Hello everyone, and welcome back for another deck guide here at Card Kingdom! This week, I’ll be covering one of Modern’s rising combo decks: Indomitable Creativity.
For the last month or so, Indomitable Creativity has been showing up more and more when I’ve pulled up the results from MTGO Challenges. Combo decks are coming into their own to disrupt the midrange arms race, and it’s been a breath of fresh air for players that aren’t all that interested in the grind. Today, we’re going to look at what makes Indomitable Creativity a solid choice for this coming weekend’s events!
What’s the Plan?
Before I break down the individual cards, let’s talk about the core strategy and game plan of the Indomitable Creativity deck. At a base level, Indomitable Creativity is a combo-control deck, similar to the beloved Splinter Twin. A combo-control deck aims to use removal and counterspells to disrupt opponents and stay alive long enough to put together a combo finish.
Indomitable Creativity is looking to turn a token (usually a Treasure or a Dwarf token) into either Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Velomachus Lorehold. Emrakul will often end the game on the spot, because most Modern decks naturally deal damage to themselves in the early turns with fetch and shock lands. But even if your opponent is at a healthy life total, Emrakul may effectively end the game thanks to its annihilator 6 ability, which should give you enough time to find a way to win. Lightning Bolt, Fire, and Dwarf tokens can always take care of the remaining life points left over.
Velomachus is the more value-oriented threat, but it still has combo potential. Casting a free spell when you attack with your 5/5 with flying, vigilance, and haste is already a powerful option, but it gets even better with Time Warp. It doesn’t take many free turns to close the game out with the big Boros Dragon.
Prismatic Ending, Fire // Ice, Lightning Bolt, Hard Evidence, and Prismari Command are the cards that keep you alive through the early aggression. Prismatic Ending has already made a name for itself as one of the most impactful removal spells in Modern, so I’m not surprised that we’re seeing the full set in a deck with access to four colors.
Fire // Ice started its run in Modern as a roleplayer in Cascade decks. Over time, slower blue decks (typically Jeskai) started to adopt it as an answer to Ragavan, Dragon’s Rage Channeler, Esper Sentinel, and other powerful one-toughness creatures. Ice isn’t a hard removal spell, but because Indomitable Creativity has a combo win, it doesn’t need to be. Saving a chunk of life by tapping a Tarmogoyf or Murktide Regent while drawing a card is exactly what this deck wants. Fire // Ice teams up with Lightning Bolt to hold down the fort early, kill a pesky Teferi, Time Raveler, or simply finish off the opponent.
Hard Evidence (a.k.a. the blue Thraben Inspector) is a new addition to the deck. A 0/3 is almost as effective as a removal spell at stopping most early creatures, and picking up a Clue token is a pretty solid deal for just one mana. The Clue pulls double duty, as it can either find a copy of Creativity or serve as a target for one!
Prismari Command does so much for this deck. You can filter two cards and accelerate toward the combo or a much-needed removal spell, and it’s even better when you have Wrenn and Six to pick up discarded lands. The “destroy target artifact” mode will prevent you from getting run over by Hammer Time before you can set up, and it can also take care of Ensnaring Bridge. Making a Treasure also provides a target for Indomitable Creativity. Tacking a Shock onto any of these modes makes the matches against creature decks a lot more competitive.
Wrenn and Six is likely the best planeswalker in Modern right now. Wrenn‘s plus picks up a fetch land to make sure you continue to hit your land drops, reducing your risk of stumbling on the way to turning a Dwarf into an Eldrazi Titan. Better yet, the first few fetch lands you pick up are effectively more copies of Dwarven Mine. Wrenn‘s minus ability is also strong, for the same reasons that Fire is a good fit for the deck. Generally, planeswalker ultimates will win you the game if you get to use one, and Wrenn is no different. Time Warp with a Wrenn and Six emblem gives you as many turns as you want, provided that you have a Wrenn to activate every turn.
Teferi, Time Raveler effectively beats all the hate your opponent might have for your combo. Teferi‘s plus ability allows you to cast Indomitable Creativity at instant speed, which is great if you want to play Emrakul (not so much with Velomachus). Putting an Emrakul into play on your opponent’s end step with a Teferi in play effectively gives it haste, removing the possibility that your opponent can deal with it before it gets to trigger at least once. Meanwhile, Teferi‘s minus cleans up Ensnaring Bridge, Alpine Moon, Blood Moon, and Containment Priest, among other things, all while drawing a card. But wait, there’s more! Teferi‘s static ability beats counterspells, which are likely the most common way opponents will interact with you.
