Sunday, 13 September 2015

Cocoa Pebbles

Ahh Cocoa Pebbles: the breakfast of champions. Back in the early days of Magic, deck builders had decided that naming their creations after breakfast cereals was the thing to do. Admittedly, I’m not quite sure of the reason; but I do know that it became a trend that spawned many a combo deck name. Over time, these cereal decks become strong, consistent and relevant.

Let’s start off by identifying the combo in Cocoa Pebbles: Enduring Renewal, Goblin Bombardment and Shield Sphere. Not only do these cards curve nicely into each other - they are also pretty hard to remove. Bombardment and Renewal are both enchantments, which helps limit what kind of removal can be used to destroy them once they hit the battlefield. Shield Sphere is a creature, but its high toughness means it can survive many direct damage spells and even block to buy you some time.

Speaking of creatures, the deck only plays 8 of them: 4 Sphere and 4 Academy Rector (4+4=8). The latter is actually a super star of the deck and the main reason I decided to opt on this style of Pebbles. Allow me to elaborate: I had started the deck with Blue instead of Black as the third colour. The “problem” was that there were so many ways to tutor for the win conditions, that Blue sort of became unnecessary. Another bonus is that Rector not only gets your key win conditions, but it also has a nice interaction with Phyrexian Tower, which allows some ramp as well.

Buying time. Despite being a combo deck, Cocoa Pebbles can take some time to win. The win involves three different cards, one of which costs 4 mana. There were a few different ways that I chose to address this problem: ramp, stall and removal. The ramping is straightforward: 4 Mox Diamond in order to cast spells ASAP. The stall should never be your go-to move, as it involves using Sphere as a blocker – thus putting it in removal danger it would otherwise not be in. The removal attacks both spells and creatures via Swords, Bolt and Duress.

Early on, I had mentioned wrestling with which colour combinations to play in the deck, and must admit that I am not sure that either is more ‘correct’ than the other. In the end, I found the low-ish number of Blue cards were not enough for FoW, which sort of cemented my choice. In the future, I plan on focusing on a more Fruity Pebbles style and perhaps comparing the two more in-depth. I certainly encourage others to try their own other versions before deciding which they prefer. As always – Happy Brewing!

Cocoa Pebbles


4 Scrubland
4 Plateau
4 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
1 Plains
1 Mountain
3 Ancient Tomb
2 City of Traitors
1 Phyrexian Tower

Total: 24


4 Academy Rector
4 Shield Sphere

Total: 8


4 Enduring Renewal
4 Goblin Bombardment
4 Enlightened Tutor
4 Mox Diamond
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Duress

Total: 28


4 Orim’s Chant
4 Tormod’s Crypt
3 Abeyance
4 Pyroclasm

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