10 Keyforge Combos You May Not Have Heard Of, 4th Edition
It’s been a while since the last one, so it’s time for my fourth article on lesser-known Keyforge combos. Here are links to the first article, second article, and third article if you missed them. I hope you enjoy reading about these combos as much as I enjoy finding them.
#1: Isotropic Core and Shoulder Id
I discovered this combo just recently, in a game against Nachtengel. They had Isotropic Core in play, and a Shoulder Id in their battle line. I had a bunch of Dark Faeries in play, amongst other things. Knowing that they had Skirmish, I fought my Dark Faeries into Shoulder Id one at a time, and after I was finished, I noticed that the math looked off. I did not have as much Æmber as I expected, and Nachtengel had more Æmber than I remembered. Only then did I realize what had happened.
Because Isotropic Core grants Hazardous 1 to the Shoulder Id, it allows the Shoulder Id to deal damage twice while it’s being attacked, and that means that it normally steals two Æmber instead of one. Of course, it also means that even when being attacked by a skirmisher, it will still steal one.
This combo is similar to the more well-known combo of Shoulder Id and Static Charge, and it works on the same concept. Shoulder Id’s ability will trigger anytime it would deal damage, not just during normal combat damage. Infighting is another card that causes a similar effect. Don’t be like me and get caught by surprise by this combo.
#2: General Sherman and Mælstrom
This combo was suggested by Lokekar. I believe he discovered it during one of the Pink Bunny Games events that he runs on Wednesdays at Archon’s Corner. It’s sort of like a poor man’s Rakuzel’s Chant, except that it works twice. If your opponent has a large board, play General Sherman, purging all creatures under him, and then play Mælstrom. General Sherman will leave play, returning all those purged creatures to play, except they will be exhausted for entering play. However, your creatures will ready at end of turn. General Sherman, of course, will go to the top of your deck, where it will be re-drawn into your next hand. At that point, you can play it again.
Another fun trick you can do is to Abandon Ship your own General Sherman for the same basic effect. You could technically use Call of the Void to achieve a similar effect, but that negates the Æmber on Call of the Void. This combo also works well with Allusions of Grandeur, as you can force your opponent to play a house where all their creatures are exhausted. Sorry, not force, strongly encourage.
While we’re on the subject of combos suggested by Lokekar, let’s look at another one. This one isn’t especially dramatic, but it causes a pretty good Æmber swing. Play Scooped on an enemy creature, forcing it to capture one from its own side, and then take that Æmber with Mug. In two cards, you have gained three Æmber, made your opponent lose one Æmber, and dealt two damage to an enemy creature. That’s a four Æmber swing and four damage on an enemy creature, all from just two cards. That’s value.
#4: Jargogle and Neffru and Unlocked Gateway
I found this combo in an old article by Aurore. It’s best used if you have a significant advantage on the board, or if you are close to winning the game and just need an Æmber burst. The combo works like this. On an earlier turn, play Jargogle and put Neffru under it. Then, on a future turn, play Unlocked Gateway. Use Jargogle’s Destroyed ability first, putting Neffru into play. Now, Neffru is not marked for destruction, but it sees all the creatures that are marked for destruction, and so its Æmber gain effect applies to all of them.
What makes this combo effective is how surprising it is. People simply don’t see it coming. If they did, all they would have to do is kill Jargogle, send Neffru to archives, and the combo would be stymied. However, in practice it works a lot of the time, and tends to go for a big Æmber gain.
#5: Old Egad and Bouncing Deathquark
Credit for this combo goes to CritNado, as he used it against me during an Archon’s Corner sealed event. Here’s how it works. Make sure Old Egad is in play with a neighbor on each side of it. Then play Bouncing Deathquark. Hit your Old Egad first, creating wards on Old Egad’s two neighbors. Then for your next two picks, pick the creatures with the wards. In total, you will have lost one Old Egad, and your opponent will have lost three creatures. Seems like a good trade.
My friend Deb, a player at my LGS, found an even cooler version of this. She pulled a Worlds Collide deck that had a legacy Bouncing Deathquark with a Reassembling Automaton. It was like unlimited Sharkaton.
Speaking of my friends, credit for this one goes to my friend Skunktrain. One of the problems with Fila the Researcher is that you sometimes get two uses out of it, but most of the time you only get one. If you could move it around so it was on a flank, you could get a lot more value. Enter Quantum Fingertrap. The Fingertrap lets you move Fila to the flank so that you can continue to benefit from the draw effect. It’s almost like a free draw pip every Logos turn just for using the Fingertrap.
#7: Mark of Dis and Painmail
This combo really only works against Dis decks, but since Dis is a pretty big part of the meta, that’s not a hard ask. Painmail destroys a creature when a player calls Dis. Thus, the best use of it is to put it on an opposing Dis creature (especially one they don’t want to lose, like a Sinder or a Snarette), and then get them to call Dis. In a game against my friend yrstruly, he had his Snarette behind a taunter and it had six of my captured Æmber on it, along with my Painmail. I couldn’t really call Dis because I wasn’t drawing Dis hands, and he wasn’t calling Dis because he didn’t want to hand me the Æmber pile.
That’s why this combo is great. On the turn you play down Painmail, also use Mark of Dis on a Dis creature in their line. If they only have one Dis creature, like yrstruly’s Snarette, all the better, as it means they are probably about to play a dead Dis turn as their creature dies. As an added bonus, you even get Painmail back to your archives to play again later.
#8: Widespread Corruption and Mole
This one is a combination of two rares, which could make it a little hard to find, but at least they’re in the same house. This combination was suggested to me by irrelevant_id, and I have to say this is one I love. When you reap, Widespread Corruption forces you to put the Æmber on opposing creatures. If you have Mole on an opposing creature, you can put all the Æmber on that creature, and there’s not a lot the opponent can do about it unless they happen to have Exile. They can kill the creature, and probably should as soon as possible, but you’ll still get all the Æmber back unless they have Ludo or a similar effect.
#9: Essence Scale and Lord Invidius
First turn Lord Invidius is one of the scariest plays in the game. It’s five power and elusive, so it’s not easy to respond to, and it can completely mess up your board state, taking your key creatures. However, you know what makes Invidius even scarier? Essence Scale.
Essence Scale benefits Invidius in four ways. First of all, the Scale can potentially allow the Dis leader to activate the turn it comes into play. Second, the Scale can allow Invidius to activate twice in a turn. It does this by stealing one creature, then sacrificing that creature or another one on the same side of the battle line to the Scale, and activating Invidius again. Third, it can help you balance your board by destroying creatures to move Invidius towards the middle. Fourth and finally, if you steal a creature with a Destroyed ability, Essence Scale can immediately activate that ability. This is one of those combos that can truly be game-breaking if it gets going and the opponent has no way to deal with it.
#10: Chelonia and United Action
Wouldn’t it be great if Chelonia could activate for more than Untamed creatures when she comes into play? Well, with United Action, she can. Make sure you have an Untamed card on the board, then play United Action. You can now play Chelonia and every other Untamed or Star Alliance creature in your hand. If your third house has a card in play (or if you have an Agung) you can play creatures from that house, too. And you’re gaining Æmber the entire time. You can burst enough Æmber for a key while at the same time building a board. It’s a great combo, and it’s made even better if you happen to have a large hand size before you start.
That wraps up the fourth edition of lesser-known Keyforge combos. Hopefully you have some of these in your decks, and you can go give them a try. Please let me know if you like them! If you have ideas for combos I can use in a future article, please send them to me, and hopefully I will be able to feature them. I can be contacted on most Keyforge Discords or on TCO as SecondAct.