I was able to catch some of the Open coverage this weekend and ended up watching my bro Gerard Fabiano dismantle players, round after round, all the way into the Finals with a pretty sweet looking Sultai deck...in Modern. This was pretty surprising to me since Sultai was not a popular wedge of colors in Modern, despite how some very powerful tools. More often than not Abzan and Jund were the three-color black and green combinations that were getting the attention.
I knew as soon as I saw the deck on Saturday that I wanted to try it out in Monday, as it was a deck that was full of interactive cards like creatures, and removal spells, and counters, and card advantage. I also think Abrupt Decay is practically the best card in the format, being able to kill infect creatures, Deceiver Exarch, Pestermite, Amulet of Vigor, Blood Moon, and basically anything else you can think of, so the fact that this deck had the Abrupt Decay colors was just great.
Gerard ended up winning the event with the list, defeating my other bro Seth Manfield in the finals so that made me even more eager to try it (Seth has been on a tear recently and I'm stoked for him). Mine and Gerard's tastes are usually pretty much on par with one another in so much as all we ever want to play is Sultai it seems. I liked a ton of his card choices for the list and actually couldn't wait to try it out. Let's see if that waiting paid off.
Sultai Control vs. Abzan Aristocrats
Sultai Control vs. BW Control
Sultai Control vs. UR Delver
Sultai Control vs. Dredgeflayer
I feel like every time I do Modern videos, I end up playing against a deck that I showcased a week or so prior. Of course I'm referring to the Abzan Aristocrats match there. It's actually kind of sweet.
How the mighty have fallen though. I'm referring, of course, to the UR Delver matchup. While we only saw Young Pyromancer and not Delver of Secrets, I feel like it's pretty safe to assume the Insectile Aberration himself was in there.
While I was reluctant about the inclusion of only three maindeck Abrupt Decay, I was pretty fond of the maindeck Golgari Charm which acts as a sort of fourth Abrupt Decay. It not only kills Splinter Twin, but it can also Negate the power of a Deceiver Exarch or outright kill a Pestermite, or a Young Pyromancer, or a Grim Lavamancer, or a Snapcaster Mage, or...you get the point. In additional it can also kill things like Banishing Light, Ghostly Prison, Rest in Peace, basically a ton of the things that you'd be killing with Abrupt Decay anyway, only it gives us the option to regenerate something like a Tarmogoyf or a Tasigur, the Golden Fang in a pinch.
Speaking of Tasigur...geez. Have I played with this guy in a video yet? Have I mentioned how good he is? Like, he's real good. The fact that you can cast him often by turn three is just ridiculous, and he's so hard to kill. You basically need a Dismember or a Path to Exile to deal with him, otherwise...sorry. He's a huge speedbump that rivals Tarmogoyf in terms of cost and efficiency.
One card I was thrilled to see make its triumphant return was Thragtusk. This is a card that has been showing up more and more in Modern and with good reason. It's just an incredibly powerful dude that gains us an incredibly relevant amount of life and has an incredibly relevant ability when it leaves play. All in all? Still incredibly powerful. While this was a surprisingly oppressive card when it was in Standard, the more five mana cards seeing play in Modern, the better as far as I'm concerned. It proves that we're actually getting to the late game, despite what decks like Amulet of Vigor, Splinter Twin, and Infect might have to say about it.
Jace, Architect of Thought is another card that I have been seeing show up in Modern midrange and control decks from time to time and, again, for good reason. His -1/-0 ability is actually very strong against a lot of strategies and drawing one or two cards of your choice is the best way to win the attrition war that Modern is so often about fighting.
One thing I heard about the deck was that it was basically a bunch of Sultai cards that Gerard "owned." That being the case, I'm not sure is Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver was a deliberate choice or just something he had available. And if it's the latter, I'm not sure if Ashiok is a better choice than something like Liliana of the Veil. Both are amazing against control decks, and Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver has definitely won his fair share of games. Liliana just seems...stronger to me in a general sense. Ashiok can potentially steal creatures, Liliana can kill them. I also like that Liliana's discard ability can help us play Tasigur for a little cheaper.
This deck ended up being right up my alley; the only problem I have with decks like this is that I get so wrapped up in my pet cards that I want to end up adding more (such as Cryptic Command) even when I know it probably isn't correct. Truth be told a lot of the numbers in the deck seem right, although I would be real tempted to try something like a Jace Beleren or a Garruk Relentless in a list like this. I wonder if they're decently positioned right now...
Anyway! That's all I have for this today, but make sure to catch me back here on Thursday for Standard and be sure to tune in for my daily stream on TwitchTV starting at 2 pm PST. It's been a blast so far, so don't miss it. Thanks for reading and I'll see ya there!
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