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Against the Odds: Urza Tribal (Modern)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 357 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a Modern Against the Odds poll featuring all of the new meld cards from The Brothers' War, and in the end, Urza, Lord Protector and The Mightstone and Weakstone took home a pretty easy win. Once it became clear that Urza was winning, some people were worried that we'd end up playing some sort of UW Control deck looking to slow down the game until we'd eventually meld into Urza, Planeswalker and win. But fear not—it's Against the Odds! Rather than playing a boring ol' control deck, we're playing the Urza-iest deck possible, Urza Tribal, with essentially every Urza and Urza-themed card possible! How many Urzas does it take to win a game of Modern? Is it actually possible to meld into Urza, Planeswalker? 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: Urza Tribal

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The Urzas

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The main goal is to meld Urza, Lord Protector and The Mightstone and Weakstone into one of the strongest planeswalkers of all time: Urza, Planeswalker. To make this happen, we need to get both pieces on the battlefield and have seven extra mana to pay for the meld, which is asking a lot in a format as fast and powerful as Modern. But don't worry, we have a plan: more Urzas!

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Backing up Urza, Lord Protector are literally every other Urza legal in Modern. Urza, Lord High Artificer might be the strongest of the bunch, letting us tap all of our artifacts for mana (which helps us pay for our Urza, Lord Protector meld), Mind's Desireing through our deck to find other Urzas, and making a potentially massive Construct with its enters-the-battlefield ability. Speaking of the Construct token, this is actually a subtheme of Urzas and is one of our best backup plans for winning the game. Since the Construct grows based on the number of artifacts we have on the battlefield, it can become absolutely massive in a deck like Urza Tribal that is full of cheap artifacts. 

We've also got little Urza Urza, Powerstone Prodigy, which isn't great, but looting is nice, and the Powerstone it makes helps pay for Urza, Lord Protector's meld or Urza, Lord High Artificer's "spin it to win it" ability. Finally, we have one Urza, Prince of Kroog, which might be the weakest Urza in our deck because most of our creatures are Urzas rather than artifacts, but it is good for pumping our Construct tokens, and in the late game, copying The Mightstone and Weakstone or even just a Construct token can be pretty powerful.

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The Urza fun doesn't stop with our creatures though. We also have a full playset of Urza's Saga, which is super flavorful in our deck but also just busted. The ability to make two Constructs makes it a land that can sometimes win the game by itself; plus, it can tutor up various ramp or utility artifacts with its third chapter. In all honesty, it's probably the best Urza in our deck, but don't tell Urza I said that.

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Wrapping up our main-deck Urzas is a copy of Liberator, Urza's Battlethopter, as a flashy attacker that also lets us flash our other artifacts into play. It is especially nice with The Mightstone and Weakstone, which we can flash into play during our opponent's end step while they are tapped out to set up a surprise meld during our turn. We've also got one Karn, Scion of Urza for card draw and more Construct production. Urza's Command is more of the same—another way to make a Construct, usually while Opting as a bonus. The Powerstone mode is also pretty powerful in the deck, in part because it helps ramp into our Urza, Planeswalker meld and in part because it's a way to put an artifact on the battlefield at instant speed to grow our Construct tokens, which can lead to some big blowouts in combat.

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The rest of our deck is mostly cheap artifacts to support our various Urzas, like Esper Sentinel for early-game card draw; ramp, including Springleaf Drum and Moonsnare Prototype to help get our expensive Urzas on the battlefield quickly; and Portable Hole and Aether Spellbomb for removal. Along with doing their primary job, all of these cards are also cheap artifacts that sit on the battlefield, which helps grow our Constructs from Karn, Scion of Urza, Urza, Lord High Artificer, and Urza's Saga

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Oh yeah, and we've got even more Urzas in the mana base, with one of each Tron land. Initially, I tried to make the deck an actual Tron deck with four copies of each land, but our Urzas were too color-intensive for this plan to really work, so I ended up cutting back to just one of each. This means that our odds of assembling Tron are pretty low, but it could happen; even if it doesn't, Tron adds to the Urza flavor of the deck. 

The Sideboard

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Normally, we don't talk about our sideboard for Against the Odds, but it's important in this case because it has even more Urzas! We have Urza's Sylex and Urza's Ruinous Blast for sweepers and perhaps my favorite card in the deck, Urza's Armor. Urza's Armor is horrible against most decks, but if we happen to run into someone looking to win with 1/1 tokens or Grapeshot, look out!

The Matchups

In general, the bad matchups for Urza Tribal are decks with lots of removal and artifact hate, which are good at keeping us from melding and also winning with our Construct backup plan. On the other hand, Urza Tribal is pretty decent against random creature decks. Our Urzas are strong, and the Construct tokens we can make are often big enough to dominate the battlefield!

The Odds

Record-wise, we finished 3-3 with Urza Tribal, going 2-3 in a league and winning one extra two-player match. While we did get to see a lot of Urzas and eventually had a game where we assembled "real" Urza Tron (three different Urzas on the battlefield), melding into Urza, Planeswalker was tricky. We only actually did it one time across all of our matches, which was a bit disappointing but not really a surprise, considering how fast Modern decks are and how much instant-speed removal exists in the format.

The one thing I disliked about the deck is how strong Urza's Saga is. While it would be silly to leave the saga land out of an Urza-themed deck, in some games, it overshadowed our other Urzas because it is so strong, to the point where the correct play is to make a Construct token with Urza's Saga over playing an actual Urza. The good news is that the Constructs from Urza's Saga and the rest of our motley crew of Urza cards are actually super strong and let us pick up some wins against some legit Modern decks with our pile of janky Urzas!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Next week we're playing more Brothers' War, but we have a mixture of formats to choose from ranging from Standard back to Modern. What should we play? Click here to vote!


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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