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Against the Odds: Glittering Garth (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 294 of Against the Odds. Last week, Garth One-Eye won our Against the Odds poll, sneaking out a close win over Braids, Cabal Minion. As such, we're heading to Modern today, to not just play but also to try to go infinite with Garth One-Eye! While our combo takes a few different pieces, if we can actually pull it off, the end result should be pretty spectacular: infinite Black Lotuses making infinite Shivan Dragons, or just winning the game with an infinitely big Braingeyser! What are the odds of going infinite with Garth One-Eye in Modern? 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: Glittering Garth

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The Deck

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When Garth won the poll, I knew immediately that I wanted to do more than just play the new Modern Horizons 2 mythic for value. While you could just play a five-color control deck with Garth One-Eye offering value and working as a finisher, it's Against the Odds. We need to do something spicier than that! While we're not above using Garth One-Eye for value, our main goal is to use it as an infinite combo piece. If we can get things set up, we can activate Garth One-Eye an infinite number of times, first making infinite copies of Black Lotus, before eventually winning with an infinite number of Shivan Dragons or an infinitely big Braingeyser to force our opponent to draw their entire deck and lose to milling out. So, how do we go infinite with Garth? 

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Step one is giving Garth One-Eye haste. For this, we turn to Temur Ascendancy, which not only gives Garth haste but also lets us draw some extra cards. By far Garth's biggest drawback is that we need to wait until it is no longer summoning sick to use its ability, which means without haste, a lot of times, we'll spend five mana on Garth One-Eye only to have it die before we even get to activate it as single time. Temur Ascendancy fixes this problem. If we can play it before Garth, we can activate Garth as soon as it hits the battlefield, which means that even if our opponent has removal, we should at least get a Black Lotus for our troubles. More importantly, giving Garth One-Eye haste is essential for our infinite Garth combo...

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Our final combo piece is Commander all-star Deadeye Navigator. The idea is that we can pair Deadeye Navigator with Garth One-Eye, which allows us to blink either creature for two mana. Blinking Garth resets its choices since it is technically a new version of Garth. Assuming we have haste from Temur Ascendancy, we can make a Black Lotus with Garth One-Eye, crack the Black Lotus for three blue mana, and use two of the mana to blink Garth, which resets and untaps it so we can make another Black Lotus. Every time we go through the loop, we make an extra blue mana, which means we'll eventually have a bunch of extra Black Lotus tokens on the battlefield. Once we get enough mana, we can start making copies of Shivan Dragon (which will also have haste thanks to Temur Ascendancy) and beat our opponent down, or if we can't win with combat for some reason, we can cast a massive Braingeyser targeting our opponent to make them draw their entire deck and mill out. Oh yeah, we can also draw our entire deck with Temur Ascendancy (which thankfully is a "may" ability, so we won't mill ourselves out), although this isn't necessary since if we go infinite, Garth One-Eye offers everything we could possible need to win the game through basically any hate. Creatures a problem? We have infinite Terrors. Ensnaring Bridge holding back our Shivan Dragons? Infinite Disenchant. Did something important get hit by Thoughtseize? Infinite Regrowths! Basically, if we can get Garth One-Eye, Temur Ascendancy, and Deadeye Navigator on the battlefield, we should be able to win spectacularly on any board state and against any opponent!

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The "Glittering" part of Glittering Garth refers to Glittering Wish, which helps us find our combo pieces. We're only playing three copies of Garth One-Eye and Temur Ascendancy in our main deck, with the others in the sideboard so that we can snag them with Glittering Wish, which sort of means we have seven copies of both in our deck. Unfortunately, we can't directly tutor up a Deadeye Navigator from our sideboard because it's a mono-colored card, but we can grab our one Eladamri's Call, which, in turn, can tutor up Deadeye Navigator from our deck. Along with finding combo pieces, Glittering Wish can also find ways to protect our combo (Dovin's Veto, Dragonlord Dromoka), removal (Dreadbore, Vindicate), sweepers (Fracturing Gust, Supreme Verdict), and much more!

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Since both Garth One-Eye and Temur Ascendancy are multicolor cards and we need five colors of mana to cast Garth. we fully embrace the multicolor theme with our backup plan: General Ferrous Rokiric. Outside of a couple of ramp spells and Deadeye Navigator. every card in our deck is multicolored, which means that General Ferrous Rokiric should be able to make a bunch of Golems for free as we cast our spells. We can use the Golems on defense to stay alive while we are setting up our infinite Garth combo or, in a pinch, go on the offensive and beat our opponent down with 4/4s. The synergy between General Ferrous Rokiric and Temur Ascendancy is also really interesting. Since the Golems General Ferrous Rokiric makes are 4/4s, they are big enough to trigger Temur Ascendancy's card-draw ability, which should find us more multicolor spells to make more Golems (all of which also have haste) and potentially snowball into a win.

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Last but not least, we have a couple of support pieces (along with a bunch of multicolor removal like Vindicate, Vanishing Verse, Lightning Helix, and Kaya's Guile) in Wrenn and Six and Omnath, Locus of Creation. I was on the fence about whether I should include these cards in the deck or not. They are obviously very powerful and on-theme, with Wrenn and Six making sure we hit our land drops and fixing our mana for Garth One-Eye and Omnath, Locus of Creation stabilizing us against aggro and also ramping us into Garth. But are they too good for an Against the Odds deck? I honestly don't know the answer, but I eventually decided that since we're trying to pull off a three-card combo involving a five-drop and a six-drop in a fast format like Modern, we would probably need all the help we could get. I'd rather be a dirty Omnath player who gets to see Garth One-Eye make infinite copies of Black Lotus than not get to see Garth go off at all.

The Matchups

Removal-heavy matchups are by far our hardest. I'm not sure how we ever beat Grief with Ephemerate or removal-heavy control decks. While it is possible to beat them, it usually involves snowballing General Ferrous Rokiric or Omnath, Locus of Creation, rather than Garth One-Eye, and our goal isn't to win games as much as it is to go infinite with Garth. On the other hand, we have a decent shot to assemble our combo against aggro and removal-light creature decks. We have good removal and blockers, and random Lightning Bolt–style aggro decks usually have a hard time killing Garth One-Eye and Deadeye Navigator.

The Odds

Record-wise, we finished either 2-3 or 3-2 with the deck. Why the uncertainty over the record? In our last match against Yawgmoth's Hospital, we lost game one, finally managed to pull off our combo in game two, and then, in game three, ended up scooping to our opponent, who was amazingly nice and sat through our infinite [Black Lotus]] combo a long time. I was pretty sure I was going to cut the video after the combo anyway, so I figured that giving our opponent some play points would be a nice reward for sitting through our durdling. As far as the combo, we pulled it off twice across five matches, although the first time, our opponent scooped before we even got to make a single Black Lotus, so we didn't really get to see it in its full glory. Garth One-Eye is actually surprisingly powerful—the combination of removal, recursion, artifact / enchantment hate, card draw, ramp, and creatures can take over a game, although it really, really needs haste to be effective. In the games where we had to cast Garth One-Eye without haste, it (predictably) almost always died before it could do much of anything. 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Modern has been awesome lately, so let's stick with it next week. Which card should we build around? Click here to vote!

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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