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Against the Odds: The Wanderer (Standard)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 233 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a second-chance poll, giving cards that came in second or third over the previous month of polls another shot at glory. In the end, The Wanderer sneaked out the win over Guild Feud. As such, we're heading to Standard today to play a deck that's looking to use The Wanderer to set up a massive Command the Dreadhorde. Our main goal is to drain our opponent for 20 with the help of Syr Konrad, the Grim triggering when creatures enter or leave our graveyard, winning us the game on the turn when we resolve Command the Dreadhorde without ever needing to attack! What are the odds of winning with The Wanderer 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: The Wanderer

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The Deck

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The Wanderer is a weird card to build around. On one hand, its main synergy is pretty obvious: with The Wanderer on the battlefield, we can cast Command the Dreadhorde to reanimate any number of creatures or planeswalkers without taking any damage, thanks to The Wanderer's static ability. As such, heading into the deck-building process, I was pretty certain that The Wanderer and Command the Dreadhorde would be the core of the deck. The question is, what is the most spectacular and game-ending combination of creatures / planeswalkers to reanimate? In theory, you can reanimate a bunch of planeswalkers and win with value over the course of a few turns, but immediately winning the game is much more exciting. Eventually, I realized that the perfect combo piece already existed in Standard, in the form of Syr Konrad, the Grim

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Syr Konrad, the Grim triggers to ping our opponent for one damage whenever a creature dies, goes to the graveyard, or leaves the graveyard. This means that if we can get Syr Konrad on the battlefield before we resolve Command the Dreadhorde, we will get one free damage for each creature we reanimate, which is a nice starting point to our goal of draining our opponent for 20. However, things get even more spectacular because of the specific creatures we are trying to reanimate. We have four copies of Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, which can potentially hit our opponent for three damage thanks to their enters-the-battlefield triggers. Then, since reanimating Kroxa with Command the Dreadhorde isn't escaping Kroxa, all of the copies go back to the graveyard, which gives us another set of pinging damage from Syr Konrad, the Grim. The fun doesn't end there. Assuming Nightmare Shepherd was also among the creatures we reanimated with Command the Dreadhorde, we can then exile all of our Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hungers to make 1/1 token copies (exiling is "leaving the graveyard," so that means more Syr Konrad, the Grim pings). The token copies give us another round of Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger enters-the-battlefield triggers, this time likely hitting our opponent for three damage each, since we have wiped out their entire hand with Kroxa discard. Finally, the Kroxa tokens sacrifice themselves because they weren't escaped, and even though tokens disappear when they leave the battlefield, they technically hit the graveyard for a brief moment before going away, giving us another round of pinging damage from Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger! All in all, this should add up to around 20 damage, depending on how many copies of our key pieces we happen to have in the graveyard when we Command the Dreadhorde

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If that's not enough, we also have a couple of copies of Woe Strider, which allows us to sacrifice our other creatures for free after we reanimate them to get even more Syr Konrad, the Grim triggers. 

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Finally, we have Mire Triton, Gorging Vulture, and Rix Maadi Reveler, which do double duty in our deck. In the early game, we cast them to fill our graveyard and set up our The Wanderer / Command the Dreadhorde / Syr Konrad, the Grim combo kill. Then, once we resolve Command the Dreadhorde, we can reanimate all of our graveyard-filling creatures, which will mill us again and offer even more Syr Konrad, the Grim damage as more creatures enter our graveyard!

The Matchups

By far the hardest matchups are against decks that can interact with our combo. Considering our main plan for winning the game is resolving a six-mana sorcery, it is difficult for our deck to win if our opponent can leave up a Negate or Dovin's Veto or kill The Wanderer with Command the Dreadhorde on the stack. We are also somewhat light in removal, which can leave us open to being janked out by Embercleave, even though we have a lot of solid early-game blockers against aggro (although our matchup against Embercleave decks gets way better after sideboarding). On the other hand, our deck performs well against midrange decks, for the most part, both because The Wanderer is a surprisingly good removal spell against cards like Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and various Cavaliers and because we'll eventually find our combo and win the game out of nowhere. 

The Odds

All in all, we finished with a 3-2 record, although I'd consider it a wind-aided 3-2 since one opponent timed out and another conceded the match while we were 1-1 heading into game three. As for The Wanderer itself, it was surprisingly effective. While the combo kills were spectacular, the more impressive aspect of The Wanderer was just how good it was as a removal spell in a lot of matchups. When we can exile two creatures for four mana, The Wanderer is more than worth a slot in our deck, even without the potential of a game-ending Command the Dreadhorde!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Artifact have traditionally been some of the most powerful card in Magic (see: most of the Power 9), but not all artifacts can be Black Lotus or Mox Pearl. Next week we'll give a lesser artifact its due in Modern. Which of these interesting but jank artifacts should be build around next week? 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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