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I'm looking for the combo using the fewest cards from the start of the game that allows you to generate unlimited mana using Historic-legal cards. It doesn't have to be viable or practical, but I have two restrictions:

  1. No using Codie, Vociferous Codex, because I need to cast permanent spells for what I'm trying to pull off and Codie doesn't allow that.
  2. The opening hand may be assumed. If a solution requires more than 7 cards, you may assume perfect results from random events. If it requires 7 or fewer cards it must be deterministic.

I devised a method using 11 cards over 4 turns, requiring you to be on the draw and draw perfectly.

  1. Play Botanical Sanctum and tap it to cast Llanowar Elves
  2. Play Lotus Field, tap Sanctum to cast Stifle targeting Lotus Field's trigger, and tap one Llanowar Elves to cast another
  3. Play an untapped land, tap everything to cast Chromatic Orrery, tap it for 5 to cast Irencrag Feat, then spend that mana to cast Nyxbloom Ancient
  4. Cast Circle of Dreams Druid and enchant it with Gauntlets of Light

I'm sure this can be improved.

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  • Does this have to be a pure goldfish play, or can it involve assistance from your opponent? Nov 1, 2021 at 8:18
  • @PhilipKendall No opponent assistance allowed. Nov 1, 2021 at 14:56
  • 1
    "No using Codie, Vociferous Codex, because I need to cast permanent spells for what I'm trying to pull off and Codie doesn't allow that." Once you have the infinite mana, you can bounce the Codex. Mar 13, 2023 at 1:48

8 Answers 8

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Try #2: Turn 3, 7 cards

  1. Forest, Llanowar Elves
  2. Land, Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
  3. Swamp, Rotting Regisaur, Tap Selvala for 2W2WG, play Gauntlets of Light, untap Selvala, tap Selvala, repeat

Try #1: Turn 3, with 10 cards

  1. Forest, Llanowar Elves
  2. Lotus Cobra, Forest, Lotus Cobra
  3. Forest, Ashaya, Soul of the Wild, Lotus Cobra, Lotus Cobra, Man-o'-War, Man-o'-War, Man-o'-War, Man-o'-War...

Explanation: Man-o'-War can bounce itself. With Ashaya out, Man-o'-War is a land. With four Lotus Cobras out, Man-o'-War entering the battlefield produces 4 mana, but it only costs 3 to replay.

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Turn 2, 7 cards or turn 3, 6 cards!

(This solution has been improved, but I'll keep the answer around because the optimal one only gives red mana.)

Turns out it was very easily improvable! A card is saved in the turn 2 and 3 deterministic categories!!

  1. Begin the game with Leyline of Abundance in play.
  2. Play Temple Garden paying the 2 life and cast Gilded Goose.
  3. Tap Garden and Goose for G+RG (thanks to Leyline). Cast an Incubation Druid. Cast Kick in the Door targeting the Druid. Tap the Druid for WWWG and enchant it with Gauntlets of Light. Either cast Stony Strength to untap the Druid or pass the turn.

Turn 2, 8 cards or turn 3, 7 cards (source: reddit)

  1. Begin the game with Leyline of Abundance in play.
  2. Play Temple Garden paying the 2 life and cast Gilded Goose.
  3. Tap Gilded Goose for U+G (thanks to Leyline). Cast Neoform on Goose to fetch an Incubation Druid. Play an untapped red land (e.g. Spirebluff Canal) and cast Claim the Firstborn on the Incubation Druid. Tap the Druid for WWWG, then enchant it with Gauntlets of Light.
  4. Either cast Stony Strength with your one remaining G to untap the Druid or pass the turn.

This combo uses only cards that were Standard-legal at the time of its posting two years ago. It might still be improvable.

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  • 5
    "Eg Spirebluff Canal" or, y'know, a Mountain. :D Nov 1, 2021 at 16:07
7

Turn 3, 5 cards!

  1. Begin the game with Leyline of Abundance in play.
  2. Play a Forest and cast Llanowar Elves.
  3. Cast Sanctum Weaver.
  4. Tap all permanents for G+GG+WWG. Enchant Sanctum Weaver with Gauntlets of Light. Untap it. It now taps for WWWG.

Turn 3, 6 cards!

I have saved a card in the turn 3 deterministic category!!

  1. Play Blooming Marsh and cast Llanowar Elves.
  2. Play Plains and cast Faeburrow Elder.
  3. Tap Blooming Marsh to cast Footlight Fiend. Tap Faeburrow Elder, Plains, and Llanowar Elves for 6 mana, BRGW+W+G. Enchant Faeburrow Elder with Gauntlets of Light and untap it.

