Happy Memorial Day! For those readers serving or who have served in the Armed Forces, or for those that have relatives or friends serving or who have served, thank you and be sure to thank them for me. Hopefully you guys are relaxing today and hopefully some Modern videos can aid you in that!
Death Cloud is a card and archetype that has been around for ages; for about as long as Death Cloud itself has been around! Well, not quite that long, but every so often it rears its ugly Death Cloudy head in older formats like Modern, and what used to be Extended due to its high power level and ability to utterly Decimate the life total, hand, creatures, and lands of an opponent.
The premise of the deck is simple. Take advantage of being able to produce a lot of mana through things like Garruk Wildspeaker and Utopia Sprawl, before casting a huge Death Cloud that the opponent will be unable to recover from. Meanwhile, you look to have several planeswalker in play or creatures like Kitchen Finks who should survive the blast. Take a look at the following list that Magic Online user osmanozguney went 4-0 with in a Daily Event to get a better idea.
As you can see, the list basically looks like a GB Midrange deck, and it plays like one as well. With things like Abrupt Decay, Liliana of the Veil, and five maindeck one mana discard spells, the deck has a lot of ways to deal with some of the more problematic strategies in the format. But enough talk! Let's see it deal with those strategies first hand.
The funny thing about a deck called Death Cloud was that we barely got to cast the namesake card. That's not to say it wasn't good; we just didn't draw it as often as we might have wanted to. This didn't end up affecting our win percentage as you might have noticed, and the games where we did cast Death Cloud were usually over once we had. It's just such a backbreaking card that you're either going to win by spamming infinite beasts with a Garruk Wildspeaker after you've suffocated the earth, or you're going to win by essentially fireballing their face with a huge Death Cloud. There are definitely matches where you want to board them out, but generally the format is slow enough (and we have enough ramp) as to where we can navigate ourselves into a situation where we're able to profit from a Death Cloud.
One thing I found a little off was that there was no artifact or enchantment removal in the entire 75 other than Abrupt Decay. If we wanted to get rid of an artifact or enchantment that costs more than three mana we were kind of out of luck, as we noticed in the game against Skred Red when we had a hard time dealing with their Wurmcoil Engine. There aren't too many expensive cards we'd want to deal with, aside from things like Leylines or Hive Mind or something weird, but it would be nice to have a few extra catch-alls against something affinity.
One thing I consistently feel every time I see or cast a Night of Souls' Betrayal is that I wish it were a Curse of Death's Hold instead. While I always think that the four vs. five mana is going to be extremely relevant, it rarely is in comparison to the ability to a) have multiple in play at the same time, and b) not neutering our own creatures (specifically Eternal Witness and Kitchen Finks). The fact that we're a ramp deck and have things like Garruk Wildspeaker, Utopia Sprawl, and Search for Tomorrow is even more of a reason to not concern ourselves with the additional mana. I mean, our deck only has so many creatures as is (less than ten); I'm not thrilled about the idea of weakening or killing six of them right off the bat simply to deal with our opponent's X/1s.
Anyway, that's about all I have on Death Cloud. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the deck did. We always felt like we were in the game, and even when we were behind we had a tremendous amount of powerful draws. I think with a little tweaking (if any) this could be a real contender in Modern. Again, Happy Memorial Day, guys, and be sure to check back here on Thursday for some Standard action. In the meantime, feel free to catch my stream on TwitchTV or my brand new podcast with Ali Aintrazi, Freshly Brewed. You can find the links for everything in the signature below, and thanks for reading!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV, streaming Monday - Thursday afternoonsFreshly Brewed Podcast with Ali Aintrazi (also available on iTunes and Stitcher)