It should be established at this point that I'm a sucker for Smallpox. I've played in all the decks. In Mono-Black Smallpox. In Flagstones of Trokair Smallpox. In Superfriends. In Tokens. Like I said, I'm a fan of making people sacrifice permanents.
So when I saw this rather unique Smallpox deck go undefeated in a Magic Online league several weeks ago I knew I wanted to give it a shot. And the deck didn't disappoint.
While we would have liked the outcomes of some of the matches to have gone differently, the deck impressed with its power level and consistency, and losing a single match to bad topdecks or whatever isn't an indication of a deck's strength or even its matchup against a particular opponent. All of this is to say, despite not winning as much as I would have liked in the recorded matches, I played a handful of other matches offline (so to speak) with this deck and won most of them.
And that makes sense for a deck like this that has some inherent strengths and weaknesses. When your opponent gets to discard Bridge from Below thanks to your Smallpox it's going to feel pretty bad, but there are so many more matchups in Modern where you can Strip Mine and Cruel Edict all in one (with a Raven's Crime thrown in, to complete the metaphor… and a Leechridden Swamp? I digress). The point is, Smallpox is a broken card, and so long as you aren't matched up against an opponent who happens to operate on the same level of broken-ness, Smallpox is going to be a powerhouse.
Smallpox may be my favorite card in the deck, but it's not my favorite part of this deck. That honor goes to The Rack, which is here as purely a value card, rather than a strict win condition like in 8-Rack. Basically, it's like a Tarmogoyf because it comes down early and does a lot of damage. Well, I shouldn't say it's like a Tarmogoyf – it's actually better since it doesn't die to much removal. Yeah, I said it.
This deck leans into the discard element, recognizing that it's not that hard after the core of Inquisition of Kozilek – Thoughtseize – Liliana of the Veil to actually just become an 8-Rack deck with Smallpox and Funeral Charm that just happens to also have Tarmogoyfs in it. Whether your wins come via racking or Goyfing, the deck puts pressure on the opponent in a lot of different ways and strips their hand along the way.
It's a winning formula against many of the top decks in Modern right now, and adding green to the deck greatly opens up the sideboard options, including one of my favorite underappreciated sideboard bullets in Golgari Charm.
Thanks for reading,