Article

Library Access Denied

Written by Andrew Grandstaff

Last time I talked about how to pilot the Library Access combo decks, today I am going to talk about how to take it down. It is important to remember the goal of these decks is to have 0 cards in both their discard pile and deck along with having at least 1 Library Access active(normally they have played it 2 or more times before they get to this state). There are two different routes you can take to disrupt the combo. One is to remove the combo pieces(Library Access, Reverse Time, or Nepenthe Seed) and the second is reducing the number of cards they can play during the combo. If you can get any of the combo pieces into the discard pile you will greatly reduce the number of cards they can draw if they try to combo off. By purging, abducting, or limiting the cards that can be played in a turn it will also reduce the number of draws the combo player will have during their combo turn.

The best way to disrupt the combo is by removing the combo pieces and there are two different ways to achieve this, random discard or artifact removal.  Random discard is the stronger option because it can hit both the Nepenthe Seed and Reverse Time versions of the deck, but there is still a good amount of luck required for this to be successful. If this is your main way of interacting with the combo and it is repeatable such as Subtle Maul I would mulligan to try and find it. The sooner you start taking apart their hand the more likely you will hit the Library Access they will most likely be holding onto. Also because it is an artifact it will be a lot harder for your opponent to remove.  In the case of Tocsin you will want it to wait to play it. The combo player will likely prioritize removing it to protect their cards so you won’t likely get many activations out of it. Finally, with cards like Mind Barb where you will only have one chance to discard, I would hold out until they are just about to combo off. Even if you miss the Library Access you will likely hit a Logos card that they need to combo off with.

If you are against a Nepenthe Seed version of the deck then I would mulligan for any artifact removal.  Action based removal is preferred to creature-based(Nexus) because the combo player should not play their Nepenthe Seed onto a board with a ready Nexus. Given that creature based removal is more of a way to buy a turn or two than actually stop the combo. If you have action based removal you get to play a fun mind game. The longer you hold onto your removal the more you get to punish them. The combo player will generally be holding onto 2+ Logos cards every turn waiting to build up for their combo. As long as you keep playing a normal game they will be falling farther and farther behind until you crush their dreams and destroy their Nepenthe Seed. The downside is you could wait too long or they could just draw a bunch of Logos cards in a single turn and you will get no warning that the combo is coming up.  I would be on the lookout for a series of non-Logos turns with only 2 or 1 cards being played.  If they spend their whole turn just to play a Nepenthe Seed then you need to have artifact removal ready because they will combo off next turn.

Ok, so not all decks have access to discard or artifact removal, but there are still plenty of things you can do to at least slow them down or reduce the likelihood of the combo succeeding. No combo player is going to try to combo off into a Scrambler Storm or if their opponent just cracked a Lifeward. Anything that reduces the number of cards they can play will buy you turns. Other ways to hurt the combo player is by removing Logos cards from the game. Either by purging their creatures with things like Oubliette or abducting them with cards like Sample Collection. Unfortunately, this tactic is only effective against decks with one Nepenthe Seed. If you can protect Ulix the Zookeeper long enough you might be to create a large enough impact to stop a two seed deck.

If you have absolutely no cards that interact with the combo then your best option is to race. Even if you have interaction racing is your best bet most of the time. Don’t worry about getting off good value out of cards like Shatter StormBurn the Stockpile, or Doorstep to Heaven. Sometimes these decks can also play a fair game, but if your deck is lacking most control cards you should be running a deck that is good at racing. A lot of the time the best counter to a deck is to just win the game faster.

If you’re up against a Reverse Time version of the deck I wouldn’t worry too much about having the right cards to go up against it. Outside of them getting lucky and having the combo in their starting hand then you should just focus on filling their discard pile with as many non-logos cards as you can. By turn 3 or 4 it should be full of too much junk that they will have to get lucky to redraw Library Access again and the combo will just fizzle. Thanks to this most of the minor effects that just buy you a turn or two against the Nepenthe Seed version can actually stop this version cold. Although this only works if they don’t also have Help from Future Self. If that is the case you should treat it like a normal 1 Nepenthe Seed deck except it is weaker to discard.

List of all the cards I found that can slow or stop at least one of the versions of the Library Access Combo deck sorted by House.

Brobnar

Major effects: none

Minor effects:

Barehanded

Dis

Major effects:

 

Minor effects:

 

Logos

Major effects:

 

Minor effects:

 

Mars

Major effects:
EMP Blast

Minor effects:

 

Sanctum

Major effects:

 

Minor effects:
The Harder They Come

Shadows

Major effects:

 

Minor effects:

 

Untamed

Major effects: none

Minor effects:
Grasping Vines

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