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Against the Odds: 2018 Year in Review

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 171 of Against the Odds. This week, we are doing something a little bit different. With yesterday ringing in the new year, we're going to look back on Against the Odds in 2018! Thanks to a fan putting together a spreadsheet with win percentages from all of the Against the Odds decks, we have an easy way to look at the best and worst decks of the year, along with some of the best (and worst) moments, fun pronunciations, and deck-building punts. So today, rather than playing a new deck, we're going to reflect a bit on the year that was for Against the Odds as we prepare for what will hopefully be an even more awesome 2019! Which Against the Odds decks fizzled and which sizzled in 2018? What were some of the best moments and pronunciations of the year? Let's get to the video and find out!

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Against the Odds: 2018 Year in Review


  • First off, the stats.  Here's the original spreadsheet, which looks back over the entire series of Against the Odds, and here you can find a sheet for 2018 only.
  • All in all, we played 51 different Against the Odds decks this year and posted a 56.24% game win percentage in 2018 across formats and decks. This is actually pretty surprising and represents a major improvement. If you look back on the first 51 episodes of Against the Odds, we only won 43.3% of the time. Whether this means the decks are better, the game play is better, or something else entirely is hard to say for sure, but a 22% jump over the past couple of years is pretty impressive. 
  • Of course, win percentages from Against the Odds are secondary, so in some sense it doesn't really matter, although generally speaking, the best episodes of Against the Odds feature a deck that's not only spicy and flashy but can also win every once in a while. 
  • Another weird trend from 2018 is the success of planeswalker tribal decks. While Against the Odds decks won 56.4% of the time, planeswalker tribal decks (we had five of them this year) won 65% of the time. Considering that all of our planeswalker tribal decks have been for Modern—a fast, punishing format—it's pretty crazy to see decks built around playing a bunch of expensive planeswalkers finding success. 
  • This being said, in general, Standard Against the Odds decks posted a better record than Modern Against the Odds decks. Of the 51 decks we played this year, only 17 were Standard-legal, but fully half of the 10 best (by win percentage) Against the Odds decks from 2018 featured the Standard format.
  • Meanwhile, on the other end of the scale, nine of the 10 worst decks (again by win percentage) of 2018 featured the Modern format, with Rat Colony being the only Standard deck of the bunch. However, even the really bad Against the Odds decks of 2018 weren't that bad: the single worst deck of the year was Kaldra for Modern, which only won 15.38% of the time, leaving it tied for seventh-worst of all time. (Fun fact: there are three Against the Odds decks in the series' history that didn't win a single game!)
  • As far as good decks, Sorin Tribal came in as not only the best deck of the year but the second-best Against the Odds deck of all time, behind the undefeated New Perspectives combo. It's also worth noting that, of the 10 most successful (by win percentage) Against the Odds decks of all time, six of them came in 2018 (Sorin Tribal, Wurm Surprise, Infinite Navigator, Legacy Panharmonicon, Oath of Teferi Friends, and Rakdos Fireherd Devotion). 
  • All in all, 2018 was an amazing year for Against the Odds, and the reason is all of you! Thanks to each and every one of you for watching, and here's to an even better 2019 (which seems possible, with another Donovan Bane on the way in Ravnica Allegiance!)

Vote for Next Week's Deck

As we start off a new year (and since Din of the Fireherd finally won), we're going to reset the Against the Odds poll for 2019. I asked on Twitter for suggestions of cards people wanted to see that haven't been featured yet, and here are the top five! Which of these cards should we build around next week? Let us know by voting below!

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

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Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at Happy New Year's, everyone!

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