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Against the Odds: Biomancer Combo (Modern, Magic Online)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 179 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a second-chance poll, giving cards that came in second or third over the previous month of polls another shot at glory. In the end, Biomancer's Familiar took home a pretty commanding victory over Mirror March. As such, we're heading to Modern today to play a combo deck I've been wanting to play ever since Ravnica Allegiance was previewed: Biomancer Combo! The main idea of the deck is to use Biomancer's Familiar to reduce the cost of activating Eldrazi Displacer to just a single mana, which will allow us to go infinite in a few different ways or just outvalue our opponent out by blinking creatures like Venser, Shaper Savant. What are the odds of winning with Biomancer's Familiar in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Biomancer Combo (Modern)

The Deck

Biomancer Combo is one of the easiest Against the Odds decks I've ever built, mostly because I've been working on the list since Biomancer's Familiar was spoiled and just hadn't really had a chance to show it off yet. As such, rather than digging around for cards, this week was more about tuning up a list that I've been brewing for a while and then playing some matches!

The Combo

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Biomancer's Familiar is basically a Training Grounds on a body. While being on a creature might seem like a drawback since it dies to a lot of removal, in Modern, it's actually an upside compared to being an enchantment, since we have a bunch of really powerful ways to tutor up creatures directly to the battlefield. The main idea of our deck is to get Biomancer's Familiar on the battlefield along with Eldrazi Displacer, which gives us an Eldrazi Displacer that we can activate for just a single mana and opens the doors for a bunch of different combos.

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The most straightforward combo with Biomancer's Familiar and Eldrazi Displacer is Eyeless Watcher. If we can get Eyeless Watcher on the battlefield along with our combo engine, we basically end up with infinite mana and infinite 1/1 Eldrazi Scion tokens. The way it works is that we can use Eldrazi Displacer to blink Eyeless Watcher for one mana, which makes two 1/1 Eldrazi Scions that we can sacrifice for a mana each. Then, we can use one of the tokens to activate Eldrazi Displacer again to blink Eyeless Watcher, with each activation giving us one extra token (that also gives us one extra mana if we sacrifice it). The end result is an infinitely big board full of tokens we can use to kill our opponent.

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Nest Invader is our backup combo piece. It works much like Eyeless Watcher, but since it only makes a single Eldrazi Spawn token, we can't make infinite tokens or mana. Instead, we need an additional combo piece to take advantage of the infinite enters-the-battlefield triggers we can generate by using Eldrazi Displacer to blink Nest Invader and then using the mana from the Eldrazi Spawn token to activate Eldrazi Displacer again and again and again.

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Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit and Suture Priest give us ways to win the game with our Nest Invader / infinite enters-the-battlefield combo. Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit is a bit complicated. The plan is to keep blinking Nest Invader with Anafenza's bolster trigger on the stack. After we stack up a thousand or so bolster triggers, we let them all resolve and make our entire team massive, allowing any one of our creatures to be a lethal attacker. Then, if we have a bit of mana left over, we can even use Eldrazi Displacer to blink and tap whatever blockers our opponent has and win by attacking. Meanwhile, Suture Priest gives us infinite life from our infinite enters-the-battlefield triggers, and if we happen to have Eyeless Watcher, we can even infinitely blink one of our opponent's creatures to drain our opponent out of the game.

Other Stuff

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Venser, Shaper Savant, Reflector Mage, and Eternal Witness give us some good value-blink targets for our Eldrazi Displacer / Biomancer's Familiar combo. While none of these cards wins the game directly like our combo, they can still be quite powerful. In theory, if we have enough mana, we can blink Venser enough times to bounce all of our opponent's permanents (including lands), which is pretty much as good as winning the game. If our pieces stick on the battlefield, whenever our opponent plays anything for the rest of the game, we can just return it to their hand for one mana. Meanwhile, Reflector Mage gives us a way to interact with creatures, while Eternal Witness gets our tutors and combo pieces back from the graveyard.

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In the intro, I mentioned that Biomancer's Familiar being a creature is actually a huge upside in Modern. Collected Company and Chord of Calling are the reasons why. The combination of these two cards means that our deck is extremely consistent at finding our combo pieces, with Chord of Calling tutoring up whatever we are missing directly and Collected Company digging six cards deep for our combo or value pieces, all at instant speed.

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Finally, we have our mana dorks. These cards do two things for our deck. First, they simply speed up our combo by allowing us to play cards like Eldrazi Displacer and Eyeless Watcher a turn early, which is important in a fast format like Modern. Second, Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch give us cheap bodies on the battlefield to help pay the convoke cost on Chord of Calling, to tutor out our important combo pieces.

The Matchups

The matchups for Biomancer's Familiar are interesting. Fast combo decks are probably the hardest matchups, although we do have some very solid sideboard cards for unfair decks since we are in white. So the matchup against unfair combo decks is far from unwinnable. Meanwhile, removal-heavy control and midrange can be a problem, although Collected Company and Eternal Witness give us ample ways to fight through sweepers and removal. On the other hand, probably the best matchup for Biomancer Combo is random creature decks. We have lots of blockers, and Eldrazi Displacer with Biomancer's Familiar gives us a weird, somewhat expensive way to keep a board full of creatures in check by repeatedly blinking our opponent's potential attackers. All in all, it really felt like Biomancer's Familiar had a chance against most decks, with the possible exception of some unfair combo decks like Dredge.

The Odds

All in all, we played five matches with Biomancer Combo and won four, giving us an 80% match win percentage, along with winning eight of our 12 games, good for a 66.7% match win percentage, making Biomancer Combo significantly above average for an Against the Odds deck. In fact, apart from getting crushed by Dredge (a matchup where we might need more sideboard cards), Biomancer Combo didn't really feel all that against the odds, considering we dominated decks like Bogles and Tron, which seemed like challenging matchups on paper. As for Biomancer's Familiar itself, the combo was extremely consistent and powerful. While it's just a Training Grounds, the fact that we can find our Training Grounds with Chord of Calling and Collected Company makes the deck way more consistent. Oh yeah, I should probably also mention Venser, Shaper Savant, which was the surprise all-star of the deck, allowing us to slow down and even completely stop decks like Bogles and Tron while getting us out of some really tight situations.

Vote for Next Week's Deck

This week, we return to our normal poll. The two highest vote-getters from last week carry over, giving Hand of the Praetors and Mirror Match another shot for glory, while two new Modern cards and one Standard option join the fray. Which of these cards should we build around next week? Let us know by voting below!

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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


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