The idea of someone playing cards like Ball Lightning in Modern is pretty out there. The idea of someone also playing cards like Groundbreaker, which is nothing but the green Ball Lightning, is also pretty out there. The idea of someone playing both of these cards, along with cards like Hell's Thunder and Collected Company...it's out there, but now we're talking about something here!
I initially called this deck Collected Lightning, which reminded me a lot of "Bottled Lightning." But then I felt like it would be a huge misplay to not refer to this deck as Thunder and Lightning, what with Hell's Thunder and Ball Lightning in it. All in all that might not even make any sense without actually seeing the deck, so take a look...
What did I tell you? Ball Lightning! Groundbreaker! Hell's Thunder! Collected Company! What a time to be alive. Magic Online user Yota8 managed a 3-1 finish in a Daily Event with the list and, while that isn't a sweep, it's still pretty sweet to see a deck like this put up a winning record.
I was eager to see how he did it, so let's find out.(Videos arranged in a playlist within the player.)
The deck definitely has some flaws, but let's not kid ourselves: we aren't playing it because it's the picture of perfection. We're playing it because it looks like an absolute blast and it lets us relive our Magical youth with cards like Ball Lightning!
One card I wasn't actually thrilled about in the deck was the Eternal Witness. I imagine it's there to get back cards like Groundbreaker and Ball Lightning after they've gone to the graveyard, but it always felt very slow. Maybe it was simply the decks I faced (pretty fast ones) or the fact that I never drew the Witness at an ideal time, but I never felt like I wanted to waste a turn playing the 2/1 when I could instead be dealing them four to seven damage depending on cards available and the number of Noble Hierarchs in play.
I guess the one thing Eternal Witness has going for it is that it can be hit off of Collected Company and then return the Collected Company, which is big game, but I'm not sure how often that is going to come up. There were too many times where I had to choose between just casting an Eternal Witness and not putting any pressure on the opponent, or playing a creature and attacking for six or more to put them within lethal next turn. I would almost always go for the latter.
One card I was not only surprised by but impressed with was Primal Forcemage. (For some reason I kept confusing this card with Force of Savagery. Not the same at all.) Primal Forcemage is actually incredible. I initially thought he gave himself the bonus when another creature came into play, then I realized he gave it to other creatures, but I thought his bonus was +2/+2. His value went through the roof when I actually figured out what he did and my Ball Lightnings ended up attacking for nine. Nevertheless, aside from Eternal Witness, he ended up being my first cut when I needed to bring in things like Magus of the Moon or Kitchen Finks. He was basically the Wild Defiance of the deck where his effect was great, but he didn't do a lot on his own.
I was weary of the eight one mana accelerants, but this deck has a lot of three-drops. In fact it might even be too many, but most of them are incredibly vital to our plan. Maybe we could cut the Eternal Witnesses for a set of Thunderblust? Or how about Timbermare? Being able to tap all other creatures is huge, especially since we're unlikely to have any other non-mana creatures in play. They're also both elementals, so they play well with Cavern of Souls. I would also consider Blitz Hellion. Unfortunately none of these creatures can be found off of a Collected Company, unlike Eternal Witness, so that's a factor we would need to make sure we're okay with.
The Spellskites might seem like an odd choice, but they can also be hit off of Collected Company and, against certain cards like Electrolyze or god Forbid an Izzet Staticaster, it's amazing at making sure every 0/1 and 6/1 in the deck doesn't simply die on the spot. It also does a tremendous amount of work in certain matchups like Bogles and Infect.
The Loam Pox match up was pretty rough once our opponent had Darkblast and Golgari Brownscale online, but I was glad the match was so close actually. I think if we drew a bit differently we could have easily won that match, especially if we hit a Scavenging Ooze or a Destructive Revelry a little earlier. I felt the same way about the Bogles matchup as well, which is a good feeling to have about a deck. In fact I'm not sure if we would have just won if we attacked for lethal into his first striker. He either had an answer or he didn't, and I could very well have been playing too conservatively. Oh well.
As usual, I'll be back again on Thursday with some Standard, and be sure to check back tomorrow (June 30th) for our exclusive Magic Origins preview card! In the meantime, you can 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 soon!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTVFreshly Brewed Podcast with Ali Aintrazi (also available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio)