Hello everyone! My name is Rodrigo Martín, also known as Rone in the Magic: the Gathering scene and I am so glad to be here at Invasion Games to kick off the content creation programme. From now on, I will be covering different aspects of the game such as deck reviews, finance, spoilers, reports and MTG lore, so be sure to check our social media regularly to keep posted from the latest updates.
Today, we will start things with a strategy that is getting a lot of attention in Modern lately, reviewing its evolution since its inception until present day. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into Indomitable Creativity Combo:
# 0. Introduction
Indomitable Creativity is a mythic rare card from Aether Revolt, a recent set that shockingly is already five years old from present day in 2022. Instead of being used as a clunky removal with a huge downside, the deck’s plan is to create cheap and disposable creatures and artifact tokens to then destroy them in order to cheat a big payoff into play to win the game on the spot.
In fact, Creativity is a callback to Mirage’s Polymorph, which established the same type of strategy back in the early days of Magic whereas nowadays this type of effect has shifted from blue to red cards like Transmogrify or Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast minus ability.
That being said, Creativity is arguably the best among them, since it hits artifacts (which are easier to create thanks to numerous Treasure Token producers) while also being escalable, meaning we can choose multiple targets to bring more than one game ending creature at the same time.
With the basis already covered, the next step is to take a little tour throughout its evolution in the Modern format during the last two years in order to see how Creativity Combo has evolved until its current iteration.
#1. Deck's Inception. Early 2020
Deck: Creativity Combo. Player: Orim67. Event: MTGO Modern Challenge (8th place), Date: 02/02/2020.
Starting with the first stop, this is how Creativity looked back in 2020, shortly after Throne of Eldraine was released which became key for the deck to emerge. Dwarven Mine is indeed vital to put a creature into the battlefield for free to be targeted with Creativity without including any other creatures into the mainboard aside from the ones we want to cheat into play.
In order for Mine to function, the deck needs at least three other Mountains in the battlefield which is not hard to achieve thanks to the Ravnica shocklands which also line up well to cast Creativity’s triple red cost. Since Dwarven Mine is a Mountain, we can easily search for it via any red fetchlands so we don’t expose our little 1/1 to sorcery speed removal.
The chosen creature to finish up games is none other than Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, one of the hardest threats to face in a game of Magic. Although we don’t get the extra turn when it comes into play via Creativity, its protection combined with the Annihilator 6 trigger and fifteen power in the air usually makes opponents scoop instantly.
At that point, the strategy was already using four colors, with a heavy red mana base, white grants Teferi, Time Raveler presence to ensure no one messes up with the combo while Silence is an extra insurance against removal and counter magic. Green offers some mana acceleration in the shape of Fareseek which frankly looks really unpowered by today’s standards even if it could search for Dwarven Mine.
Last but not least, this early version also had Polymorph as a secondary spell to find those Emrakuls, something that became obsolete in the following versions.
Link: See text version here
#2. Strixhaven Brings Velomachus
Infinite Turns Version
Deck: Turbo Turns. Player: Manacymbal. Event: MTGO Modern Champ Qualifier (19th), Date: 17/05/2021.
Moving onto last year, shortly after Strixhaven: School of Mages was released, the Creativity Combo experienced a significant transformation once Velomachus Lorehold was printed. The legendary Elder Dragon from Boros colors immediately replaced Emrakul almighty due to its deadly combination with extra turn spells.
The plan remained intact, successfully resolving Creativity this time around to summon a hasty Velomachus that luckily will reveal either Time Warp or Savor the Moment from the top seven cards, ensuring opponents won't ever untap again.
The second addition Strixhaven granted was Prismari Command, a modal spell that is a common Modern staple across different archetypes nowadays and specifically in this shell not only offers card selection but increases the Creativity targets by putting a Treasure Token in the battlefield, so the deck has now two ways to set up the combo.
