The infinite damage combo revolving around Famished Paladin and Sorcerer’s Wand is a relatively well-known combo. While not necessarily a top tier deck, Famished Paladin is both a Vampire and a Knight, which are both well-supported tribes in Historic. In this article, we’ll try to explain the combo, showcase some different ways to construct the shell around it, and include some tips for how to play it!
The combo aims to give Famished Paladin lifelink, equip it with Sorcerer’s Wand, tap it to deal damage, it will untap from the lifegain, then you can do that again and again until your opponent is defeated! Sorin gives the Paladin lifelink, recurs it if it’s removed, and untaps it every turn if you don’t have the combo ready yet. The main problems with the combo are its weakness to removal, the Wand’s steep 3 mana equip cost, and the inconsistent nature of requiring 3 separate piece, so the decks below are built to mitigate those and have a secondary plan being aggro decks if all else fails.
Vampires’ defining card is Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord which just so happens to be another source of lifelink for Famished Paladin! It’s the significantly better deck outside of the combo, being a reasonably powerful Historic deck anyway, as Wand is powerful repeatable removal with Vampire of the Dire Moon, and the deck has a ton of lifegain and buffs which make Famished Paladin reasonable by itself. The combo is harder to find without Acclaimed Contender, but you don’t need it as much as with the Knights deck.
The deck should play a classic Vampires game, where it beats down with its 1 and 2 drops until 3-mana Sorin lands on the board and puts Champion of Dusk into play for free or begins buffing those creatures up, and then all you need is Wand to quickly end the game if your opponent begins to stabilise; if your Famished Paladin gets wrathed away, you can bring it back with 4-mana Sorin.
The first version of the deck was inspired by Rilakkuma, who I met on Ranked ladder and graciously accepted my friend request and shared his version of the deck that he crushed me with. Since then it’s been modified slightly to bring the current version of the deck.
As we all know, Knights received a tremendous power boost in Throne of Eldraine. This version allows you to find the combo pieces more easily, since Acclaimed Contender can dig both halves up, alongside lifegain sources in Shadowspear. Blacklance Paragon functions as additional sources of lifelink for Famished Paladin. To ensure that Famished Paladin doesn’t get blown out by instant-speed removal, we’ve included 2 copies of Gideon Blackblade, which gives the Famished Paladin both lifelink, or indestructible to prevent getting blown out by instant speed removal after Wand equips, and is great with the beatdown plan.
This deck plays out as a midrange deck that controls the board until it can either win with the combo or just by attacking/outgrinding your opponents. Murderous Rider/Midnight Reaper are great for that plan, as is Sorin recurring Acclaimed Contender or Foulmire Knight alongside the Paladin itself.
As is the state of Historic at the moment, in a more competitive setting you will have to deal with the likes of Field of the Dead, Gruul Aggro and other more faster and powerful decks which many decks already have trouble dealing with, but decks like this should fare well in more casual play and Historic events. Enjoy!