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Against the Odds: Song of Creation (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 239 of Against the Odds. Ikoria is here, and we had our first Ikoria-in-Modern Against the Odds poll last week. In the end, Song of Creation took home a dominant victory, nearly doubling up the second-place card Offspring's Revenge. As such, our goal for today is to not just win with Song of Creation in Modern but to win on Turn 3 with Song of Creation as often as possible. What are the odds of winning with Song of Creation in Modern? How can we build a deck that maximizes our odds of winning on Turn 3?  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: Song of Creation

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The Deck

When Song of Creation won the poll, I immediately knew that we'd be playing some sort of combo deck with the goal being to play Song of Creation and win the game immediately by drawing our entire deck. The questions were how best to support these huge combo turns and how to actually win the game. 

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Song of Creation is an extremely powerful card, allowing us to make an extra land drop each turn and, more importantly, draw two cards every time we cast a spell. Of course, this power comes with a drawback: we have to discard our entire hand at the end of our turn. The good news is that there's a really easy way to avoid this drawback: by winning the game the turn Song of Creation comes into play!

To win the game on the turn we play Song of Creation, we typically need five mana when we play Song of Creation, which means we can make our extra land drop and have two mana left to start casting spells. Since we want to try to win on Turn 3, our deck is overloaded with fast mana to get to five mana and cast Song of Creation as quickly as possible. Thankfully, most of the early-game fast-mana spells like Utopia Sprawl, Pentad Prism, and Wild Cantor also work extremely well after we have Song of Creation on the battlefield.

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Over the first two turns of the game, Utopia Sprawl, Wild Cantor, and Pentad Prism add extra mana to the battlefield to ramp us into Song of Creation. Meanwhile, after we have Song of Creation, all of these cards turn into free "draw twos." Take Wild Cantor, for example. We can cast it for one mana but immediately sacrifice it to get back that mana, which means the end result is we draw two cards with Song of Creation. The same is true of Utopia Sprawl (costs one mana but immediately generates one mana) and Pentad Prism (costs two mana but generates two mana). With 12 of these cards in our deck, it's pretty easy to chain one into another with the help of Song of Creation, which, in conjunction with some of our other spells, will allow us to draw our entire deck in one turn.

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Noxious Revival and Manamorphose give us even more free card draw with Song of Creation. Noxious Revival is a free "draw two" that can put a ritual or finisher back on the top of our deck to make sure that we are drawing more action with Song of Creation the next time we cast a spell. Noxious Revival is also important for discard protection. One of the easiest ways for an opponent to beat our deck is to make sure that we don't resolve Song of Creation, which means Thoughtseize on Turn 1 or 2 is great against our deck. Noxious Revival allows us to put a discarded Song of Creation back on the top of our deck on our upkeep, draw it for our turn, and immediately combo off and (hopefully) win the game. As for Manamorphose, it's actually a free Ancestral Recall with Song of Creation, drawing us three cards for zero mana, while also fixing our mana to make sure we can cast everything we draw.

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So far, all of our support cards have been mana-neutral card draw. Our rituals are extremely important because they actually generate mana when we cast them. While casting free spells and drawing through our deck with Song of Creation is great, eventually, we're going to need at least a little bit of extra mana to cast a finisher and win the game. Desperate Ritual and Pyretic Ritual give us this mana, which we can then filter with Manamorphose and Pentad Prism, if necessary. 

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So, how do we finally win the game after we draw our entire deck on Turn 3? We have two options in Grapeshot and Laboratory Maniac. With a Song of Creation on the battlefield, it usually takes somewhere around 20 spells to draw our entire deck, which is the perfect number to make Grapeshot into a 20-damage burn spell thanks to the storm mechanic. Meanwhile, Laboratory Maniac rewards us for drawing our entire deck by winning us the game when we draw on an empty library. Since the mana from our "free draw twos" are instants (both Rituals, Manamorphose, and Noxious Revival), we can play Laboratory Maniac at instant speed and cast a few more spells to win the game. These instants are important because they allow us to win with Laboratory Maniac even if our opponent has an instant-speed removal spell—we can just keep casting spells until we draw the rest of our deck with the trigger on the stack!

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Rounding out the deck are three more cards. Serum Visions helps us find Song of Creation in the early game, which is important because without Song of Creation, our deck doesn't do much of anything. Thankfully, between Serum Visions and aggressive London mulligans, this usually isn't a problem. Song of Creation generates so much card advantage that a four-card hand that can play Song of Creation on time should still easily win us the game. 

Flame Jab is basically fizzle protection. While we almost always win the game on the turn we resolve Song of Creation, we do fizzle on rare occasions and have to discard our hand. Flame Jab allows us to restart the combo next turn no matter what we top-deck. If we draw a non-land, that's great—we can cast it, draw two, and go back into our combo. If we draw a land, we can discard it to retrace Flame Jab, draw two, and go back into our combo.

Finally, we have Jegantha, the Wellspring, which is mostly a free-roll in our deck (the only card I had to change to meet the restriction was dropping the sideboard Anger of the Gods for Radiant Flames). While Jegantha is mostly just an eighth card in hand, the mana it produces is helpful during our combo turns, and having a 5/5 blocker can help us to stabilize the board for a turn or two while we are waiting to draw Song of Creation. While not super likely, it's even possible that we can just ritual out Jegantha, the Wellspring on Turn 2 and try to win by attacking. 

The Matchup

The only thing that matters in our deck is Song of Creation. As a result, our bad matchups are ones where our opponent can make us discard Song of Creation on Turn 2 or counter it on Turn 3 when we try to cast it. On the other hand, if we can resolve Song of Creation, we can beat basically any deck in the Modern format. There are also some annoying sideboard cards (like Damping Sphere or Rule of Law), but most can be answered by Ancient Grudge or Abrade

The Odds

All in all, we played five matches with Song of Creation Combo and won three, giving us a 60% match win percentage, which is about average for an Against the Odds deck. More impressive is the fact that we played a total of 12 games with Song of Creation combo and won five of them on Turn 3! This means our Turn 3 win percentage was a massive 41%, which is pretty absurd. While we did have some rough games where we lost to sideboard cards or didn't find Song of Creation, we only fizzled once during the combo (and in that game, we ended up winning on Turn 4 after restarting the combo). Song of Creation is absurd, and while we probably need a better backup plan and might need to change up our sideboard a bit to fight enchantments, I wouldn't be at all surprised if some version of Song of Creation combo ended up as a legitimate Modern deck. Winning on Turn 3 over 40% of the time is super impressive!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

No poll this week! Next week we're having a special episode. Don't worry, the poll will return next week!

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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