Sunday, April 19, 2015

Infinite Life in Standard Pauper

All week I've been blogging about the new combos in Standard Pauper and how you as a player need to be prepared to answer them. Today I want to look at another fun trick you can do with one of the combos that I haven't seen anyone mention yet.

For review, the first combo involves playing and replaying Spidersilk Net by means of Zephyr Scribe enchanted with Retraction Helix. In this scenario, the accepted wisdom is to use this combination to power up your Elusive Spellfist until it can deal lethal damage to your opponent.

However, something fun happens when you replace the Spellfist with this card:

Student of Ojutai harkens back to the Gatekeepers cycle from Dragon's Maze. It's a 2/4 for 3W that is pretty decent on its own, given its potential to gain you quite a bit of life in the right build while also presenting a fairly relevant blocker. But combine this with the above combination, and you have created a loop that can generate an infinite amount of life, assuming your opponent doesn't have any means to interact with you. I believe that this is the first time that this is possible in Standard Pauper (although if I'm wrong, please let me know in the comments below).

So why hasn't this combo gotten any attention?

Well, there's just one small problem with gaining infinite life: it doesn't actually win you the game. In fact, it's even worse online than it would be in paper, since the presence of the game clock means that even if your opponent can't ever actually kill you, all he or she actually has to do is either be ahead on time or on cards to win (since you lose either when your game clock runs out of time or you are unable to draw your last card). And since Standard Pauper lacks any means of shuffling your library back into your deck, this probably isn't really a viable win condition.

That said, someone might be able to make a deck designed to pull this combo off, then Gravepurge another creatures back into your library to avoid losing my running out your library. Then all you'd have to worry about is being ahead on time. Not exactly the kind of deck I'd want to run, especially since it requires three colors of mana - but hey, it might actually be feasible!

So that's another fun thing you can pull off with this combo. 

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