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Against the Odds: Majestic Gods (Standard)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 112 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a second-chance poll in which options that came in second or third over the past few polls were given another shot at glory. In the end, it was Five-Color Gods taking home the prize. Initially, the idea was to play Five-Color Gods in Modern, but after trying several builds of the deck, I couldn't find anything that worked even a little bit or was even slightly fun, so eventually I switched to Standard. As such, this week, we are heading to Standard to play a deck that I'm calling Majestic Gods, which looks to generate value with our hard-to-deal-with Gods and then win the game out of nowhere with a huge Majestic Myriarch. Can a God Tribal deck work in Standard with the help of Majestic Myriarch? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck.

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Against the Odds: Majestic Gods (Deck Tech)

Against the Odds: Majestic Gods (Games)

The Deck

As I mentioned in the intro, the initial plan was to play Gods in Modern, but I tried three different builds, and none of them actually worked or was even fun. The basic problem was that the Gods don't work that well together, no matter which support cards we play. The original Gods need a bunch of cards of the same color on the battlefield, while the Amonkhet Gods have strange requirements to work like actual creatures. This means a lot of times, they end up being enchantments (or at least not real creatures) for most of the game, which means that as we spend our turns playing cards that don't do much of anything, our opponent is beating us down with real creatures or setting up their combo. Among the Modern Gods decks I tried were Starfield of Nyx (to turn the enchantment Gods into creatures), Worship (to take advantage of the Gods' indestructible nature), and Heartless Summoning (to make the Gods cheaper), but no matter which build we played, we just died without doing anything meaningful, which didn't make for especially entertaining videos. 

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As for the Standard God deck we are playing today—Majestic Gods—the basic idea is simple: we play a ton of Gods and then a handful of support cards that work well with Gods. Probably the best Gods in Standard are the Hour of Devastation Gods, since they act like real creatures all of the time. The Scarab God is one of the most powerful cards in Standard and can win games all by itself by reanimating creatures from graveyards. The Locust God is a bit slow but gives us a big flying threat that makes a steady stream of 1/1 fliers. Meanwhile, The Scorpion God is great at killing small creatures while also drawing us cards (which in turn triggers The Locust God, if we have it on the battlefield, to make even more 1/1 Insects). 

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We also have all but one of the Amonkhet Gods. The biggest problem with God tribal in general is that the tribe members don't really synergize with each other, instead just being (somewhat) powerful standalone threats. Out of the Amonkhet Gods, Rhonas the Indomitable is probably the best because if we have just about any other God on the battlefield, it's a 5/5 indestructible deathtoucher, which is a pretty big threat for just three mana. Plus, it gives us a way to force damage through chump blockers by giving our other Gods +2/+0 and trample. 

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Kefnet the Mindful and Hazoret the Fervent are the best examples of how Gods don't necessarily work well together. To be a real creature, Kefnet the Mindful wants us to have at least seven cards in hand, while Hazoret the Fervent wants us to have one or less. In theory, we can use them together as a seven-mana shock (paying four to draw with Kefnet and then paying three to discard the card to Hazoret to hit our opponent for two), but this isn't really a legitimate synergy. As a result, we mostly play based on which Gods we happen to have on the battlefield. If we have a Kefnet the Mindful on Turn 3, we'll try to draw enough cards to make it active, while if we have a Hazoret the Fervent, we'll try to get empty handed to use the God to close out the game.

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Oketra the True is slow, but it is one of the easiest Gods to turn on in the late game, since all it requires is three other creatures. Since most of our Gods are indestructible and the rest return to our hand when they die, eventually we'll have at least three other Gods on the battlefield to make Oketra the True into an indestructible threat. The ability to make tokens also gives us a nice mana sink if we happen to run out of cards to play, giving us even more chump blockers and, in a pinch, things to kill to draw cards with The Scorpion God

As you can probably see, the biggest challenge with our deck is consistency. While all of our Gods are powerful when they are in creature mode, sometimes we are paying three or four mana for Gods that aren't real creatures (since they can't attack or block), or at least aren't real creatures right away. There isn't really a way to fix this problem with our Gods—but the good news is we can try to make up for the lack of synergy and consistency with our support cards.

