There is a lot going on in the white section of my Powered Synergy Cube. The first thing one might notice is that white has substantially fewer cards than the other colors. This is because it is the main supporting color for artifacts, so many of the colorless cards like Arcbound Ravager are really white cards in disguise. This isn’t to say that you have to run them in a white deck, but because most of the supporting cards are in white this deck ends up heavily white more often than not. So keep in mind that when drafting white, colorless cards are part of the signals you should be looking for in the draft.
These cards are indicative of the major archetypes in white, and there’s a lot of them. Second Sunrise combo, artifact combo, persist combo, blink, artifact aggro and enduring renewal. I’ll go through each.
Second Sunrise Combo
This is perhaps the most unique and strange archetype in the entire cube so it merits mentioning first. There are three key enablers to look for: Brought Back, Second Sunrise and Faith's Reward. All of these cards have the ability to bring back permanents that left the battlefield that turn. Initially, many might think these cards are mostly just to protect your creatures from wrath effects and ignore them in the draft, but they can do so much more than that.
First, they work on any permanent, not just creatures. In a cube with three playsets of fetchlands, having lands leave the battlefield is not very difficult to set up. Imagine on turn two cracking two fetchlands, then casting Brought Back to get them back into play as an instant speed double rampant growth. Even something simple like Crop Rotation for Strip Mine can be really powered up through these cards, bringing both the land sacrificed to crop rotation and the strip mine itself back to play under your control. Since Brought Back has the limitation of only working on two permanents, it is mostly useful for value plays like these (and as an enabler for some infinite combos as we will see later). The other two, Second Sunrise and Faith's Reward, however, can go much bigger.
These cards also work quite well with artifacts that sacrifice themselves. Imagine the following sequence: On turn two you sacrifice two fetchlands, crack Chromatic Star for blue and sacrifice Mox Ruby to Tinker, which fetches up Lotus Bloom from your library. You sacrifice the lotus bloom for triple white and cast Second Sunrise. This will return your fetchlands, Chromatic Star, Mox Ruby and the Lotus Bloom back into play. For three mana, Second Sunrise gave you two additional land drops, your mox, chromatic star and lotus bloom back into play. You can imagine this scenario could go completely off the rails if you did this on a later turn and instead tinkered for Krark-Clan Ironworks, sacrificed all of your artifacts to the KCI (including itself), then cast Second Sunrise. You could generate tons of mana and value (returning cards like Ichor Wellspring and Experimental Synthesizer back into play).
Perhaps you have Zuran Orb with Valakut Exploration and Conjurer's Bauble in play. You sacrifice two fetchlands, then sacrifice all of your lands to Zuran Orb before casting Faith's Reward. This brings back your two fetchlands, the bauble plus however many other lands you originally hand in play as well. Each triggers off Valakut Exploration to dig you a card deeper into your deck. Eventually you hit Second Sunrise from the exiled cards. If you started with 6 lands in play (two of them are fetchlands), you would have 8 lands in play now. You then sacrifice all of those lands plus the bauble (and any other Chromatic Star effects you have found) and cast Second Sunrise. You now have 10 lands in play and likely exiled the rest of your library from Valakut Exploration. You can either pass the turn and win from the damage off of Exploration, or gain infinite mana, life and enter the battlefield triggers by alternatively sacrificing Conjurer's Bauble to bring back the Sunrise and recast it, which in turn gets back the Bauble.
These cards also work in creature based decks with Goblin Bombardment or Blood Artist and a sacrifice outlet. In those situations, Rally The Ancestors also works fairly well too. In these decks, [scrylink]second sunrise[/scrylink] can turbo-charge your existing sacrifice synergies and act like a giant lava axe/ritual/card draw engine all built into one as you sacrifice your entire team and bring them back into play.
To go truly infinite with any of these cards, the easiest enabler is Dualcaster Mage and a sacrifice outlet (the easiest to think about is Goblin Bombardment). You cast Second Sunrise (or any of the other variants), then flash in the Dualcaster, targeting Second Sunrise. This creates a second copy of the spell. You then sacrifice the Dualcaster to the Bombardment and deal 1 damage to your opponent. Second Sunrise resolves, returning Dualcaster Mage back to play which creates another copy of Second Sunrise. You repeat this loop until the opponent dies.
While not entirely one of the “sunrise” cards, Sevinne's Reclamation can actually initiate this combo loop entirely from the graveyard. Flashback reclamation targeting something, the copy targeting Dualcaster Mage. When Dualcaster Mage enters, there is still the original copy of Reclamation of the stack for it to copy. Sacrifice the Mage before the spell gets put onto the stack so you can target it with the new copy of Reclamation. Rinse and repeat.
The next best enabler for going infinite is Eternal Witness]. If you combine it with a creature sacrifice outlet, you can repeatedly trigger their enter the battlefield effect to get Second Sunrise back to hand. You still have to pay the mana to recast the spell though, so having something like Lotus Bloom or Zuran Orb for repeatable mana generation is also required. In the paper version of my cube, Mons's Goblin Waiters is about the best possible card for this role as it can sacrifice both creatures and lands.
If you can get your deck down to zero cards, then Conjurer's Bauble can also work for these loops as you put Second Sunrise on the bottom of a zero card library and then draw into it.
Pyrite Spellbomb is a surprisingly important card in these archetypes. It can act as a win condition (through repeatedly dealing two damage to an opponent) and card draw; but the hidden mode that I want to bring up is as a sacrifice outlet. You can use it to deal damage to a creature like Dualcaster Mage on each of the loops, sending it to the graveyard so it is able to return and continue the loop.
This beast is one of the best possible sacrifice outlets. It is limited in uses, but you also get a 9/7 haste out of the deal!
What can I say? I like to go big. Double casting second sunrise can lead to some very ridiculous things. Pairs best in decks that have Black Lotus or Lion's Eye Diamond with Underworld Breach. If you happen to pull this off successfully, please let me know how it went.
Artifact combo is one of my absolute favorite archetypes available in this cube. You get to combine broken fast mana with broken enablers all in a shell that is essentially colorless. What’s not to love?
For the most part, artifact combo centers around recurring artifacts from your graveyard back to play. The best possible card for this is Scrap Trawler. With this card’s ability, any time an artifact is put into your graveyard from the battlefield you get to return another artifact with lesser converted mana cost from your graveyard to your hand. This is incredibly powerful, as any artifact in your hand can essentially be worth N artifacts, where N is its mana value. First you sacrifice the artifact with mana value N and return something with mana value N-1. You then sacrifice that artifact and return something with mana value N-2, the same for N-3 and so on until you return a zero cost artifact. (Keep in mind, this is not like birthing pod where the returned card must be exactly 1 away in mana value. I’m just showing the best possible scenario, but getting back a 2 drop from a 4 mana artifact is still totally possible and great.)
These three cards are Scrap Trawler‘s best friends. If you end up with a Scrap Trawler, be on high alert for one of these friendly robots. Myr Retriever is obviously the best of the bunch as it costs less mana, but they all get the job done. With a Scrap Trawler and Myr Retriever in play with another artifact that costs more than the Retriever (the best of which is Krark-Clan Ironworks, we’ll discuss this one more in a second), and a sacrifice outlet for artifacts, you can sacrifice both the retriever and the higher cost artifact at the same time. If you do this correctly (more on this later), you get to return the higher cost artifact to play off the Myr Retriever trigger, and return the my retriever back from the Scrap Trawler trigger from the higher converted mana cost card. You also get an additional trigger to return a cheaper card from your graveyard to hand as well. The end result is the ability to get back infinite artifacts that cost 2 or less (or 1 or less, in the case of Myr Retriever).
Aside: There is a lot of nuance to “sacrifice them both at the same time” that I mentioned above. The only way to make two cards see the graveyard at the same time is to hold priority as part of casting a spell or activating an ability. For example, if you have a Pyrite Spellbomb in play you can declare that you are paying the cost for one of its activated abilities. Then as part of paying for that cost, sacrifice the two artifacts in question to Krark-Clan Ironworks. The same is true for if you have a spell in hand you wish to cast. Declare that you are going to cast the spell, to pay for that spell you sacrifice the Myr Retriever then the Ironworks to generate mana. When doing this, both cards will hit the graveyard at the same time and be able to return each-other. It doesn’t matter the cost of the spell or ability, as long as it requires a nonzero amount of mana. You can generate more mana than is needed to cast a spell or pay for an ability.
