“Tolarian Academy, tap for six, cast Time Spiral?” Your opponent may sigh and glance towards the game timer, but that hardly matters, because not only is casting Time Spiral incredibly fun, you have probably just won the game.

Of course in highlander only a single copy of Time Spiral is permitted, and it isn’t free. However, changes to the points list over the past year mean you can now afford to play multiple draw seven effects without spending all your points. Let’s take a look at the relevant changes which help this deck out.

Time Spiral: 2 points to 1 point
Memory Jar: 2 points to 1 point
Crucible of Worlds: 1 point to 0 points
Wasteland: 0 points to 1 point

A previous 4 points of drawing seven cards is halved, and now that every deck in the format won’t be packing a free, responsive stone rain, I don’t feel terrible forking out two points for my favourite card to be banned from EDH, Tolarian Academy. I need to spend a point on Timetwister, and the two spare can go towards Intuition and Fastbond. So, we have our final points:

Tolarian Academy**
Time Spiral*
Timetwister*
Memory Jar*
Intuition*
Fastbond*

And the deck itself:

Academy Draw Seven

Mana Sources

1 Tolarian Academy **
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Tree of Tales
1 Vault of Whispers
1 Ancient Den
1 Great Furnace
1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
1 Deserted Temple
1 Windswept Heath
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Tropical Island
1 Forest
1 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
1 Petrified Field
1 Thespian Stage
1 Mox Opal
1 Mox Diamond
1 Lion’s Eye Diamond
1 Talisman of Unity
1 Talisman of Impulse
1 Grim Monolith
1 Basalt Monolith
1 Candelabra of Tawnos

Acceleration

1 Exploration
1 Fastbond *
1 Explore

Land Tutors

1 Reap and Sow
1 Crop Rotation
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Expedition Map

Draw 7′s

1 Time Spiral *
1 Timetwister *
1 Time Reversal
1 Memory Jar *

Recursion

1 Life from the Loam
1 Noxious Revival
1 Eternal Witness
1 Crucible of Worlds

Other Tutors

1 Intuition *
1 Drift of Phantasms
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Fabricate
1 Trinket Mage
1 Tolaria West

Answers

1 Aether Spellbomb
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Glacial Chasm

Win Cons

1 Living Wish
1 Cunning Wish
1 Dark Depths

Other

1 Sensei’s Diving Top
1 Scroll Rack
1 Rings of Brighthearth
1 Zuran Orb
1 Ghostly Flicker
1 Frantic Search
1 Voltaic Key
Sideboard

1 Cursed Totem
1 Pithing Needle
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Torpor Orb
1 Defense Grid
1 Punishing Fire
1 Pact of Negation
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Snap
1 Maze of Ith
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Sylvok Replica
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Cloud of Faeries

The basic aim is to spend turns 1 – 3 putting artifacts onto the battlefield and tutoring up the Academy. Then on Turn 4 you draw seven cards and (hopefully!) win the game.

Victory is generally achieved by presenting an infinite mana loop and drawing your deck, the most common method is to assemble Rings of Brighthearth + Academy + Deserted Temple or Minamo, School at Water’s Edge. Once you go infinite with Rings you need only tutor Mikokoro, Center of the Sea into play and force each player to draw their decks (or you can use Divining Top to draw just your own deck if you want to be greedy). Other obvious loops are Fastbond + Crucible + Zuran Orb, and Eternal Witness + Academy + Ghostly Flicker (there are others, but they tend to involve the Rings and more pieces).

Acceleration

1 Exploration
1 Fastbond*
1 Explore

Seeing that your primary game plan involves drawing through your deck until you can present an infinite loop, getting excess lands out of your hand and onto the battlefield is crucial, especially when the lands you want to be playing tend to read “1, T: Untap Academy.” Azusa was the only other card considered for this role, but I deemed it to be less mana efficient and more vunerable in comparison to other solutions. Fastbond also allows for your most explosives draws. A mull to four lands, Fastbond, and Timetwister is pretty insane!

Land Tutors

1 Reap and Sow
1 Crop Rotation
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Exhibition Map

These are the most efficient ways in magic to tutor nonbasic lands (baring Scapeshift, but who wants a tapped academy). An honourable mention goes to the new EDH staple, Tempt with Discovery, but as cute as it is to get Academy + Deserted Temple if your opponent is tempted, realistically the only cards they will be tutoring up are Strip Mine or Wasteland. Uncharted Realms was also considered, and although a package of Dark Depths + Thespian Stage + Deserted Temple + Academy is cute, it is also slow, and the Academy may still wind up in the graveyard if your opponent has an answer for Marit Lage in hand.