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While our Gods power the deck, Majestic Myriarch is how we win most of our games. The trick here is that Majestic Myriarch gains all of the keyword abilities of all of our creatures, and our Gods are overloaded with keywords. More importantly, even when our Gods can't attack and block, they are still technically creatures, so they help to improve our Majestic Myriarch by making it bigger and giving it additional keywords. 

Picture this: we get Kefnet the Mindful, Oketra the True, and Hazoret the Fervent on the battlefield along with one other creature (maybe a 1/1 token from Oketra the True). When we play our Majestic Myriarch, it will be a 10/10 double strike, flying, haste, indestructible (and even vigilant, from the 1/1 Warrior token) threat for just five mana. In theory, this means we can just one-shot our opponent from 20! So even when our Gods aren't attacking and blocking, they are helping to make sure that our Majestic Myriarchs are as game-winning as possible. Even though most of our Gods lack synergy with other Gods, they all work extremely well with Majestic Myriarch

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Apart from Majestic Myriarch, our other God combo is Fumigate. While wraths can be good in most decks, they are especially good in decks that are stuffed full of indestructible creatures, so we can clear away our opponent's board and still have a bunch of threats on the table to immediately attack with and possibly win the game.

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Rounding out the deck, we have a handful of removal spells. Ixalan's Binding gives us a clean answer to everything from Hazoret the Fervent to Anointed Procession. It's also worth mentioning that Hazoret the Fervent isn't as big of a problem for Majestic Gods as it is for most decks, since we usually have several indestructible threats to block with. Harnessed Lightning gives us a way to kill a Longtusk Cub on Turn 2. Meanwhile, Start // Finish is just a one-of, and while it isn't great as a removal spell, it does put a couple of extra bodies on the battlefield to help pump up our Majestic Myriarch or turn on our Oketra the True.

The Matchups

It's actually hard to really break down the matchups for Majestic Gods. Thanks to Majestic Myriarch (powered up by our Gods), we can steal games out of nowhere against just about any deck in the format, but we can also get clunky draws as well where none of our Gods can attack or block and we lose to just about any deck in the format. Our worst matchup is probably control because our opponent can typically just counter all of our Gods and then kill us with Approach of the Second Sun, which we aren't very good at interacting with. As far as creature-based decks, it's very draw dependent. We absolutely crushed Ramunap Red by playing Rhonas the Indomitable into Kefnet the Mindful and Oketra the True, and even though our opponent had Hazoret the Fervent and some other threats, they couldn't really damage us through our wall of Gods. On the other hand, if we played that same match again and didn't draw Rhonas the Indomitable, we'd look pretty silly playing Kefnets and Oketras that couldn't block while our opponent beat us down. The other consideration is how many ways our opponent has of dealing with our Gods. Cards like Hostage Taker specifically are a nightmare because our opponent not only kills a God but usually ends up casting it as well, since we don't have that much removal, while Vraska's Contempt, Cast Out, and Ixalan's Binding give other decks some answers to our indestructible or recursive threats. Overall, Majestic Gods is far more about our draws than our opponent's deck. While control is always hard, we can otherwise beat (or lose to) just about anyone, depending on how our draws work out.

The Odds

All in all, we played five matches and won three, giving us a 60% match win percentage, along with winning six of ten games, good for a 60% game win percentage (although technically, we played against Ramunap Red again and lost, which would drop the numbers to about 50%). This makes Majestic Gods slightly above average as far as Against the Odds decks are concerned. While the deck can be maddeningly inconsistent, it can also do some super-powerful things. The first games against Grixis Tezzeret are probably the biggest testament to the power of the Gods (and Majestic Myriarch). I still have no idea how we won that game, with our opponent having an active Tezzeret the Schemer emblem for a million turns along with a board full of threats, while we often just had a single God on our side of the battlefield! The deck was fun, but if you decide to pick it up, expect to have some non-games where you draw the wrong Gods in the wrong order and do literally nothing while the opponent beats you down. Thankfully, you can expect to have some awesome games as well where a huge Majestic Myriarch comes out of nowhere to steal the win from an unsuspecting opponent. 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Artifacts are some of my favorite cards to build around, since their colorless nature means the possibilities are endless. Which of these artifacts should we play in Modern next week? Let us know by voting below!

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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