The easier version of the combo loops involve having an additional higher mana cost card than your sacrifice outlet. In that case, you can sacrifice say a Batterskull to return a Lodestone Golem. Then you sacrifice the Golem to get back your Myr Retriever before finally sacrificing the Retriever to return the Batterskull. The specifics of the 4 and 5 mana cost cards in this example are not too important, what matters is that you have two artifacts each with different, higher mana costs than your Myr Retriever or Junk Diver. (Also, with the Retriever in particular, you could have a 3 and 4 mana cost artifact instead of a 4 and 5 mana cost artifact).
Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle is another great recursion engine. Whenever you cast a historic spell (for the most part, this just means artifacts) you can return a creature with mana value 3 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. This one is less limited to strictly artifacts, as the recursion effect works for any creature. You can return Eternal Witness to the battlefield by casting a Black Lotus, for example. The most straightforward value engine for Teshar is a deck full of artifact creatures and a sacrifice outlet. The three “Myr Retriever” effects discussed above are also particularly strong with Teshar. With Myr Retriever and Black Lotus or Lion's Eye Diamond; or even Lotus Petal with a cost reducer like Helm of Awakening and a free sacrifice outlet, you can generate infinite enter the battlefields and deaths (and infinite mana with the lotuses!). Altar of Dementia works particularly well in decks of this type, as you can mill yourself to fill your graveyard looking for missing pieces of the combo loop until you are ready to start going after your opponent’s library. But the best enabler is still…
Krark-Clan Ironworks (KCI) is THE gold standard for sacrifice outlets in artifact decks. This is the card you are going to be looking for and tutoring up a lot of the time because it enables nonsense that is just not possible in other decks. Ashnod's Altar can serve a similar role in some creature heavy decklists, or artifact combo lists that have other artifact sacrifice outlets, but make no mistake — you’re just going to be wishing you had KCI most of the time. (The exceptions are some Teshar lists where you may have non-artifact creatures you wish to sacrifice as part of your combo loops.)
This card just creates insane amounts of mana and is so flexible—being able to sacrifice both creatures and non-creatures—that it is in a league of its own.
Thopter Foundry doesn’t generate mana, but it gives you a strong payoff for your sacrifices. It is a really nice combo with Sword of the Meek, where you can pay 1 mana and sacrifice the Sword to create a 1/1 thopter. In the graveyard, Sword of the Meek sees the Thopter enter the battlefield which triggers its ability, returning it back to the battlefield. The end result is you are able to spend 1 mana to create a 1/1 flying creature and gain one life as many times as you want. If you have any way to gain mana from artifact creatures, such as the following cards
you can create infinite thopters, gain infinite life and mana (in the cards that create 2 mana per cycle). It’s a really great combo to have in your artifact decks, either controlling or aggressive as its hard to disrupt and can take over the game very quickly.
I often notice that people forget that Thopter Foundry can sacrifice any artifact, not just sword of the meek. Even without the combo it can still be an excellent addition to your deck.
Arcbound Ravager is probably the least profitable sacrifice outlet for full artifact combo decks, but it does still work. The best application for this card is in a deck that is otherwise quite aggressive so the ravager is good on its own, but you just happen to have something like Scrap Trawler in your deck for value. You likely won’t be going infinite if this is your only sacrifice outlet, although cards like Black Lotus, Mana Vault and Helm of Awakening can change that. The best way to tell is to count how much mana you would need to run a recursion loop with Scrap Trawler and subtract that from how much you can generate from the mana artifacts you will be getting back. If the answer is positive, you’re good to go!
Winning the game once you have assembled an artifact loop isn’t terribly difficult. Any storm card will do the job, Thassa's Oracle or Disciple of the Vault will work in a pinch. But you ideally want your win condition to be an artifact so you can get it back and use it as part of your artifact loops. Any of the cards shown above will work, as well as additional sacrifice outlets such as Blasting Station and Altar of Dementia. I’m sure there are plenty of other creative win conditions out there as well. If you come up with something you feel is truly spectacular in a game, I’d love to see it!
Misc Role Players
Oswald Fiddlebender is such a cool card! Remember how we discussed above how the best way to get value from Scrap Trawler was to have artifacts with successive mana values? Well now we get that, plus a tutor for our scrap trawler AND KCI all in one card! Oswald is a little slow, but the fact that he is able to tutor up so many pieces of the combo, get value off of cards like Experimental Synthesizer and fill your graveyard with great things to get back makes Oswald a slam dunk in most decks that can support him. Rabbit Battery is also Oswald’s secret best friend, granting him haste to get started a turn earlier.
Ichor Wellspring can often be a zero mana draw two cards in these decks, and Experimental Synthesizer is not far from that either. The red mana cost can be a bit limiting as to which decks it can fit in but in a deck with lots of ways to sacrifice and recur artifacts the splash can be worth it.
As discussed above, second sunrise and friends can really generate a lot of value in decks like this. Load up on cards that sacrifice themselves for value like Mishra's Bauble, Conjurer's Bauble and Black Lotus to get the most benefit from second sunrise loops. If you are running sunrise in your deck, Tinker for Lotus Bloom becomes a fairly strong line as well.
Thought Monitor is good for a variety of reasons. A one mana Mulldrifter is definitely part of it, the other part is its very high mana value but cheap casting cost. Since Scrap Trawler needs creatures with high mana value, this card is a great way to maximize your recursion chains.
Persist is a fun mechanic: when a creature with persist dies, if it had no -1/-1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under your control. Normally this is a one time effect so you get the creature twice and after the third death it goes away permanently. But if you have some way to remove those counters from the creature then every time it dies, it will come back to play indefinitely! Let’s look at the following two enablers for this
With Anafenza, +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters cancel each other out. So putting a +1/+1 counter on your persist creature will delete its -1/-1 counter and allow it to die indefinitely. Since all of the persist creatures come back to play with 1 toughness we can always bolster onto our persist creature and make sure it keeps coming back.
Vizier of Remedies is even simpler, it just deletes the counter which would be placed on our creature! This card is also an infinite combo with Devoted Druid. If you activate the untap ability with Vizier of Remedies in play, instead of placing one -1/-1 counter on devoted druid, you will place zero. So you can infinitely tap and untap it for infinite green mana!
While persist combo spans across the Abzan colors in this cube, I’m mentioning it here in white because it has the highest concentration of persist enablers and creatures. The other two persist enablers are
Metallic Mimic works in the same way that Anafenza did above. Simply name the creature type of the persist card you are planning to enable and the +1/+1 counters it enters with will delete the -1/-1 counters. Melira works for persist the same as Vizier of Remedies but it does not combo with Devoted Druid! Because she prevents counters from being placed on devoted druid, you are unable to activate the ability at all since you cannot pay the cost to untap it.
Ok so you’ve got a persist creature like Putrid Goblin in play alongside Metallic Mimic which has named Goblin. In order to win the game from here you are going to need a sacrifice outlet and some way to gain value from that sacrifice ability.
The best category of sacrifice outlets for this combo are the ones that just win the game in their own right. Goblin Bombardment, Blasting Station and Altar of Dementia are at the top of the list, since all of them can just end the game instantly with no other steps. Phyrexian Altar and Ashnod's Altar are second rate. They both give you infinite mana, so as long as you have something like a Walking Ballista in hand they will also make ending the game fairly trivial.
The last method for winning the game is pairing a generic sacrifice outlet with a sacrifice payoff. Like Viscera Seer and Blood Artist. It is kinda like building your own Goblin Bombardment. An interesting note about going this route is that all of the combo pieces are creatures so you can assemble and maintain the combo off of cards like Tortured Existence, Survival of the Fittest and Rally the Ancestors.
Rally the ancestors is a great failsafe for persist combo decks going the all creature route, since for 4-5 mana it enables you to rebuy the entire combo from your graveyard if something went wrong the first time. It is also just a great finisher with any deck running Blood Artist effects in general as you can sacrifice your entire team, bring them back and then re-sacrifice them to deal a ton of damage to your opponent.
Misc. Role Players
First, in this section I just wanted to mention that while an all-in persist combo deck can work, it will be quite rare. More common is a sacrifice or creature toolbox deck that just happens to be running persist combo in it. I caution against an all in persist combo deck because in singleton it can be tough to reliably assemble all of your combo pieces in a timely manner, especially in the face of disruption and removal from your opponent. Having a good fallback plan for the games you do not assemble your persist combos is absolutely crucial for your success with this archetype.
