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Against the Odds: Gallia's Discard Party (Standard, Magic Arena)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 228 of Against the Odds. Last week, we one last all–Theros: Beyond Death Against the Odds poll, giving cards that came in second or third over the previous month of polls another chance at glory. In one of the closest votes in recent memory, Gallia of the Endless Dance ended up besting Storm Herald by just 15 votes out of the nearly 4,000 cast. As such, we're heading to Theros: Beyond Death Standard today for a deck I'm calling Gallia's Discard Party.

Since Gallia of the Endless Dance is technically a Satyr lord, my first thought when she won the poll was to build Satyr tribal. The problem is that Satyrs are one of the least powerful tribes in Magic. I built Satyr Tribal, played a bunch of games with it, and eventually gave up on the idea. While the deck was bad, that's not really a problem—I don't mind playing bad decks. The big issue was the deck wasn't really fun or interesting; it was basically Gruul Aggro but played a bunch of one-power creatures because they were Satyrs. Thankfully, Gallia of the Endless Dance has a second ability, allowing us to discard a card at random to draw two cards when we attack with at least three creatures. While we do have a few Satyrs in our deck to take advantage of Gallia of the Endless Dance being a Satyr lord, this discard ability forms the foundation of the Gallia's Discard Party deck we're playing today! What are the odds of winning with Gallia in a Temur Discard deck 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: Gallia's Discard Party

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The Deck

As I mentioned in the intro, my first attempt at a Gallia of the Endless Dance deck was Satyr Tribal, and while that plan can apparently work in Commander, there simply aren't enough good tribe members in Standard to make a fun Gallia Satyr deck. While we do have a few Satyrs in our deck to take advantage of Gallia's lord text, we're primarily built around Gallia's discard ability, with a deck full of synergies and pseudo-combos that reward us for discarding our own cards for value.

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While Gallia of the Endless Dance is a Satyr lord and an interesting card advantage–generating discard outlet, she's also a fine creature on her own, as a 2/2 haste for just two mana. That said, we're not playing Gallia as an Ash Zealot; we're using her to pump some Satyrs (and give them haste) and to discard cards for value.

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As far as Satyrs, we have two options in our deck. The first is Satyr's Cunning, which gives us a 1/1 Satyr token that can't block for just a single mana. While this isn't all that exciting on its own, the token does get better when we have Gallia of the Endless Dance on the battlefield and actually works well with our discard plan because in the late game, we can escape it from our graveyard to keep adding pressure to the battlefield when we run out of better cards. Our other Satyr is Careless Celebrant, which is actually a fine creature, especially against aggro decks, where its ability to deal two damage to a creature or planeswalker when it dies often allows it to trade up with a more expensive creature. Against a deck like Mono-Red, it can even be a two-for-one by blocking and killing one creature in combat and then shooting down another with its death trigger. While it isn't our primary plan, we do occasionally win some weird aggro games where we happen to cast a few Satyrs, play a Gallia of the Endless Dance, and beat our opponent down with some hasty dorks.

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Back to our discard plan. How can we turn discarding a card at random with Gallia of the Endless Dance into an advantage? The answer here is Glint-Horn Buccaneer, which pings our opponent for one whenever we discard a card. This allows us to get in some extra damage with Gallia of the Endless Dance (while also drawing extra cards) and, in conjunction with some of our other threats, can even allow for a combo-ish finish.

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While discarding one card a turn to Gallia of the Endless Dance is great, further up our curve are cards that allow us to discard our entire hand in one shot, which generates a ton of Glint-Horn Buccaneer damage. Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion allows us to rummage away our entire hand when it deals combat damage while also giving us extra mana for each card we discard. Meanwhile, Cavalier of Flame lets us discard our hand (and draw that many cards) when it comes into play, giving us another way to get a whole bunch of Glint-Horn Buccaneer triggers. 

