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Against the Odds: Infinite God Aristocrats (Standard)


A few days ago, I stumbled on a wacky synergy—the new Lost Caverns of Ixalan Gods can go infinite with Invasion of Amonkhet thanks to a weird quirk in the cards' wording. If you read an LCI God, like Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal, you'll see, buried in the wall of text, is an ability that makes it so if the God dies, it returns to the battlefield tapped and transformed. This is intended to make the Gods come back as lands that you might eventually be able to turn back into Gods. But things get weird if we can use Invasion of Amonkhet to copy a God from our graveyard. Invasion of Amonkhet also transforms, normally by being defeated in battle, into a creature that copies any creature in a graveyard. Let's say we have an Invasion of Amonkhet copying an Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal. When Aclazotz dies, its ability will trigger to return itself from the graveyard to the battlefield tapped and transformed. But since it's really an Invasion of Amonkhet, it'll actually return the battle to play tapped and transformed, which means we can immediately copy the God in our graveyard again, giving us a God that can never die and infinite combo potential with the help of a sacrifice outlet and a Blood Artist! What are the odds of winning by going infinite with never-dying Invasion of Amonkhet Gods in Standard? Let's find out on today's Against the Odds!

Against the Odds: Esper Gods Combo

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The Deck

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As I mentioned in the intro, our deck's goal is pretty simple: get Invasion of Amonkhet on the battlefield, get either Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal or Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch into the graveyard (maybe with the mill Invasion of Amonkhet offers), and then defeat the battle so the backside of Invasion of Amonkhet can copy the God, giving us a God that can never die! Weirdly, it's almost like the blue and black Gods were made to be played with Invasion of Amonkhet. Not only do they combo from the graveyard, but as four-power flying creatures, they are also the perfect ways to flip Invasion of Amonkhet if we get them on the battlefield! While our primary plan is to use our janky combo to go infinite, we also have a solid backup plan of just playing our Gods, maybe flipping Invasion of Amonkhet for value, and beating our opponent down!

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While building a God that can never die is nice, in reality, this doesn't directly win us the game (especially considering how much exile removal is in Standard—while our Invasion of Amonkhet God can't be killed by traditional removal, it still can be exiled). We need two more pieces to turn our infinite God plan into a game-ending combo. First, we need a way to keep sacrificing our infinite God. For this, we turn to Bartolome del Presidio, which not only sacrifices any artifact or creature for free but also grows along the way, giving us an infinitely powerful creature with the combo's help. While we can potentially win by making a massive Bart and beating our opponent down, if we add a Blood Artist effect into the mix like Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim, we can win right away without even needing to attack. We sacrifice our infinite God a bunch of times to Bart; each time it dies, we trigger Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim to drain our opponent and keep doing this until our opponent's life total hits zero! With our best draws, we can go infinite as early as Turn 4!

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Backing up our combo are two more things we need: removal to help us stay alive long enough to get the combo set up and ways to find our combo pieces and get them into the graveyard. We have a bunch of different removal options—Get Lost, Soul Partition, and Virtue of Persistence—but two are especially notable. First is Obscura Charm, which is absolutely perfect for our deck. For three mana, it can kill a cheap creature, counter an instant or sorcery, or reanimate a multicolor permanent with mana value three or less. This means that, along with helping us stay alive and fight through counterspells and sweepers, Obscura Charm can also reanimate Bartolome del Presidio, Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim, or Invasion of Amonkhet—all of our non-God combo pieces! Second, we have Horned Loch-Whale, which is notable because of its interaction with the blue god Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch. Ojer Pakpatiq gives all of our instants rebound, which interacts in a strange and powerful way with adventure cards. Let's say we play the blue God and then cast the Lagoon Breach side of Horned Loch-Whale. Once it resolves, Horned Loch-Whale will go to exile; on our next upkeep, we'll get to cast the creature side of it for free thanks to Ojer Pakpatiq's rebound ability, essentially giving us a removal spell and a massive six-drop creature for just two mana!

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Lastly, we have our card draw in The Everflowing Well and Kaito Shizuki. Remember, we need to get one of our Gods in the graveyard to combo off, and we can't do it by casting them and having them die because they'll keep returning to the battlefield as lands. As such, having some self-mill and looting is essential to making our infinite God combo work.

Matchups and Odds

Record-wise, I played 22 games with Esper God Combo and won 12, giving us a 55% win percentage, which is pretty solid for an Against the Odds deck. We pulled off the combo a bunch of times, partly because no one had any idea what our deck was doing. There were multiple times when our opponent let us flip Invasion of Amonkhet when they could have stopped it, only to die right away to our super-janky infinite God combo! Aside from the combo, one of the deck's strengths is that it can win without the combo. Both of the Gods felt powerful even when they weren't helping us go infinite. It turns out massive and somewhat recursive fliers are pretty good threats, even in 2023.

As far as matchups, the toughest is aggro. We played against Mono-Red Aggro a ton of times and overall lost more than we won (although we did win some of them). While the combo can beat anyone, it usually takes several (or even many) turns to set up, which means decks like Mono-Red and Mono-White can often run us over before we get a chance to combo off. In these matchups, our best bet is to draw a lot of removal and hopefully stick an Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal to stabilize us with its 4/4 lifelink body.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how the deck turned out. I figured we'd pull the combo off a few times but definitely didn't expect it to happen so consistently or for the deck to post a winning record. The synergy the deck is built around is super unique. If you are looking for something fun and different to mess around with in Standard, give Esper God Combo a shot—it's a super cool deck!

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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