After showcasing some of the viewer suggestions that didn’t quite make it last week, we’re very proud to present one that did. Astute viewer L3VLR sent in an Omniscience-based combo deck, the likes of which we’d never seen before. We’re suckers for Omniscience at the best of times, but when paired with a clunky, difficult-to-achieve combo? Sign us right up.
After a few tweaks here and there to L3VLR’s list, we were ready to rumble with a deck that sought to win with an infinite, all-in loop that milled out both players, thanks to draft chaff all-stars Bond of Insight and Narset’s Reversal.
4 Breeding Pool 4 Forest (347) 4 Hinterland Harbor 7 Island (335) 1 Memorial to Genius 4 Simic Guildgate 1 Omniscience 3 Blink of an Eye 4 Growth Spiral 4 Narset's Reversal 2 Negate 2 Pause for Reflection 4 Root Snare 3 Bond of Insight 4 Circuitous Route 1 Karn's Temporal Sundering 3 Jace, Wielder of Mysteries 4 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales 1 Nature's Spiral
It’s easy enough to separate this list into its constituent categories. Given that we’re resolving a ten-drop, some ramp spells are necessary; equally, we need ways to stay alive, so there is a suite of defensive spells. There is, of course, the combo itself (happily, the combo cards are sometimes useful in other situations), and engine cards to help you find the combo. Finally, some sweet one-ofs round out the list to cover a few other angles.
The ramp suite is relatively light on, with just Growth Spiral and Circuitous Route. There isn’t any Wilderness Reclamation-style instant-speed silliness going on with Growth Spiral, here – it’s more or less just explore, while Circuitous Route is a straightforward double-Rampant Growth.
The defensive cards come in two types. Firstly, there are six different Fog effects, with the incredibly clunky three-mana Pause for Reflection getting a run. This card is terrible, but the four Root Snares simply aren’t enough. Additionally, Blink of an Eye is a catch-all answer to any problematic permanent, while Negate helps to contest the stack and fight through opposing countermagic.
The combo is simply Narset’s Reversal and Bond of Insight. Narset’s Reversal has a surprising amount of utility, especially when it comes to opposing card draw spells (as our Izzet Phoenix opponent found out). Bond of Insight can help dig to the pieces you need, and also contributes to the self-mill plan. Omnscience is the final, and most important, combo piece, although the deck can win without it.
The engine cards, Tamiyo and Jace, both help to fill up your graveyard and find specific cards, whether it’s a combo piece or some interaction. Tamiyo provides extra redundancy with her -3 ability, and Jace is another win condition powered up by all the self-mill. Finally, Nature’s Spiral is one last piece of recursion, and Karn’s Temporal Sundering enables a ridiculous Nexus of Fate-like lockout.
The core combo is this: with an Omniscience on the battlefield and with both Narset’s Reversal and Bond of Insight in hand, you can mill both players out immediately. You pass the turn, and your opponent loses during their draw step: simple as that! Should that not be enough, however, fear not because there are other ways to secure victory as well. Pushing towards the combo is the principal aim of this deck. Take some early hits as you develop your mana with ramp spells, then start to Fog away bigger attacks while using Blink of an Eye and Negate to keep the way clear to assemble the combo. Between Jace and Tamiyo and Bond of Insight in a pinch, it’s not too difficult to either draw or regrow a Fog effect every turn until you land Omniscience.
This is an extremely defensive deck, and requires careful allocation of resources. This is particularly true of your life total more than anything else – your Fogs are plentiful but not unlimited, so be judicious as to when you actually pull the trigger on them. Similarly, be sure to only use Blink of an Eye and Negate on cards that actually matter! Given this deck plays Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, it’s very possible to win with self-mill without the combo. If you can keep attackers at bay, even without Omniscience it’s possible to churn through your library very quickly with both Jace and Tamiyo, and win with Jace’s Laboratory Maniac ability. For that reason, always target yourself with Jace.
Karn’s Temporal Sundering can be used in conjunction with Tamiyo and Narset’s Reversal to take infinite turns. You cast the Sundering, bouncing Tamiyo, copy it with Reversal, then recast Tamiyo who regrows Narset’s Reversal. Next turn you can rinse and repeat, meaning you’re guaranteed to draw Omniscience (or mill over it with another card), and from there you can probably win with the combo.
If your opponent can somehow avoid dying during their draw step – maybe they have lethal, unanswerable burn in hand and will win during their upkeep – you can execute the combo, cast Nature’s Spiral targetting Jace, and activate his +1 immediately. Easy game!
For the most part, this deck is a streamlined and focussed combo deck, and there isn’t too much room for things to change without the deck taking a different tack. Even the “fun-ofs” are important – Nature’s Spiral allows Bond of Insight to regrow a permanent, by returning the Spiral which then returns a permanent, and Karn’s Temporal Sundering enables the infinite-turn lockout.
For that reason, I wouldn’t suggest changing too much. You can play around with the numbers of cards like Pause for Reflection, Negate, and Blink of an Eye, and maybe find room for the fourth Jace, but overall I’m hesitant to muck around with this list as it seems to do its best work in the current configuration.
Next week, we’ve got another viewer-submitted list to share: Mono-Red Shops, featuring Parhelion II! We’re excited to tap our Powerstone Shards for a million mana and get in with the enormous aircraft carrier. See you then!