Consider the following combination of cards in the Standard Format of Magic the Gathering, encompassing Khans of Tarkir, Fate Reforged, Dragons of Tarkir, Magic Origins, Battle for Zendikar, and Oath of the Gatewatch.

In Play: Zada, Hedron Grinder and Seeker of the Way

Player casts: Arcbond and Valorous Stance, each targeting Zada, Hedron Grinder. Order is irrelevant.

Player Casts: Wild Slash targeting Zada, Hedron Grinder.

Result: Zada creates a copy of Arbond, Valorous Stance, and Wild Slash for each creature the Player Controls. Since Prowess has been triggered for Seeker of the Way thrice, Ferocious is satisfied for Wild Slash: Damage can't be prevented this turn. Each Creatures is Indestructible.

A cascading, near uninterruptable chain of Arcbond reflected creature damage will deal infinite damage to each player and creature on the battlefield. Seeker of the Way's lifelink will keep the Player alive until everything else is dead.

What can stop this combination from ending the game in a draw?

  • 1
    Am I correct assuming that you are choosing the first mode for Valorous Stance? And what makes you think this would end in a tie, when one player is gaining life and each other player is only losing life?
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 20:34
  • 11
    This question is unclear. You ask for ways to stop a combo, but then you eliminate the two most obvious answers (removal and counter spells) for no other reason than they are "easy". What's wrong with the easy answers?
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 6:32
  • 2
    I agree with Rainbolt that preemptively eliminating some answers doesn't improve the question any, though I don't think it makes the question unclear. Instead, you could just upvote answers that provide more interesting solutions.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:23
  • 2
    My point is that that's unnecessary. History shows that someone will post a more interesting answer, and upvotes will float those to the top.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:34
  • 6
    Puzzling Stack Exchange is probably a better place for your puzzles. They already have a tag for Magic: the Gathering puzzles, and the questions I have seen have been fairly well received. I realize that there can be overlap between sites, but I don't see a reason to create a new tag for puzzle questions when we already have a site dedicated to them. I think that Board and Card Games would just end up with all of the lower quality puzzles.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


Assuming that everything described in the scenario resolves, and nobody does anything to stop it, the player with the combo wins. Once the copy of Wild Slash resolves, the triggers play out as follows:

  1. Arcbond targeting Seeker of the Way triggers. Seeker of the Way deals 2 damage to you, your opponent, and Zada. Since Seeker of the Way has lifelink, you also gain 6 life
  2. If either player has 0 life, they lose the game.
  3. Arcbond targeting Zada triggers. Zada deals 2 damage to you, your opponent, and Seeker of the Way.
  4. If either player has 0 life, they lose the game.
  5. Goto step 1.

Throughout this sequence, the original copy of Wild Slash is sitting at the bottom of the stack, waiting to resolve. So, even if it was possible to counter a triggered ability in Standard, that would be insufficient to stop the combo unless the opponent could do so twice.

If the opponent controls Tainted Remedy, then the last part of step 1 would instead say "you also lose 6 life", so in most cases, this would cause you to lose instead of win.

This sequence can be stopped at any time by removing one of the creatures, either by exiling it (e.g. with Complete Disregard), or by returning it to its owner's hand (e.g. with Force Away), or even by flickering it (e.g. with Eldrazi Displacer).

Stepping back further, as you mention, the combo can be broken by countering either the original or the copy of the Arcbond or the Valorous Stance, or by destroying one of the creatures in response to Valorous Stance.

  • Yeah; Return to hand was thing I missed in my caveats, but a fair out. Eldrazi Displacer is also well represented. Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 21:05
  • @DrunkCynic You can also force them to sacrifice one of the creatures, with crackling doom or a similar card.
    – Waterseas
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 15:34

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