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Against the Odds: New Perspectives (Pioneer, Magic Online)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 217 of Against the Odds. Last week, we returned to Pioneer for our Against the Odds poll, and in the end, New Perspectives sneaked out the victory. As such, we're heading to Pioneer today to see if we can pick up some wins by cycling through our entire deck with our namesake enchantment. The idea of New Perspectives combo is to build our deck in such as way that we should be able to win the game on the spot as soon as New Perspectives hit the battlefield, thanks to the power of being able to cycle all of our cards for free, which allows us to draw through our entire deck and win with either Jace, Wielder of Mysteries or Fae of Wishes tutoring Approach of the Second Sun from our sideboard. Does New Perspectives have what it takes to compete in Pioneer? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: New Perspectives

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The Deck

Building around New Perspectives is actually easier than it might seem. The card requires three things. First, we need to live long enough to resolve a six-mana enchantment. Second, we need to resolve New Perspectives with at least four cards in hand, so that after drawing three cards from New Perspectives, we will have at least seven in hand to cycle for free. Third, we need to overload our deck with cycling cards, so that once we have a New Perspectives, the odds are in favor of us cycling through our entire deck and winning the game. 

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In some sense, New Perspectives is basically a one-card combo. While it requires some tricky deck building to make it work, in the right deck, New Perspectives should essentially win the game on the turn when it hits the battlefield. While drawing three cards is nice, the main power of New Perspectives is that, as long as we have a full hand, we can cycle all of our cards for free, which in turn will allow us to generate a ton of mana and eventually win the game after drawing literally our entire deck.

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Apart from New Perspectives itself, our next most important cards are Vizier of Tumbling Sands and Lotus Field, which allow us to generate a ton of extra mana as we cycle through our deck for free with New Perspectives. We almost never want to cast Vizier of Tumbling Sands; instead, our goal is to hold it until after we have New Perspectives and then cycle it (for free) to untap Lotus Field, which means Vizier of Tumbling Sands is essentially a Black Lotus, generating three mana for free! While mostly helpful after we have New Perspectives, Lotus Field can also help us ramp into New Perspectives with an assist from Vizier of Tumbling Sands. With a Lotus Field on the battlefield, even if we have to pay two mana to cycle (and untap Lotus Field) with Vizier of Tumbling Sands, we're still generating an extra mana, which can help us get to the six mana we need to cast our namesake enchantment.

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The next puzzle piece is Shadow of the Grave, which allows us to return all of the cards we cycle (for free, with New Perspectives) to our hand, which in turn allows us to cycle all of those cards again. While getting back any random cycling card is helpful since they allow us to draw through our entire deck en masse in one big turn, getting back Vizier of Tumbling Sands is key since it gives us more Black Lotuses by continuing to untap Lotus Field. Eventually, as we cycle through our deck and return our cyclers from our graveyard to our hand with Shadow of the Grave, we'll draw into all four copies of Vizier of Tumbling Sands. This means that even if we completely tap out to cast New Perspectives, we can generate up to 48 extra mana for free with our Vizier of Tumbling Sands, Lotus Field, and Shadow of the Grave combo, and since we should be able to draw our entire deck, we'll eventually draw into all of our combo pieces.

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When it comes to winning the game, we have two plans. First, in our main deck, we have one copy of Jace, Wielder of Mysteries and one Teferi, Time Raveler. After we draw through our entire deck (and float a ton of mana with Vizier of Tumbling Sands and Lotus Field), we simply cast Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, cycle another time or two, and win the game by drawing on an empty library. Part of the power of Jace, Wielder of Mysteries as our win condition is that after it hits the battlefield, it's basically impossible for our opponent to interact with since we can cycle for free at instant speed. This means that even if our opponent has a Murderous Rider or Assassin's Trophy to try to kill Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, we're still basically guaranteed to win since we can cycle again with the removal spell on the stack. 

On the other hand, for this plan to work, we need to make sure that Jace, Wielder of Mysteries actually resolves—a counterspell on Jace could ruin our entire plan. This is where our one copy of Teferi, Time Raveler comes into play. Since we have so much mana from Vizier of Tumbling Sands and Lotus Field, after we draw our whole deck, if our opponent has mana up that could represent a counterspell, we simply lead with Teferi, Time Raveler. If it resolves, we know we are safe to resolve Jace, Wielder of Mysteries and win. If it gets countered, hopefully our opponent doesn't have enough mana (or counters) to also counter Jace, Wielder of Mysteries

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Our backup plan for winning the game is Fae of Wishes and a copy of Approach of the Second Sun in our sideboard. The idea here is that after we draw most or all of our deck with New Perspectives and various cyclers, we can use Fae of Wishes to find Approach of the Second Sun and—using the mana from Vizier of Tumbling Sands and Lotus Field—cast Approach of the Second Sun. It then goes back in our deck, and we can cycle a few more times, draw Approach of the Second Sun again, and cast it a second time to win the game. 

