Bleed out a win with this two card combo.
Games have to end. Here in the Commander Combos series, I’m going to explore some of the best two or more card combinations that are designed to close out a game. Many will be instant wins, while others will be high value combos that you should consider running in your deck.
Should You Play Combos in Commander?
As a whole, I don’t recommend going combo heavy in casual Commander. It isn’t necessarily the most fun to just suddenly win, and this problem is compounded if you run lots of Demonic Tutor effects— it can become too easy to find that win and resisting the urge to get that often cheap feeling victory can be difficult.
With that in mind, as I said up top, games do have to end. If you are not heavy on tutors, or if the individual cards are good in your build anyway, there are many combos that you can readily run in your deck and not feel like you’re forced to play them out every game. My favorite among these runs you a total of 10 mana for a quick table kill: Exquisite Blood and Sanguine Bond.
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What’s the Bloody Combo?
Exquisite Blood and Sanguine Bond represent an instant win if any opponent is dealt any damage at all. An opponent takes a pinprick of Prodigal Pyromancer pain while both enchantments are out, and you gain one life off of Exquisite Blood.
Then, Sanguine Bond triggers, causing an opponent to lose life, triggering Exquisite Blood again. Now you’ve got yourself in a loop, with the Bond and Blood causing one another to go off until you’ve drained out every player at the table.
How Powerful Is Sanguine Bond x Exquisite Blood?
I would rank this combo fairly high, especially at more casual tables, for a few different reasons. First, both pieces of the combo are very good in any kind of lifegain deck. You won’t feel bad about running out either half of the combo, and either can put in a massive amount of work as long as your goal is to pad your life total. Any lifegain commander will be happy with both pieces, so they may not look too suspicious.
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Second, while far from the cheapest combo to pull off, there will be occasions where you’re able to ramp up to 10 mana and just drop both enchantments in one turn. If opposing shields are down (I.E. you don’t think a Counterspell is waiting for your attempt to win), it can be fairly easy to pull off.
Finally, as enchantments, each of the combo pieces is somewhat resilient. Many combos rely on creatures, which are traditionally easier to answer, and these enchantments can be harder to deal with before you pull off the win.
How Do I Play Against Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood?
To finish things off, many might be wondering about the best way to defend against this combo. Thankfully, Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood are far from unstoppable, as implied above. First, just by running blue and packing a decent suite of Counterspells you can shore up your defenses.
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However, I would never recommend everyone run blue (and I find counters quite boring personally), but there are lots of other opportunities for interaction. If you see either half of the combo you’re just a Naturalize away from stopping it from going off.
Keep in mind that if the combo-attempting opponent is trying to play them both in the same turn, you’ll have an opportunity to answer the first of the two before the second hits the board. Similarly, while it may only delay your loss, if you can remove all the ways they can deal damage then you can try to eliminate them before they have the opportunity to end the game. Removing the player outright, it turns out, stops the clock.