This past weekend I was in Atlanta playing the Open. I'm currently ranked 19th on the point leaderboard and was trying to move up into Top 16. I decided to play Abzan Seasons Past in Standard and was 5-0 then promptly lost three of my four matches ending at 6-3 for the day. I was going to talk about W/G Tokens today and how it's the best deck in Standard but the unstoppable robot himself, Seth Manfield, won the Grand Prix this past weekend, and I assume he'll be giving you all the details on it at some point.
I had planned on day two-ing in Standard, so I actually didn't bring a Modern deck with me in case I scrubbed out. So I was left with no deck for the next day. I talked to my buddy Jeff Hoogland and luckily he made day two and had a new Kiki-Chord list with blue in it. He generously let me borrow it for the event. I had never played the deck before but I was excited to play it. I love toolbox strategies and this was a great one.
I ended up going 6-2 with the deck and got 9th place. The deck was very good and all the games I lost were to a blunder I had made by taking the wrong line. This deck rewards you for knowing what you're doing and what you're playing against — you either feel like a master after a close game or you feel like a little dumb for not seeing the line that could've won you the game. I was pretty rusty when the day first started but I got better the more matches I played.
Today I'm going to talk about the deck and all the card choices, so if you decide to pick up the deck, you'll have a general idea of what is going on and what you should be doing. I'm going to give you all the basics and hopefully we both can become masters of this archetype! Let's get to it!
The plan for this deck is to first win with value then if that's not enough you win via combo. You have multiple combos in the deck with Kiki-Jiki and another "combo" with Nahiri, the Harbringer and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. You can even make it hard for your opponent to win with bullet creatures like Spellskite, Kataki, War's Wage, Phyrexian Revoker, Fulminator Mage, Scavenging Ooze, etc. The deck has many little interactions with itself and Chord of Calling is the engine that can get it all going. It's nice that the deck can attack with a bunch of creatures and value your opponents out or become a deck that protects Nahiri, the Harbinger and kills them with Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.
This one is a bullet for Chord of Calling and happens to be good to very good against a lot of matchups. Spellskite is excellent against decks like Infect or Boggles and decent against decks like Burn, Affinity, or Zoo.
We are a four-color deck. Birds of Paradise smooths out our mana and allows us to ramp into other spells. I feel very ahead if I get to play Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch on turn one and get to untap with it. A staple in any Chord of Calling deck.
Deceiver Exarch: Can be a combo piece, a wall, a mini-Fog, or it can tap an artifact down and allow us to exile it with the minus ability of Nahiri the Harbinger. Don't forget, it also untaps, so you might be able to catch someone off-guard by untapping something like your Restoration Angel and then blocking a Wild Nacatl or something with it.
Eternal Witness: Green's Snapcaster Mage, except it can rebuy literally anything in your graveyard and doesn't exile it. You can also get tremendous value from it and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. Another value play that leads into a combo play is to Chord of Calling into Eternal Witness, returning Chord of Calling, then Chord of Calling into a Restoration Angel to blink Eternal Witness, rebuying Chord of Calling once again. Then you finally Chord of Calling for Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker and combo your opponent with Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker and Restoration Angel.
Those pesky Tron players AMIRITE?! Obviously good against Tron and Valakut decks but usually against them you have to Chord of Calling for Fulminator Mage and then you have to keep recurring it somehow with Eternal Witness or just copying it with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Stone Raining your opponent every turn. It's also just good to kill a random utility land like a creature-land or something like Academy Ruins or Eldrazi Temple.
Another new addition we can play because we are playing blue. Glen Elendra Archmage is good against control decks and combo decks. It's not bad against Collected Company decks either. The only problem I had with Glen Elendra Archmage was when you draw her it can be a problem if you only have one blue source since you want to play her with an open blue source. You don't want your opponent to just kill her with a Path to Exile or just cast their best non-creature spell while you're tapped out.
This slot could go to Mystic Snake. You can also Restoration Angel Mystic Snake or have a soft lock with Mystic Snake and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. Just something to keep in mind.
Lone Missionary: A nice bullet to have against decks trying to burn you out. An instant four life is a lot, especially if you can do it again or trade it with a Goblin Guide.
Basically just the firth Birds of Paradise with exalted.
Qasali Pridemage: An awesome Watchwolf that can also blow up artifacts or enchantments. I love this creature and everything it can do. Great in any Chord of Calling or Collected Company deck that can support him.
