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Against the Odds: Splinter Twin but with Mill and on Magic Arena (Historic)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 360 of Against the Odds. For the last few weeks, I've been putting Terisian Mindbreaker on the Against the Odds poll because I had an idea for a Splinter Twin–like combo deck for the card that I really wanted to try. But sadly, no one ever votes for Terisian Mindbreaker. So today, I decided to pull rank and just play the deck anyway! As such, we're heading to Historic today to play Twin but with Mill and on Magic Arena! The deck's goal is really simple: get Terisian Mindbreaker into the graveyard on Turn 1 or 2. On Turn 3, we play Bruvac the Grandiloquent, and on Turn 4, we unearth Terisian Mindbreaker to mill our opponent's entire deck in a single hasty attack thanks to Bruvac doubling up our mill! Are Bruvac and Mindbreaker basically just Splinter Twin for Magic Arena? 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: Twin but with Mill and on Magic Arena

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The Deck

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Our deck is trying to do exactly one thing: get Bruvac the Grandiloquent on the battlefield, get a Terisian Mindbreaker in the graveyard, and then unearth it for just four mana to attack and mill our opponent's entire deck, winning us the game on the spot. (Well, technically on the opponent's next draw step, but close enough.) This is quite literally our deck's only plan for winning the game, at least before sideboarding, and all of the other cards in our deck are there to support the combo and help us stay alive long enough to pull it off.

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Now, you might be wondering if the comparison to the infamous Splinter Twin combo is really fair. While milling the opponent out is certainly different than making infinite hasty creatures, there is a surprising amount of similarities between our deck today and Twin. Both are combos where you win the game if you play a three-drop into a four-drop, and both work best in Izzet shells with counters, removal, and cantrips to find the combo pieces. While Bruvac Mindbreaker combo isn't quite as strong as Twin, in part because it relies on unearthing Terisian Mindbreaker, which means graveyard hate can answer our combo, and in part because Bruvac the Grandiloquent is lacking Deceiver Exarch's flash, it's still surprisingly strong. Not many decks on Arena can literally just play a three-drop into a four-drop and win the game!

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Of course, for our plan to work, we need to make sure that we can get Terisian Mindbreaker into the graveyard—casting it at full price for seven mana just isn't practical. Thankfully, Historic gives us some great tools for this, like Faithless Looting, Chart a Course, Lightning Axe, and Consider. It's worth mentioning that the same combo we are playing today works in Pioneer as well, with Fraying Sanity replacing Bruvac the Grandiloquent, although it's a lot harder to pull off consistently in Pioneer since Faithless Looting isn't legal in the format.

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The rest of our main deck is full of counterspells to protect our combo, removal to help us stay alive long enough to get our combo set up, and Expressive Iteration because, well, it's pretty busted and great at digging through a deck to find combo pieces.

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As I mentioned before, our main deck is all-in on the combo. Other than beating down with Bruvac, we don't have another way to win the game. While this is fine in game one, it can be a problem in games two and three when our opponent can't bring in graveyard hate, which makes it much harder to win with the combo. (Technically, it can still work, but we need to hard-cast Terisian Mindbreaker for seven mana and have it live a turn so it can attack, which is super unlikely.) As such, we have Crackling Drake in our sideboard, which is a great way to close out the game if our opponent has a Rest in Peace, Leyline of the Void, or other graveyard hate. If you are expecting the opponent to bring in something that hates on the graveyard, aggressively bring in Crackling Drake as a counter—it's super important.

The Matchups

The matchups for our deck really come down to two things: how much instant-speed removal and graveyard hate our opponent has. Decks overloaded with instant-speed removal can be hard matchups because killing either Bruvac the Grandiloquentor Terisian Mindbreaker after we unearth it pretty much ruins our deck. As we talked about before, graveyard hate can pretty much lock down the combo as well, although we do have Crackling Drake to help fight through this after sideboarding. On the other hand, removal-light creature and midrange decks are great matchups since we can usually safely curve into our combo and win the game as early as Turn 4!

The Odds

The Splinter Twin comparison was supposed to be a meme, but after playing the deck, I think Bruvac and Terisian Mindbreaker might actually be Twin but with mill on Magic Arena. We ended up going 5-1 with the deck, and our only loss was a duplicate matchup against UW Control where I scooped in game one because I didn't feel like sitting through the slog again, especially since I wasn't planning on torturing you all by making you sit through two UW Control matches in the same video! We had multiple Turn 4 wins along the way and managed to beat both aggro and control, which was impressive! Plus, the visual of attacking with a Mindbreaker and watching the opponent's entire deck flip into the graveyard is super satisfying! In all honesty, the only downside of the deck is that it might be too good to be considered Against the Odds!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! 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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