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Against the Odds: Ominous Good Tutelage Combo (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 241 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had another Ikoria Against the Odds poll, and we had a very clear winner, with Ominous Seas in Modern crushing the competition with 35% of the vote. As such, we're heading to Modern today to try to turn the two-mana enchantment into an infinite card-draw / mill combo piece with the help of Commander favorite Greater Good and one of my all-time favorite cards: Sphinx's Tutelage! How can Ominous Seas be turned into an infinite combo piece? What are the odds of winning with a deck built around the Ikoria enchantment in Modern? 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: Ominous Good Tutelage Combo

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The Deck

When Ominous Seas won the poll, I was already pretty sure about the direction we'd be heading. I've been wanting to try to combo Ominous Seas with Greater Good ever since someone suggested the combo to me a couple of weeks ago. The combo itself felt solid, allowing us to draw our entire deck (in chunks of eight cards), but the challenge was twofold: figuring out how to win the game after we drew our deck and deciding on a shell to support our combo pieces.

The Combo

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The primary combo of our deck is Ominous Seas and Greater Good. Ominous Seas gets a foreshadow counter whenever we draw a card, and once we build up eight counters, we can remove them to make an 8/8 Kraken. Meanwhile, Greater Good allows us to sacrifice a creature to draw cards equal to its power (and then discard three cards, which isn't especially relevant to our deck). As such, if we can get eight power worth of creatures on the battlefield (or eight counters on Ominous Seas) to make the first 8/8 Kraken, Greater Good will allow us to go infinite and draw our entire deck, eight cards at a time. We sacrifice the 8/8 Kraken to draw eight cards, which puts eight foreshadow counters on Ominous Seas and allows us to make another Kraken to sacrifice to Greater Good and repeat the process. 

Getting the First Kraken

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For our combo to work, we need to get the first eight foreshadow counters on Ominous Seas to make the first Kraken and start the loop. Because both Greater Good and Ominous Seas our enchantments, our primary plan to build up foreshadow counters fairly (pre-combo) and also find our combo pieces is our enchantresses, Eidolon of Blossoms and Setessan Champion. These cards draw us a card whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield, so as we are casting our combo pieces (or defensive enchantments like Ghostly Prison, Detention Sphere, and friends), we are also drawing extra cards. If we don't have Ominous Seas and Greater Good, this card draw should help us find them. If we do have our combo pieces, each enchantment that enters the battlefield will not only draw us a card but also add a foreshadow counter to Ominous Seas, helping us build toward the eight we need to win the game.

Meanwhile, Yorion, Sky Nomad does two things as our companion. First, it comes down and blinks all of our enchantments, so that they'll retrigger Eidolon of Blossoms and Setessan Champion when they return to play, to draw us even more cards (and make more foreshadow counters). This ability isn't just helpful with our combo but also with our backup plan of simply making as many 8/8 Krakens as possible and beating our opponent down. Second, we can play Yorion, Sky Nomad, as a 4/5 creature that is essentially always in our hand, and sacrifice it to Greater Good to draw for cards (and get four foreshadow counters), potentially giving us enough foreshadow counters to make the first 8/8 Kraken and start the combo loop. 

Winning the Game

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My initial plan for winning the game was Thassa's Oracle, and while we still have a single copy in our deck as a backup plan, I realized that it's actually sort of awkward with our combo. With Greater Good and Ominous Seas, we can draw our entire deck, but we draw it in chunks of eight cards. This can lead to some strange situations where, depending on how many cards we have in our deck when we start the combo, we can end up with something like five cards in our library, which might not be enough to win with Thassa's Oracle's enters-the-battlefield trigger (depending on how many blue mana symbols we have on the battlefield) but also not enough to where we can draw eight more cards with Greater Good without milling ourselves out. There are some ways to try to get around this (by sacrificing creatures like Arbor Elf or Eidolon of Blossoms to Greater Good to draw a smaller number of cards), but the Thassa's Oracle plan has a lot of risk. As a result, I went back to the drawing board before realizing that one of my all-time favorite cards is actually the perfect finisher for the deck: Sphinx's Tutelage.

Sphinx's Tutelage gives us an enchantment-based finisher (so it works with our Setessan Champions and Eidolon of Blossoms in the early game) that can also close out the game with the help of our combo. The idea is that after we get Greater Good and Ominous Seas going, we'll draw into one of our Sphinx's Tutelages. We can then cast Sphinx's Tutelage, keep drawing cards with our combo, and mill our opponent out of the game. With Sphinx's Tutelage on the battlefield, every Kraken we cast will mill our opponent for at least 16 cards (and possibly more if we get a couple of double hits with Sphinx's Tutelage by milling cards of the same color), which means we should only need to sacrifice three or four more Krakens to win the game!

Other Stuff

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The rest of our deck breaks down into three groups: ramp, card draw, and defensive cards, with most of the cards in all three groups being enchantments. Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl just speed up our deck, allowing us to ramp into Greater Good and Yorion, Sky Nomad quicker. If we draw enough fast mana, we can go infinite as early as Turn 3!

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Cards like Abundant Growth and Omen of the Sea give us more enchantment-based card draw to trigger our enchantresses and add foreshadow counters to Ominous Seas. While the infinite combo is the sweetest thing our deck can do, it's also very possible to just cast an Ominous Seas or two, draw a bunch of cards with the help of our random card-draw enchantments and enchantresses, and win with an 8/8 Kraken beatdown.

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Finally, we have a bunch of defensive enchantments to help us stay alive while we are finding our combo pieces and / or drawing cards to start making Krakens. I'm not going to bother to talk about all of them individually—there are a bunch of different options rounding out our 80 card deck. The important thing is they give us answers to our opponent's creatures and spells, to buy us enough time to pull off our combo.

The Matchups

Matchup-wise, our deck performed well against slower combo and midrange—matchups that gave us enough time to set up our combo and ones where our powerful sideboard enchantment hate cards can shine. On the other hand, we struggled with aggro—decks like Burn can take advantage of our deck's slowness and kill us before we can combo off.

The Odds

Technically, we finished 2-3 with Ominous Good Tutelage Combo, although in reality, our deck was a bit better than our record suggested. Our loss to Gruul Obosh came to a time-out from a position where we were close to 100% to win by comboing off in a turn or two since we had to spend a roughly infinite amount of time staying alive with Circle of Protection: Red in both games two and three. So on paper, we finished 2-3, but in our hearts, it was a 3-2. Record aside, the deck actually felt fairly competitive, and the combo is hilarious! Sphinx's Tutelage ended up being a great option as our finisher, and we even got a Kraken beatdown win!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

The Against the Odds poll has moved to YouTube! You can vote for next week's Historic Against the Odds deck here!.

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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