Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin | March of the Machine: The Aftermath
11, May, 23

New Infinite Combo Makes MTG’s Best Color Even Stronger

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Article at a Glance

Despite being a rotating format prone to being shaken up, Standard has recently been dominated by a few select decks and colors. This all started what feels like an eternity ago, following the latest rotation, and release of Dominaria United. After powerful green cards like Werewolf Pack Leader were pushed out of the format, a new tyrant took over: Rakdos. 

Utilizing many of the new, old, and reprinted powerful black cards, as well as some potent utility options, Rakdos had all the answers. Offering rummaging, ramp, removal, and plenty of damage, Rakdos decks have hardly needed improvement since 2022’s rotation. It’s no wonder Rakdos Standard decks have been winning/excelling in tournaments recently. 

As if these decks weren’t already impressive enough, Rakdos has just been given a new and rather scary win condition. Released as part of the first MTG micro-set, March of the Machine: The Aftermath, Rakdos’ latest toy is a devastating two-card combo. Creating an infinite loop that’s sure to ruin your opponent’s day, it seems there are no breaks on the Rakdos train.


Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin - All Will Be One

As you can see in the image above, this newfangled combo only needs two key pieces. These required cards are Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin, and All Will Be One. Priced at four and five mana, respectively, this combo certainly isn’t the cheapest, nor quickest, in the history of MTG. That being said, however, this combo is nonetheless rather deadly, thanks to Rakdos’ utility and excellent board control. 

To activate this combo, once both cards are in play, all you need to do is deal a single point of damage. Once this happens, Ob Nixilis will get a +1/+1 counter, alongside exiling the top card of your library. For this combo, we only care about the +1/+1 counter, however, as that will trigger All Will Be One. Allowing you to deal one damage to almost any target, should you ping your opponent, the loop will continue ad infinitum.

For better or worse, while only two cards are required to create this loop, a little more setup is required. After all, that first single damage point must come from somewhere. Thankfully, while this is technically a hurdle, it’s an incredibly small one for a Rakdos deck to overcome. On the surface, the easiest way to do this is by using a spell that simply deals one damage. Kumano Faces Kakkazan or Voldaren Epicure are obvious choices to do exactly this. 

While these cheap cards are hardly bad options, luckily for Rakdos players, there are plenty more to choose from. This is all thanks to All Will Be One, which allows any single counter to deal one damage. Synergizing with Planeswalkers as well as Sagas, Rakdos players can keep using Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Chandra, Hope’s Beacon.

Stop! Stop! We’re Already Dead!

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker - Bloodtitle Harvester

As much as we love a good combo deck in MTG, as we mentioned earlier, this one is hardly format-breaking. After all, it’ll take until at least turn five or six to activate consistently, which leaves a lot of room for removal. While this is certainly a downside, it’s one that Rakdos can likely surmount with its current tools. With that power in mind, however, it’s safe to say Rakdos doesn’t really need this combo to be a threat. 

Having just won Pro Tour March of the Machine in the hands of Nathan Steuer, there’s hardly a question about it. Rakdos Midrange is the best deck in Standard right now. This is thanks to it having no end of answers and tools for almost every situation. With droves of removal, threats like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, and Reckoner Bankbuster providing draw, Rakdos Midrange has it all.

On top of all these powerful MTG cards, Rakdos Midrange has another, not so infinite, but nonetheless devastating combo. This is the all-star pair of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Bloodtithe Harvester. On its own, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is already an excellent card, just as a saga. After all, what’s not to love about generating treasures and having a little rummage? 

Once the saga is all said and done, Reflection of Kiki-Jiki comes out to play, and things get even better. Synergizing with pretty much anything and everything, Reflection of Kiki-Jiki works wonders with Bloodtithe Harvester. Allowing you to generate Blood Tokens with incredible ease, this combo enables both looting card draw and removal. When you have both of these, your victory is practically guaranteed, even without an infinite combo.

One More Year

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse - Invoke Despair

Putting all these powerful cards together, it’s clear to see why Rakdos Midrange has been so oppressively strong. Unfortunately for players who are sick of Rakdos’ domination, however, it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. This is thanks to Wizards of the Coast trying to save Standard

Changing the format to a three-year rather than two-year rotation, Rakdos Midrange will be sticking around for at least another year. That is, of course, unless Wizards decides to do anything about it. To do that, Wizards has a few options at their disposal. The first of these is simply banning the problematic cards in Standard to give the format a shake-up. This may seem like a bad reason to ban cards, however, Wizards has done it before. 

Should that approach not be deemed viable, Wizards could also simply print a whole bunch of new and powerful cards. With enough of these being injected into Standard, more decks could stand up to Rakdos Midrange. That is, in theory, at least, as there’s no guarantee this approach would work. Worse still, even if it does work, this strategy would be a step down the slippery slope of Power Creep. 

At the end of the day, it seems safe to say that something needs to be done about Rakdos Midrange. It does command a 37.3% share of the meta, after all, according to MTGGoldfish. Should this meta dominance persist for another year unchallenged, Standard is going to become an incredibly boring format. So much so that Wizards’ efforts to save the format will potentially be for naught. Subsequently, for the sake of Standard, we certainly hope that something is done sooner rather than later.

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