Modern is becoming harder and harder to find unique decklists for, but this is the 30th Modern Monday to be fair. There are still some out there and I assume Fate Reforged will Rejuvenate the format some, and at the very least I can update Takin' Turns with Temporal Trespass! So that should be sweet.
As for this week, though, I think we have a pretty sweet one. Check out the deck that Garrett Young used to make the Top 8 of a StarCity Modern Premier IQ with about a month ago.
I'll admit, I'm a sucker for Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Griselbrand in Modern, and I'm a bigger sucker for cheating them into play. Well, that's exactly what this deck is trying to do! Except instead of Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn, we're working with Gatecrash All-Star Borborygmos Enraged! Yeah, hover over that link if you need to see what he does.
Basically what we want to do is get one or both of those monsters into the graveyard, then use either Goryo's Vengeance to bring them back or cast a Necrotic Ooze to "steal" their abilities from beyond the grave. Well, maybe not beyond the grave; maybe just from the grave. Let's see if it works!
Necrotic Ooze Combo vs. Splinter Twin
Necrotic Ooze Combo vs. Abzan Midrange
Necrotic Ooze Combo vs. Scapeshift
Necrotic Ooze Combo vs. RG Tron
The main thing I kept thinking was that this deck is a cross between Tin Fists and Dredgevine. Both of those decks used cards like Faithless Looting to get big creatures into the graveyard in order to sneak them back into play on the cheap. While Tin Fists specifically used Griselbrand, Dredgevine was more interested in cards like Gravecrawler, Vengevine, and Bloodghast, but all three decks utilize the graveyard in very similar ways.
One thing I do wish we had was a way to get rid of opposing lands. One of the deck's weaknesses seemed to be things like Tron lands or Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. I mentioned in one of the videos that I wished the Cavern of Souls was a Tectonic Edge instead, and that was true. Cavern of Souls was never good for me; the only thing we could actually ever name with it pre-board was Ooze, and I'd almost rather have something like Boseiju, Who Shelters All in the maindeck as it allows us to resolve our Goryo's Vengeance, which I'm much more worried about getting countered.
From the matches I played, it seems like our worst matchups are burn variants and Tron. I imagine we could potentially outrace Tron, but Tron also tends to have Relic of Progenitus in the maindeck, and has no problem bringing it in out of the sideboard if they don't. The other problem is that none of our removal is actually good against them. Soul Spike deals four, Lightning Axe deals five, and that's about it. Abrupt Decay out of the sideboard doesn't really hit anything either. I guess we have Reclamation Sage to bring in, but that isn't great against Wurmcoil Engine and does nothing against Karn Liberated. So yeah, we could definitely use some better tools in that matchup, especially since I've seen a lot more Tron in recent days.
In case it wasn't abundantly obvious, the one thing the deck is very susceptible to is graveyard hate. Unlike Dredgevine we can't fill the board with cheap, aggressive creatures before they Remove our graveyard, and unlike Tin Fists, we can't simply hard cast our threats for five mana. Our graveyard is basically the life blood of the deck and our best way to beat graveyard hate is to simply bait out a card like Relic of Progenitus when we're holding more ways to fill the graveyard with the cards we need. That's basically it. As you can see though we were able to play through quite a few Relic of Progenitus.
If there were a couple cards I wasn't terribly impressed with, they were definitely Zombie Infestation and Jarad's Orders. I never wanted to spend four mana on Jarad's Orders and I never wanted to discard two cards to Zombie Infestation. In fact I can of several better options...
- Hidden Horror: Might be a great alternative. A 4/4 is pretty sizeable in Modern and it requires a discard of a creature which is exactly what we want to put into the graveyard. It's also a black card that we can pitch to Soul Spike if need be.
- Liliana of the Veil: A super solid discard outlet, but she also forces the opponent to discard and doubles as creature removal. Both of these seem like better options than the four mana Jarad's Orders and the resource intensive Zombie Infestation.
- Lotleth Troll: He gives us the discard outlet we're looking for (creatures only) along with the body we want from Zombie Infestation; and he's much more resilient and powerful than a generic 2/2 token.
- Pack Rat: This guy should simply be in the maindeck. The only problem is that this requires us untapping before we get the discard, and sometimes that might be the most valuable part. Either way, a super strong option that has been seeing more and more play in Modern.
- Tormenting Voice: Another strong option to compliment things like Grisly Salvage. This also lets us draw two deeper in order to find things like Goryo's Vengeance or Necrotic Ooze while also letting us put a Griselbrand into the graveyard.
My problem with Zombie Infestation is that it asks us to devote three cards to it before it does anything and the thing it does after that is not very impressive. Add to that the fact that we probably don't want to discard two good cards if we don't have the creatures that we're ideally trying to discard to it in hand and we have a pretty mediocre card. Meanwhile all the replacements I mentioned give us value without asking for anything (save for Hidden Horror, but that rate is much better), and if we do happen to have a creature we want to discard, well, then that's just gravy.
Either way, this deck was sweet, and any time I can draw 21 to 28 cards and win on the spot the turn I put Griselbrand into play is usually a good one. Thanks for reading, and make sure to catch my daily stream at http://www.twitch.tv/franklepore, Monday through Friday, starting at 2 pm PST! I'll be back on Thursday with some sweet Standard action with Fate Reforged, so don't miss that either. Thanks for reading and I'll see ya then!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV, streaming Monday-Friday, 2 pm PST