or green spell.

4: Into the Roil
Into the Roil
Into the RoilSet: Zendikar
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
48
Artist:
Kieran Yanner
Text:
Kicker {1}{U} (You may pay an additional {1}{U} as you cast this spell.) Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand. If Into the Roil was kicked, draw a card.

2: Mindbreak Trap
Mindbreak Trap
Mindbreak TrapSet: Zendikar
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Trap
Rarity:
M
Number:
57
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
If an opponent cast three or more spells this turn, you may pay {0} rather than pay Mindbreak Trap's mana cost. Exile any number of target spells.

1: Fatestitcher
Fatestitcher
FatestitcherSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
43
Artist:
E. M. Gist
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
T You may tap or untap another target permanent. Unearth U (U: Return this card from your graveyard to play. It gains haste. Remove it from the game at end of turn or if it would leave play. Unearth only as a sorcery.)


The idea of this deck is simple: get the combo pieces onto the battlefield with enough mana to have at least one blue available to untap the Khalni Gem
Khalni Gem
Khalni GemSet: Zendikar
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Franz Vohwinkel
Text:
When Khalni Gem enters the battlefield, return two lands you control to their owner's hand. {T}: Add two mana of any one color to your mana pool.
infinite times, and then use either Mind Spring
Mind Spring
Mind SpringSet: Morningtide
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
41
Artist:
Mark Zug
Text:
Draw X cards.
or Sphinx of Magosi
Sphinx of Magosi
Sphinx of MagosiSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Sphinx
Rarity:
R
Number:
89
Artist:
James Ryman
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying {2}{U}: Draw a card, then put a +1/+1 counter on Sphinx of Magosi.
to draw all but a few cards from your library. You can then cast everything from your hand (which is almost your entire library), including Emrakul so you can take another turn right away. When you enter your discard phase, keep nothing but counterspells and victory is almost guaranteed to be yours.

The amazing thing about this deck is that there is the possibility of drawing the right cards to go infinite on the third turn. You have to draw into them on turns two and three (and turn one if not playing first), but it can happen. Cast Training Grounds
Training Grounds
Training GroundsSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
91
Artist:
James Ryman
Text:
Activated abilities of creatures you control cost up to {2} less to activate. This effect can't reduce the amount of mana an ability costs to activate to less than one mana.
turn one; Etherium Sculptor
Etherium Sculptor
Etherium SculptorSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Artificer
Rarity:
C
Number:
42
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Artifact spells you play cost 1 less to play.
turn two; and two Etherium Sculptor
Etherium Sculptor
Etherium SculptorSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Artificer
Rarity:
C
Number:
42
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Artifact spells you play cost 1 less to play.
s followed by Khalni Gem
Khalni Gem
Khalni GemSet: Zendikar
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Franz Vohwinkel
Text:
When Khalni Gem enters the battlefield, return two lands you control to their owner's hand. {T}: Add two mana of any one color to your mana pool.
and Filigree Sages
Filigree Sages
Filigree SagesSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
44
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
2U: Untap target artifact.
turn three, and you will have one mana floating to untap the gem. Granted, if you didn't draw a Sphinx of Magosi
Sphinx of Magosi
Sphinx of MagosiSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Sphinx
Rarity:
R
Number:
89
Artist:
James Ryman
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying {2}{U}: Draw a card, then put a +1/+1 counter on Sphinx of Magosi.
or a Mind Spring
Mind Spring
Mind SpringSet: Morningtide
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
41
Artist:
Mark Zug
Text:
Draw X cards.
you can't do anything yet, but the possibility exists to win right then and there if you did. Obviously, this perfect draw rarely happens.

