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Against the Odds: Gilt-Leaf Archdruid


Hello everyone and welcome to episode five of Against the Odds. First off, I would like to thank all of you for voting in last week's Against the Odds poll. We broke the 2,000 vote mark once again and nearly hit 2,500! 

On the topic of voting, there is one issue I need to address. Typically Against the Odds goes live on Wednesday night, and I start recording the next episode on Friday. However, since StrawPoll.me doesn't have an option for ending a poll, the voting remains live in the article for an indefinite period of time. Unfortunately, this caused some problems this week. When I started recording on Friday, Gilt-Leaf Archdruid was clearly in first place, but overnight Tainted Remedy surged ahead. As a result, Gilt-Leaf Archdruid is the winner this week,even though Tainted Remedy currently has more votes. We are currently taking steps to improve the poll so we will be able to end it at a designated time (likely 11 AM EST on Friday). 

Anyway, this week we get some sweet Gilt-Leaf Archdruid action in our videos, Tainted Remedy and Darksteel Reactor will remain on the ballot as the second and third place finishers, while Stasis and Ugin's Nexus will drop off the ballot. 

Let's get to the videos, and then we'll talk more about the deck in a few minutes. First a quick reminder — if you enjoy Against the Odds and other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Against the Odds: Gilt-Leaf Archdruid Intro

Against the Odds: Gilt-Leaf Archdruid Games

The Deck

There really aren't too many directions to take a Gilt-Leaf Archdruid. You obviously have to play a lot of Druids to make either of Gilt-Leaf Archdruid's abilities effective and almost every single Druid is a mana dork of one type or another. The question is, how do you abuse a bunch of mana creatures along with a Druid lord that is half one-sided Armageddon and half Glimpse of Nature? After fumbling around for a bit, I decided that the Intruder Alarm / Beck // Call combo was the best way to go. 

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Beck // Call is basically a Modern legal Glimpse of Nature, except you have to pay a blue mana along with the green. While this extra mana makes the card worse, it still has a lot of combo potential. Drawing a card whenever a creature enters the battlefield is a super powerful ability, and in conjunction with Gilt-Leaf Archdruid – himself a Glimpse of Nature for Druids – we have redundancy with the card draw half of our combo. 

 

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Intruder Alarm, on the other hand, provides a ton of mana in a deck that is almost exclusively mana creatures, especially with our three drops Somberwald Sage and Elvish Archdruid. With either of these creatures and Intruder Alarm on the battlefield, each one-drop mana dork we cast is netting us two mana. Over time we end up with more floating mana than we could ever hope to spend!

The trick is putting both halves together. We need to get an Intruder Alarm on the battlefield, along with three mana worth of mana-producing Druids and resolve a Gilt-Leaf Archdruid and/or Beck // Call. Once we do, we should be able to draw through our entire library by tapping our creatures for mana and resolving a creature to draw some cards and untap all our creatures over and over again. Eventually we build up a massive board, use the ultimate ability on Gilt-Leaf Archdruid to steal all our opponent’s lands, and swing for lethal damage the following turn. 

The Matchups

Our success depends mostly on the amount of interaction our opponents have. Since we can pull off our combo as early as turn three, we have a reasonable shot of racing other non-interactive combo decks and midrange decks as well. Where we run into trouble is when our opponent has a hand full of Lightning Bolts and Path to Exiles. We need a couple of creatures to stick on the battlefield to have any chance of comboing off. While it's possible we can win without the combo, it’s not very likely since many of our creatures have zero or one power. 

The Odds

Over the course of twelve games, we pulled off the combo twice, both times against Lantern Control, which feels like a dream matchup for our deck. This rate would put the odds at just below 16.67 percent. We also won a game because our opponent mulled to 5 and got stuck on one land for multiple turns. I didn't include this in our calculations as we would have won regardless of the deck we were playing. That said, we were really close a couple of other times, including  the time where we got extremely unlucky with our top decks once we started the combo — hitting six blanks in a row, even though less than half of the cards left in our deck were blanks. Still, fizzling is one of the big risks of this deck. For our combo to work we need to keep drawing creatures, so hitting a patch of lands or extra copies of Beck // Call or Intruder Alarm can ruin our day, even after our combo is set up.
 
As such, I think the odds are actually slightly higher than the videos suggest. Depending on the matchup, I think we should pull off the Gilt-Leaf Archdruid combo about one every four games, or 25 percent of the time. 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

There’s no voting this week. Since Battle for Zendikar releases on Magic Online this Friday, I have a special BFZ Standard edition of Against the Odds in the works for next week. It’s going to be super sweet. Then we'll be back to voting next week.

Conclusion

That's all for today. Leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and comments below. You can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive.

 


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