When new cards enter Modern, I'm quite eager to try them out as soon as possible, and there seem to be a greater and greater concentration of high-impact Modern cards coming out every set. Aether Revolt has had a huge impact on Modern – several archetypes have been boosted to a high power level, and many decks have received significant upgrades. Fatal Push means that all decks become more efficient and have a clean answer to the fast and hard-hitting threats of Modern. Pure combo has seen a resurgence of popularity we haven't seen in Modern for years with the introduction of Sram, Senior Edificer, Baral, Chief of Compliance, and fuse cards along with cards like Sram's Expertise.
With people trying to cast Fatal Push or playing dedicated, spell-based combo decks, Renegade Rallier – yet another Aether Revolt card – could have the potential to fit into a winning archetype. In combination with Ghost Quarter and flicker effects, you can attack the mana of the combo decks, while against the Fatal Push decks you can achieve huge advantage by constantly recurring sticky threats like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or other meaningful "hate bears."
Renegade Rallier has immense synergy with Flickerwisp and Restoration Angel, cards that are often played in these archetypes in Modern. Being able to flicker your Rallier to recur threats throughout the game is powerful. If you assemble a Ghost Quarter with a Leonin Arbiter or Aven Mindcensor, flickering your Renegade Rallier can relentlessly take out all of your opponent's lands.
Last year, we saw TCGplayer's own Craig Wescoe take Green-White Hatebears to a Top 4 finish at Grand Prix Pittsburgh. Even though it's more than a year old, looking at past decklists in Modern can be a good baseline when trying to design a new flavor of an existing archetype.
I'm new to this archetype, but incorporating Renegade Rallier shouldn't be all that difficult. Switching Lieges to Restoration Angels and adding Flickerwisp is the most important adaption so that once you establish Rallier, you can continue to blink it in order to utilize its trigger over and over. I also decided to play some fetch lands because they are so extraordinarily powerful with Rallier that you must include some even though you have Leonin Arbiter. The ability to trigger revolt consistently is important, and having a fetch land in your graveyard allows you to play Rallier on turn three more effectively. I expect some tribulations in the process of figuring out the proper configuration, but for now I cut three Horizon Canopy from Craig's list to incorporate three Windswept Heath. Clearly Horizon Canopy might deserve a slot and it can interact favorably with Rallier, but I want to ensure my Ralliers are their absolute best.
Here is the list I came to.
Rallier and Arbiter are not going to work every time, so I wanted to add some redundancy in the form of Aven Mindcensor. I wanted to prioritize mana denial, but I also wanted to include some ways of winning through playing fair Magic, and the inclusion of Blade Splicer gives you a juicy blink target and alongside Voice of Resurgence and maxing out on Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, you have some annoying threats that are powerful to Rally back in games where you can't lock out their mana.
Unfortunately, I didn't quite do anything cool with Rallier during the videos. It's unclear whether or not the deck can be better tuned to utilize Rallier, especially as there is a tension between playing more fetch lands and playing Leonin Arbiter. The deck still performs well as a Green-White Hatebear deck, and I imagine Rallier gives you some resilience against some of the removal-heavy decks that prey on it. Rallier is powerful enough to warrant playing in the Hatebears deck, giving you more overwhelming nut draws as well as added resiliency. Even when the format is unreasonably fast, decks will have to remove Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Leonin Arbiter from the battlefield to do their thing efficiently. It seems to me that Renegade Rallier is likely powerful against a multitude of decks, giving a normal, fair green-white deck a bit of unfairness to compete.
- Steve Rubin