As a combo deck, "Thompson" shares every combo deck's weakness: it can be disrupted easily. The way I get around this is holding the Filigree Sages
Filigree Sages
Filigree SagesSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
44
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
2U: Untap target artifact.
in my hand until I'm sure I can safely go infinite. Even if a kill spell is thrown at the Sages you can respond by tapping and untapping the Khalni Gem
Khalni Gem
Khalni GemSet: Zendikar
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Franz Vohwinkel
Text:
When Khalni Gem enters the battlefield, return two lands you control to their owner's hand. {T}: Add two mana of any one color to your mana pool.
infinite times, so if you can hold out long enough to draw Sphinx of Magosi
Sphinx of Magosi
Sphinx of MagosiSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Sphinx
Rarity:
R
Number:
89
Artist:
James Ryman
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying {2}{U}: Draw a card, then put a +1/+1 counter on Sphinx of Magosi.
or Mind Spring
Mind Spring
Mind SpringSet: Morningtide
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
41
Artist:
Mark Zug
Text:
Draw X cards.
you'll be all right. Remember to draw a card and put a +1/+1 counter on the Sphinx one at a time to give your opponent appropriate time to respond, and also to give yourself a window to respond to any kill spells or counterspells thrown your way while drawing with it. Against blue or green, this usually isn't such a problem - most people don't main deck Naturalize
Naturalize
NaturalizeSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
275
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
and blue's main weapons against "Thompson's" strategy are bounce and counterspells. Both are easy to overcome with counterspells of your own and careful play timing. I usually leave between three and six cards in my library after going infinite anyways as insurance against mill and targeted draw, and to leave myself a few turns in case something goes wrong somehow (although if one of those remaining cards is Emrakul I will use the Sphinx to draw until I draw my copy of it, unless of course there is only one card left in my library). If the opponent has too many creatures to block with or enchantments that can stop you, that's where Ethersworn Adjudicator
Ethersworn Adjudicator
Ethersworn AdjudicatorSet: Conflux
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Knight
Rarity:
M
Number:
26
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying 1WB, T Destroy target creature or enchantment. 2U: Untap Ethersworn Adjudicator.
comes in handy. Emrakul's Annihilator and extra turn should prevent any other potential mishaps. If your opponent should somehow gain an insane amount of life, Tezzeret (who can also help you make your combo happen by tutoring your Khalni Gem
Khalni Gem
Khalni GemSet: Zendikar
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Franz Vohwinkel
Text:
When Khalni Gem enters the battlefield, return two lands you control to their owner's hand. {T}: Add two mana of any one color to your mana pool.
or Filigree Sages
Filigree Sages
Filigree SagesSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
44
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
2U: Untap target artifact.
onto the battlefield) can turn all of your artifacts into 5/5's. Simply cast him on your first infinite turn, and then use his +1 ability. On your next turn, which will hopefully be an extra turn given by Emrakul, you can use his -5 ability to aid in your ultimate attack. If you're having trouble drawing your combo pieces, Enclave Cryptologist
Enclave Cryptologist
Enclave CryptologistSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
66
Artist:
Igor Kieryluk
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Level up {1}{U} ({1}{U}: Put a level counter on this. Level up only as a sorcery.) LEVEL 1-2 0/1 {T}: Draw a card, then discard a card. LEVEL 3+ 0/1 {T}: Draw a card.
enchanted with a Crab Umbra
Crab Umbra
Crab UmbraSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
58
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Enchant creature {2}{U}: Untap enchanted creature. Totem armor (If enchanted creature would be destroyed, instead remove all damage from it and destroy this Aura.)
helps, especially with a Training Grounds
Training Grounds
Training GroundsSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
91
Artist:
James Ryman
Text:
Activated abilities of creatures you control cost up to {2} less to activate. This effect can't reduce the amount of mana an ability costs to activate to less than one mana.
on the battlefield.

Some cards I considered adding would have helped keep the deck alive but also would have detracted from the combo. If I owned a Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Jace, the Mind SculptorSet: Worldwake
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Planeswalker
Sub Type:
Jace
Rarity:
M
Number:
31
Artist:
Jason Chan
Text:
+2: Look at the top card of target player's library. You may put that card on the bottom of that player's library. 0: Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order. -1: Return target creature to its owner's hand. -12: Exile all cards from target player's library, then that player shuffles his or her hand into his or her library.
I would have used him, of course. Master of Etherium
Master of Etherium
Master of EtheriumSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Vedalken Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Master of Etherium's power and toughness are each equal to the number of artifacts you control. Other artifact creatures you control get +1/+1.
helps make your artifact creatures, like the Sages and Sculptors, safer from burn spells and allows you to enter combat without your combo pieces. Fatestitcher
Fatestitcher
FatestitcherSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
43
Artist:
E. M. Gist
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
T You may tap or untap another target permanent. Unearth U (U: Return this card from your graveyard to play. It gains haste. Remove it from the game at end of turn or if it would leave play. Unearth only as a sorcery.)
can serve the same purpose as the sages when enchanted with Crab Umbra
Crab Umbra
Crab UmbraSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
58
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Enchant creature {2}{U}: Untap enchanted creature. Totem armor (If enchanted creature would be destroyed, instead remove all damage from it and destroy this Aura.)
, and it can be used to lock down your opponent's side of the board in a pinch. More counterspells, more fetch lands, and more card draw really need no explanation. There really isn't a whole lot other than Counterspell
Counterspell
CounterspellSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Counters target spell as it is being cast.
, more fetch lands, and Isochron Scepter
Isochron Scepter
Isochron ScepterSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
188
Artist:
Mark Harrison
Text:
Imprint - When Isochron Scepter comes into play, you may remove an instant card with converted mana cost 2 or less in your hand from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.) 2, T: You may copy the imprinted instant card and play the copy without paying its mana cost.
that comes to mind for non-Standard-legal builds of this deck. Propaganda
Propaganda
PropagandaSet: Tempest
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Each turn, each creature cannot attack you unless its controller pays an additional 2 for that creature.
, Maze of Ith
Maze of Ith
Maze of IthSet: The Dark
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Text:
T: Target attacking creature becomes untapped. This creature neither deals nor receives damage as a result of combat.
, and Chill
Chill
ChillSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
60
Artist:
Greg Simanson
Text:
Red spells cost 2 more to play.
could be nice additions to the sideboard.

While I'm sure there are other ways to utilize this combo, this is the only one I've explored thus far. If I stumble upon anymore, I'll be sure to let you know. Until next time, may you explore the infinite possibilities life presents us with.


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