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Against the Odds: Warped Aurora (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 284 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a "big spells in Modern" Against the Odds poll. Technically, The Great Aurora came in first, although today, we have an Against the Odds two-for-one since we're playing not just The Great Aurora but also runner-up Warp World as well in Warped Aurora! While the cards are slightly different, they both basically care about the same thing: lots of ramp to get up to eight or nine mana and cards that put multiple permanents onto the battlefield. What craziness can a deck full of massively expensive and somewhat chaotic sorceries pull off in Modern? What at the odds of winning with a deck built around both The Great Aurora and Warp World in Modern? 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: Warped World

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The Deck

Normally, on Against the Odds, we play whatever card wins our poll, but this week is an exception. While we do have our winning cards—The Great Aurora—we also have runner-up Warp World because the cards are surprisingly similar. Building around them is actually fairly straightforward: we need to ramp a ton to get enough mana to cast either of our namesake cards while also trying to add as many permanents to the battlefield as possible, to break the symmetry of Warp World and The Great Aurora.

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Warp World and The Great Aurora are surprisingly similar cards. Both cause all players to shuffle their permanents into their library (while The Great Aurora also hits hands), and both reward each player by having them draw cards equal to the number of cards that are shuffled into their deck. The biggest difference between them is that Warp World allows each player to put all the non-planeswalker cards they draw directly onto the battlefield but puts all non-permanents back on the bottom of the library, while The Great Aurora only puts lands directly into play, while everything else stays in hand (including non-permanent spells). Because both cards are symmetrical, the main challenge of building around them (well, outside of actually getting enough mana to cast them) is finding a way to break the symmetry so that resolving a Warp World or The Great Aurora benefits us more than it does our opponent. 

So, how can we break the symmetry of Warp World and The Great Aurora? The most obvious way is by having more permanents on the battlefield than our opponent does when the spells resolve. At their most basic level, Warp World and The Great Aurora draw each player cards equal to the number of permanents they have on the battlefield (while also getting rid of all the permanents on the battlefield). As such, our deck is overflowing with cards that ramp us (so we can actually cast Warp World / The Great Aurora) but in a way that puts additional permanents into play. Basically. cards like Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch, while good at ramping, aren't the best type of ramp for Warped Aurora because they each only add a single permanent to the battlefield. On the other hand, cards that ramp by putting lands from our library onto the battlefield are perfect for what we are trying to accomplish because they not only help us work up toward eight / nine mana to cast our namesake sorceries but also help to ensure that we get the most benefit once we finally resolve our big spells.

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Outside of Warp World and The Great Aurora, our deck is mostly ramp spells. The most important are Wood Elves, Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, and Primeval Titan, all of which ramp and help us to break the symmetry of Warp World and The Great Aurora. Wood Elves ramps us by putting a Forest into play from our library, which means it adds two permanents to the battlefield for the sake of The Great Aurora and Warp World. Mwonvuli Acid-Moss basically does the same thing, but instead of adding an additional permanent to our battlefield, it takes one away from our opponent by blowing up a land. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is like a Wood Elves that can find any land, and thanks to The World Tree, we potentially can spin Golos, Tireless Pilgrim to find and cast Warp World and The Great Aurora. Finally, Primeval Titan is the best ramp spell in our deck since it adds three permanents to the battlefield on the turn it comes into play (itself and two lands) and two more the next turn, if it gets to attack. Together, these spells make sure we get to eight / nine mana quickly to cast Warp World and The Great Aurora while also helping to ensure that we have more permanents on the battlefield than our opponent does when we resolve one of our payoffs.

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The only non-ramp non-payoff cards in our main deck are Tireless Tracker and one Eternal Witness. Tireless Tracker potentially adds a ton of extra permanents to the battlefield in the form of Clue tokens, which we make for free as we play lands and ramp spells, helping to increase the number of cards we draw with Warp World and The Great Aurora. Tireless Tracker is also an insane hit from Warp World that we can put into play alongside a bunch of lands to make an absurd number of Clues, to power up our next copy of Warp World or The Great Aurora. Speaking of the second Warp World / The Great Aurora, this is where Eternal Witness comes in. While the first Warp World / The Great Aurora typically is good, the second one usually fully wins the game. While Eternal Witness is a bit of a non-bo with The Great Aurora which exiles itself, it can return a Warp World to our hand, allowing us to immediately recast it with the lands that we put into play for free and likely leaving our opponent with very few permanents, while we will have essentially our entire deck on the battlefield!

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Last but not least, we have two one-mana ramp spells in Utopia Sprawl and...Arboreal Grazer. While these cards aren't super exciting with Warp World and The Great Aurora because they generally only add one permanent to the battlefield (Arboreal Grazer sort of adds two, but since it comes from our hand, we likely would have been able to play the land it puts into play before we Warp World or The Great Aurora anyway), they are essential to making our ramp curve work. In a perfect world, we can use Arboreal Grazer or Utopia Sprawl to ramp on Turn 1 into Wood Elves on Turn 2, then Golos, Tireless Pilgrim or Mwonvuli Acid-Moss on Turn 3 into Primeval Titan on Turn 4 and Warp World or The Great Aurora on Turn 5.

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We also get a handful of lands that help to support our plan. We have one Boseiju, Who Shelters All to make sure our The Great Aurora or Warp World doesn't get countered. Cavern of Souls is a one-of that typically names Scout (for Golos, Tireless Pilgrim) or Giant (for Primeval Titan), while Khalni Garden is a land that adds two permanents to the battlefield thanks to the 0/1 Plant token it creates, which offers another easy way to break the symmetry of Warp World / The Great Aurora

The Matchups

In a weird way, Warped Aurora is a combo deck, with our combo being ramping and casting either Warp World or The Great Aurora. Considering how fast we can get to eight or nine mana, we've got a shot in most matchups with a good draw, although against aggro, we can get run over before we manage to cast a payoff if we have a slow draw. And control can be brutal since counterspells are great answers to Warp World and The Great Aurora. But the control matchup becomes much easier if we can use Golos, Tireless Pilgrim or Primeval Titan to find Boseiju, Who Shelters All

The Odds

All in all, we went 3-2 with Warped Aurora (and 3-1 in our video matches—the other match that wasn't featured was another hour-long control slog that we lost 1-2), giving us a solid 60% match win percentage with the deck. While the record was fine, more importantly, the deck does some absurd things. We had several games in which we were able to chain together multiple copies of Warp World / The Great Henge, often in the same turn, leaving our opponent with basically nothing on the battlefield as we repeatedly put our entire deck onto the battlefield for free! While this isn't tier one or anything like that, it is competitive enough to win some games, and the games it does win are usually spectacular! 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

No poll this week. Next week, we'll kick off Strixhaven with a special episode. Don't worry, the poll will be back the following week, and it will be overflowing with sweet new Strixhaven cards!

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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