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Much Abrew: Naya Winota (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Winota, Joiner of Forces is a strange card. At first glance, it looks like a really fun build-around, but it sort of gained a bad reputation as soon as it was printed in Ikoria by breaking Standard and Historic, which eventually led to it being banned in both formats. While cheating some Humans into play on Turn 3 or 4 might be too good for Standard and even Historic, Modern—a format where we literally died on Turn 1 last week before we even got to play a land (to Goblin Charbelcher)—is another story. Rather than being too good for Modern, the question for Winota, Joiner of Forces is whether it is even good or fast enough to see play in Modern. Well, that's what we're going to try to find out today with a creature-heavy Naya Winota build looking to cheat some weird Humans (like Geist-Honored Monk, of all things!) into play with Winota, Joiner of Forces' trigger. How good is Winota in Modern? What are the best Humans to cheat into play? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Naya Winota

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, we ended up going 3-2 in a league with Naya Winota, but the record doesn't really do justice to the insanity of the league. The league with Naya Winota was one of my favorites in a while. While our record was fine, we played some absurd games throughout, with most of our matches being super close. 
  • In all honesty, I was a little worried about playing a Winota, Joiner of Forces deck, mostly because Winota's Standard / Historic dominance seems to have made a lot of people dislike the card. Modern is an entirely different beast, though, and in Modern, cheating a creature into play with Winota, Joiner of Forces on Turn 3 and maybe several on Turn 4 or 5 just isn't all that scary. It's good and can win games, but in a format where decks like Infect, Oops, All Spells, and Belcher win on Turn 2 and control decks have near infinite answers to keep Winota, Joiner of Forces from triggering, our creature-heavy Winota deck felt pretty fair.
  • By far the sweetest part of Modern Winota is the cards we are cheating into play. I never thought I'd be writing these words, but Geist-Honored Monk is the best of the bunch, offering a massive body and putting two non-Human tokens on the battlefield we can use to further snowball out Winota, Joiner of Forces value on the following turn, if we don't win immediately. Combined with Seasoned Pyromancer, Pia and Kiran Nalaar, and Huntmaster of the Fells, every non-Winota Human in our deck outside of a single copy of Magus of the Moon creates non-Human tokens when it enters the battlefield. This is extremely powerful. Not only do these tokens help us snowball our Winota value, but they also allow us to swing out with our entire board and still have blockers back on defense to hold back our opponent's forces the following turn.
  • Eldritch Evolution is the card that holds Naya Winota together. It's especially good with our two-drops Voice of Resurgence and Strangleroot Geist, allowing us to sacrifice either to put Winota, Joiner of Forces into play and not be down a creature. Strangleroot Geist allows for our most explosive turns since it comes back from the graveyard with haste thanks to undying. This means on Turn 3, we can Eldritch Evolution Strangleroot Geist into Winota, Joiner of Forces and immediately attack with Strangleroot Geist to get a Winota, Joiner of Forces
  • It's also important to realize that Eldritch Evolution can find non-Winota cards as well. While Winota is the default, sometimes, we really need to find our Magus of the Moon or a sideboard card like Avalanche Riders just to stay alive. While in theory, we can try to find Winota and then hope that Winota finds us what we need, this is a risky plan. Winota does whiff sometimes, doubly so when we are trying to hit a specific card rather than just any Human. Don't get too locked into finding Winota with Eldritch Evolution!
  • The one card I really don't understand in the deck is the one-of Smuggler's Copter. It's a two-drop that needs help to be Eldritch Evolutioned into Winota, and we can't crew it with Birds of Paradise. I don't really understand the purpose of the vehicle in the deck. It seems like it would probably be better as a third copy of Path to Exile or the fourth Skyclave Apparition for a bit more main-deck interaction.
  • So, should you play Naya Winota in Modern? I think the answer is yes. The deck is really fun to play and gets to take advantage of some really weird cards that don't work in any other deck. That said, there is risk: even though it isn't super likely, Winota, Joiner of Forces sometimes whiffs, and you will lose as a result, which can be frustrating, but it's a fair cost for how much power Winota, Joiner of Forces offers. Don't let the feel-bad of Winota in Standard and Historic cause you to miss out on Winota in Modern, where it is a fun and powerful but fair deck!

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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