Anyone playing MTG lately knows that The One Ring is an absolutely ridiculous card. The Ring has sculpted the Alchemy, Historic, and Modern metagames in short order after releasing as the chase card of the Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set. Even Commander has been affected by the coming of The One Ring, with some Commander shows debating a ban for it.
Granting Protection from Everything the turn it comes down, The One Ring threatens to Ancestral Recall over the course of the first two turns it’s in play. Past that point, it is difficult to beat after getting buried in card advantage.
The One Ring is so egregious that, even after promising to keep Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth cards the same as their paper equivalents on MTG Arena, The One Ring and Orcish Bowmasters received a nerf this Tuesday. Instead of players being upset that Wizards of the Coast went back on their word, players were thrilled that the two Lord of the Rings menaces won’t be dominating Alchemy any longer.
Don’t think The Ring is gone forever, though. The nerf was hardly enough to keep this overpowered card out of MTG Arena’s digital formats.
While most players are interested in abusing the draw power of The One Ring, others are much more interested in the Protection ability. Is there a way to use The One Ring to gain Protection infinitely? There actually is! It’s not very good and somewhat convoluted, but there is a Commander combo that allows you to retain your Protection from Everything forever!
Protection From Everything
When The One Ring enters the battlefield, as long as you cast it, you gain Protection from everything until your next turn. This means that effects will be unable to target you, and creatures will be unable to damage you. Essentially, you’re almost untouchable.
This is, obviously, incredibly powerful, and to prevent players from abusing The One Ring’s ETB trigger, it only occurs if you successfully cast the card. This prevents players from using Blink effects like Yorion, Sky Nomad to flicker The One Ring every turn and regain Protection from everything, essentially becoming untouchable.
Of course, if you find a cast loop to re-cast The One Ring every turn, you can still gain Protection from everything over and over. There is a loop to this effect in Modern. Emry, Lurker of the Loch, can cycle two copies of The One Ring every turn, granting the user Protection from everything repetitively. The problem with this combo is that your Emry won’t gain Protection. If it dies to something like Lightning Bolt, the combo ends. Generally, however, if you manage to do this for a few turns, the amount of cards you draw should be enough to win the game. Additionally, this exact example doesn’t work in Commander.
This isn’t foil-proof enough to represent our infinite protection combo. For Commander players who love pulling off janky win conditions, there is a much more reliable way to do this using a card called MTG Lethal Vapors.
MTG Lethal Vapors
Lethal Vapors, as it is supposed to function, is an absurd Stax piece that prevents most creatures from touching the board. Unless you have Indestructible on command, Lethal Vapors will destroy each and every creature that touches the board.
This is, obviously, an incredibly powerful effect. Lethal Vapors has the potential of warping the game if left unchecked. For that reason, players have an option to deal with Lethal Vapors if they so choose, but the cost is deadly.
Any player can destroy Lethal Vapors for free… as long as they’re willing to skip their next turn. The idea behind this card functionally is to use it in a deck with no creatures and force an opponent to destroy Lethal Vapors to skip their turn. Obviously, this is not what we want to do with it.
When Reddit user le3bl asked the community about building a deck around getting Protection from everything forever via The One Ring, Lethal Vapors was presented as an option.
See, any player can actually activate Lethal Vapor’s ability as many times as they want. You can activate these in response to one another, allowing you to skip as many turns as you please. Of course, this is not the intended effect of Lethal Vapors, but it can be used that way.
By activating Lethal Vapors, say… 10,000 times, you can skip your next 10,000 turns and retain your Protection from Everything from The One Ring the entire time!
There’s just one problem. If opponents see what you’re up to, they can join in on activating Lethal Vapors, skipping turns right alongside you. This prevents players from losing any turns, meaning your One Ring protection will vanish on your next turn. As you may imagine, there is a way to prevent this from happening.
Your Ability Only!
Grand Abolisher is the last puzzle piece for the infinite Protection combo to truly work. Grand Abolisher prevents your opponents from casting spells or activating the abilities of artifacts, creatures, or enchantments on your turn. For this reason, it’s common to see a resolved Grand Abolisher turn into a combo kill at more high-level Commander tables. No one can interact, so the Grand Abolisher player is free to go off.
In this case, Grand Abolisher prevents your opponents from using the effect of MTG Lethal Vapors, enabling you to skip all the turns you want without your opponents being able to do the same. Congrats! You have infinite Protection for as many turns as you like!
For those weary of MTG Lethal Vapors destroying Grand Abolisher, no need to worry. Lethal Vapors will trigger if Grand Abolisher enters the battlefield after Lethal Vapors does, but you can start skipping turns in response to the destruction trigger. After you skip a ton of turns, Lethal Vapors will destroy itself before Grand Abolisher dies.
This Combo Actually Existed Before
While The One Ring is the newest flavor on this infinite Protection combo, players have been pulling it off for some time now with Teferi’s Protection. The idea is pretty much the exact same, except instead of utilizing The One Ring to gain Protection from everything, Teferi’s Protection will grant it, and all the other abilities it has, until your next turn arises, which is ideally never. Chances are your opponents will deck out before you take another turn.
It’s Not Foolproof
While Teferi’s Protection is much harder to win through, The One Ring’s Protection ability is rather susceptible to certain hate. Questing Beast and Bonecrusher Giant have been seeing play in Modern thanks to their ability to get through The One Ring’s Protection effect. By enabling a ‘damage cannot be prevented’ clause, Protection from everything will fail to stop the damage of attacking creatures. It’s just one turn, but with all the turns in the world to set up, chances are your opponent can kill you in one big swing.
Alternatively, both Teferi’s Protection and The One Ring will not stop win conditions like Thassa’s Oracle. The Oracle will win the game regardless of whether you’re there or not.
Either way, if you want to essentially Phase Out of existence, watching your opponents draw their way to their own doom, this is how you do it!