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Against the Odds: Biovisionary

Hello everyone and welcome to episode two of Against the Odds. First off, I would like to thank all of you for voting in last week's Against the Odds poll; the response was great with over 1,500 votes which really just blew me away, especially considering it was the very first episode for the series. When all the ballots were cast and all the votes were counted, Biovisionary came out ahead of Tainted Remedy by just 2 percent of the votes (at one point, with over 1,200 votes cast, the two were tied). So this week, by popular demand, we are going to try to figure out just how possible it is to win the game with Biovisionary in Modern. 

My initial plan for the voting was that the first place option would get made into the videos for the week, the last place option would drop off the ballot all together, and the second through fourth place decks would come back again the following week to get another shot at glory. After thinking about it a bit more, I'm going to tweak things slightly to keep poll fresh, so the first place option will become the week's videos, the second and third place options will remain on the ballot the following week, and the bottom two options will be eliminated (although it is possible some will return at a later date). This way options that were popular but just missed get another chance on the ballot, but each week we still have more new options than old. So this week, Legacy Trix (8 percent of the vote) and Standard Waste Not (17 percent of the vote) get eliminated. Illusions in Modern (19 percent of the vote) and Tainted Remedy (27 percent of the vote) return to the ballot, and Biovisionary is this week's winner with 29 percent of the vote and becomes episode two of Against the Odds! 

Anyway, let's get to the videos and then we'll talk more about the Biovisionary in a few minutes, but first a quick reminder — if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Against the Odds: Biovisonary Intro

Biovisionary: Mirrorweave Games

Alright, so my first attempt at pulling off the Biovisionary kill in Modern was extremely misguided. While winning the game by using Mirrorweave to turn a bunch of mana dorks into copies of Biovisionary seemed like a good idea on paper, in practice, it simply didn't work (as evidenced by the fact we went 0-8 in games). Sure, it felt like we were close to pulling off the combo a couple times, but in Modern, I'm not sure "if our opponent doesn't have a Lightning Botl, Path to Exile or Abrupt Decay, this is going to work" is actually that close. Those cards are just too powerful and heavily played to make our fragile combo practical. We also ran into trouble when our opponent had four or more creatures on the battlefield because all of their creatures turn into copies of Biovisionary too, which means we could actually grant our opponent the win if we cast Mirrorweave during our turn since our opponent's "you win the game" trigger would be on the stack above ours.

I'm sure that sooner or later, had we kept playing this build, we would have pulled off the combo, but the odds appear to be extremely low - like maybe 5 percent (or one in twenty games). I've tried to wrack my brain and come up with a good matchup for the Mirrorweave build, and I think our best shot would be against something like Merfolk or Infect - decks that do no have much removal or interaction - however, even against these decks we are really hoping they get a bad/slow draw and I don't believe we are favored. Anyway, after bashing my head against the wall of eight extremely frustrating games I decided it was time to change things up. So I brewed up something even crazier - Collected Company Clones Biovisionary

Biovisionary: CoCoClones Games

The Combo

My second attempt at Biovisionary was much better. Although we still didn't combo off all that often, we did win some games, often in crazy ways. More importantly, I actually had a ton of fun playing the deck, which I couldn't say about the Mirrorweave build. In CoCoClones, we don't really have a combo. Instead, we are hoping that we can use Collected Company and Chord of Calling to find a Biovisionary and then use any of our million clones Phantasmal Image, Body Double, Cemetery PucaCryptoplasm and Renegade Doppelganger to copy Biovisionary a bunch of times and win on our end step, or even on our opponent's end step with the help of Chord of Calling, Collected Company or Alchemist's Refuge.

While this did happen once (out of eight games across three matches), what usually ended up happening is we either ground our opponents out by casting Collected Company every turn with the help of Eternal Witness and clones copying Eternal Witness, or we just copied our opponent's powerful creatures and beat them down. 

The Matchups

While our first build of Biovisionary had a bad matchup against basically every deck in Modern, the second build is actually sneaky good against a surprising number of decks. First, anything that is looking to win with with big creatures is a great matchups because we get to use all of our clones as two-mana versions of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Wurmcoil Engine and Griselbrand. We also have a surprising amount of game against midrange and control decks, both because we get to play at instant speed with Chord of Calling, Collected Company and Alchemist's Refuge, but also because we can just out-grind most opponents. To be fair, we might not be comboing off all that often against a deck full of removal, but we do have a shot of winning, even without the Biovisionary kill. 

On the other hand, fast aggro decks are certainly a problem. I can't imagine that we'll beat Burn or Affinity with any regularity — we just don't have enough interaction. As a base blue-green deck, there aren't very many good options in our colors to slow down these decks. Plus, if we start cutting creatures for spells, our Collected Companies get significantly worse and our odds of pulling off the combo goes down, which is unacceptable. 

The Odds

As I mentioned before, we didn't pull off the combo a single time with the Mirrorweave build, and while it would happen sooner or later (probably against an opponent who mulls to three or something), the odds have to be extremely low — likely somewhere in the area of 5 percent. On the other hand, the CoCoClones build pulled off the Biovisionary kill once in eight games, which would put the odds at 12.5 percent. However, we never got any "lucky" combo kills, even though we had the opportunity a few times (not counting several "if they don't have a Path/Bolt/Decay" situations). For instance, there were at least two situations where if we had hit clones with our Collected Company, we would have won the game on the spot. It's also possible that we could have won with Biovisionary triggers more often — if we made sub-optimal plays or by not killing our opponents for a few turns while we were putting together the pieces — just for the sake of comboing off, but playing this way felt silly and unfair so I chose not to. Regardless, combining my perception and the data gathered from playing the matches, I would put the odds of winning the game with Biovisionary's alternate win condition at somewhere between 10 and 15 percent. 

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Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for what we should play next. Also, what do you think about the deck? What are some other ways we can trigger Biovisionary's "you win the game" condition? Did I miss any "instant win" Biovisionary combos? As always, leave your thoughts, ideas and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive.

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