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Against the Odds: Teaching Arena Zoomers about Hard Locks and Chalice (Historic)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 342 of Against the Odds. In the early years of Magic, lock pieces that keep people from being able to play the game—Stasis, Blood Moon, Chalice of the Void, and friends—were common. But in recent years, Wizards has stopped printing cards that can mess with people's mana or lock them out of the game. This means there's an entire generation of Arena zoomers who likely haven't experienced the misery of being locked out of playing the game. But thanks to the recent Historic Anthology release, we've got two new lock pieces on Arena in Chalice of the Void and Night of Souls' Betrayal. So today, we're going to teach some Arena zoomers what it's like to NOT be able to play Magic by locking them out of the game! How many rage quits can we get? How many salty ropes? 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: Hard-Lock Enchantress

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The Deck

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As I mentioned in the intro, Historic Anthology 6 added two new lock pieces to Magic Arena. The card that inspired me to make this deck was Chalice of the Void, although, in all honesty, it's pretty hit or miss in Historic. It's great in some matchups (Lurrus decks, Izzet Phoenix), but it does pretty much nothing in others. As such, we're starting with Chalice of the Void in our sideboard, with the goal being to bring it in against decks it can mostly lock out of the game.

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Thankfully, there is another lock that is good against most Historic decks, which is built around another new addition to Arena in Night of Souls' Betrayal. Played fairly, the legendary enchantment is mostly a hate card against go-wide decks with a bunch of small creatures. But we're not playing Night of Souls' Betrayal fairly' we're looking to combine it with Overwhelming Splendor to hard-lock creatures out of the game. The idea is that Night of Souls' Betrayal gives all creatures –1/–1, and Overwhelming Splendor Humbles all of our opponent's creatures, making them 1/1s. Together, these cards wipe our opponent's board and lock our opponent out of playing any creatures in the future because they'll die immediately upon hitting the battlefield.

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Of course, there is a problem with the lock: Overwhelming Splendor excludes planeswalkers, so it's possible that we can lock creatures out of the game but still lose to a Teferi or Ob Nixilis. But we've got a plan for this too in The Immortal Sun, which keeps planeswalkers from activating their abilities.

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The main downsides of our plan are that some of our lock pieces are super expensive, we need specific enchantments to assemble our locks, and our opponent can potentially break out from our lock by killing things like Overwhelming Splendor or Night of Souls' Betrayal. But since our deck is almost all enchantments, we can play some enchantment support cards that solve all these problems. Sterling Grove can tutor up our lock pieces or protect our lock by giving it shroud. Sythis, Harvest's Hand and Enchantress's Presence help us draw through our deck to find our lock pieces. Sanctum Weaver and Wolfwillow Haven ramp us into things like Overwhelming Splendor

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Oh yeah, and since our deck wants as many enchantments as possible to power up our support cards and get us to our combo pieces, we've got one more lock in the deck: Nine Lives with Solemnity. This one isn't new—it's been around for a couple of years now, and we've played it in the past—but it is a powerful backup plan. Solemnity keeps Nine Lives from getting counters, which essentially locks our opponent out of killing us with damage. This lock isn't that guaranteed since popular cards like Bonecrusher Giant and Questing Beast have abilities that can keep damage from being prevented to break out of the lock, but as a backup to our primary Chalice of the Void and Overwhelming Splendor / Night of Souls' Betrayal locks, Nine Lives and Solemnity are solid enough and do strengthen the hard-lock plan since some decks just can't beat them.

Matchups

While our deck has a plan for pretty much every matchup, since our best lock is Night of Souls' Betrayal and Overwhelming Splendor, we'd rather play against decks trying to win with creatures than control decks trying to win with planeswalkers. A couple of specific cards are also really good against our deck, with the biggest being Farewell, which can kill all of our lock pieces even though Sterling Grove's protection, although thankfully these cards aren't especially heavily played in Historic.

The Odds

Record-wise, the deck crushed it, going 5-0 pretty easily. As far as our locks, we got to see Overwhelming Splendor and Night of Souls' Betrayal be unbeatable for most decks, and Nine Lives with Solemnity locked some opponents too. As predicted, Chalice of the Void was a bit more hit or miss. We only brought it in a couple of times, and while we did get opponents with it a couple of times, we also got ourselves once by playing it with a Solemnity out, causing it to come into play without any counters. Most importantly, we only had to actually kill our opponents once or twice. Pretty much all of our wins came from opponents scooping in frustration once we locked them out of the game, which is exactly what we were hoping for. While we might not have Stasis, Blood Moon, or Orim's Chant, considering the limitations of the Arena card pool, I think we did a pretty good job of teaching Arena zoomers what it's like to not be able to play Magic and giving them a little taste of the game's early years when these play patterns were a lot more common!

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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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