What is the cheapest combination of cards (in terms of total mana value of cards used for the combo), that, when played, result in an infinite loop with only mandatory actions - resulting in a draw?

  • You cannot go infinite in mtg. Many magic youtubers get it wrong. If there is a mandatory loop then the game ends in a draw. If you have demonstrated a loop that is not mandatory then you chose an arbitrary amount of iterations of the loop and the game continues.
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Apr 10 at 6:07
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    @NeilMeyer but the OP is asking for a mandatory action loop that ends in a draw?
    – Zibelas
    Commented Apr 10 at 6:23
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    Perhaps you didn't see my comment on the answer. It is not acceptable to edit a question after there are already answers in a way that invalidates existing answers. I have rolled your edit back again. Please do not roll it forward again.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Apr 10 at 18:02
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    @murgatroid99 I disagree with you here. I think it is pretty obvious the intended question is about total mana cost of producing the loop, and that specifying mana value was an oversight. Commented Apr 11 at 0:23
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    It doesn't entirely matter what was intended. The answer is in accordance with what the question actually said. Practically speaking, they got what they wanted either way: my answer likely provides the actual minimum setup cost.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Apr 11 at 1:44

2 Answers 2


You can create a mandatory loop spending only 3 mana:

This creates an infinite loop: Worldgorger Dragon, when it enters, exiles all other permanents, including the Animate Dead. Then Animate Dead's triggered ability makes you sacrifice Worldgorger Dragon. That triggers Worldgorger Dragon's last ability, returning all permanents to the battlefield including the Animate Dead, which can then reanimate Worldgorger Dragon again to continue the loop.

This loop is only mandatory if there are no other creatures in graveyards, which can be accomplished for no additional mana cost with one Bojuka Bog or Tormod's Crypt per player.

If activating abilities is allowed, the cost of this combo can be reduced to 2 mana by replacing Careful Study with Bazaar of Baghdad

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    It can also be reduced to 2 mana if you draw up to max hand size and discard Worldgorger Dragon that way.
    – Tim C
    Commented Apr 10 at 16:38

Two mana

Play Mirrorpool (0 mana).

Play Mirrorpool (0 mana).

Cast Pact of the Titan (0 mana)

Activate Mirrorpool’s second ability, targeting the Pact

Cast Pact of Negation (0 mana), targeting Pact of the Titan

Let Pact of Negation resolve, countering Pact of the Titan.

At this point, the only thing on the stack is the Mirrorpool's activated ability. It will fizzle when it resolves, but it doesn't know that quite yet.

Cast Vantress Visions (2 mana). Its only valid target is Mirrorpool’s second activated ability.

Activate the second Mirrorpool’s second ability. Its only target is the Visions.

When the copy of Vantress Visions resolves, it’s only valid target will be the original Mirrorpool ability. That, in turn, will need to copy an instant or sorcery, and the only valid target for it is Vantress Visions. Because neither can copy anything but the other, neither the original Mirrorpool ability nor the original Vantress Visions will never actually resolve, since each time something above them resolves, it will add a new spell or ability copy to the stack.

I originally tried to form this loop with two Forks, but that doesn't work because you can choose the resolving Fork as the target of a newly made copy Fork in order to force a fizzle.

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    Could you elaborate on what makes this loop? It isn't clicking for me. Commented Apr 10 at 10:46
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    Isn't this ignoring the 3 mana it takes to activate Mirrorpool? Commented Apr 10 at 11:11
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    @MartinEpsz Yes, but the question as asked at the time the answer was written does not technically care about the cost of any activated abilities involved (it asked for an answer in terms of CMC, and ability costs do not, strictly speaking, contribute to CMC). Commented Apr 10 at 11:17
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    @ArcanistLupus Right, I didn't consider this - I changed the question to "total mana cost to initiate", I hope you don't mind
    – 2080
    Commented Apr 10 at 13:15
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    I reverted that. It is not OK on these sites to make edits to the question after answers have been posted that invalidate any of those answers.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Apr 10 at 15:17

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