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Against the Odds: Tibalt Tribal (Modern)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 279 of Against the Odds. Last week, we didn't have an Against the Odds poll, which means we have a very special episode today. If you've been following Against the Odds for a while, you'll know that planeswalker-tribal decks are one of the most popular recurring themes. The problem is we've been running out of planeswalkers that meet the criteria for planeswalker-tribal decks (a planeswalker needs at least three different versions, discounting Planeswalker Decks). Well, Kaldheim brought along with it the third version of the best planeswalker of all time: Tibalt! That's right, it's finally Tibalt Tribal time. What are the odds of winning in Modern with a deck that's playing the full four copies of every Tibalt in existence? 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: Tibalt Tribal

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The Deck

Tibalt Tribal is one of the most awkward planeswalker-tribal decks we've ever played, mostly because the three Tibalts all do very different things and there isn't much that ties them together thematically (outside of being Tibalts). Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded is probably best in some sort of graveyard deck that can help to minimize the drawback of its random discard +1. Tibalt, Rakish Instigator makes tokens and is sort of a hate card against lifegain decks, while Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor basically is a generically good card-advantage planeswalker. As such, there isn't a solid theme that ties Tibalt Tribal together (the closest thing we have to Tibalt synergies is discarding cards at random to Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded to power up the ultimate of Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor). As a result, our deck today is mostly hoping to play a bunch of Tibalts and put together a win in one way or another.

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Widely considered to be the worst planeswalker of all time, we start our Tibalt curve with Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded. The upside of this Tibalt is that it looks so non-threatening (and it's pretty easy for the +1 to be a negative rather than a positive) that many opponents choose not to kill it, even if they have the chance. In some matchups, the –4 can deal a reasonable amount of damage (although not enough to win the game by itself), and the Insurrection ultimate can be good against creature decks. But in general, Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded is our wildcard Tibalt. We play it, +1 it, and hope that it doesn't ruin our day by making us discard something we really need.

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Tibalt, Rakish Instigator isn't a bad card; it's just fairly narrow. Since it doesn't have any abilities that add loyalty, it mostly makes two 1/1 Devils for three mana while also preventing lifegain, which is great in some matchups and does literally nothing in others. Perhaps the most surprising part of Tibalt, Rakish Instigator is how relevant the "deal one damage" death trigger on the Devil tokens can be in some matchups, allowing us to pick off small creatures, occasionally get a two-for-one, or, at worse, just throw some damage at our opponent's face.

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Rounding out Tibalt Tribal is Valki, God of Lies (probably better known as Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor). While Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor is—by far—the most powerful Tibalt, it comes with a huge drawback: it costs a massive seven mana, which is a lot for any fair deck to make in Modern, let alone Tibalt Tribal. As a result, we really need a way to cheat Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor into play on the cheap. Enter Release to the Wind! The way Release to the Wind is worded, we can cast Valki, God of Lies on Turn 2, use Release to the Wind to exile it on Turn 3, and immediately choose to cast the Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor side, greatly speeding up our goal of assembling Tibalt Tron. Release to the Wind is also cute with Tibalt, Rakish Instigator, allowing us to reset its loyalty and make some more Devil tokens, although the main reason it's in the deck is to combo with Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor.

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As far as non-Tibalt cards in our deck, we have a bunch of stuff designed to minimize the drawback of Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded's random-draw-and-discard +1. Snapcaster Mage allows us to flashback interaction like Thoughtseize or Fatal Push as well as reuse Release to the Wind from the graveyard. Lurrus of the Dream-Den is just a one-of, but it allows us to recast both Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded and, if we can get up to seven mana, Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor from our graveyard. Finally, Kolaghan's Command offers another way to get Valki, God of Lies back from our graveyard and also offers solid two-for-one value as a removal spell. Otherwise, we just have some removal and discard to help keep our Tibalts on the battlefield and ourselves alive long enough to (hopefully) assemble Tibalt Tron!

The Matchups

I honestly have no idea what matchups (if any) are good for Tibalt Tribal. Our removal and discard mean we have a chance against most decks in the format, although the fact that we're trying to win the game with Tibalts means that we're probably not favored in any of them. 

The Odds

All in all, we finished 2-2 with Tibalt Tribal, giving us a 50% match win percentage, which is pretty solid considering the theme of the deck. More importantly, we got the full Tibalt experience, ranging from wins by assembling Tibalt Tron to Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded discarding removal spells we desperately needed to stay alive. While Tibalt Tribal might not be the most powerful planeswalker-tribal deck, it might be one of the most interesting. When Tibalts are involved, you never know what might happen!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Tomorrow Historic Anthology IV releases on Magic Arena, so let's try out a new-to-Historic card next week, but which one? Let us know by voting here!


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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