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Against the Odds: Thassa's Oracle Combo (Standard, Magic Arena)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 224 of Against the Odds. Theros: Beyond Death is here, and we're kicking off our exploration of our new Standard format with a special episode. Traditionally, the foundation of Against the Odds is "you win the game" cards, and we got a good one in Theros: Beyond Death, in the form of Thassa's Oracle. While there are several ways to potentially win with the two-drop, our deck is looking to combo off and win with Thassa's Oracle as quickly as possible by making oodles of mana with Nyx Lotus (tapping and untapping it a bunch of times, with the help of Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner and Corridor Monitor) while drawing through our deck with Gadwick, the Wizened. The end result is a combo deck that can potentially win the game by drawing through our entire deck as early as Turn 5! What are the odds of comboing off and winning with Thassa's Oracle in 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: Thassa's Oracle Combo (Standard)

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The Deck

As soon as Thassa's Oracle was previewed, I was pretty sure it would be our first Against the Odds card from the set. The only challenge was figuring out the most spectacular way to win with the two-drop. In theory, you can play Thassa's Oracle in a card draw–heavy plan as a backup plan, in case you draw your entire deck or in a self-mill strategy, but playing a good midrange deck with a top of Thassa's Oracle "just in case" isn't really what Against the Odds is about. Our deck today is all-in on making as much blue devotion as possible, in turn giving us tons of mana thanks to Nyx Lotus, which will turn into card draw form Gadwick, the Wizened and allow us to win the game with Thassa's Oracle in one big combo turn!

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Thassa's Oracle does double duty in our deck. While the main reason we are playing it is to win the game when it enters the battlefield, it's also a perfectly fine two-drop that adds two blue devotion to the battlefield and helps to smooth out our draws. That said, the "you win the game" text is the real power of Thassa's Oracle. Since we have a ton of blue mana symbols in our deck, we can often get our devotion up to 20-ish during our combo turns, which makes it surprisingly easy to win the game with Thassa's Oracle

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Nyx Lotus is the mana engine that drives our combo turns. Thanks to cards like Thassa's Oracle, Brazen Borrower, and Gadwick, the Wizened, it's pretty easy to have Nyx Lotus tap for seven or eight mana as early as Turn 5. While this is solid by itself, allowing us to play a bunch of cards in the same turn thanks to the extra mana, Nyx Lotus is even better in our deck since we're playing eight cards that can untap the mana rock, in Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner and Corridor Monitor (both of which also add more blue symbols to the battlefield, so the next time we tap Nyx Lotus, it will add even more mana). 

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The next most important combo piece is Gadwick, the Wizened, which allows us to turn all of the mana we make by tapping and untapping Nyx Lotus into card draw. This not only helps to get our library empty enough to win with Thassa's Oracle but also draws us more blue mana symbols (to allow Nyx Lotus to tap for even more mana) and more untappers. The deck's goal is to make as much mana as possible with Nyx Lotus, cast a Gadwick, the Wizened for all of our mana minus three, and trust that with eight ways to untap Nyx Lotus in our deck, we'll draw into at least one of them, along with more card draw, so we can untap Nyx Lotus, flood the board with more blue mana symbols, cast an even bigger Gadwick, the Wizened, and eventually get to the point where we can play a Thassa's Oracle to win the game!

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Outside of our direct combo pieces, our deck's main goal is to draw cards to set up our combo and add blue mana symbols to the battlefield (while also staying alive long enough to combo off). Cavalier of Gales gives us some backup card draw with its Brainstorm enters-the-battlefield trigger while also adding three blue mana symbols to the battlefield. Thassa, Deep-Dwelling allows us to reuse cards like Cavalier of Gales and even Thassa's Oracle. (If we are missing something like Gadwick, the Wizened or Nyx Lotus, then blinking Thassa's Oracle with a bunch of blue symbols on the battlefield is almost like a Vampiric Tutor, which will almost certainly find us what we need by digging a bunch of cards deep into our deck.) Meanwhile, blinking our one Agent of Treachery with Thassa, Deep-Dwelling gives us some removal and also a backup plan for winning the game if things go wrong with our combo plan. 

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Last but not least, we have a couple of bounce creatures in Brazen Borrower and Dream Eater. As I mentioned in the intro, our deck is pretty good at comboing off on around Turn 5 or 6, and while that's a decent speed for a Standard combo deck, it does mean we can get run over by aggro. Having cards like Brazen Borrower to bounce a potential attacker is key to making sure that we stay alive long enough to assemble our combo and win the game. (Also, against aggro, don't be afraid to run out cards like Corridor Monitor and Thassa's Oracle early, as they are surprisingly solid blockers thanks to their high toughness.)

The Matchups

The hardest matchups for Thassa's Oracle Combo are dedicated aggro decks, especially those with Embercleave to fight through our blockers and hit for huge chunks of damage. While we can beat these decks thanks to Brazen Borrower, we'd much rather play against midrange or control, where we can easily go over the top of whatever our opponent is doing thanks to the amounts of mana and card draw in our deck. Another issue is Shifting Ceratops, which is close to unbeatable for our main deck, especially if it comes down early thanks to some ramp. Ashiok's Erasure and Ugin, the Ineffable give us Ceratops answers out of the sideboard, but it is still an annoying card for our deck to deal with.

The Odds

Our odds this week were slightly complicated thanks to Arena having issues. We ended up winning and losing some matches thanks to being timed out (or being disconnected and missing a turn before we could log back in), but overall (discounting matches where someone won / lost due to being disconnected), we ended up going 5-2 with the deck, giving us a 71% match win percentage and making Thassa's Oracle combo solidly above average for an Against the Odds deck. The deck's only downside is that we don't actually get to finish the combo all that often, as once we start tapping our Nyx Lotus for 20 mana, most opponents scoop before we actually get a chance to cast Thassa's Oracle. That said, almost all of our wins would have come from Thassa's Oracle had our opponent not scooped, and we did get to play through the full combo a couple of times!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Theros: Beyond Death is still fresh and new, so let's play another sweet #MTGTHB card in Standard next week! Which of these spicy Theros: Beyond Death cards should we build around for the next episode? Let us know by voting below!

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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

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