Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Are you ready to discover the secrets of Magic: The Gathering? Do you want to know what a combo is and how it can help you dominate the game? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the exciting world of combos in Magic: The Gathering and how they can give you an edge on the battlefield. Get ready to learn the tricks of the trade and unleash the power of combos!

Quick Answer:
In Magic: The Gathering, a combo refers to a sequence of spells and abilities that work together to produce a powerful effect. A combo typically involves playing multiple cards in quick succession, using the abilities of one card to activate the abilities of another, and using mana to power the spells. Combos can be used to generate a lot of value in a short amount of time, and can often win games quickly. However, they can also be risky, as they often require precise timing and a deep understanding of the game’s rules and interactions. Overall, combos are a key part of the strategy and complexity of Magic: The Gathering, and can be incredibly fun to pull off successfully.

Understanding the Basics of a Combo

Defining Combo

Combo in Magic: The Gathering refers to a series of card interactions that produce a powerful and often game-winning effect. These interactions are often the result of carefully selected card choices and timing, which take advantage of each card’s unique abilities and synergies. The term “combo” is derived from the word “combination,” which accurately describes the interplay between different cards to create a more powerful effect.

Card synergies play a crucial role in defining combo in Magic: The Gathering. These synergies can take many forms, such as the interaction between a creature and an equipment card, or the combination of a spell and a planeswalker’s ability. Card synergies can be either direct, where the effect of one card directly triggers another, or indirect, where the effect of one card sets up the next card in the chain of events.

Playstyle is also an essential factor in defining combo in Magic: The Gathering. Combo decks are typically focused on achieving a specific goal, such as dealing a large amount of damage or disrupting an opponent’s game plan. These decks often rely on careful sequencing of card plays and timing to maximize the impact of their combo.

Overall, combo in Magic: The Gathering is a unique and exciting aspect of the game that requires strategic planning, timing, and an understanding of card synergies. It offers players the opportunity to create powerful and unexpected combinations of effects, making each game a challenging and unpredictable experience.

How a Combo Works

In Magic: The Gathering, a combo refers to a sequence of actions and effects that lead to a powerful and often game-winning outcome. A combo typically involves chaining multiple abilities together, manipulating the game state, and utilizing resources in a strategic and efficient manner.

To achieve a successful combo, players must carefully consider the timing and order of their actions, as well as the interactions between their cards and their opponent’s cards. Combos often require careful planning and execution, and can be difficult to pull off without proper preparation and knowledge of the game’s mechanics.

One key aspect of a combo is the ability to chain multiple abilities together in a single turn or sequence of turns. This can involve using cards with activated abilities, such as equipment or artifacts, to generate value and set up subsequent plays. For example, a player might use a card like Goblin Chainwhirler to deal damage to an opponent, then use the +1/+1 counter it provides to activate another ability on a separate card.

Another important aspect of a combo is the ability to manipulate the game state in order to gain an advantage. This can involve using cards with powerful effects, such as removal spells or board wipes, to clear the way for a subsequent attack or play. It can also involve using cards that alter the game state, such as card draw or card filtering effects, to set up future draws or plays.

Finally, a successful combo often requires the efficient use of resources, such as mana or life points. Players must carefully manage their resources and prioritize their actions in order to set up the optimal sequence of plays. This can involve using cards that generate additional mana, such as Sol Ring or Black Lotus, to fuel powerful spells or abilities. It can also involve using cards that protect or gain life points, such as Eternal Witness or Growing Rites of Itlimoc, to stay in the game and set up subsequent plays.

Overall, a successful combo in Magic: The Gathering requires careful planning, execution, and resource management. By chaining multiple abilities, manipulating the game state, and utilizing resources in a strategic and efficient manner, players can set up powerful and often game-winning combinations that can help them emerge victorious in even the most challenging matches.

