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Against the Odds: The Bludgeoning (Modern, Magic Online)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 222 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a bit of weirdness with the Against the Odds poll. Technically, Quest for Ula's Temple won, but when I started to build the deck, I realized we had actually played Quest for Ula's Temple a couple of years ago, and the deck today would look basically the same. Add in the fact that Ikoria will probably bring some new sea monsters with it, and the second place card Bludgeon Brawl was declared the winner—we'll revisit Quest for Ula's Temple after Ikoria is released in a few months. Today, our goal is to turn some random artifacts into equipment, pick them up with some random creatures, and hopefully beat our opponent to death with seemingly innocent items like Renegade Maps and Golden Eggs! What are the odds of winning with Bludgeon Brawl in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out in today's holiday Against the Odds special; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: The Bludgeoning (Modern)

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The Deck

When Bludgeon Brawl was declared the winner of last weeks poll, I immediately became obsessed with the idea of turning everything into artifacts with Mycosynth Lattice and then equipping everything to Vulshok Battlemaster for free. I built a ton of different decks around the idea but quickly realized that the plan didn't actually work. And even if it did work, we were mostly equipping a bunch of lands that give +0/+0 to Vulshok Battlemaster, so the idea was more funny than good. The other problem with Mycosynth Lattice is that the best way to find it is to use Karn, the Great Creator, but if you get Mycosynth Lattice and Karn on the battlefield together, the opponent is hard-locked out of the game anyway, so they almost always scoop before Vulshok Battlemaster can be played. As such, the final build of the deck didn't involve Mycosynth Lattice, although it is still all about picking up janky artifacts turned into equipment by Bludgeon Brawl with creatures like Vulshok Battlemaster.

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Bludgeon Brawl might be one of the all-time hardest cards we've ever built around on Against the Odds. For three mana, it turns all non-equipment, non-creature artifacts into equipment that give +X/+0, where X is their converted mana cost, and also cost X to equip. This leads to some really awkward deckbuilding restrictions. To make Bludgeon Brawl work, we need to play a bunch of non-equipment artifacts, but to actually equip our artifacts post–Bludgeon Brawl, we need to play a bunch of creatures that care about equipment. This leaves us with a deck that really only works if we have Bludgeon Brawl on the battlefield. And while Idyllic Tutor helps to make sure we can find a copy, if our opponent can kill or counter our namesake enchantment, we're often left with a deck that does nothing.

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Our deck's main goal is to flood the board with cheap, mostly cantripping artifacts in the early game; play Bludgeon Brawl to turn them all into equipment; use a creature that can equip things for free to pile all of our random artifacts onto it; and hopefully beat our opponent down with one or two big attacks. Fervent Champion can equip every artifact in our deck except for Gruul War Plow for free. Puresteel Paladin can equip everything for free, and if we have a Bludgeon Brawl on the battlefield, it even draws us an extra card when we are playing our janky artifacts. And our one-of Kazuul's Toll Collector offers a backup plan for equipping everything for free.

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Finally, we have Vulshok Battlemaster, which equips all equipment on the battlefield to itself when it comes into play, which means we not only grab all of our random artifacts (assuming we have Bludgeon Brawl on the battlefield), but any non-creature, non-equipment artifacts on our opponent's side of the battlefield as well. Add in the fact that Vulshok Battlemaster has haste, and with enough artifacts on the battlefield, it can be a one-shot kill post–Bludgeon Brawl.

 

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As far as our weapons, they aren't really all that threatening. By far my favorite part of The Bludgeoning is the flavor of our equipment. We're literally picking up snow globes and Golden Eggs and smashing our opponent with them, which is hilarious, even if it isn't all that effective. The main upside of our random artifacts is that many of them cantrip, which helps us dig through our deck to find our creatures and our Bludgeon Brawl

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Probably the least threatening of our equipment is Renegade Map, which might be able to give Oko or Karn a paper cut, but that's about it. On the other hand, since Renegade Map can find us a land, we are able to cut down to just 17 real lands. If we are land light, we can sacrifice Renegade Map to hit our land drop, but if we have plenty of lands, we can leave it on the battlefield to eventually equip to one of our creatures, giving it a mighty +1/+0.

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Our best chance to actually kill an opponent is to catch them by surprise—nobody expects the Bludgeon Brawl. We can build up a big board of harmless-looking artifacts and then, out of the blue, play a creature and Bludgeon Brawl, equip everything, and maybe one-shot the opponent. Gruul War Plow and Hammer of Purphoros are essential to making this plan work. While both cards offer backup ways of making creatures, the main reason they are in the deck is to make Puresteel Paladin, Kazuul's Toll Collector, Fervent Champion, and Vulshok Battlemaster better. Hammer of Purphoros does this by giving all of our creatures haste, allowing us to get in a big attack by surprise, while Gruul War Plow offers trample to get through chump blockers. Since both cards are also artifacts, they are also fine equipment once Bludgeon Brawl his the battlefield.

The Matchups

Good matchups don't exist for The Bludgeoning. When things go perfectly, we can play Bludgeon Brawl on Turn 3 and build a semi-big creature to attack with. Meanwhile, other Modern decks do things like Urza, Lord High Artificer, Karn Liberated, or Storm combo kills on Turn 3. Combine that with our deck's inconsistency, and I'm pretty sure we aren't favored against any deck in the Modern format. That said, some matchups are even worse than others, and Karn, the Great Creator is especially problematic for our deck since it keeps Fervent Champion and Puresteel Paladin from equipping (although Kazuul's Toll Collector and Vulshok Battlemaster help to get around Karn since we don't need to activate our artifacts to equip them).

The Odds

We played five matches with The Bludgeoning and won zero, although we did manage to steal a couple of game wins along the way, making The Bludgeoning one of the least successful Against the Odds decks of all time. On the other hand, the odds of turning random seemingly safe household items into weapons is fairly high. While we lost a lot with the deck, turning Golden Eggs and Renegade Maps into weapons was funny flavor-wise, at the very least. Basically, you don't play Bludgeon Brawl because it's going to win games; you play Bludgeon Brawl because it does hilarious things that no other card in Magic allows!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

It's almost time for new Theros: Beyond Death cards, but while we wait for the new set to officially be released, let's head to Pioneer one more time! Which of these cards should we build around next week? Let us know by voting below!

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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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