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5 of the Easiest Infinite Combos to Pull Off in MTG Commander/EDH

“Dramatic Sceptre”. ”Basalt Rings”. “Heliod Ballista”.

These are terms competitive EDH players throw around like tissue paper, but to many budding EDH players, it all sounds like muddled gobbledygook. But rest assured, these are the pinnacle of a Magic player’s experience in Commander, especially for the Johnnies and Spikes among our ranks.

If you’re looking for the premiere way to wrap up an EDH game, then this is the place for you! We will be focusing on 5 of the most powerful and explosive infinite combos in Commander, their playstyles and how you can go about inserting them into your decks.

For ease of explanation, I’m defining an “Infinite Combo” as:

  1. A series/combination of cards that →
  2. Is capable of generating an infinite amount of a resource (infinite card draw, infinite mana, infinite damage etc)

That means common combos like Demonic Consultation and Thassa’s Oracle won’t be considered in our list, since it only aids in winning the game (Demonic Consultation empties your entire library, and Thassa’s Oracle has the “win the game” clause when your library is empty) without generating a countably infinite amount of any resource.

A fair word of warning though: Not every playgroup is comfortable with infinite combos in their EDH decks, so always remember to do a “Rule Zero” with your playgroup to establish what power level you’ll be playing at, so everyone has a good time!

With all the foreword over, let’s jump into our first infinite combo!

Infinite Combo 1: Heliod, Sun Crowned and Walking Ballista

Resulting State:

Infinite life gain, Infinite damage.

How the Infinite Combo Plays Out:

Heliod. Sun Crowned on the battlefield, Walking Ballista in hand, 5W available.

Steps:

  1. Play Walking Ballista, paying X=2 (1W remaining)
  2. Target Walking Ballista using Heliod’s activated ability, giving it lifelink until the end of the turn. 
  3. Remove a +1/+1 counter from the Ballista, targeting any legal target.
  4. When the Ballista deals damage to the target, you gain 1 life, causing Heliod’s to put a +1/+1 counter on another creature you own.
  5. Target the Ballista, replenishing the +1/+1 counter that was removed
  6. Repeat ad infinitum.

This combo is the centrepiece of the Heliod cEDH decklist, being a very easy combo to tutor up given the abundance of artifact and enchantment tutors in white, notable cards like Enlightened Tutor, Scrapyard Recombiner and Recruiter of the Guard can easily tutor up your Ballista from your deck. 

In addition, Heliod himself remains an indestructible enchantment as long as your devotion to white is less than 5, allowing him to dodge removal like Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshares when your combo is online. The combo itself also works around Rule of Law effects, which can help protect the combo against instant speed removal from your opponents.

The difficulty in piloting this combo is finding when to trigger the combo, since the Ballista can be easily countered, or removed when your remove a +1/+1 counter to deal damage. In the latter case, it is recommended to save up 4 generic mana to add a +1/+1 counter onto the Ballista in response to the removal spell to continue the combo line.

In addition, cards like Null Rod, Collector Ouphe and Cursed Totem prevent activations of creature abilities, which can stop the combo completely. You will need to plan and pack in sufficient artifact removal and creature removal to ensure that the combo does not get hindered before you cast Walking Ballista.

In conclusion, this combo is very consistent to pull off, since it only requires two cards, one of which can stick to the battlefield relatively easily and need not be cast on the same turn as the other. This combo is suitable for decks that run lots of enchantments and ways to tutor them up, or for life-gain decks looking to make Heliod that much more powerful within their builds. 

Infinite Combo 2: Koll, the Forgemaster + Skullclamp + Auriok Steelshaper + Any 0-Mana Creature with 1 Toughness (e.g Kobolds of Kher Keep)

Resulting State:

Infinite Card Draw

How the Infinite Combo Plays Out:

Koll the Forgemaster, Auriok Steelshaper and Skullclamp on the battlefield, one 0-Mana Creature in hand. 

Steps:

  1. Play the 0 mana creature. 
  2. Attach Skullclamp to the 0 mana creature.
  3. Skullclamp kills the creature due to state-based effects (its toughness is 0), causing you to draw 2 cards
  4. Koll’s ability will trigger, returning the 0 mana creature to your hand
  5. Repeat ad infinitum

This combo is central to the Koll cEDH deck list, as it is very easy to pull off, and requires very little mana to do so. If played optimally, this combo can be done with only 5 mana, allowing the player to effectively tutor through their deck to find the winning pieces they need. 

In addition, many of the pieces of the combo can be easily switched in and out, making it a very versatile combo that can be achieved in a multitude of ways. Auriok Steelshaper can be replaced with either Runaway Steam Kin, Birgi, God of Storytelling or Puresteel Paladin (with Metalcraft active).

The final piece of this puzzle is a creature that gets sacrificed to Skullclamp’s effect. However, not all 0-Mana creatures fit the bill, and other creatures can work too! The guide mentions NNCs (Net Neutral Creatures). Myr Moonvessel, Priest of Urabrask, Kyren Legate and Impulsive Pilferer can all be used to complete the combo.

The main issue with this combo is that it does help achieve a sizably large amount of card draw, but bottoms out once you’ve hit the end of your deck. If you have no way to capitalise on the massive influx of card draws, you may end up discarding your entire hand for nought. Simultaneously, this combo situates itself in the Boros (red-white) colour identity, which creates issues because Boros is naturally pretty bad at protecting its own creatures from removal spells

As such, this combo is suited for decks that already have a strong equipment subtheme, but are looking for a simple way to draw out their entire deck to find win conditions. 

Speaking of Birgi by the way…

Infinite Combo 3: Birgi God of Storytelling + Grinning Ignus + Grapeshot

Resulting State:

Infinite Storm count, Infinite damage

How the Infinite Combo Plays Out:

Birgi, God of Storytelling on the battlefield, with Grinning Ignus and Grapeshot in hand, and 3R Mana available.

Steps: 

  1. Play Grinning Ignus for 2R, Birgi generates R from having a spell cast. (1R available)
  2. Use the R generated from Birgi to activate Grinning Ignus’s ability, returning it to your hand and generating another 2R. (3R available)
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 infinitely to generate infinite storm count.
  4. The last step is to use the 1R to cast Grapeshot and kill your opponents.

Ah, a simple infinite storm combo. An iconic combo utilised in plenty of red-inclusive Storm or spellslinger lists. This combo is unique to Birgi in that she is the only card that can generate the R for each spell cast, and is more consistent and less mana-demanding than say, Runaway Steam-Kin

The optimal play for this combo is to get Birgi out on turn 1 or 2 using fast Mana, then Storm off from there. If infinite damage is not what you’re going for, you can also opt to use Brain Freeze or Mind’s Desire to either mill out all players or play all casts from your deck without paying their mana costs.

The Birgi-Ignus combo can also be used in turbo lists which try to win the game within as few turns as possible, which often means opponents naturally have less interaction up to kill their creatures. However, this also means that the player using the combo leaves themselves wide open should any potential counter magic or removal spells come from their opponents.

It becomes a dilemma of when to set the bomb off and start running, as the longer you wait, the more likely your opponents are to have countermagic or find ways to win themselves. Simultaneously, the deck suffers under stax pieces like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Rule of Law, which can severely hinder the explosive power of the deck.

Infinite Combo 4: Exquisite Blood + Sanguine Bond/Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose + Pristine Talisman

Resulting State: 

Infinite life gain, Infinite damage

How the Infinite Combo Plays Out:

Pristine Talisman, and either Sanguine Bond or Vito on the Battlefield. Exquisite Blood in hand, 4B available.

Steps: 

  1. Play Exquisite Blood for 4B.
  2. Tap the Talisman to gain 1 life
  3. Sanguine Bond/Vito triggers, dealing 1 damage to target opponent.
  4. Exquisite Blood triggers, causing you to gain 1 life.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 ad infinitum.

Now featuring a combo that feels more at home in casual Commander pods, the Sanguine BondExquisite Blood combo is an almost instantaneous lock on the game. If allowed to resolve, either piece can create an unending loop of damage and lifegain triggers that easily kills your opponents.

Redundancy strikes again, as we have Vito to thank to protect our lifegain shenanigans in the event that Sanguine Bond if destroyed. However, if Exquisite Blood is destroyed, we have no replacement nor redundancy effect that we can easily initiate this infinite combo with. You’ll then need to rely on graveyard recursion effects, which can be quite inefficient if you’re stuck in mono-black.

Given that this combo is so mana intensive, it finds a spot more often among the casual EDH/Commander crowd as opposed to the competitive crowd, and you’ll see this combo more frequently among Orzhov (black-white) or among sadistic Sheoldred, the Apocalypse players. The fact that both cards are Enchantments (or in the case of Vito, a creature) make them much harder to tutor out consistently, especially since the primary piece of the combo is Exquisite Blood.

Infinite Combo 5: Marwyn, the Nurturer + Umbral Mantle

Resulting State:

Infinite Green Mana, Marwyn has Infinite Power and Infinite Toughness

How the Infinite Combo Plays Out:

A Marwyn the Nurturer with on the battlefield since the turn before (or with Haste), Umbral Mantle in hand, and 6 Mana available

Steps:

  1. Assuming Marwyn has no counters on her,
  2. Play Umbral Mantle (2 Mana Remaining)
  3. Equip Umbral Mantle on Marwyn for 0
  4. Tap Marwyn for G (2G Remaining)
  5. Use the 2G to untap Marwyn and give her +2/+2
  6. Tap Marwyn for GGG.
  7. Use the GGG to untap Marwyn and give her an additional +2/+2
  8. Tap Marwyn for GGGGG.
  9. Repeat the tapping and untapping process to generate infinite green mana and an infinitely big creature

Ah yes, finally time for the green players to shine. Amassing Big Chonky Boys since 1993, Marwyn is a household name among infinite Mana generators because of her ability to go infinite with a plethora of things. Even without any prior setup, she can still be a menace because of her latent ability to collect power due to her triggered abilities. Though she’s definitely seen better days, her infinite combo is one of the easiest to pull off, since it requires little to no setup.

Her ability to tap for green Mana equal to her power allows Marwyn to be a staple in green elfball lists throughout cEDH/Commander. Aside from Umbral Mantle, she can also utilise Sword of the Paruns and Staff of Domination to generate Infinite Mana (and generate subsequent Infinite Draw outlets, in the latter case). In addition, multiple creature lines exist for Marwyn to go infinite, usually involving cards like:

Temur Sabretooth + Kogla, the Titan Ape: fight infinite Creatures.

Scryb Ranger / Quirion Ranger / Wirewood Symbiote / Hyrax Tower Scout for more ways to untap Marwyn.

and sometimes Ashaya, the Awoken World

With such an abundance of creature tutors in green, its no wonder Marwyn had such a massive presence in cEDH and regular Commander. Decks that like to utilise these combos are often creature-heavy decks with Commanders like Chulane, Teller of Tales or Selvala, Heart of the Wilds.

End Step

It comes to say that we simply could not include all of the best infinite combos here on this list, else we’d could probably publish an entire Master’s thesis on the subject! However, it goes without saying that infinite combos are some of the most efficient, powerful and quick ways to end a game of magic. If you’re looking for a little something to close out games quickly, these combos don’t come any easier, and some aren’t expensive to build at all!

Digi

Drawn in by the game's stunning visuals, Digi joined during the Ixalan block (2017), and has since been burning a hole in his wallet to upgrade his ever-growing roster of Commander decks.

Digi

Drawn in by the game's stunning visuals, Digi joined during the Ixalan block (2017), and has since been burning a hole in his wallet to upgrade his ever-growing roster of Commander decks.

One thought on “5 of the Easiest Infinite Combos to Pull Off in MTG Commander/EDH

  • Yur Wong

    Your combos are fine but your arguments are terrible.
    You don’t need 3R to win with Birgi and Ignus. 2R to cast Ignus. Birgi produces R. Bounce the Ignus and replay an infinite number of times. Bounce the Ignus 1 last time and use that mana to cast the grapeshot. Now you’ve got a semi protected Ignus in hand and a win on board.
    Also Birgi is not less mana intensive than runaway steamkin. You can play steamkin on curve T2, Ignus on T3, T4 with 3-4 mountains in play, you can win the game. To get that consistency with Birgi is like “well if we start off with a great hand, we can T2 Birgi.”

    Also why did you post alternatives for other combos but no alternatives for Marwyn? There’s between 3-5 cards you can use with Marwyn’s important ability that can provide redundancy or consistency depending on the format. And I think all are 3 cmc. Without going looking them up I think some of them are “Viridian Joiner” Sevala (which you referenced, but made no mention of basically having the same ability) and there’s a new prototype card that does it too. I think there’s one with evolve, but that might only tap for mana equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on it. So it might not work. If I’m wrong, who cares? I’m not the one publishing a poorly researched article.

    Reply

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