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Against the Odds: Chatterfang Combos (Historic)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 305 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had another Jumpstart: Historic Horizons Against the Odds poll, and in the end, everyone's favorite rodent Chatterfang, Squirrel General came out on top. While we theoretically could try to build Squirrel tribal with Chatterfang, as a tribe, Squirrels just aren't all that interesting in Historic yet. Since there are so few tribe members, you pretty much just have to jam all of the available Squirrels together and hope for the best. The good news is that while Chatterfang, Squirrel General is good in a Squirrel deck, it's even better as a combo enabler! Our deck today has no fewer than three ways that we can go infinite with Chatterfang (and really, a bunch more, if you count all the infinite combo pieces and synergies that exist in the deck). What combos does the mythic Squirrel enable? How good are they in Historic?  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: Chatterfang Combos

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The Deck

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Chatterfang Combos (as its name suggests) is all about trying to combo off with Chatterfang, Squirrel General's ability to give us a 1/1 Squirrel token as a bonus whenever we make a token (and, to a lesser extent, Chatterfang's sacrifice ability). While the ability might not seem all that exciting, there are actually a bunch of ways to use it to go infinite in Historic. And if we do go infinite, the worst case is that we wrath our opponent's entire board, while at its best, the combos win the game on the spot with infinite drain, life, mana, and tokens!

Combo 1: Chatterfang + Pitiless Plunderer

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The simplest combo in our deck is Chatterfang, Squirrel General with Pitiless Plunderer. With these two cards on the battlefield, if we can make a single token (or have a creature die to trigger Pitiless Plunderer to make a Treasure token), we go infinite with Pitiless Plunderer making a Treasure token, which comes along with a Squirrel token thanks to Chatterfang. We can use the mana from the Treasure to activate Chatterfang, Squirrel General's sacrifice ability and give one of our opponent's creatures –1/–1, and the Squirrel token dying will trigger Pitiless Plunderer to give us another Treasure and Squirrel token to repeat the process. By itself, this combo allows us to wrath our opponent's board, although if we add a Blood Artist or Prosperous Innkeeper to the mix, we get infinite drain or infinite lifegain, respectively, which should win us the game. If we have two Pitiless Plunderers, the same combo gives us infinite 1/1 Squirrel tokens and infinite mana from Treasures.

Combo 2: Chatterfang + Pitiless Plunderer + Another Sac Outlet

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Let's say we have the same setup as above—a Chatterfang, Squirrel General and Pitiless Plunderer on the battlefield—but also have a free sacrifice outlet like Yawgmoth, Thran Physician or Woe Strider. If we use the free sacrifice outlet for the loop, we won't need to use the Treasures that Pitiless Plunderer makes, giving us infinite Treasure mana. If our sac outlet is Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, we also get infinite (limited by our life total) removal and card draw, which should find us a Blood Artist or Prosperous Innkeeper to make the combo truly infinite (since we'll gain back a life for each life we spend to sacrifice a creature to Yawgmoth) and eventually win us the game with infinite drain from Blood Artist.

Combo 3: Chatterfang + Yawgmoth + Hapatra

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Finally, we have the combo of Chatterfang, Yawgmoth, and Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, which works much like the last combo but with –1/–1 counters. With all three cards on the battlefield, we can sacrifice something to Yawgmoth, Thran Physician to put a –1/–1 counter on one of our opponent's creatures, which will trigger Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons to make a 1/1 Snake token that will come along with a 1/1 Squirrel token thanks to Chatterfang. We can keep doing this until we kill all of our opponent's creatures with –1/–1 counters while also building a big board of 1/1 tokens (the loop makes two tokens, but we only need to sacrifice one to Yawgmoth, so we end up with one left over every time we go through the loop) while also drawing a ton of cards. Once we kill our opponent's stuff, we can keep the combo going by sacrificing the Squirrel token to Yawgmoth to put the –1/–1 counter on the Snake token, which means we don't get an extra body on the battlefield but can keep drawing cards with Yawgmoth, Thran Physician until we find something like Blood Artist or Prosperous Innkeeper to close out the game. 

Other Stuff

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While almost everything in our main deck is a combo piece, we do have a handful of utility slots dedicated to supporting our Chatterfang combos. Llanowar Elves just speeds the combo up by giving us extra mana, hopefully starting on Turn 1. Fauna Shaman gives us a way to tutor up our important combo pieces, like Chatterfang, Yawgmoth, and Pitiless Plunderer. Finally, Assassin's Trophy gives us a catch-all removal spell that we can use to answer our opponent's creatures or planeswalkers, or to answer graveyard hate like Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void, which can shut down our ability to win the game with Blood Artist. (It is worth mentioning that none of our combos actually require things coming in and out of the graveyard, so we can still make infinite Squirrels and mana even through graveyard hate, although not having access to Blood Artist is annoying because it's the easiest way to get our opponent's life total to zero.)

The Matchups

By far the hardest matchup for Chatterfang Combos is other sacrifice-based decks. Things go really poorly if our opponent plays Mayhem Devil because Mayhem Devil triggers whenever anyone sacrifices a permanent, which means if we combo off, either we'll die to Mayhem Devil damage or Mayhem Devil will shoot down our combo pieces and fizzle the combo. On the other hand, the deck felt great against creature decks, where the ability to repeatedly wrath our opponent's board with Chatterfang, Squirrel General and Pitiless Plunderer or Yawgmoth, Thran Physician is really difficult for most opponents to beat!

The Odds

All in all, we finished 4-1 with Chatterfang Combos, and apart from getting smacked by Jund Citadel (thanks to Mayhem Devil), the deck felt strangely competitive. While many of our combos require three pieces, we have so many ways to go infinite in the deck that we're likely to find at least one of them fairly early in the game, and doubly so once we start drawing oodles of cards with Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. While it is annoying that some of our important combo pieces cost four mana, making Collected Company hard to play even though it works really well with all of the non–Pitiless Plunderer and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician cards in the deck, it is nice that unlike some other sacrifice decks in Historic like Vesperlark combo, we don't really care about graveyard hate all that much. While our sample size is small, I wouldn't be surprised if Chatterfang, Squirrel General were actually at least someone competitive in Historic. While Squirrel Tribal still has a ways to go, as we saw in our matches, Chatterfang is actually pretty insane as a combo piece!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Next week, we're kicking off Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard with a special episode. Don't worry; the Against the Odds poll will return next week and be overflowing with spooky new Innistrad options!

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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