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Against the Odds: Queza's Mastery Combo (Explorer)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 334 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had an Explorer Against the Odds poll, and Lich's Mastery (with an assist from Queza, Augur of Agonies) took home an easy win. As such, we're heading to Magic's newest format today to see if it's possible to win some games with the infinite drain and card-draw combo of Lich's Mastery and Queza, Augur of Agonies. If we can get both of our namesake cards on the battlefield and either draw a card or gain a life, we'll start an infinite loop of Queza triggering Mastery to draw us a card, which will trigger Queza to drain until we draw our entire deck or our opponent's life total hits zero! Thanks to Lich's Masterys ability to keep us from losing the game while it's on the battlefield (and its "lose the game" leaves-the-battlefield trigger), we also have a couple of spicy backup combos involving Demonic Pact, Harmless Offering, and Farewell. How good is Queza's Mastery in Explorer? 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: Queza's Mastery Combo

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The Deck

Building around Queza, Augur of Agonies and Lich's Mastery was interesting. We already knew the main combo of the deck heading into the build, so the main challenge was figuring out the best way to support it as well as a backup plan. I also wanted to avoid being just an Esper Control deck, which would be a bit dull for Against the Odds. The good news is that I think the deck ended up hitting all these marks.

Combo 1:

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The primary plan of our deck is to win with the combo of Lich's Mastery and Queza, Augur of Agonies. Mastery lets us draw a card whenever we gain life, and Queza drains for one (which gains us a life) when we draw a card. This means if we can get both cards on the battlefield and either draw a card (which will happen naturally on our draw step) or gain a life (which we have a bunch of ways to do), we start an infinite-ish loop of Queza triggering Mastery and Mastery triggering Queza. As long as we have more cards in our library than our opponent has life, we'll win the game by draining away our opponent's life total while also drawing our entire deck. Worst case, if our opponent gained a ton of life and the combo doesn't kill them directly (which is rare), we'll draw our entire deck but not lose the game, thanks to Lich's Mastery's static ability, which should let us win the next turn with one of our backup combos.

Combo 2:

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Since Lich's Mastery keeps us from losing the game as long as it stays on the battlefield, we also get to take advantage of a couple of powerful "you lose the game" cards. Demonic Pact gives us card draw, discard, and removal, and as long as we have a Lich's Mastery on the battlefield, we can choose the "you lose the game" mode whenever we want without dying. Chance for Glory is just a one-of, but a three-mana extra turn is powerful in a vacuum, and it also helps to support the Queza, Augur of Agonies combo since we can play Queza and take an extra turn, which will jump us forward in time to our next draw step to trigger Queza, Augur of Agonies and start the infinite drain and card-draw loop.

Combo 3:

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The other way we can win the game is by using Harmless Offering to give our opponent one of our "you lose the game" cards. With Demonic Pact, we can wait a couple of turns; use the beneficial modes to draw cards, remove a threat, and make our opponent discard; and then, before we have to choose the last mode, use Harmless Offering to give our opponent the enchantment, making them choose to lose the game on their next upkeep. We can also do this with Lich's Mastery, although it requires an extra step in Farewell. Normally, Lich's Mastery is really difficult to kill since it has hexproof, but Farewell gets around this by not targeting, so we can use Harmless Offering to give our opponent Lich's Mastery, follow it up with Farewell to exile Lich's Mastery, and force our opponent to lose the game to its trigger.

Other Stuff

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Otherwise, we've got a bunch of card draw to help us find our combo pieces and removal to help make sure we stay alive long enough to get Queza, Augur of Agonies and Lich's Mastery on the battlefield, all of which can also gain us life, which turns into card draw in the late game once we have Lich's Mastery on the battlefield.

Matchups

Overall, I'm not sure that Queza's Mastery Combo has any truly good matchups. While we have a chance against a lot of different decks thanks to our combos, both control and aggro present different challenges. Against aggro, it can be difficult to get Lich's Mastery on the battlefield without dying. We can't really play Lich's Mastery if we're too far behind on board, or else we'll immediately have to exile all of our permanents and potentially Lich's Mastery as well, which is a problem. Meanwhile, control decks can usually combo or kill our combo pieces. When you add this all together, Queza's Mastery Combo is a deck that can beat just about anything but probably isn't favored against anything either.

The Odds

Record-wise, we ended up going 2-6 with Queza's Mastery Combo, which isn't great, although it is worth mentioning that a lot of our matches were close and we managed to combo off during one game in pretty much all of them. The good news is that the combo itself was always lethal, and we managed to pick up wins with all of our weird backup combos as well. Queza's Mastery Combo probably isn't the Explorer deck for you if you're trying to win consistently in Explorer, but the deck is super sweet if you like to win in style.

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, 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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