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Against the Odds: Five-Color Death's Oasis


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 238 of Against the Odds. Ikoria is here, and last week, we had another poll featuring cards from Magic's newest set. The vote was amazingly close, but in the end, Death's Oasis edged out Song of Creation by less than 1%! As such, we're heading to Ikoria Standard today to play a deck I'm super excited about: Five-Color Death's Oasis. How good is Death's Oasis? What cool shenanigans does it enable in Standard? 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: Five-Color Death's Oasis

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The Deck

When Death's Oasis won the poll, I knew what I didn't want the deck to be: another Cauldron Familiar / Witch's Oven sacrifice shell. While Abzan Aristocrats seems like a fairly competitive way to play with Death's Oasis, the Cat Oven engine is tier one in Standard and has been for a while. As such, slotting Death's Oasis into a Cat Oven shell felt boring and against the spirit of Against the Odds. After a bunch of trial and error, I ended up with Five-Color Death's Oasis, a deck that's looking to do some really sweet value loops with the help of Luminous Broodmoth and Death's Oasis itself.

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Death's Oasis is pretty straightforward: whenever one of our non-token creatures dies, we get to mill two cards and then return a creature of lesser converted mana cost to our hand. Basically, when a creature dies, it's replaced with a cheaper creature from our graveyard. This gives us a card that is part value-recursion engine and partly a graveyard filler. Apart from varying our converted mana costs to maximize our odds of hitting a creature with each Death's Oasis creature, the most important aspect of building around Death's Oasis is making sure we have ways to make our own creatures die for value.

Meanwhile, Luminous Broodmoth is best friends with Death's Oasis. If we have both on the battlefield, then whenever one of our creatures dies, we get a Death's Oasis trigger to return a creature to our hand, and assuming the creature didn't already have flying, the creature comes back into play with flying thanks to Luminous Broodmoth...

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Beyond Death's Oasis and Luminous Broodmoth, our two most important pieces are the Elder Giants Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. While we do occasionally escape them into play later in the game (with the help of all the cards Death's Oasis mills), our primary plan is to cast Kroxa and Uro naturally so they die after entering the battlefield. With the help of Death's Oasis and Luminous Broodmoth, this allows for some absurdly powerful value loops.

Let's say we get down Death's Oasis and Luminous Broodmoth. For three mana, we can cast Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath to draw a card, gain three life, and possibly ramp. It will die since we didn't escape it, which triggers Death's Oasis to return a creature with converted mana cost of two or less to our hand (like Kroxa) and mill a couple of cards. Then, thanks to Luminous Broodmoth, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath returns to the battlefield to draw us another card and gain us more life before dying again (since it wasn't escaped), which triggers Death's Oasis again to return another 2-CMC-or-less creature to our hand and mill a couple of more cards. Assuming one of the creatures we return to our hand is Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger (which we should mill over thanks to Death's Oasis), we can then use the two extra lands from Uro to play Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger and repeat the same loop, getting two one-mana-or-less creatures back to our hand, making our opponent discard two cards, and possibly hitting our opponent for six damage!

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Fiend Artisan holds our deck together, allowing us to sacrifice creatures (and trigger Death's Oasis) to tutor out whatever creature we happen to need in a given situation. If we don't have a Luminous Broodmoth, we can use Fiend Artisan to find it. If we do have Broodmoth, we can search up Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger or Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath to start our value-y graveyard loop, while Death's Oasis's mill will grow Fiend Artisan into the biggest creature on the battlefield. The other upside of Fiend Artisan is that it allows us to play a bunch of situational one-ofs and still find them with some consistency.

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Speaking of one-ofs, some of our best are our reanimation creatures. Cavalier of Night is weirdly synergistic in our deck, giving us a way to sacrifice a creature to trigger Death's Oasis while also returning a creature with converted mana cost three or less (like Uro or Kroxa) to the battlefield when it dies, all while coming attached to a big lifelinking body to stabilize the battlefield against aggro. Meanwhile, Kenrith, the Return King is one of our best ways to lock up the game since it can reanimate creatures at instant speed. This means that once we get Death's Oasis and Luminous Broodmoth going, we can simply reanimate Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger on our opponent's draw step every turn to keep our opponent from ever drawing another card while slowly burning our opponent out of the game with Kroxa damage. While not a creature, Elspeth Conquers Death gives us another way to return creatures like Luminous Broodmoth or our Elder Giants to the battlefield while also giving us some additional removal that not only hits creatures but key build-arounds like Fires of Invention and Wilderness Reclamation

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Apart from Paradise Druid and Gilded Goose to help fix our ambitious five-color mana, the rest of our main deck is more one-of creatures. Alseid of Life's Bounty is surprisingly strong in our deck, protecting important creatures like Luminous Broodmoth along with Death's Oasis itself from targeted removal. Plus, as a one-mana creature that sacrifices itself, Alseid of Life's Bounty can come back to our hand pretty much every turn once we get Death's Oasis going and our Elder Giants start dying. Lazav, the Multifarious helps to stock our graveyard and can cheaply turn into a Uro or Kroxa once we get them in our graveyard. Meanwhile, Woe Strider gives us another sacrifice outlet in case we need to sacrifice non-Elder Giant creatures to trigger Death's Oasis

The Matchups

Perhaps the biggest issue for Five-Color Death's Oasis is that thanks to our five-color mana base, we do occasionally lose to ourselves by not being able to cast our spells in a timely manner. Decks that can cleanly deal with Luminous Broodmoth and Death's Oasis (most commonly with Elspeth Conquers Death) can also be annoying, although they aren't unbeatable by any means. Otherwise, our value engine gives us a shot to compete with slower, grindier decks while our solid early-game blockers and lifegain from Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, Gilded Goose, Kenrith, the Returned King, and Cavalier of Night give us a chance against more aggressive strategies. 

The Odds

All in all, we finished 4-2 with Five-Color Death's Oasis (apart from the video matches, there was a second match against cycling that we won and a second one against Jeskai Winota that we lost), giving us a 66.7% match win percentage and making Five-Color Death's Oasis above average for an Against the Odds deck. More importantly, our plan worked to perfection! We won most of our games with our Death's Oasis value loop, which led to some really spectacular and fun matches! 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

The poll has moved! If you'd like to vote for next week's deck, head to the Against the Odds poll on YouTube.

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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