Types of Combos

Key takeaway: Combo in Magic: The Gathering is a powerful and often game-winning effect that involves chaining multiple abilities together, manipulating the game state, and utilizing resources in a strategic and efficient manner. There are different types of combos, including mana base combos, card combos, and spell combos. Playing combos can be advantageous because it offers flexibility, surprise factor, and board control. However, playing combos can also be disadvantageous due to predictability, dependency on specific cards, and the greater risk of flooding. To build and execute combos successfully, players need to identify synergies, plan and execute combos, and manage their resources carefully.

Mana Base Combos

In Magic: The Gathering, mana base combos refer to strategies that involve manipulating the mana cost of spells to create powerful and efficient combinations. These combos typically revolve around land drops, mana fixing, and cost reduction.

  • Land drops: Land drops are a crucial aspect of mana base combos. They involve playing lands that produce specific types of mana, such as basic lands or dual lands, which can generate two colors of mana. By carefully selecting and sequencing land drops, players can generate the exact combination of mana needed to cast powerful spells at a low cost.
  • Mana fixing: Mana fixing refers to spells or abilities that help a player produce the necessary mana to cast spells. This can include cards like Sol Ring, Lightning Greaves, or Cryptolith Rite, which provide a steady stream of mana. Players can combine these cards with lands that produce mana to ensure they have the correct colors and amounts of mana needed for their combos.
  • Cost reduction: Cost reduction refers to spells or abilities that reduce the mana cost of spells. These cards can make powerful spells more accessible and affordable, allowing players to cast them earlier in the game or more frequently. Examples of cost reduction cards include Pact of Negation, Goblin Electromancer, and Aura of Silence. By combining these cards with mana fixing effects, players can create powerful and efficient mana base combos.

In summary, mana base combos in Magic: The Gathering involve using lands, mana fixing effects, and cost reduction cards to create efficient and powerful combinations. These combos are often central to aggressive strategies and can provide a significant advantage in games.

Card Combos

In Magic: The Gathering, card combos refer to interactions between cards that create value and build a board state. These interactions can occur between cards in a player’s hand, on the battlefield, or in their graveyard. By combining the effects of different cards, players can create powerful and unique strategies that can give them an advantage over their opponents.

Some examples of card combos include:

  • Mana base optimization: Players can combine cards that produce mana of different colors to create a consistent and powerful mana base. For example, a player might combine a Forest and an Island to produce two green mana, and then use a card like Llanowar Elves to tap for one additional green mana. This allows the player to cast multiple powerful green spells in a single turn.
  • Card draw and card advantage: Players can combine cards that provide card draw and card advantage to generate a constant stream of new cards and gain an advantage over their opponents. For example, a player might use a card like Demonic Tutor to draw a specific card from their deck, and then use a card like Ashnod’s Altar to repeatedly draw extra cards each turn.
  • Board control and removal: Players can combine cards that provide board control and removal to control the battlefield and eliminate their opponent’s threats. For example, a player might use a card like Swords to Plowshares to deal with an opponent’s creature, and then use a card like Abrupt Decay to deal with other permanents on the battlefield.

Overall, card combos are a key aspect of Magic: The Gathering strategy, and players must carefully consider how to combine their cards to create the most powerful and effective deck.

Spell Combos

Spell combos are a type of combo in Magic: The Gathering that involve sequencing spells to create powerful effects. These combos typically require precise timing and order to execute successfully.

Sequencing spells

Sequencing spells involves playing a series of spells in a specific order to create a powerful effect. For example, playing a spell that draws cards, followed by a spell that destroys all of an opponent’s creatures, and then a spell that puts creatures from the player’s hand onto the battlefield. By playing these spells in the right order, the player can create a devastating combination that can quickly win the game.

Timewalking

Timewalking is a popular combo in Magic: The Gathering that involves using time travel shenanigans to create powerful effects. Timewalking cards allow players to play spells from their hand at a specific time, such as an opponent’s turn or their own turn. By combining timewalking cards with other spells, players can create powerful combos that can win games in unexpected ways.

