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Against the Odds: Indomitable Creativity (Standard)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode seventy-two of Against the Odds. Last week, we had an all-Aether Revolt Against the Odds poll, and in the end, it was the new red mythic Indomitable Creativity coming out on top, sneaking past Planar Bridge and Peacewalker Colossus, with Secret Salvage and Aid from the Cowl at the bottom of the pile. As a result, this week, we are heading to Standard to see if we can win some games by cheating a huge game-ending threat onto the battlefield for only four mana with the help of Indomitable Creativity

Anyway, let's get to the videos, but first a quick reminder. If you enjoy the Against the Odds series and the other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel.

Against the Odds: Indomitable Creativity (Deck Tech)

Against the Odds: Indomitable Creativity (Games)

The Deck

Indomitable Creativity is a classic example of a powerful card that comes with a significant deck-building restriction. While it can get any creature (or artifact) in all of Magic from our library and put it directly onto the battlefield for only four mana (which makes it close to a red Polymorph), the trade-off is that we can't play any other creatures or artifacts in the deck, and we have to have a way to get a creature or artifact on the battlefield as a target (for example, a token maker). As a result, finding ways to work within these restrictions is key to building around the card. While I considered a few different ways of making it work, including Servo tokens (and other token makers) for enabling Indomitable Creativity, and a bunch of different finishers, the end result is a very focused and consistent build of Indomitable Creativity with only one goal in mind: getting Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger on the battlefield on Turn 4 as often as possible!

The Combo

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Indomitable Creativity is basically a Polymorph / Mass Polymorph split card with the weird "can hit artifacts too" clause thrown in. While I considered going on the Mass Polymorph plan and turning a bunch of tokens into a bunch of big creatures, in the end, I decided that just being a Polymorph would be better. For one thing, hoping to cast Indomitable Creativity for six, seven, or eight mana is ambitious, especially when you consider that the deck can't play artifact- or creature-based ramp or it will mess up the Polymorph effect. Likewise, the problem with having multiple Indomitable Creativity targets is that they make Indomitable Creativity less consistent because when we cast it once, we never know which one we will hit. To avoid this problem, we only have a single finisher in the deck, so every time we cast Indomitable Creativity, we know the end result. 

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Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger was my immediate choice for finisher because it felt like the most guaranteed win available in Standard, since it can win through chump blockers by exiling away the opponent's library and dodges most removal by being indestructible. Unfortunately, when we get it with Indomitable Creativity, we miss out on the "when you cast" trigger, which means we don't get to exile our opponent's stuff, but even without exiling two permanents, a four-mana Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is good enough to finish the game against most Standard decks. 

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These two might look familiar because we played them last week in our Mechanized Production deck, but Jace's Scrutiny and Press for Answers are also two of the best ways to enable Indomitable Creativity. They help keep us alive in the early game when we are setting up the Polymorph combo while also putting a Clue token onto the battlefield, which we can destroy with Indomitable Creativity to get our Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Other Stuff

One of the weird things about this deck is that the actual combo doesn't take up that many slots, so the rest of the deck is a fairly typical blue-red control shell, with a splash of white for Radiant Flames and Fragmentize in the sideboard. 

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Glimmer of Genius and Anticipate help us cycle through our deck and find our combo pieces, while also making sure we have enough removal to stay alive while we are setting up our game-ending Indomitable Creativity for Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

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Shock, Harnessed Lightning, and Radiant Flames help us keep our opponent's creatures in check both before and after we have an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, while Aether Meltdown gives us a way to deal with annoying vehicles like Heart of Kiran and Aethersphere Harvester

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Disallow does a bit of everything, but most importantly, it gives us a way to force through Indomitable Creativity against decks with counters and protect Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger from the few cards that actually deal with the indestructible Eldrazi (To the Slaughter and Stasis Snare, primarily). 

The Matchups

There are basically two matchup considerations with our deck. First, how game ending is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger? While Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger on Turn 4 is simply game over in a lot of matchups, there are a few decks (like GB Delirium) that actually have answers, which makes these matchups tricky. We don't really have a good way to win outside of the Eldrazi, so in these situations, we sometimes have to wait a few turns and try to win with counter backup if we think our opponent can deal with our Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

The second consideration is just how fast our opponent's deck can be. In some matches, getting an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger with Indomitable Creativity on Turn 4 just isn't enough because our opponent has already gone wide with Toolcraft Exemplars and Winding Constrictors. It's not that these matchups are horrible—we have a lot of removal, and if we can keep the board relatively clear over the first few turns, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger does close out the game super-fast, before our opponent can recover—but it really depends on the draws. 

As such, our bad matchups are decks that have clean main-deck answers to Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, while our good matchups are random midrange decks that aren't playing Stasis Snare or To the Slaughter. Meanwhile, aggro decks are super draw dependent and pretty much depend on how fast of a start our opponent gets off to and how much early-game removal we happen to draw. 

The Odds

All in all, we won two of our five matches (good for a 40% match win percentage) but seven of our 13 games (jumping our game win percentage to just over 53%). Despite these middling numbers, I actually feel pretty good about the deck. In the two matches we won, we absolutely blew out opponent out of the water in easy 2-0 victories thanks to Turn 4 / 5 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hungers, and of the three matches we lost, every single one was a super-close, hard-fought three-game match—the type of match we could have won if we had played a little bit better or got a little bit luckier, which would have improved our percentages from average to great for an Against the Odds deck. Maybe the best example of this was our third game against the GB Constrictor deck, where we had what was essentially our nut draw (a Turn 4 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger off Indomitable Creativity along with some removal for the early turns) but got stuck on three lands and died with the win in hand. 

The point is that the deck actually felt competitive with a lot of tier-one decks, and since the cost of running Indomitable Creativity as a finisher in a control deck is actually less than it looks (because it's pretty easy for a control deck to run without creatures or artifacts), I'm actually interested in exploring this more in Standard, mostly as a finisher in control shells, but I'm sure there are other possibilities as well!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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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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