Legacy has a near countless amount of combo decks, with many fallen by the wayside and nearly forgotten. However, based on the sheer power level of these decks, it’s very possible for them to have resurgences in the near future. One such deck is Cephalid Breakfast, an odd combo deck if there ever was one. It is on its surface a 2 card combo deck, which attempts to mill its entire library and win with the cards that this process gives it.
Cephalid Breakfast has been a favorite of mine for quite some time, and with Legacy’s popularity slowly fading over the years, the format’s become more of a playground than a competitive battleground, so I’ve been spending more time refining lists of decks that I enjoy playing. Let’s take a look at Cephalid Breakfast.
Cephalid Breakfast by Jonah Gaynor
There’s quite a lot going on here, so let’s go over how the deck operates.
How it wins
The two cards this deck needs to assemble are Cephalid Illusionist and either Nomads en-Kor or Shaman en-Kor. Using either en-Kor ability over and over against targeting Cephalid Illusionist mills as many cards from your own library as you desire. During this process, you will mill over all the copies of Narcomoeba that are left in your deck, along with Dread Return, Angel of Glory’s Rise, Laboratory Maniac, and Hapless Researcher.
If any of these pieces are stuck in your hand, Cabal Therapy can be used for its flashback ability to get them into your graveyard. Then, sacrificing three creatures to Dread Return, Angel of Glory’s Rise is brought into play, which then in turn reanimations Laboratory Maniac and Hapless Researcher, the latter of which is sacrificed to trigger the former, winning the game.
The support pieces
Grand Abolisher was traditionally found in about 50% of Cephalid Breakfast lists, and I like it quite a bit. It’s powerful when drawn naturally, and protects the combo once the library has been spilled over into the graveyard.
In order to find the two pieces of the combo, this deck plays both draw spells and a powerful search spell. For draw spells, Brainstorm and Ponder are used, as they are by far the most consistent and powerful spell in this mold available. The presence of fetchlands in this low land count combo deck allow for further consistency with these spells.
The search card this deck uses is Eladamri’s Call. Call is used in this deck and almost no other, as it requires multiple colors of mana and can only search for creatures. In this deck, however, the mana strain is minimal, and it searches for the only cards that the deck would want to search for.
Aether Vial is another critical piece to this deck. While the card is usually used in both Modern and Legacy for mana efficiency and the ability to pump out creature after creature, it’s used differently in this deck. Cephalid Breakfast isn’t a critical mass creature deck, but it is very interested in not leaving either half of its combo piece exposed. It’s in this way that the mana advantage that Aether Vial provides becomes useful. An Aether Vial on turn 1 allows the deck to combo turn 2 while not having to cast Nomads en-Kor on turn 1.
Force of Will and Daze are the counter spells of choice in this deck, due in no small part to the fact that they both cost no mana. Force of Will, however, does demand an additional blue spell to exile in a deck where blue spells are already at a premium. I’ve gone down to 3 copies at times, but I do think the full 4 is still necessary. Daze, similarly, demands another card for it to be effective, but islands are at much less of a premium, especially in a deck where 44% of the lands are fetchlands.
Discard spells aren’t at their best in this deck that wants to be as mana efficient as possible, but Cabal Therapy is still a welcome inclusion. As mentioned previously, it offers an “out” to drawing any of the critical post-mill combo pieces, and can strip the opponent if draws have worked out well.
Make no mistake, this deck is not and will not be a tier 1 deck. That being said, it’s a powerful 2 card combo deck that has the ability to compete with the fastest decks in the format. It does get hated more than most combo decks in the format, as it’s weak to both removal spells and graveyard hate.
It does have a big advantage, however, which is that most opponents you face at any given Legacy tournament won’t have a good understanding of what the deck is doing or what the cards accomplish, individually or collectively. This can certainly be used to your advantage, as opponents will frequently tap out, leaving themselves vulnerable to the combo.
I highly suggest you give this deck a try if you’re looking for something that’s unique, fun to play, and will certainly give your opponent a shock.
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