Keeping your enabling creatures alive is incredibly important in this archetype. Sure your persist creatures might be tough to kill, but Vizier of Remedies dies to a light breeze. Having some static effect in play before you deploy your combo creatures is a good idea so you don’t get blown out. Of all of these, I think Spellskite might be the best in general. Since it has 4 toughness, there are so few kill spells that can deal with it and it will likely be able to shield your team from at least 2 removal spells. Sylvan Safekeeper is another great option and also potentially better on the combo turn itself, since you are likely to have a few lands laying around. It is just limited to green and not as free to play out during setup turns.
Tutors are also extremely useful in decks like this, helping you find the last missing piece to assemble your 3+ card combos. In general I would recommend holding off on your tutor for as long as possible until you know what piece you are missing. Tutoring for a persist creature and then drawing a second one, when you’re also looking for a Goblin Bombardment can be rough.
Swift Reconfiguration is a confusing card, so it deserves its own section of explanation. Primarily it is a removal spell to keep the beefier creatures in the cube in check. It does not remove the creature’s abilities, but it sure can slow down something like a massive Stonecoil Serpent. What makes this card so awesome is its other mode: as a combo piece.
Swift Reconfiguration has the unique effect of turning creatures into non-creatures while still maintaining their abilities. If an opponent casts a removal spell on your Birds of Paradise, you can play Reconfiguration on your Bird in response. It will stop being a creature and the removal spell will fizzle (as long as it was a creature specific removal spell). The best part is, the creature abilities still work AND summoning sickness no longer applies to their abilities! (as long as you don’t crew them they will not be creatures. If you do crew, then summoning sickness will apply).
The best combo with this card is Devoted Druid. You turn the druid into an artifact, which gives it “haste” and means no matter how many -1/-1 counters you put onto it it will not die (because it is not a creature). Then you can tap and untap Devoted Druid to generate infinite mana! But it also has some applications mentioned above like saving your creatures from removal spell. Casting it on a key persist enabler like Vizier of Remedies will make it much harder for your opponent to disrupt your plans (especially if you do so in response to something like a Lightning Bolt to set the opponent back even further). Just don’t play it on your persist creature itself!
Basically, this card is a solid removal spell, a combo piece and it offers protection and acceleration for your creatures. One of the best possible homes for it is in persist because it combos with Devoted Druid, which you would already want to be running Vizier of Remedies with anyway. And the protection aspect can be very useful in an archetype that is trying to keep important creature enablers around.
The blink package in this cube is probably a little different than what most are expecting (or at least, it is the archetype I have received the most questions about). Rather than being focused on massive game-winning synergy loops, the blink archetype is more of a value sub-archetype. There really isn’t a “blink deck”, but rather there are decks that run blink synergies. The difference is largely in the win conditions.
Since the curve of the cube is so low, most of the blink targets do something akin to drawing cards. This makes the blink synergies a great way to pull ahead in cards, but you will often need to plan out a win condition beyond “Ephemerate my Spirited Companion a bunch of times”.
These three are the premier blink enablers. I would largely look towards Ephemerate and Soulherder since Yorion is so expensive. But he does make a great top end finisher since a 4/5 flying body is so hard to deal with in this cube.
For backup “blink” synergies, there are quite a few ways to repeatedly trigger enter the battlefield effects that are not quite blink. You can return creatures to hand and re-cast them using something like Paradoxical Outcome or one of the many variants of creatures that return creatures to hand when they enter, such as Whitemane Lion. This strategy is quite slow to do as a plan A but it does come up as a way to pull ahead in stalled games.
This strategy works better when fueled by some of the great enablers in the cube. Aluren is absolutely the best enabler for this, as it enables you to play everything for free and take advantage of all of that sweet value. Paradoxical Outcome your entire team, draw 6 cards and replay them all? Sounds good to me! The Aluren archetype has a lot of overlap with the Glimpse of Nature combos that I discussed in my article here.
Collected company is also a fantastic card. When drafting decks running this, you want to maximize the amount of mana you can gain from casting Company. Solid 3 mana creatures are the best way to take advantage of this so you’ll want the classic green curve of 1 drop accelerants into 3 mana value plays: Skyclave Apparition and Blade Splicer type cards.
