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Against the Odds: Hidetsugu Combo (Standard)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 327 of Against the Odds. This week, we're heading to Standard for the first time in a while to see if we can combo off with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty's Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos! While Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos is solid enough as a sacrifice outlet played fairly, we're playing Against the Odds, which means our goal is to do the most spectacular thing possible with our namesake card. In the case of Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, that's potentially killing the opponent with a single activation! How can we turn Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos into a one-activation-kill threat? What support pieces are needed? 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: Hidetsugu Combo

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The Deck

Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos was a surprisingly tricky card to build around. My first attempt was a Mardu sacrifice deck with Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, Hofri Ghostforge, and Spirit-Sister's Call, and while the deck could do some sweet value-y graveyard shenanigans, a lot of the time, Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos felt like it was just a sacrifice outlet rather than the most important card in our deck. As such, I switched gears to see what would happen if we went all-in on trying to combo off with Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, which is what led to the deck we're playing today!

The Combo

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The primary goal of our deck is to manipulate the game into a state where we can deal 20 damage by activating Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos's second ability. While it's a pretty convoluted process, it is theoretically possible to pay three mana, activate Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, deal damage equal to the revealed card's mana cost, and then kill our opponent by casting that card with the help of Explosive Singularity

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Explosive Singularity costs a massive 10 mana, which means if we reveal it on the top of our deck when we activate Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, we get to throw 10 damage directly at our opponent's face. We get another 10 damage if we can follow this up by casting Explosive Singularity (hopefully with the help of having a bunch of creatures to tap in order to reduce its cost), killing our opponent on the spot. The challenges here are twofold. First, we need to get as many creatures on the battlefield as possible. Considering it costs three mana to activate Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos and that Explosive Singularity costs 10, we need a total of 13 mana for our combo to work. But since we can tap creatures to help pay for Explosive Singularity's mana cost, we can get the cost of our combo as low as five real mana if we can get 10 creatures on the battlefield. Second, we need to get Explosive Singularity on top of our deck. Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos's first ability—allowing us to sacrifice creatures to scry 2—helps a bit, but we've got another, even more consistent plan too...

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Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire is the most important support card in our deck thanks to its Vampiric Tutor–like boast ability, allowing us to tutor a card from our library to the top of our deck. While this sometimes means sending Varragoth to certain death with a chump attack to trigger boast, it is a guaranteed way to ensure we reveal Explosive Singularity to Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos. Slightly off-topic, Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire was surprisingly strong. Even discounting its ability to set up our combo, we had some games where we'd just value-tutor with it several turns in a row, which was oddly effective. It might deserve another look as a Standard-playable card.

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We have a few options for adding creatures to the battlefield to reduce the cost of Explosive Singularity. First up is Eyetwitch (which we can sacrifice to Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos or Deadly Dispute) alongside Hunt for Specimens to grab the full four copies of Pest Summoning from our sideboard.

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Backing up our learn-a-lesson plan are Tribute to Horobi, Stensia Uprising, and Burn Down the House, all of which can add multiple creatures to the battlefield. Burn Down the House gives us a sweeper when we need it that can also make three 1/1 Devils. Stensia Uprising gives us a 1/1 every turn and possibly some direct damage later in the game, once we have a board full of permanents (although we often choose not to sacrifice Uprising because we'd rather keep making tokens to support our combo). Finally, Tribute to Horobi is either the best or worst card in our deck, depending on our matchup. When it manages to flip, we end up with two 1/1 Rats, a 3/3 flier, and some card draw for two mana, which is absurd. It also allows for some sweet tricks with Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire where we can attack, tutor with Varragoth, and then immediately draw the card we tutor for with Echo of the Death Wail's "sacrifice a creature to draw a card" ability. On the other hand, some decks can sacrifice the Rat tokens before Tribute to Horobi flips or just kill the Saga to keep the Rats with something like Vanishing Verse or Skyclave Apparition. In those matchups, Tribute to Horobi is the first card we sideboard out because it often benefits our opponent more than it benefits us.

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And that's basically the deck. Play Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, flood the board with tokens, use Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire to tutor Explosive Singularity to the top of our deck, activate Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, cast Explosive Singularity, and throw 20 points of damage at our opponent's face to win the game on the spot! Outside of our combo pieces, we've got a handful of removal to help us stay alive long enough to get things set up and Deadly Dispute for a bit of card draw and ramp.

Matchups

While it's possible to win the game fairly by playing random creatures, activating Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos for value, and maybe just hard-casting an Explosive Singularity, as far as the combo is concerned, removal-heavy control and midrange decks are our toughest matchups, mostly because we need to keep Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos on the battlefield for a turn or two, which isn't easy against decks overloaded with removal. On the other hand, we've got a decent shot to combo against random creature decks. Our random token producers help keep us alive, our removal is solid, Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos offers repeatable removal even without the combo, and we have enough time to make a bunch of tokens and get our combo set up.

The Odds

All in all, I finished 3-4 with Hidetsugu Combo, although sadly, we never actually managed to get the full 20-damage combo. We got Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos wins, Explosive Singularity wins, and even Stensia Uprising wins, but managing to get enough creatures on the battlefield to activate Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos and cast Explosive Singularity while also getting Explosive Singularity on the top of our deck is tough. We came close a few times, and I assume it would probably happen eventually if we keep playing the deck. But for now, we'll have to settle for just throwing 10 damage at our opponent's face with Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos.

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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There's still a bunch of interesting alt-win cons we haven't tried in Pioneer yet, so let's cross another one off the list next week, but which one? Click here to vote!

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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