Daily Dominaria Deck Tech: Meria's Paradox


Every workday while the set is new, Insight is taking a quick look at one deck featuring the latest additions from Dominaria United. An old combo strategy has found new life in Pioneer, thanks to—how fitting—a Scholar of Antiquity. Meria gives the deck extra mana, extra cards, and an extra legend to work with!

meria's paradox

Once upon a time, the Paradox Engine deck was a serious force in Historic on MTG Arena. I spent hours tapping and untapping my way to victories, even into Day 2 of a Qualifier Weekend. (This was before online-only cards turned the format into a cruel joke. Although then legal Uro was a bit of a joke too.) So when I found a new version of the deck among the undefeated Pioneer lists from Magic Online, I had to take a closer look.

Fast mana first: Springleaf Drum, Moonsnare Prototype, and Courier's Briefcase accelerate admirably. Their mana output gets downright ridiculous once you add to the mix Mox Amber and Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy. Casting Paradox Engine by turn three is quite possible, even when you have to search it up with Karn, the Great Creator first.

The easiest Paradox loop in Historic then always involved an active Emry chaining the same Chromatic Sphere over and over and generating mucho mana and cards in the process. Something similar is still possible in the Sphere-less Pioneer biosphere, at least kind of. Looping Implement of Combustion, Implement of Ferocity, or just the Briefcase is way harder on the mana but doubles as a win condition.

The old Historic deck also had a convoluted, if deterministic way of winning without Emry. (Karn would search for Ancestral Statue, Portal of Sanctuary, and Aetherflux Reservoir, all in the same turn, replayed via Statue.)

The new build in Pioneer now has something better: Meria, Scholar of Antiquity. First of all, it brings the legend count to twelve, a significant boost to Mox Amber. It also allows you to get mana off spare artifacts, those not already occupied otherwise, for example Implement, Briefcase, or Paradox Engine itself. Most importantly, it allows you to dive into your deck, exile card after card, keep the chain going, growing your artifact base, until eventually you have the win via Karn.

One final fun fact—we might as well call it a paradox—to keep in mind amid calculations concerns the interaction between Meria and Kinnan. The latter's Gatherer entry reminds us: "You're 'tapping a permanent for mana' only if you're activating a mana ability of that permanent that includes the tap symbol in its cost." So when you tap an artifact for mana with Meria, Kinnan makes that neither more nor merrier.

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