A few weeks ago I ran a poll on Twitter asking people what they most wanted to see from Aether Revolt in Modern. The set has added a lot of goodies to the format – most notably Fatal Push – but it's far from the only addition.
What #mtgaer card do you most want to see built around in Modern?— Corbin Hosler (@Chosler88) January 19, 2017
I've had a lot of fun experimenting with the set in Modern, to some success. It started with the deceptively powerful Cheerios deck, a port of an old Legacy deck that has made waves in Modern. It continued with the hilarious Expertises deck, which has also garnered some attention in competitive Modern as well. While neither of those decks is going to break the format anytime soon, both are competitive and fun Modern decks.
This week I wanted to take it up a notch.
Renegade Rallier is a hell of a card. In the right deck (this deck, as it turns out), it really does everything. It's a mana ramper with fetch lands. It's a great recursion engine with Eldritch Evolution. It's a great way to out-attrition control decks. Alongside Qasali Pridemage, it serves as flexible spot removal. Heck, it even beats down at a reasonable rate.
The shell of this deck came from Jason Kruger, who took a similar deck to second place at TCGplayer States in Minnesota last week. His version obviously had a lot of success, and I tailored my list to take full advantage of Renegade Rallier.
Kruger optimized Eldrazi Displacer in this list, using its absurd power with Rallier to create on-demand revolt triggers and "go off" for all the value. The only problem with the deck is that, while it functions great as a beatdown deck, it had a very hard time transitioning to any other role. Green-white decks already lack for ways to reliably interact with opponents who are playing outside the box, and as such I wanted to find a few ways to change that. Collected Company goes a long way, but I knew we could do better.
Eldritch Evolution has become a bit of a pet card of mine in Modern, and it's because it's just so easy to get value out of it, especially in a deck like this. Because we have so few ways to meaningfully interact, Evolution gives us tutoring power at a lower cost than Chord of Calling, while still giving us access to silver bullets out of the sideboard, including Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Linvala, Keeper of Silence.
As much as I love Evolution, I don't think it's worth running in any deck simply for "access to strong cards." However, in a deck built around Renegade Rallier, its value increases even more. It triggers revolt incredibly easily, allowing us a multitude of ways to use it. Obviously the dream is to turn Kitchen Finks into Restoration Angel or use it on a Finks to find one of our powerful sideboard options. But even in the worst case scenario, it allows us to essentially turn it into a fifth or sixth copy of Renegade Rallier with a mana creature. Noble Hierarch on the first turn into a second turn Eldritch Evolution fetching Rallier returns the mana dork, and allows us to get our most powerful card out of our deck reliably.
Most importantly, having access to Eldritch Evolution means our deck can compete in a range of matchups where it couldn't before. No longer is the green-white deck hoping to simply outdraw the combo opponent or hope that they stumble on mana. With Evolution, suddenly our one-ofs from the sideboard all become three-ofs, giving us much greater access to key cards like Thalia or Gaddock Teeg or Kor Firewalker.
This is one of the best uses of Renegade Rallier in Modern, and I believe decks like this are here to stay. You get access to some of the same hate creatures as Green-White Hatebears, but you also have a more reliable backup plan when you square off against opponents who can get around the taxes of those decks.
I had a blast rallying this week, and I hope you enjoy the deck as much as I did!
Thanks for reading,