Bounce and recur

Bounce and recur combos involve using spells that can bounce or recur creatures from the battlefield back to the player’s hand. For example, a player might play a spell that bounces an opponent’s creature back to their hand, and then follow up with a spell that puts that creature back onto the battlefield under the player’s control. By repeating this process multiple times, the player can create a powerful army of creatures that can quickly overwhelm their opponent.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Playing Combos

Advantages

  • Flexibility: One of the main advantages of playing combos in Magic: The Gathering is the flexibility it offers. With a well-executed combo, a player can switch up their strategy on the fly, responding to their opponent’s moves and taking advantage of any openings that present themselves. This adaptability can be key to winning games, especially against opponents who may be difficult to read.
  • Surprise factor: Another advantage of playing combos is the element of surprise they can provide. Many combos rely on a series of precise moves and interactions between different cards, which can catch an opponent off guard. This can be especially effective in games where an opponent is overconfident or not paying close attention to the board.
  • Board control: In addition to the surprise factor, combos can also be highly effective at controlling the board. By using a combination of cards to eliminate threats and gain card advantage, players can set the pace of the game and force their opponents to react to their moves rather than the other way around. This can be especially useful in games where a player is behind in resources or needs to protect their own board.

Disadvantages

Playing combos in Magic: The Gathering can be disadvantageous due to several factors. These include predictability, dependency on specific cards, and the greater risk of flooding.

Predictability
Combos are often predictable, which can make them less effective against experienced opponents. Skilled players can anticipate the combo and take steps to disrupt it, such as playing counterspells or disrupting the player’s mana base. This predictability can make combo decks less viable in certain formats or against skilled opponents.

Dependency on specific cards
Combos often rely on specific cards to function properly. If a player is unable to find the necessary cards, the combo will not work, and the player will be left without a viable game plan. This dependency on specific cards can make combo decks less resilient to disruption and more vulnerable to deck-building mistakes.

Greater risk of flooding
Combos often require a large number of specific cards to be in play to function properly. This can lead to a greater risk of flooding, where a player has too many cards in their hand and is unable to play them effectively. Flooding can be detrimental to a player’s game plan, as it can limit their ability to play their cards and disrupt the combo. This risk of flooding can make combo decks less consistent and more susceptible to game loss.

Strategies for Building and Executing Combos

Identifying synergies

When it comes to building and executing combos in Magic: The Gathering, identifying synergies is a crucial step. This involves evaluating the interactions between different cards in your deck, analyzing your mana base, and assessing the available resources at your disposal. Here are some specific strategies for identifying synergies in your combo deck:

  • Evaluating card interactions: The first step in identifying synergies is to evaluate the interactions between the cards in your deck. This involves looking at how different cards work together to create a powerful combo. For example, you might have a card that creates a large army of creatures, and another card that allows those creatures to attack for double the damage. By combining these two cards, you can create a devastating combo that can win you the game.
  • Analyzing mana base: Another important aspect of identifying synergies is analyzing your mana base. This involves looking at the mana costs of your cards and making sure that you have enough mana to cast them. You may need to include land cards that produce specific types of mana, or you may need to include cards that help you ramp up your mana production.
  • Assessing available resources: Finally, you need to assess the available resources at your disposal. This includes not only your cards, but also your opponent’s cards and the state of the game. For example, if you have a card that requires your opponent to have a certain number of creatures on the battlefield, you need to make sure that your opponent has enough creatures to make the combo work. Similarly, if you have a card that requires you to control a certain number of permanents, you need to make sure that you have enough permanents on the battlefield to make the combo work.

By following these strategies, you can identify the synergies in your combo deck and build a powerful combo that can help you win the game.

Planning and executing combos

  • Timing and sequencing

One of the most crucial aspects of executing a combo in Magic: The Gathering is timing. It is essential to understand when to play your cards and when to wait for the right moment to strike. This requires careful planning and consideration of the board state, your opponent’s hand, and your own mana curve.

  • Mana management

Mana management is another critical aspect of executing a combo. It is important to ensure that you have enough mana to play your combo cards while also defending against your opponent’s threats. This may involve playing mana-efficient spells or using cards that generate mana to fuel your combo.