Ninjas also slot well into this type of deck. You will be running a lot of value enter the battlefield creatures, which are perfect targets to re-buy with ninjutsu. Esper ninjas is an often underrated archetype as its in the best colors in the entire cube for interaction/removal plus you can gain insane amounts of value from your ninjas and ETB creatures. Creatures like Thieving Skydiver love getting returned to hand, letting you steal multiple artifacts from the opponent’s side of the board.
As I mentioned above, this is not a good archetype to go all into the synergy on unless you pair it with something else like Glimpse of Nature combo, storm or Elves. It is not a synergy that can take over the game on its own so you absolutely will need removal and disruption. Drawing many cards per turn is great if you are using those cards to keep your opponent in check, as trading one-for-one will benefit you until you are eventually able to create such an overwhelming lead you can close out the game. Be sure to take disruptive cards like the ones below highly.
I mentioned creature based removal, but the spell version of these cards like Swords to Plowshares are also at a premium. If your removal is being cut or you are unable to find it, accelerants like Birds of Paradise are the next best thing. If you can’t stop your opponent from doing there thing, you may as well speed up your own!
In general, artifacts are centered in Jeskai. Blue is the color of combo/control artifacts. Red is the color of sacrifice artifacts (featuring the welders, Atog and such) and white is the color of aggressive artifacts. Overall, artifact aggro is the largest archetype in white and white is the best supporting color for artifacts overall. So if you see artifacts is open, keep your eyes peeled for white cards!
Fortunately this archetype is a lot more straightforward than some of the other archetypes on this list so I don’t think it needs a long explanation. Artifact Aggro or affinity relies on lots of cheap artifact creatures and large payoffs based on how many of them you can get into play. It’s a deck that likes to spew its hand onto the battlefield by the second turn and hit for damage incredibly quickly. I’ll go through some of the key cards to look out for.
Fast mana is what makes this deck so scary. No other deck in the cube can take advantage of the moxen/power like the artifact deck since all moxen are basically on color! Opening a piece of the broken colorless mana enablers is easily the best reason to get into the deck. Mishra’s Workshop is the best enabler by far. It is a ridiculous magic card — three mana off one land?! You can have some absolutely crazy starts with this in your opener. It is not uncommon to empty your hand by the second turn.
Behind workshop, we have Tolarian Academy. This card is still fantastic, but it needs a little bit more to get going. While workshop benefits from more expensive cards, academy is the opposite. Cheap cards that you can get down early like Mox Pearl are necessary if you are planning to take advantage of the academy. Fortunately this is a powered cube and its full of cheap artifacts so you should have no problems enabling one of the strongest mana engines ever printed.
Because the ceiling on academy is so high, it works best in more combo-oriented versions of artifacts which can take advantage of 10+ blue mana. Although casting a giant Hangarback Walker also works just fine!
The rest of the power, like Sol Ring is similar to the lands. It is broken in artifacts and you should be taking these cards over almost anything else unless it is pack 3 and you still don’t have a win condition. If artifacts is open, your enablers are much more likely to come around than broken fast mana.
With all of that fast mana, you need to have a plan for what your deck is going to do. Fortunately the artifacts deck makes it (mostly) easy: play cards that care about artifacts!
These three are the top cards to look out for, as they turn all your dorky Ornithopterinto terrifying one-shot lethal nightmares for your opponent. Michikos is perhaps the most underrated of the three, but it also boosts toughness, counts enchantments AND turns into a massive creature to boot!
Next up are the broken creature enablers. These cards might not look like a lot at first, but if you’ve ever played with or against one of these cards you’ll remember just how frightening they can be. Ward makes Patchwork automaton very difficult to remove, so you can get it down early and start growing it. It is not uncommon for this guy to get up to 7/7 or bigger in the first few turns. Arcbound Ravager is great at hitting for lethal, as you can sacrifice your board to grow the ravager and then sacrifice it to its own ability to throw a huge amount of counters onto an unblocked attacker.
