Heliod, Sun-Crowned + Walking Ballista deals infinite damage (and gains infinite life!)
As if we didn’t get enough out of Walking Ballista…
This combination is great because it can be played in not only Modern (and larger formats) but Pioneer!
The simple procedure:
- Play out Heliod, Sun-Crowned on three mana
- Play Walking Ballista for four mana (possibly the next turn) for a “2/2” Walking Ballista (two +1/+1 counters)
- On turn five you can use Heliod’s ability to give Walking Ballista lifelink, then remove a counter from the Ballista to get the party started! Remove a +1/+1 counter to deal a point of damage; lifelink means you’ll gain a point of life… Meaning you can put another +1/+1 counter on the Ballista.
This is awesome, of course; but you’ll have to be a little careful. For example you can’t go three-into-four cleanly. A 1/1 Walking Ballista will die before it can get the next counter.
That said, there are ways to be faster otherwise; for example…
Mortal’s Ardor saves you a ton of mana. For instance you can play Heliod on turn three and then a 1/1 Walking Ballista on turn four. Follow up with a Mortal’s Ardor for only one more mana and you will also make the Ballista a 2/2.
With this three-card combination you don’t have to use 1W and Heliod to turn on the Ballista. Mortal’s Ardor fulfills both size and lifelink requirements… Heliod’s job in this case is “just” to pay off infinite +1/+1 counters.
“Holy Tooth and Nail, Batman!”-Mike
If You’re Interested in Another Color… Can we Interest You in Green?
Collected Company is a potential option because Heliod, Sun-Crowned is a creature card whether it’s a creature on the battlefield.
From the perspective of Collective Company, Heliod is priced to move. Walking Ballista, however, is not. But…
At least in Modern, Collected Company into Heliod and Spike Feeder doesn’t even require any more mana. Just remove a +1/+1 counter from Spike Feeder to gain two life, and Heliod will pay it back. You don’t kill the opponent outright, but gaining infinite life will usually win the game.
Builds including these cards can also exploit cards like Archangel of Thune for redundancy.
“Soul Sisters” Can Break Heliod, Sun-Crowned in a Variety of Formats
There are no shortage of Soul Warden effects.
In Theros Beyond Death alone, we’ve got…
If you’re on the Mono-White Beatdown train, you can just play Daxos and Walking Ballista in the same turn (which will trigger Daxos, and therefore Heliod, and therefore grow Walking Ballista) to again save mana.
The advantages of this build are many. Daxos and Heliod are highly synergistic coming from the whole “Devotion to White” angle. You probably have great fundamental expectation against decks like Mono-Red or Boros Burn. And a legitimate Plan B attack strategy.
While it lacks the infinite damage (and infinite life gain) of the Walking Ballista builds in Pioneer or Modern, a Standard deck can play these two cards together… With a great likelihood of actually turning Heliod into a monstrous 5/5 for three.
And lots, lots more…
… What’s better, Birth of Meletis or Wall of Omens?