The other powerful aspect of Fae of Wishes is that thanks to all of the cards we return to our hand with Shadow of the Grave and all of the mana we make with Vizier of Tumbling Sands, we can often cast it multiple times in the same combo turn by bouncing it back to our hand and discarding some random cycling cards (which actually return to our hand again anyway with the next copy of Shadow of the Grave). This will allow us to find something like Teferi, Time Raveler or Dovin's Veto from our sideboard for even more combo protection.

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The rest of the deck is all cards with cycling. To make the New Perspectives combo work, we need a critical mass of cycling cards in our deck since the way our combo fizzles is that as we cycle through our deck with New Perspectives, we hit too many non-cycling cards before we hit Vizier of Tumbling Sands and Shadow of the Grave. As a result, including a bunch of cycling lands, we have a massive 39 cyclers in our deck, which means we have to get very unlucky to not draw our entire deck the turn we resolve New Perspectives. The challenge is finding the right cycling cards to support our plan of living long enough to resolve New Perspectives. Shefet Monitor is a good example. Normally, it's a bad ramp spell, costing four mana to Rampant Growth and cycle. However, it's the best ramp spell in our deck since it has cycling, so along with getting us an extra land to ramp into New Perspectives, it also works after we have New Perspectives, when we can cycle it away and return it to our hand with Shadow of the Grave

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For defense, we have Haze of Pollen to Fog an attack, Sweltering Suns as a wrath against aggro decks, and Cast Out to answer whatever permanent is giving us trouble (including graveyard hate like Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace, which shut down our combo by stopping Shadow of the Grave from looping Vizier of Tumbling Sands). Here, the most important thing to remember is that for our combo to work, we need to get to six mana for New Perspectives and still have at least four cards in hand when New Perspectives resolves. As such, we have to be very careful about casting cards since if we cast too many, we'll end up so low on cards that we can't win the game with New Perspectives since we won't have enough cards in hand to cycle for free.

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That said, Hieroglyphic Illumination helps to solve the cards-in-hand problem. If things are going well and we have what we need to win the game, we can always just cycle it away, but if we end up low on cards because we need to cast several removal spells, we can cast Hieroglyphic Illumination to draw two cards, helping to get us back up to the seven we need to win with New Perspectives

Matchups

The matchups on New Perspectives are simple: our deck doesn't do well against counterspells or decks with a ton of discard spells like Thoughtseize and Duress. The power of New Perspectives is that it's basically a one-card combo that wins us the game. The drawback of playing a New Perspectives deck is that if we can't resolve a New Perspectives, our deck doesn't do anything except cycle endlessly for no real value. Cards like Teferi, Time Raveler and sideboard counterspells help in counterspell matchups, while Leyline of Sanctity gives us protection against Thoughtseize. But we'd still much rather play against any non-counterspell non-Thoughtseize deck in the format. On the other hand, New Perspectives is very solid against random creature decks. We win consistently at about Turn 5, and if our opponent can't interact with New Perspectives before it hits the battlefield, we immediately win the game. Plus, cards like Haze of Pollen and Sweltering Suns are very good at buying us one or two extra turns against aggressive decks, which is often the exact amount of time we need to play New Perspectives and win.

The Odds

All in all, we played five matches with New Perspectives and won two, giving us a 40% match win percentage, which makes New Perspectives a bit below average for an Against the Odds deck. That said, if you dig into our matches, I think the deck has a solid argument that it's at least a little bit better than its win percentage suggests. In both of our match wins, we crushed our opponent in two straight games, while most of our losses were extremely close. Against Mono-Green Ramp, we ended up a land short of casting New Perspectives and winning the match the turn before we were run over by the horde of Field of the Dead Zombie tokens, while against Spirits (which is a tough matchup), we lost game one to a main-deck copy of Spell Pierce being the last card in our opponent's hand. In game two, we worked our way into a position where we could cast Teferi, Time Raveler and New Perspectives in the same turn, but our opponent had multiple counterspells and enough mana to cast them. Even against Bogles, we were 1-1 before we lost game three to an epic mana screw. All this is to say that with a bit more luck, more tuning, or tighter play, New Perspectives could easily have gone 3-2 or even 4-1 in our matches. 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Since we're returning to Theros in just over a month, it seems like a good time to revisit the jankier aspects of the plan, this time in the Pioneer format! Which of these Theros "all stars" should we build around 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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