Ad Nauseam is the centerpiece of a powerful Modern combo deck.
The Winning Ad Nauseam Deck
Nicholas Byrd won the most recent Modern Open with a wonderfully positioned Ad Nauseam deck. This style of deck combines the mana acceleration of Simian Spirit Guide, Pentad Prism, and Desperate Ritual with a number of esoteric and specialized cards to kill with a solo Lightning Storm.
The Ad Nauseum Combo
The core combination here is namesake Ad Nauseam + Angel’s Grace. While Under Angel’s Grace you cannot lose the game. So… You can’t accidentally kill yourself. Yay!
An alternate to Angel’s Grace is Phyrexian Unlife. Because the card Ad Nauseam uses your life total for fuel, Phyrexian Unlife [further] protects you by protecting you from the opponent. Playing against Phyrexian Unlife can be challenging for the unfamiliar.
If you are at 1 life, it at some level doesn’t matter if the opponent attacks with one creature with one power or one hundred creatures with one hundred power each. A single combat will not “overload” the Phyrexian Unlife. None of the damage from a single attack will start dealing infect.
This strategy might not be the deck you want to play when Infect is popular… But Infect is less popular than it has been in months: Opportunity! This kind of positioning, combined with the raw power and potential speed of the combo itself, are what made Ad Nauseam such a great choice for last weekend.
All that said, this archetype’s sideboard options may be what really set it apart. With four — count ’em, four — copies of Leyline of Sanctity (plus a Timely Reinforcements), it is well prepared for the popular (and performing) Lava Spike decks. I had to do a double take on Darkness. Yep, that Legends instant was in fact reprinted in Time Spiral. Much as regular old Fog can buy Mono-Green Tron tons of setup time, Darkness can effectively undo all the effort an opponent put in to Empty the Warrens, Death’s Shadow, or Cranial Plating.
While we discuss Ad Nauseum at length, this is more of a “Modern Potpourri” episode, with time devoted to everything from Gruul Ponza to Architects of Will. Check it out: