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Relentless Pony
By Stephen O. Bahl
This article is long overdue, being that the deck it is dedicated to was taken apart, oh—we’ll say three weeks ago. But it is such a fun concept, that I think it deserves an article. And so here one is…

Firstly, for posterity, the forum posts that spawned the Relentless Pony deck are transcribed here for easy access. A special thanks to everyone involved, by the way…

The “Multiplayer Dream Halls deck…” thread I started eventually branched off to talk about, well, things that weren’t Dream Halls, as can be observed:
________________________________________________________________________
train: why not cunning wish - just to have access to the sideboard...

That gives you more of a toolbox, or kit full of 15 answers to various problems...

Oversoul [me]: Well, I don't use cards from those newer sets, but I could just use Ring of Ma'Ruf (which I have one of) in the deck, if I thought there was a need for that mechanic. I guess Cunning Wish would make for some fun though…

train: When you say you don't play with cards from newer sets - is it because you don't have them?...

Oversoul: …Yes, I do lack cards from newer sets (well, some of them aren't considered new anymore) and don't particularly wish to obtain them either. This is not to say that I don't love toolbox deck strategies, of course. I wish I could keep a deck around that used my Ring effectively, since that's such a cool card...

train: you could copy artifact...

ooh!!! - animate artifact, then clone it - and copy it with dance of many, mirari, parallel evolution, mirari...

that's 8 rings!...

Oversoul: lol, Train. That seems a bit extreme...

Hmm...

We should try to make a deck that gets an infinite number of Rings (and mana too, of course, to fetch as many cards as possible). Before Ring's errata (or maybe it was after 6th ed. came out and most people in my area just ignored it because they didn't like the stack, so they ignored it, but I think it was actually before then...) I actually did once do something that animated Ring (Karn, I'm thinking, I don't think it was Animate Artifact), and (wow, I can't even remember how I did this), Obelisk of Undoing as well, under an infinite mana combo with Intruder Alarm, allowing me to bounce the Ring after using it (even though this is completely impossible now, and probably impossible then, but oh well) and get every card in my collection into my hand. Well, that's not an available method now, and probably wasn't then (someone who has a better memory of things in those days will have to tell me), but it would be interesting to try to break that barrier anyway...

Rooser: Wow, that's twice in one month train. I have to post another LOL just for you. Seriously. You realize what you did, right? You figured out how to use Mirari to make multiple copies of Ring of Mar'uf. Man, I haven't seen anything so wacky since I made a False Cure deck that consistenly wins on turn 5.

Spiderman: That's a lot of cards though... I wonder if it's possible to seriously a make a deck trying to do that (I don't even have a Ring, so it's more a curiosity exercise to see if other people can do it )

train: [in response to Spiderman] It's extremely possible in a Dream Halls deck - all you need is the right way to draw tons of cards... Blue does that well - and the rest is Green... blue green is already a viable combo - more so in more powerful formats - so dream halls probably breaks it...

[in response to Rooser] And that was without Fork, then mirari-ing the fork!!!...

"Thank you!, Thank You!, I'm here all week"

[in response to me] (since removing the ring is part of the cost now, due to errata, which it isn't on the printed version - what you did is entirely possible - although all you really needed to do was have lots of mana generation, and a way to untap it... Then you would activate it for a number of times equal to the number of cards in your collection...)

Oversoul: Hmm...

I think that was what I had...

I remember using Obelisk in one of the crazy decks that did this sort of thing, but it probably wasn't this one...

I know it wasn't MoMa, which is what I SHOULD have used...

I think I animated it in some way then, and it was in a deck with Sliver Queen, Intruder Alarm, and Nature's Revolt I think...

I do know it used Sliver Queen...

But more importantly would be making it work now...

What about a way to possibly make Ring into a creature and use something that could create multiple copies of the creature, thereby potentially attaining a handful of ones entire collection?

train: I'll see what I can come up with...

And on the drawing tons for dream halls - Recycle - and it's still within Blue green...

Oversoul: What about some sort of reusable token generator that makes copies of a creature in play? I can't think of any...

