I'm at the 2016 Magic World Championship, typing up decklists. A tedious part of the job, to be sure, but one that appeals to both the data nerd in me, not to mention the Magic player.

The Standard decklists were all Bant, which got old, but now I'm working on Modern, my favorite format, where I'm hoping to see some fun decklists. There's a lot of Abzan, and unfortunately no Merfolk, but Ryoichi Tamada did his part to make sure we had at least one interesting deck.

DECKID=1269609

Glancing through the decklist, I initially assumed Tamada was playing Storm. After all, a bunch of blue cantrips and Pyromancer Ascension can't be anything else, right?

Wrong.

Pyromancer Ascension is simply a value card here, not the end-all, be-all. Graveyard hate can make the deck stumble, but it is in no way the backbreaking swing it is against traditional Storm, and unlike that deck, it has access to another incredible two-drop.

The quirky-but-powerful rare from Shadows over Innistrad was bound to find a home eventually. With a string of one-mana spells and Gitaxian Probe and Manamorphose, it's easy to transform Thing in the Ice as early as turn three. Not only does that mess up opponents playing early creatures, it provides a huge body to attack with as well.

It's also the only creature in the 75, which is intrinsically important. Kill an opponent with Pyromancer Ascension in game one, and they'll board out removal, clearing the way for Thing in the Ice. Kill them with Thing in the Ice, and they don't know to bring in their enchantment removal for Pyromancer Ascension. The deck's two-axis attack makes gameplanning against it difficult, and can strand a lot of dead cards in opposing players' hands. What they do eventually play, you simply Lightning Bolt or counter until you establish enough of a lock to point the burn to the dome.

If you're a fan of difficult puzzles and being forced to plan things out in advance, this is the deck for you. It has serious competitive chops (it was played at Worlds!), but is also a lot of fun and something new and different. Considering it's a bunch of cheap spells, outside of the Scalding Tarns (which can be substituted for), it's even fairly budget by Modern standards. I definitely recommend checking out this deck.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88