A couple of weeks back I was looking for a list that I happened to play against in one of my matches. The deck was basically a Living End deck - a strategy that I have never been a huge fan of - that also had the Splinter Twin combo in it! Whoa! Combined with the fact that graveyard hate is currently at an all-time low, this was actually an incredible innovation that gave the deck an entirely new - and powerful - angle to attack from.
I kept looking for the deck, but it didn't really seem to turn up anywhere. I looked in real life events, at Magic Online events, and it just didn't seem to be performing well enough to show up. To this day the deck still isn't showing up as frequently as I would expect, but I could still find a copy here or there and I still wanted to try it out anyway.
The Modern Festival is going on right now on Magic Online and user benge4488 managed a 4-1 finish with this version of the list. It's pretty stock from what I've seen. The deck is pretty straightforward: cycle all of your creatures in an attempt to either cascade into Living End and get them all back, or draw Splinter Twin and either Deceiver Exarch or Pestermite and win the old fashioned way. (Is that old fashioned?)
Let's see if we can manage to do that.
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So many Tron decks. I guess we felt like the best way to Defeat one degenerate combo deck was to play a deck that had two degenerate combos built right in! I suppose it worked. To be fair, I always feel pretty disadvantaged against Tron when I don't have access to Stony Silence, but having three Fulminator Mage in the maindeck and the fourth in the sideboard was pretty huge against them. Especially when we're able to use each one to kill multiple lands after a well-timed Living End.
The best part about the deck is that it fights on two very unique and powerful angles. The first is by playing the role of your traditional Living End deck. Unfortunately, Living End is usually incredibly susceptible to graveyard hate. That's where the second half of the deck comes in: Splinter Twin. The deck is actually quite innovative. There are even situations where you can get your Deceiver Exarch or Pestermite into the graveyard in order to get them back with Living End and then win with Splinter Twin. But let's be honest: most of the time we're just attacking with all of our reanimated creatures in those situations.
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker himself was one of the few cards that I constantly found myself taking out. Five mana is very hard to get to in this deck with only 18 lands, and believe it or not, the goblin legend doesn't actually cycle and allow us to bring him back with Living End. As with most Splinter Twin victories, they're usually taking place with Splinter Twin itself.
I guess another "expensive" card I would omit would be the Jungle Weaver. Unlike our other cycler, it costs two mana instead of one. I might prefer another Architects of Thought since we can cycle them for one mana, but I'm not sure if there's some tricky interaction I'm missing with the inclusion of Jungle Weaver. Twisted Abomination also costs two mana to cycle, but he gets us what could be a much-needed land.
One of our hardest matchups seemed to be burn. We don't have any life gaining creatures that we can cast quickly, and the three mana that it takes for us to fire off our first Gnaw to the Bone might be too slow. The problem is that we can't play a card like Feed the Clan - which I'm not sure would even be better - because all of our spells have to cost more than two mana. Anything less than three mana and we run the risk of cascading into them with our cascade spells instead of Living End.
The deck ended up being really powerful, and pretty sweet. Whether we were returning multiple creatures from our graveyard and wiping our opponent's board or simply comboing out with a Deceiver Exarch, it was very difficult for our opponents to fight us from both directions at once.
As usual, I'll be back again on Thursday with some Standard. We only have a few more weeks before Magic Origins joins the fray and changes the landscape. In the meantime be sure to catch my podcast with Ali Aintrazi, Freshly Brewed (which you can find on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or the link below). Thanks for reading and I'll see ya then!
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Freshly Brewed Podcast with Ali Aintrazi (also available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio)