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Against the Odds: Dice Twin (Standard)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 297 of Against the Odds. Last week, Wizards had a surprise early-access day for recording Adventures in the Forgotten Realms content (thanks to Wizards for the free stocked account!), which gave us a chance to try out some new Adventures in the Forgotten Realms decks, including one of the jankiest but most interesting combos to come from the set: Dice Twin! The idea of Dice Twin is to play a Pixie Guide or two, followed by Delina, Wild Mage. We then can attack and target Pixie Guide with Delina's ability, hopefully rolling a 15–20 so we can get another Pixie Guide (tapped and attacking) and roll again. Every time we win a roll, we get another Pixie Guide, which increases our odds of winning the next roll. While we're only 51% to hit a 15–20 with one Pixie Guide, we're over 83% to hit once we have four and over 95% to hit at eight. Once we get to 12 or more Pixie Guides, we're more than 99% to win the roll and keep going, which makes us functionally (although not technically) infinite. While we technically can get unlucky, the odds of missing when you are rolling 15 or 20 d20s is so small (one in thousands) that the odds are we'll keep making Pixie Guide forever, or at least until we have enough to kill our opponent, Splinter Twin style! How good is rolling dice in Standard? Can the combo work, or will our notoriously bad luck with things like rolling dice and flipping coins ruin everything? 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: Dice Twin

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The Deck

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Dice Twin is basically a combo deck built around rolling d20s. Apart from the combo of Delina, Wild Mage and Pixie Guide, we have some other dice-rolling payoffs like Treasure Chest the The Deck of Many Things since we're already playing d20-support cards like Pixie Guide and Barbarian Class to support our Dice Twin combo. The plan is to stick as many copies of Pixie Guide and Barbarian Class, to shift the odds of winning our dice rolls in our favor, and then win by going functionally infinite with Delina, Wild Mage and Pixie Guide or by generating value with things like Treasure Chest and The Deck of Many Things.

Speaking of the combo, here's the math (thanks to Kaedox for emailing it to me) based on the number of Pixie Guides (or Barbarian Classes, which count as Pixie Guides since the first level has the same ability, allowing us to roll an additional die and keep our best roll). The first column is the number of "extra roll" cards (Pixie Guide or Barbarian Class) in play. The second column is the increase in our chance of winning the roll (hitting a 15–20) as compared to the previous roll (as you can see, the first few "extra roll" cards greatly increase our chances of winning the roll, although the returns diminish greatly as we are able to roll more and more dice and the odds of us missing drop. The third column is our odds of winning one specific roll. (For example, we are 51% to hit a 15–20 with one Pixie Guide, but it jumps to 91.7% with six Pixie Guides.) The last column is our total chance of achieving an outcome. As you can see, most of the risk with the combo comes with the first few rolls, when we only have a few "extra roll" cards on the battlefield. On the other hand, we're functionally infinite once we get to eight or more "extra roll" cards, with a 99%-ish chance of rolling dice (and making more Pixie Guides) forever, or at least until we've decided that we've had enough and choose to stop.

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Since we playing Pixie Guide and Barbarian Class to support our combo, we also have Treasure Chest and The Deck of Many Things for value. With a Pixie Guide or two on the battlefield, it's pretty unlikely we'll have a roll bad enough to hurt us. And when The Deck of Many Things is drawing two cards each turn or Treasure Chest is giving us a Spoils of Adventure, they are actually pretty powerful. The only awkward thing about these cards is that rolling a 20—typically the dream—is either bad or unachievable. With Treasure Chest, we actively don't want to roll a 20 because the best artifact we can tutor into play is another Treasure Chest or a The Deck of Many Things. We'd much rather hit a 10–19 and draw three cards and gain three life than tutor up a single card. Meanwhile, it's really difficult to get empty-handed, which is necessary to hit a 20 with The Deck of Many Things, although thankfully, drawing two cards each turn or Regrowthing a random card from our graveyard for two mana is actually pretty strong.

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The rest of the deck is removal, to help make sure we stay alive long enough to assemble the Dice Twin combo. While it feels a bit dirty playing Bonecrusher Giant and Brazen Borrower, since we are playing in normal Standard and everyone is playing these cards, we pretty much have to play them as well to have a chance at keeping up. Thankfully, rotation is less than two months away, and we'll never have to play with or against Throne of Eldraine cards in Standard ever again. Because the power of our deck and combo depends on how many copies of Pixie Guide and Barbarian Class we can get on the battlefield, the longer we can stay alive, the more time we have to play "extra roll" cards and the higher odds we have of comboing successfully, which makes removal essential.

The Odds

All in all, we went 4-3 with Dice Twin, which is a fine record for a deck that is, by its very design, high variance. The combo itself was pretty funny. We got fairly unlucky in our first couple of attempts, fizzling with four "extra roll" cards (when we had an 83% chance of hitting a 15–20) and then with eight "extra roll" cards (with a 96% chance of winning). Thankfully, the deck redeemed itself in our last game, where we went functionally infinite and made enough Pixie Guides to kill our GW Lifegain opponent, who had nearly 50 life! 

The combo does remind me of Splinter Twin (obviously less powerful and way jankier), but because you never know when you might get unlucky, fail to roll a 15–20, and have the combo fizzle, it's a really stressful form of Splinter Twin where even once you assemble the combo and starting making Pixie Guides, you're constantly living in fear that the next roll might be your last, which I guess is very on flavor for the "roll a d20" mechanic. 

Will the combo actually be good in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Standard? Probably not, as least before rotation, since Bonecrusher Giant kills Delina, Wild Mage. Barbarian Class helps us get around this by giving Delina, Wild Mage haste if we can get it to the third level, but Throne of Eldraine cards are a problem. After rotation, a dice-rolling deck seems possible. I was surprised by how powerful The Deck of Many Things and Treasure Chest were in a deck full of ways to roll extra dice. And the combo is an interesting way to close out the game, even if—as we saw a couple of times—you can get unlucky even after getting everything set up and watch it fizzle horrifically.

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Adventures in the Forgotten Realms has some sweet cards! Let's try another on on Against the Odds next week (either in normal Standard or Standard 2020 - let us know which you prefer in the comments!) Click here to vote!

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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