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Against the Odds: Bad Gideon Fog (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode seventy of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a bad planeswalker poll, and while Gideon, Champion of Justice came out on top in the end, it was an extremely close battle, with Liliana of the Dark Realms falling short by just 1% of the more than 4,000 votes cast! As such, this week, we are heading to Modern to see if we can figure out a way to win some games with the worst Gideon of all time, with a deck built to give our opponent as many creatures as possible. I'm calling it Bad Gideon Fog!

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: Bad Gideon Fog (Deck Tech)

Against the Odds: Bad Gideon Fog (Games)

The Deck

The deck in the videos is actually my second attempt at building around Gideon, Champion of Justice. My first Bad Gideon deck omitted the Fogging plan and instead looked to give the opponent creatures with Hunted Phantasm and Hunted Troll while using cards like Ghostly Prison, Reverence, and Orbs of Warding to keep the opponent from attacking. The deck seemed sweet (and super janky), but after playing a few games with the deck, I realized there was a huge, huge problem with the deck: all of the cards that were designed to protect us from the endless creatures we were giving our opponents said "you." As a result, what would happen is our opponent would get a huge board of creatures and couldn't attack us, but once we played a Gideon, Champion of Justice, they would turn all of their creatures on our planeswalker and it would immediately die. After having this happen a few games in a row (and never getting close to ultimating a Gideon, Champion of Justice), I decided it was time to go back to the drawing board for a deck that not only protected our life total but could also protect our Gideon, Champion of Justice, which led us to Bad Gideon Fog!

Bad Gideon

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Gideon, Champion of Justice has to be one of the worst Gideons (and worst planeswalkers in general) ever printed. The main problem is the +1 only adds loyalty and the ultimate costs a massive 15 loyalty counters. However, in a very specific situation (one where our opponent has a ton of creatures that can't kill us for some reason), Gideon, Champion of Justice is amazing because we can plus it once or twice, get it up to 20 or 30 loyalty, and then exile everything and have a 10/10 or even 20/20 Gideon, Champion of Justice left over to win us the game. It is this situation that our deck is trying to create with the help of cards that give our opponent creatures and Fogs to keep us (and our Gideon) alive.

Fogs

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While we have a ton of Fogs in our deck, they are all pretty much replaceable. While some have a big of upside (like Dawn Charm countering a spell or Angelsong cycling), the main reason they are in the deck is to fizzle our opponent's attack for a turn. Most importantly, unlike Ghostly Prison and Orbs of Warding, our Fogs prevent all creature damage, and they don't care whether those creatures are attacking us or our Gideon, Champion of Justice. As such, the basic plan of our deck is to give our opponent a ton of creatures (and hopefully, they play some of their own), get a Gideon, Champion of Justice, and then just Fog every turn until we can ultimate Gideon, Champion of Justice, exile everything, and win the game!

Giving Our Opponent Creatures

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The last important piece of our puzzle is some cards that can give our opponent creatures. While many Modern decks help us out by playing their own creatures, there are a reasonable number of decks in the format that don't play many or even any at all. As such, we need a way to give our creature-light opponents creatures, and even in creature-heavy matchups, giving our opponents some tokens helps speed up our plan of ultimating Gideon, Champion of Justice. Forbidden Orchard is the best option because the opportunity cost is so low. It functions like an untapped dual land, with the upside of giving our opponent a 1/1 whenever we tap it. Meanwhile Swan Song helps against combo and control decks while also protecting our Gideon, Champion of Justice, forcing through our Fog effects, and also giving opponent a 2/2 Bird to help power up our Gideon!

Card Draw

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Since we are actively giving our opponent creatures, most of the time we find ourselves in a situation where we have to resolve a Fog every single turn or we'll lose the game (or our Gideon, Champion of Justice) to their massive board. Because of this, we need to make sure we draw enough cards that we have a Fog every time we need one (and find our Gideon, Champion of Justice to finish the game). 

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Lastly, we have Leyline of Sanctity, which helps in matchups where our Fogs are bad (against spell-based decks like Burn and various combo decks). While these matchups still aren't great, having a way to protect ourselves from Lightning Bolt or Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle triggers to the face means we are simply drawing dead when we run into one of these decks. Plus, it helps protect against discard like Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek, which can ruin our plans by taking a Fog or Gideon, Champion of Justice from our hand. 

The Matchups

Breaking down the matchups for Bad Gideon Fog is pretty easy—we are very good in matchups where our opponent is looking to kill us with creatures (like Infect, Jund, Hatebears, etc.) and pretty bad against decks that are looking to kill us with non-creatures (Tron, Burn, Scapeshift, etc.). Not only is Gideon, Champion of Justice pretty bad in spell-based matchups but our Fogs are pretty lacking as well. While the pattern is predictable, maybe the most striking thing is just how good (or bad) our deck is, depending on the matchup. There are very few games that are close; instead, it feels like we are either massively favored or a huge dog right from the start of the match, depending on what deck our opponent is playing.

The Odds

All in all, we won 5 of our 12 games (good for a 41.67% game win percentage) and two of our five matches (a 40% match win percentage), which puts Bad Gideon Fog at about average for an Against the Odds deck. Meanwhile, Gideon, Champion of Justice was good in our good matchups (where our opponents would often scoop after we plussed once or twice, getting Gideon up to 30 or 40 counters) and bad in our bad matchups (where it would either get countered or have his +1 neutered by the lack of our opponent's creatures). Despite the middling record, the deck was actually a lot of fun to play, and eventually, we did manage to win by exiling everything with Gideon, which made all of the bad matchups worthwhile!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

No Against the Odds poll this week, Aether Revolt finally released on Magic Online today, which means that next week, we'll be having a special Aether Revolt-flavored episode featuring my favorite Against the Odds card from the set. Then, when the poll returns next week, it will be stuffed full of new cards from Aether Revolt!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. I can't wait for next week because Aether Revolt looks amazing for Against the Odds! Until then, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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