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Against the Odds: Four-Color Seance (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode seventy-six of Against the Odds. Last week was part one of our all-Modern Masters 2017 poll, and the winner was never in doubt. The white enchantment Seance jumped out to an early lead and finished with nearly twice as many votes as the runner-up, Zur the Enchanter. As such, this week we are heading to Modern to see if we can generate some value from our graveyard with Seance!

Maybe the most interesting aspect of today's deck is just how it came to be. I almost always build Against the Odds decks by myself, but when it became clear that Seance was going to win, I got a tweet from Zac Elsik of Lantern Control and Sram'O's fame. He had been working on Seance decks for a while and sent me some lists and while I changed some things up in the end, his decks and testing had a bit influence on the final form of the deck. 

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: Four-Color Seance (Deck Tech)

Against the Odds: Four-Color Seance (Games)

The Deck

Seance is a really interesting card. While getting back a token copy of a creature in our graveyard every turn seems powerful, actually figuring out how to use this token (which doesn't have haste, so it can't attack) to win the game is the main challenge of the deck. My initial idea was to go big with Hornet Queens and eventually Craterhoof Behemoth to win the game, but when I talked with Zac, he sold me on the idea that you don't really need big finishers to close out the game. His advice was to think of Seance as a Panharmonicon that goes back in time, and you can see a very Panharmonicon-esque feel to our deck (at one point, I had a copy of literal Panharmonicon but ended up going with a single Doubling Season instead). 

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The engine of our deck is Seance, which generates a huge amount of value when it hits the battlefield, combined with Satyr Wayfinder to make sure we hit our land drops (and stock our graveyard) and Commune with the Gods (which helps find our Seance and fills our graveyard). Satyr Wayfinder specifically is amazing in our deck. Most often, we play it on Turn 2, find a land, and mill some cards, and then once we have a Seance, it is usually the first card we Seance back from the graveyard to get even more cards in our graveyard. 

Seance Creatures

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We actually have three different types of creatures that we use with Seance. The first—and some of the most powerful—are creatures that somehow sacrifice themselves. This way, we get value from the creature when we initially cast it and then have it in the graveyard to generate even more value with the help of Seance. Shriekmaw is basically a Terror, except instead of just killing one creature, it usually kills two thanks to Seance. Mulldrifter keeps us cycling through our deck and helps us find our Seance in the early game. Finally, having some Fulminator Mages in the main deck (and another one in our sideboard) gives us a chance to fight against decks like Tron, Scapeshift, and control decks in general by going on the double-Stone Rain plan thanks to Seance

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Eternal Witness is crazy in our deck. First, it allows us to get back a Seance that we happen to mill with Satyr Wayfinder. Second, it can get back creatures to get even more uses from their enters-the-battlefield or sacrifice abilities. One of the things about Seance is that once we Seance a creature, it's exiled forever, so sometimes we Seance an Eternal Witness first to get back a Mulldrifter, Shriekmaw, or Fulminator Mage. This way, we can use the creature and then use it again when we exile it with Seance. Third, and most commonly, Eternal Witness lets us pick apart our opponent with Path to Exile or Thoughtseize. With the combo of Eternal Witness and Seance, every Path to Exile or Thoughtseize we cast can easily end up being three copies, since we can get the spell back from the graveyard not once but twice!

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Finally, we have some powerful creatures with enters-the-battlefield triggers. Wall of Omens blocks in the early game (while drawing us a card) and then comes back in to block and draw again after it dies, thanks to Seance. Kitchen Finks helps keep us alive against aggressive decks by blocking twice and gaining us four life. Finally, Siege Rhino is our finisher. The most common way we win the game with Seance (apart from overwhelming our opponent with value in general) is by getting back multiple Siege Rhinos and draining our opponent to death three life at a time!

Doubling Season

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The last card we have in the main deck is Doubling Season, and this one was partly an error on my part. For some reason, I was under the impression that when we Seanced a creature from the graveyard, the token from Seance itself would get exiled at the end of turn but the extra one from Doubling Season would stick around to block and attack. Unfortunately, this isn't how it works, and both tokens get exiled. However, Doubling Season is still really good in our deck, working like a slightly better Panharmonicon with Seance. Instead of getting one Fulminator Mage (for example), we get two and get to destroy two lands. Two Siege Rhinos close out the game with draining pretty quick, and two Mulldrifters are a lot of card draw. So, even though Doubling Season wasn't quite as good as I was hoping, it still generated a ton of value with Seance

The Matchups

As odd as it sounds, our deck felt like it had the tools to fight against many different archetypes, assuming we draw the right cards in the right order. Wall of Omens, Kitchen Finks, and Siege Rhino give us a chance against aggro decks. Siege Rhino, Mulldrifter, and Shriekmaw are great against midrange decks, and the ability to Stone Rain over and over again gives us game against big-mana decks like Tron and Scapeshift, while also being helpful against various control builds. 

On the other hand, we still have some rough matchups, mostly in various combo decks. For example, we ran into Dredge, and it felt like we were pretty close to drawing dead in that matchup—we have a couple of Surgical Extractions in the sideboard, but not enough to really put up much of a fight. The same seems true of other combo decks like Storm, Sram'O's, Jeskai Copy Cat, and the like. Against these decks, we are leaning on a very small number of answers, and while our Seance value engine can take over the game if things go long, chances are that our opponent will kill us before we get Seance going. 

The Odds

So apparently, Seance isn't as Against the Odds as we thought. All in all, we won four of our six matches, good for a 66.67% match win percentage, and nine of our 14 matches (64% game win percentage). Our only losses were to Dredge (which feels like a super-bad matchup) and Eldrazi and Taxes, which actually felt close (the match went three games), but our opponent's Ghost Quarter / Leonin Arbiter lock was pretty punishing. Otherwise, we cruised past two different Delver decks, crushed Jeskai Control, and Stone Rained Scapeshift into submission. 

Maybe the most impressive part of the deck was Seance itself. In a lot of our matches, it really felt like we couldn't lose after resolving the enchantment. While we didn't do anything too over the top, just getting value for free twice each turn cycle puts the game out of reach for the opponent pretty quickly, even if it takes us a few turns to actually finish the game.

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Modern Masters 2017 drops next week, so let's have one more poll featuring some sweet reprints from the set. Then, next week, we'll have a second-chance poll that lets some of the runner-up cards from the last few polls have another shot at glory. Anyway, which of these Modern Masters 2017 reprints should we play next week?

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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 or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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