How to beat Paradoxical Outcome

It's more about a strategy than individual cards. The best strategy I've discovered has been counters supplementing permanent-based hate.

Without counters, you can end up losing before you cast it or having your hate pieces countered/bounced and then the opponent just goes off. Or they randomly drop a Mentor or Colossus and suddenly you have to deal with that.

Without permanent hate pieces, you end up getting out-attritioned by the xerox-engine most PO decks run now.

For an example of how I'd implement this strategy, I've had a lot of success recently with my Kaya control list. While I don't know my exact record against PO, I've gone 15-2 overall in leagues, which have been pretty PO heavy. Losses were to Lands and White Eldrazi...

FYI, I do not board in Energy Fluxes against them. Between Stony and Kambal, and the tutors and cantrips, you have plenty of ways to find your hate and I in testing Fluxes are a) not as impactful as other pieces and b) dilute the deck's proactive elements.

@thewhitedragon69 Leyline of Sanctity might be great, since it does stop T1 kill. But it doesn't do much after T1 if you're only sideboarding it to deal with PO; if I were playing PO against White Eldrazi, or some enchantment/non-artifact based taxing deck, I wouldn't want to take the storm finish route anyway. Also, Leyline type cards usually require that you have 4 of them in the sideboard, but there are probably much more consistently effective cards that could replace them.

T1 kills are annoying, but how often does PO get to execute them? Probably much more than most other decks in the meta right now, but still not enough to use up 4 sideboard slots for a card that is dead if you draw into it, or doesn't do much after the first turn (assuming you're mainly using it to deal with PO). It's uncommon that you face 2 or 3 T1 kills in a row. So it's more likely that you win the match even after a T1 kill in a game if you have consistent hate cards, rather than ones that just slow down the first turn.

Mental Misstep could be good, since it doesn't require blue commitment to be used. It stops SDT, cantrips, Ancestral Recall, etc. FoW is probably not a good idea unless you plan to use many blue cards. Mindbreak Trap is just bad. You would probably surprise your opponent the first time you use it, but after that, they will just play around it. It doesn't stop Tinker, and would more often feed Mentor than hinder your opponent. If you run all 3 counterspells, Mindbreak Trap could be good. But then, you would want to run 3-4 of each card, which would dilute your game plan too much. Plus, at that point, why not just play a full-on UW deck, with Ancestral, Time Walk, etc?

I mostly play UB, and the hardest things to play around when facing White is early game Cavern of Souls with Thalia 1.0/Glowrider, 2.0, and a well-timed TKS. If you set them back a turn or two behind their normal pace, and you keep pumping out those creatures along with other hate pieces, they usually aren't capable of winning through them. Considering how dependent PO decks are to artifacts, if you cast Stony Silence and the like, backed by taxing effects so that it can't be countered easily, you would most often have the game in control.

@nower1990 Yeah, I definitely don't think Leyline is a good card to run in Vintage. It's great in Modern, but not Vintage. I was just listing it as a white answer against turn 1 kills. It does have utility vs oath, and it also stops hurkylls if you are on null rods in addition to stony, but those are fringe uses.
Missteps are more useful in general and help dodge T1 kills at times. Mindbreak may only work once, but you are SBing it in G2, so if it works once, that's all you need. Then they also play in fear of it maybe in G3 when you maybe have it or maybe side it back out.
T1 kills aren't all THAT common, but PO can certainly pull it off and not with difficulty. I've lost plenty of times with a G1 on the draw where I drew 7 and died, won G2, then drew 7 and died on G3. PO can just be nuts like that.
Stony, Thalia, Rule, etc. are certainly the better white cards to use in general and will be great turns 2 and beyond. They just won't help turn 1 when you're on the draw.

Why isn't Chains of Mephistopheles being used more often? That's one scary sideboard card against blue decks. Probably hoses PO more than any other blue deck.

@nower1990 It doesn't "do" anything and there aren't a ton of decks that would want to suffer that effect themselves.

I guess think about the best deck Chains could go in, and then wonder from there if that deck would really be any good.

@aeonsovarius I get what you mean, but wouldn't Chalice 'do' anything either in a similar way? A creature-centric deck that splashes black could use it without much impact to itself. It also happens to be well costed and an enchantment, which tends to be harder to remove.

@nower1990 i've played chains in the SB of Survival before. It was good when it landed. It does mess with your own bazaars, however. Definitely a good card that might not have a real home.

@kaluma I opened 2 Liliana of the Veil in my chests the other week when I got second in the challenge and brewed up a Bgw “Pox” style deck (doesn’t haven’t any actual Pox or Smallpox) with DRS, Bob, Necro, Chains, Trophy, Wasteland, Stony, Null Rod, etc., haven’t actually played any games with it yet though.

@wfain That sounds sweet. Let us know how it does!

@nower1990 I'm not saying there is no hope, but chalice at least counters spells and shuts people out, Null Rod does as well. I just imagine there are cases where i might resolve a Ponder with Chains on the field anyway. But i am not an expert.

I'm not 100% on this. But I think if chains was really worth using Spirit of the labyrinth would see more play in hate bear lists.

last edited by John Cox

@john-cox said in How to beat Paradoxical Outcome:

I'm not 100% on this. But I think if chains was really worth using Spirit of the labyrinth would see more play in hate bear lists.

Almost all hatebears decks do play Spirit of the Labyrinth these days. Even quite a few Eldrazi lists run it (competing with Glowrider and Sphere of Resistance in the flex spot that used to be Thorn of Amethyst).

Chains of Mephistopheles might be used to great effect with decks that mainly use "take the card into your hand" type of cards. Necropotence, black tutors and Dark Confidant are the big ones that come to mind. There are also blue cards like DTT, Fact or Fiction, and Gifts Ungiven that do this. There might be a new deck that might be able to use these ideas functionally, but I'm not sure if it can be well-rounded enough to handle Eldrazi or Shops lists as well, or not be suboptimal.

last edited by Nower1990

I recorded with U/R and played against PO four times in the league for anyone interested. I'm sorry about the sound at some points, it is fixed for future videos 🙂

The real question is not how creature oriented control (aka hatebears, a name I do not like btw...) beat PO decks. Since the meta is now Bazaar, Workshop and Blue (PO or non PO does not matter, they all need to draw plenty of cards to win) it seems very hard to fight these decks with classical strategies. And with this I mean 4x Hatebear A, 4x Hatebear B, 3x Stony, 4x Removal C, ...

My judgement is that right card is Hurkyl's Recall and not Stony Silence. You just run your own power and acceleration and bust out the most powerful permanent based creature disruption and back it up with a healthy combination of Mental Misteps, Mindbreak Traps, REB, ... You also run tutors and deck manipulation (top, dack, dt, ...).

A Hurkyl's Recall plan will also work well with a singleton Chalice of the Void + Sphere effects against PO. Workshop tend to take a lot of damage if their explosive start was based on Mana Crypt and Ancient Tombs. Also note that after a mass bounce, your Mindbreak Trap is most likely going to be active, even against Workshop.

I was on a long break, just returned like a couple weeks ago, but the Oath of Ghouls 5C Humans deck from 2015-2016 was the first time I switched from a classical way of building aggro control based on mana denial (wastelands, stony) to a more soft lock approach without wastelands and stony (which is sometimes in the SB at best), but with my own broken stuff basically. Losing a Thalia is actually kinda the plan, because all you want is time to set up a more stronger position with Kambal and spells that disrupt the PO.

All this being said, with the recent emergence of Bazaar Survival, not even Hurkyl's Recall seems like a plan anymore. And do not forget Oath and Bazaar Dredge lurking around. So yea... hard times 🙂

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