Ever since it was printed, various people have tried to make Paradoxical Outcome work in Standard, but to no avail. Combo decks are difficult to build in smaller formats because they are the most sensitive to missing a single functional piece to the list.
Aggro decks can slot in a weak creature or two if the rest of the shell is strong enough. Same with control decks and removal or counters. But if a combo deck doesn’t have its entire engine running efficiently, it falls apart rather quickly.
The natural solution is to move away from whatever engine you’re trying to exploit and build something fairer while still having the capability of doing something fundamentally unfair, and that’s what today’s list tries to do with Paradoxical Outcome.
On the surface, the card is a four-mana card draw spell, so it can slot well into a control deck as long as you have the tools to use it. In this case, those tools are cheap artifacts, many of which are nearly non-functional by themselves, so you need to have some way to end the game quickly. Aetherflux Reservoir comes in for that role nicely, but the combo takes a while to set up, so you need to have effective ways to stall the game to that point.
To that end, the deck employs an improvise theme around Inspiring Statuary to cast your spells cheaply and several cards that clear the battlefield of annoying creatures trying to end your fun before it’s even started. Engulf the Shore and Baral’s Expertise are proven Constructed-level cards that do exactly what this deck wants to do and are easy to cast on the cheap thanks to Inspiring Statuary.
Without the need to race in every game, you can trim down on Aetherflux Reservoir, which seems counterintuitive but is a natural evolution for most combo decks. Similar to control, the win condition itself is rarely central to the engine of a combo deck and thus often gets in the way of whatever brokenness you’re trying to get up to.
Whir of Invention slots in nicely so you can find the card when necessary, but it also sets you up by finding Inspiring Statuary or even a zero-mana artifact so your Paradoxical Outcome can be supercharged. That kind of utility in small numbers greatly increases the deck’s consistency, and the cost in speed is more than made up for by the control elements in the deck.
Standard right now looks to be a festival of creature-based aggro and midrange decks, which is a ripe metagame for something fundamentally non-interactive. This could be the build that elevates Paradoxical Outcome to format staple.