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Against the Odds: Literally Trolling Standard (Waking the Trolls)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 320 of Against the Odds. It's been a bit since we've played Standard. It seems like with the release of Alchemy (and anticipation for Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty), everyone has forgotten about the format, but not us! Today, Standard makes its return on Against the Odds as we literally troll our Standard opponents with the help of Waking the Trolls! How many lands can we blow up, and how many Trolls can we make? 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: Literally Trolling Standard

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The Deck

The goal of our deck today is simple: use Waking the Trolls to blow up as many lands as possible and then to make as many Trolls as possible, which we hopefully should be able to use to win the game (especially if our opponent doesn't have many lands)!

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Waking the Trolls is a really interesting card. It costs a lot of mana but also offers a lot of power. For six mana (and a couple of turns worth of time), it blows up one of our opponent's lands, ramps us by putting a land into play from our graveyard, and then makes a bunch of 4/4 trampling Trolls for us to win the game. with. While we could play Waking the Trolls fairly and just jam it into a random deck for value, it's Against the Odds, which means we're all-in on doing the most trolling possible with the saga!

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Of course, to make any trolls at all, we first need to get Waking the Trolls on the battlefield. Considering that it costs six mana and there are a lot of aggro decks in our current Standard format, this means we need some ramp to speed up the process. The main goal is to start by ramping on Turn 2 with either Lotus Cobra or Tangled Florahedron]...

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...either of which gets us to four mana on Turn 3, which then allows us to ramp again with either Quandrix Cultivator or Vastwood Surge. Either of our four-mana ramp spells will give us enough mana (combined with our two-mana ramp spell) to play a Waking the Trolls on Turn 4!

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But just a single Waking the Trolls isn't enough to truly troll our Standard opponents, so we're hoping to copy our Waking the Trolls a few times with Moritte of the Frost and / or Lithoform Engine. Moritte is pretty simple: it just Clones any permanent (in legendary form) for five mana. Lithoform Engine is a bit tricky because copying a permanent requires four mana, which means we'd need 10 total mana to play a Waking the Trolls and double it up with Engine (which we can do because we have a ton of ramp, but it's still a big ask). The good news is that we don't need to copy Waking the Trolls directly to make the Lithoform Engine plan work. If we don't have the mana to copy Waking the Trolls itself, we can pay two mana to use Lithoform Engine to copy Waking the Trolls' triggered abilities and blow up or reanimate additional lands or make even more Trolls with the final lore counter.

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We can also reuse our Waking the Trolls. Bala Ged Recovery can return the Saga to our hand from our graveyard, just in case the first batch of trolling isn't enough to get our opponent to scoop. Meanwhile, Cyclone Summoner is mostly in the deck to reset our opponent's board and buy us a couple of turns to get some Trolls on the battlefield, although we can use it to pick up a Waking the Trolls in order to recast and blow up another one of our opponent's lands. 

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Our final Waking the Trolls trick is Ashaya, Soul of the Wild. Ashaya is a really unique card, turning all of our nontoken creatures into lands. Not only does this allow Ashaya to work as a ramp spell (once it hits the battlefield, we can tap things like Lotus Cobra and Quandrix Cultivator for mana), but also, because Waking the Trolls gives us a number of Troll tokens equal to the difference between the number of lands our opponent controls and the number of lands we control, Ashaya, Soul of the Wild is a great way to maximize the number of Troll tokens we get by upping our land count. Oh yeah, Ashaya, Soul of the Wild is also really sweet with Cyclone Summoner, which bounces everything except for Wizards, Giants, and lands. With an Ashaya on the battlefield, Cyclone Summoner turns into an overloaded Cyclonic Rift, bouncing all of our opponent's stuff while leaving our creatures on the battlefield since they are technically lands thanks to Ashaya!

The Matchups

Going into our matches, I would have told you that we'd much rather play against midrange or control than aggro since playing against slower decks would give us more time to get our expensive trolling plan set up. But we played mostly aggro decks during our matches (Mono-Green, Mono-White, Humans, and Goblins), and outside of a close three-game loss to Mono-Green, we pretty much crushed all of them. Apparently, the aggro matchup isn't as bad as I thought.

The Odds

All in all, we went 4-1 with Waking the Trolls. As I mentioned before, our one loss came in a really close match against Mono-Green Aggro where our opponent managed to haste us out with multiple copies of Ulvenwald Oddity. We got a bit lucky to dodge all of the Alrund's Epiphany decks (although with land destruction and counters in the sideboard, maybe that matchup wouldn't be all that horrible?), so I'm not sure how well the deck would hold up against a steady stream of the best decks in Standard, but it was way more competitive than I expected. Plus, it's hilarious and super fun to play! If you're looking for something different to play for fun while we wait for Kamigawa to be released, I'd recommend a bit of trolling. 

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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