  • Card advantage

Finally, card advantage is key to executing a successful combo. This means having more cards in your hand and on the battlefield than your opponent, which allows you to play your combo cards without fear of being disrupted. Card advantage can be achieved through various means, such as drawing cards with effects like Brainstorm or playing cards that generate card advantage, like Growing Rites of Itlimoc.

Overall, executing a combo in Magic: The Gathering requires careful planning, timing, and execution. It is important to consider all aspects of the game, including board state, mana management, and card advantage, to successfully pull off a combo and emerge victorious.

Popular Combos in Magic: The Gathering

Commander

When it comes to Commander, a popular format in Magic: The Gathering, combos are an essential part of the game. In this format, players build decks around legendary creatures called commanders, and the goal is to bring them onto the battlefield and use their abilities to win the game.

One of the most popular combos in Commander is the Edgar Markov and Vampire Nocturner combo. Edgar Markov is a legendary creature that can become a powerful Vampire, while Vampire Nocturner is an enchantment that can transform other creatures into Vampires. When these two cards are combined, players can create an army of powerful Vampires that can quickly overwhelm their opponents.

Another popular combo in Commander is Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Patriarch’s Bidding. Emrakul is a powerful creature that can generate a lot of value, while Patriarch’s Bidding is an enchantment that can make players pay life for certain effects. When these two cards are combined, players can create a powerful board presence and force their opponents to pay a heavy price for playing certain cards.

Finally, General Tarn and Ashnod’s Altar is another popular combo in Commander. General Tarn is a legendary creature that can recur other creatures from the graveyard, while Ashnod’s Altar is an artifact that can help players dig deeper into their deck and find the right cards. When these two cards are combined, players can create a powerful recursion effect that can keep their board presence intact and generate even more value.

Modern

When it comes to modern combo decks in Magic: The Gathering, there are a few popular choices that have proven to be highly effective in competitive play. Here are a few examples:

Death’s Shadow and Fatal Push

One of the most popular combo decks in modern is the Death’s Shadow and Fatal Push deck. This deck revolves around using the Death’s Shadow creature card to generate a ton of value by repeatedly putting it onto the battlefield and then bouncing it back to your hand with the Fatal Push spell. The idea is to use the Death’s Shadow to quickly generate a massive board presence and then use Fatal Push to keep it in play while also disrupting your opponent’s game plan.

Gitaxian Probe and Thoughtseize

Another popular combo deck in modern is the Gitaxian Probe and Thoughtseize deck. This deck relies on using the Gitaxian Probe card to draw a ton of cards and then using the Thoughtseize spell to disrupt your opponent’s game plan. The idea is to use Gitaxian Probe to draw a ton of cards and then use Thoughtseize to disrupt your opponent’s hand and/or graveyard, giving you a significant advantage in the game.

Snapcaster Mage and Opt

Finally, the Snapcaster Mage and Opt combo deck is another popular choice in modern. This deck relies on using the Snapcaster Mage creature card to generate a ton of value by repeatedly recurring it to your hand and then using the Opt card to draw a ton of cards. The idea is to use Snapcaster Mage to create a ton of threats on the battlefield while also drawing a ton of cards with Opt, giving you a significant advantage in the game.

Standard

  • Flickerwisp and Luminarch Ascension: Flickerwisp is a creature that has the ability to make a creature with an alternative cost, like Luminarch Ascension, cheaper to play. By playing Flickerwisp, the player can reduce the cost of Luminarch Ascension, allowing them to play it on their next turn. This combo is often used to create a powerful, cost-efficient creature on the battlefield.
  • Glissa, Herald of Predation and Incubator Token: Glissa, Herald of Predation is a creature that has the ability to make tokens when it dies. When combined with the Incubator token, which has the ability to give creatures +1/+1 when it enters the battlefield, this combo can generate a large number of powerful tokens that can quickly overwhelm an opponent.
  • Kari Zev, Sky Nomad and Parallel Lives: Kari Zev, Sky Nomad is a creature that has the ability to draw a card when it enters the battlefield. When combined with Parallel Lives, which has the ability to create a copy of a creature, this combo can generate multiple copies of the same creature, leading to a large number of card draws and a swarm of creatures on the battlefield.

