@thewhitedragon69 I believe that's what he is saying, yes.

@vaughnbros it could. it would mean not playing the prison elements(sphere/chalice), assuming you mean playing it as a companion. other stuff prohibited by this in shops includes stonecoil serpent, foundry inspector, chief of the foundry.

Well, walking ballista would be the obvious kill mechanism I would assume. Kuldatha, and the 8 welders works too. Essentially a turbovault deck that runs infinite Mana>ballista face alternate win con? Time to bring back Mox Monkey to handle Null Rods?

last edited by Serracollector

@thewhitedragon69 OH, good catch, forgot that you can't run PA.

@stormanimagus Can you run 3 main if you use 1 as your companion in the sb?


8 welders and 4 monoliths (that generate infinite mana with this guaranteed) plus some huge artifacts that have activated abilities.

Null Brooch was a welder control card, Ratchet Bomb, and there are probably a few others that are still playable with the restriction.

last edited by vaughnbros


I guess 8 then. I forgot about Basalt.

Here's the list I made. In testing, it's been REALLY consistent. Turn 1 or 2 kills goldfishing almost every hand. The times it goes to turn 3/4, it's setting up with teferi and/or accumulating multiplte FoWs to punch through. It's almost immune to creature removal because once Zirda resolves, you can activate the untap of a monolith multiple times in response and get infinite mana. Once you have infinite floating, Zirda can die and you still win.

// V_1_Monolith Combo

// 61 Maindeck
// 22 Artifact
4 Basalt Monolith
4 Grim Monolith
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Sapphire
3 Mox Opal
1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
1 Time Vault
1 Manifold Key
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
1 Memory Jar

// 3 Creature
2 Urza, Lord High Artificer
1 Walking Ballista

// 13 Instant
4 Paradoxical Outcome
1 Mystical Tutor
4 Force of Will
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Mental Misstep

// 12 Land
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Tropical Island
1 Island
4 Tundra
1 Polluted Delta
1 Flooded Strand
1 Scalding Tarn

// 3 Planeswalker
1 Karn, the Great Creator
1 Narset, Parter of Veils
1 Teferi, Time Raveler

// 8 Sorcery
1 Channel
1 Time Walk
1 Tinker
1 Preordain
1 Ponder
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Timetwister
1 Gitaxian Probe

// 15 Sideboard
// 5 Artifact
SB: 1 Mycosynth Lattice
SB: 4 Soul-Guide Lantern

// 2 Creature
SB: 1 Zirda, the Dawnwaker
SB: 1 Walking Ballista

// 4 Instant
SB: 3 Hurkyl's Recall
SB: 1 Flusterstorm

// 3 Planeswalker
SB: 3 Teferi, Time Raveler

// 1 Sorcery
SB: 1 Balance

Common plays are to combo with Zirda and 1) just infinite activate Urza, play out your deck and have multiple construct 20/20s, then time walk 2) ballista for infinite 3) stroke (or scroll into stroke) for infinite 4) jar/twister/PO into nuts CA and combo 5) vault/key 6) Karn -> ballista from sb, or 7) channel on turn 1 for karn -> mycosinth lattice and win at your leisure.

TLDR; Zirda is busted as hell.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

is it possible you just want to be caverning this in?

@blindtherapy said in [IKO] Zirda, the Dawnwaker:

is it possible you just want to be caverning this in?

I was going to say either cavern or maybe run Pact of Negation. I would also be curious if 4 PO's is correct since I think the first one is likely enough to draw you into a wincon situation that you may not need to go off in the traditional sense.

Channel / Karn / Lattice is so gross when it happens.

Hi, I'm the old Horologium, now Horologium0 because I could not recover my password. In any case....

I'm building a variant of the monolith/Zirda deck, using Pact of Negation and Defense grid as protection. The wincon is...something special so I don't want to spoil now. Someone probably has already discovered the same wincon though, so I'm just being shifty I suppose.

And I agree with @Protoaddict, 4 Paradoxical doesn't feel right. I'm currently testing 3, but may even slim to 2. My colors are currently UWb. As @Thewhitedragon69 pointed out, not much can stop the combo once it's assembled. There are a few niche cases, notably a Force of Vigor targeting Grim Monolith while the untap activation is on the stack. Untapping costs a reduced 2, but it only taps for 3, so you wouldn't have enough to activate the untap while Force is resolving. This case assumes I have no grid in play and no pact in hand. This case does not apply to Basalt Monolith, however, because it only costs a reduced 1 to untap, so you can activate again if targeting for Force of Vigor.

