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Against the Odds: Anniversary Special

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode fifty-two of Against the Odds! As I mentioned last week, today's episode marks the one-year anniversary of Against the Odds, and as a result, I spent quite a while trying to figure out what we would do for this episode. In the end, I decided that we would do a sort of year in review episode. One thing I get a ton of questions about is which Against the Odds decks performed best and which performed worst, and until now, I didn't have a good answer. So, today, we are going to break down all of the numbers. We are also going to look back on some of the best moments from the first year of Against the Odds, along with a special video towards the end of the article that highlights how the challenges of Against the Odds extend way past simply winning with jank!

Anyway, let's get to the videos, but first a quick reminder. If you enjoy the Against the Odds series and the other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel.

Against the Odds: Top 15 of Year One

#15: Deploying the Gatewatch (Hopefully)

#14: Hidetsugu's Second Rite

#13: Turns? Turns? We Don't Need No Stinking Turns

#12: When Hedrons Align

#11: How to Shrine

#10: Reckoning with Minotaurs

#9: Knowledge Pool

#8: Battle of Wits

#8: Rhinos

#7: Doppelganger Biovisionary

#6: Coalition Victory Victory

#5: Near-Death Karma

#4: 20,000 Damage

#3: Our Opponents Learn How Phage Works

#2: Angry Squirrels vs. Blightsteel

#1: Tricky-Treeskadekaphobia

The Decks

I can't count the number of times people have asked me which Against the Odds deck was best (or worst), and I honestly had no idea. An entire year of weekly episodes means we've played a ton of decks, and while I tend to remember the great moments and horrible punts, I don't usually remember the decks' records very precisely. Sure, I remember that Tainted Remedy was bad and that Standard Land Destruction was good, but I can't really qualify how bad or how good; plus, there are 49 more decks out there as well. So, let's look to put this question to bed once and for all (or at least until we have another year's worth of decks to talk about). 

  • Total number of Against the Odds decks: 51
  • Total number of games played: 675
  • Total number of games won: 253
  • Total number of games lost: 422
  • Overall game win percentage: 37.418%

Best Decks

Best Against the Odds Decks
Deck Game Wins Game Losses Game Win Percentage
Deploy the Gatewatch 10 5 66.67%
34 Rhinos 7 4 63.63%
Illusions 8 5 61.53%
Startling Jeksai 8 5 61.53%
Splendid Valakut 8 6


Standard Land Death 8 6 57.43%
Hard Lock Helix 5 4 55.55%
Realm Razer 7 7 50%
Modern Werewolves 10 10 50%
Tainted Tree-skaidekaphobia 6 6 50%
Sigarda's Aid 6 6 50%
Near-Death Karma 6 6 50%

*Back in the very first weeks of Against the Odds, we played Biovisionary. The episode started out with a Mirrorweave deck that quickly went 0-7, so we switched to a Collected Company Clones build that went 7-2. For our official stats, I counted the records together, but if the CoCoClones build had been counted separately, it would have been number one on our "best of" list with a game win percentage of 77.77%.*

Maybe the most interesting takeaway from this data is just what "good" means for an Against the Odds deck. Over the entire year, we have only had seven decks that managed to win more than half of their games (13%) and another five that managed to win exactly 50% of the time. This means that, all in all, only about one in every four Against the Odds decks ended up winning half of its games.

Worst Decks

Worst Against the Odds Decks
Decks Game Wins Game Losses Game Win Percentage
Holiday Gift Exchange 1 13 7.14%
37-Land Vortex 1 8 11.11%
Ultimate Superfriends 2 12 14.28%
Sage of Hours 1 6 14.28%
Modern Land Death  2 13 15.38%
Eon Hub 2 13 15.38%
Swarmyard 2 10 16.67%
Squirrels 3 13 23.07%

On the other end of the spectrum, we also have seven decks that managed to win less than 17% of the time—exactly the same amount that managed to win more than 50%—which means a huge number of decks fall into the middle at somewhere between 25% and 45%. 

The Other Challenge of Against the Odds

While it might seem that the main challenge of Against the Odds is winning with underused (or even bad) cards, there is a second challenge as well: pronouncing things correctly. I have a tendency to say things in a unique (and some would say, "wrong") way, but is it really as bad as everyone seems to think? Let's find out!

Making Against the Odds

I get a lot of questions about the actual making of an episode of Against the Odds, so here are some stats. On average, I start with about two hours and thirty minutes of game play footage; after editing, the average length of an episode is about 45 minutes (including the intro and wrap up, which add about three minutes). So, how do we end up with a 45-minute episode out of 2.5 hours of footage? Cuts: lots and lots and lots of cuts. I spot checked a couple of episodes and found that a single episode of Against the Odds has around 1,000 different cuts, which averages out to 22.22 cuts per minute of the finished episode! Here's what a one-minute-long clip looks like after being edited. Each black line marks a piece of the video I cut out.  

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Anyway, that's all for today. Hopefully, this year in review was enlightening or at least entertaining. Big thanks to all of you for watching Against the Odds for an entire year, Against the Odds is the most fun I've ever had recording content and playing Magic, and I can't wait to get my hands on some sweet Kaladesh cards to keep the jank flowing! Don't forget to vote for next week's deck, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at!

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