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Against the Odds: Unbound Wealth (Modern, Magic Online)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 196 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had our third Against the Odds poll for Modern Horizons. And while it was a tight race, in the end, our new Doubling Season for X spells—Unbound Flourishing—came out on top. As such, we're heading to Modern today to play a deck I'm calling Unbound Wealth, which looks to use Unbound Flourishing along with some fast mana to cast Villainous Wealth, double it with Unbound Flourishing, and hopefully play most of our opponent's deck before eventually beating our opponent with their own cards! Apart from Villainous Wealth, we've got some other sweet X spells to double up, like Hydroid Krasis and Walking Ballista, and even some X-spell ramp in Magus of the Candelabra. Can Unbound Flourishing make Villainous Wealth into a real card in Modern? What are the odds of winning with a deck build around Villainous Wealth?  Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Unbound Wealth


The Deck

When Unbound Flourishing won the poll, the one thing I knew is that I wanted to avoid playing Hydra Tribal, mostly because we've played a couple of Hydra decks in the last few months and rehashing them—even with a sweet new card in Unbound Flourishing—seemed boring, so I started searching for other options. Eventually, I stumbled across Villainous Wealth, a super-unique and fun card that I'm pretty sure we've never played before on Against the Odds, and I decided that playing our opponent's entire deck had to be one of the most fun things we could do with the help of Unbound Flourishing

The Combo

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While Unbound Flourishing has a lot of text, it basically doubles up any X spells or X activations, making it pretty similar to a Doubling Season for X stuff. We've got a bunch of ways to take advantage of the enchantment, but our primary plan is to make a bunch of mana and then use Unbound Flourishing to copy a massive Villainous Wealth. Villainous Wealth is a weird card, being close to a Genesis Wave that hits our opponent's deck rather than our own but with the upside that we can also cast the spells we exile with Villainous Wealth. Normally, one of the problems with Villainous Wealth is that how good it is depends mostly on our opponent's deck, which is something we can't control. But thanks to Unbound Flourishing and our big-mana plan, we can cast Villainous Wealths that are so big that we can overcome the variance with brute force. No matter what our opponent is playing, if we manage to cast 20 or even 40 cards from their deck for free, it should be enough to win the game in just about any matchup!

The Mana

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Of course, we need to make a lot of mana for our Unbound Flourishing / Villainous Wealth plan to work. For this, we've got quite a few options, starting in the one-drop slot with Arbor Elf, Utopia Sprawl, and Birds of Paradise, which allow us to play Unbound Flourishing on Turn 2 and then help make sure that our Villainous Wealths are as big as possible after we have Unbound Flourishing on the battlefield.

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While our mana dorks are great, to really make Villainous Wealth devastating, we need cards that add more than just a single extra mana. For this, we turn to a devotion package, with Burning-Tree Emissary and Llanowar Tribe adding a bunch of green mana symbols to the battlefield, which in turn allows Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to tap for an absurd amount of mana. Both Burning-Tree Emissary and Llanowar Tribe have some additional upsides as well, with Burning-Tree Emissary adding two mana when it comes into play, which means we can cast any number of Burning-Tree Emissaries to up our devotion to green and still have enough mana left over to activate Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx at the end of the chain. And Llanowar Tribe taps for three mana itself, which means with the help of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, a single copy of Llanowar Tribe adds six mana to the battlefield!

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While our mana dorks and devotion creatures are great, the card that really pushes our mana production into overdrive is Magus of the Candelabra. Without help, Magus of the Candelabra doesn't really do anything, but with some support, it is one of the most broken cards in our deck. Without Unbound Flourishing, Magus of the Candelabra can untap Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx or a land enchanted with Utopia Sprawl to make extra mana, but Magus of the Candelabra gets out of control with Unbound Flourishing. Since Magus of the Candelabra's land-untapping ability is an X ability, it doubles triggers with a Unbound Flourishing on the battlefield, which means we get to untap two lands for one mana, making Magus a great source of ramp. However, the real trick here is to use Magus of the Candelabra to untap Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx twice for just one mana. Since Unbound Flourishing copies Magus's untap ability, we end up with two separate untap triggers on the stack. This means we can tap Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx for a bunch of mana, spend one mana to activate Magus of the Candelabra to untap Nykthos, copy the untap ability with Unbound Flourishing, target Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx with the copy as well, and tap Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx for a bunch of mana two more times. In the end, this often means adding 10 or even 20 mana in a single turn. If we can spend all of this mana on Villainous Wealth and double it with Unbound Flourishing, we should be able to cast a huge portion of our opponent's deck for free!

