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Against the Odds: Door to the Wilderness (Modern, Magic Online)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 182 of Against the Odds. Last week during our Against the Odds poll, it was Booby Trap beating out Door to Nothingness by a handful of votes. "So why are we playing a Door to Nothingness deck?" I hear you ask. The answer is that Booby Trap is currently bugged on Magic Online (which somehow thinks "choose a card except for a basic land" means "choose a non-basic land"). As such, even though it came in second in our voting, Door to Nothingness was declared the winner.

While not being able to play the winning card thanks to an MTGO bug is a bit annoying, it might actually be a good thing since, in Ravnica Allegiance, we got the perfect card to support the Door to Nothingness kill in Wilderness Reclamation. With a Wilderness Reclamation on the battlefield, all we need is one land of each color. Then, by floating and untapping our lands on our end step, we'll have the double WUBRG needed to activate our Door to Nothingness and force our opponent to lose the game (assuming they don't have Repudiate // Replicate for some reason...). Can the printing of Wilderness Reclamation make Door to Nothingness into a legitimate win condition in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Door to the Wilderness (Modern)

The Deck

When I realized that we were building around Door to Nothingness rather than Booby Trap, I focused in on Wilderness Reclamation pretty quickly since it's basically a cheat card that makes the Door to Nothingness win possible in Modern. The biggest problem with building around Door to Nothingness is that the card is slow. Really, really slow. Not only does it cost a massive 10 mana (across five colors) to activate, but it enters the battlefield tapped. So even if we somehow have 15 mana available to cast and activate the artifact, we can't do it all in one turn without extra help. As such, the main goal of our deck is to get enough mana (and the right colors of mana) to activate Door to Nothingness while also staying alive long enough to make our opponent lose the game.

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Door to Nothingness is pretty simple: it cost roughly a million mana, but if we manage to activate it, we win the game on the spot (by forcing our opponent to lose the game). Thankfully, we have a couple of tricks to help speed up the process of winning with Door to Nothingness.

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Apart from Door to Nothingness itself, the most important piece of our deck is Wilderness Reclamation. The trick here is actually pretty similar to what we see Nexus of Fate decks do in Standard: pass our turn and, on our end step, float all of our mana with the Wilderness Reclamation untap trigger on the stack, which allows us to tap our lands again, effectively doubling our mana. Since Door to Nothingness can be activated at instant speed, it's the perfect win condition for doubling our mana on our end step. This means that if we have a Wilderness Reclamation, we only need five lands on the battlefield to have enough mana to win to Door to Nothingness. In theory, if we have some ramp on Turn 2, we can play Wilderness Reclamation on Turn 3, play Door to Nothingness on Turn 4, and win the game on Turn 5!

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Beyond Door to Nothingness and Wilderness Reclamation, we have a couple of other combo pieces to support our primary plan. Ral Zarek probably looks strange in our deck, but it does one really important thing: untap Door to Nothingness. One of the big challenges with the Door kill is that it enters tapped, so even if we have multiple copies of Wilderness Reclamation and almost unlimited mana, we still have to wait a turn to win the game. Ral Zarek solves this probably since we can use his +1 to untap our Door to Nothingness, allowing us to win without passing the turn on our end step. Meanwhile, Chromatic Lantern is just a one-of, but it helps to make sure that we have the right colors of mana to activate Door to Nothingness. While our main plan is using a bunch of fetch lands and eight different shock lands to get the mana we need naturally, having Chromatic Lantern is a nice safety valve in case our mana is clunky while also working as a backup ramp spell.

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Speaking of ramp, we're mostly relying on Savor the Moment and Growth Spiral to accelerate us into our Wilderness Reclamation and Door to Nothingness. While Growth Spiral is pretty straightforward—allowing us to draw a card and put a land into play—it might seem weird to think of Savor the Moment as a ramp spell, but it often is. In the early game, we can simply cast it for three mana, take another turn, and use that turn to make another land drop. And Savor the Moment is essentially a bad, expensive version of Growth Spiral. On the other hand, Savor the Moment has a lot of upside, especially once we have a Wilderness Reclamation on the battlefield. While taking an extra turn for three mana is a great deal, the problem is that we don't get to untap during that turn, which makes it less useful than a normal turn. However, if we have Wilderness Reclamation on the battlefield, we get to untap all of our land on our end step, which greatly minimizes the "skip your untap step" drawback of Savor the Moment, making it very close to a real extra-turn spell for just three mana!

