It's been a wild few weeks around here. I strive to find new and innovative decks for Mining Modern, and the last month or so has brought some pretty wild ones to the table. I get asked a lot if I ever worry about "running out" of Modern decks for the series, but the answer is "not really." Modern is just such a deep format with so many strategies to explore and try that I feel like I can go on for years without worrying about running out of content.
In the past few weeks, we've certainly had some off-the-wall decks. From Twiddle Storm to Cheerios to Expertises, we've been off the deep end a few times recently. So this week I decided to pull back a bit on the jank (though I'll note that while Cheerios and Expertises were jank when I recorded the videos, they've since found some actual success at the Grand Prix level.) Anyway, this week we have something that qualifies as a bit more "traditional," but it's no less fun!
Fatal Push does something that very few cards in Modern can lay claim to – it enables entirely new archetypes, and this Sultai deck is the prime example. Since the inception of Modern, a few things have held true for midrange decks – you have to be able to remove creatures for one mana. That's why Lightning Bolt is the most-played card in the format, and why Path to Exile isn't far behind. Many decks even run both. Without access to at least one of those, other color combinations haven't been able to keep up.
Fatal Push changes that. Now black has access to its own Bolt or Path. And while Fatal Push isn't as good as either of those in the abstract, it has a few advantages that neither of those cards can boast.
For starters, it scales up better than Lightning Bolt. In exchange for not being able to go to the face, Fatal Push can dispose of Tarmogoyf without a problem, and do so without giving up a land the way Path to Exile does. Of course, it takes work to remove creatures of converted mana cost three or four and can't touch anything above that, Fatal Push manages to carve out its own niche among the now-triumvirate of premier one-mana removal spells.
And this deck takes full advantage. One card that the Jund or Abzan decks would have always killed to play was Snapcaster Mage – but the mana requirements were just too difficult. In exchange for giving up on Path and Bolt, Sultai can combine the best elements of those decks while also playing Snapcaster Mage and Remand or Mana Leak if you wanted it. Even more important than both of those might be Serum Visions, which is a great early play and incredible topdeck later on in the game.
The threats look familiar. Grim Flayer and Tarmogoyf do the brunt of the work, while the discard spells and planeswalkers (all the Lilianas!) are also reminiscent of the format's premier midrange decks. Heck, Sultai even gets its own form of Raging Ravine in Creeping Tar Pit, which is great at closing out games.
All in all, while this Sultai deck may not break any major barriers, it is exploring some new ground for midrange decks in the format. Fatal Push makes that possible, and I would not be at all surprised to see versions of this deck break into the top echelon of Modern before too long.
Thanks for reading,