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Against the Odds: Meeting of the Five (Standard)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 336 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had one of our closest Against the Odds polls in a while, with Meeting of the Five in Standard just barely beating out Isshin, Two Heavens as One for Modern. As such, we're heading to Standard today to see if the card I called the worst from Streets of New Capenna might be a bit better than I had thought. The goal of the deck is simple: cast Meeting of the Five and trust that, because our deck is overloaded with cards that are exactly three colors, it will generate enough value to win us the game. While there aren't a ton of tricks to making Meeting of the Five good, apart from playing a ton of exactly three-color cards, there is one: Widespread Thieving, which is the closest thing we have to a combo with our namesake card. The pinch on Meeting of the Five is mana. Without help, the most cards we can cast with it is three (two three-drops and a four-drop). But with Widespread Thieving to make Treasures as we cast multicolor spells, we can sort of combo off with Meeting of the Five, potentially casting every single card it exiles, leading to a huge, explosive, game-ending turn! What are the odds of winning with Meeting of the Five in 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: Meeting of the Five

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The Deck

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When Meeting of the Five won the poll, my biggest concern was what to put around it. Obviously, the deck needs to be stuffed full of three-color cards, but just playing a bunch of three-color cards and then casting Meeting of the Five for value didn't feel very Against the Odds to me. While there aren't really a ton of combos or synergies for the card, I found one big one in Standard: Widespread Thieving. Widespread Thieving does a few really important things for our deck. In the early game, it can help ramp us into Meeting of the Five as we cast random three-color spells. If we get lucky, we can potentially use it to hide away a Meeting of the Five to cast at a discount, but Widespread Thieving becomes especially absurd once we get to the point of casting Meeting of the Five

Meeting of the Five itself makes 10 mana (two of each color), which means that without extra help, we can cast—at most—three of the cards it exiles (two three-drops and a four-drop, split between the different shards so we don't run out of colored mana). The problem is that Meeting of the Five often exiles more than three three-color cards, which means we often end up wasting some of the card advantage that it generates. Widespread Thieving is the solution to this problem, giving us a Treasure when we cast Meeting of the Five and then additional Treasures as we cast three-color spells from exile. If we have a Widespread Thieving (or two) on the battlefield during the turn we Meeting of the Five, there's a pretty good chance we'll be able to cast all the three-color cards we exile, greatly powering up our namesake sorcery and maybe even winning us the game.

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Outside of Widespread Thieving, Meeting of the Five, and Courier's Briefcase for card draw, mana fixing, and ramp, every other nonland card in our main deck is exactly three colors to power up Meeting of the Five. We've got one copy each of the mythic family leaders, in part for flavor reasons (Meeting of the Five shows off a meeting between Xander, Ziatora, Jetmir, Falco Spara, and Raffine) and in part because each is a powerful three-color card. While the fact that we're playing a mixture of cards from all five families means that there's not a ton of synergy between some of our threats, all of the mob bosses are strong enough, even without support from the rest of their family mechanics, that we don't mind playing them, especially with the help of Meeting of the Five.

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The other way we can try to maximize the power of Meeting of the Five is to play as mana three- and four-mana three-color spells as possible, split up between the various shard families. If you think about how Meeting of the Five actually works, it gives us 10 mana—double WUBRG—which means that without the help of additional mana, when we cast a Meeting of the Five, our best possible outcome is to cast two three-mana three-color spells and one four-mana three-color spell. But, they can't all be from the same shard, or else we'll run out of mana. As such, our deck is overloaded with powerful three- and four-mana three-color cards). Again, there isn't a ton of synergy here, but there is a lot of power, with cards like Corpse Appraiser, Lagrella, the Magpie, Endless Detour, Maestros Charm, Obscura Charm, Riveteers Charm, and Void Rend all being very solid as sources of card advantage and removal.

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The four-drop slot is much the same: a bunch of good four-mana threats split between the five families. Oddly, the best of the bunch might actually be Cormela, Glamour Thief. It can ramp us into Meeting of the Five in the early game; then, once we cast a Meeting of the Five, Cormela, Glamour Thief can return it to our hand when it dies to we can cast it again. Otherwise, cards like Ziatora's Envoy, Fleetfoot Dancer, and Obscura Interceptor are all solid midrange threats that also help us maximize Meeting of the Five's potential.

The Matchups

In general, aggro is the hardest matchup for Meeting of the Five, which makes sense considering we're a somewhat clunky five-color deck built around an eight-mana sorcery. While we have a shot against fast decks if we get a good draw, we often end up being just a bit too slow and getting run over. On the other hand, we have time to get to Meeting of the Five against midrange and control, and the value it generates is often enough to win us the game. A surprising number of opponents scooped the turn we cast it!

The Odds

All in all, we went 2-2 with the deck, discounting a few redundant matchups against Grixis where I scooped as soon as I saw what deck our opponent was playing, for the sake of diversity, which is better than I expected. More importantly, pretty much all of our wins came from Meeting of the Five itself. While there is certainly a high cost to building around the sorcery (playing almost exclusively three-color cards is tricky), Meeting of the Five was actually pretty good. I believe we won every time we managed to resolve it, often in spectacular fashion. Even though it looks a bit janky in paper, in practice, drawing and playing three cards for eight mana is a pretty good deal, and doubly so if we have Widespread Thieving to keep the fun going. While I don't think Meeting of the Five is a top-tier card by any stretch, it's also not the worst rare or mythic from Streets of New Capenna, which is what I thought before actually playing with it. In the right deck and with the right support, it can actually do some really powerful and fun things!

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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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