Breaking the Sundial in Modern

sundial-of-the-infinite-title

[c]Sundial of the Infinite[/c] has the unique ability to end your turn. At least for Modern there is no other card that can do this. Intrigued by this, the question for me was how to benefit from that.

How can we break this card? Why is ending your turn a good thing? What does it do?

sundial-of-the-infinite-cardThe short answer is the stack will be emptied which means that everything on the stack will be countered. This includes abilities and spells that usually cannot be countered.

First let’s have a look at what you can do with this without combining it with other cards.

Ending your own turn is beneficial if your opponent tries to fetch a land at the end of your turn (your opponent won’t get any land if you respond to the trigger from the fetch land). You can counter flash creatures by ending your turn which forces your opponent to play [c]Restoration Angel[/c] or [c]Deceiver Exarch[/c] or [c]Pestermite[/c] in their own turn forcing them to tap out (which makes it harder for them to counter spells that you play in your own turn).

So in itself the Sundial is an okay card against [c]Splinter Twin[/c] combo. Moreover, you can prevent undying or persisting creatures from coming back – which I most of the time use against [c]Kitchen Finks[/c]. And last but not least you will be able to counter instant removal of your creatures.

With this in mind I did some research. I watched a video on Channel Fireball with a Legacy brew which got me excited. The only other list I found came from tcdecks.net.

But I did not want to build a true combo deck that is centered totally on [c]Sundial of the Infinite[/c] because in my opinion non-blue combo decks always struggle to get their pieces together. There is just not enough quality card draw or tutoring in Modern and it is difficult to force the combo through without counterspell backup. So I wanted a synergy-deck that has combo potential but all the individual pieces should work together but not be worthless on their own.

sundial-of-the-infinite-header

After some thirty matches my actual list looks like this:

[d title=”Breaking Sundial (Modern)”]
Lands
4 Ghost Quarter
7 Plains
4 Clifftop Retreat
4 Sacred Foundry
1 Rugged Prairie
2 Mountain
1 Temple of Triumph

Creatures
3 Flickerwisp
2 Akroma, Angel of Fury
2 Blade Splicer
1 Sun Titan
3 Wall of Omens
4 Glimmerpoint Stag

Spells
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lightning Helix
3 Path to Exile

Artifacts
4 Æther Vial
4 Sundial of the Infinite
3 Mimic Vat

Sideboard
4 Rest in Peace
1 Path to Exile
2 Wear/Tear
4 Anger of the Gods
4 Leyline of Sanctity
[/d]

The deck itself is a RW Midrange deck. [c]Lightning Bolt[/c], [c]Lightning Helix[/c], and [c]Path to Exile[/c] are in it to keep you alive by eliminating early threats.

[c]Aether Vial[/c] makes your creatures hard to counter – and you can use the Vial to enter [c]Glimmerpoint Stag[/c] or [c]Flickerwisp[/c] at the end of your opponents turn to exile a permanent. The exiled permanent will come back at your end step so it will be away for a whole turn which sometimes is a very good thing. This is also good for countering things like [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c]’s ability or the casting of [c]Splinter Twin[/c]. The idea is borrowed from Hatebears where it works well.

[c]Wall of Omens[/c] draws you a card, blocks early aggression, and helps a lot to improve the matchup vs [c]Birthing Pod[/c] and [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c]. Also the wall is a very good target for Flickerwisp and Glimmerpoint Stag.

[c]Flickerwisp[/c] and [c]Glimmerpoint Stag[/c] are the all-stars of this deck – they interact with everything. They pair very well with [c]Blade Splicer[/c] by giving you extra golem tokes and if you use them on a morphed [c]Akroma[/c] you get her back face-up which is pretty good.

It is even more fun when you get the Sundial. The “return the exiled permanent” trigger of both Flickerwisp and Glimmerpoint Stag will only trigger once. By using the sundial’s ability in response to the return trigger you will empty the stack and the permanent will stay exiled forever. So you can remove anything including lands.

Add [c]Mimic Vat[/c] to the mix. Together with the Sundial the Vat is just broken. For three mana you get a token with haste, usually some sort of awesome ETB effect, and then for one more mana, you end your turn with Sundial and the token, which would have been exiled, gets to stick around for good. Awesome.

