Sunday, 15 May 2016

Zubera Combo

Floating-Dream ZuberaIf silly combo decks is your thing then look no further for here we have a true gem! Power level wise this is comparable, if not slightly better than the Jeskai Ascendancy combo deck. Quite consistent, fairly quick but very easily disrupted and dependent on a single card with no redundancy or backups. Zuberas are easier to draft than Ascendancy as fewer of your cards are contested, you can grab the few top power cards as your first few picks and then just hoover up the dribble that makes up the rest of this list. Another reason this deck overall trumps the Ascendancy combo deck is that the mana base is far more flexible and forgiving. Being better than a rarely played combo deck isn't a great accolade however Zubera combo is viable and very very fun.

The deck is somewhere between a storm deck and a reanimate deck. You start to go off and hopefully you don't stop until your opponent is dead. Like storm decks it trades some speed for being robust. The longer you wait the better chance you have of getting some form of lethal when you go off. The combo is repeatedly creating and then sacrificing Zubera cards for ever increasing value. The blue one lets you find the things you need to carry on going off and the green one gives you a plentiful supply of the mana you need in combination with Phyrexian Alter (which is also your sacrifice outlet). Black and white Zuberas are the less relevant ones you use simply to raise your "Zubera storm count". They can stop you dying to burn or remove your opponents answer cards but most of the time once you start sacrificing relevant numbers of Zuberas then that won't be relevant anymore. The Red Zubera is your kill card but doesn't do that much to help you go off beyond the white and black ones.

Phyrexian AltarYou have tutors to find your Phyrexian Altar and Gifts/Intuition to fetch up the necessary Zubera's. You need a decent number of ramp dorks to do these things in a reasonable time frame but also to help fix for your five colour deck! The deck has a smattering of utility much like most streamlined combo decks. Some sort of get things back from the bin effect, some sort of deal with a permanent effect, cheap card quality, etc. There is a reasonable amount of wiggle room in this list to tailor it to a meta or simply use some other cards of choice.

Dripping-Tongue Zubera
25 Spells

Birds of Paradise
Vampiric Tutor

Arbor Elf / Deathrite (based on what your mana base looks like)
Elves of Deep Shadow
Noble Hierarch


Ashen-Skin Zubera
Dripping-Tongue Zubera
Life // DeathEmber-First Zubera
Floating-Dream Zubera

Silent -Chant Zubera
Life / Death
Amoeboid Changeling
Animate Dead

Demonic Tutor

Eternal Witness
Phyrexian Altar
Recurring Nightmare
Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven

Patriarch's Bidding
Primeval Command

15 Lands

Other cards of interest:

Cyclonic Rift
Deep Analysis
Noxious Revival
Brainstorm etc
Living Death

Recurring NightmareThe deck has five Reanimate effects which is a little light in some regards. The extended version of the deck would simply draw and cast most of its Zubera having four each of green and blue however this version is somewhat forced into heavier reanimation. The saving grace is Recurring Nightmare, while pretty horrible when your dead Zubera count is low it becomes an infinite combo (with just the green Zubera) at three or more. As such this list will find it very hard to win without the Recurring Nightmare but it can very easily start going off without it. Just having it in the deck adds a lot of security and even some late game potential!

Mana creatures are the best kinds of ramp, they are cheaper than artifacts that give you coloured mana and can also be dumped into the Phyrexian Alter for that extra bit of burst for going off with. They also allow you to use Amoeboid Changeling which is a quirky little critter. It is purely a way to ramp your "dead Zubera storm" so that you can go off more powerfully with less. Allowing it and a mana elf to count as dead Zubera puts a lot less stress on you having multiple zubera cards already. This in turn makes you able to go off prior to casting Intuition or Gifts Ungiven more often. Those being expensive cards in both mana and tempo means this is a good thing!

Amoeboid ChangelingLife / Death is another quirky card that has some lovely utility in this list. Not only is it actually one of the better Reanimate effects on offer but the Life portion has some real application too. Often you will just need that extra burst of mana to be able to go off in time and as such it can be well worth turning all your lands into dorks so that you can feed them to the Altar after tapping them for mana thus doubling up.

Primal Command is rather a catch all but it is expensive as all hell and might be better off as a couple of cheaper cards instead. It finds a Zubera you need or an Eternal Witness thus being the worlds most expensive Tutor / Regrowth split card! It also can recur your spent stuff if you happen to somehow have lost the Phyrexian Altar and the Witness. Seven life is a thing but shouldn't often come up, you have a white Zubera for that! The last required role the Command fills is being able to remove a permanent such as a Solitary Confinement you otherwise couldn't win through.

Eternal WitnessEternal Witness seems better than Regrowth in the list. When you have an Altar they basically cost the same and the Witness has synergy with the recursion and the Command. Initially I wanted both Witness and Regrowth so that Gifts and Intuition more reliably found Phyrexian Altar if needed. The thing is that this is pretty slow and therefore not often viable and additionally not required! You can just find the thing(s) you want, Witness and Unearth and you will be able to get it done.

I haven't overly experimented with this list, there feels like there must be a good way to offer some kind of redundancy to the Phyrexian Alter. If such a thing could be found the deck would be wildly more powerful. I have certainly looked for a good solution but come up short. The best I can offer is Earthcraft and some generic free sacrifice outlet such as a Carrion Feeder. This would allow you to do the same things but the problem is that you need a basic land of the appropriate type for each colour you want to cast stuff from. This could just be black but likely it is also blue and green. Lots of basic lands in the five colour deck is an awkward place to be. Suggestions on a postcard, er, comments section. We can do Cryptolith Rite, Anger in the graveyard plus a sac effect which is probably easier to do than the Earthcraft route but suddenly makes you want to play discard outlets instead of basic lands.

If you want to draw loads of cards, make loads of stuff, have loads of mana and dorks and just have those ongoing turns without resorting to more calssic and tedious storm variations then Zubera's might just be the thing for you. If you are all about the winning I cannot recommend this deck for you but if you are all about the class and style then this could well be of interest!

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