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Against the Odds: Maze's Endchantress (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode forty-five of Against the Odds! Last week on our Against the Odds poll, Maze's End took a commanding victory, with 33% of the vote (nearly doubling the second- and third-place options: Inverter of Truth in Standard and Phage the Untouchable in Modern, which ended up at 17 and 18%). As a result, this week, we're heading to Modern to play a deck that I'm sure will be the gatest Against the Odds deck of all time and try to win by getting 11 different lands on the battlefield with the help of Maze's End

We'll talk more about Maze's Endchantress in a minute, but first a quick reminder. If you enjoy the Against the Odds series and the other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel.

Against the Odds: Maze's Endchantress Deck Tech

Against the Odds: Maze's Endchantress Games

The Deck

When I set out to build a Maze's End deck, my main goal was to avoid building Turbo Fog if at all possible, just because pretty much every Maze's End deck I've ever seen was some Turbo Fog variant. That said, since our goal is to win by getting 11 different lands on the battlefield at the same time, we do need a way to slow down the game. My first take on the deck included every card that says "you can play an additional land," but didn't really have any way of interacting with the opponent. Then, it struck me that a lot of the cards I wanted to play were enchantments, which eventually led to Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety to slow down opposing creatures, and eventually a full-fledged Maze's Endchantress build!

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The main part of the deck is pretty self-explanatory—our primary goal is to get one of each Guildgate on the battlefield, activate a Maze's End, and win the game. The only real question here is just how many Guildgates we should play. Eventually, we ended up with only one of each to avoid Time Walking ourselves too often with enters-the-battlefield-tapped lands. While only having one copy of each is risky—something as simple as a Ghost Quarter or Fulminator Mage could make it really difficult to win with Maze's End—we do have some backup plans to deal with these worst-case scenarios. 

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Life from the Loam is our Plan B. Most importantly, it allows us to get back a Guildgate that our opponent kills with a Ghost Quarter, Tectonic Edge, or Fulminator Mage, which makes our plan of only playing one of each Guildgate much less risky. Instead of being devastated by a land-destruction spell, since we have Life from the Loam, getting a land destroyed is merely annoying, costing us a turn rather than losing us the game. In the late game, once we have our opponent's threats under control, Life from the Loam also gives us a way to find our Guildgates, since we can dredge it every turn and then cast it to get back whatever Guildgates we happen to mill while dredging. 

On the other hand, Life from the Loam can't save us from a Crumble to Dust or a Sowing Salt, and if we get a Guildgate exiled, our plan of winning with Maze's End is completely off the table. Crackling Perimeter gives us a way to kill our opponent if this happens by tapping whatever Guildgates we do have to deal damage to our opponent. 

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This package allows us to speed up the process of getting our 11 lands on the battlefield, either by letting us play multiple lands a turn or by drawing us cards. Rites of Flourishing might be the best card in the entire deck because it allows us to do both. Into the Wilds gives us a free land on our upkeep, if we happen to have one on top of our deck. Meanwhile, both cards synergize well with Courser of Kruphix, which allows us to play lands off the top of our deck (becoming a sort of a build-your-own Oracle of Mul Daya with Rites of Flourishing) while also allowing us to see the top of our deck, so that we can manipulate our library with fetch lands or draw cards to increase our odds of getting free lands with Into the Wilds. Finally, Eidolon of Blossoms just draws us a lot of cards, which helps make sure we always have extra lands to play with our Rites of Flourishing while also finding us Ghostly Prison, Sphere of Safety, and Leyline of Sanctity to keep us alive until we can get enough lands to win with Maze's End

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Even with the ability to draw extra cards and play extra lands, it's going to take us a while to get enough lands to win with Maze's End, which is where Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety come in. If we get these enchantments on the battlefield quickly enough, we can pretty much lock our opponent's creatures out of attacking, which buys us a ton of time to assemble the Maze's End kill. Leyline of Sanctity does something similar but is focused on spells rather than creatures, making sure we don't get burned out by Lightning Bolts and Lava Spikes, while also protecting our enchantments from discard like Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek

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The rest of the main deck is pretty bland. We have Fertile Ground and Trace of Abundance to ramp a bit, while also drawing us cards when we have an Eidolon of Blossoms on the battlefield. Greater Auramancy protects our Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety from targeted removal and makes sure that Courser of Kruphix stays on the battlefield to gain us life and that Eidolon of Blossoms sticks around to draw us into more Guildgates. Finally, Idyllic Tutor lets us search up whatever enchantment we need in a given situation; most commonly a Rites of Flourishing, Ghostly Prison, or [Sphere of Safety]], but occasionally our single copy of Crackling Perimeter to finish off the game when things go off the rails. 

Sideboard

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I'm not going to cover the entire sideboard because many of the cards are fairly typical; however, a handful of cards are extremely important to our plan of winning with Maze's End. Terra Eternal and Sacred Ground are answers to land-destruction spells, and both can be tutored up with Idyllic Tutor, so if we run into an opponent bringing in a bunch of Stone Rains or Fulminator Mages, we can bring these in as an answer.

While also being helpful against random artifacts and enchantments, Krosan Grip is in the deck to answer three specific cards: Blood Moon, Spreading Seas, and Pithing Needle. While getting lands killed isn't the worst thing, since we can always get them back with Life from the Loam or protect them with Terra Eternal and Sacred Ground, having our Guildgates turned into Mountains or Islands on the battlefield (or our Maze's End being named by Pithing Needle) makes it really hard for us to win the game. Krosan Grip is an uncounterable answer that we can cast even through a Blood Moon, since we have a couple of basic Forests in our deck. 

Finally, Rebuff the Wicked gives us an out to Sowing Salt and Crumble to Dust, which are the two scariest cards for our deck, since once a land is exiled, we have no way of winning with Maze's End

The Matchups

Our deck is pretty well set up to beat aggressive, creature-based strategies, since Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety make it really, really hard for decks like Goblins, Death's Shadow, or Merfolk to kill us. Midrange creature decks are also pretty good matchups for the same reasons. Basically, we're happy to play anything that's looking to win with creatures. As for bad matchups, combo decks that don't care about Sphere of Safety or Ghostly Prison can be challenging; we're pretty much hoping that Leyline of Sanctity will be able to keep us alive. Control can also be problematic. Planeswalkers (especially Nahiri, the Harbinger) are extremely good against our deck because we don't have good ways of getting rid of them, so they often have free reign to tick up until they ultimate, and ultimating a planeswalker is usually enough to win a game.

The Odds

While we didn't get in as many matches as normal because a lot of our games went incredibly long, all in all, the numbers were pretty good. We won two out of four matches (good for a 50% match win percentage) and five out of nine games (56% game win percentage). I have no clue how representative this is of the deck's true power. We ran into some really, really weird matchups, including 8 Whack (which feels like a very good matchup), Illusions (which also felt good, even though we lost), Mardu Midrange (where we were just trounced by Liliana of the Veil and Nahiri, the Harbinger ultimates in back-to-back games), and Enduring Ideal (which was one of the craziest and most fun matches I've played in a while). So, is Maze's Endchantress good? Who knows? One thing I do know is that the deck was a ton of fun to play and it felt like the deck functioned extremely well, doing a good job of putting together the Maze's End kill, drawing a ton of cards, and locking opponents out of the game! 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Only one more episode before we get to start playing with some super-sweet Eldritch Moon cards! 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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