Many thanks to reddit user GreenNinjaDa, the author of the solution in my other answer, who told me about Faeburrow Elder and inspired me to find this solution.

I was unable to adapt this solution to save a card for turn 2 deterministic, but luckily I found a different way to do that! Check out my other answer.

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Turn 2, 6 cards!!

As is often the case, the final improvement came from an angle one would never expect (which is why this merits its own answer). Infinite thanks to reddit users ava-fans and MoshiMaro in this thread for giving me the pieces to find this!

  1. Play a Mountain and cast Skirk Prospector.
  2. Play Phyrexian Tower. Cast Ornithopter and sacrifice it to Phyrexian Tower for BB. Cast Putrid Goblin. Tap Mountain and sacrifice Putrid Goblin to Skirk Prospector for RR. While Putrid Goblin's Persist trigger is on the stack, cast First Day of Class. Now Putrid Goblin will return to the battlefield with both a +1/+1 and -1/-1 counter on it, allowing us to repeatedly sacrifice it and add as much {R} as we want.
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1 turn, 7 cards from hand + 2 from library, additional luck required

Island. Cast Tormod's Crypt and cast An Offer You Can't Refuse on it to get two Treasures. Repeat with another Tormod's Crypt and another An Offer You Can't Refuse to get to three Treasures. Cast Chaos Warp targeting the Island, putting Omniscience onto the battlefield.

Now cast Acererak the Archlich repeatedly, going through Lost Mine of Phandelver and getting a Treasure each time. This is not quite infinite yet because that dungeon also makes one draw a card each time, so add Ormos, Archive Keeper to stop that from causing a loss and make it truly infinite.

2 turns, 9 cards

Turn 1: Forest, Gilded Goose, Mox Amber.

Turn 2: Aether Hub. Tap the lands and spend the Energy for Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy. Tap Gilded Goose and sacrifice the Food it created for {R}{R} to cast First Day of Class. Tap Mox Amber for {G}{G} to cast Incubation Druid, which gets haste and a +1/+1 counter. Tap it for {U}{U}{U}{U}. Cycle Vizier of Tumbling Sands to untap Incubation Druid, with {U}{U} left, and tap it again for {W}{W}{W}{W}. Now cast Gauntlets of Light on Incubation Druid, and repeatedly untap and tap it to get infinite mana.

Also 2 turns, 9 cards

Turn 1: Forest, Gilded Goose, Mox Amber.

Turn 2: Island. Tap the lands for Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy. Tap Gilded Goose and sacrifice the Food it created for {R}{R}, and tap Mox Amber for {G}{G}. Spend {R}{G}{G} on Xorn and the remaining {R} on Strike It Rich, producing two Treasures. Sacrifice the Treasures for 4 red mana and spend 3 to cast Strike It Rich again by flashback for another two Treasures, and sacrifice those, for a total of 5 mana. Cast Goldspan Dragon and have it attack, producing two Treasures that can now make 3 mana each, for a total of 6 mana. Cast Conviction on Goldspan Dragon, producing another two Treasures, and return it to hand with its ability, and repeat for infinite mana.

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  • How does this work: "Tap Gilded Goose and sacrifice the Food it created for {R}{R}"? Tapping the Goose and sacrificing the food gives only one mana, not two. Nov 1, 2021 at 14:04
  • 2
    @PhilipKendall because of Kinnan you get 2
    – Ivo
    Nov 1, 2021 at 14:29
  • I'm not comfortable with your turn 1 solution because it relies on random chance beyond the opening hand. I wanted a solution that is deterministic once you have the cards for it. Nov 3, 2021 at 7:11
  • @CainGoldhardt OK, but what exactly is your condition? It can't be exactly "no random chance beyond the opening hand", since the example given in the question requires 4 cards more than the opening hand. Is it "no random chance beyond the initial shuffle", or "all cards drawn can be assumed", or something else? In any case, this stipulation should probably be put in the question.
    – m90
    Nov 3, 2021 at 13:53
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    @PhilipKendall The randomness I object to is not that of Ormos, but the assumption that Chaos Warp will retrieve Omniscience. Nov 3, 2021 at 15:47
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1 turn; 8 cards in hand + 2 in library; with a constraint on deck content, no additional luck needed

Start with Leyline of Anticipation on the battlefield. Play Plains and use it to cast Fragment Reality targeting the Leyline of Anticipation. We need this to get Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy; for this to be reliable, the deck must not contain any other creature cards with mana value 3 or less.

