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Against the Odds: Blightsteel Surprise (Modern)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 363 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a Phyrexian-themed Against the Odds poll, and in the end, the biggest, baddest artifact creature in the multiverse—Blightsteel Colossus—took home a pretty easy win. As such, we're heading to Modern today to see if we can surprise our opponent with Blightsteel Colossus. How does one surprise an opponent with a 12-mana 11/11 trampling infector? Let's get to the video and find out in today's Against the Odds; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Blightsteel Surprise!

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The Deck

When Blightsteel Colossus won the poll, I was pretty sure we'd be cheating it into play in one way or another—at 12 mana, it's just too hard to cast naturally, outside of maybe a Tron deck, and we're not dirty Tron players, so... I pretty quickly focused on two plans: Shape Anew and Satoru Umezawa. As I was working on the deck, I realized that both plans sort of synergize together in a strange way, so we ended up playing both! Here's the plan:

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First and foremost, we have Blightsteel Colossus, one of the scariest creatures in Magic since it kills in just one attack thanks to the 11 poison counters it deals. The challenge of Blightsteel Colossus is actually getting it on the battlefield since it costs a massive 12 mana, but we have multiple ways to get it into play on the cheap.

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First, we have Shape Anew. Since Blightsteel Colossus is the only true artifact in our deck, if we can get an artifact on the battlefield and destroy it with Shape Anew, we know we'll end up Polymorphing into a Blightsteel Colossus every time. Of course, for this plan to work, we have nonartifact cards that can put artifacts on the battlefield to blow up with Shape Anew.

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For this, we have a few options. Gilded Goose ramps us into our other bigger plays while also adding an artifact to the battlefield. Ingenious Infiltrator makes a Treasure token when it connects with our opponent, and if we can get a few Forests on the battlefield, we can fetch out Gingerbread Cabin to make a Food to Shape Anew into Blightsteel Colossus.

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Gilded Goose and Prosperous Thief lead us into our second plan for surprising our opponent with a Blightsteel Colossus: Satoru Umezawa. Satoru gives all of the creatures in our hand ninjutsu, which means we can attack with an unblocked creature—like the evasive Gilded Goose—and sneak a Blightsteel Colossus into play tapped, attacking, and unblocked, which basically means our opponent dies on the spot to poison unless they have something like Path to Exile or Solitude to exile the Golem.

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For our Satoru Umezawa plan to work, we need two things: to find Satoru and Blightsteel and to have an unblocked creature to ninjutsu from. Thankfully, Ninjas offer both, with cards like Changeling Outcast and Thousand-Faced Shadow offering evasive one-drops for ninjutsu purposes and Ingenious Infiltrator and Ninja of the Deep Hours giving us a ton of card draw to find our game-ending Blightsteel Surprise combo pieces.

The Matchups

The matchups for Blightsteel Surprise mostly depend on how much removal our opponent has access to. The easiest way to beat our deck is to keep our Ninjas off the battlefield and / or counter the Shape Anew (or exile the Blightsteel Colossus itself once it hits the battlefield). This makes control tough since they have sweepers, counters, and likely exile-based removal like Solitude. On the other hand, our deck was surprisingly fast and performed really well against creature decks like Hammer Time and even Burn, where a surprise Blightsteel is an absurdly effective way to close out the game.

The Odds

All in all, we finished 3-2 with Blightsteel Surprise, with one of our losses being to the most ridiculous burn deck I've ever seen, where we got significantly out-janked by Needlebite Trap and friends. All in all, the deck felt pretty solid. We were able to get Blightsteel Colossus on the battlefield consistently, and we almost always won the game once it hit the battlefield. The ease of closing out the game with Blightsteel in Modern is a good reminder of just how powerful poison counters can be. With Phyrexia: All Will Be One bringing the mechanic back for the first time in a decade, expect to see much more of this in the near future. Making your opponent starts at half of their normal life total is an inherently powerful effect, whether a one-shot kill from Blightsteel Colossus is involved or not!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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This week's poll is live on the community tab of the MTGGoldfish Youtube page!


Anyway, that's all for today. 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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