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Much Abrew: Divine Woe Stride Combo (Standard, Magic Arena)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, the Standard combo deck Divine Woe Strider came out on top. As such, we're heading back to Theros: Beyond Death Standard today to see just how practical it is to gain infinite life with the three-card combo of Divine Visitation, Woe Strider, and Bishop of Wings! Apart from the combo itself, the rest of our deck is a weird sort of Esper control shell looking to protect our combo, find our combo pieces, and hopefully stay alive long enough to get them all on the battlefield. Is going infinite with Woe Strider, Divine Visitation, and Bishop of Wings a legitimate plan in Theros: Beyond Death Standard?  Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Divine Woe Strider Combo (Standard)

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Discussion

  • Heading into our matches, my expectation was that we'd (hopefully) pull off the combo a couple of times but that the deck wouldn't really be all that competitive overall. In general, three-card combos are sketchy and inconsistent since they require not only finding three specific cards but getting (and keeping) them all on the battlefield. Well, Divine Woe Strider was a lot better than I expected. Overall, we ended up going 4-1 in our five matches, which is a very solid record for a very rogue deck!

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  • Just so the combo is clear, here's the idea: we get Divine Visitation on the battlefield, which turns any token we'd make into a 4/4 Angel. We get a Bishop of Wings on the battlefield, which gains us four life when an Angel comes into play and makes a Spirit token (which, thanks to Divine Visitation, will really be an Angel token) whenever an Angel dies. The last piece of the puzzle is Woe Strider, which makes a Goat (which is really an Angel) token when it comes into play and then allows us to sacrifice our Angel for free. When the first Angel dies, it makes another Angel token (thanks to Bishop of Wings) so we can keep sacrificing the Angel over and over again, gaining four life each time we go through the loop, to gain infinite life!

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  • One of the deck's weird aspects is that we're mostly hoping that our opponent scoops to infinite life since our plan for closing out the game isn't great. In theory, we can scry through our deck with Woe Strider, find our one Command the Dreadhorde, and reanimate every creature and planeswalker in any graveyard, which will hopefully allow us to win the game by attacking. But even this plan can lose to wraths. As such, it's important to consider how many cards we have in our library because if our opponent refuses to scoop to infinite life, we might need to wait until our opponent naturally decks selves to actually win the game (thankfully, in our experience on Magic Arena, almost all opponents scoop to infinite life, probably because sitting there while we click a million times isn't all that fun or entertaining).
  • Speaking of clicks, by far the biggest downside of playing Divine Woe Strider Combo on Magic Arena is that the combo itself takes a ton of clicking and time. We often assembled the combo, but for us, "infinite life" was actually somewhere between 50 and 100, which is when clicking through the combo got tedious. In paper, this isn't really an issue since you can just demonstrate the loop and tell your opponent you have a billion life, and it's quicker on Magic Online as well. But be warned that the idea of the infinite life combo is more fun than it is in practice specifically on Magic Arena.
  • One thing I missed during the Instant Deck Tech is that pulling off the combo is actually a bit harder than it looks. We need to resolve our combo pieces in a fairly specific order. Since Divine Visitation is our most expensive combo piece, the temptation is to play our other combo pieces first and then finish with Divine Visitation, but this doesn't actually allow us to go infinite because we need an Angel to start the infinite life loop. Thankfully, any token we make will be an Angel with a Divine Visitation on the battlefield, which means we can either wait and play Woe Strider last (since it makes a Goat token that will be an Angel token when it comes into play) or use something like Castle Ardenvale to make an Angel and then combo.

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  • Castle Ardenvale is sweet in our deck thanks to Divine Visitation. With our namesake enchantment out, Castle Ardenvale give us access to a Serra Angel each turn, which is extremely powerful for a land that has a very low opportunity cost.
  • If there's one thing I dislike about the deck, it's that our combo pieces are pretty bad unless we are going infinite. Woe Strider is a fine standalone card, but Bishop of Wings is just a low-power blocker, and we don't have many ways to take advantage of Divine Visitation outside of the combo or Castle Ardenvale. While I'm not sure exactly how to make it work, finding a way to put some more token production into the deck would help to make Divine Visitation powerful even outside of the combo and would give us a more legitimate backup plan for winning the game.
  • Back to our record, I think we benefited, to some extent, from opponents not understanding what our deck was trying to do. There were a few games where it felt like our opponent could have played around our combo if they had known we had an infinite combo in our deck. If Divine Woe Strider becomes more heavily played, it will probably become at least a little more difficult to win with. Right now, people just don't expect infinite combos in Standard.
  • So, should you play Divine Woe Strider Combo in Standard? The deck is certainly more competitive than I thought it would be, and you can probably win quite a few games with it (at least, until people figure out how it works). But before you spend your wildcards, just be aware of the clicking / time issue. If you're willing to play some longer matches thanks to the combo taking a million clicks, the deck did feel at least semi-competitive, but if you're someone looking to just aggro through games to win rewards, you'll probably want to look elsewhere.

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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