Cast two Mox Ambers, tapping each for UU (keeping the new one when the legend rule applies), and spend that mana to cast Displacer Kitten.

Cast a third Mox Amber, triggering Displacer Kitten's ability; target the existing Mox Amber, and tap it for GG after it returns, then tap the new Mox Amber for UU.

Cast Tamiyo, Collector of Tales. Now loop: use Tamiyo to get back a Mox Amber; cast the Mox Amber, triggering Displacer Kitten, and target Tamiyo with its ability. With each iteration, tap the Mox Amber for UU or GG.

There are no more cards left in hand, but we can use Kinnan's activated ability repeatedly, eventually finding any non-Human creature card we want; from here, it is easy to get access to the rest of the cards in the library, for example with Vedalken Archmage. We can also use Wish to bring in cards from outside the game; creature cards with mana value 3 or less can be put there without interfering with the setup.

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Turn 1; 7 cards (plus 12 additional cards are required to be in library/sideboard for this to be deterministic); with a constraint on deckbuilding; Deterministic and produces any amount of all colors of mana!

Starting hand: Any leyline, any white-producing untapped land, Fragment Reality, Mox Amber, Spellchain Scatter, Faithless Looting, Underworld Breach.

Play pattern: Start with Leyline on the battlefield. Play a land. Cast Fragment targeting Leyline. Only creature in Library this can hit is Birgi, God of Storytelling. Cast Mox Amber. Cast Spellchain Scatter. Cast Underworld Breach. Cast Faithless Looting, discarding both cards drawn off of it. [Spellchain's effect conjures a second copy of Faithless Looting into hand.] Cast conjured copy of Faithless Looting.

Hand is now empty. Graveyard is now: Fragment Reality, Spellchain Scatter, two copies of Faithless Looting, and four other arbitrary cards from our library. Escape Spellchain Scatter by exiling Fragment Reality and two other cards. Escape Spellchain Scatter again by exiling one of the Lootings and the two other arbitary cards, leaving the second Looting in the graveyard. This conjures a copy of Spellchain Scatter into our hand, which begins the infinite loop: every copy cast generates a mana off Birgi and conjures an additional copy of Spellchain Scatter into our hand.

We can now generate an arbitrarily high storm count and an arbitrarily large number of cards in our graveyard.

Once we reach our desired arbitrary number, we can escape the other Faithless Looting from the graveyard over and over again until we discard into our graveyard a second Mox (infinite Red mana off Birgi triggers and legend rule). To keep this deterministic and prevent the risk of exiling all 3 remaining moxen before starting the loop, we also run 2 copies of Tormod's Crypt (also generates infinite red mana).

Now that we have infinite red mana, we cast Faithless Looting over and over until we discard a mana filter (examples: Energy Refractor, Crossroads Candleguide, Mimic, Signpost Scarecrow, Urn of Godfire). To prevent the possibility of exiling all these, we run one copy plus four copies of Wish with a second filter in the sideboard.)

If a wincon is also desired, 1 Grapeshot (plus one more in the sideboard) will do the trick.

(old answers archived below)

Turn 1; 7 cards (+11 more from library); with a constraint on deckbuilding, no additional luck needed

Start with Leyline of Sanctity (or any other Leyline) on the battlefield. Play Plains. Cast Fragment Reality targeting the Leyline. The only creature in the library with mana value three or less is Birgi, God of Storytelling (comes into play tapped).

Cast Mox Amber; get {R} from Birgi's trigger, tap it for {R} (total in pool: {R}{R}).

Cast a second Mox Amber; get {R} from Birgi's trigger, keep the new one when legend rule applies, tap it for {R} (total in pool: {R}{R}{R}{R}).

Cast (a one-of in the deck) Tormod's Crypt; get {R} from Birgi's trigger (total in pool: {R}{R}{R}{R}{R}).

Cast Indomitable Creativity with x=2 targeting Crypt and Mox. Get {R} from Birgi's trigger. The only two creatures in the library are Razaketh the Foulblood and Hornet Queen. Using Razaketh's ability, sacrifice Hornet Queen and its four tokens to search your library for: Strike It Ritch, a second Strike It Ritch, Pact of Negation, An Offer You Can't Refuse, and Gleeful Demolition.

Cast Strike It Ritch; get {R} from Birgi's trigger, (total mana available: {R} in pool and one treasure token).

Cast Strike It Ritch, get {R} from Birgi's trigger, while it's on the stack, cast Pact of Negation, get {R} from Birgi's trigger, while it's on the stack, sacrifice a treasure to cast An Offer You Can't Refuse targeting Pact, get {R} from Birgi's trigger (total mana available: {R}{R}{R} in pool and three treasure tokens).