There are plenty more enablers and payoffs than these, but I think for the most part they are largely obvious. Just keep in mind that almost always, the artifact creatures/enablers are far better than they appear at first glance because of how quickly you can get huge numbers of them into play. Signal Pest might look like a meddling creature, but if you can get it and three other creatures down on the first turn of the game, suddenly you’re swinging for 6+ damage on turn two!
The biggest challenge facing the artifact deck is running out of steam, or drawing all enablers and no payoffs. Sure, Ornithopter might look scary equipped with Cranial Plating, but without support a lot of these cards don’t do that much. There are a few ways to tackle this problem, you can double down and run a crazy low land count with tons of cheap creatures to make sure your first turn is as explosive as possible.
Or you can lean into some of the artifact value engines or combos I discussed above. and cards like it can make an excellent late game plan for an artifacts deck. Or you can lean into the sacrifice synergies outlined in my red article, with cards like Goblin Engineer, Oswald Fiddlebender and Ichor Wellspring. The blue cards such as Paradoxical Outcome and Emry, Lurker of the Loch are great for late game card advantage as well!
In white, cards like these can also be great inclusions to keep the cards flowing. Losheel in particular can be brutal for an opponent to deal with (especially since it triggers off of tokens! Pair Losheel with a token maker like Retrofitter Foundry and you should have no problem transitioning into the late game.)
It is strange for an archetype to be named after a single card in a singleton cube, but Enduring Renewal is an extremely unique effect that I believe earns that right. The important part of this card is the last line “Whenever a creature is put into your graveyard from play, return it to your hand”. This is an incredibly powerful effect that is just screaming to go infinite. While the rest of the text is important, basically it just says “don’t cast this card until you are ready to go off”.
While it is possible to play this card fairly, for the most part you really should be looking to assemble infinite loops that end the game on the spot.
The easiest way to combo with Renewal is to play creatures that can kill themselves. Casting the X value artifact creatures for 0 lets them die and then immediately come back to your hand. This gives you infinite enter the battlefield and death triggers, so you can win if you have Blood Artist or Disciple of the Vault around. The best part is, even if your opponent tries to kill your enabling creatures, they will just go back to your hand! When running this combo, it can often be wise to hold your important enablers until after you land Enduring Renewal to make sure you don’t lose them before they are protected!
Otherwise, sacrifice outlets that grant mana are the next easiest. Phyrexian Altar and Ashnod's Altar are great for this. These + creatures with mana costs that can be paid by the altars function similarly to the X cost artifacts from above, but you can run creatures with more interesting effects or you can cast creatures that cost LESS than the mana they sacrifice for to generate infinite mana (for example, Memnite). The 0 cost creatures in particular are great for this.
Surprisingly, the cat ends up great in this archetype, since looping it enables you to deal infinite damage all in one card. Phyrexian Altar + Cauldron Familiar + Enduring renewal is lights out for your opponents. Pitiless Plunderer is a good card to turn a generic sacrifice outlet into a Phyrexian Altar (or combo with the mana sacrifice outlets for even more mana!).
As I say with many other decks, this cube is a singleton format. You need to have a fallback plan in place for when you do not draw Renewal or your opponent answers it. While this card is a special case that I think is ok go lean a little more towards “all in combos”, you need to take tutors incredibly highly if you are going to do that. Otherwise, just slot this in to other sacrifice-centric decks that would already want to be running the sacrifice outlets.
In particular, a great home for this card is in the artifact combo decks we discussed above. KCI is an excellent enabler for all sorts of infinite loops, and the artifacts already have lots of other build in recursion meaning your deck will function well in the cases that you don’t draw Renewal.
It also works great in any deck that would be running Phyrexian Altar and Blood Artist anyway.
By and large white is the color for artifacts. While it may not seem like it at first glace, many of the colorless cards in the cube are white cards in disguise (or perhaps it is the other way around?). While aggro is the biggest thing artifacts has to offer, there are plenty of other archetypes you can approach such as artifact or persist combos, second sunrise loops or blink strategies.
One point that is worth mentioning is that white has the absolute best removal in the cube in the forms of Prismatic Ending and March of Otherworldly Light. Being able to exile most cards at instant speed is incredibly strong. Take these cards highly.
White also gets these two absurdly strong cards. They are one of the few answers to some of the scarier monsters in the cube such as Hogaak, so if your deck is looking to slow things down, having these cards can make you feel safe.