Regarding the green splash, Growth Spiral allows to go off a turn earlier, meanwhile Wrenn and Six is a no-brainer since it ensures landrops every turn alongside fetchlands, enables additional draws combined with Ikora: Lair of Behemoths Triomes, pings one toughness creatures and on top of that its emblem is unbeatable with the extra turns spells.
Speaking of which, both blue spells are quite self-explanatory, even if the plan is to play them for free via Velomachus, it’s possible to cast them as a way to go deep until we find Creativity. To close things up, the core remains intact, aside from Creativity and Teferi, Lighting Bolts against early threats and Remand are still in the mix to protect our plan.
#3. Modern Horizons 2 Blows Up the Format
Creativity Combo. Player: MrRaeb. Event: MTGO Modern Showcase (16th), Date: 26/09/2021.
As in the recent Stranger Things from Secret Lair Series, Modern Horizons 2 completely turned the format Upside Down as we knew it before summer 2021 to the point where it is now defined by most cards from the set. That being said, Creativity Combo couldn’t escape from its influence, thus adapting to the new environment.
The first and most impactful change is the addition of a card that seems specifically designed to improve the strategy; I am talking about Hard Evidence. For a single blue mana, this sorcery grants two game objects into the battlefield for Creativity: a 0/3 Crab which profitability blocks two power creatures all day and a Clue token which can turn into an extra card if needed.
This way, the deck counts with three different token producers, becoming way more consistent at the same time that gains a turn one play, something that was lacking until this moment. Moreover, due to the dominance of cards like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler, having an early blocker becomes even more relevant.
The second and most notable inclusion from MH2 is Serra’s Emissary as an alternate payoff to reveal with Creativity. Since this version goes back to the Emrakul plan, having a backup flier that also protects the Spaghetti monster from heavily played cards like Little Teferi and Solitude is a must. Even against certain matchups, this 7/7 Angel is enough to close up the game by itself, especially linear ones like Burn or creature based ones.
Up next, Prismatic Ending comes in as a flexible removal spell that not only answers early creatures but also hate permanents like Grafdigger’s Cage or the annoying Time Raveler. Next we have Fire // Ice as another way to deal with small creatures while also having the option to Time Walk opponents by tapping their mana during the upkeep phase.
Before jumping onto the latest version, I want to point out Nahiri, the Harbinger inclusion as an alternative way to cheat Emrakul into play, while also working as card filtering and removal all in one card.
#4. Archon of Cruelty Beats the Spaghetti Monster
5c Creativity by Melicard, Event: Modern Challenge, 7th Place, 6-1 Date: 03/05/2022.
Back to the present day, Creativity Combo has been making good results in the past few months, despite not being one of the most played decks, personally I think it’s an underplayed archetype people are not used to playing against, therefore it still has the surprise factor most of the time.
The main feature within this final iteration is adding the fifth color for Archon of Cruelty, another powerful payoff MH2 that has greatly improved Reanimator strategies this time around replacing our beloved flying Eldrazi. The reasoning behind this trade is fairly simple, Emrakul doesn’t always affect the board when hitting the battlefield, sometimes it's too late or simply it gets exiled by Solitude or bounced back to hand. Archon at the very least changes the life total in our favor, impacting the board by blowing up a creature or planeswalker and on top of that it cantrips and makes opponents to discard.
Indeed, if the game goes super long it’s reasonable to pay for its eight mana value by adding a couple of red dual lands in the shape of Blood Crypt and Savai Triome, whereas the spaghetti monster is impossible to cast. There is yet a final upside which is you can cheat multiple Archons into play since they are not legendary.
Aside from some shifting in card numbers, Remand comes back as a cheap permission spell combined with Spell Pierce and this time around Jace, the Mind Sculptor replaces Nahiri as the four mana value planeswalkers alternate win condition.
Since Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is already available, this version tries out a single copy of March of Otherworldly Light, a card I have been very impressed with during playtesting. Moreover, Boseiju, Who Shelters All is another great addition, specially for sideboard purposes due to its uncounterability and powerful synergy with Wrenn and Six.
