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Against the Odds: Tatyova Awakens the Woods (Standard)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 356 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had our first The Brothers' War Standard Against the Odds poll, and in the end, Awaken the Woods took home a pretty dominating win, topping runner-up Tawnos, the Toymaker by 17% of the over 21,000 votes cast. As such, we're heading to Standard today to see if we can win by making a bunch of Dryad Arbors! Our main goal is to do a bit of ramping, stick a Tatyova, Steward of Tides, and then follow it up with the biggest Awaken the Woods possible. Since all of the Awaken the Woods tokens are lands, we'll have enough that each one will trigger Tatyova to give us a bunch of hasty 3/3 flying land creatures, which can either kill our opponent on the spot (if we have enough of them) or immediately tap for mana, letting us dump our hand to set up for the win next turn! There are some other sweet synergies, but we'll talk about them as we go along. What are the odds of winning with Tatyova Awakening the Woods in #MTGBRO Standard? 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: Tatyova Awakens the Woods

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The Deck

Awaken the Woods is an interesting card. It could be played fairly as a ramp spell—at four mana, it's basically a weird, risky Explosive Vegetation with the upside of making even more lands if you have more mana—or it could be used to support a token deck with Jetmir, Jinnie Fay, and the like. But this is Against the Odds; we're not just trying to win by beating down with 1/1 Dryad Arbors or ramp into bigger finishers, we're trying to do the most explosive thing possible with our namesake sorcery, which I believe is using it to trigger landfall (or in this case, pseudo-landfall, since we don't technically have any keyworded "landfall" cards in Standard) a bunch of times. Here's the plan!

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The primary synergy of our deck is Awaken the Woods with Tatyova, Steward of Tides. Tatyova is a bit like Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle: once we get seven lands on the battlefield, every time a land enters play, we can turn a land into a hasty 3/3 flying creature, which should be able to smack our opponent for some damage in the air right away. The trick here is that Awaken the Woods makes tokens that are essentially Dryad Arbors, being both creatures and lands, which means they'll trigger Tatyova. If we can do a bit of early ramping, stick a Tatyova, and follow up with a big Awaken the Woods, we can immediately turn all of our Dryad Arbor tokens into hasty 3/3 fliers, which means if the X on Awaken the Woods is seven or more, we should have more than 20 damage in the air to close out the game right away with one big Dryad Arbor attack. If we don't have lethal, that's fine, Tatyova giving our Awaken the Woods tokens haste also lets us tap them for mana right away, so we can simply dump our hand, leave up removal or whatever, and set up for an even bigger attack the next turn, hopefully with the help of another Awaken the Woods. (While the first Awaken the Woods is good, the second one is almost always game-ending since we can use the Dryad Arbor tokens from the first one to cast Awaken the Woods for an even more massive amount of mana.)

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Our other pseudo-landfall synergy involves Sarinth Greatwurm, which makes a Powerstone token whenever a land enters the battlefield. If we can play it before Awaken the Woods, this ends up giving us a ton of Powerstones. The problem with Powerstones is that the mana they make is rather limited, only being good for abilities and artifact spells, but we have a couple of plans to take advantage of their mana. First, we have a couple of big artifact finishers in Portal to Phyrexia and Cityscape Leveler. (We can also just ramp into these cards with the help of Awaken the Woods.) Second, we have Energy Refractor, which basically lets us tap two Powerstones to make one "real" mana that we can use for anything. Even though Energy Refractor isn't especially efficient, the fact that Awaken the Woods and Sarinth Greatwurm can make a silly amount of Powerstones makes it worthwhile, especially since it comes attached to a two-mana artifact that cantrips.

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While it's not our primary plan, we can also just use Awaken the Woods as a ramp spell. Let's say we ramp on Turn 3 with something like Topiary Stomper, Shigeki, Jukai Visionary, or Joint Exploration. This would let us cast an Awaken the Woods with X = 3 on Turn 4, which means that we'll have enough mana on Turn 5 that we can start casting things like Cityscape Leveler!

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Another neat Awaken the Woods synergy comes in our removal package. While we do have things like Obliterating Bolt and Rending Flame to kill creatures in the early game, we also have Karn's Sylex, which is essentially a wrath for all nonland permanents if we have a bunch of mana. Since Awaken the Woods tokens are lands, this means they'll survive a Karn's Sylex activation while also helping us make enough mana to make sure we blow up everything else on the battlefield, hopefully letting us untap the next turn and win with Dryad Arbor beats!

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I love [[Colossal Skyturtle] way more than I should and probably play it in way too many decks, but it is really good with Awaken the Woods. In the early game, we can use Turtle to bounce something and hopefully stay alive to get Tatyova and Awaken the Woods. Later in the game, we can use Turtle to get Awaken the Woods back from the graveyard. As I mentioned before, the second Awaken the Woods is usually game-ending since we can use all of the lands from the first one to cast it for a massive X. Being able to do this while also drawing a single Awaken the Woods (since Colossal Skyturtle can return it to our hand from the graveyard) is super nice!

The Matchups

Matchup-wise, super-fast aggro and super-counterspell-heavy control decks are our hardest matchups, although we did manage to beat Delver and also Humans, so we have a chance against both. On the other hand, we like to play against midrangey decks the most. If we have time to ramp and set up our Tatyova / Awaken the Woods combo, the deck can be very hard to beat!

The Odds

Record-wise, we went 4-1 in our video matches, and I'm 5-2 with the deck overall, which is way better than I expected. Awaken the Woods is actually a very strong card, even without the combo, and the combo kill with Tatyova, Steward of Tides really pushes it over the top. Speaking of Tatyova, Steward of Tides, it was also a lot stronger than I expected. A 3/3 for three isn't horrible, and in a deck built to put lands on the battlefield, it's actually a pretty effective way to close out the game!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Next week we're going to try one of the new Brothers' War meld cards...but in Modern! Which meld should we attempt? Click here to vote!


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

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