I wasn't actually sure what I was going to write about this week. I had seen a deck that I was considering, but I wasn't truly sold on it until my fellow Floridian (okay, I'm an ex-Floridian currently) and Grand Prix Champion Bronson Magnan mentioned the following on Facebook…
"I just got trounced in a modern 2 man against a deck with both colonnade and mardu edict in it." - Bronson Magnan
Mardu Edict and Celestial Colonnade. Hmm. I had entered this deck about a week earlier, and while I thought it was a fluke at first, I knew immediately what he was talking about and that I just had to try it out.
One of my favorite things about looking for new Modern decks is when I see cards from the latest set being used...and successfully at that! One of my other favorite things in Modern is playing cards that are inherently two-for-ones, like Cryptic Command or Eternal Witness. Well, the deck I'm going to be showing off today fulfills both of those criteria. Take a look…
This deck basically has it all, and I couldn't be fonder of it. Every card seems to be a two-for-one and the sheer amount of removal and value cards is staggering. Lightning Helix? Two-for-one. Electrolyze? At least a two-for-one. Crackling Doom? Another two-for-one! The deck was chock full of them, and these were some of the most efficient removal spells you could get (which makes sense since they were all two to three colors). Let's see if they could actually pull their weight in harmony against the metagame though.
4C Midrange vs. Merfolk
4C Midrange vs. Affinity
4C Midrange vs. RG Infect
4C Midrange vs. Locket of Yesterdays
As has happened before, it's worth noting that the deck should have had two Wear // Tear in the sideboard, but Magic Online doesn't like loading cards that have slashes in them, so I went without noticing and played the matches with a 13 card sideboard. Unfortunate, but luckily we still did well.
I'm not even sure exactly what the Locket of Yesterdays deck was trying to do, but if I had to guess I would say it was trying to be a cuter Pyromancer Ascension deck. I also applaud innovation, but I'm not sure the original version is simply more streamlined. This one seemed like it had a tough time getting started, and often the Locket wouldn't make spells cost less than a single Goblin Electromancer would (mostly because most of your spells cost two mana or less).
As you can see the aggro matchup for this deck is fantastic. This includes things like Zoo, Infect, Affinity, Merfolk, etc. We simply have so much removal that performs double duty by either gaining us life, drawing us a card, or dealing damage directly, which is huge. It means that we're never just throwing a card away on a creature; we're often also gaining value (or tempo) with our plays.
We're even better against Affinity post board, after we can bring in numerous Stony Silences, but we're already pretty good preboard. Despite our Pyromancer Ascension match, combo is a deck we might have trouble with, but we have a good deal of counters in the sideboard. I'm not sure they'll be enough, but one of the good things about our maindeck is that most of our removal (save for Path to Exile) can be thrown at the opponent's face when they don't have any creatures (including Crackling Doom).
Going into the matches, I figured the biggest issue the deck might have would be the lands. I was correct, but not in the way I expected. The only time I ever had any issue with the lands was when I was facing off against merfolk and they managed to Spreading Seas my colors. Other than that I always had all my colors (and plenty of them). The fact that the deck has 25 lands and basically curves out at three mana (with two five-drop Thundermaw Hellkites) is just great, because it means we will often always have lands, and with the combination of Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Snapcaster Mage, we should always have something to do with it.
I do worry a little bit about the Burn matchup, as oftentimes four Lightning Helix isn't enough, especially now that they have Atarka's Command in addition to Skullcrack, but we'll see. I'm sure there's some way to shore it up, and the Phyrexian Unlife in the sideboard may be there just for that reason; after all, it basically gains us ten life.
This seemed to me like one of the most fun decks in Modern right now. I think Thundermaw Hellkite is in a great position due to all of the Lingering Souls that are floating around and I think Geist of Saint Traft is at his best when you can Clear a Path for him, which, as you can imagine, is one of the main goals of the deck. I love decks that focus on only a few, specific threats that are very powerful and this deck definitely fits the bill: four Snapcaster Mage, four Geist of Saint Traft, two Thundermaw Hellkite, and one Tasigur, the Golden Fang. Every card is game-winning or provides some form of card advantage.
This deck was a blast and I loved the inclusion of cards that are lesser-played in Modern such as Thundermaw Hellkite and Crackling Doom. I could actually see this deck taking a slot in the metagame, simply because its cards are so efficient and powerful. But alas, that's all I have for today. Thanks for reading and I'll catch you here on Thursday or on my Twitch stream!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV