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Against the Odds: Tainted Remedy

Hello everyone and welcome to episode eight of Against the Odds. Once again, thank you all for voting in the Against the Odds poll. We had nearly 6,000 participants, which is simply amazing!

When all the ballots were counted, Tainted Remedy came out on top. If you've been following the series, you know this is kind of a big deal. The Black enchantment has been on the poll since episode one and traditionally places second every week. Well, this time around Tainted Remedy broke through with nearly 26% of the vote. This result was followed by Zada, Hedron Grinder at 24% and Part the Waterveil at 21%. Losers Void Winnower and Epic Struggle drop off the ballot. Zada, Hedron Grinder and Part the Waterveil will have another shot at glory, but not this week. There's no Against the Odds poll this week. I've got something spicy I'm working on that is perfect for the series.

Today we finally get to play with Tainted Remedy. In honesty, I think it's a couple weeks too late. When I put Tainted Remedy on the poll back in August, there were a bunch of Standard-legal cards that fit well into the strategy like Congregate and various lifelink spells. But now, in our post-rotation Battle for Zendikar world, our options are limited. Frankly, I had no idea how this deck would work.

Anyway, we'll talk more about the deck in a minute, but first let's get to the videos. Just 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: Tainted Remedy Intro

Against the Odds: Tainted Remedy Games

The Deck

The problem with building a Tainted Remedy deck in our current Standard is that there are exactly two cards that force our opponent to gain life: Healing Hands and Butcher's Glee. Without Tainted Remedy, both of these cards are horrible. Even when we have a copy of the Black enchantment on the battlefield, they range from passable to good, but never great. Healing hands becomes a four damage burn spell that doesn't cost a card — a powerful effect, but only when you have a critical mass of similar cards. Butcher's Glee has to be one of the jankiest ways to trigger Tainted Remedy. That said, we might have a reasonable deck if we had 16 or 20 of these cards. Unfortunately, we only have eight.

To have any chance of winning with Tainted Remedy, we have to play Den Protectors and Greenwarden of Murasas to return our eight Butcher's Glee and Healing Hands from our graveyard to our hand. Not really an ideal situation. We have a couple copies of Dark Petition which can put Tainted Remedy directly on the battlefield if we have spell mastery. We also run four copies of Arashin Cleric to keep us ahead on life, which is important for our "give our opponents creatures lifelink with Butcher's Glee" plan. The rest of the deck is removal spells to keep us alive long enough to win with Tainted Remedy

The Matchups

We are hoping for a few of things: our opponents mulligan to four or less cards, they have bad internet connections and time out, or our opponent accidentally enters a Standard queue with a draft deck. Seriously though, I'm not sure a good matchup exists for this deck. If it does, it is likely because it can't handle looping Den Protectors. I don't think any deck is scared of Tainted Remedy

The Odds

As the games suggest, our odds of winning with Tainted Remedy are pretty low. We just don't have enough life gain cards to pull out a win with any regularity. In fact, I only expect to win by dealing 20 damage with Tainted Remedy 1 out of every 100 games... like when we run into one of our "good matchups" mentioned above. We do win more often if we include games where we deal 12 to 16 damage with Den Protector and four to eight damage with Tainted Remedy. Even in that scenario, I wouldn't expect to win more than 10-15% of the time.

However, the odds that Tainted Remedy is the jankiest Against the Odds deck of all time are fairly high. Swarmyard Combo deserves some consideration, as does Infinite Turns Sage of Hours, but even against this stiff competition, I think Tainted Remedy wins out. Casting Butcher's Glee on an opponent's creature has to be one of the jankiest things anyone has done in the history of Magic

Vote for Next Week's Deck

As punishment for making me play Tainted Remedy, you are all on a one week voting suspension. Just kidding. There's no poll this week because I have something fun I'm working on. Don't worry, we'll be back to voting the following week. Both Zada, Hedron Grinder and Part the Waterveil will be on the ballot. Since there's no poll this week, I'll leave you with an amazingly horrible, but hilarious Modern Tainted Remedy Burn deck that literally cannot win unless it has a Tainted Remedy on the battlefield. 


Anyway, that's all for today. What do you think? Are there other ways to build Standard Tainted Remedy? Did I miss any obvious inclusions? As always, leave your thoughts, ideas and suggestion in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive. 

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