Someone in the comments last week accused me of seemingly having less fun in my videos recently (and by extension my videos being less fun). In all honestly, I couldn't actually disagree with him. The thing is it can be extremely discouraging having to find new, unique decks week-in, week-out, especially when a chosen deck doesn't put up winning results. It can be disheartening to enter queue after queue, only to go 1-3 in matches after investing over two hours into a deck. Not only do I not want to present a deck with a record like that to you guys, but it also means having to find a new deck, play new matches, record new videos, etc. It can be pretty exhausting.

Sometimes people even suggest I play something Tier 1, like Amulet Bloom or Scapeshift with Bring to Light, when I can't find a more roguish list, and I simply can't bring (to light) myself to do it; that has never been what my columns have been about.

The problem is that worrying about winning with a rogue, sub-Tier 2 deck can typically Remove all fun from the experience for me. "Man, I didn't go 4-0 with a deck that made the Top 8 of one local event? Ugh!" Should I worry about winning less? If I play a deck that seems awesome but only goes 1-3, should I still present it to you guys? This is what I struggle with, twice a week, and honestly, I agree that it can make the matches a bit of a chore.

Maybe it's simply a perspective thing on my end. I'm not sure. Either way, I tried to not care whether I won or lost this week as I played a pretty unconventional Smallpox brew through the queues.


I'm a big fan of Mardu decks in Modern because they often get access to some of the best planeswalkers, disruption, and removal. I love all the efficient one-mana cards like Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, Lightning Bolt, and Path to Exile we have access to. In addition we get planeswalkers like Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Sorin, Solemn Visitor / Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, Liliana of the Veil, and Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded (just kidding).

Matthew Currie seemed to realize this and even included the newest member of the Mardu Superfriends, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which goes amazingly with cards like Bitterblossom and Lingering Souls. He's an anthem when you need one and a threat when you don't, which is actually the perfect combination when you're playing a deck full of tokens.

But planeswalkers and tokens aren't the central strategy of Matthew's deck; land destruction and disrupting some of the biggest decks in the format are. It looks like he definitely has the cards to do it, but let's find out for ourselves.

Mardu Pox vs. Esper Control

Mardu Pox vs. Blue Tron

Mardu Pox vs. Wilted Abzan

Mardu Pox vs. Amulet Bloom

Man, so close to the 4-0. I'm pretty we misplayed in our match against Amulet Bloom, but I don't think it would have mattered. If we ultimated Liliana on the last turn, he would have had either one Simic Growth Chamber in play (with no Amulet of Vigor), or one Gemstone Mine and one Amulet of Vigor. He has to keep Amulet since his plan is to play Summer Bloom. So then he plays the other Simic Growth Chamber in his hand that we know about, untaps it, adds two mana, returns it to his hand, plays Summer Bloom, plays and returns the Simic Growth Chamber three more times netting two mana each time, then casts Hive Mind. He was able to produce six mana either way unfortunately.

I know I get a little salty when I lose games like that, but I realized that it ultimately comes down to the deck I'm playing against. When I lost the game against Wilted Abzan, I didn't really mind, because I was able to interact and make decisions. Against Amulet Bloom it's basically the equivalent of the opponent goldfishing while you occasionally throw a pebble at their head; sure, getting hit in the head with a pebble is obnoxious, but they can definitely just shrug it off. This is the main reason I get salty when playing Magic: being unable to legitimately interact in a game of Magic in any meaningful way. It's definitely my weakness.

Other than that, the deck seemed sweet. I really like both Bitterblossom and Fulminator Mage, and I keep waiting for a deck to truly break Bitterblossom. I'm not sure if it will ever happen, but on paper Bitterblossom seems too good not to be seeing any play. The card was banned for crying out loud! Kolaghan's Command is also amazing, but we don't have enough creatures to truly take advantage of it, so one seems fine.

The one Haunting Echoes in the maindeck is kind of odd and, while I can see what Matthew was going for with it, when we spend five mana in Modern, we usually want to win the game. I think this could be better as something else like another Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, but I'm not sure. All I know is that Gideon was fantastic every time we drew him. I could also see adding an Ajani Vengeant or two somewhere, as he goes pretty well with our land denial plan.

That's about it for today. I've created a public page on Facebook for all of my Magic content things, so be sure and give me a like. Friend requests are hard to keep up with and a lot of people just wanted to follow my Magic content rather than my personal posts. If you're looking to get updates on when I post a new video to YouTube, know when I have a new article, see when a new podcast goes live, or want to join in some cool discussions, be sure and give the page a "like."

I'll be back again on Thursday with some Standard action; there are so many sweet Standard decks I want to try out, that there doesn't actually seem to be enough time! Thanks for reading and I'll see ya soon!

Frank Lepore
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