Another weekend and another top finish, this time with Indomitable Creativity combo at the Untapped Games RCQ! I've been a big fan of this archetype lately and think it's a strong contender in the current metagame. In fact, there were three Creativity decks in the top eight of this event, and one player on Esper Reanimator. That makes a total of 16 copies of Archon of Cruelty cashing this event, so it was clearly a good day to go big.
What Does It Do?
With cards like Prismari Command and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki, the deck has enough treasures and loot effects to reliably cast drawn Archons, or reanimate them with Persist. Ultimately, this makes for a speedy combo deck with grindy, late-game appeal.
What I Like
As I mentioned above, the Creativity deck is surprisingly flexible, despite being based around a four-mana, sorcery speed combo. Creativity targets both artifacts and creatures and has the potential to target more than one permanent. This makes it easy to play around removal spells like Lightning Bolt or Force of Vigor from the opponent by targeting diverse token types.
Indomitable Creativity is also not limited to permanents controlled by the caster. With enough mana, the Creativity player can tutor out their Archons and destroy an opposing Ensnaring Bridge or Grafdigger's Cage in the process.
There are also multiple grindy elements to the deck that both help to fill out the curve and threaten to snowball, forcing the opponent to go shields down to deal with them. Wrenn and Six and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki both fall into this category.
Wrenn ensures her controller never misses a land drop. With every land in the deck being a mountain, it guarantees Dwarven Mine is online starting turn four. This churns out combo fodder and instant speed chump blockers that can protect Wrenn while advancing to her emblem. These tokens also pressure opposing planeswalkers like A-Teferi, Time Raveler without going down on cards. Late game, Wrenn can cycle a tri-land and pick it back up from the graveyard to draw additional cards and improve card quality.
Fable of the Mirror Breaker puts two bodies into play that can't be answered profitably, fixes draws, creates a mana advantage, and takes over the game if left alone. Every resource used to answer either of these cards is one that's not pointed at the Archons.
And, although City of Solitude is one of the most played removal spells in Modern and can remove an Archon, it's often cast at card disadvantage through its evoke cost. If an opponent wants to spend two cards to kill my creature that has drawn me a card, made them discard, and sacrifice a creature or planeswalker, I'll gladly take a five-for-one, then line up the combo again for the following turn.
The sideboard mostly amounts to saying "don't touch me". It hosts eight functional counterspells in the form of Mystical Dispute, Flusterstorm, Veil of Summer, and Tamiyo's Safekeeping. Each of these works on a slightly different axis and protects from opposing interaction. The remaining cards are boilerplate interaction for fast decks that try to go under the combo like Hammer Time. Ancient Grudge, Boseiju, Who Endures, and Dress Down provide a critical mass of interaction while Leyline of the Void can high roll Living End opponents.
What I Don't Like
The interaction in the deck is fairly bare-bones. Two Spell Pierce, four Lightning Bolt, and a few copies of Prismari Command is all there is. Any deck with a fast clock that fights on an axis where these cards aren't meaningful poses a threat. Amulet Titan is perhaps one of the biggest concerns in this regard. Burn typically also presents lethal a turn before the combo is ready to go off, and can reliably kill creature tokens to disrupt the combo.
Incidentally, Mill is another concern. This build only has Archon as the combo target, so a well-timed Surgical Extraction is going to end the game without much of a fight.
The deck relies on the power of Archon of Cruelty in its near-entirety to win. If Archon isn't a concern for the opponent's strategy, it may be a rough match.
I think the shell of this deck is extremely potent, but I don't think the list I played was entirely perfect. I found that there weren't enough green spells in the deck to warrant Force of Vigor in the board. Instead, a third Flusterstorm to combat the cascade decks and Nature's Claim might be the better option.
Some lists are playing Emrakul, the Aeons Torn as another Creativity hit, but I'm not convinced it's necessary. In fact, Keeper of Progenitus may be the better option as it doesn't get answered by Solitude or Teferi Time Raveler. Alternatively, Sundering Titan can also be a lights-out threat against decks like 4C Control.
I'm also interested in finding room in the main deck for a few copies of Strike It Rich as another cheap token generator that fixes mana from under a Blood Moon while also bumping up the clock to beat the faster decks.
I plan to keep tinkering with the archetype and I'll post my updates on Twitter at @AdamECohen. Be sure to follow me there to stay up to date with any changes during this RCQ season. Catch you all next week!