Nahiri, the Harbinger is one of your best enablers, as it does everything this deck wants to be doing. Rummaging every turn mitigates bad draws, while digging you closer to whatever you need. Nahiri‘s -2 will answer problem cards, but creatures are slightly harder to remove, as they have to be tapped. And her ultimate is another game winner. Should you get to -8 Nahiri, you’ll be searching for Emrakul and attacking for 15, all while clearing out a chunk of your opponent’s board.
Looking at WaToO’s sideboard, it’s pretty clear which decks they want to target. Blossoming Calm is a gamebreaker against Burn, and it can also have some utility against discard-heavy opponents. Veil of Summer, Dovin’s Veto, and Mystical Dispute are all great against opposing counterspells. Wear // Tear is another out to Blood Moon and Alpine Moon, while giving you a great card against Hammer Time and other Urza’s Saga decks. And adding four copies of Obsidian Charmaw to your sideboard is an “I don’t want to lose to Tron” statement, if I’ve ever seen one.
Flusterstorm can still be a problem, despite all the anti-counterspell sideboard cards we have here. Just about every blue deck has access to Flusterstorm in the sideboard for the Cascade decks, which makes it fairly likely that you’ll play against it. The two best cards at beating Flusterstorm are Veil of Summer and your own copies of Flusterstorm. Picking up a couple copies in place of some of the Dovin’s Vetoes seems like a solid call going forward.
Metagame position is important to look at before you pick up a deck, if your plan is to be competitive. Before we wrap up, let’s take a look at the best and worst match-ups for this deck, and how to prepare for them.
Jund Saga, Rakdos, and Mardu Lurrus are some of the best decks for Indomitable Creativity to sit across from. None of these decks has an incredibly fast clock, and they may struggle to interact with spells on the stack. Stem the early bleeding with your high density of removal spells, and the rest should be smooth sailing.
Crashing Footfalls can only be so good against a deck with four copies of Teferi, Time Raveler in the main deck. Six sideboard counterspells to back up Teferi means that the opponent is unlikely to resolve Crashing Footfalls.
Eldrazi Tron has creatures that are more resilient to Fire // Ice and Prismatic Ending, but they’re more expensive than most creatures in Modern. They can’t apply much early pressure, so you should have plenty of time to find your own Eldrazi friend.
The last thing Mill wants to see is a main deck copy of Emrakul. You can shuffle your graveyard into your deck whenever they flip the Eldrazi Titan into your graveyard. Mill has Tasha’s Hideous Laughter to potentially exile your Emrakul, but you should still be able to buy enough time to slam a Creativity.
Izzet Murktide is among the worst things for an Indomitable Creativity deck to see. Not only do they have a fast clock thanks to Ragavan, Dragon’s Rage Channeler, and Murktide Regent, but they’re also filled to the brim with counterspells. Finding a Teferi, Time Raveler is your best chance in this match-up.
Azorius Control, while not flush with ways to win the game, can make it nearly impossible for Indomitable Creativity to resolve. Dovin’s Veto, Veil of Summer, Mystical Dispute, and Teferi, Time Raveler are your best options here. Engineering a turn four Teferi with either Veil of Summer or Mystical Dispute is likely to be the best draw available to you.
Burn has little in the way of disruption, but can easily win on speed alone. That said, creature-heavy hands from Burn are what Indomitable Creativity likes to see, since you’re heavy on removal and light on counters. Dovin’s Veto and Blossoming Calm will serve you well out of the sideboard, but be mindful of Deflecting Palm in post-board games.
Grixis Shadow is another rough match-up, which combines early aggressive creatures with discard spells and counterspells. As with the other counterspell-heavy match-ups, landing and protecting a Teferi will be your best bet here.
If you’re looking to pick up one of the hottest new combo decks in Modern, Indomitable Creativity is a great choice. Hopefully this guide has answered any questions you may have about the archetype, or even given you a solid introduction to build on! As always, you can find me on Twitter at @RappaciousOne for questions and comments. Until next week, be well and stay Creative!
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.