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Against the Odds: Tergrid Death Cloud (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 284 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a second-chance poll, and in the end, Tergrid, God of Fright took home the win, which means we're finally getting a chance to play a combo I've been wanting to try since Kaldheim was released: Tergrid, God of Fright with Death Cloud! The idea is that we can ramp into Tergrid, God of Fright and then resolve a Death Cloud to wipe out both players' hands and battlefield, except we'll get all the permanents our opponent discards from their hand and all of the creatures they have on the battlefield, which we then can use to win the game! Of course, we also have some backup Tergrid, God of Fright shenanigans, with a bunch of discard and sacrifice effects. How good is Tergrid in Modern? Can the combo with Death Cloud close out games? What are the odds of winning with Tergrid Death Cloud? 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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Tergrid Death Cloud

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The Deck

As soon as Tergrid, God of Fright won the poll, I knew we'd be comboing with Death Cloud—I've been waiting for a chance to try the synergy ever since Tergrid, God of Fright was spoiled a couple of months ago. The main questions were how to support the Tergrid Death Cloud plan and what other sacrifice and discard effects we could use to power up the plan further.

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Tergrid, God of Fright is the centerpiece of our deck. While we do occasionally play the backside (Tergrid's Lantern, which can be a way to make our opponent sacrifice or discard if we already have a Tergrid on the battlefield), our first copy of the MDFC is almost always going to be played as Tergrid, God of Fright. Once we have Tergrid on the battlefield, anytime our opponent discards or sacrifices a permanent, rather than ending up in their graveyard, it goes to our side of the battlefield. While we do occasionally get some free value out of Tergrid (for example, if our opponent cracks a fetch land with Tergrid on the battlefield, we'll get it), we're not just relying on our opponent to turn on Tergrid. Thanks to some mass-sacrifice effects, we potentially can use Tergrid, God of Fright to steal a ton of our opponent's things at once!

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As far as mass sacrifice effects, our best option is Death Cloud. Thanks to having a ton of ramp, we often can cast it with X being big enough to wipe out our opponent's entire hand and battlefield. Of course, we also wipe out our own hand and battlefield, but this doesn't really matter thanks to Tergrid, God of Fright since we'll end up with all of the permanents our opponent discards and all of the creatures they sacrifice (sadly, the way Death Cloud is worded, we don't typically get our opponent's lands because we'll have to sacrifice Tergrid, God of Fright before the "sacrifice X lands" ability resolves), which is almost always enough to win the game, considering our opponent has no hand and no board. Torment of Hailfire and Curse of the Cabal are our backup mass-sacrifice effects. Torment of Hailfire requires a lot of mana to be lethal, but our deck is pretty good at ramping. And if we can cast it with a large enough X, it can force our opponent to sacrifice all of their non-land permanents and discard their hand to avoid dying, which makes it solid with Tergrid, God of Fright. Meanwhile, Curse of the Cabal is weird. It costs a ridiculous 10 mana to hard cast, although if we suspend it, we can often force our opponent to sacrifice a permanent every other turn, giving us some slow, repeatable Tergrid value. 

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Rounding out our sacrifice and discard synergies are Liliana of the Veil and Liliana's Triumph. While these cards aren't as flashy as Death Cloud or Curse of the Cabal are, they work super well with Tergrid, God of Fright since they both can make our opponent discard and sacrifice a creature. Liliana of the Veil can come down as early as Turn 2 thanks to our ramp and either help stabilize the board as we wait to resolve Tergrid with its –2 or start attacking our opponent's hand with the +1. Then, after we get Tergrid down, we'll start stealing what our opponent sacs or discards. Meanwhile, Liliana's Triumph gives us an edict effect (which steals the creature our opponent sacs if we have Tergrid) that can also make our opponent discard at instant speed if we have a Liliana on the battlefield, which allows us to do tricks like get our opponent empty-handed and then Liliana's Triumph on their draw step to force them to discard the card they drew for the turn, while potentially stealing it with Tergrid, God of Fright

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Otherwise, we have a ton of ramp, in part to help get Tergrid, God of Fright on the battlefield as quickly as possible and in part because we need a ton of mana to make Death Cloud and Torment of Hailfire good. Thanks to the combo of Arbor Elf, Utopia Sprawl, Mind Stone, and Garruk Wildspeaker, we potentially can have Tergrid, God of Fright on the battlefield as early as Turn 3 and be casting one of our big sacrifice / discard spells as soon as Turn 4 or 5.

The Matchups

In general, Tergrid Death Cloud wants to play against creature-based decks, both because we have good answers and because Tergrid, God of Fright becomes much less exciting if our opponent is playing mostly spells because it only steals permanents that are sacrificed or discarded. Against spell-based combo, we technically can win by casting a massive Death Cloud or sticking an early Liliana of the Veil, but we'd much rather be playing against creature-based midrange and even aggro.

The Odds

All in all, we went 4-1 with Tergrid Death Cloud, including a win over a poor Bogles player who scooped the match after game one, probably realizing that they had basically zero chance to beat a deck playing Death Cloud, Liliana of the Veil, and Liliana's Triumph, giving us a solid 80% match win percentage. We also got some really sweet Tergrid, God of Fright turns. While stealing a bunch of stuff with Death Cloud was amazing, by far my favorite moment was snagging an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn that had been put into play with Through the Breach and watching our opponent immediately scoop!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Strixhaven is all about big, flashy spells. While we have one more week to wait until we can play with the set itself, in the meantime we can get a head start by playing a big, flashy spells in Modern next week! Which one? Click here to vote!

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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