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Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / Against the Odds: Teaching Arena Zoomers about Mindslaver Locks

Against the Odds: Teaching Arena Zoomers about Mindslaver Locks


Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of Against the Odds! Mindslaver is one of my all-time favorite cards. Controlling your opponent during their turn is such a unique, funny, and powerful effect. As such, as soon as I saw that Mindslaver was coming to Magic Arena for the first time thanks to Outlaws of Thunder Junction, I knew I had to build a deck to teach Arena Zoomers about the legendary artifact. However, there was one big problem: Mindslaver's best friend—Academy Ruins, the card that lets you loop Mindslaver to control your opponent for the rest of the game—isn't on Magic Arena. I was worried that we wouldn't be able to build the deck at all. But then, right at the end of spoiler season, Wizards unveiled Esoteric Duplicator as part of The Big Score, and Duplicator is absolutely the perfect way to combo with Mindslaver! If we can get both on the battlefield, we can activate Mindslaver to control our opponent during their next turn and pay two for Esoteric Duplicator to make a copy of Mindslaver on our end step. So after we control our opponent during their turn, we can Mindslaver again during our next turn, effectively controlling our opponent for the rest of the game! What are the odds of winning by enslaving the minds of some Arena Zoomers forever? Let's get to the video and find out!

Against the Odds: Teaching Arena Zoomers about Mindslaver Locks

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The Deck

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Our deck's goal is simple: control our opponent's mind for the rest of the game with the help of Mindslaver and Esoteric Duplicator. While this doesn't technically win us the game, in reality, we'll play our opponents' turns so poorly that they'll never be able to kill us, which means the lock does virtually win the game. (Plus, most opponents scoop once they realize what's happening.) The combo is pretty straightforward: play both combo pieces, pay four mana to activate Mindslaver and control our opponent's next turn, and then pay two mana to Esoteric Duplicator so we'll get a copy of Mindslaver on our end step. After we play our opponent's turn for them as poorly as possible, we'll go back to our turn, activate the new Mindslaver to control our opponent again during their next turn, and pay the two to make another copy with Esoteric Duplicator. Of course, there are a couple of challenges for this plan. First, it costs a lot of mana. At a minimum, we need six mana to play Mindslaver, although in reality, we'd rather get up to around 12 mana so we can play Mindslaver, activate it, and pay for Esoteric Duplicator all in one turn so we don't leave Mindslaver sitting our the battlefield four opponent to interact with. But we've got a plan for this...

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In Modern, the easiest way to Mindslaver lock someone is with the help of Tron. But since we don't have Tron on Arena, we're using Forsaken Monument instead, which is perfect for our plan. For five mana, it doubles the mana of all of our colorless sources. Since every land in our deck makes colorless mana, this means we can get to five mana, play Forsaken Monument, and have at least 10 (and, if we make a land drop, 12) mana the following turn, which is exactly enough to play and activate Mindslaver

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We've also got a ton of mana rocks to help speed up the process and offer a backup plan for getting enough mana to combo if we don't have Forsaken Monument to put our deck into overdrive!

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Outside of mana, the other challenge is finding our combo pieces, but we have a plan for this too. You probably noticed that there are only three copies of Mindslaver and Esoteric Duplicator in our main deck. That's because we're playing Karn, the Great Creator to snag the missing copies from our sideboard, effectively giving us seven copies of our key combo pieces. Transmutation Font is just a one-of but can also tutor Mindslaver or Esoteric Duplicator directly on the battlefield by sacrificing some artifact tokens, while Fabricate can tutor an artifact into our hand for just three mana, making the deck much more consistent!

Wrap-Up and Odds

Record-wise, the deck did surprisingly well, going 13-10, giving us a win percentage just a touch below 60%. More importantly, nearly all of our wins came from Mindslaver. We managed to pull off the hard lock a bunch of times, and it was as awesome as I had hoped. One of the things I love about Mindslaver is how unique it is. Normally, the goal of Magic is to play as well as possible, but the plan changes when you are controlling an opponent with Mindslaver. Instead, the goal is to play as poorly as possible, which leads to some really funny plays like Thoughtseizing yourself or spending your removal on your own creatures. It's also worth mentioning that a lot of the time, we don't even need the fully lock to win—just controlling one or two turns is often enough to take the opponent out of the game by emptying their hand and board! The deck is hilarious and much more competitive than I would have thought. If you like the idea of enslaving your opponent's mind and controlling all their turns, give it a shot! It's pretty awesome!

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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