31, May, 23

New MTG LOTR Card Creates Two-Card Infinite Combo!

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Article at a Glance

Spoilers season for MTG always comes with a lot of hype. Players are excited about new toys they can play with, and ways to refine their favorite archetypes. Sometimes really powerful cards even get people thinking about new and underexplored archetypes. What really excites a lot of players though is when a new combo arises. A new LOTR spoiler achieved just that, and players were very quick to point it out.

How the Combo Works

Scurry Oak has been around on Arena for a while. Many people have brewed with multi-card combos featuring Scurry Oak before. Now Scurry Oak has a new best friend. When Rosie enters the battlefield, you create a Food token. This triggers its Second ability, letting you put a plus-one plus-one counter on a Creature other than Rosie. If you target Scurry Oak, this causes Scurry Oak’s ability to create a one/one Squirrel token. This re-triggers Rosie’s Second ability, and you can continue to target Scurry Oak and create an infinite number of Squirrel tokens this way. This combo is relatively efficient, requiring just two three-mana cards to pull off. That being said, Scurry Oak has been legal in Historic for a while, what sets this combo apart?

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Previous Scurry Oak Combo Decks

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

As stated, infinite combos featuring Scurry Oak are not new to Arena. Previously, the most common variant played Heliod, Sun-Crowned alongside Scurry Oak in a Selesnya life-gain shell. By combining Scurry Oak with Heliod and any creature that gains you life when a creature enters the battlefield (for example, Soul Warden), you could generate infinite Squirrel tokens as well. Once you gain a life, say from Scurry Oak entering the battlefield with a Soul Warden and Heliod in play, Heliod’s ability will trigger to put a plus-one plus-one counter on a Creature, just like Rosie did.

From there, you target Scurry Oak, which Creates a Squirrel. This causes you to gain life from Soul Warden, triggering Heliod again, and so forth. With an arbitrarily large life total, Scurry Oak, and number of Squirrel tokens, winning the game was trivial. The problem was that actually executing the combo was not trivial and relatively easy for the opponent to break up.

These Scurry Oak combos required three cards to be on the battlefield at once to execute. This problem was two-fold. The first problem was that a removal spell from the opponent targeting Soul Warden or Scurry Oak would break the combo up. This made the combo relatively fragile, and required a lot of redundancy in deckbuilding. The second problem was that the Soul Warden-style cards were simply not very powerful on their own. They certainly work well when paired with Heliod, but otherwise are just mopey Creatures unless the modest amount of life-gain was super relevant. As a result, the deck tended to beat up on burn decks, but struggled against attrition-style decks with lots of removal. Bringing Rosie in the mix could help change this though.

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Rosie’s Upside

Collected Company

Rosie helps address multiple issues that the Scurry Oak decks had previously. First, this combo involves only two cards, rather than three. This is a huge deal. Not only does it make it easier to assemble the combo in the first place, but it also improves the quality of Collected Company in the deck a lot. Collected Company is at its strongest when it has a large number of efficient but high potency threats to hit.

Outside of Scurry Oak and Heliod, previous versions didn’t have many good hits. This is because a large chunk of the deck was taken up by cards like Soul Warden which, while good for the combo, were not appealing selections off Company individually. Having access to a two-card combo gives a lot more flexibility in the rest of the slots in the deck, which is well worth it even if infinite life is no longer part of the equation.

At the same time, given that the combo involves two cards that each cost three-mana, it is quite possible to assemble the combo off Company on the opponent’s end step, even from an empty board. This drastically alters how your opponent can play the game, as they need to leave up interaction for the combo at all points or risk losing.

This makes it easier to develop your board with other threats and punish your opponent for playing scared. Some of the extra slots available in the deck’s new iteration can also be used for Protection spells like Snakeskin Veil to push the combo through interaction, as well as Tutors such as Neoform that can help find either piece of the combo. There truly is a lot more room for innovation now that the combo is easier to set up.

Read More: MTG LOTR Spoiler Kickoff Unveils Multiple Incredible EDH Additions!

Extra flex Slots

While Protection spells help your stabilize your combo, another direction the deck could take with the extra slots is to simply play cards that synergize but don’t combo with Rosie or Scurry Oak. An obvious downside to even two-card combo decks is that each combo piece isn’t necessarily an elite threat on its own. What’s nice is that Rosie has a lot of upside even without Scurry Oak in play. Similar to Heliod, Rosie can distribute counters to your other Creatures to make them into bigger threats, so long as they create tokens. Take a card like Rope Line Attendant for instance. This turns all your Creatures into token makers. Rosie can then help grow those token into bigger threats.

Rosie also works exceptionally well with Gilded Goose. Goose helps cast Rosie a turn early. Rosie then makes a Food when it enters, enabling Goose again for next turn. Rosie can also continuously increase Goose’s power and toughness in the late game every time you activate Goose to make a Food, eventually turning Goose into a massive Flying threat on its own. This possibility for continuous token creation and growth can help shore up matchups featuring a lot of single-target removal, and having access to the combo provides the potential for extremely fast kills versus decks with less interaction. The combination of a more reliable combo and a better backup plan makes this deck a much more realistic contender in the Historic format. If you are an avid Arena player, I’d make sure to come prepared.

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