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Speaking of discarding our hand, Ox of Agonas gives us yet another creature with an enters-the-battlefield trigger that can get the job done while also being a great card to discard to Gallia or our other discard outlets since we can escape it back into play for just two mana once we get eight cards in our graveyard (which happens pretty fast thanks to Gallia of the Endless Dance, Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion, and Cavalier of Flame). The cheapness of Ox of Agonas supports some cool combo turns with Glint-Horn Buccaneer and our other discard outlets. If we can get a Glint-Horn Buccaneer or two onto the battlefield and hit our opponent with Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion, we can potentially kill our opponent by discarding our hand to make a bunch of mana (and draw more cards), casting something like Cavalier of Flame to discard and draw more cards (and get more Glint-Horn Buccaneer triggers), and then finishing things off with a two-mana Ox of Agonas escape to discard (and draw) even more cards, which should give us a lethal number of Glint-Horn Buccaneer triggers!

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Our other way to take advantage of discarding cards is Bag of Holding, which basically stores up all of the cards we discard in the exile zone so that we can get them back later by paying four mana and sacrificing Bag of Holding. After a few Gallia of the Endless Dance activations (and with the help of our other rummaging cards), we can quickly get to the point where sacrificing Bag of Holding is drawing us 10 or more cards. Along with giving us a bunch more cards to discard to trigger Glint-Horn Buccaneer to generate more damage, the cards from Bag of Holding can also give us a hand that is big enough to generate lethal damage with The Royal Scions' ultimate.

While the ultimate of The Royal Scions is powerful (and happens surprisingly often thanks to the combination of high starting loyalty and the fact that opponents often ignore The Royal Scions, for some reason), the planeswalker is good in our deck for multiple reasons. The first +1 gives us another way to draw and discard cards, while the second +1 allows us to keep attacking with Gallia of the Endless Dance and our other smaller creatures by giving them +2/+0 and first strike to get through blockers.

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Lastly, we have a single copy of Klothys, God of Destiny, which is mostly just a value card that gives us an additional way to take advantage of all the cards that end up in our graveyard thanks to our discard plan. Klothys, God of Destiny's ramp can help with our big combo-esque turns, while the lifegain is helpful against aggro. Plus, thanks to Gallia of the Endless Dance adding two devotion, it's actually not that hard to turn Klothys into a 4/5 indestructible for just three mana!

The Matchups

Maybe the most surprising aspect of Gallia's Discard Party is how resilient the deck can be against control. Having Gallia of the Endless Dance for card advantage and a bunch of rummaging effects (with some like Ox of Agonas that work from the graveyard) make the deck oddly good at grinding through control. On the other hand, very fast aggro decks can be a problem, especially ones that can kill with one big Embercleave attack. While we do have a reasonable number of blockers, we don't have that much instant-speed removal (just for copies of Scorching Dragonfire), so getting janked out by Embercleave is a very real possibility.

The Odds

All in all, we finished 4-2 with Gallia's Dance Party (losing an extra match to Temur Reclamation where nothing of note happened), giving us a 66.7% match win percentage and making Gallia's Dance Party solidly above average for an Against the Odds deck. While the deck looks odd, it actually functioned pretty well. 

As for Gallia of the Endless Dance herself, it's a very solid two-drop. While it's a bit sad that there aren't enough playable Satyrs to make a fun Satyr tribal deck, the discard plan was actually really fun and sort of reinforces that even though it's easy to focus in on the Satyr lord text on Gallia, the card is strong and synergistic enough that it can be very good even without a ton of tribal synergies!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

It's been a while since we've played a planeswalker tribal deck on Against the Odds, and thanks to some recent and semi-recent sets a few new planeswalkers have cross the three different non-supplemental product printing threshold to quality for our poll, giving us some interesting options. Which of these planeswalkers should we build a tribal deck around next week (either in Modern or in Pioneer, depending on the planeswalker)? Let us know by voting below!

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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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