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Against the Odds: Infinite Illusions (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 236 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a split vote with our polls. The website poll wanted Chronozoa, while YouTube chose Assemble the Legion. In the end, I decided to break the tie with the deck that I thought would be more interesting, which means we're heading to Modern today to try to make infinite Illusions with the Splinter Twin–esque combo of Solemnity, Chronozoa, and a sacrifice outlet! How many Illusions does it take to win a game of Modern? What are the odds of winning with Chronozoa? 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: Infinite Illusions

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The Deck

First, a quick word on Assemble the Legion. I did build a couple of Assemble the Legion decks, but the expensiveness and slowness of Assemble the Legion itself meant that they all ended up some type of controlling, prison-style shell with Blood Moons. Considering we've played quite a few land-destruction and prison decks lately, I decided that it might not make for the most compelling Against the Odds episode, so I quickly focused on going infinite with Chronozoa

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Chronozoa is a strange creature, mostly because it features vanishing, which is a strange mechanic. The idea of Chronozoa is that you play it, wait three turns for the vanishing counters to disappear, and are rewarded with two Chronozoas, which become four Chronozoas three turns later and then eight three turns after that. Of course, playing a four-drop that dies to Lightning Bolt and usually Fatal Push and having it live three turns (or even just surviving three turns in an absolute sense) in Modern is asking for a lot. As such, rather than playing Chronozoa fairly, we're looking to speed up Chronozoa's cell-splitting power with the help of Solemnity. Assuming we can play Solemnity before we play Chronozoa, when we do resolve Chronozoa, it will come into play with zero vanishing counters (sadly, this doesn't kill it and start the combo by itself because the sacrifice happens when the last vanishing counter is removed and not when Chronozoa has no vanishing counters). This means that whenever Chronozoa dies, we'll get two copies of Chronozoa. More importantly, thanks to Solemnity, the copies also come into play with no vanishing counters, so when they die, we'll get even more copies of Chronozoa! This means that with the help of a free sacrifice outlet, if we can get Solemnity and then Chronozoa onto the battlefield, we can keep sacrificing Chronozoas until we build an infinite and very lethal board of Illusions!

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As far as sacrificing Chronozoa, we have Viscera Seer and Woe Strider, both of which allow us to sacrifice creatures for free while also scrying through our deck (which is especially helpful if we don't have Chronozoa—we can sacrifice stuff to scry until we find it). 

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Meanwhile, Kitchen Finks gives us a backup Chronozoa. While we don't make infinite creatures, if we can get Solemnity, Kitchen Finks, and one of our sacrifice outlets on the battlefield, we can sacrifice Kitchen Finks an infinite number of times (since Solemnity prevents the 1/1 counter from persist) to gain infinite life. More importantly, since both of our sacrifice outlets allow us to scry when we sacrifice a creature, we can sacrifice Kitchen Finks enough times to scry Chronozoa to the top of our deck, so the following turn, we can make infinite Illusions to close out the game!

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Holding the deck together are a bunch of tutors. Zur the Enchanter and Lost Auramancers help us find Solemnity and even tutor it directly onto the battlefield to avoid counterspells, although Lost Auramancers is better if we already have Solemnity since much like Chronozoa, it will come into play with no vanishing counters, so we can find an enchantment whenever it dies (or whenever we sacrifice it). Meanwhile, Chord of Calling is in our deck to be extra copies of Chronozoa. If we already happen to have Chronozoa, we can use it to tutor out Zur the Enchanter to get Solemnity (or a sacrifice outlet) to start the infinite Illusions combo. 

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We also have a couple of copies of Phyrexian Unlife, which serves a couple of purposes in our deck. First, in conjunction with Solemnity, it makes sure we can't die to damage since once our life total hits zero, all damage that would be dealt to us is converted to infect counters, and Solemnity keeps us from getting any counters. Basically, with both Solemnity and Phyrexian Unlife on the battlefield, we can't die to damage until our opponent removes one of the enchantments. Second, Phyrexian Unlife gives us a non-Solemnity enchantment to tutor up with Zur the Enchanter and Lost Auramancers. While our deck really needs a Solemnity on the battlefield to enable our Chronozoa combo and having a backup copy isn't the end of the world in case our opponent has removal, additional copies of Solemnity don't really do much of anything. Phyrexian Unlife helps to keep our Zurs and Lost Auramancers relevant throughout the game.

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Finally, we have Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch to help speed up the deck. With a mana dork on Turn 1, we can cast Solemnity on Turn 2 and Chronozoa on Turn 3, and go infinite with a sacrifice outlet on Turn 4! Plus, as cheap green creatures, Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch are good convoke fodder for Chord of Calling to help make sure we can cast it for enough mana to find Chronozoa or Zur the Enchanter. Meanwhile, Path to Exile is just a removal spell to help us stay alive while we are getting our combo set up.

The Matchups

For starters, Infect is solid. Seriously though, one thing that was clear during our matches is that Solemnity is a surprisingly relevant card against a decent number of Modern decks. Add in the infinite combo and the Solemnity / Phyrexian Unlife lock, and Infinite Illusions performed well against aggro, combo, and control. We did lose to Mill, which is a uniquely problematic matchup since they don't care about damage prevention and have a bunch of main-deck copies of Surgical Extraction to exile combo pieces. In general, though, it felt like Infinite Illusions could actually compete with many of the best decks in Modern. An ever-growing and unkillable board of Chronozoas is actually a surprisingly effective way to beat a lot of decks!

The Odds

All in all, we played five matches with Infinite Illusions and ended up winning four, giving us an 80% match win percentage and making Infinite Illusions significantly above average for an Against the Odds deck. More importantly, Chronozoa was responsible for most of our wins. While we did get a couple of Kitchen Finks combo kills, most of the time, we made a bunch of Chronozoas and beat our opponent down. Maybe the best part of the deck was how good Chronozoa and Solemnity were even without a sacrifice outlet, not just protecting against wraths and removal but actually leaving more creatures behind if our opponent chooses to try to kill our Chronozoa!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

No poll this week. Next week, we'll kick off Ikoria season with a special episode. Don't worry, the poll will be back next week with a bunch of new Ikoria options!

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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