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Against the Odds: Eternal Dominion (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode eighty-one of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a truly epic Against the Odds poll featuring the epic cycle from Saviors of Kamigawa. In the end, it was the blue epic—Eternal Dominion—that came out in first with the most dominating victory we've ever seen on an Against the Odds poll, beating the next epic card by nearly 30% of the more than 5,000 votes cast! 

Unfortunately, Eternal Dominion is by far the worst of the epic cycle, so finding a way to win some games is going to be a big challenge. In fact, it's quite possible that Eternal Dominion is the most challenging (or possibly even worst) card we've ever tried to build around for Against the Odds. Not only is it 10 mana, but it isn't even guaranteed (or. some would say, likely) to win us the game when it resolves. As such, we are partly relying on luck this week. Not only do we have to build the best Eternal Dominion deck possible, but we have to hope we run into matchups where Eternal Dominion can win us the game (for example, against decks with creatures) and dodge decks that are trying to win with spell and planeswalkers. Can we make it work? 

Let's get to the videos, and then we'll talk a bit more about the deck, 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: Eternal Dominion (Deck Tech)

Against the Odds: Eternal Dominion (Games)

The Deck

Since Eternal Dominion is such a hard card to build around, I cycled through a ton of different ideas, ranging from reanimating it with Sins of the Past to cheating it into play with Spellweaver Helix to discarding it to deal damage with Combustible Gearhulk or Blast of Genius. Unfortunately, none of these ideas felt quite right, and (apart from discarding Eternal Dominion for damage) none of them solved the unwinnable matchup problem. In the end, I decided that we needed to try to stay alive until we could cast Eternal Dominion and then hope that our opponent's deck would give us the win. 

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Basically, Eternal Dominion is a Bribery with a bit of upside (it can hit artifacts, lands, enchantments, or creatures) that we get every turn but a weird clause: it keeps us from casting anything else for the rest of the game. Ideally, it will be enough to win the game, as we get to put the best creatures from our opponent's deck into play every single turn, although as I mentioned before, it will backfire in some matchups where our opponent doesn't really have creatures. Considering Eternal Dominion costs a massive 10 mana, our deck is focused on two things: keeping ourselves alive long enough to actually cast Eternal Dominion and ramping into Eternal Dominion to speed up the process. 

Stayin' Alive

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Our main plan for staying alive is using enchantments. Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety make it really difficult for our opponent to attack us with creatures and are good at slowing down many aggro and midrange decks. Meanwhile, Leyline of Sanctity and Runed Halo are sort of Ghostly Prisons for spell-based decks, making it impossible for our opponent to target us with burn spells, discard, or spell-based finishers like Conflagrate or Lightning Storm

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Journey to Nowhere is our primary removal spell, and while it is a bit expensive (compared to other options) and sorcery speed, it does kill anything and helps pump up our Sphere of Safety. Detention Sphere is even more mana but hits noncreatures and gives us a way to deal with an entire board of Lingering Souls tokens. Finally, we do have a single Path to Exile as a hedge against creature-combo decks (like Infect or Death's Shadow) where we really need instant-speed removal. While it might look strange to not be playing more Path to Exiles, since our main plan for staying alive is Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety, giving our opponent lands is very painful. 

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Supreme Verdict and Porphyry Nodes are essentially wraths, although Porphyry Nodes is super slow (but with the upside that some opponents will stop playing creatures for a few turns to get it off the table, which helps buy us time to get to Eternal Dominion). By giving us ways to deal with multiple creatures with just one card, having some wraths is essential for living long enough to cast our 10-mana sorcery. 

Ramp

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For ramp, we turn to enchantments as well, with Fertile Ground and Overgrowth. While there are a ton of ramp options available in Modern, these two seem good because they help power up our Sphere of Safety and aren't creatures, so they are not impacted by our various sweepers. Of course, the downside is that Ghost Quarter can ruin our plans (in our deck, it's usually best to split these cards up and put each on a different land); however, we shouldn't have any trouble casting Eternal Dominion if we can get two or three of these enchantments on the battlefield at the same time. 

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It might seem strange to consider Sphinx's Revelation ramp, but in our deck, we most often cast it when we have seven or eight mana in an effort to find the other lands we need to cast our Eternal Dominion and (hopefully) win the game. Sphinx's Revelation is also a great stabilization card, gaining us a bit of life and theoretically finding us our Leyline of Sanctity or Sphere of Safety to stay alive while we are waiting for Eternal Dominion. Basically, our deck can make a lot of mana, and Sphinx's Revelation gives us another great way of taking advantage of it while also helping to support our primary plan. 

The Matchups

Eternal Dominion is more about the matchups than any deck we've ever played on Against the Odds. Here's the basic breakdown:

  • Against spell-based combo, we simply can't win. Take, for example, a deck like Baral Storm or Ad Nauseam. Even if we somehow survive long enough to cast Eternal Dominion (which is doubtful, because all of our creature-based enchantments do nothing), it isn't likely to win us the game because our opponent doesn't have anything good for us to steal. Ad Nauseam has four Simian Spirit Guides and maybe a single Laboratory Maniac, while Baral Storm has three Baral, Chief of Compliance and four Goblin Electromancers. Not exactly game-winning threats.
  • Against planeswalker decks, it's Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or bust. Thankfully, most planeswalker decks play the Nahiri, the Harbinger / Emrakul, the Aeons Torn package, which means we have one great creature steal. Assuming we can get the Emrakul, the Aeons Torn with Eternal Dominion, we should be able to win the game (especially since even if our opponent kills Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, it will shuffle back into their library and we can find it again with the next copy of Eternal Dominion
  • Against control, things are rough. Control is hard for two reasons. First, we are trying to resolve a 10-mana sorcery, which is a nightmare against decks with a lot of counters. It's just super unlikely that a control player will need to tap out on Turn 10, so the odds of our Eternal Dominion getting countered are high. Second, most control decks don't play that many creature-based finishers. While it depends on the exact build—and some are better than others—just how good a resolved Eternal Dominion is against control decks is very hit or miss.
  • Against creature-based aggro or midrange, life is great! These are the matchups we want to run into. Our plan of using Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety to slow down the game is good, our opponent shouldn't be able to counter our Eternal Dominion, and a resolved Eternal Dominion should win us the game, since our opponent will have plenty of juicy targets. 

The Odds

This one was rough. In fact, after a few matches, I was starting to think that this would be the first Against the Odds where we would never get a win. Thankfully, things turned around at the end when we ran into some better matchups. All in all, we played 15 games and won three (good for a 20% game-win percentage) while winning one of seven matches (good for a 14.3% match-win percentage). By the numbers, this is about as bad as it gets, even for an Against the Odds deck. Thankfully, we did finally get to go off with Eternal Dominion, and it made all of the losing worthwhile! Bribery every turn was as sweet as it sounds, and beating people down with their own Goblins and Thought-Knot Seers had to be one of the most unique and fun ways of winning in all of Magic!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

As Amonkhet spoilers near their end, one of the biggest complaints about the set is that many aftermath cards that should be instants are actually sorceries. So, what makes a good sorcery? Let's explore this question with our Against the Odds poll. It's a sorcery battle! Which card should we play next week? Let us know by voting!

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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 and at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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