This entry is part 4 of 17 in the series Accumulated Knowledge

In my Arcum Dagsson deck, I have 11 cards that could fit into any deck. I use these cards on a regular basis to win games. When I first constructed the deck, each of these cards were added based on their own merits. In time I realized that they created an engine that would let me not only have infinite mana, it would let me play every card in my deck. On further inspection, I realized that every card was legal in any Commander deck. This article will go over the 11 pieces and how to expand on the engine if you would like to take it even further.

The Arcum Engine

Step 1: Infinite Mana
There are two ways this collection can make Infinite Mana.

The first is getting out Basalt Monolith and Rings of Brighthearth. You can generate infinite mana by copying the untap effect of the Basalt Monolith each time you use it. It nets one colorless mana with each cycle. It is important to note that you also need two additional mana outside the combo to get it started.

The other infinite mana combo is getting out Karn, Silver Golem, Voltaic Construct and any mana artifact that produces three or more mana. All you have to do for this to work is have Karn turn one of the artifacts into an artifact creature, then use Voltaic Construct to untap the artifact. I don’t like this method as much as the Monolith route, because it requires you to have the mana artifact out for a turn before being able to go infinite.

Step 2: Fill your hand
Step one is a big step. Once you have infinite mana, you can go ahead and take a player out with almost any X spell. Be careful though, if that spell doesn’t take everyone out you might have a little too much attention pointed in your direction. The card that really makes all of this work is Planar Portal.  Planar Portal will always grab one of two cards, Thousand-Year Elixir or Voltaic Key. If you have the Rings + Monolith combination, Voltaic Key will allow you to untap and reuse the portal any number of times. On the other hand, Thousand-Year Elixir will work perfect with the Karn combo. It lets you use the portal an infinite number of times by letting you use the use the activated ability even when it has been turned into a creature. If you happen to draw into this card, it means the combo can go off at any time and you don’t have to wait until you have had the mana artifact in play for a turn.

Step 3: Colored Mana
Step three is the easiest, since you can grab any card in your deck if you have gone through steps 1&2. All you have to do is grab Gilded Lotus to have infinite colored mana in addition to the infinite colorless mana. At this point you should be able to play every non-land card in your deck. If that doesn’t win you games, you may have to rethink the other cards in your deck.

Building on the Base
As with any 3+ card combo, this combo is easy to disrupt and relatively hard to assemble. A deck like Arcum that can bring in cards to protect and rebuild the combo at instant speed doesn’t really need much redundancy to help the combo be effective. Other decks, however, may find it helpful to pack some additional support to keep the gears turning.

  • Clock of OmensClock of Omens is one of my favorite cards. In this particular case, it can take the place of both Voltaic Key and Thousand-Year Elixir. I suppose you could really cut the list to 10 cards with this replacing both of the others.
  • Gemstone Array – This lets you filter the colorless mana into colored mana. It also lets you store mana for later. This is especially good if you end up getting the last piece of a combo during an upkeep or end step while your opponents have instant speed artifact removal. For the purpose of the combos, this works like having a second Gilded Lotus in your deck. This card also lets you easily store unused mana for later turns.
  • HeartstoneHeartstone and Karn, Silver Golem are the best of friends. Once turned into a creature Basalt Monolith doesn’t need rings to go infinite. With Voltaic Construct you can take any artifact that produces 2 or more mana and generate infinite mana. Well, with the exception of Mana Crypt, which would die upon being turned into a creature.
  • Kuldotha Forgemaster – If you are running heavy on artifacts, this Tinker bot is tough to beat. Most of the really early wins I have achieved have been on the back of this guy grabbing Blightsteel Colossus in the first 1-3 turns.
  • Lux Cannon – Once you get the ability to untap an artifact an infinite number of times, this can end the game by destroying all your opponents permanents. This has always been a fun addition for me since it gives any deck the ability to repeatedly Vindicate.
  • Mycosynth Lattice – If you are using any sort of high mana producing creature, Mycosynth Lattice lets you combo that with Voltaic Construct to produce infinite mana. It also lets you go the land destruction route with Karn.

Conclusion – Be Prepared
Every card in the engine has a ‘colorless’ color identity. They could be included in any deck. I do not think all of these cards go into every deck. I certainly do not include them in every deck that I play. I do believe that every Commander player should be aware of all of these 11 cards and how they work together.  Even if you do not enjoy playing combos, understanding which combos are out there will help you deal with them.

It is good to note that this is not the only collection of colorless cards that can win the game if you get the combos to go off. Mimic Vat+ Coretapper+ Magistrate’s Scepter can give you infinite turns.  Cards like Ashnod’s Altar have a bunch of shenanigans that can end up winning the game when paired with cards like Blade of the Bloodchief or Nim Deathmantle. Be aware that any deck you face could have an infinite combo or two hidden inside. You should be prepared by packing answers and maybe sneaking a combo or two into your own deck, just in case.

If anyone would like their deck featured in an article or just wants some deck advice, feel free to email me at

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