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Against the Odds: Blood Pact (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode one hundred of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a Budget Magic-influenced Against the Odds poll featuring a bunch of Modern cards that literally make things cheaper. In the end, the black enchantment Blood Funnel came out on top by a wide margin. Blood Funnel might look harmless, but it's actually a really tricky card to build around, since it wants us to play a lot of non-creature spells but then locks non-creature spells out of the game if we don't have a creature to sacrifice to pay their cost. After a bunch of tries at building a good deck around Blood Funnel, I realized that the downside of Blood Funnel is so great that maybe I was approaching Blood Funnel all wrong. What if instead of dealing with the drawback, we give it to our opponent and force them to deal with the drawback? If we are in the business of giving our things to our opponents, we might as well play some Demonic Pacts as well, and this is how Blood Pact came to be! Can the combo of Blood Funnel and Demonic Pact, backed by Harmless Offering, pick up some wins in Modern? Let's get to the videos and figure it out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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: Blood Pact (Deck Tech)

Against the Odds: Blood Pact (Games)

The Deck

When it came time to build around Blood Funnel, I started off with the most obvious plan: getting the enchantment onto the battlefield and then casting a bunch of two-mana artifacts for free, with the payoff being drawing cards with Vedalken Archmage and Monastery Mentor. After playing a couple of games with the deck, I realized it was basically just Eggs, except much worse. Since Eggs isn't exactly compelling to watch, I decided to look at other possibilities for Blood Funnel. Eventually, after getting locked under my own Blood Funnel for a couple of games in a row, it struck me that maybe the true power of Blood Funnel isn't as a combo piece that reduces the cost of our non-creature spells but as a lock piece that we have to Donate to our opponent!

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The upside of using Harmless Offering to give our opponent a Blood Funnel is that it's way faster than other options like Demonic Pact. In fact, if we can play a creature on Turn 2, we can cast Blood Funnel on Turn 3, cast Harmless Offering for just a single mana (sacrificing the creature to pay for Blood Funnel), and give our opponent the Blood Funnel. Just how good this line is mostly depends on the matchup. Against Ad Nauseam, Storm, or even various control decks, giving our opponent a Blood Funnel pretty much wins us the game on the spot. Against decks that use both creatures and spells (like Death's Shadow), it's good but not just game over. The downside is against creature decks like Affinity or Merfolk. Giving our opponent a Blood Funnel doesn't really do anything, which is why we need a backup Donate target.

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Demonic Pact not only helps fix our bad matchups where Blood Funnel isn't good, but it also gives us redundancy with the effect. With both Blood Funnel and Demonic Pact, we have a total of eight game-winning Harmless Offering targets, which means we're likely to have one in our hand every game. Demonic Pact can also win the game without Harmless Offering by emptying our opponent's hand of answers, drawing us some cards and throwing damage at our opponent's face. While it doesn't work directly with Blood Funnel, we can use the cost reduction from Blood Funnel to cast our Demonic Pact on Turn 3, which does speed up the deck a bit. 

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Dark Petition is absurd in our deck. When we have spell mastery (which we almost always do, since we have a bunch of spells to play on Turn 1 before Blood Funnel) and a Blood Funnel on the battlefield, Dark Petition is a free tutor. We spend three mana to cast it but immediately get the three mana back, giving us more than enough mana to immediately cast a Demonic Pact and probably a Harmless Offering as well if we need to. Beyond setting up our combo, the other reason Dark Petition is super important to our deck is that the very nature of Blood Funnel forces us to be a three-card combo.

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The final piece of the puzzle is creatures, which we need to sacrifice to Blood Funnel to resolve our Demonic Pacts and Harmless Offerings. While it's technically possible for our deck to win by beating down backed by damage from Demonic Pact, the main reason we are playing Bloodghast, Bitterblossom, and Geralf's Messenger is that they are creatures we can sacrifice to Blood Funnel more than once, allowing us to resolve two spells for the price of one creature.

One of the biggest risks of playing Blood Funnel is that we can get locked by our own deck, which means having a creature is super important. As a result, we sometimes need to spend a Dark Petition to tutor one up, and even then there is a lot of risk. Imagine that we have a Bloodghast and a Blood Funnel on the battlefield and we are looking to Harmless Offering the Blood Funnel. We cast Harmless Offering and with the "sac a creature or counter the spell" trigger on the stack, our opponent Fatal Pushes our Bloodghast and then casts Surgical Extraction to get rid of all copies forever. Not only is our Harmless Offering countered, but we literally can't play non-creature spells until we find one of our two copies of Geralf's Messenger

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The rest of the deck is some Turn 1 discard in Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek to disrupt combo and control decks, along with some early-game removal in Fatal Push and Terminate to deal with creature decks. Apart from helping us stay alive long enough to resolve our combo pieces, having a bunch of cheap spells is also key to turning on spell mastery for Dark Petition

The Matchups

As far as the matchups are concerned, we have one major concern: how devastating it is to our opponent when we give them a Blood Funnel. As I mentioned before, Blood Funnel just wins us the game against some spell-heavy decks, while it doesn't do much of anything against other creature-heavy decks. This means our worst matchups are aggressive decks that can get some big threats on the battlefield before we can assemble our combo (and also Bogles, which we lost to twice during our videos). Meanwhile, our best matchups are slower spell-based combo decks like Ad Nauseam and also control decks, which get locked by Blood Funnel. Otherwise, the biggest challenge with Blood Pact is that we occasionally lose to ourselves, either by accidentally locking ourselves under our own Blood Funnel or by not finding all of our combo pieces in a timely manner. 

The Odds

All in all, we played seven matches and won three, good for a 43% match win percentage, along with winning 8 of 17 games for a 47% game win percentage. While this isn't great, it also includes two match losses to Bogles, which seems like a horrible matchup. If we could somehow not count the two Bogles matchups, the percentages would rise to around 60%. This isn't to say that the deck is great, but it is surprisingly good in some matchups, despite the inherent inconsistency of Blood Funnel. Basically, Blood Pact feels like a high risk / high reward deck where we either lock our opponent out of the game (or kill them with Demonic Pact) and win easily or end up locking ourselves (or getting run over by aggro) and losing horribly. Either way, it is fun to play and attacks in a really unique way.

Vote For Next Week's Deck

Thanks to Commander 2017 and Ixalan, right now the focus of the Magic world is on tribal themes and creature types, so as we wait for Ixalan to release (and the new legend rule to take effect), let's travel back in time to the last time tribes really mattered: Lorwyn! Which of these tribes should we play next week? Let us know by voting below!

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Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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