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Against the Odds: Mindlink Mech (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 326 of Against the Odds. This week, we're heading to Modern to play a deck I've been wanting to play for a while now: Mindlink Mech combo! We've seen the new Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty vehicle do some sweet things in Standard, but there are also some pretty absurd synergies for the card in Modern. The idea is to use small creatures with powerful combat-damage triggers to crew Mindlink Mech, which, thanks to the vehicle's cloning ability, can give us 4/3 flying versions of cards like Cephalid Constable to bounce all of our opponent's permanents, Cold-Eyed Selkie to refill our hand, or Dreamstealer to wipe out our opponent's hand. Since our deck really wants Mindlink Mech on the battlefield, we have Anchor to Reality to tutor it up, which also allows for the sneaky backup plan of cheating Elbrus, the Binding Blade into play and flipping it into a 13/13 flying trampler! How good is Mindlink Mech in Modern if you go all-in building around it? Is Elbrus, the Binding Blade good now thanks to Anchor to Reality? 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: Mindlink Mech

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The Deck

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The goal of our deck is pretty simple: get Mindlink Mech on the battlefield as quickly as possible and crew it with a small creature with a powerful combat-damage trigger. Thanks to Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch, we can (hopefully) cast Mindlink Mech on Turn 2 and a crew member on Turn 3 and then immediately attack to generate an absurd amount of value.

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Our most exciting crewer for Mindlink Mech is Cephalid Constable, which allows us to bounce permanents equal to the amount of damage it deals whenever it deals combat damage. The problem is that it's hard to get in an attack with Cephalid Constable, as a three-mana 1/1; even if we do, it only bounces a single permanent on its own. On the other hand, if we can use Cephalid Constable to crew Mindlink Mech, we end up with a 4/3 flying version of Cephalid Constable, allowing us to bounce four permanents when we hit our opponent. Because Cephalid Constable doesn't specify non-land permanents, we usually can bounce our opponent's entire board—including lands—which more or less locks our opponent out of the game. Sure, they can replay one of the lands we bounced during their turn, but then we just hit them with Mindlink Mech again to make them bounce it again. Basically, once we get Mindlink Mech and Cephalid Constable going, our opponent should be stuck on one mana for the rest of the game!

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While not quite as devastating as Cephalid Constable, we have two backup crew members for Mindlink Mech that work in essentially the game way. Cold-Eyed Selkie draws cards equal to the combat damage it deals, while Dreamstealer makes our opponent discard that many cards. This means that if we use Cold-Eyed Selkie to crew Mindlink Mech, a single attack will draw us at least four cards (and it could be more thanks to Noble Hierarch's exalted trigger) while Dreamstealer makes our opponent discard at least four cards, quickly emptying our opponent's hand.

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As you probably noticed, we have a bunch of redundancy with our crew members. One Cephalid Constable, Cold-Eyed Selkie, or Dreamstealer can be game-winning when it crews Mindlink Mech. The problem is that we only have one Mindlink Mech. As such, we have Anchor to Reality as extra copies, allowing us to sacrifice an artifact land or a random mana dork to tutor Mindlink Mech directly to the battlefield for just four mana. Because we're playing Anchor to Reality, we have two one-of backup tutor targets in case we don't need to get Mindlink Mech. First, we have Kaldra Compleat, which is the most devastating equipment we can tutor up since it turns into a 5/5 hasty, indestructible, trampling threat due to living weapon. Thanks to our mana dorks, we can get Kaldra Compleat as early as Turn 3, which is just as fast a Stoneforge Mystic, and a Turn 3 Kaldra can win games all by itself in some matchups. Our second tutor target is much spicier: Elbrus, the Binding Blade. Elbrus is a unique equipment: its mana cost is super high, but its equip cost is just one, and if we manage to deal combat damage with the equipped creature, we are rewarded with a 13/13 flying, trampler! This means we can use Anchor to Reality to sneak Elbrus, the Binding Blade into play, stick it on something like Birds of Paradise or Mindlink Mech, and immediately flip it into one of the biggest threats in Modern!

Other Stuff

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Outside of our combo pieces, we have a bit of interaction in Fatal Push, Thoughtseize, and Drown in the Loch. Apart from just being good cards, the main purpose of our interaction is to support our Mindlink Mech plan. If you think about what can stop our combo, there are two main things: removal on Mindlink Mech and flying blockers. Thoughtseize allows us to do a "hand check" for removal before firing up our Mindlink Mech to make sure our opponent won't be able to kill it with a removal spell once it enters its creature form, while Fatal Push and Drown in the Loch can get any flying blockers out of the way to make sure we're getting hits in each turn with Mindlink Mech.

The Matchups

In some sense, I'm not sure Mindlink Mech has a ton of good or bad matchups. When our deck does its thing, it can beat basically any deck in Modern. On the other hand, if given the choice, we'd rather dodge decks that are overloaded with creature removal because we do need to be able to get in hits with Mindlink Mech for our deck to do anything exciting. Thankfully, we have plenty of protection, between Thoughtseize in the main deck and counters like Spell Pierce in the sideboard, so we've still got a shot to combo off and win even if we run into a deck overloaded with removal. Plus, Kaldra Compleat is pretty absurd against removal-heavy decks since it's indestructible, so we can always shift gears and focus on cheating it into play with Anchor to Reality if we're expecting our opponent to be able to deal with our primary Mindlink Mech plan.

Wrap-Up

Record-wise. we finished 2-2 with Mindlink Mech, although I think that undersells just how sweet the deck was in practice. We got multiple flawless victories along the way and even won with Elbrus, the Binding Blade! If you look at our two losses, they were super close. We lost a three-game match to Tron where we had Damping Sphere and the ability to bounce our opponent's board on Turn 4 but our opponent had Turn 3 Tron plus a way to kill Damping Sphere and a Ugin, the Spirit Dragon to kill our Mindlink Mech the turn before they would lose all of their lands. Against Gruul, we lost a three-game match with lethal on board to double Lightning Bolt plus Klothys, God of Destiny burn for exactsies. Basically, our wins were dominating, and our losses were super close. As weird as it sounds, I think there's a chance that Mindlink Mech might actually be at least somewhat competitive in Modern!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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We've been playing a ton of Modern and Pioneer lately, so let's give Standard some love next week. Which card should we build around? Click here to vote!

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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