But I KNOW that I could do it with that...

train: Echo Chamber...

to make it work for you - simply control the board(which creatures are in play), and if you want - donate some of your creatures to the opponent - that way you get good creatures!...

then just make sure you're running living lands, or elven mana, animate the chamber, and play the ol' intruder alarm bit!...

infinite creatures!... (at sorcery speed)

Oversoul: That is exactly what I was looking for! I knew there was something that did that, but I couldn't remember Echo Chamber...

I must build this deck!

train: I try...

let us know how the decklist works out for you!...
________________________________________________________________________

The topic continued on another thread I started, entitled “An extremely casual deck idea.”

Oversoul: I'm going to try to build this only because it seems no one else has tried anything quite like it...

I am going to somehow accomplish the following...

Achieve infinite mana and untapping ability probably via an Intruder Alarm combo (I'm currently leaning toward the Sliver Queen/Argothian Elder one, but that may change).

Destroy all of an opponent's creatures and disable that same opponent's ability to get mana (not sure what mechanism to use for this one yet, but probably the one that uses the fewest cards).

Donate Ring of Ma'Ruf to that opponent.

Use Echo Chamber (thanks to Train for this one) to make copies of the Ring, as many as I want.

Then I have "infinite wishes" so to speak. I can win with pretty much whatever cards I want.

Pretty cool, huh?

Nightstalkers: Peregrine Drake + 4x Sapphire Medallions + Capsize = Infinite Mana (w/ 5 islands) + Creature/Land removal (no creatures, disables opponents ability to gain mana + gives him a very large hand)

One problem = Echo chamber only works on creatures

But the first part works pretty good.


Train:
Blue POWER!!!

Istanbul: 2x Death Wish + Mirari + Lich = Infinite wishes.

Lich (or Lich's Tomb, if you like) puts you at 0 life.
Death Wish costs you half your life, rounded down...which would be 0.
All you need to do is Death Wish first for a Death Wish...
...then, whenever you want to Wish, make sure you Mirari it. One copy to get the first Wish back, another for whatever you want to get.

...holy crap, I could make this on MTGO.

That's just WRONG.

Rooser: A similar but easier infinite mana combo to Nightstalkers' is good ol' Palinchron + High Tide or Mana Flare.

Nightstalkers: May be easier to get and all that, but can you bounce a players entire field back to their hand?

Oversoul: The bounce can be accomplished via Capsize, thanks to infinite mana.

I know that Echo Chamber only works on creatures. Same for Intruder Alarm, which will untap the Echo Chamber. I am not sure why my post says nothing about Toymaker (other cards work too, but this was the one I thought would be simplest). I remember putting it in there. Anyway, Ring will be a creature-so this does work. I will also need a card drawing mechanism, but that will either be accomplished as part of the combo that this deck is built into, or be done using Mnemonic Sliver (since if I go with the Sliver variation, I'll have as many slivers as I want).

The Peregrine Drake thing is cool, reminds me of High Tide, but this wouldn't fit into a High Tide deck. I don't think I have any Sapphire Medallions left either and they're annoying to get a hold of. I'll probably test several ideas on Appr. to try to come up with one that actually has a chance of pulling this off anyway. But in the end, the actual deck will probably consist of cards I already have (minus Echo Chamber). Regardless of that, what would you use to power that engine? I mean, obviously you need to get out all four Medallions, which would probably require some tutoring, etc.

Oops! Sorry, Rooser. Didn't see your High Tide bit when I wrote my post. Well, the deck I was thinking of was my High Tide deck, actually, which is far from the only variation. But getting Palinchron out could really change things. I don't know that I have Mana Flares left in my collection either, but it's an easier card to obtain than Sapphire Medallion, plus I could always just go with High Tide instead. I like it...

Nightstalkers: [in response specifically to my “I am not sure why my post says nothing about Toymaker (other cards work too, but this was the one I thought would be simplest).”] ooh! I never looked closely at any set between Urza's triloge (urza's three blunderful sets) and Odyssey... unless you count Invasion as between those sets...

