Is This The Most Fiendish Combo Ever?
The first thing that pops into my mind when someone says "locked" is an image of my sister and her first boyfriend standing outside the car instead of sitting with the keys inside.
Now, when it comes to locks in Magic, I can say that I have seen quite a few of them. So when I was trying to come up with an original lockdown deck, it was a bit of a challenge.
You see, I’m a combo gamer - and in theory, lock decks are just very slow combo decks, so it shouldn’t be much harder. But as it turns out, there is a distinct difference between the two. A combo deck beats the tar out of an opponent and then you quickly can move onto the next game, but a lockdown deck ignores the possibility of ending the game quickly.
Lockdown decks are the kind of decks that make your blood boil - because you know you’re going to lose, but you keep playing, thinking, “If only I draw that Disenchant, I can win!” But in reality, you know they have a Counterspell waiting.
Now, I enjoy playing against lockdown decks because usually the games are very close given a good lock and a skilled opponent. And even when there's no lock and a bad opponent, it's still enjoyable to watch it fall apart. Why am I saying this? Because most people will hate you immensely and beat you up in each subsequent game till the cows come home if you ever win with your lock deck.
What does that mean for you? Well, first it means we have to go over the rules on playing a lock deck.
Fortunately, for those of you who don’t like to read much - or those who hate being told rules - there is only one rule for lock decks and it should really be for every deck:
It's that simple. Don’t be an ass about the lock, don’t make fun of your opponents for not being able to do anything, feel free to start some friendly conversation so it isn’t as agonizing - and above all, apologize for killing the game. (Feel free to laugh evilly occasionally; after all you should also enjoy yourself a little too, am I right?)
Now, it's time to find an original lock deck for my lovely audience. I wanted a deck that not only locked down the game, but I wanted one so annoying and ludicrous that it was like coming home after curfew and realizing that your parents took the house key off of your car keys. Here is what I came up with.
A Balanced Lock
4 Sheltered Valley
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
3 Diabolic Tutor
3 Paupers’ Cage
2 Words of Waste
1 Imperial Seal
3 Charcoal Diamond
4 Innocent Blood
1 Grim Monolith
1 Sol Ring
4 Dark Ritual
1 Panoptic Mirror
1 Zuran Orb
1 Chrome Mox
1 Mox Diamond
Before I go into detail, the combo is Balance on a Panoptic Mirror. Now it is time for you to call me a liar because I’m going to say something you’re not going to believe about this deck...
It can set up the lock on turn 1 fairly often.
Now, you are probably staring really hard - looking at the limited tutoring the deck has, the single copy of both the lock pieces, and the scant mana acceleration to power it out. How the heck the deck is going to assemble it reliably on turn 1?
In actuality, the deck sets up the game before it actually starts the game in the game before.
Richard Garfield, Ph. D allows you to play a Panoptic Mirror as a Time Machine, and as for a creature to send into the future a good candidate is Mox Diamond as Ornithopter, or Sol Ring as Myr Servitor.
So now I bring you an actual combo deck used to set up the lock in the next game.
4 Thawing Glaciers
4 Cloud of Faeries
1 Richard Garfield, Ph. D.
2 Stroke of Genius
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Mystical Tutor
4 Flash of Insight
4 High Tide
1 Mox Diamond
1 Sol Ring
1 Panoptic Mirror
1 Feldon’s Cane
Your friends will hate you for playing and winning with two combo decks that aid each other - so to make up for beating the tar out of them twice in a row, you might want to offer a match where you play a non-combo deck, and let your friends beat you up a bit to make them feel better.
Now as for actual deck descriptions, let's explain them.
The Explanation Of The Balanced Lock
So despite not always being able to put Balance on the Panoptic Mirror on turn 1, you do have a fair shot at also throwing a Pox on the Mirror. Pox is sort of like a not-as-broken Balance.
So now that we have our lock on approximately turns 1, 2, or 3, we have to figure out how we’re actually going to win if you set up the Mirror and put a Pox on it, you have to figure out how to stay ahead of the life race. Two cards shine in the deck as the kill method of choice: Megrim, because your opponents will discard a lot, and Pauper’s Cage, because it hurts your for having a small hand. If you have a Pox you can use Sheltered Valley to stay ahead of the life race, and pretty much sit back on your laurels and win.
The rest of the deck is tutoring to help you find the pieces or mana acceleration/artifact mana to help you cast spells when no one has land. Of course there are other small utility cards like Zuran Orb, Words of Waste, and Innocent Blood - but you know what they’re used for.
Now surely you can set up the combo with this deck alone, but as shown and stated earlier there is a sure-fire way to almost always set up the combo early...
After you have a boatload of mana floating around, search your deck for the right pieces: Richard Garfield, Ph.D., Mox Diamond/Sol Ring, and Panoptic Mirror. After you have the three, play the Mirror as a Time Machine and the mana artifact of choice as a creature, send it into the future for the next game, bounce Richard to your hand, Feldon’s Cane once to have more cards in your library than anyone else, and deck everyone with Prosperity.
This may take a few games to set up properly - but eventually you will churn out a win, and be able to whip out the first monster I showed you.
I, personally, find a way to cheat the system. If you are a clever person, like me, you can duel someone with a modified version of the second deck, and just make sure they play in the multiplayer game afterward.
Ultimately the best advice I can give (aside from being polite) is to lock yourself in the other room when your play group has had enough of your shenanigans.
Until next time take care.