Yup, that was actually my plan with Sanctum of the Sun. Using two loyalty abilities for the first batch of Sanctum of the Suns is not a big deal. Once we have our batch of nonlegendary Sanctum of the Sun tokens, we can just animate one of them and copy it directly.
Oops, yeah I forgot to include a basic land. It looks like we can either start with Temple Garden and Island, or Breeding Pool and Plains to have a basic land from the beginning. Breeding Pool and Plains is perhaps better, so that we get a little more mana by having Nissa and Gift of Growth untap Breeding Pool.
For the final damage, we can add Gravitic Punch; we can cast a couple of Gift of Growths on some creature before casting the Gravitic Punch.
Yeah, that does look infinite. It really is a pain to have to be able to put Emergence Zone into play. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we can switch to Leyline of Anticipation, since we will get stuck after a Purify Nova. (Unless there is some spell that would put an enchantment or a permanent into play?) Otherwise, we have to get rid if either Wayward Swordtooth or Multani. My guess is that Multani is the one to replace, but I don't know with what.
As for spells that put permanents into play it would have to be doable at instant speed. All of the Oblivion ring variants only target opponent's stuff and would need a Role Reveral (and a second copy of Leyline).
Yeah I was thinking that Arboreal Grazer required a draw at least to get the land drop, but Multani puts it into hand anyway... And that way its a problem for all of our lands instead of just the Zone.
Hmm, this is a shame. I'm still thinking there is some way to handle this, perhaps by finding some way to get the land off the battlefield other than Multani. Something like the second ability of Ravager Wurm would be good, except that it can't target basic lands. (and also the first ability of Ravager Wurm is too good) Is there some hope for doing control shenanigans to make Leyline of Anticipation work?
If not, we lose a layer, and the Nissa deck goes back down to 10 -> 10 -> 16 -> 11. Then, it looks like the Sarkhan deck is now the best, at 10 -> 10 -> 237 -> 11.
Edit: We can add Prying Blade to gain a lot of Treasure tokens during the combat step, to get back up to 10 -> 10 -> (10 -> 10 -> 237 -> 11) -> 11.
Edit: Hmmm, I think that we can salvage the Old-Growth Dryads combo in the Banefire deck, by using Casualties of War. Casualties of War is no good in the Nissa deck since it can destroy Nissa, but the Banefire deck doesn't have planeswalkers in the main combo, so it looks like it is okay. That will keep the final damage at around 10 -> 10 -> (10 -> 10 -> (10 -> 10 -> 257 -> 11) -> 11) -> 11.
Edit: Shoot, there's a problem with this deck as well. Casualties of War can destroy a creature, which didn't seem to bad at first, since it is the same price to cast as a Cleansing Nova. But, the problem is that it can destroy a Citywatch Sphinx without destroying our animated Manifold Key or Mox Amber, so we can keep spending two black to reshuffle, and the Replicate our animated mana artifact again to get lots of white and black. We could make black expensive by not having any black legends, but then the land combo is reliant on Casualties of War, so we might as well go back to the Tectonic Rift version and get 10 layers.
Edit: We can improve the deck, by adding Ugin, the Ineffable. We can play four Nissa + Spark Doubles, then play and activate Ugin to destroy them all. Then we can play three Nissa + Spark Double, then play a Spark Double copying Ugin to destroy those. Then we can play two Nissas, then two again. So we can play and activate Nissa 11 times, getting us 22 activations in all. Then we can play Raging Regisaur, and destroy them all to do the whole thing again. So we can get 44 activations total, getting us to more than 10 -> 10 -> 44 -> 11 damage in the end.
Hmm, Brought Back would have to be cast after every Purify Nova resolution, so it seems hard to make work with the white mana.
I will go over the various decks later - right now, it looks like the Nissa deck indeed doesn't work. So the next deck up is actually the Finale of Eternity deck from post # 566, getting a final damage of 2 -> 7 -> 8 -> 11.
Could we add an extra manifold key (or two?) to remake the white?
Because we need to recast Brought back after every purify we are down 4 mana in a WPPW or PWWP scenario. so two extra keys looks like it balances that out.
But what about if the stack is empty? Can we just cast alternating novas and let them fully resolve while making white mana without casting brought back at all?
It looks like just barely not!
Because we cant recast the elephant or artifacts in the middle of a purify nova we can only get them back once, and that requires a wrath nova. So in total its -WW for purify and -WW for wrath and -W to kick the elephant for +WWWW being down 1 in net.
so that's good.
Hmm, What if we cast the brought back in the middle of the purify? and the rebuilt with poets at the end of the purifies like normal.
That brings us up to 8 white total cost and 8 white out. that goes infinite. darn.
