Hatebears are one of my favorite Magic archetypes. Not that I'm a particularly avid or skilled player of the strategies myself, but I really enjoy the niche they occupy in the game. The idea that it isn't the biggest or the strongest creatures that are "best"—and the idea that crazy blue combo decks playing the most powerful cards in the history of the game can fold to a set of slightly upgraded Grizzly Bears really illustrates what I love about Magic as a game.

So when I saw that Adam Yurchick had written about this crazy Gruul Hatebears deck that shared the same concept but very few cards, I was immediately in.

It's not Leonin Arbiter plus Ghost Quarter, but this deck packs a nice set of hateful cards into a compact shell. Eidolon of the Great Revel burns everyone. Goblin Cratermaker ranges from embarrassing Grizzly Bears to the Karn destroyer I've always wanted. Gruul Spellbreaker messes up a surprising number of cards in Modern – including Settle the Wreckage – and of course Scavenging Ooze gives you game against graveyard decks in game one. Duskwatch Recruiter doesn't combo here, but it does help refill your hand and lead to some very powerful turn threes if it transforms.

Smuggler's Copter is one of my pet cards in Modern, and it's perfect here. It filters through the cards you don't need while finding you the right hate cards for the job, and it's hard to overstate how important it is in a deck like this to have the ability to filter through excess lands and Aether Vials. It's also pretty crazy to see Tarmogoyf as an afterthought, but that's essentially what it is here. Still, it gets the job done when you need it to.

My favorite tweak in the deck is probably the Dryad Arbor, which can be fetched at instant speed to provide a body to crew the Copter, a nice little trick that can lead to very shocked opponents when you make their countermagic look silly by beating them with a land (creature).

The sideboard can go in a lot of directions, but I played with the original list and loved the Cindervines in the board. They tax control and combo opponents in a meaningful way, not to mention turn into additional removal when needed. They fit perfectly with the conceit of the deck, and it was a very fun direction to explore in Modern that may just have a future ahead of it.

Corbin Hosler

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