Monday 28 July 2014


Historically Aluren was one of the combo decks that did not translate very well into the cube format. Having only one of so many of the various cards you want to have most of the time made it inconsistent and unreliable. As such I have not played around with it for ages, it was infact just using Cavern Harpy in a tempo based tricksy BUG deck that made me think that Aluren could be a real powerhouse in the current meta. A lot of the cards you previously needed to make the combo work have been replaced by much more powerful stand alone cards and as such you can have a deck that can just win even if it utterly fails to combo off. I didn't do any looking into the most suitable cards and just threw a list together out of what seemed sensible, I went as middle of the road as I could so as to gauge whether I wanted to be more combo focused in future or more powerful stand alone cards.

Cavern HarpyThe basic premise of the Aluren combo for those of you too new to the game to remember these silly old school extended combo decks I shall briefly outline the idea. Find and make the Aluren such that you can then make all your dorks for zero mana and at instant speed. Then find a Cavern Harpy which you can use to return a blue or black creature to your hand and thus allow you to abuse the comes into play effect over and over. This will cost one life per go so you need to find an Essence Warden so you can gain infinite life (if you bounce the Cavern Harpy with itself you don't need to pay a life each time) should you not be able to get a kill off with the life you are on.

Here is my list:

25 Spells

Essence Warden
Vampiric Tutor

Bird of Paradise
Noble Hierarch
Elves of Deep Shadow
Essence Warden

Baleful Strix
Coiling Oracle
Mesmeric Fiend
Cavern Harpy

Demonic Tutor
Geralf's MessengerSurvival of the Fittest
Spellstutter Sprite

Quirion Dryad?

Geralf's Messenger
Reclaimation Sage
Shardless Agent
Eternal Witness

Vendilion Clique


15 Lands
Shardless Agent
3x Sac lands
3x Shock lands
3x Dual lands

Llanowar Wastes
Yavimaya Coast
City of Brass
Mana Confluence
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Other Potential Cards

Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
Force of Will
Sea Gate Oracle
Inquisition of Kozilek
Maggot Carrier
Soul Warden

QuicklingWhile the deck still relies on the use of Cavern Harpy and Aluren to go off there are now so many more options for the various other things you want to do with the deck that it filled out very quickly. I was most vulnerable to Path and Plow as they could take out the Messenger's or the Essence Warden and completely close those avenues off to me. I threw in a Quirion Dryad as a backup win condition but it was awful, I would have been much better off running redundancy in my infinite life gain and life loss tactics. I had intended to use clever disruption effects in the form of Quickling and Spellskite to protect my dorks and these were good but made life difficult knowing I had to set things up just so to remain protected. Just having redundancy would have allowed for more reckless "safe" play which means you can go for the win much sooner. There must be better options that Soul Warden and Maggot Carrier as the back up. There might even be something out there than can operate as a makeshift Cavern Harpy that I forgot about. Suggestions on a postcard, er, comments section.

Coiling Oracle
Shardless Agent is a great addition as it means you can tap out to make an Aluren and still cast everything in your deck, with Brainstorm you can even cast two things from your hand. Strix and Coiling Oracle are just better cards than Raven Familiar and so although they are not quite as good for digging they do greatly increase the power and consistency of the deck. A full Tutor package of Demonic, Vampiric and Survival seems essential in a deck that not only needs two specific cards to go off but then also wants to find other bits and bobs to finish the job once going off. The rest of the deck was just glue like the ramp dorks and Ponder effects and some synergic disruption. I actually had Deathrite in the list I played over the Boneshredder but that was a massive oversight. Deathrite was just a weak mana elf and I was really struggling with a few cards like the humble Soldier of the Pantheon!

With midrange decks being all the rage this kind of thing is a real beating in cube. It is not even that onerous of a deck to include within a cube design as most of the cards are cube worthy alone or perform interesting other roles. As combos go it is not the best but it has the huge advantage of just having loads of reasonable dorks which can get the job done. It is also great fun and rather different even if it can't beat a Hushwing Gryff...

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