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Against the Odds: Seven Dwarves (Standard, Magic Arena)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 209 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had our first Throne of Eldraine Against the Odds poll, and we had a clear winner in the end (well, seven clear winners, technically) in the Seven Dwarves. As such, we're heading back to Throne of Eldraine Standard today to see what happens if we got all-in on making as many copies of Seven Dwarves as possible! In the past, we've been burnt by "you can play a bunch of these in your deck" cards like Rat Colony, and traditionally, we have horrible coin-flipping luck, which makes playing Mirror Match as one of our main combo pieces at risk. But hopefully, things will be different this time. What are the odds of winning with Seven Dwarves in Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Seven Dwarves

The Deck

In some respects, building around Seven Dwarves is easy: you try to make as many Seven Dwarves as possible and beat the opponent down with the increasingly powerful two-drop. On the other hand, finding the right support cards is tricky. I ended up cycling through four or five different builds, all with a core of Seven Dwarves and ways to tutor up / copy Seven Dwarves, before finally landing on the Temur Dwarves build we are playing today.

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While Seven Dwarves looks a bit like Rat Colony (and other "you can play more than four of these in your deck" creatures), it's actually the best of the bunch since each additional copy of Seven Dwarves not only grows each Seven Dwarves' power but its toughness as well, allowing us to avoid the Cry of the Carnarium blowout with just two copies on the battlefield. While two Seven Dwarves are fine, things start to get especially impressive when we get four or five on the battlefield, with our two-drops being 6/6s or 7/7s, allowing Seven Dwarves to dominate the battlefield and hopefully kill our opponent by attacking. 

Of course, since the goal of our deck is to get as many copies of Seven Dwarves in play as possible, we can't rely on just playing seven copies of Seven Dwarves and hoping that we draw them naturally. Instead, our deck is overloaded with ways to find our Seven Dwarves along with ways to make extra copies of our namesake creature.

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Before talking about our other ways of tutoring up and copying Seven Dwarves, we need to mention Mirror March because it explains some of our other card choices. Mirror March is an extremely risky card. If we can win some coin flips, it's possible that with a Mirror March on the battlefield, just a single copy of Seven Dwarves can kill our opponent by coming along with a bunch of hasty friends. On the other hand, our coin-flip win rate over the course of Against the Odds is something like 33%, which means more often than not, we end up with nothing for our six-mana investment. Mirror March is potentially too sweet to pass up, so we're playing three copies in the hope that our coin-flip luck will take a turn for the better this episode.

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When it comes to copying Seven Dwarves, our best option is Spark Double since it makes a real (i.e., non-token) copy of Seven Dwarves, which in turn means it triggers Mirror March for more coin-flipping fun. While paying four mana for a Seven Dwarves isn't great, even with just a single Seven Dwarves on the battlefield, our Spark Double Seven Dwarves ends up as a 4/4 for four thanks to the +1/+1 counter, which isn't that bad. And with a bunch of Seven Dwarves on the battlefield, each extra copy we can play ends up adding a ton of power to the battlefield since not only is a big creature but it also pumps all of our other Seven Dwarves as well. As for Quasiduplicate, the upsides are that it curves nicely with Seven Dwarves (we can play Seven Dwarves on Turn 2 and copy it with Quasiduplicate on Turn 3) and that it can turn an extra land into a copy of Seven Dwarves later in the game thanks to jump-start. On the other hand, since the copy Quasiduplicate is a token, it doesn't trigger Mirror March, which is a bit of a drawback.

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As far as tutoring up extra copies of Seven Dwarves, we have two options. Pattern Matcher is actually surprisingly strong in our deck, putting a body on the battlefield while also allowing us to tutor a Seven Dwarves to our hand (assuming we have at least one on the battlefield). As a creature, it also triggers Mirror March, so with some luck, we can tutor up multiple copies of Seven Dwarves with a single Pattern Matcher. Meanwhile, Once Upon a Time does two things for our deck: first, it digs five cards deep to find a copy of Seven Dwarves. Second, it allows us to cut all the way back to 22 lands while still hitting our land drops consistently since if we are short on mana, Once Upon a Time should almost always find us a land in our top five cards.

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Risen Reef does double duty in our deck. If we don't have a copy of Seven Dwarves, Risen Reef is a fine creature to copy with Quasiduplicate and Spark Double since it will draw us a bunch of cards to (hopefully) find some of our Seven Dwarves. It also helps to make sure we get up to six mana to play Mirror March by allowing us to put the lands we draw with it right onto the battlefield.

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Last but not least, we have Gilded Goose and Oko, Thief of Crowns. Gilded Goose is mostly in the deck to give us an extra way to ramp into our Mirror March / Seven Dwarves combo, while the Food it makes is also helpful in stabilizing against aggro. As for Oko, it might just seem like a generically good card, but it actually does work well with Seven Dwarves. One of the things I found in my testing is that Seven Dwarves tend to struggle with big creatures and fliers. Oko, Thief of Crowns allows us to turn our opponent's big threats into 3/3 ground creatures. Since it is fairly easy to get enough Seven Dwarves on the battlefield to turn them all into 4/4s, Oko, Thief of Crowns basically turns our opponent's best creature into something that we can block with Seven Dwarves (or attack through with Seven Dwarves) every single turn. 

Matchups

I have no idea what to say about the matchups of Seven Dwarves. Heading into our matches, I figured we wouldn't really have any good matchups, and then we stomped a who's who list of the top decks in Standard (Rakdos Aggro, Bant Oko, Esper Stax, Jeskai Fires, and Naya Feather). While we did get lucky (more on this in a minute), in some matches, the plan of playing and copying Seven Dwarves actually felt legitimate. One thing to keep in mind is the hate cards. Legion's End is especially brutal against Seven Dwarves (often being close to a two-mana wrath), and a lot of decks are playing Legion's End as a way to fight Field of the Dead Zombie tokens. Wraths from control decks can also be a problem, but we managed to beat a couple of wrath decks along the way. In the end, I'm pretty confident that Seven Dwarves is way better than I thought when heading into our matches but probably not as good as our sterling record suggests.

The Odds

In one of the least likely things to ever happen on Against the Odds, we somehow went 5-0 with Seven Dwarves, giving us a 100% match win percentage and making Seven Dwarves tied for the best Against the Odds deck of all time. Not only did we go undefeated, but as I mentioned a moment ago, we mostly beat top-tier Standard decks (although we did dodge Golos somehow). While going 5-0 is a shockingly good performance for Seven Dwarves, it is also worth mentioning that we (finally) had some good luck with Mirror March, which helped greatly. By my count, we won 19 of 31 coin flips, good for an over 61% success rate, which is above average in an absolute sense but almost double our normal coin flip win rate. While I wouldn't expect Seven Dwarves to remain undefeated (or even be a top-tier deck in Standard), they are a lot better than I thought, and with a bit of luck, it's possible to win a lot of games with the deck!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Throne of Eldraine is still fresh, which means next week we're heading back to our new Standard format to play another fun, janky deck. Along with a couple of holdovers from our last poll we have three Brawl mythics. Which should be 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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