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Against the Odds: Double Down (Standard)


Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of Against the Odds! As you probably know, I've loved doubling things ever since Panharmonicon was printed for the first time back in Kaladesh, and Outlaws of Thunder Junction gave us a spicy new doubling enchantment in Double Down! Double Down is basically what Necroduality is for Zombies but for outlaws, which means we want to load our deck up with non-legendary Assassins, Mercenaries, Rogues, Pirates, and Warlocks and trust that if we double up our janky gang of outlaws with Double Down, we'll drown our opponent in value and eventually win the game! How good is Double Down in Standard? Are outlaws even good? Let's find out on today's Against the Odds!

Against the Odds: Double Down

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The Deck

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Double Down is interesting. It's almost exactly Necroduality, but instead of being locked into playing just Zombies, we get five different creature types to work with—Assassins, Mercenaries, Pirates, Rogues, and Warlocks—which offers a lot more possibilities. All Double Down really asks of us is two things: make sure that all of our creatures are outlaws, and make sure that none of them are legendary because Doubling Down a legend doesn't really do anything since we'll legend-rule away one of the copies. In a deck full of outlaws, Double Down is pretty absurd, giving us a bonus copy of each creature we cast, which quickly allows us to build a massive board and overwhelm our opponent. 

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As far as the creatures we're Double Downing, it's really a motley crew of outlaws. In the early game, we have a bunch of card-advantage-generating fliers, which are solid on their own and even more absurd once we start copying them with Double Down

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Charming Scoundrel and Kitesail Larcenist are oddly important to our deck, especially in the late game, when they offer some huge combo turns with Double Down. In the early game, Charming Scoundrel makes a Treasure to ramp us into Double Down, while Kitesail Larcenist works as a removal spell, turning our opponent's best creature or artifact into a Treasure token. Once we get Double Down...err...down, these cards become absurd. With a single Double Down, Charming Scoundrel becomes free: we play it for two mana and get two copies, then each makes a Treasure, which gives us our two mana back. Kitesail Larcenist does something similar. Thanks to cards like Spyglass Siren and Hostile Investigator, we often end up with a bunch of Maps and / or Clues on the battlefield. Along with removing our opponent's best creatures, Kitesail Larcenist can turn our other trinket artifacts into Treasures to let us drop our entire hand in one massive turn with Double Down.

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Undercover Operative is just a one-of, but it's one of the coolest cards in the deck. Since Double Down triggers when an outlaw creature is cast (unlike Necroduality, which triggers when a Zombie enters the battlefield), we can cast the Rogue and get two clones, even though it will become whatever creature type it copies once it enters the battlefield. While using it to copy our own creatures is fine, it's even better against some opposing decks like Domain, where we can potentially get multiple copies of things like Atraxa or Etali on the cheap.

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As far as finishing the game, we have a few top-end outlaws. Hellspur Posse Boss offers a ton of hasty damage with the help of Double Down since the two copies will give each other (and all of our other creatures) haste, letting us hit for a huge amount of damage by surprise. Hostile Investigator is way better than I thought. It looks like an overcosted Burglar Rat, and, in some sense, it is, but triggering whenever anyone discards a card means it often ends up making a ton of Clue tokens as people channel, cycle, or loot. While it's obviously absurd with Double Down, where we can empty our opponent's hand and make a pile of Clues, the card felt so strong that it's probably worth reevaluating for other decks too. The card is way better than it looks. Finally, we have Vein Ripper, which is just the biggest, most game-ending non-legendary outlaw in the format. While one Vein Ripper is often enough to win the game, getting two or three with the help of Double Down is almost always game-ending. 

Wrap-Up and Odds

Double Down sort of crushed it! We ended up going 6-1 with the deck, taking down many of the best decks in Standard along the way. More importantly, Double Down itself was responsible for a lot of the wins. The big combo turns it enables in the late game are spectacular and surprisingly effective. It turns out that a Necroduality that works with five creature types rather than just one is a pretty powerful and surprisingly competitive card!

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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