It’s Modern Horizons spoiler season! Today we’re going to go over some of the neat things you can do with one of the newly spoiled creatures from the set: Planebound Accomplice.
What good can a Sneak Attack but only for Planeswalkers do for us? After all, unless we have Teferi, Temporal Archmage‘s emblem, we really don’t want to do this on our opponent’s turn. Unless we’re just trying to Gotcha! our opponents with something like Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted or Narset, Parter of Veils when they try to draw a bunch of cards, or stop a fetchland from firing off with Ashiok, Dream Render, I can’t think of any real reason either. Instead, let’s look at some of the interesting interactions we can build around with the Accomplice.
Next End Step You Say?
Sundial of the Infinite seems like a really odd card to the untrained eye. Why would I want to end the turn but only during my own turn? Doesn’t that automatically happen anyways? If you read the reminder text on the Sundial, it might give you a hint as to what can be accomplished with this. Opponent casts Path to Exile on your creature? Just end your turn! Path is exiled instead and your creature remains alive. Sounds good in theory, but if you’re swinging for lethal with a temporarily buffed creature then it’s not so good in theory.
One of the neater tricks you might be aware of with the Sundial is how it can stop “end of turn” effects. I learned about this trick running Sedris, the Traitor King as my commander. All I had to do was activate the Sundial and any creature I had Unearthed stayed on the battlefield. It was a neat trick that let me put most of my deck into my graveyard, make a bunch of mana off of something like Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Cabal Coffers, Unearth a bunch of high mana cost creatures, and keep a single mana open to end the turn after a big swing so I don’t lose all of my creatures.
Our ideal situation here is we would use our Accomplice to pay a single red mana per Planeswalker in our hand and dump a bunch onto the battlefield and use the Sundial to stop them from going away. But there is one very specific thing you need to know about this interaction: Accomplice says “the beginning of the next end step.” This means if we activate the Sundial during one of our Main Phases or even Combat, our Planeswalkers would go away at the end of our opponent’s turn. To avoid this, you’ll simply want to wait until the trigger from Accomplice goes on the stack during your end step and activate the Sundial. You’ll get to keep your Planeswalkers and “the beginning of the next end step” trigger will fizzle.
Another way around “end of turn” or “beginning of the next end step” triggers is blinking and flickering effects. When we do things like blink a card, what happens is we are creating a new instance of the card. Whatever was targeting it, enchanting it, giving it temporary abilities, etc. is no longer doing so. The easiest way to think of this is like we’ve made a new version of the card and the old one is gone forever.
With that in mind, Venser, the Sojourner has a +2 ability that can flicker a permanent you control. This will cause a new instance of the Planeswalker we sneak in to exist without the next end step trigger attached to it. Venser can flicker himself initially and then each subsequent Planeswalker you sneak out. While not the flashiest of things to be doing by sneaking in Planeswalkers, it’s definitely a slower and effective way to build an army of Planeswalkers that you’ve only payed one single red mana for.
It depends on how many hoops you want to jump through, but there are many more ways to blink and flicker creatures than there are for Planeswalkers or permanents. That’s where our good friend Gideon comes into play. Most versions of Gideon require him to use a 0 ability to turn him into a creature, and while that can work, I think we can have more fun with the new guy in town, Gideon Blackblade. Activate his +1 to give a creature you control Vigilance, Lifelink, or Indestructible, then cast something like Cloudshift targeting your Gideon and you’ll immediately get your Gideon back. You can then use his +1 once again on the same creature you targeted earlier or another creature, and now he won’t be going away at the end of the turn.
The Spirit of Red
While the above examples are definitely fun, I think the most practical use of the Accomplice is to, for lack of a better term, attempt to “storm off” with him. Our ideal situation here is to sneak in a Planeswalker that has a relevant ability to activate or a passive ability to abuse.
Paying a single red mana for a Jaya, Venerated Firemage to bump all red sources of damage (besides herself) by one could be the exact turn you need to win or get your opponent down to an extremely low life total. Or maybe you want to sneak in Saheeli, Sublime Artificer and cast a bunch of spells to make a bunch of 1/1 Servos. Maybe sneak in a Samut, Tyrant Smasher, Angrath, Captain of Chaos, or Nahiri, Storm of Stone to give your creatures a little more relevancy. Or maybe you’re just wanting to pay a single red mana to kill another Planeswalker or creature with Garruk, Apex Predator. This allows for an explosive turn, but also a potentially fragile one if we’re not careful, and if that isn’t in line with the spirit of red then I don’t know what is.
Or Just Go Infinite
It’s not often an intro deck Planeswalker can go infinite, and this one is a four card combo, meaning it’s slightly more difficult to assemble. If you control the Accomplice and Cloudstone Curio with Chandra, Bold Pyromancer and a random Planeswalker in your hand, you can create infinite damage. Use the Accomplice to put Chandra into play, activate her +1 dealing two damage to an opponent. Then, activate the Accomplice with one of your two red mana and put your random Planeswalker from your hand into play triggering the Curio. Use the Curio trigger to return Chandra to your hand and activate the Accomplice with your one leftover red mana. The Curio will trigger when Chandra enters the battlefield, so you can return your random Planeswalker to your hand to start the loop all over again.
The ability to flash in a Planeswalker at instant speed is definitely not as terrifying as doing it with a creature, I’ll have to admit. That doesn’t mean it isn’t extremely tempting to pay just a single red mana to get a Planeswalker with relevancy onto the battlefield, if even for a fleeting moment. Similar to how Sneak Attack tries to throw an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn at your face for a single red mana, we want to abuse the ability to sneak in something for much less mana than it costs. We just have a few more hoops to jump through to make it nearly as scary.