|Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (42)|
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|Missing Rare cards:||8|
1 Imperial Seal
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Worldly Tutor
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Survival of the Fittest
1 Sylvan Library
1 Eladamri's Call
1 Quiet Speculation
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Shred Memory
1 See Beyond
1 Buried Alive
1 Pact of Negation
1 Orim's Chant
1 Pull from Eternity
1 Life from the Loam
1 Grim Discovery
This is probably the fastest and most consistent combo deck in the format. It's been a well-kept secret amongst EDH deckbuilders on MWS for many months now. Many people have worked on it, some independently: I first became aware of it when I got stomped by an early version piloted by one Kilikua. A couple months later, I encountered it again, as my friend Moondust was developing a very similar deck. The list posted here is a composite list I developed and tested, taking the best elements from both lists.
I'm sure that this list still isn't perfect, but it's very, very strong. I'm releasing it to the public in the hope that the collective minds here at MTGS can help develop it even further. Do note that this is an extremely difficult deck to pilot optimally...it would be not be an overstatement to say that this is the toughest deck I've ever played in any format, and I've played them all. It's powerful enough to still win most games with poor play, but it takes a master (and a lot of practice) to play it at its full potential.
So, why is this deck so good? It has a blazingly fast and resilient primary win condition, a powerful and disruptive secondary win condition, more tutors than any other deck in the format, and it still has room for a hefty and versatile disruption package. It's also as lean and efficient as they come: the curve tops out at 3, and most of the spells cost only 1 or 2. There's no dead weight here.
The simplest version of the kill is: activate Hermit Druid. Win. Yes, it's actually that easy. There are no basic lands in this deck, so a single Hermit Druid activation mills your whole deck. Narcomoeba pops into play. Unearth Fatestitcher, make sure the coast is clear with Cabal Therapy (if you have an extra creature), and flashback Dread Return on Crypt Champion, which returns Saffi Eriksdotter. With the other Crypt Champion trigger on the stack, sacrifice Saffi targeting the Champion, and repeat that loop a billion times. Then use Crypt Champion to return Caller of the Claw. That gives you a billion bears, and thanks to Anger, they all have haste. Ta da! Dead opponent. If Hermit Druid isn't destroyed on sight, this happens relatively consistently by turn 3.
Obviously, it's not always that simple, but there's a lot of resiliency built into this plan. Apprentice Necromancer and Shallow Grave help ensure that Hermit Druid is able to do his thing. Cephalid Illusionist and Lightning Greaves offer an alternate means of milling yourself if something happens to the Druid. The suite of flashback removal spells can deal with just about anything that might stop you from winning post-milling. This plan is remarkably hard to stop: it can even beat instant-speed graveyard hate sometimes, though it's somewhat painful to do so. By looping Krosan Reclamation and Pull from Eternity, you can (slowly) draw whatever cards you need, even if your whole graveyard and library are exiled!
An alternate kill, which is extremely efficient even if the rest of the deck isn't coming together, involved just beating down with Scion of the Ur-Dragon. This list only contains 2 dragons, but that's all it needs to kill in 2 attacks. Strike first as Nicol Bolas, wiping out your opponent's answers. Then swing as Dragon Tyrant, pump once, and that's 21 general damage. It says a lot about this deck that a strategy as efficient as this one is a distant plan B.
There are many other subtle and effective gameplans with this deck, such as the early Life from the Loam lock or the Quiet Speculation flashback control plan. The most difficult part of piloting this deck is figuring out how to use all the tutors, since there's a tremendous array of options, and not all of the tutors will be able to get the card you want most. For instance, do you Entomb for Anger? Life from the Loam? Hermit Druid? Ancient Grudge? All of these (and more) can be the correct answer; learning to recognize when to get what with each tutor takes a lot of foresight, practice, and skill. Learning the best ways to play around hate is also important. This deck has the answers to beat anything, but recognizing how to use those answers can be very challenging.
I'd encourage anyone wanting to further develop this deck to goldfish it at least 10 times before playing a real opponent, just to get your head around how the combos and the tutor package fit together. Then play a patient opponent, since real games get much more complicated and you'll have a ton of decisions to make every game.
Once you get a feel for how it plays against a real opponent, you can start experimenting with changes--there are definitely a lot of flexible slots in this list, especially in the disruption and tutor packages, but it takes a while to get a sense for how useful each piece can be (and all the cards in this list are good, if not necessarily the best). Other cards I've considered/tested that could well make their way back into the list at some point include Sylvan Tutor, Grim Tutor, Gamble, Corpse Dance, Sensei's Divining Top, Dosan the Falling Leaf, Gilded Drake, Imperial Recruiter, Dimir Infiltrator, and Volrath's Shapeshifter.
The city in a bottle representative you don't know and most likely hate.