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Against the Odds: Four-Color Journey to Eternity (Modern)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 120 of Against the Odds. Rivals of Ixalan has finally made its way into the multiverse, which means we are kicking off the new set this week by playing one of my new favorite cards: Journey to Eternity! Thanks to the late shakeup in Standard with a bunch of bannings, we're heading to Modern to see if we can break the format with the insane amount of value we can generate with Journey to Eternity. While the main combo of the deck is flipping Journey to Eternity on Turn 3 with the help of Sakura-Tribe Elder and then casting something huge like Grave Titan or Sun Titan on Turn 4, the real plan of the deck is to grind out opponents with an endless stream of value from our reanimation land. Can we make Journey to Eternity work in Modern? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck.

One last thing: if you missed the Against the Odds poll last week, don't worry—it's back at the end of the episode and overflowing with sweet Rivals of Ixalan cards to try out in Standard next week. Make sure to vote for which one you want to see!

A quick reminder: if you haven't already, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel.

Against the Odds: Four-Color Journey to Eternity (Deck Tech)

Against the Odds: Four-Color Journey to Eternity (Games)

The Deck

Journey to Eternity is a tricky card to build around because you can theoretically just jam it in a random deck like Jund or Abzan and hope that it generates value when your creatures die. As such, one of the big questions you have to answer when it comes to building around the enchantment is just how much you're willing to build around Journey to Eternity. Our deck goes all-in on maximizing the potential of the card by trying to flip it as quickly as possible, and after we flip it, we're overflowing with powerful one-of creatures to get back with Atzal, Cave of Eternity.

Flipping Journey

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Journey to Eternity is pretty simple: we need to get it onto one of our creatures and then get that creature to die. Once we manage to make this happen, our reward is not only getting back the creature that died but also a land that allows us to reanimate a creature for just five mana, which is a great late-game plan. While a lot of risks go into playing an aura, since the opponent can potentially blow us out by killing the creature we are trying to enchant with Journey to Eternity on the stack, the payoff is high enough that Journey to Eternity is worth the risk.

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Our best way to flip Journey to Eternity early in the game is Sakura-Tribe Elder. Since Sakura-Tribe Elder can sacrifice itself to Rampant Growth, if we can get Journey to Eternity onto Sakura-Tribe Elder on Turn 3, we can sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder to get a land, which gets us both Sakura-Tribe Elder and a Journey to Eternity flipped into Atzal, Cave of Eternity. Then, we can sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder again to get yet another land, which basically ends up ramping us three lands on Turn 3, giving us enough mana to start casting Grave Titans and Sun Titans on Turn 4. The other upside of Sakura-Tribe Elder is that it will be in our graveyard once we sacrifice it the second time, so if we don't have anything better to reanimate with Atzal, Cave of Eternity, we can just keep getting back Sakura-Tribe Elder every turn, slowly pulling all of the basic lands out of our deck while chump blocking our opponent's best creature every turn.

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Saffi Eriksdotter and Fulminator Mage give us some backup sacrifice creatures for flipping our Journey to Eternity. Saffi Eriksdotter also has the upside of working well with our other self-sacrifice creatures, since we can sacrifice Saffi Eriksdotter to return them to the battlefield after we sacrifice them to reuse their sacrifice trigger, with Sakura-Tribe Elder getting us another land and Fulminator Mage blowing up yet another land. Speaking of Fulminator Mage, along with flipping Journey to Eternity, it's also great against control and midrange after we have our Atzal, Cave of Eternity, since we can keep reanimating it every turn to blow up another land, sort of turning into the world's slowest Armageddon.

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While the main reason Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch are in the deck is to help fix our crazy four-color mana base and ramp into our bigger threats, they also work well with Journey to Eternity, since if we play Birds or Hierarch on Turn 1, we can enchant them with Journey to Eternity on Turn 2, which makes it really hard for our opponent to kill or attack into our mana dork because if it dies, we get it back, along with Atzal, Cave of Eternity. Just how good this plan is depends on the matchup. Against decks leaning on Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push, playing Journey to Eternity on a Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch on Turn 2 is great, but it's a much riskier plan if our opponent is using Path to Exile or random bounce spells like Vapor Snag.

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Evolutionary Leap does double duty in our deck. First, it lets us turn all of our creatures into Sakura-Tribe Elders, letting us sacrifice them for value to flip our Journey to Eternity. Second, Evolutionary Leap is great with Atzal, Cave of Eternity, since it gives us a way to get creatures into our graveyard to reanimate. When we have the ability to reanimate a creature every turn with a land, we are almost drawing two cards every time we sacrifice something to Evolutionary Leap, since we can reanimate the creature we sacrifice and end up with a new creature in our hand thanks to Evolutionary Leap, which is quite powerful.

The Value

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While most of the creatures in our deck our one-ofs, Champion of Wits breaks the mold, being a four-of and one of the most important creatures in our deck. Why is Champion of Wits so important? First off, it gives us another good way of getting creatures into our graveyard for Atzal, Cave of Eternity. One of the risks of Four-Color Journey to Eternity is that we put a lot of effort into flipping Journey to Eternity and then don't have anything good in our graveyard to reanimate. Champion of Wits solves this problem by stocking our graveyard while also leaving behind a body to chump block or sacrifice to Evolutionary Leap. The other upside of Champion of Wits is that, thanks to our insane amount of ramp, we can theoretically eternalize it early in the game, which is a huge chunk of card advantage and a great way to get our powerful game-ending threats in the graveyard for Atzal.