Loose Ends: Sun Titan and the Mana Base

Right now I am unable to decide if [c]Battlefield Forge[/c] is better than [c]Clifftop Retreat[/c]. And I don’t know if [c]Arid Mesa[/c] might be better than both of them. I decided against fetch lands because of the Sundial (I did not want to be in a situation where I have to end the turn while my fetch trigger is on the stack).

[c]Sun Titan[/c] is some sort of a wild card. It is expensive. It is defensive. But so far it won me every duel in which I could resolve it. Still my mind is not settled on this card.

A Look at the Sideboard

[c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c]: Good vs Burn, the discard/rack deck, and [c]Ad Nauseam[/c] combo. Mediocre but better than nothing vs [c]Scapeshift[/c]. I usually board out Sun Titan and Path to Exile.

[c]Rest in Peace[/c]: Comes in vs Cruise Control and [c]Dig through Time[/c]. It is great against [c]Living End[/c] and it’s okay if your opponent is heavily relying on [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c]. Also helps against [c]Gifts Ungiven[/c]/[c]Unburial Rites[/c] combo. The Sun Titan and the Mimic Vats are replaced because Rest in Peace shuts them down.

[c]Anger of the Gods[/c]: If the eleven removal spells from the main deck just aren’t enough then this will help. It comes in vs random aggro decks like Zoo or the occasional Goblins or Merfolk decks and it helps against Affinity. I replace Sun Titan, both Akromas, and a Glimmerpoint Stag with it.

[c]Wear / Tear[/c]: I use it against Affinity because I cannot use [c]Stony Silence[/c] (it will lock down my own artifacts). It is good vs [c]Splinter Twin[/c] and [c]Birthing Pod[/c], too.

[c]Path to Exile[/c]: Sometimes the three damage of Lightning Bolt or Lightning Helix are not enough – either because the creature I kill comes back or because the toughness is four or greater. In these situations I bring in the Path.

That’s it for now. I hope you will give this (cheap) list a try and come up with some improvements. If you want to try it out I recommend using a “stop” in your own end step.

Have fun!

/Tobias

Commander Corner: Feldon of the Third Path

Happy Holidays,

Feldon was one of the most influential mages on his plane. He formed the Third Path, an alliance of mages, artificers, and other intellectuals, on a mission to defeat the Brothers during the Brothers War. During the formation of the Third Path, he met a wonderful Argivian woman named Loran. They fell in love with each other, but were then separated once the Brotherhood of Gix betrayed them.

This betrayal led to the destruction of the Third Path, lead by the powerful artificer Mishra. His juggernauts and other machinations laid waste to all that stood in their path, but some managed to flee. Hurkyl managed to dispach the menacing machines, saving the surviving wizards. These wizards took up Hurkyl’s teachings in a effort to protect themselves, Feldon among them.

During the two lovers’ separation, Loran sought to get the Golgothian Sylex to safety, but was captured by Ashnod. She was tortured and beaten until she gave up information about the Sylex. Afterwards, she managed to escape Ashnod’s clutches. She reunited with Feldon, and they lived together in a small cottage outside of the Ronom Glacier.

Ashnod later used the information she acquired from Loran to use the Sylex. She gave this information to Urza, who used it to deal with Mishra. The blast was the most powerful force in the plane’s history. The activation of the Sylex led to the Ice Age on Dominaria.

During the Ice age, Loran, weakened from age and from the cold, coupled with the wounds she sustained from her run-in with Ashnod, passed on. Feldon fell into madness, fueled with grief over the lost of his love. He tried everything in his power to bring her back to life. He even built an automaton in her image, but then dispatched it, as he was displeased with his work. He knew that this was not the Loran he fell in love with. He made the manikin into a statue over her grave.

Over many years, Feldon sought help in resurrecting his love. He met many mages, each one unable to help him. Finally, he met a white mage who gave him the ability to create a copy of Loran using his memories. After he created a copy of her, he said his goodbyes, and let her go. He decided that closure is all he really wanted in the end. Feldon spent the rest of his days happy, allowing people to use his library, along with his own knowledge for magical research.

