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Against the Odds: Sorin Tribal (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 131 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had another planeswalker tribal Against the Odds poll, and in the end, it was Sorin coming out with a fairly easy victory. As such, we are heading to Modern this week to see if we can win some games with a deck that not only contains every version of Sorin but also every card with Sorin in the name and even some with Sorin in the art! Can the ultimate Sorin deck compete in a format as powerful as Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Sorin Tribal (Modern)

The Deck

When Sorin won the poll, I knew right away that we'd have to be careful to make sure that the deck wouldn't be simply a Sorin-heavy version of WB Tokens and instead be a build where Sorin really mattered. While the theme of Sorin isn't as obvious as for some planeswalkers, if you dig down into the abilities of various Sorins, each and every one has the ability to gain life, which ended up being the key aspect of building a Sorin deck. While incidental life gain is good on its own, having a deck full of life-gaining Sorins also allows us to play some cards that are powerful but also cost life like Phyrexian Arena and Night's Whisper. The other interesting aspect of Sorin Tribal is that unlike some planeswalkers that have a bunch of different cards named after them, Sorin only has a few, and all of them are close to being playable, which let us incorporate them into our deck. In the end, Sorin Tribal might be the most on point, flavor-wise, of any planeswalker deck we've played thus far because it not only contains every Sorin planeswalker but every card with "Sorin" in its name and even ones with Sorin featured in the art!

Sorins

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Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and Sorin, Solemn Visitor are our two foundational Sorins. Both are pretty similar in our deck with the ability to make tokens and gain life as well as ultimates that deal with the opponent's creatures. While either of these Sorins can win the game if it goes unchecked, more often than not, they help us stall out the game by making a bunch of chump blockers and gaining us some life while we wait to draw our other Sorins to actually kill our opponent. Which Sorin is better mostly depends on the matchup. Sorin, Lord of Innistrad is great against creature decks, since it makes a 1/1 chump blocker every turn with lifelink, but Sorin, Solemn Visitor can be better against combo, since it allows us to get in huge chunks of damage with the +1 and potentially close out the game quickly before our opponent gets a chance to combo off.

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Sorin, Grim Nemesis is just a one-of, but it's our best, grindiest Sorin for the late game. The +1 gives us a steady stream of card advantage and can even kill the opponent thanks to our other Sorins being fairly expensive, allowing us to drain our opponent for big chunks of life when we reveal them to the +1. Meanwhile, the 1 can kill just about any creature in the format and gain us some life along the way. Finally, the ultimate is typically game winning in just a single turn unless our opponent happens to have a sweeper of some kind. Most often, we play Sorin, Grim Nemesis as a sort of six-mana Dark Confidant, drawing us a ton of cards and eventually getting our opponent low enough in life that we can finish them off with our other cards.

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To close out the game, we have a two-card Sorin-based combo. Sorin Markov comes down and sets our opponent's life total to 10; then, Sorin's Vengeance drains our opponent for 10 to kill our opponent! Even apart from winning the game immediately, both of these cards are really good in our deck. Thanks to our other Sorins clogging up the battlefield with tokens, it's pretty easy to ultimate Sorin Markov (sometimes multiple times) and Mindslaver the opponent into oblivion. Meanwhile, Sorin's Vengeance is a lot like Blast of Genius. Since Modern decks lose so much life to their mana base, it's not all that uncommon that draining for 10 is enough to close out the game even without the help of Sorin Markov

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Kicking off our removal are a couple more Sorin cards. Sorin's Thirst is extremely matchup dependent but really good at killing early-game creatures like Goblin Guide and Eidolon of the Great Revel, with the life gain helping make up for the fact that it costs two mana. As for Anguished Unmaking, it takes advantage of the fact that our Sorins gain us a ton of life, which means we can afford to spend three life to kill any non-land permanent. The instant gives us a main-deck out against annoying things like Leyline of Sanctity and Ensnaring Bridge, along with creatures and planeswalkers as well. 

Other Stuff

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Orzhov Signet is pretty simple: it help us ramp into our four- and six-mana Sorins a turn earlier, speeding up our deck and letting us get our Sorin-y game plan started as quickly as possible. 

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Lingering Souls is great in our deck. While we certainly aren't WB Tokens (in fact, apart from our Sorins, Lingering Souls is the only card that makes tokens in our deck), Lingering Souls does two important things. First, it gives us a quick way to win games with the help of Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and Sorin, Solemn Visitor. While it isn't our primary game plan, in some games we just play a couple of Lingering Souls, pump our tokens with our Sorins, and win. Second, Lingering Souls gives us a ton of good blockers to help us stay alive while we are setting up our Sorin Markov / Sorin's Vengeance kill. 

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Night's Whisper and Phyrexian Arena take advantage of the fact that our Sorins gain so much life. While both cards are powerful and offer a good rate, with Night's Whisper drawing two cards for two mana and Phyrexian Arena giving us a personal Howling Mine, a lot of decks can't play these cards because the life cost is too high. In our deck, the life cost isn't a problem at all, since so many of our cards incidentally gain us life, which means we are getting extra cards for a very cheap price. Together, these cards help to make sure we draw and play as many Sorins as possible and eventually win our Sorin's Vengeance to close out the game. 

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Otherwise, we have a bunch of boring stuff to make our deck function. Fatal Push and Path to Exile give us strong removal to protect our Sorins, while Wrath of God and Damnation allow us to sweep away an entire board full of creatures, which hurts our opponent more than us because all of our creatures are replaceable tokens from Sorins and Lingering Souls. Finally, Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, and [[Collective Brutality] help us fight against the unfair decks in the format, allowing us to take away key combo pieces before they become problematic while also stripping away any answers our opponents might have to our Sorins, like counterspells or removal like Dreadbore

The Matchups

Oddly, Sorin Tribal felt solid in general. Against aggressive decks, we have so much life gain that if we can answer our opponent's early rush of creatures, we can recoup any life we lose to keep ourselves out of burn range. Against midrange, we have an endless stream of chump blockers for Death's Shadow, Tarmogoyf, and friends while also having a way to kill our opponent out of the blue thanks to Sorin Markov and Sorin's Vengeance. As for control, if we can resolve a couple of planeswalkers, we should be able to ride them to victory. Meanwhile, against combo, we have all of the good black discard to help us stay alive along with some good sideboard cards. This isn't to say that Sorin Tribal is favored against every deck in the format but that rather than having good and bad matchups, Sorin Tribal is more of a solid midrange deck that has a chance to compete with just about any archetype in the format. 

The Odds

All in all, we played five matches and won all of them, giving us a 100% match win percentage, along with winning 10 of our 11 games, for a game win percentage of over 90%. This makes Sorin Tribal one of the all-time best Against the Odds decks. More importantly, nearly all of our wins game from our Sorins. Over the course of our games, we managed to win by Mindslavering with Sorin Markov, burning our opponent out with Sorin's Vengeance, pumping our tokens with Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, and ultimating Sorin, Solemn Visitor to lock our opponent's creatures out of the game. We even had our Burn opponent scoop it up to Sorin's Thirst! All around, the deck was great and our Sorins were great, making Sorin Tribal one of the most competitive Against the Odds decks we've ever had! 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

I get a lot of requests for certain cards or themes to be featured in our Against the Odds poll, so this week's poll is based on one of the most popular requests: grandeur! If you aren't familiar with the mechanic, it shows up on exactly five cards from Future Sight and is intended to give players legendary creatures but without the downside of the legend rule, since we can discard additional copies for value! Which of these grand legends should we 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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