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Against the Odds: New Perspectives Combo (Standard)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode eighty-five of Against the Odds. Last week, we had another all-Amonkhet Against the Odds poll, and in the end, it was Glorious End coming out on top, taking home 34% of the nearly 7,000 votes cast. Unfortunately, after building and starting to play the Glorious End deck, I ran into an issue: the red mythic was bugged on Magic Online, triggering every end step (when it should only trigger once) even if you counter or fizzle it the first time. As a result, pretty much all of the cool tricks to do with Glorious End were off the table, so instead of playing a broken card, we had a last-minute change to a deck I've got a ton of questions about: New Perspectives Combo! As for Glorious End, Wizards announced they are fixing it today, so rather than having a poll for this episode, we'll just slot Glorious End back into the rotation for next week and then return to the poll next episode.

Back to this week: New Perspectives is unique in the world of Against the Odds because it isn't a deck I brewed from scratch—instead, it's a new Standard combo deck that's been floating around under the radar. Thankfully, the deck looks very Against the Odds-worthy, with our plan being to tap out for a New Perspectives on Turn 5 or 6, then immediately produce more than 20 mana, draw our entire deck, and eventually win by casting not one but two copies of Approach of the Second Sun—all in the same turn! Can this combo really compete in Standard? We're about to find out!

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Against the Odds: New Perspectives (Deck Tech)

Against the Odds: New Perspectives (Games)

The Deck

Step 1: Ramp into New Perspectives

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Probably the easiest way to understand what we are trying to do is to walk step-by-step though the combo. It all starts and ends with New Perspectives—an update on Fluctuator that allows us to cycle through our entire deck, for free. The trick to comboing off with New Perspectives is that we can use this free cycling to not only draw cards but also produce a ton of mana and eventually win the game. Since New Perspectives is so important, we play a couple of ways to ramp into it a turn early. 

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Weirding Wood and Shefet Monitor are dual-purpose cards. First, they help us ramp into our New Perspectives on Turn 5 instead of waiting until Turn 6, which is actually very important. Once we resolve a New Perspectives, we are very likely to win the game before our opponent gets a chance to untap, but sometimes waiting until Turn 6 is just too slow, which is where Weirding Wood and Shefet Monitor help by adding an extra mana to cut a turn off our New Perspectives clock. Second, after we start comboing off, both Weirding Wood and Shefet Monitor help us make the extra mana we need to actually close out the game.

Step 2: Cycle, Cycle, Cycle

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Once we resolve a New Perspectives, we start cycling over and over again for free, thanks to its ability. Counting our cycling lands, we have a massive 32 cards that cycle, which means we have a pretty good shot at chaining cycler into cycler into cycler and eventually drawing through our entire deck. Cast Out, Haze of Pollen, and Renewed Faith are dual-purpose cards. While they help to up the number of cycling cards to make sure we don't fizzle once we start comboing off with New Perspectives, they also help us survive until Turn 5 or 6 until we can resolve our New Perspectives by exiling our opponent's threats, Fogging, and gaining us some life. 

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The cycling lands are pretty simple: in the early game, they are slightly annoying enters-the-battlefield-tapped lands, but since our goal is to chain cycler into cycler, the upside of being able to cash them in for a new card (for free, with New Perspectives) more than makes up for our sometimes clunky starts. 

Step 3: Produce a Ton of Mana

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To actually win the game after resolving our New Perspectives, we need to have at least 14 mana floating and sometimes even more. To do this, our goal is to find all four copies of Vizier of Tumbling Sands (perhaps with the help of Traverse the Ulvenwald), cycle them all for free to untap (and then retap) a land (ideally one with a Weirding Wood on it), and then get them all back (along with all of our other cycling cards) with Shadow of the Grave, which allows us to do this all over again. Assuming we have all four copies of Vizier of Tumbling Sands and a Weirding Wood, this process can get us up to 32 mana (we gain eight for cycling all four Viziers but then need to spend two for Shadow of the Grave). We can also get some extra mana from Shefet Monitor, but thanks to all of our cycling, we normally run out of basic lands to find pretty quickly. So, what are we spending this mana on?

Step 4: The Finish

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As for actually closing out the game, our plan is to cast the same copy of Approach of the Second Sun twice, which requires 14 mana. We cast one, and it goes seven cards down in our library, but since we have a ton of cyclers that we can cycle for free, we just immediately cycle seven times to draw it and cast it again. Sphinx of the Final Word is to make sure we don't lose to counterspells. If our opponent has untapped blue mana, we need 21 mana to win—to cycle into our Sphinx of the Final Word to make our Approach of the Second Sun uncounterable and then cast Approach of the Second Sun twice. 

And that's pretty much the deck. While we have some additional finishers in the sideboard like Drake Haven and Kefnet the Mindful (mostly to hedge against cards like Lost Legacy and Pick the Brain), as far as the main deck is concerned, this is pretty much our only plan for winning the game. Every card in the deck goes into supporting the combo, either ramping us into it or cycling.

The Matchups

There are basically three challenges for New Perspectives combo. First, since we need to survive to Turn 5 or 6 to win the game, we can sometimes struggle against really fast aggro decks that can kill us on Turn 4 or 5, although having stuff like Haze of Pollen and Renewed Faith helps by sometimes buying us the extra turn we need to find our New Perspectives and win the game.

Second is hardcore control. While Sphinx of the Final Word can make our Approach of the Second Sun uncounterable, it doesn't protect our New Perspectives, so if our opponent is playing a ton of counters, they can just focus on countering our enchantment, making it impossible to combo off and forcing us to rely on naturally drawing into Sphinx of the Final Word and Approach of the Second Sun twice to win the game.

Third are black sideboard cards like Lost Legacy and Pick the Brain, which can strip all of our New Perspectives from our deck and end our chances of comboing off. As I mentioned a moment ago, this problem is mostly fixed by the sideboard—if you run into a black deck, make sure to diversity your finishers because it's very likely the opponent will be bringing in some number of Lost Legacy and maybe Pick the Brain as well.

The Odds

I'm not even sure what to say about this one. Heading into the matches, I expected the deck to be pretty janky but occasionally steal a win every now and then, but then we went 5-0 in our video matches, backed up by a perfect 10-0 in games. I even played a test game just to make sure I understood how the combo worked against RW Humans and won that one 2-0 as well (comboing off at one or two life each game). 

Probably the most impressive part of the deck is just how reliable the combo is once we resolve New Perspectives. Out of our 10 games, we fizzled while comboing only once (and still went on to win the next turn). This means that the deck really is: "resolve New Perspectives, win the game." While the matchup issues are still at thing and it's hard to say from a small sample just how good a deck really is, the performance was super impressive, and I wouldn't be surprised to find New Perspectives being a semi-real deck in Amonkhet Standard!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

No poll this week. Since Wizards is fixing Glorious End as we speak, we'll be playing the red mythic (and winner of last week's poll) for next week's episode. Don't worry, we'll get back to the Against the Odds poll next week!

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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