Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Ambitious Mastermind's Monument

I spent days trying to come up with combo deck in Standard. I've been fooling around with Marionette Master in 4c control shell but it wasn't really fun, it was clunky and it wasn't doing exactly what I wanted. After trying Saheeli Rai, Timestream Navigator in Grixis artifact combo I also found out that the cards are more sweet than good. I also came up with a ramp deck with Explore theme, killing with Polyraptor or Walking Ballista in one turn. It was dumb though so I came back to my lovely Vampires. I spent some time playing Esper or Junk tokens in Standard so I decided to do something similar with a neat 4 card combo and a wish that I immediately fell in love when I saw it spoiled. This is a pet deck but it does exactly what I want and it actually fulfills all the conditions from the Reddit's contest that can be found here (most likely you came here from there).

So here's my entry!

Ambition's Monumental Combo
by STsung
4 Dusk Legion Zealot
4 Oathsworn Vampire
4 Yahenni, Undying Partisan
2 Elenda, the Dusk Rose
4 Pitiless Plunderer
18 cards

Other Spells
3 Fatal Push
2 Fumigate
3 Renegade Map
4 Bontu's Monument
3 Legion's Landing
4 Hidden Stockpile
2 Mastermind's Acquisition
21 cards
4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Evolving Wilds
1 Field of Ruin
3 Ifnir Deadlands
2 Plains
2 Shefet Dunes
5 Swamp
21 cards

1 Scavenger Grounds
3 Duress
2 Fragmentize
3 Anointer Priest
3 Cast Out
1 Angel of Sanctions
1 Fumigate
1 Marionette Master
15 cards

The Combo

Seems like RIX is legal with the prerelease League on MODO, so here's a screenshot! Thx Goatbots for buying and selling all the new cards

The combo in the deck is Bontu's Monument, Oathsworm Vampire, Pitiless Plunderer and Yahenni, Undying Partisan.

One can also create Servo tokens or Treasure tokens and wish for Marionette Master for immediate kill (or a turn later kill).


The deck is practically a Bw token deck. The idea is to find Hidden Stockpile and trigger Revolt to get a creature and then scry each turn. To trigger Revolt we have Evolving Wilds or Renegade Map in the deck. When Hidden Stockpile goes live we try to find our combo pieces. We want to play each of our combo pieces while not having multiples (unless we are 100 percent sure we can manage to keep them in play). When we have them in play, we need to play a black creature to trigger the Monument (that's the easiest way to gain life). Then we sacrifice Oathsworn Vampire to Yahenni's ability and then replay it from the graveyard with the Treasure token we got from Pitiless Plunderer in the meantime. All we need to do is repeat until opponent is dead (they usually concede after second life lost).

Ideal start is Legion's Landing, Hidden Stockpile, Yahenni -> sac vampire. Look for the rest of the combo pieces while trying to win the game or stay alive long enough to be able to win.

Card choices

Pitiless Plunderer is an awesome card. Treasure tokens help us do more stuff in one turn (thus you can setup your kill in one turn). They trigger Revolt after all our creatures die. It is a good blocker for little creatures (with RIX this won't be really relevant...but it stops some Vampires). In general the card is good. It does way more for the deck than one would expect. It's not Anointed Procession but I can't say that I'm disappointed with the card.

Oathsworn Vampire is in the deck because it is a combo piece. Otherwise the card is not good. Vampires are capable of gaining life in more ways than just with the Monument so sometimes we manage to replay the card from graveyard without the Monument in play. I can imagine just tutoring for it with, for example, the Vampire Forerunner. It is a two drop still though and it doesn't matter if it dies since you can get it back from the graveyard.

Yahenni, Undying Partisan has Haste which is relevant mostly in flipping Legion's Landing and when trying to kill Chandra, Torch of Defiance for example (a planeswalker on a empty board). A situation like that happens quite often. It can protect itself from removal that deals damage or destroys but not enchantment based removal or Moment of Craving (so if you can, don't play this card when you have no other creatures around).

Bontu's Monument is the last piece of the combo, makes creatures cheaper, and also drains life. I like both abilities, but it's not as strong as Oketra's Monument for example, especially along with Legion Conquistador in the deck. This deck doesn't have any kind of creature like that but it at least can draw some additional cards with Dusk Legion Zealot.

The deck is pretty much built around Hidden Stockpile. It should be in your opener even though it does not need to be since this deck can win in other ways too. It gets better and even way better the more Hidden Stockpiles you have. It allows you to Scry each turn (you will need to trigger Revolt each turn and the best way to do is use the Scry ability). You don't need to worry about killing a 1/1 you will get it back in the form of 1/1 Servo token at the end of turn. If you will have two Hidden Stockpiles in play, you'll get 2 Servo tokens. Hidden Stockpile is also a card that has 'target' written on it. Your opponents will try to deal with this card first most of the time, so often your combo pieces will be left alone (until the player realizes what kind of a deck you actually play).

Mastermind's Acquisition looks for missing piece of the combo or an answer to what is going on in play. It can also fetch a win condition out of the sideboard which is Marionette Master.

Renegate Map is there to trigger Revolt so if you don't have other ways how to trigger it keep the map in play till you end up with Hidden Resources in play. Similarly keep Evolving Wilds if you can because that can do it too. Otherwise the map can be in worst case used as fixing or finding additional land when needed. The deck needs double white for Fumigate and then black sources primarily.

Legion's Landing is an important card if you want to stay alive or win with tokens. You try to actually flip it at the cost of losing creatures. Shouldn't be too difficult with Hidden Stockpile around. Otherwise Yahenni plus 2 earlier creatures does the job.

Elenda, the Dusk Rose is a card that can help you win the game on the spot when the game gets stalled. You just create tokens, sac them, make her big, eventually sac her and swing for lethal. It's more of a sweet plan but it works against certain decks. Against white-based decks I suggest just taking her out. You need to board in Cast Out/Fragmentize.

Dusk Legion Zealot is a two-drop and a good one. It draws a card, attacks to flip Landing, or happily chumps.

As for lands, this deck is slow so Field of Ruin is there mostly for Arch of Orazca or Ifnir Deadlands that kills key cards of this deck. Ifnir Deadlands is something I use rarely but it can make Hazoret smaller (most of the time though I just sac it to Shefet Dunes). Shefet Dunes is much more useful and can be a win con with Servo or Vampire tokens around. Sometimes tutoring this card is not a bad idea. I certainly surprised many players with it even though one would suspect this is relatively common.

This deck needs both spot removal and global removal so there's Fatal Push that does a good job killing anything with cmc 4 and less and Fumigate. There might be need for additional one, if more creature decks arise.

The Sideboard

This deck needs a way to deal with annoying permanents (artifacts, planeswalkers, enchantments). The rest is usually creatures. Those usually die to Fumigate. Some creatures are not a threat and in that case you can just stall long enough to win with Marionette Master or a slow assembly of the 4 card combo.

That's about it. The deck is not perfect and can be tweaked to your liking but the token shell seems to be a good one (at least for me as the pilot) because it gives you enough time to find all the cards. After playing a bit with this I'd actually add more Mastermind's Acquisitions but the card is rather expensive. Pitiless Plunderer though makes usually many Treasure tokens that allow me to play both the wish and Marionette Master in one turn and still have enough Treasures to sacrifice. Note that you can also sacrifice Servos when Yahenni is around or with Hidden Stockpile (requires mana).

When the deck finds itself in a situation it needs to 'race' the best way how to win is via Marionette Master. For example if you are going to be playing against God-Pharaoh's Gift.


Thanks for reading
STsung (stsung on MODO and stsungjp on Twitter)