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Much Abrew: Oops, All Spells (Pioneer)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. While much has been made about how the double-faced modal flipcards from Zendikar Rising can slot into just about every deck by replacing lands, perhaps an even more exciting aspect of the cards is the new decks they enable in older formats. There are some cards—like Goblin Charbelcher—that actively care about us not having any lands in our deck, and thanks to MDFCs' ability to be lands on the battlefield but not technically lands in our deck, they are perfect for supporting such strategies.

One of the most infamous "no lands" decks in Magic is Oops, All Spells. Traditionally, the deck can only be played in Legacy, which has fast mana like Lotus Petal. Thanks to MDFCs, it's now possible to do something similar in other formats. Today, we're playing Oops, All Spells in Pioneer. The goal is simple: because our deck has zero "real" lands, if we can resolve Balustrade Spy or Undercity Informer targeting ourselves, we can mill literally our entire deck, which in turn wins us the game with a combination of Creeping Chill, Silversmote Ghoul, and Prized Amalgam. With a bit of luck, we can do this as early as Turn 3, with the help of Tangled Florahedron and Gilded Goose. Can a no-land deck compete in Pioneer? How consistent is the combo? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Oops All Spells

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Discussion

  • That went shockingly well. Somehow, we ended up going 5-0 in a Pioneer League with Oops, All Spells, only dropping two games along the way! While we did get a bit lucky to draw Balustrade Spy at the perfect moment a couple of times and we did run into too much graveyard hate, the deck felt surprisingly strong, being both fast and consistent. 
  • Heading into our matches, I was expecting the deck to be fairly janky and would have been thrilled going 2-3 or 3-2, so ending up with a relatively easy 5-0 finish means the deck greatly exceeded expectations.
  • Let's start with the good news about Pioneer Oops, All Spells. The deck is really good at goldfishing into a kill on Turn 3 or 4. All we really need to win the game is a Balustrade Spy or Undercity Informer along with four mana. Thanks to the London mulligan rule, we can afford to aggressively mulligan to five or, in some cases, even four in search of a Spy or Informer, and with eight total copies in the deck, odds are in favor of us finding at least one. 
  • Once we resolve our Balustrade Spy or Undercity Informer, we mill our entire deck. Normally, this means we'd lose the game, but our two copies of Worldspine Wurm shuffle back into our library to buy us a couple of turns to finish our opponent. In a pinch, we can use Haunted Dead to discard the Worldspine Wurms after we draw them to shuffle them back into our library a second time, giving us two more turns until we run out of cards in our library. 
  • Thankfully, it usually doesn't take long to finish the game once we mill our deck. We get 12 damage (and gain 12 life) from milling four copies of Creeping Chill, which trigger out two Silversmote Ghouls, which then trigger our four copies of Prized Amalgam. This means that along with 12 direct damage, we also end up with 18 power across six bodies on the battlefield, which should be enough to win the game in one attack, especially when it happens on Turn 3 or 4. If we're worried about blockers, we can aftermath Driven // Despair to give our team menace and force through even more damage. While much rarer, we do occasionally win with our one copy of Thassa's Oracle, either because we naturally happen to have it in hand or because we can reanimate it with Claim // Fame after we mill it. 
  • Basically, the upside of Oops, All Spells is that the deck is both fast and consistent (especially when we mulligan aggressively), but there is some bad news as well...
  • So, what's the downside of Oops, All Spells in Pioneer? First, graveyard hate is extremely good against it. While we have answers like Abrupt Decay and Assassin's Trophy in our sideboard, if we don't find them, we can't really win the game. Second, interaction can also be a problem. Since we mulligan aggressively to find Balustrade Spy or Undercity Informer, a single Thoughtseize or a counterspell can ruin our deck, and it will likely take several (or even many) turns to rebuild, by which time we're likely already dead. While our sideboard is designed to help fight through these hate cards—with plenty of ways to remove graveyard hate, Duress to fight through counterspells, and Leyline of Sanctity to avoid Thoughtseize and other discard spells—in some ways, Oops, All Spells is a glass cannon: powerful and consistent but also somewhat easy to beat with interaction.
  • As for the MDFC lands, we very rarely cast them. Tangled Florahedron is the MDFC that we cast the most, while we will occasionally use Bala Ged Recovery or Agadeem's Awakening to get Thassa's Oracle back from the graveyard. Otherwise, the MDFCs are basically just really strange lands that don't count as lands while they are in our deck, to support the combo.
  • So, should you play Oops, All Spells in Pioneer? Based on our league today, the answer is a clear yes. But a quick warning before you run out and buy the deck: the deck is really good against opponents who aren't expecting it but will likely get worse as more people pick it up. If Oops, All Spells ever developed into a top-tier deck, opponents would start playing more graveyard hate to keep it in check. In the end, I think Oops, All Spells is competitive—it's clearly good enough to 5-0 a league on Magic Online—but the longer-term future is a bit murky, as increasing amounts of hate might keep the deck in the second or even third tier of the Pioneer meta. Still, the deck is super unique and surprisingly powerful, so it's a solid option if you're looking for a really cool, new, and Zendikar Rising–y way to attack the Pioneer format, especially right now while it is still a bit under the radar!

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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