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Against the Odds: Deploy the Gatewatch

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode forty-eight of Against the Odds! Last week, we didn't have an Against the Odds poll because there was one last Eldritch Moon card I really wanted to play before we got back to normal. So, this week, we are playing a deck that is essentially the Standard version of Ultimate Super Friends, built around Deploy the Gatewatch! In fact, we have at least one copy of every planeswalker currently legal in Standard in our deck, and our plan is to play as many of them as possible and hopefully use them to win the game!

Anyway, let's get to the videos, but first 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: Deploy the Gatewatch Deck Tech

Against the Odds: Deploy the Gatewatch Games

The Deck

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The challenge of building around Deploy the Gatewatch is stuffing enough planeswalkers into the deck to make sure we are usually hitting two while still having enough removal to stay alive until we start getting planeswalkers on the battlefield. Since the planeswalkers in our current Standard top out at six mana with Sorin, Grim Nemesis and Chandra, Flamecaller, hitting one planeswalker is never really a good deal, considering Deploy the Gatewatch costs six mana itself. As a result, we ended up with 19 planeswalkers in our deck. Initially, I wanted to have 21, which would have given us about an 80% chance of hitting two with a Deploy the Gatewatch, but I just couldn't make them fit. The good news is that, even with just 19 planeswalkers, we should hit two nearly 75% of the time. Also, because we are playing no more than two of any individual planeswalker, the odds of us hitting doubles (which is pretty bad, since planeswalkers are legendary) is fairly minimal. 

The Planeswalkers

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The downside of our deck is that there's a ton of of variance in what planeswalkers we actually hit from Deploy the Gatewatch or draw naturally, since we are only playing one or two copies of each. As a result, we pretty much just make due with whatever we happen to draw. That said, the absolute best "hit" we have with Deploy the Gatewatch is a copy of Sorin, Grim Nemesis and a copy of Chandra, Flamecaller, which gives us a massive twelve mana of planeswalkers for our six-mana investment. Plus, both Sorin, Grim Nemesis and Chandra, Flamecaller are really good at both keeping us alive when we are behind and closing out the game when we are ahead. 

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Otherwise, we have planeswalkers that act as removal spells like Ob Nixilis Reignited, Nahiri, the Harbinger, and Liliana, the Last Hope; planeswalkers that generate card advantage like Jace, Unraveler of Secrets, and Sarkhan Unbroken; and planeswalkers that create tokens to gum up the board and keep us alive like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar. In fact, just about every planeswalker in our deck is good in at least some situations, but Kiora, Master of the Depths is likely the worst of the bunch because we don't have any creatures to untap or to hit with her 2. Otherwise, all of our planeswalkers are good in at least some situations, and some of them are good in pretty much all situations. 


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Oath of Nissa might be the most important card in our deck. As a five-color deck, our mana is pretty rough, but when we have an Oath of Nissa on the battlefield, all of our problems suddenly go away and we can cast any planeswalker we want with ease. As a result, the challenge with building around Deploy the Gatewatch is that we have 19 slots dedicated to planeswalkers, four slots dedicated to Deploy the Gatewatch, four slots dedicated to Oath of Nissa, and then 27 lands. All of these slots are pretty much set in stone. Without at least 19 planeswalkers, Deploy the Gatewatch doesn't work; without Oath of Nissa, our deck doesn't work if we don't draw a Deploy the Gatewatch, and lands are lands. As a result, 54 of the 60 cards in our main deck are auto-includes. 

As far as the remaining six slots, we have two copies of Oath of Chandra to kill creatures in the early game and then Sulfuric Vortex our opponent in the late game. Oath of Liliana does the opposite, dealing with big late-game creatures like Emrakul, the Promised End. Plus, the ability to make a 2/2 Zombie on turns when a planeswalker enters the battlefield (which is most turns in the mid- and late game) is very, very good in our deck. One of the problems with some of our planeswalkers is they don't really protect themselves, but with an Oath of Liliana on the battlefield, planeswalkers like Kiora, Master of the Depths come along with a 2/2 chump blocker to keep them alive. 

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Radiant Flames might be a bit of a flavor fail, considering it's the only non-land card in the main deck that doesn't have the word "planeswalker" on it, but we really don't have a choice if we want any chance of beating any sort of aggro deck. While only having two copies probably isn't enough to make these matchups good, they at least give us some slight chance of sweeping away the board on Turn 3 or 4 and then hopefully take over the game with our planeswalkers. 

The Matchups

The divide here is pretty clear. Aggressive decks are horrible matchups. We have a lot of lands that enter the battlefield tapped, which means we don't even get to start playing our three-mana planeswalkers until Turn 4 a lot of the time, and Turn 4 is simply too slow for Liliana, the Last Hope or Nissa, Voice of Zendikar to matter. Plus, as I mentioned before, a huge percentage of our deck is planeswalkers, Oath of Nissa, and Deploy the Gatewatch, which means our odds of drawing our removal is pretty small. As a result, we simply don't have a realistic chance of beating aggressive decks, especially before sideboarding. 

On the other hand, our matchups against midrange and control decks are pretty good, since our cards, on average, are just so much better than their cards, and they typically aren't fast enough to punish us for playing a clunky mana base and a bunch of planeswalkers that are only good in certain situations. We have a ton of card advantage, and our removal-based planeswalkers line up extremely well with more expensive threats. Plus, we have the ability to get back into games thanks to the life gain from Sorin, Grim Nemesis and the board-sweeping ability of Chandra, Flamecaller

The Odds

The odds of winning with Deploy the Gatewatch are actually surprisingly good. We won 10 of 15 games (66.66% game win percentage) and two of six matches (discounting the second match against Mono-Black Control, where our opponent scooped the match in game 1) for a 66.66% match win percentage. Maybe more impressive, we actually managed to beat some tier-one decks, including the format's bogeyman—Bant Company—and a GR Ramp deck similar to the one Reid Duke played at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon. Is this deck really good? I'm not sure, but winning 67% of the time puts Deploy the Gatewatch among the all-time best Against the Odds decks, and it's possible that some sort of superfriends deck bears further exploration in our Bant Company dominated Standard. 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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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 

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