[in response to my “Regardless of that, what would you use to power that engine? I mean, obviously you need to get out all four Medallions, which would probably require some tutoring, etc.”] Erm...
Tinker
Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Fabricate
Reshape
Enlightened Tutor

Do you want my little list of fetch instants/interrupts?

train: you can limit an opponent's land/mana with limited resources...

Oversoul: Tinkering in Medallions, and having Enlightened, Demonic, and some other tutors, as well as drawing power could make the Sapphire Medallion thing pretty workable. Then I guess it's just a matter of Stroking for the combo, including Capsize, and becoming godlike, or whatever. It seems viable...

I still maintain that Sapphire Medallions are annoying to get, but I do like the idea, and Medallions are definitely useful outside this deck (unlike our friend, Echo Chamber, but that can't be helped). So, if this turns out to be a better engine than other options for this deck, I guess I might as well try to get Medallions...

The Palinchron variant I'm unsure about. I don't see this fitting in a High Tide deck, but I've been wrong before. The Mana Flare thing, however, looks like it could cut down on the number of card, and while slower than the High Tide version, possibly facilitate the combo more capably...

In the short term, because I want to get this deck built and playable as soon as I find Echo Chamber, and might not keep it around for very long after that (and why wouldn't I?), I’m still considering using the cards I already have. This limits the range of nonbasic lands I can use significantly, but allows me to use multiple copies of things like Time Spiral, Tolarian Academy, Dream Halls, Mind over Matter, Stroke of Genius, and plenty of other cards that are restricted in Type I, banned in Type 1.5, and banned in Extended as well, I'm guessing (but I don't know about Extended, since I can't take the format seriously after it banned Dark Ritual, but I'm sure that plenty of people here will rush to my aid and inform me as to the states of these cards in that ridiculous format).

So, I am also looking at the following...

Sliver Queen
Intruder Alarm
Argothian Elder
Ring of Ma'Ruf
Donate
Toymaker
Echo Chamber
Capsize
Mnemonic Sliver

...all squeezed into some broken combo deck (with Dream Halls, perhaps? ) in one-of's, obviously.

Edit: I can't spell.

train: Though it's blue - I like the idea, and it isn't entirely possible without blue...

I don't think some of those cards have ot be one-of's though...

know what you could do - Hermit druid - yawgmoth's will, dream halls!!!...

"Scary... simply scary..."

Oversoul: It would be an excellent excuse for me to obtain some Hermit Druids...

The land thing would still be a problem though, with Druid, since I typically have to include several basic lands in my decks...

Heh, Hermit Druid + Yawgmoth's Will + Dream Halls looks to be a great mechanism for overkill too though...

Well, look at the blue thing this way, Train...

It's using a little blue to get a LOT of anything else. Granted, in my case blue cards make up a rather significant portion of my overall collection (I used to have like 40 Snowfalls, but I've given most of them away, the same doesn't go for some other useless blue cards), but if I felt the need to, I could Ring in only my nonblue cards of my collection...

Nightstalkers: Come now Train, blue isn't that bad once you get to playing with screwy idea's and forget that winning isn't everything.

Why, how many times has someone lost to donating an Illusions? XD

Exactly my point, why win by completely enveloping your opponent when you can humiliate them with something that is completely against the laws of man?

Blue is so cold and is great at doing that sometimes. Oh, and if you don't like using straight blue, why not just put it into either an artifact deck, or a greeny deck that uses elves to give you whatever mana color you want? Interesting idea, dont' you think?


[Edit:]
I would just like to state that I am against Dream Halls unless I am allowed to use 4 of them in a deck of my own design

And nobodys allowed me to use more than 0 Dream Halls in a deck since the days I played with proxy decks.

Oversoul: I would let you play 4 Dream Halls in a deck of your own design. The proxy thing can get pretty crazy though...

I mean, I'm sure most of us have seen several variants of decks that have a very good chance of first turn kills, thanks to multiple copies of all "power nine" cards and some other goodies...

