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A Modern Paradox

A Modern Paradox

Card draw is a fundamental part of Magic. The ability to draw into what you need to win is a necessity, and when a draw engine comes around that’s utterly abusable, I try my best to jam it in as many formats as I can. Paradoxical Outcome is one of those cards that screams “build around me”, and prior to the deluge of CopyCat decks in Standard I played a Mono-Blue Outcome deck almost religiously. The entire deck just reeked of value, turning janky artifacts into more and more cards. Even in Vintage, a format with a massive barrier for playability, the card dominates, taking over Storm decks as the de facto card advantage engine since you can get cards off of all the Moxes you bounce back to your hand. That’s when it occurred to me that the card has yet to see any love in Modern, so I hit the drawing board and sought to remedy this.

PARADOXICAL STORM

 

The power of Paradoxical Outcome comes from bouncing your own nonland permanents and drawing cards for each card bounced, so in order to fully abuse this we need to play as many free artifacts as we can. This way we can play them right away and continue building our storm count. Ideally, the goal is to keep playing out our artifacts, draw a bunch of cards with our discounted draw spells like Thoughtcast and Reverse Engineer, then fire off a Paradoxical Outcome on our opponent’s end step. From there, we try to resolve an Aetherflux Reservoir and play all of the zero-drop artifacts to gain 50+ life so we can use the Reservoir for the win. There’s a lot of moving pieces to this combo, but thanks to the abundance of card draw spells, we can easily dig to them to actually combo off.

In order to maximize drawing off of Paradoxical Outcome, we need to run a lot of artifacts. When selecting the artifacts for the deck, I wanted them to be able to do something on their own as well as function as card draw. Mox Opal allows us to cheat on lands as they can act as a mana source as early as turn 1, so it’s an automatic 4-of for the deck. Much like its role in Affinity, it gives us the chance to get explosive draws and speed up our combo clock by a turn, which is something most Blue decks don’t have access to. Mishra’s Bauble gives us additional card draw at the expense of sacrificing it, so I typically use it to dig in the early turns if we need to dig fast against aggressive decks, or to get information after an opponent scrys so we know what we’re up against. Welding Jar and Tormod’s Crypt act as protection against destruction effects and graveyard decks, both of which can blow us out of the water early on. Finally, Paradise Mantle and Chimeric Mass round out our zero-drops, and can even be used in tandem to ramp us into our combo turn.

                              

The card draw package is set up to abuse the glut of free artifacts, either through tapping them to improvise with Reverse Engineer or just decreasing their mana cost like with Thoughtcast. As well, Thirst for Knowledge is a terrific card advantage spell since we don’t particularly care about having to discard a zero-drop since we will most likely draw into even more. Finally, Whir of Invention gives us a way of putting Aetherflux Reservoir into play directly at instant-speed. Since we have so many artifacts, we can just tap four zero-drops and fire it off on our opponent’s end step, thus setting up turn 4 for the combo kill.

Because the curve of the deck is so low, we generally never want to see more than four lands. With this in mind, an ideal opening hand would be two lands, at least one to two draw spells, and the rest are artifacts. This way we could drop our artifacts early to set up a subsequent draw spell to find our win conditions.

                              

The sideboard is designed to act around some of the best counters to the deck, such as Pithing Needle and Stony Silence, by boarding into an Empty the Warrens Storm deck. It’s the sole reason we have Steam Vents in the maindeck, and this way if we can’t win with Aetherflux Reservoir, we can swarm our opponents with a horde of goblin tokens. Hurkyl’s Recall and Metallic Rebuke are necessities against Eldrazi Tron since they can either bounce or outright counter a Chalice of the Void, since a Chalice on zero would shut down our deck entirely. Grafdigger’s Cage shuts off Collected Company decks, while Defense Grid stops our opponents from interacting on our turn by taxing their spells. Finally, Pithing Needle is a catch-all answer to planeswalkers, manlands, and even the odd Ratchet Bomb.

Paradoxical Outcome is an absurd combo enabler, and I’m more than happy to abuse it in as many formats as I can. Drawing a massive amount of cards and storming an opponent out of the game is one of the better feeling in Magic, and due to a lack of raw card draw in Modern, this deck offers something you just don’t get with regular Storm. If playing Vintage-light in Modern is up your alley, then give Paradoxical Outcome a shot!