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Against the Odds: Halo Fountain (Standard)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 330 of Against the Odds. Streets of New Capenna is finally here, and today, we're kicking off our exploration of our new Standard format with a special episode of Against the Odds! Which card deserves the honor of being the first Against the Odds card from the new set? Well, the choice was pretty obvious in the case of New Capenna: Halo Fountain! Halo Fountain is the only "win the game" card from the set. If we can get 15 creatures on the battlefield along with five extra white mana, we can untap our creatures with Halo Fountain to win the game on the spot. How can we get 15 creatures on the battlefield in Standard? What are the odds of winning with Halo Fountain in our new format? 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: Halo Fountain

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The Deck

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So, heading into today's episode, I was pretty set on building around Halo Fountain. "Win the game" cards are the foundation of Against the Odds, so whenever a new one comes out, it's a pretty easy choice for the first Against the Odds card from the set. The question was how to actually pull off the Halo Fountain kill. The big challenge of the card is that we need to get 15 creatures on the battlefield at the same time, along with five extra white mana, which is a big ask. There are a couple of possible ways to do it in Standard. Tend the Pests sacrificing a big creature can make 10 or more 1/1 Pests, and doubled by Kaya, Geist Hunter, a single copy could potentially give us enough 1/1s to win with Halo Fountain. There's also probably a way to get to 15 creatures with a Scute Swarm deck, although we've played Scute Swarm several times in the past, and once you get 15 Scute Swarms, it's probably easier to win by just making more Scute Swarms and attacking. Eventually, I landed on what might be the best way to win with Halo Fountain in Standard: Treasure tokens!

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Our main goal is to get Bootleggers' Stash on the battlefield so we can tap our lands to make Treasure tokens. Eventually, we should be able to build up a massive board of Treasures, at which point we can use Stimulus Package to turn our Treasure tokens into 1/1 Citizen creature tokens, ideally during our opponent's end step. Then, we can untap, attack to get all of our Citizens tapped, and then untap them with Halo Fountain for the win! The biggest upside of this plan—apart from maybe winning with Halo Fountain—is that it gives us an endless stream of 1/1 chump blockers to help us stay alive while we are getting the Halo Fountain win set up.

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Another important part of our plan is our Vehicles, Esika's Chariot and Reckoner Bankbuster. While both cards are solid on their own, their main purpose in our deck is allowing us to tap our creatures without attacking so we can untap them with Halo Fountain. This isn't all that important if we get the full 15 creatures for the Halo Fountain win—we can usually win by tapping our creatures by attacking. But earlier in the game, being able to tap a couple of creatures without having to get into combat to draw cards or make tokens with Halo Fountain is really helpful. Oh yeah, one quick note on Vehicles. If you read the crew cost on a Vehicle, you might think that Esika's Chariot, for example, requires you to tap four power of creatures to crew it, but the crew cost actually means "tap four or more power's worth of creatures," which means that we can actually just tap our entire board with a single crew activation.

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Devilish Valet is just a one-of, but it's a pretty hilarious backup plan for our deck since it cares about the same thing as Halo Fountain does: making a lot of creatures. We can use the same combo of Bootleggers' Stash and Stimulus Package to make a ton of Treasures and then turn them into creature tokens after we have Devilish Valet on the battlefield to put the Devil to 20, 40, or maybe a few thousand power to win the game with a single attack.

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The rest of the deck is a bunch more Treasure producers and some removal. Gala Greeters is actually pretty absurd in the deck because of how it synergizes with Stimulus Package. We can sacrifice a Treasure to make a 1/1 Citizen, which will trigger Gala Greeters, which we can use to make a Treasure, which we can then sac to Stimulus Package to make another 1/1 Citizen. While this doesn't go infinite because we can only make a Treasure with Gala Greeters once each turn, it does give us a free 1/1 Citizen every turn (and technically two each turn cycle since we can do this same thing during our opponent's turn). Professional Face-Breaker gives us a way to turn Treasures into cards, making it a great way to dig for Halo Fountain and Stimulus Package if we have Bootleggers' Stash but not the rest of our combo pieces, while Big Score keeps us churning through our deck while also making Treasures.

The Matchups

Our hardest matchup—by far—is control. Thanks to counterspells and removal like Void Rend and Vanishing Verse, it's really difficult to get and keep Halo Fountain and Bootleggers' Stash on the battlefield. We can still potentially win fairly, but winning with our Halo Fountain combo is next to impossible against a deck like Esper Control. On the other hand, decks that can't easily deal with artifacts or enchantments are our best matchups. If we can keep cards like Bootleggers' Stash, Stimulus Package, and Halo Fountain on the battlefield, it's pretty easy to overwhelm the opponent with Treasure and Citizen value in just a couple of turns and maybe even pick up the Halo Fountain win.

The Odds

Record-wise, I played around 15 matches with the deck and won right about half of them, which is a solid enough record. The problem is that our goal isn't to win but to win with Halo Fountain, which proved to be extremely challenging. After playing a bunch of ranked games and not fully seeing the combo, I headed to the unranked queue with the plan being to play until the Halo Fountain win happened. It eventually did, although it took some sub-optimal plays to get there. In general, I dislike the term "win more" because I like winning in the most spectacular way possible, but Halo Fountain ended up being pretty win-more, even for me. The problems we ran into were two-fold. First, we had several games where we would have pulled off the Halo Fountain kill in another turn or two, but we were so far ahead that our opponent scooped so we never got to see Halo Fountain untap 15 creatures for the win. Second, we had some games where we had Bootleggers' Stash and Stimulus Package but not Halo Fountain, which was awkward because we could just kill our opponent with 1/1 Citizens. Usually, I try to avoid winning with sub-optimal lines because it feels inauthentic, but after 15 matches, I decided that I wouldn't win unless it was with Halo Fountain. Eventually, we got the combo kill against GB Deathtouch, although in all fairness, we could have killed our opponent a couple of turns earlier with Citizen tokens had we wanted to.

When you add all this together, I don't think Halo Fountain really has that much Standard potential, at least as a finisher. The first modes of making tokens and drawing cards are powerful, but it's just really difficult to manipulate the game to a place where you have 15 creatures and haven't already won, at least without taking weird, sub-optimal lines like intentionally not killing your opponent even though you could. On the other hand, it does seem like a solid finisher in Commander, where "winning the game" is even more valuable because you're taking out three opponents at once, rather than just one like in Standard. It's also worth mentioning that the Treasure synergies were pretty absurd. While Halo Fountain might not be a part of it, I think it's very possible that there's some sort of Stimulus Package, Gala Greeters, Professional Face-Breaker, and Bootleggers' Stash deck in Standard that might be pretty powerful. Oh yeah, and the Devilish Valet kill is super fun! 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Next week let's try some more Streets of New Capenna jank in Standard, but which card should we build around? Click here to vote!


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

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