I already told the story in a different part of the CPA, I believe, but I had my own proxy version of such a deck (Hel, Goddess of Death!), which won by Forking Time Walks multiple times in a turn, then Timetwistering everything for reuse (and eventually nailing the opponent with a Kaervek's Torch for some needlessly large number).

On another note, I've always wanted to use Denying Wind with Dream Halls. Just imagine the sheer horror of casting two of those in one turn!

Nightstalkers: Well, it pays for the spells cost and not just slaps it down on the table for ya, so you can safely use it to chuck out a little MissPhage if ya wanted to. The only problem with that is making sure she survives until she can safely get at your opponents life points. I originally thought about giving her Shadow via a Dauthi Embrace and using a Dream Halls to get her out in the first place.

Oversoul: Why stop there. With this deck I could kill an opponent with...

So many things, like Leeches, or an inordinate number of Snowfalls that are creatures under Opalescence, etc.

That's one of the reasons I want to use it in multiplayer, more people to kill in those sundry ways...

train: Well - the will idea is to have your win/kills in hand - otherwise you can't use dream halls as you have to discard - but there's no reason stuff couldn't be returned to your hand - heck - you even get to choose what you'd like...

"even artifacts generating blue mana - are sharing in existence with an Island's offspring..."

"That's just wrong!"

Oversoul: Bah! I must finish this deck so that I can kill someone with Leeches! That will be the ultimate kill...

Oversoul: I'm thinking of something a bit more clunky here, actually. I might go with a deck that Thawing Glaciers in basic lands alongside my other lands, which I will use to get whatever color...
________________________________________________________________________

Now that I had an actual decklist, the discussion continued on yet another thread I started: “Dwarven Pony.”

Oversoul: I finally finished it. It's based on my old Academy decks, minus the countermagic to make room from the combo, and with an altered land-base and Time Spirals added in.

Setup for the combo:

4 Accumulated Knowledge
3 Intuition
3 Time Spiral
2 Windfall
2 Braingeyser
4 Stroke of Genius
4 Mind over Matter
4 Mana Vault
2 Ornithopter
2 Phyrexian Walker
2 Shield Sphere
4 Sol Ring
4 Tolarian Academy
1 Soldevi Digger

The combo:

1 Sliver Queen
1 Intruder Alarm
1 Argothian Elder (when I built it on Appr., but I didn't have any, so it's a Ley Druid now, but the difference is irrelevant for this deck)
1 Fervor
1 Toymaker
1 Capsize
1 Echo Chamber
1 Ring of Ma'ruf
1 Donate

Non-Academy combo mana base:

4 Thawing Glaciers
1 Plains
2 Island
1 Swamp
1 Mountain
1 Forest

Typically the deck gets out and Academy and a Thawing Glaciers, goes off with the Academy/MoMa combo and recurs it using Soldevi Digger, allowing it to Glaciers in all five basic lands and use those to cast the combo components and produce an unnecessarily large number of Ring of Ma'ruf tokens, then fetches a Mnemonic Sliver with an Accumulated Knowledge or just Strokes in as many cards as possible.

In some cases, it won't appear to be too much of a target until it goes off, but in others the Academiness of the build is apparent for a few turns before it gets a combo. I won't have time to play it in some nice, big group games for a while, but this should be great fun...

train: Why the name?...

Is that the card you go get - a Dwarven Pony...

I like it overall... Just make sure you maruf for the dream halls!...

Oversoul: The name is because I wanted to name it after a bad card, and use that card as the kill.

And I can Ma'ruf for all four of my Dream Halls, and play them. I probably will, just for fun...

SeFRo: Pure evil. Only because it involves blue.

Spiderman: Hey, any card with the name "Dwarf" in it can't be bad....

Oversoul: I decided to streamline it a little. Even though the whole combo is cool, I can subsitute a lot of what I had in there with simply more use of MoMa and the like...

Setup for the combo:

4 Accumulated Knowledge
3 Intuition
3 Time Spiral
2 Windfall
2 Braingeyser
4 Stroke of Genius
4 Mind over Matter
4 Mana Vault
2 Ornithopter
2 Phyrexian Walker
3 Shield Sphere
4 Sol Ring
4 Tolarian Academy
1 Soldevi Digger

The combo:

1 Sliver Queen
1 Intruder Alarm
1 Mana Prism
1 Fervor
1 Toymaker
1 Capsize
1 Echo Chamber
1 Ring of Ma'ruf
1 Donate

Non-Academy combo mana base:

9 Island

The Argothian Elder and the basic lands have been removed in favor of a single Mana Prism, untapped as necessary via Mind over Matter (refilling hand with Soldevi Digger and Stroke of Genius). Previously, the idea was to Thawing Glaciers the maindeck basic lands in and use them to play the Fervor, Sliver Queen, and Argothian Elder parts of the combo. Thawing Glaciers could also double as a way to play all of my lands (I traded away all of my Fastbonds, but I was going to Thawing Glaciers in all my basic lands in my collection after putting them in my library and then Crop Rotation in the nonbasics). But Summer Bloom used over and over can do the job just as well, so I just went with the Mana Prism, which increases the number of artifacts. I also threw in a Shield Sphere because I had another open slot, but I might replace some of the artifacts with more card drawing if it will make things faster...


Edit: Okay, I've gone even further with it, but I'll probably reduce the artifact count for something else after testing. The only qualm I have with my newest version is that I need to find a Karn's Touch. Well, a Karn would work too, but I have neither...

1 Soldevi Digger
3 Phyrexian Walker
3 Shield Sphere
3 Ornithopter
4 Mana Vault
4 Sol Ring
1 Donate
1 Ring of Ma'Ruf
1 Echo Chamber
1 Karn's Touch
1 Capsize
2 Windfall
4 Accumulated Knowledge
3 Intuition
4 Braingeyser
4 Stroke of Genius
3 Time Spiral
4 Mind over Matter
4 Tolarian Academy
9 Island (7 Korean, 2 Japanese, just for fun)

Now I'm bypassing the original combo and simply using the Academy/MoMa/Digger/Stroke combo for all of the mana and untapping (since it really can give me as much as I want of any of those). The Karn's Touch will make Ring a creature. The Capsize will incapacitate an opponent. The Donate give that opponent my Ring. The Echo Chamber makes more Rings, which don't have summoning sickness, so I can use them to Ring in my other combo components. Currently I don't have this version, on account of not having the Karn's Touch, but it should be better than my version above.

train: remind me what karn's touch is in... legacy?...

I may have some if so...

Oversoul: It's from Masques. I'll probably just put Karn in, as I my younger brother used to have one somewhere, and might still...

Now that posterity is out of the way, onto the final decklist…

Relentless Pony (originally known simply as Dwarven Pony)

1x Soldevi Digger
3x Phyrexian Walker
3x Shield Sphere
3x Ornithopter
4x Sol Ring
4x Mana Vault
1x Donate
1x Ring of Ma’ruf
1x Echo Chamber
1x Karn, Silver Golem
1x Capsize
2x Windfall
4x Accumulated Knowledge
3x Intuition
4x Braingeyser
3x Time Spiral
4x Stroke of Genius
4x Mind Over Matter
4x Tolarian Academy
9x Island

The deck’s goal is rather sinister: bring my entire collection into my hand from outside the game using an infinite combo! It achieves this by using its rather massive artifact count to power the Tolarian Academy/Mind Over Matter engine, then discard everything for astronomical amounts of mana and use Soldevi Digger’s ability to return everything to the library to be drawn and discarded again.

This engine effectively nets me infinite blue mana and the ability to tap or untap anything I want, as much as I want. It’s similar to a competitive Academy deck I’ve used in the past. But rather than simply decking my opponents, I use Capsize to return the lands of one opponent to his/her hand. I then use Karn’s ability to make Ring of Ma’ruf into a 5/5 creature, and use Donate to make my victim/opponent gain control of the Ring. Echo Chamber, untapped repeatedly with Mind Over Matter now gives me as many token copies of Ring as I want, and they all have haste.

The next step is to use a draw spell to draw a card, but skip the card draw with a Ring and fetch Whispers of the Muse from outside the game, which is then used with buyback and Ring tokens to fetch sundry other cards from outside the game. I can then drop a Mana Prism and use it to generate colored mana to play Summer Bloom and Soldevi Dig it repeatedly, playing all lands in my collection. I can steal anyone’s creatures thanks to a Rootwater Matriarch enchanted with Kjeldoran Pride. I can counter any spell or even some abilities (thanks to Interdict, because I don’t have Stifle). Gaining ludicrous amounts of life skipping my turns with Meditates, taking extra turns with Time Warp, putting +1/+1 counters on opponent’s creatures with Dragon Blood, and organizing the cards my opponents will draw are all other things on my agenda. As imaginative players can tell, with the right cards in my collection, I can exert near complete control over the entire game. Not only that, but Ring can legally bring in cards that would normally not be allowed in games, like ante cards or Unglued cards…

Having completed the deck and sorted my collection for easy location of key cards, I now needed some victims. So, I took my cards to a largely unsuspecting playgroup. But I wasn’t content with the power of my deck, so I did something fun. I told one of my future victims about my scheme and got him to cooperate by playing me one-on-one and allowing me to cast 5 million Double Dips, 10 Double Plays, and 4 Double Takes. In my next game with him, I would easily be able to go off first turn with my Ring combo, which I did.

The game was a great deal of fun for me, but after a while my opponents would either concede or tell me to kill them before they did. Some interesting events that took place…

-An opponent lending me his Giant Fan, for some fun card counter interactions.

-Another opponent lending me a Mirror, Mirror. Unfortunately, it was never used. Too bad no one lent me a Mindslaver…

-Four players healing themselves up to 20 life after I used a Rebirth. I think that a little repetition is necessary for this to sink in properly: FOUR PLAYERS BASICALLY ALLOWED ME TO LEGALLY TAKE RANDOM CARDS FROM THE TOPS OF THEIR LIBRARIES! Two of them just didn’t care, but apparently my (thorough) explanation of Rebirth’s effect was not enough to make the other two understand. In the end, I gave everything back, but the fact that four of them did that completely amazed me. If I rebuild this deck in the future, I think I would like to use it with Mindslaver, which would have some cool interactions with other ante cards. Too bad they could just concede I guess…

-The Relentless Pony combo for which the deck was named. I attacked a player with a 1/1 Dwarven Pony enchanted only with Mark of Fury. He blocked with a 3/3 and killed it. I Soldevi-dug the Pony and Mark and redrew them with Whispers of the Muse, then cast them both again and cast Relentless Assault and attacked him with the Pony again. He blocked again. I did it again. I only killed one opponent with this primary kill condition, but it plowed through a few creatures too.

-Much taking of extra turns or making other players take extra turns thanks to Time Warp.

-A few skipped turns thanks to Chronatog. I didn’t have my Meditates at the time…

-Players losing life and then gaining more, or gaining life and then taking damage at relatively random points in the game.

-Me not countering a dangerous Mesmeric Orb, then tapping and untapping it about 40 times, then Capsizing it. But I saved the opponent by Donating a Feldon’s Cane to him.

-My last remaining opponent lost to Leeches. That’s right: LEECHES AS A KILL CONDITION!

-A lot of Portents being cast.

-Spells being countered by Spellblast and even Mystic Denial.

-A kill involving a lot of sliver tokens and an Acidic Sliver.

-The largest graveyard I’ve ever seen, the largest hand I’ve ever seen, and the largest library I’ve ever seen.

-The “best kill ever.” I cast Opalescence and about 15 Snowfalls, then cast Chaos Charm on each one and attacked an opponent who was at 20.

The same opponent who was responsible for my going off first turn and who died to Snowfalls was later inspired to build a deck based around Death Wish and Mischievous Quanar to achieve similar results to my deck. If you’ve got your own Ring or Death Wish lying around, I encourage you to build such a deck as well. It’s great fun for everyone! Well, it’s great fun for the one playing the Relentless Pony deck anyway…

Read More Articles by Stephen O. Bahl!

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