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Garruk Wildspeaker is just a one-of, but it gives us another way to untap Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx while also adding some extra green mana symbols to the battlefield to up our devotion. While not our primary plan, the Overrun ultimate also gives us a backup plan for winning the game by turning all of our random mana dorks into big trampling attackers for a turn.

Other X Stuff

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Hydroid Krasis is our main card-advantage engine, and it's pretty insane with Unbound Flourishing doubling up the counters to give us even more card draw and lifegain. One of the risks of playing a bunch of mana production is that we'll have games where we'll draw tons of ramp but few finishers. A single Hydroid Krasis, with the help of Unbound Flourishing, solves this problem by drawing us a huge chunk of our deck, which should find us more copies of Unbound Flourishing, Hydroid Krasis, and—eventually—Villainous Wealth to close out the game. Here, it's also important to note that Unbound Flourishing's ability stacks, so things will get our of hand quickly if we happen to have multiple copies on the battlefield. With just two copies of Unbound Flourishing, we can cast Hydroid Krasis for five mana (with X = 3) and, if we stack the triggers properly, end up doubling the X to six and then again to 12, drawing us a new hand of cards and gaining us a ton of life. With extra mana from cards like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Llanowar Tribe, it's very possible that we can use Hydroid Krasis to draw our entire deck.

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Walking Ballista and Nissa, Steward of Elements give us two backup X finishers. With Unbound Flourishing and our fast mana, it's possible for our deck to cast a Walking Ballista big enough to ping our opponent to death. Plus, in the early game, Walking Ballista gives us a cheap blocker and removal for smaller creatures. Meanwhile, with Unbound Flourishing on the battlefield, we only need to cast Nissa, Steward of Elements for five mana to be able to immediately ultimate and hit our opponent for 10 damage in the air with our animated lands. And with more mana (or copies of Unbound Flourishing), we can make a Nissa, Steward of Elements with enough loyalty counters that we can ultimate two turns in a row to kill our opponent directly. 

Other Stuff

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Finally, we have a bit more card advantage to help make sure we find our finisher regularly. Primal Command is sort of the glue that holds the deck together, giving us graveyard hate against decks like Hogaak and Phoenix; lifegain against aggro; and a way to find our Hydroid Krasis, Magus of the Candelabra, or Walking Ballista, depending on the situation. This flexibility makes it key to both staying alive in the early game and finding our finisher when we're ready to try to close out the game. Meanwhile, Harmonize is just a one-of way to draw some extra cards to help find our Unbound Flourishing and Villainous Wealth. As I mentioned before, one of the risks of a ramp deck is that we draw all mana and few finishers, and cards like Harmonize and Primal Command join Hydroid Krasis to help fix this problem.

The Matchups

The hardest matchups for Unbound Wealth are decks overloaded with spot removal. If our opponent can kill our mana dorks and Magus of the Candelabra, we can end up stuck with a bunch of expensive, uncastable cards in hand. Thankfully, Modern has a lot of decks that are looking to goldfish into a kill, and in these matchups, our plan of going over the top of our opponent with big mana and huge spells works pretty well. It's possible that we can be casting a massive Villainous Wealth as early as Turn 3, which is fast enough to compete with many of the top-tier decks in the Modern format. Basically, decks overloaded with removal and counters are tough, but random creature decks and even some combo decks that are light on interaction are solid matchups for Unbound Wealth.

The Odds

We played five matches with Unbound Wealth and ended up winning four, giving us an 80% match win percentage, which places Unbound Wealth solidly in the top tier of Against the Odds decks. More importantly, we did some super-cool things. Most of our wins came from the combination of Unbound Flourishing and Villainous Wealth. We even had one game where we ended Turn 3 with 14 creatures and something like 50 power thanks to our combo! 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

No poll this week. Next week, we're kicking off Core Set 2020 season with a special episode. Don't worry, the poll will return next week with a bunch of sweet new Core Set 2020 cards!


Anyway, that's all for today. 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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