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Against the Odds: Five-Color Frogfall (Alchemy)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 316 of Against the Odds. This week, for the first time ever, we're checking out the new Alchemy format on Magic Arena. We had an Alchemy poll last week featuring a bunch of crazy new digital-only cards, and our new The Gitrog MonsterGitrog, Horror of Zhava—took home an easy victory. As such, we're heading to Alchemy today to play a deck I'm calling Five-Color Frogfall. The idea of the deck is to take advantage of Gitrog, Horror of Zhava with various landfall threats (including some newly rebalanced cards). If our opponent sacrifices a creature to tap Gitrog, we get to seek out a land to trigger all of our landfall abilities. If our opponent doesn't sacrifice a creature to tap Girtog, we get an undercosted 6/6 menace for just four mana! What's Alchemy like? How good is Gitrog, Horror of Zhava? 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 Frogfall

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The Deck

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Building around Gitrog, Horror of Zhava was tricker than I had expected. While the Frog Horror is a fine midrange and ramp threat that you could play in just about any deck in its colors and get some value, just running cards for value isn't what Against the Odds is about. We're trying to build a deck around the winning card. Eventually, I decided that the only way to really build a deck around the new Gitrog was to focus on its ability to seek lands onto the battlefield by surrounding it with landfall threats. If we can play Gitrog, Horror of Zhava on a board full of landfall creatures, we put our opponent in a tough position. If they sacrifice a creature to tap Gitrog, we seek a land and trigger our Scute Swarms, Felidar Retreats, and Omnath, Locus of Creations; if they don't, we get to smash our opponent with a 6/6 menace for four. 

The other sneaky upside of Gitrog, Horror of Zhava is its weird pseudo-landfall ability, giving us the ability to sacrifice our lands to draw a card. Not only does this make sure that we consistently have action in the late game once we have more than enough mana to execute our game plan by turning our lands into fresh cards, but it also stocks our graveyard with lands that we can get back later with Ancient Greenwarden to trigger landfall.

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As far as our landfall threats, we have a bunch of them. Lotus Cobra ramps us into Gitrog, Horror of Zhava on Turn 3 and works extremely well with our extra-land-drop cards like Druid Class. Kazandu Mammoth gives us a way to up our land count while also being a reasonable threat. Scute Swarm and Felidar Retreat are two of our best finishers, making a massive board of tokens quickly once Gitrog starts tutoring up extra lands. 

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We've also got a couple of rebalanced landfall finishers. Phylath, World Sculptor is a great way to close out the game by putting multiple huge trampling creatures on the battlefield, and it's even better in Alchemy now that it has trample and gives the Plant tokens it makes and pumps trample. Meanwhile, Omnath, Locus of Creation has been banned in Standard for more than a year, but it's back in Alchemy with a nerf, costing an additional mana to cast and scrying with its enters-the-battlefield trigger instead of drawing. While the Alchemy version of Omnath is a bit less scary than the original, it's still a strong card, especially in a deck like ours that is really good at having multiple lands enter the battlefield each turn to trigger its escalating landfall abilities.

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Speaking of rebalanced cards, we also have the new and improved Druid Class, now costing just three mana to hit level three. While the buff is nice and we do occasionally use Druid Class to turn a land into a massive creature, its real power is allowing us to play an additional land each turn with its second lore counter, to power up our landfall threats.

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At the top end of our curve are one copy each of Cultivator Colossus and Ancient Greenwarden. While both are good in our deck, with Ancient Greenwarden letting us replay lands from our graveyard and double-triggering our landfall abilities and Cultivator Colossus potentially dumping a bunch of lands onto the battlefield with its enters-the-battlefield trigger, the main reason they are in our deck is Seek the Wilds. Seek the Wilds is a pretty insane card, ramping for three mana and also drawing us a card with mana value equal to the number of lands we control. If we cast it on Turn 3, it almost always finds us Gitrog, Horror of Zhava, which is exactly what we want. The only problem is that, later in the game, it's easy to end up with so many lands on the battlefield that we don't have anything of the right mana value to seek, which makes Seek the Wilds a bit worse. While we can manipulate this to some extent with Gitrog, Horror of Zhava's ability to sacrifice lands, playing one-of copies of some expensive cards is perhaps the easiest way to make sure we get full value out of Seek the Wilds throughout the game.

The only drawback of Seek the Wilds is that it's currently pretty bugged on Magic Arena. You probably noticed that whenever we'd seek a land with it, we'd also end up with a fake copy of the land in our hand that would stay there for the rest of the game. While the land looks like it exists, it doesn't really exist, which means that the bug doesn't really impact gameplay, although it is really annoying to try to keep track of which lands are real (aka can be played) and which are fake (aka can't be played) from the bug. In some games, we ended up with three or four fake lands by the end. If you decide to pick up the deck (or play Seek the Wilds), make sure to keep the bug in mind. Hopefully, Wizards will get it fixed sooner rather than later.

The Matchups

Honestly, I still don't really have a great feel for the matchups for Five-Color Frogfall, mostly because the Alchemy meta is so new. We managed to beat and lose to aggro, while taking down multiple midrange and ramp foes, which makes some sense. Our deck can feel unbeatable in the late game once the value train starts running, but aggro is more hit or miss, depending on our draws; in some cases, we ended up getting run over before we got Gitrog, Horror of Zhava]] and our landfall synergies online.

The Odds

Record-wise, we finished 3-2 with 5C Frogfall, which is fairly solid. We had some pretty crazy games along the way, including breaking both Arena and my microphone in our late match thanks to our absurd landfall value! As for Gitrog, Horror of Zhava, it felt strong in general. The combination of a solid body and potential ramp is nice, but the ability I underestimated most was being able to sacrifice our extra lands to draw cards. That was key in a lot of our games, allowing us to find extra lands to trigger our landfall abilities or just dig for more threats. In the future, we might have to revisit Gitrog 2.0 in Historic, where it would synergize with the original The Gitrog Monster in some sort of Gitrog Tribal shell!

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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