Draw Sevens

1 Time Spiral*
1 Timetwister*
1 Time Reversal
1 Memory Jar*

I’m playing every card reading ‘Immediately draw seven cards’ that can be cast with blue mana, costs less than 7 and doesn’t exile a sixth of your deck. Time Reversal is not particularly exciting, but it gets the job done. A high density of the draw 7 effect is important, as it’s difficult to win without resolving at least one.

Recursion

1 Life from the Loam
1 Noxious Revival
1 Eternal Witness
1 Crucible of Worlds

These cards are parts of Intuition packages and are ways to recur Academy when it is destroyed. They are also useful for generating additional Avatars if you’re on the Dark Depths backup plan (but probably not two Avatars at the same time, that’s not very good). The Witness can be hard to bring out (double green) but the ability to go infinite off ghostly flicker makes it worthwhile.

Other Tutors

1 Intuition*
1 Drift of Phantasms
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Fabricate
1 Trinket Mage
1 Tolaria West

You tend to Intuition for either a bunch of lands + Crucible or Life from the Loam or Timetwister + Noxious Revival + Time Spiral. Fabricate acts as a second copy of Rings, but occasionally life is tough and you might need to fabricate up Jar, Crucible, or even Map. Tezzeret is an all-star, tutoring everything from Rings to Candelabra, or untapping the latter. Occasionally you’ll randomly ramp into him on turn two or three and threaten your opponent with his ultimate. Drift of Phantasms is by far the best non-pointed tutor in the deck, as it finds pretty much everything you could ever want: Rings, Crucible, Ghostly Flicker, Witness (which can rebuy the Drift into the Flicker if you have the mana), Timetwister, or Cunning Wish. Tolaria West finds vital lands, as well as Zuran Orb, Engineered Explosives, and Pact of Negation after boarding.

Answers

1 Aether Spellbomb
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Glacial Chasm

I am not packing many mainboard answers, these are just a few essential problem solvers for cards that might hose you outright (I’m looking at you Spirit of the Labyrinth), all of which can be readily tutored for. Aether Spellbomb doubles as fantastic utility while going off, rebuying either Witness or Trinket Mage, or accessing the top card of your library. The Chasm is fantastic for when things go wrong, if your opponent can’t immediately destroy it, it buys you time to find a way to win the game.

Win Cons

1 Living Wish
1 Cunning Wish
1 Dark Depths

Eventually the fun must end (you have drawn your deck and have all the mana in the multiverse) but you still need to present a way to end the game. And while looping Aether Spellbomb, Eternal Witness, and Noxious Revival while letting your opponent draw out to Mikokoro will get you there, the displeased judge standing over your shoulder might be expecting the game to close out in more timely fashion. In any case, wishing for an Emrakul or a Stoke of Genius will speed up the process of winning. Both the wishes also have additional utility: Either can generate mana by untapping Academy and another land, or answer select problems.

Dark Depths is a backup plan that can take your opponent by surprise. It’s especially good against a control player whom may be keeping mana up for when you try and resolve a draw 7 effect.

Other

1 Sensei’s Diving Top
1 Scroll Rack
1 Rings of Brightheath
1 Zuran Orb
1 Ghostly Flicker
1 Frantic Searh
1 Voltaic Key

Diving Top and Scroll Rack are both great for finding pieces. The Orb goes infinite, and can save you from burn. The infinite combo with Ghostly Flicker has been covered, but when that’s not happening it is also just one of the better ways to generate mana off Academy, blinking a mana artifact (Candelabra hopefully), or retriggering a Trinket Mage. Frantic Search is perfect for the deck, producing mana while cycling through bad cards. The Key spends about half its time untapping Candelabra. Rings has been covered, but there are some cute interactions and lines of play. You can copy Voltaic Key (usually untapping the key with the copy); copy transmute activations; copy Zuran Orb activations; Remove Dark Depths counters for less (although if this is happening things have probably gone horribly wrong and Marit Lage likely cannot save you).

Matchups

This deck has been mostly untested, but fairs well against Bant which does not have the interactivity to stop the deck from comboing off. It tends to go off the same turn Zoo will kill you, so hopefully win the dice roll. Anything with hand disruption is a problem, but the deck draws well, and if you’re opponent does not have a fast clock you are often just one draw seven away from winning. Anything with hard counters is annoying, but careful play and good sideboarding can help. I encourage you to build the list and try it out, especially if your local meta is filled with Bant decks.