Closing up, we find Chained to the Rocks, an uncommon removal for Modern, however it fits well in a deck full of Mountains and deals with any creature at sorcery speed for only one mana without giving anything in return compared to Path to Exile.
#5. Card Choices and SideboardingNow that the deck’s recent history has been fully presented, it’s time to focus on the strategic part of the game. As we have previously established, this is a Combo shell with a very straight forward plan:
- First, create artifact and creature tokens and survive at least until turn four.
- Then, successfully resolve an Indomitable Creativity with X equals 1 or more in order to put in play any of the game winning creatures we have inside the library.
- Finally, protect our creature and win the game with our resources or repeat the process until the opponent concedes.
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn (1):
Only one copy in the maindeck is enough, since we don’t want to take the risk of revealing two with Creativity, even in the Five Color version it’s viable to add one in the sideboard against certain matchups, especially Mill. If needed, we can discard it with Nahiri or Prismari Command to reset the graveyard and shuffle the library.
Serra’s Emissary (1)
She is the perfect Emrakul companion and it’s vital to know what to name against each deck, depending on the removal or interaction we are facing. This is some examples of most played decks:
- Grixis Death’s Shadow: name creature and worry only about Drown in the Loch and Dress Down.
- Hammer Time: creature is GGs 99% of the time.
- Blue Red Murktide: creature and watch out for Petty Theft only.
- 4C Blink: tricky one, since they have Teferi and Solitude, I will name creature, especially with the Five color version.
Amulet Titan: choose creature and watch out for Dryad plus Valakut combo.
Archon of Cruelty (2-3)
The Five Color Creativity version runs three copies, alternatively you can have two and one Emissary.
There is indeed a third variant without the white splash that goes all in for the Primeval plan plus Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. Personally, I rank it below others but it’s also worth mentioning since it shows up from time to time.
Temur Creativity by dpaulsen1414, Event: Modern League 2022-02-01, 5-0
- Wrenn and Six (4): while adding a fourth color only for this card seems unreasonable, the truth is Wrenn fixes our mana and grants access to an alternate winning line if it survives long enough, therefore four copies are mandatory.
- Teferi, Time Raveler (4): a necessary evil in the current metagame, Teferi ensures we can go off safely while also bouncing a threat in the early game. Since it shuts off both Cascade combos and countermagic we need the full playset.
- Nahiri, the Harbinger (2) / Jace, the Mind Sculptor (2): both are reasonable backup plans, even together. Nahiri is best suited for the Emrakul version, whereas Jace does something phenomenal: putting fatties back into the library via its Brainstorm ability. Two copies of each is more than enough.
- Hard Evidence (3-4): every version should run at least three copies of this sorcery, especially if you are expecting a lot of Ragavans in the metagame. The good thing about this card is it at the very least is a redraw.
- Prismari Command (2): before MH2 was released you needed four copies for the treasure tokens producers, whereas now two is the common number among different versions.
- Prismatic Ending (4): in order to survive, Ending stands as the most flexible catch-all answer available. Being a four color deck we can exile small creatures, opposing Wrens and Teferis up to Omnath, Locus of Creation; personally I wouldn’t register less than four copies.
- Lighting Bolt (2-4): aside from being one of the best red spells in Magic history, it has been trimmed down lately, specially in the Five Color variant.
- March of the Otherworldly Light (1-2): there hasn’t been enough time to see if this new removal will stick, but for now I am trying one and maybe adding a second copy.
- Chained to the Rocks (2): despite not being a fan of spot removal in the shape of permanents, this one is very efficient specially in certain matchups like the Grixis Shadow one, however I will sideboard against any white or green deck with access to Ending or Boseiju. Do not play more than two.
- Fire // Ice (4): no matter what you are against, this card is always useful, killing small creatures in the early game at instant speed or tapping a giant threat for two mana is priceless, most versions play three or four copies and they are right about it.
