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Brewer's Minute: Beating Inverter


The combo of Inverter of Truth and Thassa's Oracle is all the rage in Pioneer these days, with the deck being the most played at the Players Tour events last weekend and having an extremely heavy presence on Magic Online (I've been playing against Dimir Inverter an average of 2.5 times across each five-match league), which means having a plan for beating the deck is essential to finding success in our current Pioneer format. As such, for Brewer's Minute, we are going to talk about how each color can compete with Pioneer's new menace! Do you have some cards or strategies for fighting against Inverter of Truth in Pioneer? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

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Brewer's Minute: Beating Inverter

Dimir Inverter

To beat a deck, we have to know how a deck works. Here's a look at Dimir Inverter.

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The main goal of Dimir Inverter is to resolve an Inverter of Truth to exile the library and then Thassa's Oracle or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries to win the game thanks to having an empty library. Otherwise, the deck is overloaded with interaction, with somewhere around eight removal spells (almost always including four Fatal Push), some number of counterspells, and Thoughtseize to pick apart your hand. It also finds its pieces very consistently thanks to being one of the best Dig Through Time decks in the format. 

Graveyard Hate

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One of the hot-button topics in regards to beating Inverter is graveyard hate. Some people say it's horrible, while others believe it to be a great option. The upside of cards like Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void is that they slow down the combo by forcing the Inverter player to play both combo pieces in one turn (or else they will die to drawing on an empty library after resolving Inverter of Truth), although as we saw last weekend, comboing through graveyard hate isn't really that difficult for the deck. The bigger benefit of graveyard hate is that it greatly slows down Dig Through Time, making it harder for the Inverter player to find their combo pieces, removal, and disruption. 

I believe that graveyard hate can be a solid option against Dimir Inverter, but it isn't good enough on its own. Just playing a Leyline of the Void is unlikely to allow you to beat Inverter and may even speed up the opponent's combo in some situations. On the other hand, Leyline of the Void plus a bunch of discard spells can be an effective strategy to beat the deck. The same is true of Rest in Peace. By itself, it isn't all that great, but backed by Gideon of the Trials or Hushwing Gryff, it can be a part of an effective sideboarding strategy.

Red / Green

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Red and green are the two worst colors at interacting with Inverter, to the point where several of the former best decks in the Pioneer format are essentially unplayable in the current meta. Big Red / Chonky Red basically can't beat Inverter—it's simply too slow to race Inverter's Turn 5 combo kill. If you are a red player, the best way to beat the Inverter is to speed up your deck as much as possible, by dropping slow threats like Glorybringer for more one-drops, with the goal being to kill your opponent before they can get to Turn 5 and combo off. 

Green is much the same, except I'm not sure you can speed up green aggro to the point where it can race Inverter with any consistency, especially since green aggro is dependent on one-mana dorks like Llanowar Elves and Elvish Mystic. And if the Inverter deck can Fatal Push your one-drop accelerant, you'll almost certainly be too slow to race the Thassa's Oracle / Inverter of Truth combo kill. The best plan for mono-green decks is likely to splash into another color. Rather than Mono-Green Stompy, play Green-Black Stompy so you can run Thoughtseize and Drill Bit in the sideboard. Rather than Mono-Green Ramp, play Blue-Green Ramp to access counterspells in your sideboard. The good news is that the clock of green decks is fast enough that if you can have just a little bit of disruption after sideboarding, you will have a decent chance to swing the matchup in your favor. 

Blue

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One of the easiest ways to stop your opponent from winning with Thassa's Oracle and Inverter of Truth is to keep your opponent from resolving Thassa's Oracle or Inverter of Truth. If you're playing a blue deck, counterspells become essential. Another option that I really like (but thus far hasn't seen much play in Pioneer) is Nimble Obstructionist, which offers a reasonably fast clock (and can attack down planeswalkers like Jace, Wielder of Mysteries) that can also uncounterably counter Thassa's Oracle or Inverter of Truth's enters-the-battlefield trigger. In a dream world, your opponent will resolve Inverter of Truth to exile their library, and then you can Nimble Obstructionist Thassa's Oracle's enters-the-battlefield trigger, hopefully causing your opponent to lose the game by drawing on an empty library rather than winning the game.

Black

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The easiest thing that black decks can do to fight Inverter is dropping Duress from the sideboard for discard spells that actually interact with the creature-based Inverter combo. Duress has long been a sideboard staple in Pioneer, but it just isn't that good when the best deck of the format is winning with a combo that uses two creatures that Duress can't hit. Agonizing Remorse is a solid replacement, not only stealing either Inverter combo piece from our opponent's hand but also answering Uro, Titian of Nature's Wrath, either from the hand or graveyard. Meanwhile, Drill Bit is a great option for aggressive black decks, often being another Thoughtseize from Turn 2 onward.

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The other way black decks can deal with the combo is by using something like Lost Legacy or Stain the Mind (or for multicolor decks, Unmoored Ego / Slaughter Games) to exile all copies of a combo piece (mostly likely Inverter of Truth, since Thassa's Oracle has a backup in Jace, Wielder of Mysteries) from the opponent's deck. For many builds of Inverter, a single resolved Lost Legacy (or similar card) removes the possibility of the combo for the rest of the game, although it is worth mentioning that some builds of Inverter have Coax from the Blind Eternities to hide a copy of Inverter of Truth in the sideboard and avoid the Lost Legacy sideboard plan.

White

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One of the answers to Inverter I've been asked about most is Hushbringer. While it is true that shutting down enters-the-battlefield triggers does shut down the combo, in practice, it's unlikely that a Hushbringer will stick on the battlefield against the removal-heavy Inverter deck. And since the opponent can see Hushbringer coming, they will just play the control game until they draw a Fatal Push or another answer. As such, Hushbringer and Tocatli Honor Guard seem better at shutting down the combo than they actually are in practice. On the other hand, Hushwing Gryff does have potential. While it might seem strange to consider a more expensive card better for tournament play, having a CMC of three rather than two is actually a massive upside against Inverter since it allows Hushwing Gryff to dodge Fatal Push most of the time. More importantly, having flash means that we can wait until the opponent tries to combo and then cast Hushwing Gryff to catch our opponent by surprise and maybe even make them lose the game by exiling their library to Inverter of Truth but being unable to trigger Thassa's Oracle for the win.

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Other solid white options include Gideon of the Trials, whose emblem entirely shuts down the combo, assuming we can keep at least one Gideon on the battlefield, and Gideon's Intervention. Gideon's Intervention specifically is great since it is very difficult for a blue-black deck to interact with. While Dimir Inverter is really good at killing creatures and decent at killing planeswalkers, most builds have very few ways to deal with a Gideon's Intervention once it is on the battlefield (although it can be countered on the way down). Much like Lost Legacy and friends in black, it's normally best to name Inverter of Truth with Gideon's Intervention because it is the combo piece without a backup, unlike Thassa's Oracle, which has Jace, Wielder of Mysteries as a fill-in. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Do you have some ideas of decks or cards that can beat Inverter in Pioneer? Let us know in the comments! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions. and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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