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Against the Odds: Spellweaver Volute (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 118 of Against the Odds. Last week, in the celebration of the New Year we looked to the future with an all Future Sight poll, and in the end it was Spellweaver Solute coming out on top. As such, this week we are heading to Modern to play a deck that's looking to win by casting not one, but two copies of Searing Wind straight at the opponent's face from our graveyard with the help of Spellweaver Volute! Can we make the slow enchantment work in a format as fast and powerful as Modern? Let's get to the videos and find out! Oh yeah, one last thing, I was feeling pretty under the weather while I was recording the games, so if I sound a bit stuffy, that's why. If you see any punts, I'm blaming them on the Dayquil and cough drops.

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Against the Odds: Spellweaver Volute (Deck Tech)

Against the Odds: Spellweaver Volute (Games)

The Deck

The Combo

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Building around Spellweaver Volute is a lot harder than it looks. Discounting the fact that Spellweaver Volute is a bit slow by Modern standards, at first glance it should be pretty easy to turn the enchantment into a game winning combo piece. When you look at what Spellweaver Volute requires to win the game, it's pretty straightforward: two expensive instants in the graveyard and two cheap sorceries to cast to trigger Spellweaver Volute and cast the instants. The problem is that when you really dig into what it takes to set up the seemingly simple condition, breaking Spellweaver Volute is actually really difficult because building around it eats up a ton of slots in your deck. Because of this I actually cycled through a few different builds of Spellweaver Volute before landing on the one that we played for the videos. Believe it or not the other builds were actually less successful then the one we ended up playing (which is quite a feat!)

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When it comes to actually winning the game with Spellweaver Volute, Searing Winds is by far the best option since it only takes two copies to win the game outright. Since Spellweaver Volute is limited to instants, there are surprisingly few game-winning options. Since x-spells are not an option, finding a backup Spellweaver Volute target is tricky. Lavaball Trap is reasonable, offering us a way to sweep away the opponent's board while also giving us a way to deal with annoying creature lands and the big mana from Tron. Plus, there's always an outside chance of we can hardcast Lavaball Trap after our opponent cracks a fetchland. 

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Before digging into the rest of our pieces, we should probably take a minute to talk about Torrential Gearhulk, which is basically our backup Spellweaver Volute. One of the risks of going all-in on using Spellweaver Volute and Searing Wind to win the game is that if we don't happen to draw a copy of Spellweaver Volute, we are in trouble. Torrential Gearhulk solves this problem, coming down to flashback a Searing Wind or Lavaball Trap for free after we get it in our graveyard. 

Filling the Graveyard

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When it comes to filling our graveyard with copies of Searing Wind for Spellweaver Volute we have a few different options. Faithless Looting and Cathartic Reunion are important because they don't just mill cards from our library, but allow us to discard our combo pieces from our hand; getting stuck with a bunch of Searing Winds in our hand is a sure way to lose the game. The other important aspect of Cathartic Reunion and Faithless Looting is that they are sorceries, so after we get our Spellweaver Volute on the battlefield we can use them to trigger our enchantment and cast our Searing Winds to win the game. Faithless Looting is especially good at this because we can flash it back from the graveyard to trigger Spellweaver Volute!

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One of the challenges of our deck is that to win with Spellweaver Volute and Searing Wind, we need a lot of cards in our graveyeard. When you consider that we only have four copies of Searing Wind, it isn't unusual that we need to get 30 cards deep in our deck to find the two copies we need to finish the game. Life from the Loam and Stinkweed Imp give us ways to gets tons of cards into our graveyard thanks to dredge. Every turn we can just skip our draw and mill three cards with Life from the Loam or five with Stinkweed Imp, and that doesn't even include the extra dredging we can get from Cathartic Reunion and Faithless Looting. Plus, Life from the Loam can do the Faithless Looting trick after we have a Spellweaver Volute as a two-mana sorcery we can dredge back from the graveyard any turn we want to trigger Spellweaver Volute

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Flame Jab doesn't help us fill our graveyard, but it's our cheapest way to trigger Spellweaver Volute from our graveyard thanks to the retrace mechanic. Since it only costs one, if we can get up to seven mana we can cast Spellweaver Volute and immediately cast Flame Jab twice (discarding lands we get back with Life from the Loam) to win the game right away with Searing Wind

Staying Alive

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One of the biggest drawbacks of building around Spellweaver Volute is that making the combo work takes a ton of slots in our deck. We need the Spellweaver Volute itself, along with Torrential Gearhulk as a backup, ways to stock our graveyard, finishers, and cheap sorceriees to trigger Spellweaver Volute, which means we don't have too much room left over to play cards to help us stay alive. Since we can't play a ton of interactive cards, we need to make sure the ones we do have really count, which leads us to Blood Moon and Ensnaring Bridge.

Blood Moon and Ensnaring Bridge give us a chance of living long enough to resolve a Spellweaver Volute on turn five and, assuming everything went according to plan over the early turns of the game, win the game on turn six with Searing Wind. Blood Moon does this by making it hard for our opponent to play their spells, while Ensnaring Bridge helps keep us alive against creatures. Together the goal isn't to lock opponents out of the game forever, instead, it is to slow down the game just enough that Spellweaver Volute has a chance to come down and steal some wins!

The Matchups

Spellweaver Volute is one of those Against the Odds decks that doesn't really have good matchup. In theory, our good matchups are ones where either Blood Moon or Ensnaring Bridge works as a "gotchya" card to keep us alive until we get down our Spellweaver Volute. But even in our best matchups, our deck is still pretty slow and graveyard hate is really hard to beat since it not only shuts down our combo kill, but it undoes all of the work we put into filling our graveyard over the first several turns of the game. 

The Odds

Not Good.

Seriously though, we played six matches and won zero, while playing a total of 15 games and winning three (20% game win percentage) which makes Spellweaver Volute one of the least successful Against the Odds deck we played in a while. Unfortunately, with the combination of slowness and getting beat by graveyard hate, Spellweaver Volute is a tough sell in Modern. The good news is that we did eventually pull off the combo, so we know it is possible, and getting Death's Shadow with [[Lavaball Trapp] was pretty sweet as well, but I wouldn't recommend taking this one to an FNM if you're hoping to win some prize packs or matches. 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Rivals of Ixalan will be releasing soon, which means our focus will shift away from older cards and to sweet new cards. This means our quest to build all the planeswalker tribal decks will be temporarily put on hold. So while we wait for Rivals of Ixalan, let's cross another planeswalker tribal deck off of our list. Which of these planeswalkers should be build around in Modern 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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