Spell Pierce / Remand / Force of Negation: it's important to stress out this is not a Control deck, countermagic serves to protect our plan, that’s why we shouldn’t invest more than three or four slots on this. Remand used to be a superb tempo card, but lately it has fallen out of favor due to all the free spells running around. If you add Force of Negation, make sure to pack at least up to sixteen blue cards in the deck.Combo:
Indomitable Creativity / Transmogrify (4): even if most of the times we will be targeting our permanents, in desperate situations, it’s totally fine to destroy opposing creatures (big Murktides, deadly Yawgmoth, Thran Physician) or artifacts like specific hate cards (Cage, Thalia, Esper Sentinel). Some versions add Transmogrify in order to have more redundancy.
Mana Base (24):
Most lists play between twenty three up to twenty five lands, considering the fact that Dwarven Mine is half a spell and we are running a four color deck, which is very soft to land destruction and cards like Spreading Seas or Blood Moon effects; when looking at the bright side, at least Creativity can be casted with Moon in play.
- Fetchlands (12): all of them need to give access to Dwarven Mine, so the stock list has Arid Mesa, Scalding Tarn and Wooded Foothills.
- Dual lands (6-7): again, granting red mana is vital to cast Creativity on turn four, so the regular numbers are two copies of Sacred Foundry and Steam Vents, then a singleton copy of Stompy Ground backed up with Ketria and Raugrin Triome. The Archon variant adds Blood Crypt and Savai Trome as mentioned earlier.
Dwarven Mine (4): the deck needs those free Dwarves into play to achieve the combo, so in order to do it, we first need three Mountains in play so the Mines start producing tokens.
Basics (2): with such exigent mana requirements, there is no room for more than two basics, a single Plains and an Island in case we need to fetch for them.
Sideboard: the main issue with a four color sideboard is which cards to choose among a wide plethora of options available, specially to face the deck’s worst matchups, here we present the most common played ones and the reasons why to add them:
Veil of Summer: it is the best choice against counters and discard spells, it comes in against blue based decks like GDS, UR Murktide, Crashing Footfalls, Living End and Azorius Control.
Blossoming Calm: similar to Veil since it also works nicely against discard effects, while giving hexproof to dodge direct damage and thus protecting from Valakut shenanigans.
Flusterstorm / Negate / Mystical Dispute: while not being a fan of countermagic in the maindeck, I think it’s best suited for sideboard purposes, when facing other combo or controlling strategies when there is room for it.
Artifact Enchantment Removal:
Wear // Tear: perfect against Hammer Time and Saga decks due to the Fuse ability, I will always pack at least one copy in the sideboard.
Ancient Grudge: in an artifact heavy metagame, this is the best choice, however I will prefer the following card.
Boseiju, Who Shelters All: having four copies of Wrenn in the deck makes Boseiju a great choice in the sideboard, simply because we can assemble the two card combo, focusing on grindy games that go long. That plus the fact it can be played as a land makes Boseiju the best choice among others.
Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance: Speaking about legendary lands, Sokenzan is a nice tool to add extra creature tokens at instant speed which sincerely could even fit in the maindeck while having a great synergy with Wrenn.
Alpine Moon: if Urza’s Saga is a real issue for you, a couple of Alpine Moons will smooth your matchup against those shells, although I think Boseiju is a much better flexible option at the moment.
Rest in Peace: since we cannot add artifact hate for graveyards due to Creativity restrictions, Rest in Peace is the cheapest choice to shut off graveyard interactions for good. Two copies is a good number.
Ashiok, Dream Render: an alternate graveyard option that also messes up with opposing fetchlands and other tutor effects like Summoner’s Pact in Titan, Stoneforge Mystic among many others.
#6. Creating Something New
All in all, this has been the Indomitable Creativity combo deck review at Invasion Games. Thank you so much for reading and we would sincerely love some feedback from you to improve our content in the near future, while also getting to know your experience with the deck or if you are looking forward to assembling it.
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Hasta la vista, baby.
Rodrigo Martín a.k.a. Rone.