Legacy

In the Legacy format of Magic: The Gathering, some combos have proven to be particularly powerful and popular among players. These combos often involve using multiple cards together to create a powerful effect that can win games quickly. Here are a few examples of popular combos in Legacy:

Brain Freeze and Underrealm Lich

Brain Freeze is an enchantment that can be attached to a creature, causing it to gain the ability to create two colorless Treasure tokens whenever it deals combat damage to a player. Underrealm Lich is a creature that can tap to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature or planeswalker. When these two cards are combined, the creature can potentially create a large number of Treasure tokens, which can be used to pay for powerful spells or artifacts.

Black Vise and Leyline of Sanctity

Black Vise is an artifact that can tap to prevent a creature from untapping during its controller’s untap phase. Leyline of Sanctity is an enchantment that can prevent all players from playing certain types of cards, such as spells or creatures. When these two cards are combined, the Black Vise can be used to prevent opposing creatures from untapping and attacking, while the Leyline of Sanctity can be used to prevent opposing players from playing any spells or creatures at all. This can create a powerful board stall that can buy the player time to set up other aspects of their game plan.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Sudden Spoiling

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is a powerful creature that can become even more dangerous when combined with the right cards. Sudden Spoiling is an enchantment that can destroy any nonland permanent that was tapped to activate its ability during the turn it was cast. When Emrakul is combined with Sudden Spoiling, the creature can be used to create a large number of Eldrazi tokens, which can be used to overwhelm an opponent’s board. However, if an opponent is able to cast a spell that targets Eldrazi tokens, Sudden Spoiling can be used to destroy the tokens and prevent them from being created in the first place. This can create a powerful game-winning combo when combined with other cards that can create large numbers of tokens.

FAQs

1. What is a combo in Magic: The Gathering?

A combo in Magic: The Gathering refers to a sequence of actions and card plays that result in a powerful and often game-winning effect. A combo typically involves using multiple cards together in a specific order to create an advantageous situation for the player.

2. How does a combo work in Magic: The Gathering?

A combo typically involves using a combination of cards and actions to create a powerful effect. For example, a combo might involve using a creature card to tap down an opponent’s creature, followed by a spell that deals damage to the opponent. Alternatively, a combo might involve using a series of enchantment and artifact cards to generate an unbeatable board state. The specifics of how a combo works will depend on the individual cards and actions involved.

3. What are some examples of combos in Magic: The Gathering?

There are many different combos in Magic: The Gathering, ranging from simple and straightforward to complex and intricate. Some examples of combos include the classic “Tinker + Steel Shaper” combo, which involves using the Steel Shaper artifact to copy the abilities of the Tinker creature, and the “Borg + Darksteel Citadel” combo, which involves using the Borg ability to steal an opponent’s card and then using the Darksteel Citadel artifact to create an unbeatable board state. Other examples include the “Torrent + Brainstorm” combo, which involves using the Torrent enchantment to draw a large number of cards and then using the Brainstorm spell to filter and refine the deck, and the “Mindslaver + Sylvan Library” combo, which involves using the Mindslaver artifact to take control of an opponent’s creature and then using the Sylvan Library enchantment to draw a large number of cards.

4. Are combos in Magic: The Gathering competitively viable?

Combos can be powerful and effective in the right circumstances, but they are generally considered to be more situational and less consistent than other types of strategies. As a result, combos are not typically considered to be competitively viable on their own, but rather as part of a larger strategy or toolbox of options. That being said, there are certainly some successful combo-based decks in the competitive scene, and a well-executed combo can often be the difference between victory and defeat.

Amazing MTG Combos Every Player Should Know!

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