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Against the Odds: Butt Toss (Standard)


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Against the Odds! The Pride of Hull Clade is an interesting card. In the right deck, it can be a one-mana 2/15 with upside, although having defender means it's pretty hard (or at least expensive, thanks to its ability) to attack with. With this drawback in mind, is it possible to build a Standard deck around the janky mythic by using it as sacrifice fodder for cards like Catapult Fodder and Geralf, Visionary Stitcher? What are the odds of winning with The Pride of Hull Clade in Murders at Karlov Manor Standard? Let's find out on today's Against the Odds!

Against the Odds: Butt Toss

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The Deck

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The goal today is simple: find a way to make The Pride of Hull Clade work in Standard. As I mentioned in the intro, it's pretty easy to build a deck that makes the Crocodile Elk Turtle into a one-mana 2/15, although having defender is an issue since it means we can't easily attack with Pride. It does have a hilarious ability that lets us attack with a defender for four mana and, if that creature deals combat damage, draw cards equal to its toughness. This means a single attack from [[The Pride of Hull Clade] can draw us 15 cards. But it's super hard to pull off in practice since four mana is a lot.

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Because using The Pride of Hull Clade's ability repeatedly isn't super realistic since it costs so much mana, I started searching for other cards that would allow us to attack with defenders. But as far as I could find, the only other card in Standard that does this is Walking Bulwark, which is fine but still costs two mana to let a single defender attack. While we are playing it, alongside Bedrock Tortoise as another way to turn The Pride of Hull Clade into a 15/15, the plan of beating down with The Pride of Hull Clade is pretty inconsistent—we really need an Assault Formation or Arcades, the Strategist in Standard to make it work. So, we have to find another way to make Pride work in Standard.

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Getting The Pride of Hull Clade on the battlefield is actually super easy. Since the 11-drop costs X less to cast, where X is the total toughness of creatures we control, all we really need to do is play a bunch of high-toughness creatures, and we can be playing The Pride of Hull Clade as early as Turn 3! A single The Ancient One on Turn 2 gets the job done all by itself, lowering the cost of The Pride of Hull Clade down to three mana so we can cast it the following turn...

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...and our deck is overloaded with cheap high-toughness creatures like Concealing Curtains, Rona, Herald of Invasion, and The Reality Chip to help make sure we can get our primary threat on the battlefield. We can easily get The Pride of Hull Clade into play, but that doesn't really do much for us if we can't find a way to take advantage of the defender. And then I realized that we don't really need to attack with The Pride of Hull Clade for it to be good—all we really need is to butt-toss it!

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There are not just one but two creatures in Standard that let us turn high-toughness creatures into tons of damage. The first is Catapult Fodder. The three-drop quickly flips in our deck thanks to all of our high-toughness, low-power creatures; once it does, for just three mana, we can sacrifice a creature to make our opponent lose life equal to its toughness. In practice, this means that we can play Catapult Fodder on Turn 3 and flip it. On Turn 4, we can follow up with a one-mana The Pride of Hull Clade (assuming we have another high-toughness creature on the battlefield, which we should) and then use our last three mana to butt-toss Pride at our opponent for a massive 15 damage! If this isn't enough to close out the game right away, it should get our opponent low enough on life that we can sacrifice another creature to Catapult Fodder the following turn for lethal! 

Our second payoff is Geralf, Visionary Stitcher, which gives Zombies flying and can sacrifice a non-token creature to make a Zombie with power and toughness equal to the sacrificed creature's toughness. This means we can play Geralf, follow up with The Pride of Hull Clade the next turn, and turn it into a 15/15 flier for just one more mana, which can kill our opponent in just a couple of attacks! And that's the primary plan: flood the board with toughness, stick a Catapult Captain or Geralf, and use them to butt-toss The Pride of Hull Clade at our opponent for a ton of damage, either directly or in the format of a massive flying Zombie!

Wrap-Up

Record-wise, I'm not exactly sure what our exact win percentage was with the deck (some of our matches were unranked, so my Arena tracker didn't pick them up), but it definitely wasn't great. While the plan is fun, funny, and awesome when it works, it also lines up pretty poorly with our Sunfall-heavy Standard meta. The easiest way to play around Sunfall (outside of just countering it or making the opponent discard it) is to meter our threats carefully so we'll have some left to rebuild with after a wrath. But this doesn't really work with our deck since The Pride of Hull Clade and Catapult Fodder—our two most important creatures—require us to flood the board with threats to do anything at all. Toss in that we don't have a fast aggro clock in the early game because many of our creatures have little or no power (or straight-up have defender), and it's tough to beat the sweeper decks in the format.

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On the other hand, I really enjoyed playing Butt Toss, and weirdly, it actually makes me happy that we are in a three-year Standard. What the deck needs most in an Assault Formation– or Arcades, the Strategist–style card that allows The Pride of Hull Clade and our other defenders to attack without spending so much mana. With The Pride of Hull Clade sticking around in Standard for three years, there's a pretty good chance we'll get a card like this eventually, and then you'd better look out because when The Pride of Hull Clade is a one-mana 15/15, it's actually an absurdly powerful card, which, backed by our butt-toss plan, could actually be pretty solid in Standard. But for now, we'll have to settle for a fun but not overly competitive Against the Odds brew!

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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