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Against the Odds: Stuffy Doll


Hello everyone and welcome to episode twenty of Against the Odds. Last week's poll saw Stuffy Doll in Modern emerge as the winner, taking 25% of the over 6,500 votes cast. Coming in second is long-time runner up Eater of Days, followed by Felidar Sovereign for Standard, both of which will return on the next poll. Meanwhile, Living Lore in Standard and Legacy Thought Lash drop off the ballot, coming in at the bottom of the heap. 

We won't be having a poll this week. Oath of the Gatewatch will finally release on Magic Online Friday, which means we'll have a very special edition of Against the Odds featuring a certain card from Oath. While I'm not going to mention it by name, if you've been following me, I'm sure you can figure out what it is!

We'll talk more about Stuffy Doll in a minute. First let's get to the videos. A quick reminder. If you enjoy Against the Odds and other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up with the latest and greatest.

Against the Odds: Stuffy Doll Intro

Against the Odds:Stuffy Doll Games

The Deck

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Stuffy Doll is basically the Magical incarnation of a voodoo doll. When it enters the battlefield we choose an opponent, and then we try to inflict pain on our Stuffy Doll, which passes the same amount of pain to our opponent. One of the things I realized while playing the deck is that Stuffy Doll doesn't actually target a player, so it gets around things like Leyline of Sanctity. In fact, if our opponent has a Leyline of Sanctity on the battlefield, we can target our Stuffy Doll with a Lightning Bolt as a work around for damaging our opponent.

The problem with Stuffy Doll is that it is a 0/1 for five mana, and being indestructible isn't all that exciting in Modern. While I was building the deck I played a match against Dredge, and got a Stuffy Doll killed by a Darkblast, which was pretty depressing. Unfortunately, a lot of decks in Modern play either Path to Exile or Dismember, which are one mana answers to Stuffy Doll. It's a lot more fragile than it appears at first glance.

Boros Reckoner and Spitemare are pretty much Stuffy Dolls 5 five through 9. The downside is that they target once they are dealt damage, which means a Leyline of Sanctity does ruin our plans, but their upside is that they can also pass along damage to creatures, something Stuffy Doll can't do. 

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So just how do we inflict pain on our Stuffy Doll? First, we have Blasphemous Act, which can be a bit expensive at times if our opponent doesn't flood the board. When cast it lets us wipe the board and deal 13 damage to our opponent with just a single Stuffy Doll. If we have two dolls on the battlefield, Blasphemous Act deals 26 damage — enough to win the game on the spot. 

More importantly, we have four copies of Volcano Hellion, which is worded in a very unique way. When it enters the battlefield, it does any amount of damage to a creature and to us, which means two important things.

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First, if we can resolve a Stuffy Doll (or any of our replacement dolls in Boros Reckoner or Spitemare) and are ahead in life total to our opponent, we can kill our opponent on the spot with Volcano Hellion. It's the main reason we are playing eight two-mana spells that gain us life in Lightning Helix and Kor Firewalker, and also why we are not playing fetch lands. The dream here is that we can play a Kor Firewalker on turn two, a Boros Reckoner on turn three, and a lethal Volcano Hellion (dealing damage equal to our opponent's life total to our Boros Reckoner) on turn four. If our opponent cracks a fetch land or shocks themselves, we don't even need the Kor Firewalker, which makes the combo of Boros Reckoner and Volcano Hellion pretty much the same as the recently-banned Splinter Twin combo — a turn four, two-card combo. 

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Since we are playing Against the Odds, we also have the magical Christmas land combo of getting a Pariah on any one of our dolls. Since Pariah redirects any damage dealt to us to the enchanted creature, the enchanted creature (Stuffy Doll) passes the damage along to our opponent. In this scenario Volcano Hellion reads, "Chose any number, Volcano Hellion deals twice that amount of damage to an opponent." Seriously, if we choose 10,000 with Volcano Hellion, we will deal 20,000 damage to our opponent. Now that's a sweet way to win a game of Magic!

The Matchups

As I learned playing the deck, Remand - especially Snapcaster Mage and Remand - are really frustrating to play against. Tapping out for our five-mana 0/1, only to have it countered is a huge tempo swing. I also noticed a huge upswing in Vapor Snag on Magic Online. Merfolk and Delver both play the bounce spell, and it's almost as bad as Remand. Not only does it "counter" a Stuffy Doll for one mana, it's an easy way to blow out our Pariah plan. Fast combo decks are also tricky, since we don't have much interaction with non-creature spells. In those situations we hope to race our opponent with our Splinter Twin-eqsue turn four kill. 

The good news is we actually have a lot of cheap removal and some lifegain, so aggro decks with small creatures are decent matchups. Main deck Kor Firewalkers makes us a nightmare for Burn, especially in game one. We have a bunch of sideboard cards (along with main deck Fulminator Mages) to deal with big-mana strategies like Tron and Eldrazi. Basically, the decks we want to play most are creature-based aggro decks (e.g. Zoo), Burn, and things like Tron. The decks we don't want to play are anything featuring Remand and fast combo. 

The Odds

By the numbers, we ended up winning 25% of our games, which definitely isn't great, but it's also not the worst record we've posted on Against the Odds. Unfortunately, we never took down a match. We did run into a lot of bad matchups. Instead of playing Zoo and Tron, we kept running into goldfish combo decks like Bogles, Scapeshift, and Angel's Grace. When we managed to dodge combo we hit a string of decks playing a million copies of Remand and Vapor Snag. We also learned you can't deal 10,000 damage on Magic Online, which is a bit of a let down. I mean 200 damage is cool and all, but 20,000 would be far cooler. 

Overall, Stuffy Doll just isn't well positioned in Modern. It's super easy to get blown out. We play some really janky cards to combo off. But it's also a lot of fun, and actually pulling off the Volcano Hellion / Pariah combo makes the entire endeavor worthwhile.

Vote for Next Week's Deck

As I mentioned before, no poll this week. We will be building around a certain Oath of the Gatewatch card, which seems like it was designed specifically for Against the Odds. Don't worry, you'll see it all come together. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions and suggestions in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive.


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