4

Infinite combos in Magic are awesome (if you're a Johnny). Planeswalker ultimate abilities are awesome (if you're a Timmy). Combining the two would be even more awesome. Then you could have a billion emblems from Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, or Kiora, the Crashing Wave. Because dealing a billion damage isn't as cool as doing it every time you cast a spell. And getting a billion krakens isn't as cool as getting them every turn.

What's the fewest number of cards (besides the planeswalker) that allows you to activate a planeswalker's ultimate ability an arbitrary number of times?

7

3 cards, in addition to the walker(s) you want to be hitting the ultimate of:

Chalice needs at least 4 counters, to pay for the veil, tezzeret +1 untaps both chalice and veil allowing infinite uses of veil which resets both tezzeret and the other walker(s), letting you rebuild the + abilities on those walkers until they ultimate again and again.

  • Plus lands to pay for them. – Acccumulation Oct 26 '18 at 17:36
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    @Andrew Good answer. Only works on planeswalkers with a +1 that doesn't kill your or your opponent though. – Zags Oct 26 '18 at 18:09
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    @DarkCygnus There are plenty of ways to cheat Everflowing Chalice up to 4 counters without actually paying the mana; I think leaving how to get those counters as an exercise for the reader is more prudent than trying to enumerate them, or worse, imply that mana is the only way to get it done. – KRyan Oct 26 '18 at 20:23
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    @KRyan yes, this post does not ask "List the ways to play Everflowing Chalice", and as a MTG ignorant I am sure there are alternative ways to play it than depending solely on mana (perhaps one of those cards that +1s the number of counters on a card) – DarkCygnus Oct 26 '18 at 20:37
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    @DarkCygnus Usually when talking combos you only refer to the cards involved in the combo itself in magic, not the cards it took to get them there, that would mean including mana to cast, the creatures and spells that protected the walkers until you could go off, tutors to find the walkers and artifacts involved, etc. – Andrew Oct 29 '18 at 15:00
6

The simplest combo in general is 3 cards: Gilder Bairn, Banishing Knack, and Gemstone Array works for all planeswalkers.


Explanation

There are 3 card combos around the The Chain Veil (all you need to add is infinite mana and artifact untapping, such Astral Cornucopia with 4 counters and Filigree Sages, or the combo suggested by @Andrew). However, these combos only work for planeswalkers with a "+x" ability that won't kill either you or your opponent in the process of using them repeatedly, so it's incompatible with planeswalkers like Chandra, Bold Pyromancer, Sarkhan the Mad, and Jace Beleren.

Gilder Bairn, Banishing Knack, and a Gemstone Array works for all planeswalkers. Gilder Bairn creates infinite mana with Gemstone Array (provided you have a way to tap the Bairn) and can also pump a planeswalker to have enough counters to use its ultimate the turn it enters the battlefield. Banishing Knack provides both a way to tap the Bairn and a way to bounce and replay the planeswalker, which causes it to be a new object and thus resets the count on how many times it has used a loyalty ability this turn. In order for this to work, you need sufficient starting counters on the Gemstone Array and some cheap permanent you can cast repeatedly to bounce with the Bairn while building up infinite mana on the Gemstone Array, noting that the planeswalker you plan to play can be this permanent. The number of starting counters you need on the array to combo off is 7 + [the cost of your cheapest non-land permanent].


Special Cases

There are fewer-card combos with particular planeswalkers, the clear winner of which is 1 card plus the planeswalker: Doubling Season with Jace, Cunning Castaway.

You can also do this in Commander with 2 cards if Teferi, Temporal Archmage is your commander. All you need is The Chain Veil and Gilded Lotus on the battlefield (as well as 2 lands) and Teferi in the command zone. This works because The Chain Veil activations apply to later instances of Teferi that will be cast, so by repeatedly killing him via his "-1" ability to untap The Chain Veil and your mana sources, and replaying him from the command zone, you are gaining more mana than you are spending on the extra commander tax. As an added bonus, you get to draw your deck while doing this.

Also, credit to @ArcanistLupus for pointing out that an infinite turn combo in a deck with a shuffleback creature in your deck (such as Emrakul, the Aeons Torn) can technically be a replacement for a combo around The Chain Veil (it allows you to use the ultimate on a planeswalker with a non-lethal "+1" ability). There exist two-card combos that do this, such as Beacon of Tomorrows and Planar Portal.

  • Note that Voltaic Construct only untaps artifact creatures – Benjamin Cosman Oct 26 '18 at 16:15
  • Voltaic Construct + Gilded Lotus isn't an infinite mana combo, and Voltaic Construct can't untap Chain Veil anyway. – DenisS Oct 26 '18 at 16:18
  • @BenjaminCosman Whoops; I misremebered the ability. This has been removed – Zags Oct 26 '18 at 17:33
0

Ajani, Wise Counselor with 10 loyalty counters, Sage of Hours, and at least 30 life.

Step one: Activate Ajani's ultimate, and place 30 +1/+1 counters on Sage of Hours. Step two: Activate Sage of Hours and gain 6 additional turns. Step three: Spend five turns adding counters to Ajani Step four: Lather, rinse, repeat.

This isn't technically a recipe for infinite ultimates, because eventually you'll draw your entire deck and lose. But that can be patched with a few "When [Cardname] is put into a graveyard from anywhere, shuffle it into its owner's library." creatures in your deck. Just discard them for having >7 cards in hand, and your library becomes infinitely renewable.

Time Vault + anything that repeatedly untaps artifacts also works here, if you don't mind playing with a card banned or restricted in all formats (for this very reason)

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    I would admit that it's a three card combo instead of calling it a two card combo that requires a third card. – Rainbolt Oct 27 '18 at 0:34
  • If we're going infinite turn combos, Beacon of Tomorrows + Planar Portal may be logistically simpler. – Zags Oct 29 '18 at 16:19
  • Also worth noting that this only works on planeswalkers with a "+1" ability that doesn't kill your or your opponent. – Zags Oct 29 '18 at 16:25
  • @zags Nexus of Fate instead of Beacon works too, or Panoptic Mirror and Time Warp (or any other extra turn spell that doesn't lose the game at end of turn) so long as it's not commander where mirror is banned. – Andrew Feb 28 at 16:14

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