And so we have finally reached the last official part of my quest to Make Enchantress Great Again. Today we are here to make some sweet combo decks, of course featuring our ever-beloved mistress in the wild, Verduran Enchantress
When I first started out on writing this series, my plan was to have this – the final – piece done by approximately June 2021. Oh well. Life, I guess. Anyway now we are here.
I won’t waste much time on definitions today, as I have already spent quite some words on defining combo here. I just want to mention, that combo is such a difficult beast. It always is, it always was. Some think combo is an abomination in the game that is contrary to what Garfield intended. I don’t agree. Some of the most combo-licious cards are from Alpha or some of the other early expansions. Most notably Lich, I’d say.
I know that back in the early days, the Dark Ages of Magic, theorizing on the game was very different from today. The importance of card advantage, mana curve and other central parts of the game was only really discovered later. But from the onset of the game, combo existed and was theorized upon. Channel – Fireball was a thing right from the start. Basalt Monolith and Power Artifact was also discovered from the point Power Artifact saw print.
I have recommended it before, but here goes again, please read Stephen Menedians great article on the history of combo here.
As I have mentioned many times before, I really like playing combo. In old school, I have played Time Vault combo, PowerMonolith combo, Restricted list combo, Dreams combo, Mana Flare combo and so on. It is, however, very difficult to make new combo decks in this format – even bad ones – because there are so few real, worthwhile pay-offs. But let’s give it a go…
5C GoodStuff Combo
Let’s get off to a great start with the one known and somewhat established Enchantress combo deck in old school. I first learned about the deck, when I was killed by it in his turn two, in an otherwise great tournament back in 2019.
The deck is one of those combo decks, where there is no real core, or rather, there is no real combo. The combo is the entire deck. The strategy of the deck, is to get to a point where you can simply play your entire deck a time or two and then kill you opponent with a massive fireball. Or with whatever you want, basically.
My take on a list, looks like this:
I opt to go 5 colors, because I really want access to disenchants, at least in the sideboard. Otherwise the deck is very susceptible to die to a resolved Underworld Dreams. As you see, I have eschewed playing Mind Twist, even though I most probably should, but I really find it boring. It I were to play at a high stakes tournament, I would probably add it instead of Balance. Channel could be added to the deck, but it really is a win more card. The only reason you should add it, is because you also play a single Fireball and a single Black Lotus, and we know, that is what dreams are made of. If you really want to add Channel, you could swap it for Mana Flare, even though Mana Flare is a lot better midcombo than Channel is. Anyway it is all up to you.
For those of you who has not had the opportunity and joy to play this incredibly insane pile, the “combo” of the deck consists, in its core, of Dark Heart of the Wood, Fastbond, Howling Mine and of course, Enchantress. The goal is to reach a point where you draw insane amounts of cards, and then play all of them each turn. Then you can use Time Walk, Regrowth and Timetwister to take unlimited extra turns. And that is why it doesn’t matter too much, what kill condition you chose.
The easiest and probably also the best, because it doesn’t require unlimited turns, is just to play Fireball and maybe a Mana Flare.
Other options are a single Underworld Dreams (as I have in the beforementioned list); a Tormod’s Crypt (after each Timetwister, you Mind Twist his hand and Crypts his grave, so eventually he will die from a twister forcing him to draw more cards than are in his library. If you don’t play Mind Twist you can also kill him with Wheel of Fortune and Crypt, but then you have to be very careful not to kill yourself in the process!); or maybe just an Aspect of Wolf to put on your Enchantress to attack. If you have unlimited turns, you also have close to unlimited possibilities to kill your foe. But again, the Fireball – Mana Flare combination will also often work without having to go infinite.
The deck is a real solitaire deck. It is great fun, and there are some very intricate lines of plays sometimes.
This is a picture of my boardstate in turn four in a game of completely humiliating a goldfish:
Unfortunately it is also sometimes very easy to disrupt, and the main deck is very tight, so it is difficult to find room for Avoid Fate or other cards to help you get to a point where you make so much card advantage that you win. Also, look out for aggressive decks which also feature Disenchants. Those can be a real hell to meet.
Normally, Time Vault in Old School is TwiddleVault. But you also occasionally experience the beautiful Instill-Animate-Vault combo. It was all the fuzz in the theory-dungeons of a lot of Swedish-format players when Time Vault was unrestricted some years ago.
Back then – for some reason! – no one opted to add the Enchantresses to the shell. What a pity! But how lucky you are! Because here you have it! Behold in all its glory – the Animated Time Energy Enchantress deck (I will work a bit more on the naming part at some point…):
Aaaaah yes. Alpha cards. Beta cards. Oh, and other cards. Damn I wish I could afford three Beta Time Vaults! I was actually saving for one, when they were suddenly unrestricted. That didn’t really make it easier to afford one. And what was even worse: I now needed three.
Well, goals are goals, and you have to have some, I guess.
The deck is a kind of control deck. Maze of Ith plays a very important role in the deck, as it is both a showstopper for your opponent, and one way of getting to infinite turns. If you have an untapped Animated Time Vault and two Mazes on the board, you attack with the little bugger, untap it with the first Maze, tap it to take an extra turn and then untap it again with the second Maze. The result is a brand new turn with an untapped, albeit probably dizzy, Time Vault. Rinse and repeat! That is pure juice, you see!
Otherwise the point is to resolve Time Vault, slap on an Animate Artifact and an Instill Energy to circumvent the annoying “does not untap” part of Time Vault. Hence unlimited turns. When we get there, we kill our opponent with attacking Vaults at some point (untapping them with Mazes). If our opponent has a line of blockers when we go off, we use our Twiddles to tap them down. Regrowth/Recall and Timetwister makes sure we do not deck ourselves. Great fun.
I admit it is not the strongest deck, I have ever played. But it is capable. It can take home some victories. But it will require a bit of luck and some skill.
One of my all-time favorite cards – and one that I have played on/off since 1995 – is Mana Flare. You know what is cool about Mana Flare? It is an Enchantment!
So naturally I had to build some kind of Enchantress Mana Flare combo deck. This is one of those decks that doesn’t contain a combo per se. But it is a singleminded deck with no thoughts in its head, other than to produce a lot of mana, and channel it all into an enormous Fireball.
The two sleeve backs should have been Candelabras, but unfortunately I do not own any. Yet. Candelabras are another of my favorite cards to brew on. Especially when brewing crazy combo-ish decks. I must try and gather some capital to acquire a couple.
But enough of this daydreaming. The deck is relatively straight-forward: Play lands and Enchantresses. Draw cards. Mana Short your opponent in his/her end step. Take one big turn! Simple enough.
Rather hard to do in real life, I am afraid. Even though Gaea’s Touch look like a perfect fit on paper, unfortunately it is a very tight decklist, and therefore it is very hard to shove enough Forests in there, to make the Touch worth it. Fastbond is probably better. But we play Fastbond all the time, and Gaea’s Touch is such a great card, that I want to play a lot more!
The deck is very likeable, I’d say. And there is some merit to it, but it also lacks some “Oomph” power. If you don’t resolve and abuse an Enchantress, there is a great risk that you will sit around not doing much, for a lot of turns. A Fork or two should probably make it in the deck somewhere. If nothing else, to spend on your opponents great cards. But also to make sure, that you don’t need as much mana to kill your foe on your big turn.
Other possible candidates
I know, I know. Lich is an Enchantment, and I just mentioned it as one of the most combo-licious cards from the Old School card pool. But alas. It is also a card very difficult to build something useful around. I tried, and ended up with the following list:
It is fun. It would be beautiful to assemble. I like that it is non-blue (I know it would be better with power…). But it is maybe even worse than the two mentioned earlier. It is simply WAY too easy to disrupt, and being disrupted while playing Lich is not a mere nuisance. It spells death. Death is not what we want… I still have two Beta Lich on my wants list, but I am afraid if I ever acquire them, they will not be played alongside my damsels.
I also pondered a bit on making PowerMonolith an Enchantress deck. The main problem here is that it will dilute the list too much. An unpowered EnchantingMonolith may be worth a try. Wild Growths, Sylvan Libraries and Power Artifact is almost enough Enchantments to make Enchantress worth it. You could then add some Arboria, Copy Artifact or other more generic Enchantments to make a Control/Prison shell and then contain the combo to the bare minimum of 4 Monoliths, 4 Power Artifacts and a couple of kill conditions. Maybe it could be done. But you will lack the ever important counter-power. Try it out!
How did I end up writing five posts on different decklist with the single thing in common, that they were all to some extent based on a 0/2 three mana Lady? Well, as many great things here in life, it came to pass as quite the coincidence. I made a rash move and stroke quite a bargain back in November 2020. I bought a playset of Alpha Verduran Enchantress. Now, that may seem a very crazy thing to do, for a guy who can barely assemble a Swedish legal deck. But sometimes you just have to go with a feeling. And a great offer!
Back when I bought the cards, for a short time I thought that I would maybe regret the trade. Maybe I would look at the unused cards every time I was to open my binder, and think of all the Unlimited Duals or Beta whatevers I could have bought and played instead.
Now, it has been a whole year of brewing, playing and theorizing on Verduran Enchantress and decks to play her in. And I must say: all my worries are to shame. It has most certainly not been a bad way to spend some time, I can tell you. Enchantress is a great card, and one of the very few cards, that is actually capable of providing real card advantage in this format. It is also a card that can be played in a wide variety of decks. I have tried to make a couple of decks of each major archetype, some with more success than others.
Along the way, I have discovered a lot of great cards I had forgotten or never encountered. There are so many sweet Enchantments in the format that never sees any play, and that is a shame. Some of them are actually very good, and certainly worth it to brew around.
I am aware I have not produced any new Tier1 decks for the format. Maybe not even Tier2. But I am certain I have created some great, fun decks that I will enjoy for the years to come. And I hope you will too.
Enchantress decks is definitely not for all. But I really enjoy them. Almost all the decklists I have provided in the last five posts on the subject have a “go wide” strategy. I really like the kind of games, where you get to play some cards, and see some action. If you do too, I urge you to buy a playset of the fine ladies. But I warn you, it may become quite the addiction!
I hope some of my writings have been inspiring, interesting or at least a good read. You can find the entire series here: