Welcome, welcome. Have a seat. Would you like some Emmental? Gouda? Or maybe just some good ol’ cheddar because on the menu today we have a platter of cheesy cheesy combos. Finding a sweet combo is one of the coolest things about Magic and today we’ll have a look at ten of them that I think are particularly ripe. They’re not ranked by their power level but simply by how fun, odd, obscure or downright bonkers they are. Try them yourself with some grapes and crackers or maybe just spread them on a bit of toast. Mmmm. Cheesy.
1. Crucible of Worlds + Strip Mine
Ah, cheddar. You are so obvious, so common, yet so potent. That’s why when I slice you and lay you like a land, you just keep coming back to that infinite cheese wheel. Is that how cheese works? Never mind. It’s certainly how Crucible of Worlds plus any land that goes to the graveyard works.
The most simple interaction that Crucible has is with fetchlands. You sack a fetch, get a land and next turn play that same fetch again, never to run out of lands again. But that’s about as dull as cheese in a spray can. We can make it better. With Strip Mine.
Yes, that does mean you can effectively destroy a land every single turn. And if you successfully cast Crucible already and there’s no artifact removal in sight, the only way your opponents can interact with the combo is through Stifle effects. But even then, only just for that one turn as you can keep playing that Strip Mine from your graveyard. Want a little spice in that Ploughman’s sandwich? Add something like Fastbond and now you’ve got lunch served. No lands. For anyone. Ever.
2. Deadeye Navigator + Peregrine Drake
What is better than cheese? Infinite cheese. Fields and fields of mozzarella floating in the never-ending packet of brine that forms the expanse of our known and unknown universe. Uh oh. That got a little weird. Well, never mind, back to Deadeye Navigator and the stupendously ridiculous things it can do.
Here’s a card that combos with so many things that could fill an article like this on its own. Do you want to draw cards? Pair it with Mulldrifter. Do you want to destroy lands? Here are some Avalanche Riders. Maybe some extra creatures? Pair it with Armada Wurm or, let’s get crazy here, Desolation Twin. In the world of cheesy Magic, you either go big or go home.
But I like infinite mana best and Peregrine Drake is too cute to say no to. Every time you bounce him you have a net gain of 3 mana. It’s just cray cray. What’s even more solid is the fact that as long as you keep some mana up, no matter what you combo Deadeye Navigator with, you can always protect it by bouncing Deadeye Navigator itself and then re-pairing it with anything you like. And nothing short of Wrath of God-like effects can stop it.
3. Laboratory Maniac + Enter the Infinite
OK by now you know that I’ve eaten four pounds of Yarg and entered a cheese induced coma where all I’m experiencing are some sort of bizarre lactose-fueled nightmares. But I don’t care. I want to have it all. Like some sort of a maniac… You can see where this segue is going.
What I love about Laboratory Maniac is that it’s so appropriately named. It’s the silliest “you either win or lose” card that’s ever been made. All it takes for anyone to interrupt the combo and actually make you lose the game immediately is to kill the mad cheez-whiz-ard.
But what really rounds out this package is the fact that you’re not just milling someone, you’re milling yourself and that’s how you legitimately are going to try and win the game. And just because this is such an all or nothing card, we’re pairing it with another all or nothing card. Please welcome Enter the Infinite. I mean, they were almost made for each other. If you have fourteen mana. Twelve to cast Enter and then the remaining two for the two Quicken you just drew… A boy can dream, right?
4. Show and Tell + Omniscience
Imagine you could go to your local French market, find the stall that has all the Brie and Gruyere and Mimolette and… and… and… you can have it all for free and carry it and eat it and it’s all fine. It’s all completely fine. I mean, ALL THE CHEESE. You just went into cardiac arrest. It’s fine. Don’t worry. Have another bite. I’ll fix up an IV solution.
You know all those cards you always wanted to cast but never could because it costs too much? It’s OK. Omniscience comes in and says you can do it. Right now. It’s free. The only problem being that Omniscience costs more than most of those cards on your list. Just imagine the possibilities. You cast Omniscience, then just casually drop Griselbrand like no one’s boss on the table and whisper those three magic words: I draw seven.
But the lolcat inside you is saying: how does cardz lol? It’s true, ten mana is prohibitive, but that’s where Show and Tell comes in. The weird thing about Show and Tell is that it’s a very symmetrical effect, so it only takes your opponent having something better in their hand than you do to completely backfire. But who cares, right? We just want to cast everything.
5. Ob Nixilis, the Fallen + Genesis Wave
Most kids have dreams of what they want to be when they grow up. Some kids want to be astronauts. Others want to be clowns (seriously, what’s wrong with people)? I just want to build a massive cheese ramp out of bouncy mozzarella and reach for the skies. For all you ramp lovers, here’s a card that makes all your wishes come true.
For Genesis Wave to work you need loads of mana. How you get there is up to you. You probably want to ramp there with green mana dorks or some such. Just don’t put any instants or sorceries in your deck as each of them is one less card you can play if you revealed it off of the cheese wave. Or you can go infinite mana with things like Rings of Brighthearth and Basalt Monolith.
But when you cast Genesis Wave for like ten or another big silly number, you win the game. Except for the part where you get to be really creative in how you win the game. Ob Nixilis is a great choice here because we all know he’s a cheese demon and a planeswalker to boot. Not only does he just stone cold kill your opponent, but he puts some counters on himself, just because, you know. Why not. It’s the combo equivalent of “I still had all these in my hand.” Gotta love it.
6. Norin the Wary + Confusion in the Ranks
You know who likes cheese? Mice. But there’s one thing I don’t get at all. How do they end up having it? Cheese lives in fridges, market stalls or on top of mountains. How do the mice get to it? They’re scared tiny timid little things and run away at the first sight of any potential for trouble. Just like the star of our show – Mr. Norin Waryngton
He’s twenty-six years old, works as an accountant in Cleobury Morton, Shropshire and drives a white sedan. And he literally, literally, for the love of all that’s holy, cannot stay on the battlefield. So what use is he then? Well, it turns out there are quite a few ways to abuse a creature that runs away and keeps coming back all the time.
The easiest way of getting value from his triggers is Genesis Chamber, because that will make you a never-ending stream of 1/1 Myr tokens. But why settle for puny oneones when you can have your opponent’s creatures instead? That’s right. With Confusion in the Ranks, every time your opponent casts a creature, Norin will run away, then come back, and then steal that creature. Or any other creature they have for that matter. Ah, good ol’ cheese.
7. Aurelia, the Warleader + Felhide Spiritbinder
Finally, that giant slab of Parmesan fell out of the sky and hit you square on the head and now you’re off to meet the dairy queen in heaven. It’s not all bad, except for all the battle-driven angels with lightning swords that await you there. One of them is Aurelia.
Do you like attacking? Because Aurelia says that not only can you attack, but you can also attack again. But just the once. Which, you might think is fine. That’s a fair deal, right? Pssst. Come here. Right into this alley and look inside my dodgy trench coat. I’ve got some more attacks I’m willing to sell to you, for a cheap cheap price of two mana.
Felhide Spiritbinder seems like an odd card as it has very specific conditions that make it do interesting things. Conditions that are hard to fulfill unless you happen to be Aurelia, the Warleader. Seriously, these cards are made for each other. But the key thing is, if you happen to have two Birds of Paradise in play, you can make… wait for it… that’s right. Infinite attacks.
8. Intruder Alarm + Presence of Gond
It’s number eight. I am tired now. All these cheese jokes are just, really… cheesy. I can’t carry on like this anymore. Maybe there’s a good pun here somewhere? Wait a minute. It’s Christmas. Cheesonal greetings? No, that’s just terrible. How about we just focus on the combos.
Talking of Christmas, elves! They make presents so naturally that means that moar elves = moar presents. How about all the elves? Well, Presence of Gond, enchanted onto any creature can make an elf and that’s a start.
The card is obviously not very busted but Intruder Alarm is so so busted. Any card that gives you alternative means for untapping just has that odour of potential about it, like a good Danish blue. Put them together and what have you got? Magical Christmas land. I love this game.
9. Mycosynth Lattice + Hurkyl’s Recall
You know what the cheesiest film ever made is? Total Recall. Well, this card is kind of like that but only it’s called Hurkyl’s Recall. No one really knows who Hurkyl is. Perhaps he was a cheese maker of yore (or yesteryear, insert preferred anachronistic nomenclature). But we do know one thing. That dude sure didn’t like artifacts.
Bouncing all the artifacts is no big deal, unless of course your opponent is playing something like Affinity or another artifact-based deck. Bouncing all creatures in play gets better. If we get to bounce all non-land permanents, well we’re entering the realm of some good effects. But everything? Including lands? We’re entering the realm of Upheaval. And if you’ve ever played Cube, you know just how busted a card that is.
That’s what Mycosynth Lattice helps you achieve. Hurkyl’s Recall is not the only card we can combo with it for massive value. March of the Machines for example will immediately send all the lands (yours and your opponents’) to the graveyard and Vandalblast will simply wipe away everything your opponent has (including his dreams). But a two mana Upheaval? It’s hard to say no to that.
10. Upheaval + The Cheese Stands Alone
Talking of Upheaval. Okay. I know I’ve gone way overboard here, but you gotta give me props for commitment. Not only did I find a card that is basically a massive wedge of superhero cheese with an eerie lipsticked smile worthy of Fran Drescher, but I also have a combo with it that literally means you win the game. The plan is simple. First, have twelve mana (told you it’s simple). Then tap all the mana. You have twelve floating. Then cast Upheaval. You have six mana. Then cast the cheese. You win!
Also I win. The internet. But this is just the tip of the cheeseberg. The cards are listed in ascending order, so this is definitely no top 10. That’s because there are so many two-card combos out there. Some of them are super efficient, others are silly and ‘win more’. But that’s cool anyway. We all have different ways we like to play Magic and we all have our pet combos. Let me know in the comments what are some of yours. Until then,
UPDATE: It turns out you need to not have any cards in your hand either. That’s fine, all you need is one more mana and One With Nothing. Technically, it’s a three card combo. But it’s super cheesy so it totally counts!