Oh and I just realized that purify also kills Precognition field so we would also have to actually draw the brought back, which seems even harder to make work. I'm extremely skeptical that anything that lets us draw cards in the middle of the stage could possibly work. (The mirari conjecture is probably the closest we can get)
Edit: looks like the only option is something like if we have 2 leyline of anticipation, captured audience, Role Reversal and Hieromancer's cage, but that requires a stage level source of red mana.
Edit2: what if we can use our first emergency powers to get to a second Emergency powers, but not TYS (or omniscience)? Then we can use the second one to put the Emergence zone into play. Seems really hard to find what we can draw from the first one that gets us right on that line, and harder to prove that there's not a better 7 that can get TYS into play early enough to go infinite.
I pondered getting a second Emergency Powers with the first, back when we weren't sure how even to get started with Emergency Powers, but I didn't think of a particularly good line. It looks like for the second Emergency Powers we have to have something in play that we don't have for the first, otherwise, if we can get going after the second EP, why couldn't we get going after the first? So we need to be able to play something - it probably can't be Thousand-Year Storm, since we can draw Disdainful Stroke and counter the original. So maybe Omniscience? Something that lets us just barely get Omniscience into play after six cards, and then we only have the second EP for the second. It's a possibility.
hmm, maybe we can get precognitive perception down the first time? but cant make enough blue for Omniscience?
So We put nissa into play, untap island and play Precognition field and have G floating. 5 cards in hand. Can cast like Stony strength and then reduplicate from the top, to get to a chunk of green and one blue... But where to go from there...?
Hmm, it's going to be tough to be able to cast Omniscience after the second Emergency Powers, but to not be able to have enough mana to cast Omniscience after the first Emergency Powers after putting Nissa into play and getting a blue and four or five green mana - we'll still have five more cards after Nissa and before the second EP, more if we cast Precognition Field to gain access to the top of the library. It looks like it needs to be something like, we need two cards to get one blue mana... not sure how to make that work. (I was thinking something like Gyre Engineer and Torch Courier, but that costs us a blue for Gyre Engineer, so we don't gain any blue actually.)
Edit: So, going over the last four decks:
All of the decks basically have the same first 7 layers:
One of the decks had the idea of using Sarkhan, Dragonsoul to damage many Imperial Ceratopses controlled by the opponent many times. But, Sarkhan goes infinite with Casualties of War, so it looks like we have to give up the proliferate combo for this deck, dropping two layers down to 9.
One of the decks was about using Kazarov, Sengir Pureblood to deal damage to the Imperial Ceratops, then using Nissa, Who Shakes the World to get several layers turning Sanctum of the Sun into a creature, and creating many copies of it with Quasiduplicate. The problem with this deck was that we could use one Nissa activation to turn Sanctum of the Sun into a creature, and another to make it indestructible, so that we could keep Quasiduplicating forever. The only fix I can think of for this is to only be able to have one Nissa activation after the one we get in the beginning, so that we can make Sanctum of the Sun a creature, but we don't have another activation to turn it indestructible. So maybe one Nissa and one Spark Double, no Oath of Teferi or Raging Regisaur. This will get us 10 layers I think.
One of the decks was about using Banefire to damage Imperial Ceratops a bunch of times. Initially, I thought that this could get to 11 layers with the Old-Growths Dryad combo, but we haven't found a way to make that work out yet. So this is at 10 layers. But it is like 3 nests of 10 layers, so it's better than the Nissa deck at the moment.
Edit: Shoot, it looks like there is a problem with the Finale of Eternity deck as well. Bolas's Citadel can be used to sacrifice 10 permanents including Dreadhorde Butcher, at the cost of 10 of the opponent's life. This can allow the Butcher to damage an Imperial Ceratops controlled by the opponent, resulting in the opponent gaining a lot of life, so that goes infinite.
I see two possible solutions to this problem: One, we can eliminate switching Imperial Ceratops over to the opponent. This loses a layer straight up, so the damage goes down to 2 -> 7 -> 8 -> 10. Two, we can switch over to the Nissa startup. This is a problem, since Casualties of War can recycle Nissa too easily to gain mana from Rakdos Guildgate. So, we remove Rakdos Guildgate, and just get black mana from Smothering Tithe and Prying Blade. That should get us to about 10 -> 10 -> (10 -> 10 -> 237 -> 10) -> 10. That's not bad, but not as good as the Banefire deck. So it looks like the Banefire deck is now the best.
Hmm, yeah those decks are all pretty close to doing what fully they want to but each has problems.
I do like the banefire deck, it uses most of the tricks we have. and Honor the God Pharaoh does draw novas 2 at a time, so the nova stages will have twice as many layers. This deck also doesn't have the issue of going infinite if they have other basics. Though Finale of devastation + Spark double snuck in again. should be Torch Courier.
I think Mind Rot should be burglar rat so we don't have to spend mana on it. Oh its a 3 for Gateway, nevermind.
Also, looking at The Antiquities war, it seems like there might be something there with its first ability, but I cant quite see it.
Only being able to reshuffle with the sphinx helps, but lets look at immediately after the last wrath nova.
We can get the artifacts back with the elephant here, but what if we get just the mox first? but thats just +W which is the same as the elephant would be.
Wait ...can this replace the elephant??
Wraths reshuffle and purifies make one mana once per reshuffle?
Wrath rebuild is the same, Purify Rebuild is the same except we keep Antiquities war in hand.
WP = mox starts in yard, saga in hand, reshuffle, make mana, mox ends up in yard, saga in hand. Net: +W
PW = mox starts in play, saga in play, kill them, reshuffle, make mana, both end up in play. Net: +W
Just need WPPW and/or PWWP to be +2?
Well, WPPW puts the mox in the yard after the first purify, then the second purify can't do anything, but the wrath does reshuffle it and it can be fetched then for +2, but we aren't in the same state we started in.
Similarly with PWWP, they are in play for the second wrath and so the net result is actually worse. just +W and flipping them to not in play.
I think this means that we do still need the Elephant combo, which can be in the same state after making 2 mana for both PWWP and WPPW.
Having two copies means we get two white mana from going PW, but unlike with Excavation Elephant we can't get the artifacts back in the middle of a Purify Nova group, so there's no advantage to going PPW. So instead of WPPWWPPWWPPW... we just go WPWPWPW...
I think two will go infinite, given how close one was. But it might work out?
Though another more serious issue is landfall triggers from an empty stack. Wayward Swordtooth lets us play the Emergence Zone every time the stack empties. This can let us animate the artifacts and make more white.
It looks like two of The Antiquities War works out, as far as I can see. After a Purify Nova destroys both of the TAWs and both mana artifacts, we can tap and sacrifice two Tragic Poet to retrieve both TAWs from the graveyard (along with the other necessary enchantments). Then we can cast a Wrath Nova to destroy Citywatch Sphinx and get reshuffles, and we can play the two TAWs to fetch the two mana artifacts and play them, for two white mana. So that works out even. I don't see any benefit in resolving more than one Purify Nova at a time. If we have WPWW, we can resolve the Purify Nova, then the following Wrath Nova to destroy and refetch the two mana artifacts to gain two white mana. We then cast a Purify Nova, and resolve one of them to destroy our artifacts and TAWs again. Then we can use two white mana to cast a Wrath Nova, and the resulting reshuffling will allow us to gain two white mana, and we wind up even again. So it all works out, as far as I can tell.
Yeah I had been thinking about this in the back of my mind all day and couldn't break it. If purify then wrath is +2 and wrath then purify is +0 it is the same in net for the WPPW and PWWP cases but actually uses fewer novas, so we do just go WPWPWPWP as much as possible.
Well, I guess I need to rewrite my explanation of the stage combo. Needed to update it from the lockets to mox+key change anyway. This is much more clearly the A+B mechanism in from last year's standard.
I think this opens us up to a lot more possibilities, as things like creature bounce spells are now ok. (and maybe some creature sac?)
Incubation // Incongruity seems much better than the grizzly for the start when mana is tighter. Grizzly also has issues with getting killed by wrath then being unable to fetch itself.
Interesting point about being able now to bounce and sacrifice creatures. I thought for a bit about how we could use that to extend the combo; the idea I had was to maybe replace Incubation // Incongruity with something that puts creatures onto the battlefield directly. Then we could have something that requires we cast the creature higher up, like a kicker effect for example. Looking at kicker cards, Ghitu Chronicler is interesting, fetching instants and sorceries for a red mana. I couldn't figure out how to make that worth more layers though. Krosan Druid gets us life, that would require us to reorder the layer chain. Excavation Elephant seems like to little of an effect now. And then of course the is Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep; I couldn't find a use for that either.
Edit hmm I think The Antiquities War goes even bigger than Excavation Elephant. In order to make WW, Its not a wrath that it needs for each purify, but just a reshuffle. So we wrath, get a bunch of reshuffle triggers, then pair those up with purify, instead of wrath.
I don't think this is infinite, as we still need to pay WW to cast each nova we build up with, and we cant sneak one in-between a wrath and the reshuffle triggers. This effectively makes the Wrath/reshuffle batches much bigger than just the Wrath ones. Especially because we can make a bunch of sphinxes right before each wrath resolves.
