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Against the Odds: Zada's Partisan Investigation

Hello everyone, and welcome to episode thirty-six of Against the Odds. First off, thanks to all of you for voting in last week's poll, which once again ended up super close. When the poll closed, the combo of Zada, Hedron Grinder / Silverfur Partisan beat out Coalition Victory in Modern by 10 votes of the 5,300 cast! As a result, this week, we'll be brewing around Zada, Hedron Grinder and Silverfur Partisan in Standard, while Coalition Victory will be back on our next poll for another shot at glory alongside Modern Werewolves. Speaking of the poll, we'll be having a special episode next week. Don't worry—the poll will be back the following week. 

We'll talk more about Zada's Partisan Investigation in a minute, but first a quick reminder. If you enjoy the Against the Odds series and the other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel.

Against the Odds: Zada's Partisan Investigation Deck Tech

Against the Odds: Zada's Partisan Investigation Games

The Deck

When it comes to the combo of Zada, Hedron Grinder and Silverfur Partisan, the obvious thing to do is play a bunch of Wolves and Werewolves, throw in some Giant Growths, and beat down. But that would be all too simple. I mean, everyone knows that Giant Growth works well with Zada, Hedron Grinder and Silverfur Partisan—that's not Against the Odds. While pump spells still play a role in Zada's Partisan Investigation, I decided we needed to go a bit deeper. 

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The basic combo of the deck is to get a Zada, Hedron Grinder and a Silverfur Partisan onto the battlefield at the same time. We target the Zada, Hedron Grinder with a spell, which copies the spell to target the Silverfur Partisan, which then makes a 2/2 Wolf token. The next time we target the Zada, Hedron Grinder, we copy the spell for not just Silverfur Partisan but the Wolf token as well, which gives us two new Wolf tokens and the spell's effect three times. As you can see, things have the potential to spiral out of control quickly. 

Duskwatch Recruiter and Lambholt Pacifist help us speed up the process by being Werewolves (so whenever they are targeted with a Silverfur Partisan on the battlefield, we get another 2/2 Wolf token). Duskwatch Recruiter is especially important because we can use it to dig through our deck to find our Zada, Hedron Grinder and Silverfur Partisan, which we really, really need to combo off. 

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So what are we using to target our Zada, Hedron Grinder? This is where things get interesting. Confront the Unknown makes sense; it's a pump spell that can give a huge power and toughness boost when we target a Zada, Hedron Grinder with a bunch of creatures on the battlefield. Assuming we start out with zero Clue tokens, the first creature gets +1/+1, the second gets +2/+2, the third gets +3/+3, and the twentieth gets +20/+20. For clarification, each copy of Confront the Unknown makes a Clue token before the next copy resolves. So, along with giving our creatures a power and toughness boost, we also get a Clue token for each creature we control. If we have a Silverfur Partisan, we get a 2/2 Wolf token for each creature we control minus one (Zada, Hedron Grinder, which isn't a Werewolf). 

Jace's Scrutiny and Press for Answers are a bit counterintuitive. They give our entire team -4/-0 or tap down all of our creatures for the next turn. Why in the world would we want to target our own creatures with these spells? Well, they also give us a Clue token for each creature we control and a whole bunch of Wolf tokens if we have a Silverfur Partisan. This is the "Investigation" part of Zada's Partisan Investigation. We aren't really trying to win by beating down with Zada, Hedron Grinder, Silverfur Partisan, and Werewolves. Instead, we are trying to use the combo to create as many Clue tokens as possible. 

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Since our goal is to make as many Clue tokens as possible, we're also playing Second Harvest, which is essentially 4 mana for double the number of Clue tokens (and also Wolf tokens) we control. While we aren't above winning with creature beats, what we really want to do is get forty Clue tokens on the battlefield at the same time. Why forty Clue tokens, you ask? 

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If we can use the combo of Zada, Silverfur Partisan, Clue-making spells, and Second Harvest to get up to 40 Clue tokens, we turn Ghirapur Aether Grid into "pay 3 mana, deal 20 damage." Of course, even if we don't make it all the way up to 40 Clues, we can still use Ghirapur Aether Grid to ping away our opponent's creatures and life total with whatever number of Clues we happen to have!


This might be the oddest deck we've ever played on Against the Odds. First, the matchups we ran into were crazy: Mono-U Brains, Mono-U Mill, RB Madness Vampires, Sultai Seasons Past, and Temur Clues. As a result, it's really hard to say too much about the matchups, other than that Engulf the Shore is a blowout. One of the biggest problems with the deck is that we really need Zada, Hedron Grinder and Silverfur Partisan to stick around, but they die to everything. As such, I'd say our best matches are against decks that aren't playing a ton of removal (like Bant Company), while our worst matchups are against things like Esper, Mardu, Grixis, and Seasons Past control. 

The second odd thing about the matchups is that it didn't really seem to matter what were were playing against. We very consistently combo'ed off one out of every three games, regardless of what our opponent was playing. 

The Odds

As I just mentioned, we combo'ed off almost exactly once out of every three games. Our overall record was 5 of 14 in games, and 1 in 5 in matches. Maybe the most disappointing thing is that we never actually got to pull off the forty-Clue kill, not because it's impossible, but because whenever things started to get crazy, our opponent would scoop. All in all, the deck isn't going to win a lot of matches; Zada, Hedron Grinder and Silverfur Partisan are simply too fragile to be good. But it's still a ton of fun to play, and the good news is that it goes off with some amount of consistency. Plus, when we do combo off, it's unlike anything else in Standard. There are definitely situations where we can deal hundreds of damage in one shot and potentially even have a hundred (or more) Clue tokens on the battlefield!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

No poll this week. Special episode coming next week!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at

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