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Against the Odds: Ivy's Duplimancy (Dominaria United Standard)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 345 of Against the Odds. Dominaria United is here, and we're kicking off our Against the Odds exploration with a special episode! Which card deserves the honor of being the first Against the Odds card from the set? While there are a bunch of sweet options, one stood out above the rest: Vesuvan Duplimancy! The ability to copy a creature whenever you target it is really spicy and can do some hilarious things. But one of the reasons why Vesuvan Duplimancy won out was that it works really well with Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief, which was another card on my short list of best Against the Odds cards from the set. So today, we get an Against the Odds two-for-one! What are the odds of winning by copying Ivy (and other stuff) a bunch of times with Vesuvan Duplimancy in Dominaria United Standard? 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: Ivy's Duplimancy

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The Deck

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The idea of Ivy's Duplimancy is pretty simple, and it all starts with our namesake Vesuvan Duplimancy. Duplimancy is actually very similar to Orvar, the All-Form, with one huge upside: it's an enchantment, which means it's much more likely to stick around on the battlefield for a few turns since it doesn't die to creature removal. Once we get Vesuvan Duplimancy on the battlefield, anytime we target one of our creatures with a spell, we get a copy of that creature, which is pretty absurd. Even better, the copies don't care about the legend rule, so we're free to copy legendary creatures, which is pretty important to the deck's plan. In practice, this means that we can often make copies of our creatures for just one or two mana with things like Tamiyo's Safekeeping or Cradle of Safety, often while also protecting our creatures from removal. In short order, we'll have a huge, janky board that might even be able to win the game!

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So, what are we trying to copy with Vesuvan Duplimancy? We've got a few different options, but one of the best is Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief. Ivy is a unique creature: whenever we target another creature with a spell, we get to copy that spell targeting Ivy. While the fact that Ivy wants us to target other creatures rather than itself is a bit awkward with Vesuvan Duplimancy, we can copy Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief a few times and then start targeting other creatures with things like Sheltering Boughs or Combat Research to draw a ton of cards and snowball value.

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Most of the rest of our creatures really like to be targeted by spells, which makes them perfect support cards for both Ivy and Vesuvan Duplimancy. Stormchaser Drake gives us another card-draw engine, drawing us a card whenever we target it. Brine Comber is sneakily powerful in our deck, adding two bodies to the battlefield when it comes into play (which is important because Liliana of the Veil is super popular at the moment and these 1/1s give us sac fodder so we don't lose our more important creature), making a 1/1 Spirit whenever we target it with an aura. Then, once it dies, it turns into an aura from our graveyard that we can use to trigger our Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief, Stormchaser Drake, and other threats. Finally, we've got a couple of copies of Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice to double up our aura value. While we do have some instants in our deck, most of the spells we're using to trigger Vesuvan Duplimancy and Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief happen to be auras, which makes Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice a powerful two-drop in our deck.

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The last creature in our deck is Serra Paragon. Initially, I added the Angel to the deck as a form of protection for our other creatures. Removal-heavy decks that can keep us from sticking our creatures are tough matchups, and Serra Paragon is a great way to rebuild after a wrath or fight through a bunch of targeted removal. But after playing the deck, I realized that Serra Paragon is actually insane with Vesuvan Duplimancy in the late game. We often end up with a graveyard full of auras. We can cast one from the graveyard targeting Serra Paragon, which will make another copy of Serra Paragon, which we can use to cast another aura from our graveyard, with the end result being that we recast most of our graveyard in one turn and make a huge board of 3/4 fliers to close out the game!

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So, what are we using to target our creatures and trigger Vesuvan Duplimancy? We've got a bunch of cheap spells and auras. Tamiyo's Safekeeping and Cradle of Safety are especially important because they protect our threats from removal. Plus we can cast both at instant speed, which can lead to some huge blowouts if we have Vesuvan Duplimancy on the battlefield to copy the creatures we target.

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Combat Research and Security Bypass give us even more card draw, which helps us dig through our deck for our creatures and Vesuvan Duplimancy while filtering away extra lands that we don't need.

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Last and probably least, we have Sheltering Boughs, which can be a pretty good source of card draw, especially if we can get multiple copies of Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief on the battlefield to copy it, and one Raffine's Guidance, which is mostly a tutor target for Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice, although being able to cast it from the graveyard is a nice way to restart our copying engine in the late game if our opponent can deal with our initial rush of threats.

The Matchups

Ivy's Duplimancy is absurd...if we can keep our creatures and Vesuvan Duplimancy on the battlefield, which is—by far—the deck's biggest challenge. Our hardest matchups are control and midrange decks that are overloaded with removal and sweepers. While we have a bunch of ways to protect our creatures and even more after sideboarding, it isn't always enough. 

The Odds

Record-wise, we finished 3-3 with the deck, which isn't bad for an Against the Odds brew. While removal-heavy control decks are tough matchups, as we saw during our games, really cool things happen if we can stick a couple of creatures and a Vesuvan Duplimancy! The only awkward part of the deck is that once everything comes together, we end up building a massive, flying board of creatures and win super quickly, which is sort of a bummer because we'd be able to have even more fun by copying creatures and drawing cards if our opponents lived a bit longer.

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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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