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WARNING: This Deck might Accidentally Kill You | Brewer's Kitchen

Well, hello there! Brewer’s Kitchen here, and today we’re taking on one of the hardest win conditions in all of Magic: The Deck of Many Things.  

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The Gameplan

Let’s first talk about the card and what conditions we have to meet to win with it. The Deck of Many Things is a five-mana artifact with a single activated ability. For two colorless mana and tapping it, we get to:

Roll a d20 and subtract the number of cards in your hand. If the result is 0 or less, discard your hand.

1-9 | Return a card at random from your graveyard to your hand.

10-19 | Draw two cards.

20 | Put a creature card from any graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. When that creature dies, its owner loses the game.

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Besides discarding your entire hand (which is usually pretty bad), all of the abilities of The Deck are actually pretty useful. I have seen it grind out value in control decks or provide card advantage in some Commander decks. But I have never seen anybody ever pull off the actual win with it. To win with The Deck, you have to be empty-handed while the opponent has a creature in the graveyard, roll a natural 20 (5% chance), and then destroy the reanimated creature. And to make it into content, all of this has to happen before our opponent concedes, which turned out to be the hardest condition of them all.

I had to build a deck that can assemble a board state that can activate the ability as many times as it takes. So… I did.

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First of all, we need unlimited amounts of mana to activate The Deck. And since we also need to untap it after every activation, why don’t we just hit two birds with one stone here and go with Paradox Engine? It allows us to untap all our nonland permanents whenever we cast a spell. Meria, Scholar of Antiquity will let us tap artifacts for mana and generate card advantage without drawing cards. She’s the perfect card for the deck and already creates an insane engine with some cheap artifacts like Elsewhere Flask and Energy Refractor. With all of this on the battlefield, we can tap everything for mana, cast a spell to untap everything and repeat. Throw a The Deck of Many Things in the mix and you’re drowning in value. But as much as I love generating copious amounts of value, we’re here for something else. We still need to be empty-handed to even have a chance of winning with The Deck.

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Harnfel, Horn of Bounty, the backside of Birgi, God of Storytelling allows us to just exile all the cards we draw or return with The Deck, while supplying us with spells to cast to untap everything again. Birgi herself is pretty sweet as well since we will be casting a lot of spells along the way.

Now we just need to repeat the loop until we hit a natural 20, reanimate a creature, and destroy it.
First of all, there has to be a creature in the opponent’s graveyard. Sweltering Suns and Storm's Wrath can clear up early aggression, but sometimes that is not enough. If the opponent’s deck doesn’t run any creatures, it’s not possible to win with The Deck. If the opponent has bigger creatures than our wraths, we have to bring out the big guns. Karn, the Great Creator can tutor our sideboard for combo pieces but can also find The Mightstone and Weakstone, Cityscape Leveler, and Universal Solvent to blow up bigger targets. Once we reanimate a creature, we can use these to kill it for the final condition of The Deck.

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And that’s basically it. Now technically, this should make sure we win almost every game with The Deck of Many Things, but as you have seen in the video, it can be a lot harder than it sounds. In the process of churning through our deck and activating The Deck, we can hit a point where our entire deck is exiled or in our graveyard. Once this point is reached, rolling a 10-19 will kill us on the spot for drawing on an empty library. We could include a Midnight Clock in our sideboard to tutor up with Karn and shuffle our graveyard back into our library but that’s where we run into two other problems:

Our opponent will likely scoop the game once we go infinite.

Arena’s timer will run out eventually, passing the turn back to our opponent.

While an early concession isn’t too bad if you’re not trying to record gameplay footage, running out of time is a real concern. Since this whole gameplan is non-deterministic, we are never guaranteed to pull it off. In all of my recordings, I timed out multiple times, while only milling out once.

Since Meria’s ability to tap artifacts for mana is on her text box, the “QQ” command to tap mana sources on Arena doesn’t work for it. You have to do it all manually. This makes this whole deck super tedious to play. On (in) paper, the deck would be way better then it actually plays on Arena.

Meria in combination with Paradox Engine can easily create an arbitrarily large amount of mana if you can tap everything before every spell. This could greatly increase the consistency of the deck.
We could activate Thran Spider to find spells or activate Millstone as an alternative win con. While we can do all of this to an extent, we have to find a balance of being time-efficient and making progress towards the win. In the games you saw me activating Meria in the setup state of the combo but risking the loss of potential mana in favor of getting more Deck activations before we run out of time.

But then again, I can just edit my footage, so you don’t have to sit through all of this, and in the end, we finally saw a win with The Deck of Many Things.

Wrap up

Well, now you know how to pull off The Deck of Many things. Was it worth the work? Yes, but I will not play this deck again. At the point where you get Meria and Paradox Engine going, you could win with anything from Door to Nothingness to Brimstone Trebuchet. And while it’s funny for one or two games, your opponent will just sit around watching you goldfish your way into a win… and likely scoop before it happens. Even though it’s not strong, I suggest playing this deck in ranked mode only. This way, you’re less likely to get scooped on.

If you have questions or ideas for this or any other deck, you can reach me on Twitter @Brewers_Kitchen or at

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