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Against the Odds: Worst Fears Combo (Modern, Magic Online)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 205 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a Modern Against the Odds poll, and in the end, it was Worst Fears coming out on top. As such, we're heading to Modern today to literally try to be our opponent's Worst Fears by controlling not just one of their turns but all of them with the combo of Worst Fears and Spellweaver Helix. In theory, if we can get Worst Fears exiled under Spellweaver Helix along with something like Life from the Loam or Raven's Crime, we can cast the cheaper sorcery every turn (either from our graveyard or by dredging it back to our hand) to get a Worst Fears for free and take permanent control over our opponent. Then, we either win by beating down with random jank like Satyr Wayfinder or, ideally, turn our opponent's own cards against them to pick up the victory! What are the odds of controlling all of our opponent's turns with Worst Fears? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Worst Fears Combo


The Deck

When Worst Fears won the poll, my first thought was to ramp into it, probably with the help of Tron lands. Unfortunately, just ramping into Worst Fears isn't that exciting, especially since Mindslaver is similar (and is even easier to abuse with Tron since it's colorless). Playing Worst Fears as a bad Mindslaver in a bad build of Tron just didn't feel like what Against the Odds is about (not to mention that I hate Tron). To really be our opponent's worst fear, we needed to find a way to cast Worst Fears over and over again every single turn. Worst Fears is designed to prevent loops thanks to the "exile when it resolves" clause, but thankfully, Spellweaver Helix is the perfect way to take advantage of Worst Fears, not only offering a way to cast it repeatedly (by exiling it along with a cheap, repeatable sorcery and then casting the cheap sorcery every turn) but by allowing us to cheat on the cost of Worst Fears as well. With the help of Spellweaver Helix, with our best draws and a bit of luck, we can start controlling all of our opponent's turns starting as early as Turn 4!

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Worst Fears is pretty simple: it allows us to control our opponent during their next turn, which basically means we jump into their seat and play all of their cards just like they would. Just how valuable controlling our opponent's turn is greatly depends on our opponent's deck. Sometimes, we can just kill our opponent with their own cards, while against other decks, Worst Fears basically ends up being an eight-mana, weirdly worded Time Walk as we tap our opponent out and go back to our next turn. As such, to really make Worst Fears devastating, we need to be able to cast it over and over again, which should be enough to win us the game in basically any matchup since even if our opponent's deck is bad at killing themselves, we can beat our opponent down with a Satyr Wayfinder or Eternal Witness. So how do we go about casting Worst Fears every turn until our opponent dies?

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The main goal of our deck is to get Worst Fears in our graveyard along with either Life from the Loam or Raven's Crime. Then, we simply cast Spellweaver Helix and exile Worst Fears and one of our other cheap, recursive sorceries. And then all we need is a second copy of Life from the Loam or Raven's Crime somewhere (either in hand or in our graveyard), and we are set to combo off and control all of our opponent's turns. If it's Raven's Crime exiled along with Worst Fears, we can cast the second copy from our graveyard thanks to retrace, get a Worst Fears for free, and (hopefully, as long as we keep finding lands for retrace) control our opponent for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, with Life from the Loam, we simply dredge it back to our hand each turn, cast it for two mana (with a Worst Fears kicker), and do this over and over again. Most of the time, our opponents will just scoop the game once they realize they don't get to play anymore (and being locked by Worst Fears is even more painful than something taking infinite turns since our opponents have to sit there as we play their deck and hand intentionally poorly), but if we need to actually kill our opponent, we have a plan for that as well...

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As I mentioned before, our primary plan for winning is either killing our opponent with their own cards as we Worst Fears all of their turns or our opponent scooping in disgust, but if our opponent actually makes us deal lethal damage, we have a couple of creatures that can get the job done. Satyr Wayfinder joins one Stinkweed Imp and Grisly Salvage as ways to stock our graveyard with our combo pieces but can also slowly beat our helpless opponent to death as we steal all of their turns.

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Meanwhile, Eternal Witness is primarily in the deck to get back copies of Spellweaver Helix that we happen to mill to support our combo, but it can also go on the offensive once we have our Worst Fears Combo assembled. After we have the combo, we can either draw into (or use Eternal Witness to return to our hand from the graveyard) our one copy of Ayula's Influence, which—in conjunction with the lands we can return to hand each turn with Life from the Loam—provides a healthy clock of three Grizzly Bears each turn for mauling our control-less opponent.

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Otherwise, we have a handful of removal spells, many of which also help to support our combo. Assassin's Trophy gives us a main-deck hedge against graveyard hate like Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void, which are very good at shutting down our combo. With something like Leyline of the Void on the battlefield, we're suddenly left trying to hard cast Worst Fears for eight mana, which isn't a very practical plan for our deck in a format as powerful and fast as Modern. Collective Brutality, on the other hand, gives us removal and lifegain while also allowing us to discard copies of Worst Fears that we happen to draw thanks to the escalate mechanic. 

The Matchups

Matchup-wise, we're mostly hoping for slow-ish decks without a lot of counterspells or graveyard hate. With luck, we can start comboing off on Turn 4, but Turn 5 is more likely. Combine that with the fact that our deck is overloaded with combo pieces and somewhat light on removal, and it's possible that we just get run over by aggro or fast combo before we get our combo assembled. On the other hand, Worst Fears Combo performs well against slower interaction-light decks. If we can sneak a Spellweaver Helix into play while our opponent is tapped out and start the combo, there isn't really a window for our opponent to ever break up the combo since we can tap our opponent out while we control their turn, so we should be good to control our opponent for the rest of the game.

The Odds

All in all, we won two of our five matches, giving us a 40% match win percentage, although we managed to do a bit better in terms of games, winning six of 12, good for a 50% game win percentage, making Worst Fears Combo slightly below average for an Against the Odds deck. On the other hand, the good games with Worst Fears Combo—like the game against Dice Tron where we managed to take our opponent's turn, play their their entire deck, and kill them with their own Walking Ballista—were spectacular and more than outweighed the clunky games where we got wrecked by graveyard hate or run over before setting up the combo. Worst Fears Combo is one of those decks that you play not because it will post a good overall record but because when it does its thing, it's so great that it more than makes up for all of the bad games!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Hybrid mana is returning again in Throne of Eldraine, so let's explore the mechanic with some classic, janky hybrid cards from Magic's past. Which of these cards should we build around in Modern next week? Let us know by voting below! 

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Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! 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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