I'll keep iterating on my list and will post once something less amorphous is developed. I haven't been this thrilled for a combo enabler in a long time.

@horologium0, I tried pact of negation in the sb, but i like teferi better for multiple reasons. 1) It forces them to have multiple counterspells as opposed to 1 counterspell + 1 instant speed artifact removal. 2) it bounces null rod and collector ouphe (VERY important) 3) if they do have double counters, pact of negation just kills you on your upkeep. 4) Defense grid is unplayable as it doesn't have an activated ability and the Zirda can't be your "commander" for g2/3.

@Protoaddict, 4 PO is a lot, however preordain is the card i've wanted least when i draw it. you want to go off turn 1 when possible, and when you have 22 artifacts, PO facilitates that best. You can also tap for infinite and PO Zirda to draw 1 extra card - once he's done his trick, he's useless on the board anymore. I could cut to 3 PO, but i'd rather 0 preordain i think. preordain is just so meh when looking to dig deep. Sensei top is a possible add, but i couldn't find the space. Maybe preordain becomes top.

@blindtherapy I considered cavern, but you really want the U/W mana for all the other spells. Also, you'd need to run 4 to have any reliable chance of drawing it on turn 1, and that just makes the mana base too colorless. it's worth testing, but i have found myself wanting blue when i wasn't ready to turn 1 win, and a cavern vs a blue for ancestral, PO, etc would have turned those hands from a turn 2 win to a game loss.

I am amazed at the consistency of this deck. It's like playing a time vault combo with 4x manifold key, 4x voltaic key main and guaranteeing TV is always in hand and as an 8th card to boot....it's stupid good.

@Thewhitedragon69 Thanks for the catch on Defense Grid, my mind blanked!

I think I want to maintain a theme of colorless permanents, so I may test Hope of Ghirapur. I'm also currently testing some version of Ugin (Spirit Dragon, Ineffible.)

My deck may not end up being super competitive, but it certainly is fun (and fast, and consistent.)

@horologium0 That's awesome. The only issues I see with Hope are 1) you are forced to wait a turn to be protected, so it's hard to win turn 1, 2) it turns on their otherwise useless creature removal killing Hope turn 1 to have their counterspell active, 3) it doesn't ALSO answer null rod/stony silence/collector ouphe, which shuts your deck down flat. Teferi is the nice all in one package that is immune to removal, bounces the "null rod" effects, stops ALL responses on your turn, and can also do things like bouncing your mox opal for that second W/R mana to go off (while drawing a card).

I'd recommend 3x ballista main and 1 in SB with main Karn if you want to be more colorless. One reason I chose Stroke as a win con is because it's blue to pitch to FoW if needed, can be fetched with mystical or scroll, so it's like having 2 more virtual win cons, and varies kills in case a sorcerous spyglass lands, naming ballista. Ballista is just a great card on its own right and can easily be a 5/5 with the absurd mana we generate naturally. It can also be cast for 2 mana to get a cheap bounce target for PO. It's the best colorless wincon I found. Ugin is a broken card, but it doesn't win on the same turn.

A couple cool things I noticed:

  1. While deafening silence stops PO and shuts down storm cold, it does nothing to this deck but slow it (and if you are on the play, it may be a blank completely). Consider you open with land, sol ring, grim monolith, pass. Opponent plays DS. On your turn, you play land (or just use your land+mox if your mox is R/W), cast Zirda (a creature), infinite mana, cast ballista, stroke, karn -> ballista, etc. -- It ONLY stops Urza from casting more than 1 spell. If you get Urza as your only wincon in hand, you can still get a free spell or more on your opponent's turn and also your turn, which is more than enough to just grind a win.

  2. The deck is virtually immune to blood moon. Anyone that plays me (KillerKarma) on Cockatrice knows I run a welder/moon/painter deck quite often, and blood moon is an absolute house vs 90% of Vintage. But Zirda can be cast off 1RR, so you can just infinite and cast a colorless wincon easily (or stroke off a sapphire/lotus/opal). That's an absurdly great side effect of the hybrid mana of Zirda.

  3. The ONE big weakness of the deck is Containment Priest. It keeps Zirda in the SB. You can still win without Zirda, and between FoW and Teferi, you should be able to stop CP, but it is an available answer card, if nothing more than a speed bump.

