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Against the Odds: Mono-Green Resonator (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 128 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had an all-Masters 25 Against the Odds poll, and in the end, it wasn't especially close: people wanted to see Commander staple Strionic Resonator doubling up some triggers! As such, we are heading to Modern this week for a deck that's looking to see if we can win some games by triggering some powerful permanents multiple times! The biggest challenge of Strionic Resonator is that, at least in some ways, it's very similar to Panharmonicon (since enters-the-battlefield abilities are technically triggered abilities). Because of this, one of the rules I set for myself in building a Strionic Resonator deck is that we'd avoid building an enters-the-battlefield trigger deck, since Panharmonicon is almost strictly better when it comes to doubling enters-the-battlefield triggers specifically, and instead focus on some of the other sweet triggers that Strionic Resonator can double! Which triggers did we choose? Can Strionic Resonator compete in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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The Deck

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As I mentioned in the intro, heading into the build, the one thing I knew for sure is that I didn't want Strionic Resonator to be bad Panharmonicon. While having some enters-the-battlefield triggers in the deck would be fine, playing a Panharmonicon deck with Strionic Resonator over Panharmonicon felt wrong, so I start digging around for other types of triggers. I considered an enchantment build, since enchantments are one of the card types that Panharmonicon doesn't effect, but decided that would probably leave us with another Paradox Haze enchantment prison deck, and we played one of those just a couple of weeks ago. Next, I built an Esper attack trigger deck with Geist of Saint Traft and Dragonlord Ojutai, but it mostly just felt like a worse version of Esper Control. Next up was death triggers, and I almost played a Yosei, the Morning Star lock deck but ended up realizing that Strionic Resonator wasn't actually very important to locking the opponent (just reanimating Yosei was good enough, and even that felt weird when you can just reanimate Griselbrand and win). Finally, I realized that the perfect creature type exists for Strionic Resonator: Eldrazi! The upside of Eldrazi with Resonator is that they trigger when they are cast and when they attack, which means we get a ton of opportunities for doubling up our triggers. 

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The Eldrazi are our primary finishers, and they are pretty absurd with Strionic Resonator. Take, for example, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. With a Resonator on the battlefield, we can cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and exile our opponent's four best permanents, and then when we attack with Ulamog the following turn, we can double the "exile 20 cards" trigger, which usually makes a single Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger attack lethal by exiling our opponent's entire library. The other Eldrazi all have sweet "cast" triggers as well, with Emrakul, the Aeons Torn giving us a double Time Walk, Kozilek, the Great Distortion drawing us eight cards, and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre exiling two permanents. Then, we can attack and double up the annihilator triggers, which is especially important with Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre because annihilating four sometimes isn't enough, but annihilating eight will clear nearly all of our opponent's board in most matchups. The other nice aspect of the Eldrazi / Resonator plan is that we have the perfect support card for ramping into our Eldrazi.

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Primeval Titan is pretty insane with Strionic Resonator because, much like the Eldrazi, it has two different triggers we can copy. First, we can search for two lands when Primeval Titan enters the battlefield, which doubles up to four lands with the help of Strionic Resonator; then, we can do it again when we attack with Primeval Titan, with the end result being more than enough mana to cast any of our Eldrazi (hopefully with enough mana left over to pay two for Strionic Resonator and double their triggers). Plus, we have an interesting plan for helping Primeval Titan make even more mana.

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While we aren't a Tron deck, we do have two copies of each Tron land because they work really well with Primeval Titan and Strionic Resonator. The idea is pretty simple: with just two of each Tron land in our deck, we aren't likely to naturally draw into Tron, which is fine because we're rather have green mana in the early game. Then, once we cast Primeval Titan and double the land-tutor trigger with Strionic Resonator, we can tutor up all three Tron pieces at once, which gives us enough mana to cast our Eldrazi the following turn!

Early-Game Ramp

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For our deck to work, we need to ramp into Primeval Titan and our Eldrazi as quickly as possible. To make this happen, we have a bunch of early-game ramp spells. Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl are a pretty common package, so we won't spend too much time talking about them. The ability to use Arbor Elf to untap a land with Utopia Sprawl can make four extra mana as early as Turn 2, making it the most explosive early-game ramp package in Modern. Meanwhile, Khalni Heart Expedition gives us additional ramp and actually works well with Strionic Resonator. While it sounds janky, sometimes doubling up the landfall trigger to get an extra counter on Khalni Heart Expedition to ramp a turn sooner is really important and worthwhile. 

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Courser of Kruphix and Oracle of Mul Daya, along with Azusa, Lost but Seeking, do two important things for our deck. First, they help us ramp by letting us play extra lands each turn. Second, they help make sure we find action by letting us play lands off the top of our deck. With the help of fetch lands, we can manipulate the top of our deck to find our Strionic Resonator, Primeval Titan, and Eldrazi, which helps to solve the flood-out problem that often comes along with mono-green ramp-style decks. Oh yeah, and while it isn't exciting, we can always use Strionic Resonator to double up Courser of Kruphix's lifegain trigger if we don't have anything else going on. While paying two mana to gain a single life isn't a good rate by any means, it's still better than leaving our mana unused if we have nothing going on and can be helpful against aggro and Burn. 

Other Stuff

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Tireless Tracker and The Immortal Sun give us some card draw that works with Strionic Resonator, since we can double up the Clue token trigger or The Immortal Sun's card draw. Much like the "play lands off the top of our deck" package, these cards help to make sure that we find our big finishers and Strionic Resonator with some consistency and reduce the odds that we flood out and lose by failing to find action. 

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Finally, we have Summoning Trap, which is a backup way to find our Eldrazi and Primeval Titan. While the instant doesn't work directly with Strionic Resonator, it does help us dig for powerful creatures with good triggers to double up. 

The Matchups

In all honesty, it felt like we lost to ourselves (often by not finding lands) more than we lost to opponents, although as far as specific matchups go, aggro is probably our hardest. While we can win if we get a good hand and and our opponent gets a bad hand, we don't really have a way of catching back up after we fall behind except for Eldrazi triggers, and Eldrazi triggers are pretty slow. Heavy removal and counterspell decks can also be annoying because if our opponent can disrupt our early ramp, we can get stuck with a bunch of expensive cards in hand that we can't cast. On the other hand, we have a pretty easy time going over the top of midrange and control decks, and Trinisphere was a surprise all-star out of the sideboard, letting us have a chance against combo and even some aggressive creature decks like Affinity.

The Odds

All in all, we played a massive seven matches and won four, good for a 57% match win percentage, along with winning eight of our 15 games (good for a 52% game win percentage), which makes Mono-Green Resonator slightly above average for an Against the Odds deck. More interesting is the fact that we didn't really play any close matches—apart from our three-game match against Affinity, every other match ended in two games. We either got crushed by decks like Infect and Colorless Eldrazi, which were just too fast for our Eldrazi and Strionic Resonator to keep up with, or crushed random midrange decks like Ponza and Esper Goryo's. 

As for Strionic Resonator itself, it did some pretty sweet things. Being able to double up a Khalni Heart Expedition trigger after Ponza played Blood Moon probably won us that game, doubling up Primeval Titan gave us tons of mana, and doubling up Eldrazi triggers was just as game ending as it looked on paper!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

It's been a few weeks since we've had a second-chance poll, so let's do one today! Which of these options that came in second or third over the last few Against the Odds polls deserve a second chance at glory next week? Let us know by voting below!

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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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