Cast Gleeful Demolition, targeting a treasure token (total mana available: {R}{R}{R} in pool and two treasure tokens).

Using Razaketh's ability, sacrifice the three Gleeful tokens to search up from your library: Strike It Rich, Wish, and Reckless Charge.

Cast Strike It Rich, get {R} from Birgi's trigger (total mana available: {R}{R}{R} in pool and three treasure tokens).

Cast Wish, get {R} from Birgi's trigger (total mana available: {R} in pool and three treasure tokens).

Using Wish's effect, play from sideboard Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, get {R} from Birgi's trigger (total mana available: {R} in pool and one treasure token).

Cast Reckless Charge targeting Selvala, get {R} from Birgi's trigger (total mana available: {R} in pool and one treasure token).

Tap Selvala, paying {G} from the final treasure token to get 8 mana in any combination of colors off Razaketh's power.

Using Razaketh's ability, sacrifice Birgi to find from your library and cast High Alert. Repeatedly untap and tap Selvala to make infinite mana.

Once you have whatever amount of mana you fancy, use Razaketh's ability to sacrifice Selvala to retrieve another copy of Wish, and get any win condition you please from your sideboard.

(If you're not concerned with generating infinite mana, rewind to the casting of Indomitable Creativity and find Griselbrand and Queza, Augur of Agonies for lethal damage.)

decklist

Turn 1; 8 cards; with a constraint on deckbuilding, no additional luck needed, infinite red mana

Start with Leyline of Sanctity (or any other Leyline) on the battlefield. Play Plains. Cast Fragment Reality targeting the Leyline. The only creature in the library with mana value three or less is Birgi, God of Storytelling (comes into play tapped).

Cast Mox Amber; get {R} from Birgi's trigger, tap it for {R} (total in pool: {R}{R}).

Cast Underworld Breach; get {R} from Birgi's trigger (total in pool: {R}).

Cast Spellchain Scatter; get {R} from Birgi's trigger (total in pool: {R}).

Cast Spellchain Scatter; get {R} from Birgi's trigger (total in pool: {R}); conjures a new copy of Spellchain Scatter into hand; repeat this last step an abitrary number of times, filling your graveyard with an arbitrary number of cards (and generating an arbitrary storm count).

For infinite mana, cast either a 2nd Mox Amber (one goes to the graveyard via legend rule) or a Tormod's Crypt (or other 0-mana permanent that sacrifices itself), generating {R} off Birgi, repeat an arbitrary number of times by casting the card from your graveyard by paying its escape cost of three cards—remembering that we have an arbitrary number of conjured cards in our graveyard.

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1 turn; 7 cards in hand + 10 in library + 1 in sideboard; with a constraint on deck content, no additional luck needed

Start with Leyline of Anticipation on the battlefield. Play Plains and use it to cast Fragment Reality targeting the Leyline of Anticipation. We need this to get Birgi, God of Storytelling.

Cast two Mox Ambers; each time, get {R} from Birgi's trigger, and tap it for {R} (keeping the new one when the legend rule applies).

Cast Gleeful Demolition on the Mox Amber (Birgi gives back the {R} spent), getting three Goblin tokens. Cast Transmogrify on one of the Goblin tokens (Birgi triggers again). We need this to get Razaketh, the Foulblooded.

(For this to be reliable, the only creature cards in the deck must be one Birgi and some number of Razakeths.)

Activate Razaketh's ability twice, sacrificing two Goblin tokens, to find another Mox Amber and another Gleeful Demolition. Cast them (in that order), ending up with {R}{R}{R} and three Goblin tokens.

Repeat the previous paragraph, going up to {R}{R}{R}{R}{R} and four Goblin tokens.

Activate Razaketh's ability four more times, sacrificing those Goblin tokens. Cast Relic of Legends and tap it, Birgi, and Razaketh for {G} each (now {R}{R}{R}{G}{G}{G}). Cast Wish (now {R}{G}{G}{G}) and use it to cast Selvala, Heart of the Wilds (now {R}{G}). Cast Reckless Charge (now {R}{G}) targeting Selvala, and tap Selvala and pay {G} to get 8 mana in any combination of colors off Razaketh's power. Cast High Alert and repeatedly untap and tap Selvala to make infinite mana.

(We can then activate Razaketh's ability sacrificing Birgi to find, say, Silver Scrutiny, and cast it to draw the rest of the cards.)

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  • Could this be improved with Eldritch Evolution? Mar 27, 2023 at 17:45

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