Some cards I considered and might still try to squeeze in (for the UWg build):
Sensei's top
Orim's Chant
Some giant tinkerbot with an activated ability
Brain Freeze (since you can just PO storm like crazy)
Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy (since it combos with basalt monolith for infinite mana too)
Kozilek, the Great Distortion
Spawnsire of Ulamog (with Emrakul, Aeons Torn in the sideboard)

*Update - I just tried some of the above cards. -1 PO (sub for Kozilek), -1 Preordain (sub for Sensei top), -1 Urza (sub for Spawnsire & -1 hurkyls in SB for Emrakul). These lead to even more broken paths. Channel into Kozilek is bonkers. Spawnsire is more castable than Urza once you've gone infinite and the Emrakul from the SB means you swing with annihilator 6 and 22 damage on the board turn 1. Just WOW. I think the genie is out of the bottle and Vintage is broken. Can't even restrict Zirda as it is a SB 1-of. They can re-restrict grim monolith, and I don't even think that matters. Would they really restict BASALT monolith too? THIS DECK IS SO NUTS!

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

@Thewhitedragon69 You've discovered my win condition! I have 4x Spawnsire of Ulamog main, and I fetch Emrakul, Ulamog, and Kozilek from the side with its ability. And in case I can't pass the turn (for example, if I double pact and won't have mana to pay next turn,) I also have Forerunner of Slaughter. For 1 colorless, I can give each of the Eldrazi haste, which would end the game immediately.

edit: Also, does containment priest stop Zirda as you noted? You are casting it from your sideboard, which circumvents Containment Priest's ability. Unless, of course, I am interpreting the interaction incorrectly.

last edited by Horologium0

eldrazi stuff seems very cute, but is it better than walking ballista or another X spell that doesn't need multiple sideboard slots to complete? either it or spawnsire need to resolve to work; i think playing emrakul the aeons torn maindeck is safer than spawnsire, as the payoff spell itself is uncounterable.

priest does not stop zirda from being cast from the sideboard.

@horologium0 Oh snap - CP doesn't stop it. I was thinking it stopped everything not cast from hand. But anything cast from anywhere still works.

Per the card's rulings:

  • Containment Priest’s last ability won’t affect any creatures that were cast, including ones cast from unusual zones such as your graveyard.

That does it. Vintage is broken. Every deck will be Standstill (to just 12x counter Zirda), THIS MONSTROSITY, or 4x stony/4x Ouphe/4x Null rod.dec

Yeah, that's hyperbole...or is it?

@Horologium0 I Am still running 1 Urza in case of 1) if ceremonious rejection becomes a popular answer, 2) If we DO get flooded with null rod effects by the opponent. Then at least outside of teferi being unable to remove all the rod effects, you can at least get a 1/4 for just 4 mana that makes a giant construct out of all your dead artifact rocks and has an ability that costs only 3 to use (if you have Zirda in play). I think if we have infinite mana, we win more times than not with either Urza or Spawnsire in hand, but on the chance null rod hits and we can't remove it, it is at least a viable plan B.

Are there any good ways outside of Teferi to get rid of problematic null rods? I was running repeals in draft 1.0, but realized Teferi just offered so much more upside with the same effect for the same 3cmc that I went to 4 teferi and never looked back. Maybe there's another permanent with an ability that handles ouphe, stony, and null rod in one card? Something fetchable with Karn perhaps, but Spine of Ish Sah seems really expensive if we have our mana rocks shut off. Thoughts?

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

@blindtherapy You can't run Emrakul main - it has no activated ability (per Zirda's condition). The key would be to vary win cons since Sorcerous Spyglass is a thing and not uncommon. I run 1 ballista main and 1 SB (to fetch with Karn), but also 1 stroke, 1 Urza, and 1 Spawnsire now. That way opponents with a spyglass have to pick their poison and likely die that turn or next anyway. If your win cons are just 4x spawnsire or 4x ballista, you may be up shitz creek without a paddle. Using Spawnsire also dodges Leyline of Sanctity, which stops the ballista and stroke kills.

@Horologium0 I highly recommend a main Kozilek. It's not hard to get to 10 mana naturally, it is an extra busted channel funnel (beyond Karn -> lattice), and its ability to counter spells helps protect the Zirda combo/lock up the game. You can just land/mox/channel/kozilek, refill your hand, and have a 2 turn clock with a full hand and the ability to protect. The angles and resiliency this deck has is just...beyond dumb. LOL I'm goldfishing and mulling to FOUR and still getting turn 2 kills. This is STUPID!

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

Time to run Helix Pinacle or too slow?

@serracollector With infinite mana, you want to kill on the spot. If they have a counter, the opponent is going to counter Zirda, not the kill condition. If they have removal, it doesn't matter, so shroud doesn't help here. This is also vulnerable to Force of Negation, whereas Ballista and Spawnsire are not.

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