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I started wondering when the first time an infinite combo was possible in Magic: The Gathering. I went through Alpha and, as far as I could tell, there wasn't an infinite combo available among the cards there, although there were a couple pieces to well known infinite combos.


The first two cards that I noticed from Alpha were Basalt Monolith and Time Vault but I didn't notice any way to go infinite with them using just Alpha.

Looking into their famous combos, the first one that I could come up with was the Basalt Monolith / Power Artifact combo that existed as far back as Antiquities, the fifth set to be released by Wizards.


Are there any infinite combos that existed before this two card combo? Specifically, I'm looking for infinite combos that are legal to execute by tournament standards. So for example, using Basalt Monolith to tap and untap itself repeatedly wouldn't count as it doesn't advance the board state.

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    Not an infinite combo, but the insta-win combo of choice then was channel -> fireball – John Jan 25 at 0:01
  • Rocket launcher, ornithopter, and [I can't remember]. – Mazura Jan 25 at 19:24
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    Basalt Monolith all on its own is an infinite combo. It's kind of boring, but hey. – Showsni Jan 25 at 21:38
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    @Showsni I thought that too, that's why I added in the last paragraph. I was looking for an infinite that advanced the board. I'm pretty sure if you tried to do that in a tournament you'd get yelled at for slow play. – DenisS Jan 26 at 1:42
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According to this Reddit post, the first infinite combo was Animate Artifact, Time Vault and Instill Energy.

By animating and untapping Time Vault and then tapping it would gain the player infinite turns.

This is the first infinite combo in Magic.

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    Since all of those cards were printed in Alpha, it is definitely at least tied for being the first infinite combo. – murgatroid99 Jan 24 at 21:58
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    True. Thanks for the edit @murgatroid99! – Aulis Ronkainen Jan 24 at 21:59
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    The pedant in me says that you need a way to reshuffle the graveyard into the library otherwise you deck out. Fortunately, Timetwister is also an Alpha card, so even if you buy that argument it doesn't change the answer. – Arcanist Lupus Jan 25 at 0:24
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    @AulisRonkainen Ah, but we're not trying to win, here. We're trying to "go infinite". But you're not wrong either. – Arcanist Lupus Jan 25 at 15:46
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    @ArcanistLupus Good point. I guess I was looking this through my Spike glasses :) – Aulis Ronkainen Jan 25 at 15:55
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These cards are all available in Alpha:

Animate Artifact + Time Vault + Instill Energy

  1. Time Vault
  2. Enchant Time Vault With Animate Artifact
  3. Enchant Time Vault with Instill Energy
  4. Instill Energy - {0}: Untap enchanted Time Vault
  5. Time Vault - {T}: Take an Extra Turn
  6. Repeat for potentially infinite turns (the deck must support this)
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12

While the loop that Aulis and Ayatollah describe is undoubtedly the best infinite combo in Alpha, it is not the only infinite combo in Alpha.

Step 1:
Play your entire deck, until there are only 9 cards combined in your graveyard, hand, and library.
Step 2:
Play Time Walk
Step 3:
Play Timetwister, shuffle your graveyard and hand into your library, and draw 7 cards, including a Regrowth.
Step 4:
Start your next turn, draw your eighth card. Play Regrowth, getting back Timetwister. You now have Time Walk and Timetwister in hand. Step 5:
See Step 1

I'm guessing that this one didn't see much play.

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  • 3
    Most games end before either player is down to 9 cards in their library – murgatroid99 Jan 25 at 7:33
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    The Weissman Deck sometimes went infinite. Although it used Ice Age cards, I'm pretty sure a functioning version could have been made with Alpha only. Of course, no one knew MtG well enough to make such a deck. – JollyJoker Jan 25 at 11:31
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    @murgatroid99 I did say it wasn't a very good combo, didn't I? It's massively impractical, but it does work. – Arcanist Lupus Jan 25 at 15:50
  • The Weissman thought stuck in my head. Alpha had Control Magic to replace the Moats. City of Brass is no issue since opponents have neither Blood Moon nor Strip Mine; all duals is fine. Losing Mana Drain is regrettable, but Counterspell plus Power Drain is fine. Amnesia over Mind Twist was questionable anyway, Ivory Tower, Balance and Wrath of God can probably fit in. I'm pretty sure this would have beaten the shit out of the field back in those days. – JollyJoker Jan 25 at 21:21
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    @RBarryYoung Replaced the second Timetwister with Regrowth – Arcanist Lupus Jan 26 at 22:36

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