[c]Feldon of the Third Path[/c] is a card full of potential and flavor. The card encapsulates a moment in his life when he was searching for a way to bring back his love, Loran. He works exceptionally well with any card with an ETB or death trigger. The ability to abuse him with a few untap effects and the powerful interactions between him and [c]Sundial of the Infinite[/c] can create an unstoppable army of artifacts to beat your opponents into dust. Let’s take a look at what Feldon will bring back to you.

feldon of the third path

“She will come back to me”

[d title=”Feldon of the Third Path (EDH)”]

Commander

1 Feldon of the Third Path

Lands

1 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

26 Snow-Covered Mountain

1 Smoldering Crater

1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep

1 Scrying Sheets

1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

1 Myriad Landscape

1 Miren, the Moaning Well

1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

1 Forgotten Cave

1 Flamekin Village

1 Deserted Temple[/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Zealous Conscripts

1 Wurmcoil Engine

1 Spitebellows

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Rummaging Goblin

1 Purphoros, God of the Forge

1 Precursor Golem

1 Pilgrim’s Eye

1 Myr Battlesphere

1 Mogg War Marshal

1 Mindclaw Shaman

1 Manic Vandal

1 Mad Prophet

1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

1 Keldon Firebombers

1 It That Betrays

1 Ingot Chewer

1 Inferno Titan

1 Flametongue Kavu

1 Firemaw Kavu

1 Duplicant

1 Burnished Hart

1 Beetleback Chief

1 Balefire Dragon

1 Avalanche Riders

1 Academy Raider[/d]

[d]

Instants

1 Smash to Smithereens

1 Skred

1 Lightning Bolt

1 Lightning Axe

1 Incinerate

1 Fling

1 Firestorm

1 Comet Storm

1 Chaos Warp

Sorceries

1 Vandalblast

1 Mizzium Mortars

1 Gamble

1 Faithless Looting

1 Chain Lightning

Enchantments

1 Warstorm Surge

1 Vicious Shadows

1 Pandemonium[/d]

[d]

Artifacts

1 Thran Dynamo

1 Thousand-Year Elixir

1 Sundial of the Infinite

1 Staff of Domination

1 Sol Ring

1 Skullclamp

1 Sensei’s Divining Top

1 Rings of Brighthearth

1 Nevinyrral’s Disk

1 Mind Stone

1 Magewright’s Stone

1 Helm of Possession

1 Gilded Lotus

1 Gauntlet of Power

1 Feldon’s Cane

1 Extraplanar Lens

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Commander’s Sphere

1 Caged Sun

[/d]

With some looting and plenty of enter the battlefield, deals combat damage, or death triggers, this deck is at its best with Feldon in play. The deck can run by itself, but kicks it into high gear when Feldon is on the battlefield. Being able to use this [c]Kiki-Jiki[/c]-esque effect after your threats are dealt with is extremely powerful, forcing your opponent to commit more resources to dealing with a card they already dealt with before. There are downsides to this style of deck, as you will be running sub-optimally without Feldon in play.

The standard gamut of creatures that one would expect to see with this style of deck are [c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c], [c]Precursor Golem[/c], [c]Myr Battlesphere[/c], [c]It That Betrays[/c], [c]Inferno Titan[/c], and [c]Balefire Dragon[/c]. These creatures will be able to take control over the game and really do a number on your opponents. The plus for this deck is that a creature is never really dealt with unless it’s exiled. I would argue that having the ability to make a creature token based from a creature in the graveyard is more powerful then making a token copy of a creature on the field. Even after your opponent spends a card dealing with the threat originally, they still have to deal with it when you bring it back with Feldon’s ability each turn. There are also various looters to help fuel your graveyard while providing some card advantage.

One card that most lists don’t take full advantage of is [c]Sundial of the Infinite[/c]. This bizarre card is actually exactly what any Feldon deck is looking for. Being able to end the turn at any time during your turn is a powerful interaction with Feldon, as you get to keep the tokens you make with him. This combo can easily overwhelm your opponent with your powerful creatures. It’s going to be hard for any opponent to come back after having to deal with an army of [c]Balefire Dragon[/c]s or [c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c]s. This deck takes some time to set up, but has a snowball effect, since you’re going to be generating so much advantage out of each creature you play.

Thank you for checking out this week’s Commander Corner. If you guys or gals have any suggestions for a new commander you want me to take a look at, let me know in the comments below. Next week, we build a toolbox. See you next week my friends, and happy holidays.

-Steven Gulsby