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Shadowborn Demon's main purpose is to give us a removal spell that we can reanimate with Atzal, Cave of Eternity, but it can occasionally do a lot more. While having to sacrifice a creature if we have less than six creatures in our graveyard is intended to be a drawback, in our deck, being able to repeatedly sacrifice something like Champion of Wits to reanimate it again and again is actually an upside of Shadowborn Demon! While it doesn't come up all that often, we occasionally get a lot of value from continually sacrificing the same creature and then reanimating it every turn with Atzal, Cave of Eternity.

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One of the most powerful aspects of Atzal, Cave of Eternity is that we can reanimate creatures at instant speed, which means if we can loot away our Mystic Snake to something like Champion of Wits, we can just pass the turn and always have a counterspell at the ready. If we don't need to counter anything, we can always choose something else to get back from our graveyard with Atzal. Meanwhile, Glen Elendra Archmage can just about lock some decks out of the game all by itself, being two Negates on a flying body, and if we somehow need more than two Negates to close out the game, we can always reanimate it with Atzal, Cave of Eternity to counter even more non-creature spells!

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Eternal Witness and Restoration Angel aren't all that powerful on their own, but they work really well with our other cards, essentially allowing us to reuse our other powerful creatures. Eternal Witness does this by getting something back from our graveyard, while Restoration Angel lets us reuse an enters-the-battlefield trigger of a creature on the battlefield. Both also work well with Journey to Eternity, giving us even more value when we reanimate them with Atzal.

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Mulldrifter keeps us churning through our deck by drawing us cards and has a sneaky amount of synergy, thanks to evoke. For example, if we have four mana, we can evoke a Mulldrifter, draw two cards, and use our last remaining mana to sacrifice it to Evolutionary Leap with the evoke trigger on the stack to get another creature in our hand. Plus, with Atzal, Cave of Eternity, having Mulldrifter in our graveyard is often a good thing, so we can evoke it, draw two cards, have it die to the sacrifice trigger, and then get it back from the graveyard for even more card draw.

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Siege Rhino is just a one-of, but it does a good job of stabilizing the board and gaining us a bit of life to stay out of the danger zone against decks like Burn. Then, as the game goes along, we'll eventually find our Evolutionary Leap and can keep sacrificing and reanimating Siege Rhino to drain our opponent out of the game without dealing any combat damage at all.


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Our two big finishers are Sun Titan and Grave Titan, and while both are extremely powerful, they work in very different ways. Grave Titan simply dumps a ton of power and toughness on the battlefield, sometimes as early as Turn 4 with the help of Journey to Eternity and Sakura-Tribe Elder, and then hopefully closes out the game in just a couple of attacks by creating a huge board full of Zombie tokens. Meanwhile, Sun Titan is more synergistic than rawly powerful. For example, if we play a Journey to Eternity early in the game and our opponent manages to fizzle it with removal, Sun Titan can always get it back on the battlefield to give us another shot at flipping into Atzal, Cave of Eternity while also working well with cards like Sakura-Tribe Elder and Champion of Wits to keep us ramping and churning through our deck.

While we don't necessarily need the Titans to close out the game—actually, most of the time, we win with slow, grindy Atzal, Cave of Eternity value—having the ability to slam one hugely powerful card and close out the game in short order is occasionally helpful. Plus, having cards like Champion of Wits to loot away the Titans when they are too expensive to cast and then Atzal, Cave of Eternity to eventually reanimate them when the time is right makes the opportunity cost fairly low.

The Matchups

The biggest problem we found with Four-Color Journey to Eternity was aggro, where we tend to get run over. We can win if we happen to get a really fast start, but for the most part, we are in trouble if our opponent starts the game with aggressive one-drops because we don't really start doing powerful things until Turn 4 and we don't have much removal for the early game. On the other hand, we are in great shape against midrange and control, since we can outgrind just about anyone thanks to the absurd amount of value we get from reanimating creatures every turn. Our weird group of one-of creatures gives us answers for just about anything our opponents can throw at us—countering our opponent's spells, drawing cards, attacking our opponent's mana—and then eventually we find our Titans or a Siege Rhino to close out the game.

The Odds

We only got in five matches this week because some went super long, but we ended up winning three of them, good for a 60% match win percentage. More interesting is the fact that we either 2-0ed or 0-2ed every match (getting crushed by aggro and crushing everything else), giving us a record of 6-4 in games, which also works out to 60%. While playing a more subdued list might be needed to fight against aggro, perhaps by cutting some of the value creatures for more early-game removal, Journey to Eternity itself was impressive. If it flips and sits on the battlefield, it takes over the game, and even just getting back a couple of creatures is often enough to swing things in our favor. While being weak to graveyard hate will probably keep the enchantment in check, at least to some extent, the enchantment seemed powerful enough that I wouldn't be surprised to see other people testing it in Modern. Most importantly, the deck was a blast to play, not just because of Journey to Eternity but because it's overflowing with some of the sweetest value creatures that Modern has to offer!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

With the bannings out of the way, it's finally time to start playing Standard, which means it's time for a special all-Rivals of Ixalan poll! Which of these Rivals of Ixalan options should we play in Standard next week? Let us know by voting below!

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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

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