Today we're taking a look at a deck that took 15th place in the most recent Magic Online Championship Series (MOCS). While it shares a lot of the similarities to its Standard counterpart Mardu Midrange - efficient removal, planeswalkers, and powerful creatures - the Modern version is packing some old school cards such as Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, Terminate, Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix, and our old friend Ajani Vengeant. If you want something reminiscent of Standard, we also have Chandra, Pyromaster and Mardu Charm for you...yes, Mardu Charm. In Modern.
Check it out.
Magic Online user aytor_92 took 15th place with the list, going 6-2 in the Magic Online Championship Series Finals. This is pretty impressive considering the competition for the event is going to be a little fiercer than most. The deck is also fairly unique and I haven't really seen anything like it in Modern. We've all seen BW Tokens, but this isn't exactly that. There are no anthems (Intangible Virtue, Honor of the Pure, etc.) nor anything like Raise the Alarm, Midnight Haunting, or Bitterblossom. In fact I was reluctant to call the deck tokens with our only token producers being Lingering Souls, Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, and Mardu Charm, but that's actually quite a bit. The issue for me is mostly that they all start at three mana.
In one of the videos I mention the fact that there were no Wear // Tear in the sideboard. Turns out the sideboard has two; we just didn't have them loaded into the deck because Magic Online doesn't know how to read "Wear // Tear" when loading cards from the text document you're able to download from the Wizards site itself, even though it has been formatted the same way for the past ten years. So we played all four rounds with a 13 card sideboard.
No matter I guess. Let's see how the deck does and how he went 6-2 with it.
Mardu Tokens vs. UR Pyromancer
Mardu Tokens vs. Scapeshift
Mardu Tokens vs. UR Pyromancer, Match 2
Mardu Tokens vs. RG Tron
As you can see, Young Pyromancers as far as the eye can see. That deck and the cards within are actually the reason why I put Modern Mondays on hold, but I kept seeing new decks doing well, so I had to get back on the horse. Despite Treasure Cruise and its ilk being pretty popular, we still managed to take them down in both matches we played against them, which is golden.
This deck was pretty sweet. It has a ton of answers, a ton of discard, a ton of threats, and a ton of planeswalkers. And most of those things act as two things from that list. Unfortunately I think the weakest card in the deck was the Mardu Charm. It's versatile, yes, but it usually costs one or two mana more than competing spells with the same effect. If I had to, I would probably cut one for a second Thoughtseize in the maindeck.
It's funny that one of the only threats we play doesn't come down until turn three at the earliest ( Lingering Souls), but we still manage to put a lot of pressure on our opponents. This is due mostly to lands, but cards like Gitaxian Probe also have a pretty large effect. A lot of decks actually start pretty at pretty low life totals.
Sometimes it felt like Sorin, Solemn Visitor might have been better than Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. This is mostly due to his +1/+0 and granting all creatures lifelink. Sometimes you just need a little boost and this is a great way to gain four life after making tokens with a Lingering Souls or a Mardu Charm. Sometimes you just don't have time to wait for a 1/1 lifelink to Deal Damage, or for the life gained from that damage to add up. The fact that Sorin, Solemn Visitor's vampires can also block Delver of Secrets is not of non-zero value either.
Batterskull is also a fantastic finisher. I wouldn't mind trying something like Baneslayer Angel. I could even see Blood Baron of Vizkopa being an awesome option, especially in Modern. How do you even kill that guy, now that I think about it? No Path to Exile, Slaughter Pact, Dismember, Doom Blade, Go for the Throat, Terminate, Lightning Helix, etc. I think this might be seriously worth a try, especially since he gets around things like Siege Rhino. How about Butcher of the Horde? How about Vampire Nighthawk or Fiendslayer Paladin in the three-drop slot? I think there are a lot of options that could be very strong in Modern right now, and life gain seems like a good place to be thanks to all the Delver and Burn decks.
Molten Rain and Slaughter Games out of the sideboard were MVP. There are so many relevant lands (Urza lands, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, Gavony Township) and single-card strategies (Scapeshift, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Birthing Pod, Splinter Twin) in the format and the incremental damage is definitely worth something with all the fetchlands and shocklands. Timely Reinforcements was also pretty epic. I've had a hard time getting one to resolve against the UR decks (it seems to be the one spell they're always able to counter), but when we do...whew. Good times.
That's about it for this week. This deck was definitely sweet, and I'm glad it's another option in the Modern format. I would probably make some tweaks to it before playing it again, but that's Modern: there are so many viable and powerful cards that I doubt it will ever be impossible to innovate. Thanks for reading and I'll catch ya Thursday!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV