Recovering Hope with Lotus Combo in Pioneer

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In today’s video, I’m stepping a bit out of my comfort zone to play an awesome new version of an established powerhouse in Pioneer: Lotus Combo. So far I've played one league with this deck on Magic: Online (finishing 3-2), and a four-round weekly at my local game store (LGS). I lost in the finals in a mirror match where my opponent outplayed me thanks to their better familiarity with the deck.

I'm still learning the deck and working to finish building it in paper, but I'm having a ton of fun playing. If you like heart-pounding games and piloting decks with a ton of decisions and a high ceiling this may be an amazing choice for you at your next RCQ.

Chandra, You're Our Only Hope

Chandra, Hope's Beacon is the new hotness for this deck. She allows you to play as few win conditions as possible, which as an Azorius Control player at heart I really appreciate. You may be looking at the deck and asking yourself "How in the world does this deck actually win?" The answer: looping Chandra, Hope's Beacons with Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuarys over and over until your opponent's life hits zero.

How the Combo Works

Let's assume that we already have two Lotus Fields in play. To combo off, we need at least two Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuarys and a Chandra, Hope's Beacon in our hand and/or graveyard.

Let's say we have all three in our hand. First, we play Chandra, Hope's Beacon followed by a Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary. This triggers Chandra, Hope's Beacon's passive ability, which copies the first instant or sorcery we cast with her on the battlefield. It is important to note that it's the first instant or sorcery that we cast with her on the battlefield, not the first of the turn. If it only copied the first of the turn the combo wouldn't work.

With the first Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary, we want to return something in our graveyard that untaps lands, typically a Hidden Strings or a Pore Over the Pages. That way we can untap our Lotus Field and continue our combo.

Ok, once we have a card that can untap our Lotus Fields, we can grab literally anything with our second copy. Next, we minus X for five on Chandra, Hope's Beacon's ultimate ability, targeting our opponent. Then we can cast the other Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary in our hand to return Chandra, Hope's Beacon to hand.

From there we just repeat the process until our opponent is dead and we win the game. Easy peasy, right? Maybe not, but I promise that once you see it in action you will get the idea quickly. The combo becomes even less convoluted when we get to cast Emergent Ultimatum.

Emergent Piles

The easiest path to victory is by having multiple Lotus Field's in play untapping them and casting Emergent Ultimatum. That's the simple part. The question then becomes what cards do we get after it resolves?

My Favorite Emergent Pile

The answer can be nuanced and contextual, but generally, the best pile is Chandra, Hope's Beacon, Behold the Beyond, and Omniscience. The reason is that no matter what they give us, we can typically win with only one untap effect. Say they give us Chandra, Hope's Beacon and Behold the Beyond—which is typical when you present these three cards, because who wants to make their opponent's spells free? Assuming they give us these two, we can put Behold the Beyond on the stack after Chandra, Hope's Beacon that way Chandra resolves last. Trust me, we don't want to copy Behold the Beyond.

From there we can get Hidden Strings, Pore Over the Pages, and Dark Petition. We Strings the Lotus Fields, cast Pore Over the Pages, and then depending on what we draw off of Pour, go get Bala Ged Recovery. Sometimes we can just grab Omniscience from the Dark Petition because we have so much mana. From there all our spells from hand are free.

Emergent Piles With Lier

Another Pile we can get is Chandra, Hope's Beacon, Behold the Beyond and A-Lier, Disciple of the Drowned. This is best when we have a graveyard stacked full of untap spells. It allows us to resolve Chandra, Hope's Beacon and A-Lier, Disciple of the Drowned and from there go off with all the Pore Over the Pages and/or Hidden Strings in our graveyard. Otherwise, we just go get our three best cards with Behold the Beyond and win from there.

Something to keep in mind is that if we play Lier and Omniscience, the cards we cast from the graveyard via Lier aren’t free. We must be mindful of that when making decisions based on Omniscience and Lier.

Other Emergent Piles

The amazing thing about this deck is that there are seemingly countless piles we can grab depending on the situation. The deck is extremely flexible on how it sets up wins. Even if the main board win condition is always looping Chandra, Hope's Beacon over and over again with Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary.

The Decklist

Don't Miss the Video!

Now that you know some of the lines and why I like this version of Lotus Combo it's time to go and watch the video! If you are anticipating a midrange meta full of Rakdos Mid and Fires at your next RCQ this is a great option that has game in many different scenarios! Go check out the gameplay video and don't forget to Like and Subscribe to the Quiet Speculation YouTube Channel!

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LessAlex, AKA Alex Blackard, is a Magic: The Gathering content creator who is passionate about playing Control decks in Constructed, particularly in the Pioneer, Modern, Explorer, and Historic formats. He also enjoys experimenting with combo decks and brewing up new and exciting strategies to stay ahead of the competition. With a focus on in-depth strategy breakdowns and gameplay, LessAlex offers a unique perspective on the game that is both entertaining and informative. His competitive resume includes a Top 4 at an SCG Open in 2014, splitting an NRG Trial in 2017, as well as countless SCG IQ Top 8s and Game Day wins. He hosts The Control Freak Podcast where he discusses playing Control decks in Constructed, and brings on guests including prominent players and creators to share their expertise. You can catch him streaming on Twitch weekdays at 9 am, and on his YouTube Channel for even more content.

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Posted in Deck Overview, Free, Gameplay, March of the Machines, PioneerTagged , , , , , , , ,

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