This week we're going to take a look at something pretty interesting. A deck that harkens back to a simpler time.
...okay, the time was around Shards of Alara block Standard, so maybe the time wasn't that simple. But we don't have any spells in our deck, and that's pretty simple, right?
That's right: a very simple 25 lands and 35 creatures, with another 15 creatures in the sideboard. Take a look at this work of art...
Magic Online user Meltiin managed a 4-0 finish with the deck, which is pretty sweet considering how many copies of Burn and Delver of Secrets and Young Pyromancer there are floating around. With no maindeck "spells" to combat these strategies, how did he fare, I wonder? I mean, truth be told he could have actually just dodged those matchups, but going 4-0 in Modern is no easy feat.
Let's dive in and see what we can find out.
(Unfortunately the audio in my mic cut out halfway through the third video against Affinity. I kept it, however, as I thought it was a good match to show off and thankfully the Jazz remained.)
All Creatures vs. Scapeshift
All Creatures vs. Monogreen Infect
All Creatures vs. Affinity
All Creatures vs. Death and Taxes
Wow, this deck was sweet! It was probably one of the most fun decks I've played in Modern in quite a while. Initially I thought some of the creature choices were a little odd, but you have to remember two things: you want gold cards and you want humans. Being human is what makes both Champion of the Parish and Cavern of Souls tick.
Speaking of lands, the entire manabase is super intricate. There are two things you have to do to play your lands efficiently. 1) You have to sequence your lands correctly so that you can play your creatures at the appropriate times, and 2) you have to make sure the lands you want can actually cast the creatures in your hand. One game I had two lands in hand that didn't allow me to cast a Meddling Mage on turn two, and I kept because, at a glance, I assumed these lands could cast everything. We have a ton of lands that do add every color, but do require a condition to be met. Specifically...
- Ancient Ziggurat (can cast every creature; our best land)- Cavern of Souls (name human; can cast every creature except Falkenrath Aristocrat and Siege Rhino in the maindeck.)- Pillar of the Paruns (can cast every creature except Thalia and Champion of the Parish)- Reflecting Pool (with any of the above lands, can produce all colors)
All of the above lands can basically cast all of the cards in your deck, with a couple having an exception or two. We polish the manabase off with a couple of "fastlands" like Seachrome Coast, Darkslick Shores, and Copperline Gorge. It might seem odd that we don't have any copies of Razorverge Thicket when our two monocolored creatures are green and white, but that's what the playset of Horizon Canopy are for.
Another fact that I loved was that the deck is playing 11 copies of Khans of Tarkir creatures: three Anafenza, the Foremost, four Mantis Rider and four Siege Rhino. I love the fact that these brand new creatures are powerful enough to break into Modern, and at such high numbers. One thing this makes me want to do is go through all of the multicolored creatures in Modern to see if there are any that are better suited for the deck, because there are so many of them.
One thing that was interesting to me was that there was no maindeck lifegain outside of Siege Rhino. With all the Burn decks running around and with access to every color available, I figured there would be a Kitchen Finks or a Rhox War Monk present somewhere. On the other hand neither of those are human, so they can't be cast off of an ideal Cavern of Souls, but they can still be cast off of every other land in the deck. Sacrificing a Kitchen Finks to a Falkenrath Aristocrat isn't of zero value either. The Thalia, Guardian of Thraben also does a nice job at stifling some of the damage we'd be taking. And maybe Siege Rhino is enough. Who knows. We do also get Spellskite and Sin Collector out of the board, if those end up being fast enough. Will they be? I'm not sure, and while I hate playing against it, it would have been interesting to see how the deck fared against Burn.
Speaking of the sideboard, it's actually super versatile. We have answers to artifacts, enchantments, small creatures, opposing spells, strategies that target like Splinter Twin...pretty much everything you could ask for actually. I was pleasantly surprised with how useful every card was. There are even some tricks you can do, like haunting a creature with Orzhov Pontiff's ability, then sacrificing that creature to a Falkenrath Aristocrat after the opponent has activated his man lands. Ideally this will even give the Aristocrat a +1/+1 counter due to nearly every creature being a human.
This deck was a blast and I definitely hope it becomes a staple in the format. I'm not sure if it will, but the fact that it's literally 25 lands and 35 creatures is so cool. I'm going to add this deck to my "decks I love playing" gauntlet and perhaps make some updates to it in the future. There was a deck like this back in the day during Shard of Alara block, when Ancient Ziggurat was printed. I'm glad to see the versatile-yet-narrow land has found a new home.
Thanks for reading and I'll catch you on Thursday!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV