n theme for Simic Week, we're going to experiment plenty today.
As I write this, the Pro Tour hasn't happened yet. And while I may dabble as a time traveler in my free time, checking ahead to see the results of the Pro Tour would be cheating. Spoilers, and all that.
This week, we're going to be looking at Standard—but not something that I would expect to win the Pro Tour. (Although I could be completely wrong.) Fortunately, it turns out that approach works perfectly for Simic.
Especially so when that experiment involves attacking for more than four million damage.
Intrigued? Read on.
Experiment One | Art by Chase Stone
I received a lot of really great and exciting Simic decklists this week. Insect tribal tickled my fancy, the defender combo deck was exciting to see, and Omniscience shenanigans ran amok. But, ultimately, something super-Johnny and Simic was what stuck: Damon Okey's Biovisionary combo deck.
Curious what the deck looks like? Take a look!
Damon Okey's Infinite Visionary
The Battle Plan
Biovisionary has the potential to outright win you the game... you just have to jump through some hoops to get there. In this case, they are burning, spiked hoops surrounded by robotic guards—but that doesn't mean you can't traverse them.
And, fortunately, you have a fire extinguishing, robot disabling tool: Infinite Reflection.
If you have four creatures on the battlefield, one of which is a Biovisionary, suddenly you have four Biovisionarys out of nowhere. You win!
That's the core combo of the deck—but the deck still has a Plan B as well. It can also function as a reasonable Simic deck. Cards like Master Biomancer threaten to allow your creatures to take over the board, and Zameck Guildmage can help you search for your combo.
Best of all, Infinite Reflection also works well with many of the other cards in the deck! Turning all of your creatures into Elvish Archdruids provides you with an incredible amount of mana—and makes all of your creatures get +1/+1 for each other creature you control.
But where it gets really insane is with Master Biomancer. When all of your creatures are Master Biomancers, each new creature you play enters the battlefield with a ton of +1/+1 counters. Better yet, all of those creatures are Master Biomancers, which means the next creature will come in with even more +1/+1 counters.
Presuming you only have one Master Biomancer with an Infinite Reflection on the battlefield, your second creature is a 4/6 Master Biomancer, and your third creature is a 10/12 power Master Biomancer.
It only goes up from there! If you want to make some of the largest experiments in Standard, this is the deck to do it.
Let's run through each card in the deck and see if it truly needs to be there or not.
This is the key card to the deck. There's certainly some irony to the idea of only playing three copies, but since he is half of your core combo you need to draw one reasonably often. Besides, you have to keep the dream of naturally drawing all four in the same game alive! Anybody who actually manages to do that with this deck gets 2,300 Gavin points.
When you're trying to build up toward six mana in a green deck, and when you're playing three-drops that are even better on turn two (like Elvish Archdruid), mana Elves go a long way toward helping you. I definitely want to keep all four of these around. I also would like to add Avacyn's Pilgrim (even though it isn't an Elf) to help boost us forward even faster.
Elvish Archdruid is a great fit for this deck. Not only does it produce mana (and lots of it), but it also makes for a pretty nice Infinite Reflection target. Turn-one Arbor Elf, turn-two Elvish Archdruid curves perfectly into a turn-three Infinite Reflection. If your opponent doesn't have a removal spell or a sweeper, that's going to put him or her into pretty rough shape as every single one of your creatures makes the rest larger and larger.
This is another great card that makes the deck work well. It's important to your Plan B strategy of just attacking with creatures—even the one-drop mana creatures become 3/3s under the Master Biomancer's rule! Furthermore, Biomancer is great to suit up with Infinite Reflection in a pinch. As described earlier, it quickly pushes every creature you cast completely out of control.
I have a soft spot for the Master Biomancer since I designed him, and he definitely fits well here. I'd like to bump him up to the full four copies.
Zameck Guildmage plays great with a lot of the other +1/+1 counters going on in the deck. With Master Biomancer, for example, it turns all of your future creatures into card-drawing machines. It also plays well with Gyre Sage and Master Biomancer the other way around, helping boost up its power.
The primary problem I have with the Guildmage, however, is how slow it is. I like where it fits on the curve, but its abilities don't at all. They would provide a mana sink for cards like Elvish Archdruid if they only required green mana, but the fact that the abilities need both colors doesn't help as much in that regard. I think I would rather pick up a card immediately and dig deeper.
Elvish Visionary is a card that interests me more here. Like the Guildmage, it's an Elf. It also provides another card without any additional investment. I prefer Elvish Visionary overall, although I think keeping one Zameck Guildmage is reasonable, since you can craft a game plan around it if you draw it late and have tons of mana sitting around.
Speaking of Gyre Sage interactions, here's the card itself!
Gyre Sage is pretty hit or miss in this deck. When it's weak, it does nearly nothing. It can't even tap for mana on its own, and only a handful of creatures will evolve it. On the other hand, it starts off strong if you have a Master Biomancer on the table, and if you play Gyre Sage then a Master Biomancer most of your creatures will evolve it further.
Because of how hit or miss it is, I'm fine keeping the two copies. I could potentially see this becoming Zameck Guildmage or similar, but I'm happy using two Gyre Sages.
While plenty strong, the Hydra isn't really serving a role I'm happy with in this deck. It doesn't contribute to your Infinite Reflection plan, and if you have Master Biomancer up and active most of your creatures will be huge anyway. It does provide a nice mana sink for your Elvish Archdruid, but if your opponent didn't have the spot removal for your Elvish Archdruids then you're in pretty good shape anyway. There are other cards I would rather cast with a ton of mana.
Infinite Reflection is one of this deck's crucial cards, and I always want to find one. With a wide array of cards in this deck that make for good enchanting targets, Infinite Reflection is definitely an enchantment to play four copies of.
Call to the Kindred is certainly a neat addition. Many (although certainly not all) of the creature types in this deck match up. However, it's hard to predict what this card is going to do and too often it will do nothing. This deck already plays four expensive Auras. I'd rather play a better engine for finding the cards I'm looking for.
Fortunately, there's another good draw option I like much more. For only one additional mana, you can cast Tamiyo, the Moon Sage.
Tamiyo is great. She can help you play offense or defense, tapping your opponent's creatures to push yours through—or to make sure it can't attack you back. But she's also a great card-drawing engine.
How so? Well, her -2 ability can also target yourself. In a deck with Arbor Elf, Avacyn's Pilgrim, Gyre Sage, and Elvish Archdruid, you will often have enough tapped creatures to draw three or more cards—and then repeat that process the next turn. That should give you plenty of gas to finish off your opponent with, while also doing double duty as a threatening Planeswalker.
The only spell out of these three that I'm not that enthused about is Biomass Mutation. While it is a nice mana sink, most of the time it won't do enough to warrant consideration. Simic Charm and Syncopate are both pretty reasonable choices. They protect your creatures from removal and Simic Charm even helps you go aggressive, as well.
However, I wanted to clear out all of the non-permanent cards. Why? Well, there's one spell that changes everything.
Primal Surge does so much in this deck. It provides you a funnel for all of the mana you can produce. It can instantly win you the game after resolving as long as you hit a Biovisionary followed by an Infinite Reflection. Even if you already have an Infinite Reflection on something like Elvish Archdruid (to help get to ten mana, of course) and your Biovisionarys are actually Archdruids, it can let you kill your opponent in one attack as you end up with an entire board of Elvish Archdruids.
However, making all of your creatures Elvish Archdruids and attacking is just piddly compared to this deck's other options. A few hundred damage? That's nothing compared to what happens if you Infinite Reflection a Master Biomancer.
Imagine the game has gone on for a while. All you have is a Master Biomancer. You've been gripping your two Primal Surges, waiting for your tenth land.
Finally, you draw it. Down comes Primal Surge.
And this is where things get complicated.
Here's how it works. The first creature you reveal enters as a Master Biomancer and picks up two counters. The second gets six counters. This process continues as described earlier, over and over again, until your entire library is on the battlefield. Let's say you have twenty of your twenty-six creatures left in your library. They all enter play one at a time.
The result? Twenty colossal Master Biomancers. How colossal? Well, check out this number. Their total combined power: 4,194,302.
One Akroma's Memorial later, and you're attacking for more than four million damage. That's gotta hurt. (Thanks to James Dykes, Jon Johnson, Chris Mascioli, and Nathan Weizenbaum for help with the math on that.)
Primal Surge is not only powerful in this deck, but also extremely fun. When you're looking for a fun deck that wins in exciting ways, what more could you ask for?
With all of those changes in mind, that brings the decklist to this:
Gavin Verhey's Infinity and Beyond
Whether you want to combo out with Biovisionary, play a bunch of Elves, or maybe even attack for more than four million damage, this deck provides all of those angles.
The deck is certainly plenty powerful. Is it vulnerable? Well, certainly—a lot of pinpoint removal and sweepers like Supreme Verdict will give you trouble. But if you don't run into those, your opponent is going to be in trouble.
Give it a try and have some fun! Winning with Biovisionary is a crazy route to victory—but it's certainly an enjoyable one.
There were a lot of great decklists submitted this week—let's take a look at some of the most exciting Simic decklists out there!
Takahiro Yamamoto's Undying
Gord Goulding's Defender Mill
John Valentine's Simic Deadeye
Chase Gutman's Simic Counterbearer
Alex Jerry's Deadeye Omni-Ramp
Dan Whyte's Unexpected Omniscience
Shehzad Ahmed's Simic Tempo
Andrew Mickle's Zameck Evolution
Dan Herrick's Laboratory Omniscience
Nick Butcher's Revenge of the Turbofog
It's Gruul Time
The world of Simic will no doubt continue to evolve in time, and this is one fun way to play Simic in Standard. But we can't linger on Simic for too long—in two weeks we'll be headed to Gruul!
Restrictions: Your deck must be red and green and no other colors. (Overlapping hybrid cards, such as Blistercoil Weird and Dryad Militant, are okay.)
Deadline: Sunday, February 24, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time
Submit all decklists by clicking on "respond via email" below. Please submit decklists in a format that looks like the following, except with your name and deck instead of mine.
Gavin Verhey's Gruul is Good
1 Skinbrand Goblin
1 Giant Growth
I'm excited to see what I receive for Gruul—whether aggressive decks or something a little more unusual. It should make for a fun week! In the meantime, feel free to send me any feedback you have via Twitter or by posting in the forums below.
I'll be back next week with a look at Modern! Let's see how the format has evolved with Bloodbraid Elf out of the picture. I'll talk with you then!