Ever since Jeskai Ascendancy was spoiled, people began trying to figure out how to break the three mana enchantment. My first thought immediately went to Sprout Swarm in Modern, with the potential to tap the creature you just made (along with four others) to cast the two mana instant, then repeat once the Jeskai Ascendancy trigger had resolved.
The fact that you could actually go infinite with the card fairly easily (once you had about three tokens and three lands) was insanely appealing and I always wondered why we didn't see a list with the card. You could make infinite creature at the end of the opponent's turn, or make your creatures huge then win by grabbing a Flesh // Blood from the sideboard and aiming it at their dome thanks to having access to Glittering Wish.
Instead people were looking at things like Fatestitcher, which is fine - the card got the job done, in multiple formats, mind you - but it never answered my questions as to why Sprout Swarm was being overlooked.
Well, my wait had finally ended this past week when I saw this gem.
A little over a week ago, Nick Bertsch took this list to a TCGplayer MaxPoint event and made it to the Top 4. I'm not sure which of the two finalist decks he lost to, but both Tron and Bogles can be difficult matchups.
Since I had been incredibly eager to put the deck together and see how the deck fared against the rest of the Modern field for quite some time, I was ready to dive right in and try some matches.
3-1 is not too bad for a deck that I had never played before today, especially considering this deck comprises two qualities that I dislike in decks I play on Magic Online: it has a lot of minute decisions to make (no, seriously, like a million), and it takes a lot time to click through all of the triggers and place them all onto the stack. We basically timed out in the match against Jund and I feel like we might have been able to win it if we weren't feeling the pressure of the clock. While I am definitely prone to making some bad decisions on my own, when the clock is blinking red in the left hand corner, it certainly doesn't help.
The reverse of that, however, is the fact that the combo can be assembled as early as turn three, and once you begin to go infinite with even one mana creature in play, you can generate infinite mana, draw into a Glittering, and Flesh // Blood your opponent for the win. The deck is similar to Splinter Twin in that, once you're actually "going off," things usually don't take very long.
As I said throughout the matches, there are certain cards that don't really make sense. If you could actually use Snapcaster Mage to get back a Sprout Swarm and go infinite with it that would be awesome, but since you can't, the one-of Snapcaster Mage seems somewhat random. So does the one-of Spell Snare, the one-of Path to Exile, and the one-of Remand. I'm all for playing versatile one-ofs for utility, especially when having access to a Snapcaster Mage can double those number, but this is a combo deck and we want to maximize our ability to "go off" each game. A couple more Sylvan Caryatids would greatly increase the chances of this in addition to allowing us to block here and there. As I mentioned in the beginning, the one thing we're trying to do in order to go off is get to about three creatures and three lands…
Three creatures and three lands is all it takes, so we should be maximizing our odds of making that happen, specifically by adding more Sylvan Caryatid; this is especially true when we consider all of the heavy color requirements the deck has. This plan also improves the speed at which we can cast many of our five mana sideboard cards as well, such as Keranos, God of Storms, Realm Razer, and Fracturing Gust.
I liked the inclusion of Young Pyromancer, but I'm wondering if it would be better to cut one and go straight up to four Sprout Swarm; after all, that's our primary combo piece along with Jeskai Ascendancy.
I was pleasantly surprised by the deck. Despite not having things like Fatestitcher and Dig Through Time, as the previous iteration of the deck had, Sprout Swarm was just as powerful as I had hoped it would be when I was first imagining the deck in Modern.
That's about it for today. Join me again on Thursday though when we find a sweet Standard brew thanks to Magic Origins Standard...and I think I have a good one in mind. In the meantime, be sure and check out my podcast, Freshly Brewed with Ali Aintrazi and be sure to subscribe through iTunes if that's your thing. Thanks for reading and I'll see ya soon!
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