Other Stuff

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Cryptic Command and Remand help us slow down the game by countering our opponent's spells while also keeping us churning through our deck since both can draw us a card as well. They also both work really well with Wilderness Reclamation since we can cast Wilderness Reclamation during our main phase, untap our lands during our end step, and then leave up countermagic during our opponent's turn to protect our Wilderness Reclamation or Door to Nothingness. Meanwhile, Cryptic Command has additional upside as a sort of super-Fog by tapping down all of our opponent's creatures, which is a great way to buy a turn or two to assemble the mana we need to win with Door to Nothingness, even more so with the help of Snapcaster Mage.

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Snapcaster Mage doesn't have any super-specific purpose in our deck, but it is extremely powerful, allowing us to reuse all of our powerful spells from our graveyard, tapping down our opponent for multiple turns in a row with Cryptic Command, tempoing them out of the game with Remand, or ramping with Growth Spiral. It's also great with Savor the Moment, which is the rare extra-turn spell that doesn't exile (or shuffle into our library) when it resolves. This means we can occasionally take a bunch of turns in a row by casting Savor the Moment and then using Snapcaster Mage to flash it back.

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Finally, Assassin's Trophy and Fatal Push give us a bit of removal to deal with our opponent's threats. Fatal Push is great in the early game and kills most of the relevant threats in Modern for just a single mana. Assassin's Trophy offers a lot of flexibility, taking down planeswalkers, annoying artifacts, and even Tron lands, along with the downside of ramping our opponent. Together, these cards help us stay alive long enough to get our Wilderness Reclamation and Door to Nothingness on the battlefield to win the game (by making our opponent lose the game).

The Matchups

Figuring out the matchups for Door to the Wilderness is actually tricky. Probably the hardest matchups are aggressive creature decks since we don't have all that much removal and our main win conditions are pretty slow. Against decks like Zoo, Merfolk, or Burn, it's pretty easy to get run over before we get our late game online. On the other hand, against slower decks, we can simply outvalue and out-mana our opponent before eventually finding a window to win the game with Door to Nothingness. The other concern is what removal our opponent has in their deck. Artifact destruction is devastating. Since Door to Nothingness comes into play tapped, if our opponent has something like Ancient Grudge, there's no window for us to use our namesake card to make our opponent lose the game, and trading five mana for a one- or two-mana removal spell is a brutal tempo swing in our opponent's favor. Basically, while our removal and counters make it so we have at least some chance against most decks in the format, we'd much rather play against slower, more controlling decks than fast aggro builds.

The Odds

All in all, we played six matches with Door to the Wilderness and won three, giving us a 50% match win percentage, while winning six of 12 games, making our game win percentage 50% as well, making Door to the Wilderness roughly average for an Against the Odds deck. While we had some close calls where we almost sneaked out another win or two (coming up about a turn short against Jeskai Ascendancy Combo), in general, we either crushed our opponent or got crushed, depending on the matchup (in fact, every match was 2-0, either for us or for our opponent). 

More importantly, Door to Nothingness itself was great, with the artifact being responsible for pretty much all of our wins, either by making our opponent lose the game directly or making our opponent scoop before it caused them to lose the game. While the slowness can be problematic and we did get run over in some matchups, our mana worked out more often than you'd think (although we did lose an otherwise winnable game against Hollow One because we were missing one color of mana). And Wilderness Reclamation makes it surprisingly easy to win the game with Door to Nothingness. While Door will never be a top-tier card in Modern since it's so expensive and slow, if you want to get your "I won with Door to Nothingness" merit badge, Wilderness Reclamation is the way to go!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Apparently, everyone loves Kamigawa! Recently, Mark Rosewater ran a poll asking what plane players wanted to return to the most, and Kamigawa nearly topped the list (coming in second behind Lorwyn / Shadowmoor). Personally, I've always found Kamigawa to be underpowered and maybe even bad, but underpowered and bad means the set is perfect for Against the Odds. Which of these janky Kamigawa block cards should we build around 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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