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Against the Odds: Happily Ever After (Standard, Magic Arena)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 208 of Against the Odds. Throne of Eldraine is here, and we're kicking off our exploration of our new Standard format with a special episode! One of the foundations of Against the Odds is cards that allow us to win in strange or unique ways, and Throne of Eldraine gave us a good one in Happily Ever After. As such, we're heading to Throne of Eldraine Standard today to see just how good the white enchantment is in the format, with Planewide Celebration being our primary combo piece to pull off the Happily Ever After win. What are the odds of living Happily Ever After in Throne of Eldraine Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Happily Ever After

The Deck

When Happily Ever After was previewed, my first thought was Niv-Mizzet Reborn, which not only provides a five-color creature (to meet one of Happily Ever After's conditions) but also draws us a bunch of cards when it enters the battlefield, to help get the six card types and high life total necessary to pick up the Happily Ever After win. However, after a bit more thought (and a lot of testing), I became convinced that Niv was the wrong way to go about winning with Happily Ever After. There's another card in Standard that is even better at fulfilling all of Happily Ever After's conditions and also allows us to play a much less clunky (five-color mana is a bit rough at the moment thanks to the lack of a second full dual land cycle) and more consistent deck...

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Planewide Celebration! Planewide Celebration seems built to facilitate the Happily Ever After kill. While it does cost a massive seven mana, the ability to gain up to 16 life, make up to four 2/2 Citizen tokens that are all colors, and add a sorcery to our graveyard means that if we can resolve a single Planewide Celebration, we usually can check all of the boxes on our Happily Ever After list! When you consider that Happily Ever After itself is an enchantment, the Citizen token (along with being all colors) is a creature, and we almost certainly have a land on the battlefield if we are resolving a seven-mana spell, all we need is any two of an instant, an artifact, or a planeswalker, either on the battlefield or even in our graveyard, to win the game on our next upkeep with Happily Ever After. While hitting the last couple of card types does require a bit of creative deckbuilding, it's actually surprisingly easy to have six card types by the time we have the mana to cast Planewide Celebration, to the point where we generally don't even need to think about it.

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Teferi, Time Raveler and Tamiyo, Collector of Tales do double duty in our deck. While both offer a lot of supporting value to our Happily Ever After / Planewide Celebration combo, they are also both planeswalkers, upping our card-type count for Happily Ever After. Teferi, Time Raveler is especially important to our combo since it allows us to cast Planewide Celebration at instant speed on our opponent's end step. And thanks to its static ability, our opponent can't cast anything to interact with our Citizen tokens, Happily Ever After, or life total before we go to our upkeep and immediately win the game. This allows us to dodge one of the biggest drawbacks of Happily Ever After, which is that we normally have to wait an entire turn cycle before it triggers, giving our opponent plenty of time to kill our Happily Ever After or Citizen tokens and ruin our plan. As for Tamiyo, Collector of Tales, it's great with Planewide Celebration. In the late game, they assemble an almost unbeatable loop, with Planewide Celebration getting back Tamiyo, Collector of Tales (while also gaining life and making tokens) and then Tamiyo returning Planewide Celebration from our graveyard to our hand. Tamiyo is also really solid against the Doom Foretold deck that is all the rage at the moment since she makes it so we can't discard cards or sacrifice permanents, basically stonewalling Doom Foretold all by herself.

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Of course, we need a lot of mana for our combo to work—at least seven to resolve Planewide Celebration. For this, we have Risen Reef as hybrid ramp and card draw, along with Leafkin Druid (which is an Elemental for Risen Reef purposes) and Paradise Druid. Together, these cards make sure we get to up Planewide Celebration as quickly as possible, while Risen Reef also helps us draw into our important combo pieces.

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Much like Risen Reef, Hydroid Krasis performs two duties in our deck. First, it gives us a backup payoff for all of our ramping. If we don't have Planewide Celebration, we can cast a huge Hydroid Krasis to draw a bunch of cards and hopefully find the combo pieces we need to win the game. Second, the lifegain from Hydroid Krasis is especially relevant in our deck since to win the game with Happily Ever After, we need to be at or above our starting life total. While Happily Ever After and Planewide Celebration are our main lifegain spells, getting a bit of extra life from Hydroid Krasis certainly doesn't hurt.

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The removal in our deck is a bit wonky, but it helps to up our card type count for Happily Ever After. Glass Casket gives an artifact that sits out on the battlefield for Happily Ever After while also dealing with a cheap creature. Meanwhile, Warrant // Warden give us an instant (and technically also a sorcery, although that isn't usually important), to make sure that all of the card types in Standard are represented in our deck.

The Matchups

Happily Ever After felt really solid, especially against anything slower or controlling. It seems like the deck could be fine against aggro as well thanks to the lifegain of Happily Ever After and ramp plan, although we didn't get to play against true aggro at all during our matches. 

The Odds

Happily Ever After went quite literally as well as possible. We played five matches and won all five, giving us a perfect 100% match win percentage and putting Happily Ever After in the running for best Against the Odds deck of all time. As I mentioned a moment ago, the only downside is that we mostly played midrange and control (Dimir Control twice, plus Golgari Midrange, Jeskai Superfriends, and Esper Stax), so we didn't really get a chance to see how well the deck would perform against aggro, although Happily Ever After has a pretty insane ability to grind through disruption and eventually win the game with Happily Ever After. Speaking of Happily Ever After, it was great. We had one game where we won with our random creatures, but otherwise, Happily Ever After was responsible for basically all of our wins. The plan of combining it with Planewide Celebration was super effective, and doubly so with Teferi, Time Raveler to allow us to cast Planewide Celebration at our opponent's end step. As odd as it sounds, Happily Ever After might actually be a legit (or at least, semi-legit) card in Standard. In the right deck, it's extremely easy to trigger and a surprisingly effective way of winning the game!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

While our first Throne of Eldraine Against the Odds episode featured a card I picked (albeit an obvious choice), for next week, we're back to the poll, which means all of you get to choose which Throne of Eldraine card we take to battle in Standard next! Which one of these sweet and janky #MTGELD cards should we build around next week? 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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