I'm a simple man. Show me a reasonably interesting deck with Phyrexian Obliterator in it, and I'll play it on Mining Modern. When Seth Manfield highlighted this deck last week as a standout from Magic Online, there was no way I wasn't going to give it a shot.
Mono-Black Devotion was once the powerhouse Standard deck, but Modern has proven mostly immune to the deck's old plan, meaning that some experimentation has been necessary to try and bring the deck into Modern. But with the core of discard and Liliana planeswalkers, the deck is always floating around and a threat in the right metagame.
That statement also applies to Phyrexian Obliterator, which is without a doubt one of the coolest creatures ever designed but one whose value in Modern swings drastically depending on the matchup. Take a deck with a bunch of Lightning Bolts and it's insane. Take on a deck packing a bunch of Path to Exile or Spell Queller and you're in for a bad time. Still, this is Mining Modern and I have standards. You're already aware of my position on Phyrexian Obliterator decks, so in this case it's a sin I think I can forgive.
The truth is, any shell that involves discard, removal and Liliana is going to be able to find success, but I like this one's gameplan. Supplementing with white comes without a huge cost and allows access to the best sideboard cards in the format, not to mention the never-not-great Lingering Souls. The tokens are one of the easiest ways to close out the game, either by pecking in for a bunch of damage or just chump blocking while Liliana planeswalkers work their dark magic.
I think a lot of the success of decks like this comes down to the 5-10 swing spots. In a metagame where Phyrexian Obliterator and Gray Merchant of Asphodel are good, then this deck is great. In a metagame of control and combo, I might lean toward something in this shell that involved Smallpox. But however you decide to take a deck like this – and I like this direction quite a bit, perhaps with a tweaked sideboard that doubled down on creature matchups with board wipes while cutting Fulminator Mage and relying on discard and Anguished Unmaking or Tron – it's clear that these grindy white-black decks are a force to be reckoned with in Modern.
Thanks for reading,