Phyrexia: All Will Be One and March of the Machine seem to be setting a new standard for the power level of upcoming core sets. The cards previewed have been seriously impressive, threatening to warp multiple metagames at their slightest whim. The new Elesh Norn card is an entire army that seems capable of doing everything under the sun. However, there’s more than just one card in the set and a lot of goofy stuff you can pull off, even in Limited! One wacky combo can obliterate your opponent for 20 damage in one fell swoop! Both of the cards are new Rares in March of the Machine as well!
A Backup Plan
Voldaren Thrillseeker is an exciting application of the new Backup mechanic in March of the Machine. Her name really fits her function since Voldaren Thrillseeker will attempt to convince whoever she’s backing up to go on a suicide mission.
Unlike most Backup cards, Voldaren Thrillseeker has Backup 2, meaning she places two +1/+1 counters on a target creature. This can buff up the Thrillseeker to a 3/3 in an emergency that can repurpose itself as a Lightning Bolt if someone tries to remove it. However, that is generally not how Backup cards are most efficiently used. Alongside granting counters to a target creature, Voldaren Thrillseeker’s unique flavor of Backup can also temporarily grant a different target creature the Fling-inspired ability of Voldaren Thrillseeker.
There are two pretty obvious ways to use this. The first combines Voldaren Thrillseeker with cards with Act of Treason effects. Taking control of an opponent’s creature, attacking with it, and finally using the Thrillseeker’s Backup ability to throw it at something is an incredibly deadly combo. The only issue is that, with the exception of Claim the Firstborn, this combo will generally cost a ton of mana.
The other obvious way to use this ability is to stick it on a gigantic creature. Fortunately, March of the Machine has the most ridiculously overstatted creature we’ve seen in quite some time.
Yargle Flies into the Sun
Yargle and Multani might have had the best card reveal in history. Multiple game designers read the flavor text on the bizarre Legendary Creature tag-team and got a huge reaction from a live audience at Magic Con Philadelphia.
While we’ve known about Yargle and Multani for some time now, many people may have already written them off as a novelty. This six-mana 18/6 has no abilities. While it’s a fantastic demonstration of power creep over the years, Yargle and Multani may not have any actual uses in competitive play. After all, this is a six mana overstatted creature that easily dies to Go For the Throat. Fortunately, Voldaren Thrillseeker can turn this card into a four-mana 20-damage Fireball.
If you want to play all the cards involved in just one turn, you will need ten mana, which is a steep cost. Fortunately, you can cast Yargle and Multani the turn before you cast Voldaren Thrillseeker, and as long as you manage to untap with the behemoth, the combo should work!
Because Voldaren Thrillseeker has Backup 2, the two +1/+1 counters can buff Yargle and Multani up to an even 20 power. Additionally, Yargle and Multani will temporarily gain the ability to sacrifice itself to deal damage equal to their power to any target. All that’s left is to pay one and sacrifice the Yargle to hit your opponent for 20 damage, which is usually enough to win a 1v1 constructed game of Magic.
Will This Combo Become a Problem?
Absolutely not. Sure, you may lose a few games to this wonky combination in the March of the Machine Limited format, but both of these cards are Rares, meaning that this may never come up in your experience of it.
Aside from that, this combo is incredibly easy to disrupt. Voldaren Thrillseeker’s Backup ability triggers when the card enters the battlefield, granting opponents an opportunity to cast instant speed removal in response to the Backup ability’s target. This means that you can essentially two-for-one the combo player, killing both Yargle and Multani and blanking Voldaren Thrillseeker’s Backup ability. Without Backup, the Thrillseeker is just a 1/1 that can throw a point of damage somewhere, which is incredibly underwhelming for three mana. Of course, the combo player can run cards like Tyvar’s Stand to prevent this, but the combo still requires casting a six-mana creature.
This combo, likely, won’t be winning games quickly, either. Too much mana is needed for this combo to a serious issue outside of Standard and Limited formats. If players can reliably find a way to cheat in Yargle and Multani, or find a cheaper way to represent 20 power, this combo could potentially do a lot more damage.
Honestly, the scariest place this combo may appear is at your Prerelease weekend. With six packs to open and seven or more Rare slots per pool, this may be easier to open than you think. Finding a window to make this work is also much easier in the, traditionally, slow and underpowered format, making this combo a lot easier to pull off. Should a Yargle and Multani appear on your opponent’s battlefield, consider checking for red mana in their lands. If they have it, playing around the possibility of Yargle and Multani flinging themselves at your life total may prevent a surprise win out of nowhere. If you’re more concerned about new two-card combos that are affecting constructed play, there is another combo that looks incredibly scary.