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Against the Odds: Primal Door (Modern)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode sixty-five of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a poll featuring a bunch of different artifacts from the original Mirrodin block, and it was Door to Nothingness opening up with a victory over Timesifter and Lich's Tomb. As a result, we are heading to Modern to play a deck that can win the game (by making the opponent lose the game) with just a single card! Of course, there are some challenges. Door to Nothingness costs five mana to cast and enters the battlefield tapped, which makes it a bit slow; plus, we need 10 mana to activate it, with two mana of each color. However, we have plenty of ramp to speed up the process and a couple of amazingly janky combos to help us along the way. Is it possible to win (by making the opponent lose) in Modern with Door to Nothingness? We're about to find out!

Anyway, let's get to the videos, but first a quick reminder. If you enjoy the Against the Odds series and the other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel.

Against the Odds: Primal Door (Deck Tech)

Against the Odds: Primal Door (Games)

The Deck

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Winning with Door to Nothingness is really straightforward but not especially easy. We need to live long enough to untap with a five-mana artifact that enters the battlefield tapped, but then also get all the way up to 10 mana (including two of each color) to win the game (by making our opponent lose the game) with Door to Nothingness. As a result, we have several problems to solve. First, we need to slow our opponent down enough to make Door to Nothingness relevant. Second, we need to make sure we have the right colors of mana to activate Door to Nothingness. Third, we need to have enough mana to pay the cost of activating the Door. 

Combo #1

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When it comes to slowing down an opponent in Modern, there's nothing quite like Blood Moon. Since we have a lot of one-mana ramp in our deck, it's pretty easy to play a Blood Moon on Turn 2, which buys us a lot of time to set up our Door to Nothingness kill. Of course, it probably looks weird in our deck because we need mana of so many different colors and Blood Moon makes it hard to achieve the goal with nonbasic lands, but we have a solution for this problem:

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Chromatic Lantern is one of the key cards in our deck for a couple of reasons. First, it helps with our goal of ramping to 10 mana to activate Door to Nothingness. Second, it fixes our mana by allowing our lands to tap for mana of any color, and this works even with a Blood Moon on the battlefield. Sure, all of our nonbasic lands are Mountains, but they are Mountains that tap for mana of any color! Third, Chromatic Lantern makes it so our deck can play a consistent mana base (technically, our mana base only contains three colors of mana, and we have room for 12 basic Forests) and still make the mana we need to activate Door to Nothingness when the time comes.


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As I mentioned before, our deck needs a ton of mana to win with Door to Nothingness, so we are overloaded on early-game ramp spells. Arbor Elf is especially amazing in our deck because of its synergy with Chromatic Lantern—while it can only untap Forests, Arbor Elf is great at fixing our mana when our Forests can tap for mana of any color. Utopia Sprawl gives us our most explosive starts, where we are playing four-drops (like Garruk Wildspeaker) on Turn 2 and six-drops (like Primeval Titan) on Turn 3, while Birds of Paradise gives us some redundancy with mana dorks in the early game. 

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While our one-drop mana producers are great, they aren't going to get us all the way up to 10 mana for Door to Nothingness on their own, which is where Garruk Wildspeaker and Primeval Titan come in. Each of these cards adds at least two additional mana, which helps us jump to the 10 we need to win the game with Door to Nothingness, and can add much more if they stick around on the battlefield. 


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The reason we want tutors in our deck is pretty obvious: we need to find our Door to Nothingness to win the game, and if we have a Door to Nothingness, we need to tutor up things like Primeval Titan to make sure we have enough mana to activate the artifact. On the other hand, the reason we are playing Liliana Vess and Rune-Scarred Demon as our tutors is pretty interesting. Typically, in Modern, we'd play something like Dark Petition, but our deck has a very specific restriction to make our second combo work: we are playing 100% permanents. Why is it worth warping our deck by not playing any instants or sorceries? 

Combo #2

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The answer is Primal Surge! Since we need to ramp up to 10 mana anyway to be able to win with Door to Nothingness, it's actually not that much of a cost to make Primal Surge work in our deck. We can tutor it up with Rune-Scarred Demon, cast it, and then win the game on the spot with Door to Nothingness. Since we don't have any non-permanents in our deck, when we resolve a Primal Surge, we get to put our entire deck on the battlefield, one card at a time. This means that we'll get a Door to Nothingness, a ton of lands, and a Chromatic Lantern, so we'll have everything we need to activate the Door to Nothingness and make our opponent lose the game. There's only one problem: Door to Nothingness enters the battlefield tapped, and we don't want to give our opponent a chance to untap. Thankfully, we have a solution:

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As we dump our entire deck onto the battlefield, we'll also hit two one-ofs: Ugin's Nexus and Seal of Primordium. Then, we simply sacrifice the Seal of Primordium to destroy the Ugin's Nexus, which gives us an extra turn, allowing us to untap our Door to Nothingness and all of our lands and kill our opponent with Door before they get another turn! 

The Matchups

One of the downsides of our deck is we don't have any real interaction in the main deck, which means we can easily get run over by fast aggressive creatures, especially if we get a slow draw. As a result, decks like Infect, Zoo, and Affinity are very difficult to beat, especially before sideboarding (things get a bit better post-board, when we can bring in four copies of Curse of Death's Hold).

On the other hand, we have a ton of big creatures that can clog up both the ground and air if we get a chance to cast them. As a result, against midrange decks, we can often take over the game with Primeval Titan and Rune-Scarred Demon. The same is true of more controlling decks, assuming we can slip them through our opponent's counterspells. 

Finally, Blood Moon is the wild card. Against some decks, casting a Turn 2 Blood Moon can nearly win us the game, not directly, but by slowing the opponent down enough that we can get our game-ending combos online. Of course, it does almost nothing against other decks, so there's a lot of variance involved, but sticking a fast Blood Moon does give us a chance to beat decks that would otherwise be close to unbeatable. 

The Odds

First off, we managed to squeeze a record-setting 21 games into this week's Against the Odds, and our record was surprisingly good in the end. We finished with 11 wins in our 21 games, good for a 52% game win percentage, and five of our nine matches (for a 53.33% match win percentage). Unfortunately, there was an additional match that I couldn't use for the video because of a recording error, which we lost against UR Prowess (against FozzyBear, who's a fan of the series, so I wanted to give him a shout out!). This means our actual percentages are almost exactly 50%, which is shockingly good for a deck built around Door to Nothingness and Primal Surge

On the other hand, it was a bit disappointing that we didn't get that many Door to Nothingness kills. While there were several times where we would have won with Door to Nothingness, one of the problems with having a win condition that enters the battlefield tapped is that people see it coming, so they often end up scooping before we get the actual kill. We also won some games by playing huge creatures. Apparently ramping into Rune-Scarred Demon and tutoring up another Rune-Scarred Demon is good enough in some matchups!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

For this week's poll, rather than voting on specific cards, we're voting on tribes, except the tribes we are working with are far from the most popular in Modern. We have one option for each color, plus an artifact-based tribe. Which janky tribe do you want to see next week? Vote!

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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!

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