So if S=Sitywatch Sphinx's Surveil Shuffle, when building up we resolve PWSPWSPWSP... and the stack becomes:
(lower triggers)(many P, W and S batches)...(Purifies)(Wraths)(Shuffles)(Purifies)
The top layer of purifies all resolve without doing much, but once there's a shuffle we can immediately get the artifacts back, and recast purify. Each reshuffle also lets us storm out all of our instants and sorceries.
When we run out of shuffles, we get another batch of them by resolving a wrath.
When we run out of wraths, the stack is PSP. We resolve the first two as normal making WW but dont recast purify. Instead we let the top purify of the next layer resolve and cast wrath. Then we can pair that purify with the first reshuffle from this new wrath to get WW and recast purify and be back where we started but with one fewer purify in the lower purify layer.
This grows much (MUCH) faster than the old combo, but IDK if this improvement is representable in the Conway Chained Arrow notation?
Is the growth that much faster? The old combo turned 2X white mana into 2X alternating groups, and therfore 2X layers, whereas it looks like the new combo turns 2X white mana into 3X layers. The difference between 2X and 3X will become unnoticeable once we start adding layers to the stage. So I don't think this improvement will affect the final estimate.
Some of those cards are interesting, although many would require a reordering of the layer sequence. For anything that deals damage or gains life, we would have to put those things below card draw, which means we need some way to transition from life gain into putting lands into play (assuming we keep the proliferate plan we currently have). Spreading Rot is a possibility, although that just converts 2 life into one land destruction, so it's not ideal. But let's see what we get, with say Sarkhan's Unsealing:
A couple of proliferates can animate our artifacts and gain us a lot of white mana, so that's layer 1.
Putting a land into play will get us a lot of proliferates, so that's layer 2.
Resolving a Spreading Rot will destroy a land while losing us 2 life, so that's still layer 2.
Tapping a Vampire Neonate will gain us a lot of life at the expense of the opponent's life, layer 3.
Damaging an Imperial Ceratops will gain the opponent a lot of life, layer 4.
Casting a large creature will damage a lot of the opponent's Imperial Ceratops, that's layer 5.
Casting Honor the God-Pharaoh will draw us a lot of large creatures, that's layer 6.
That's not too bad, but we will need a way to turn red mana into draws that gets us a couple of layers. I suppose we can go:
Damaging an Imperial Ceratops will gain the opponent a lot of life, layer 4.
Destroying a Dreadhorde Butcher will damage an Imperial Ceratops, still at layer 4.
A Wakening the Avatar's ETB trigger will destroy a lot of Dreadhorde Butcher, layer 5.
Casting Wakening Sun's Avatar with a lot of Yaroks on the battlefield will create a lot of ETB triggers, layer 6.
Casting Honor the God-Pharoah will draw a lot of Wakening the Sun's Avatars, layer 7.
Activating Teferi, Hero of Dominaria will create a lot of copies via Repeated Reverberation, layer 8.
Casting Banefire will destroy Teferi, but we only get one activation out of it due to sorcery speed, layer 8.
Tapping a Sanctum of the Sun will generate a lot of red mana, layer 9.
Many activations of Teferi will untap a lot of Sanctum of the Suns, layer 10.
Can we get another layer? I'm thinking the 0 layers we get from Spreading Rot can be improved.
Yeah I didn't think it was reflected in the notation, 2X to 3X is still a pretty nice improvement for the most powerful part of the combo, but it is less important than how many layers we can manage make work.
You don't see any issues with the new 3 step stage sequence? I've been writing it up to slot into the big writeup once the deck is finalized.
For future reference, the whole cycle costs 7UUU for omniscience, 3U for Incubation and reduplicate, 6 for the generic part of the novas and 1U for Disdainful stroke, for a total of 17UUUUU, also 5 enchantments need to be returned (Omni, PF, TYS, and the two Sagas). The mana can be optimally produced by 5 Gyre Engineers with 3 Leylines (which needs 3 more poets). We get one each of the 3 key copyable creatures for free (+however many spark doubles we have) So the storm to go off is (5+5+3)x2 as we need a Torch courier for each of them, minus 3 for the originals. Gives us a requirement of ~ 23 storm on Reduplicate to be able to properly go off. (Reduced by 1-4 copies of Spark double.) We can't really get the storm quite that high right from the start, and it looks like there may be some slight inefficiencies at the start to get to the proper buildup (two reshuffles only needs like 10+12 storm)
For the layer sequences in the previous post, we can add Blood for Bones to draw creatures lots of times, and to be drawn by Honor the God-Pharoah lots of times, for another layer. The problem is that this requires black mana to be scarce, while Spreading Rot requires Mox Amber to produce black. So we still need a replacement for Spreading Rot, but now even an equal exchange from life to destroying/playing lands will be enough to get to 11 layers.