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Against the Odds: Hedron Salvage (Modern)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 127 of Against the Odds. Last week for our Against the Odds poll, we went back to the roots of the series with a bunch of "you win the game" cards. In the end, we had a clear victory: Hedron Alignment. As such, we are heading to Modern this week to see if we can win same games by getting the hedrons to align! Lately, we've had a string of Against the Odds decks that have been at least somewhat competitive, but this week will be a challenge. If I were to rank all of the "you win the game" cards from easiest to hardest to achieve, Hedron Alignment might very well come in as the single hardest "you win the game" card to make work in all of Magic. What's the best way of aligning the hedrons in Modern? Will we ever manage to get them to align? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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The Deck

I mentioned in the intro that Hedron Alignment is one of the hardest "you win the game" cards to build around, and there are a bunch of reasons why actually getting the hedrons to align is such a challenge. The biggest is that you need all four copies of the enchantment to actually win the game with Hedron Alignment, which means if we don't have a plan for finding the copies, we simply won't draw enough Hedrons in most games for them to align. Even beyond this, a lot of things can go wrong. For example, a Rest in Peace on the battlefield means we can never get a Hedron Alignment in the graveyard, and we are in a lot of trouble if we somehow end up with multiple copies of Hedron Alignment in the exile zone. 

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Because Hedron Alignment is such a challenge, I actually cycled through a bunch of decks before landing on our the build we played on video. A lot of my early attempts were controlling, but Hedron Alignment was almost never relevant—we'd either win or lose based on the other cards in our deck, while Hedron Alignment did nothing. In the end, this pushed us toward an all-in combo build of Hedron Alignment, and while it's pretty janky, the perfect Hedron Alignment combo piece does exist in the Modern format.

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Secret Salvage solves a lot of the problems of Hedron Alignment. Not only does it give us a way to find all of our Hedron Alignments, assuming we can get a single copy in the graveyard, but it also exiles a copy, and while we have some backup plans for getting Hedron Alignment into the exile zone, getting a copy in exile is one of the more difficult aspects of aligning the hedrons. Ideally, we'll have two copies of Hedron Alignment in the graveyard when we cast Secret Salvage, but even if we don't, once we resolve a Secret Salvage, all we need to do is discard a Hedron Alignment, cast a Hedron Alignment, and keep a Hedron Alignment in hand, and we win the game on our next upkeep! While Hedron Alignment is our main target for Secret Salvage, we have a lot of four-ofs in the deck, so we can exile a dead Snapcaster Mage in a pinch to tutor up three more copies or a used Grisly Salvage to cycle through our deck and find action.

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For our Secret Salvage / Hedron Alignment combo to work, we need to get a copy of Hedron Alignment in the graveyard to exile to Secret Salvage. For this, we have a bunch of different options. Thought Scour mills a couple of cards while also drawing us a card to keep us digging through our deck to find our combo pieces. Grisly Salvage gets us five deep, and while it can't technically find us a copy of Hedron Alignment, it can find us a Snapcaster Mage to flash back Secret Salvage or an Eternal Witness to get a Hedron Alignment back from the graveyard, along with making sure we hit our land drops. Finally, Forbidden Alchemy is just a one-of, but thanks to flashback, we can mill it into the graveyard and then cast it in the late game for seven mana. Together, these cards allow us to spend our early turns setting up the combo and then, in the late game, help us find the pieces we need to assemble our combo and finish the game. 

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As I mentioned before, Snapcaster Mage and Eternal Witness are to get our combo pieces back from the graveyard. Snapcaster Mage offers a ton of value in our deck because apart from flashing back our Secret Salvage, we have a ton of cheap spells in our deck. Meanwhile, Eternal Witness is a nice safety valve in case we happen to mill too many of our Hedron Alignments. If we didn't have Eternal Witness and we happened to mill three copies of Hedron Alignment with our Thought Scours, Grisly Salvages, and Forbidden Alchemy, it would be impossible to ever align the hedrons. Thanks to Eternal Witness, milling over an extra Hedron Alignment can be a good thing, since eventually we'll find our Eternal Witness with Grisly Salvage and be able to return it to our hand.

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Our delve cards give us some extra ways of getting Hedron Alignment from our graveyard to the exile zone, which give us a way to align the hedrons without Secret Salvage. Tasigur, the Golden Fang generates card advantage in the late game while also giving us a big body that can come down as early as Turn 2 with the help of fetch lands and Thought Scour. Meanwhile, Logic Knot gives us a card that not only helps to support our Hedron Alignment plan but also helps us stay alive long enough to align the hedrons. Logic Knot can counter anything, but it's especially helpful in forcing our Hedron Alignment through opposing counter magic; meanwhile, Murderous Cut helps us deal with our opponent's creatures. 

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While Collective Brutality, Thoughtseize, and Inquisition of Kozilek are mostly in our deck to target our opponent and clear the way for our combo, it's worth mentioning that we can use them on ourselves in a pinch to discard a copy of Hedron Alignment (potentially to exile it with Secret Salvage). Collective Brutality is the best for this, since we can simply discard Hedron Alignment to the escalate ability, but we're not above Thoughtseizing or Inquisitioning ourselves if it can help us assemble the combo and align the hedrons. Otherwise, Fatal Push just gives us a way to deal with opposing creatures in the early game and is cheap enough to flash back easily with Snapcaster Mage as the game progresses. 

The Matchups

Salvage Hedron is one of those decks that doesn't really have good matchups. In theory, we want to play against slow decks without many counters, and Modern just isn't a format that has many of those decks. This, of course, only considers game one. After sideboarding, things become even more challenging because nearly every deck in the format has some type of graveyard hate, and it's almost impossible to align the hedrons through a Relic of Progenitus, Rest in Peace, or Scavenger Grounds. While in theory we can beat just about anyone with our Secret Salvage / Hedron Alignment combo, in reality there are just so many things that need to go right (and so many things that can potentially go wrong, ruining our plans forever) that getting the hedrons to align is extremely difficult in every matchup.

The Odds

All in all, we played six matches and won one, good for a 16.7% match win percentage, while winning four of our 15 games (26.7% game win percentage), which is pretty rough, even for an Against the Odds deck. More troubling is that, out of our 15 games, we only got the Hedron Alignment kill a single time, making the odds of aligning the hedrons 6.7%. Furthermore, in the one game where we did align the hedrons, we actually would have died if our opponent has played Ajani Steadfast pre-combat rather than post-combat, which means if it weren't for this punt, we very well could still be playing games and trying to get the hedrons to align. 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

We got the entire spoiler for Masters 25 just a few days ago, and while the set has been a bit controversial, it does have some Against the Odds-worthy reprints. Which of these Masters 25 reprints should we play in Modern next week? Let us know by voting below!

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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

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