A combo piece, a great attacker, or a value piece. Restoration Angel is fantastic here. The only problem is that it costs four mana, otherwise I'd play more. The fact that she also has flash is amazing. Don't be afraid to just jam her when you won't get any value with her. I lost a game because I didn't do that when if I had a 3/4 flier it would've been enough to kill my opponent, instead I waited and that gave him a chance to rebuild and get back into the game instead of just killing him.
Great way to gain life and build your own Tarmogoyf. It's also a graveyard hate card which earns it a slot in the main deck.
We want our opponents to leave us alone on our turn or give us a huge creature if they try and counter our spells on our turn.
Wall of Omens: Cantrips and buys us time against the aggro decks. Also a decent target for Restoration Angel so you can cantrip your Restoration Angel. CANTRIP EVERYTHING!
Wall of Roots: The sixth mana dork except this one can block and can add two mana for our Chord of Callings but adding one mana and then tapping it for mana with convoke. A sweet one to have access to.
This card is literally just for Nahiri, the Harbinger. The fact that it is also nice to have against mill decks is just icing on the cake.
You usually use Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker as a combo piece to kill your opponent with Deceiver Exarch or Restoration Angel. However, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker can also be used as a value piece to double up on any creature with an enters-the-battlefield ability or a sacrifice ability like Fulminator Mage.
Allows us to attack from a different angle. Not only do our opponents have to worry about our creatures and everything they can do but now they also have to worry about our doomsayer Nahiri. As soon as Nahiri, the Harbinger gets to eight counters you cash it in if you can. Don't try to get value by ticking her up again, annihilating six permanents is plenty! Nahiri, the Harbinger is also a great removal spell. After that Tarmogoyf attacks you, you can play her and minus on the Tarmogoyf to exile it. She's just great all around and this might be the best home for her.
The namesake of the deck. Chord of Calling is scary for any opponent to play against since they never really know what you're getting. I was able to Chord of Calling for four against an opponent last weekend and leave up a blue. After getting Glen Elandra Archmage my opponent conceded. That's a powerful tool to have access to.
Path to Exile: One of the best removal spells in Modern and this deck not only plays four but can recur them with Eternal Witness. Some decks play one, two, or even zero basics, making Path to Exile even better. Also don't be afraid to Path to Exile your own guy if you need a color or need to ramp. While it may not be optimal sometimes it is what you need to do.
Great against decks with a lot of permanents like Affinity, Lantern Control, and even aggro decks. It's also good against things like Grafdigger's Cage or other hate cards.
Can shut off pesky things like Karn Liberated, Codex Shredder, Lightning Storm, Sakura Tribe Elder, Mindslaver, and many other things. A good card to have in the board.
Burrenton Forge-Tender: You want this for decks with Pyroclasm, Firespout, or Anger of the Gods.
Fulminator Mage: When you need to destroy Valakuts, Mountains, or Tron lands.
Reclamation Sage: Great against artifact or enchantment based decks or to destroy something like Rest in Peace or Graffdiggers Cage.
Scavenging Ooze: Good against graveyards or other creature decks where the graveyards will have a lot of targets.
Stops pesky artifacts. Mostly for Lantern Control, Affinity, or Tron.
Eidolon of Rhetoric: Very good against combo decks like Ad Nausem or Bring to Light Scapeshift.
Lightning Helix: When you need to gain life and kill creatures. Mostly for zoo or burn but you could bring one in as a miser against something like Jund to try and kill an early Dark Confidant or Raging Ravine.
Unified Will: Awesome new card because with the addition of blue. You'll have more creatures out against the combo or control opponents and that's where you usually want this card.
Good against Affinity or Lantern Control. Don't really bring it in anywhere else.
Decks where you want more value like Jund or Abzan or decks where you want to kill small creatures like Infect, Merfolk, or Slivers. Don't forget Pia and Kiran Nalaar also add three mana to Chord of Calling — that's pretty sweet too!
Chord of Calling decks are like sixty-card Commander decks — they are awesome to build and adjust to your liking. When you build your own deck you usually know the ins and outs of it and that's what makes Chord of Calling decks so special in Modern. The deck will also always adapt and can shift drastically based on colors and on your bullets. They are also fantastic game two and three decks since you can basically tune your deck with the help of your sideboard and have so many hate cards thanks to Chord of Calling. one Kataki, War's Wage turns into five because of Chord of Calling.
The only thing I would change about this list at the moment would be to add an Izzet Staticaster in the board. Probably over Phyrexian Revoker, Scavenging Ooze, Engineered Explosives, or Burrenton Forge-Tender.
I'm gonna be playing Chord of Calling for a bit and see what I can do with it. As always, thank you so much for reading and I'll catch you all next week!
See you around,