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Against the Odds: Triskaidekaphile (Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 306 of Against the Odds. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is here! Throne of Eldraine, Ikoria, and the rest of the monsters from last year's Standard are finally gone. For Against the Odds this week, we kick off our exploration of the new format with an Against the Odds classic: a card with the text "win the game" in Triskaidekaphile! While I'm a big fan of "win the game" cards in general, I love Triskaidekaphile even more than most because all it really wants us to do to win the game is draw a bunch of cards! What are the odds of getting up to 13 cards to win the game with Triskaidekaphile on our upkeep in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt 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: Triskaidekaphile

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The Deck

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Triskaidekaphile asks us to do one thing: have 13 cards in our hand at the beginning of our upkeep. If we do, the reward is quite literally winning the game on the spot! This might sound easy, but 13 cards is a lot in reality. Triskaidekaphile itself helps a bit by allowing us to pay four mana to draw a card. But considering that the maximum number of cards we can normally have in our hand is just seven, getting all the way up to 13 with just Triskaidekaphile would take a ton of mana, so it needs so help, which we have a bunch of in our deck. The other upside of Triskaidekaphile is that it makes it so we have no maximum hand size. While the easiest way to win with Triskaidekaphile is to draw up to 13 cards at instant speed (hopefully at our opponent's end step, so we can untap and immediately win), we potentially can take a slower path to 13 cards since Triskaidekaphile allows us to hold onto more than seven cards through our end step. So, how exactly are we planning to get to 13 cards in hand to win with Triskaidekaphile?

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Our most important support piece is a forgotten Adventures in the Forgotten Realms uncommon: Sudden Insight. We don't have a Blue Sun's Zenith or Sphinx's Revelation in Standard that allows us to draw X cards at instant speed, which makes Sudden Insight the best way to suddenly jump up to 13 cards on our opponent's end step. Our deck has cards of each mana value from one to seven, which means, at its best, we can be drawing seven cards with Sudden Insight (after sideboarding, we potentially can snag eight thanks to Vanquish the Horde). The idea is that we can play Triskaidekaphile, hopefully with a bunch of mana available; draw up to 13 or more cards on our opponent's end step; and then, if necessary, cast some instants to get cards out of our hand so we end up with exactly 13 to win the game on our upkeep after untapping.

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Backing up Sudden Insight is Wrenn and Seven. Wrenn's +1 is—by far—its most important ability, revealing the top four cards, putting all the lands into our hand, and dumping the rest into our graveyard. This does two things. First, the +1 often draws us multiple lands, which helps us work our way up to 13 cards in hand to win with Triskaidekaphile. It doesn't care what cards we have in hand, just that there are 13 of them, so 13 lands from Wrenn and Seven's plus one is perfectly fine. Second, dumping the non-land cards into the graveyard helps to power up our Sudden Insight to make sure it draws us enough cards to get up to 13.

Along with being one of our better Triskaidekaphile support cards, Wrenn and Seven is our backup way for winning the game. We can draw a bunch of cards, use Wrenn and Seven's zero ability to dump all of the lands onto the battlefield, make some truly massive Treefolk tokens with its –3. and try to win by beating down. While this isn't our primary plan, it is nice to have the option. Even if we don't use the Treefolk to attack our opponent, they are also great on defense. doubly so since having reach allows them to shut down annoying threats like Goldspan Dragon. Basically, Wrenn and Seven helps to support our Triskaidekaphile plan by filling our graveyard and drawing us cards, but it's also just an immensely powerful card.

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As far as the rest of the card draw in our deck, we have Sea Gate Restoration, which has the downside of being a sorcery but still can draw a bunch of cards at once, making it another solid way to get up to 13 cards in hand. Plus, it joins Triskaidekaphile and Wizard Class as cards that give us no max hand size, facilitating the slow, steady plan to draw up to 13 cards to win the game. Along with giving us no max hand size, Wizard Class offers a bit of card advantage and potentially a backup way of winning the game by beating down, by adding counters to our creatures as we draw cards, assuming we can get it to level three. Finally, we have Consider, which gives us some card selection that fills our graveyard for Sudden Insight.

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Quandrix Cultivator helps us ramp into our big card-draw spells like Sea Gate Restoration and Sudden Insight, while also adding a reasonable blocking body to the battlefield. It's also the only four-mana-value card in our deck, which is important for helping to power up Sudden Insight.

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Rounding out our deck are some removal and interaction. Getting up to 13 cards in hand takes quite a while, which means having some defense to keep us alive long enough to pull off the Triskaidekaphile win is essential. Fateful Absence kills anything (including planeswalkers) at instant speed, and while giving our opponent a Clue token is a drawback, we have so much card draw in our deck that we're still likely to win the card-advantage war. Doomskar gives us a sweeper against creature decks like Werewolves and Mono-Green Aggro, while Saw It Coming helps us interact with spell-heavy control decks while also protecting Triskaidekaphile from targeted removal.

The Matchups

In all honesty, I'm not sure what the matchups are like for Triskaidekaphile, mostly because the deck performed surprisingly well. We managed to take down both aggro and control, and our only loss came against an Izzet Delver deck that got a bit lucky by blind flipping Delver of Secrets for lethal the turn before we were going to stabilize and likely win the game. Against aggro, we have good removal and good blockers. (An under-appreciated aspect of Triskaidekaphile is that a 1/3 for two is solid on defense against aggressive decks). Against control, we have a ton of card advantage, a game-ending planeswalker, and counterspells. I'm not saying our Triskaidekaphile deck is broken, top tier, or anything like that, but it did really feel like a deck that had a decent chance against most of the popular archetypes in Standard.

The Odds

All in all, we went 4-1 with Triskaidekaphile (with our one loss being the blind Delver of Secrets flip game), giving us an 80% win percentage and making Triskaidekaphile very above average for an Against the Odds deck. More importantly, we actually picked up a lot of Triskaidekaphile wins. Out of the eight games we won, half of them were Triskaidekaphile wins (counting games where our opponent scooped the turn before Triskaidekaphile would trigger because they couldn't stop it), which was pretty impressive. Heading into our games, I was a bit worried that we wouldn't be able to win with Triskaidekaphile once, but it turned out to be a lot more achievable than I expected. While Triskaidekaphile isn't as strong as Thassa's Oracle (the best "win the game" card of all time), it is one of the better alternative win conditions we've seen, and it might actually be a semi-playable card in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt standard!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Next episode let's try some more sweet new Innistrad: Midnight Hunt jank in Standard! What card should we build around? Click here to vote!

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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