A Modern article? On a Thursday?! What sorcery is this?!
It's a Modern miracle!
Well, the thing is, the Magic Online Fate Reforged Prereleases don't actually start until Friday, which is the earliest that the cards will be in the system. So as with every new set release, there's this brief period of "what do I do for an article?" when Standard is brand new, but I'm unable to play the format due to the (ever-shrinking) window of unavailability on Magic Online. Luckily Melissa messaged me while she was at work and sent me a pretty sweet Modern deck that she thought I would be interested in. She was quite correct!
The funny thing is, after entering the decklist, I realized that about two months ago I entered a similar Ghostway decklist, from the same creator, and I have no idea why! I clearly wanted to pilot this list at some point, and I don't even remember it. It's rare that I enter the 3-1 decks from Daily Events if I'm not playing them for an article, so for this one to be present, it must have caught my attention. (Actually, thinking back on it, I bet Adam Yurchick wrote about the deck in of his "Anything Goes" Modern articles, and that was when I entered the deck!)
Either way, I've been a fan of the card Ghostway for a long time. I've loved its ability to blink your entire team in response to something like a sweeper or to retrigger all of your team's enters-the-battlefield abilities. These are both very powerful abillties. One of the more subtle plays is also activating an ability that would exile or destroy one or some of your creatures, then casting Ghostway while the ability is on the stack. (Note that this only works when the ability doesn't include destroying or exiling as part of the cost, only when it is part of the ability.) Specifically this is great with creatures like Magus of the Disk and Mangara of Corondor.
But enough about my love for Ghostway. Let's make with some games!
Ghostway vs. Slivers
Ghostway vs. RG Tron
Ghostway vs. Abzan Midrange
Ghostway vs. Splinter Twin
Despite our 50/50 record, I was actually very impressed with the deck and I think it shows a lot of potential. I think with a little tweaking (or if we happened to draw a little better; or if I were more familiar with the deck) we could have caught a few more wins.
These matches were played after the bannings of Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time, and Birthing Pod were in effect, which is great because it means we won't have to deal with cards that aren't actually "legal" in the format. Meanwhile, Chord of Calling is a great replacement for the effect of Birthing Pod and the deck makes great use of it. Magic Online user Miso's previous version of the deck didn't actually have Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker in it, so it was impossible to combo out in that fashion. What it did have, however, was a copy of Spike Feeder and Archangel of Thune, so you could gain infinite life and make your team huge.
This is an incredibly powerful combo and with the inclusion of Chord of Calling, I would actually consider keeping it in the deck. One thing that Miso's original list didn't include was four Elvish Visionary. It only included the four Wall of Omens as its two mana cantrip. While I'm not sold on eight two mana cantrips, they do have a certain synergy with Chord of Calling. His original list also included four Engineered Explosives, which might have been overkill. The original version also had four Chord of Calling while the more recent list only contains three. I think all of these numbers are relevant, as they go to show that we can bulk up on the more key cards in our deck, as well as cutting a lot of the "floating" cards, or cards that only fill specific roles.
Cards like Reveillark I wasn't that impressed with, and I don't think a card like Loxodon Hierarch is actually that much better than Obstinate Baloth. I feel like we're far more likely to play against a card like Liliana of the Veil than we are to have our board swept by a card that we can actually regenerate from (i.e. not Damnation or Wrath of God) and use the Hierarch's second ability. A card I was actually looking forward to seeing in the deck was Thragtusk. With the combination of four Restoration Angel and three Ghostway in the maindeck, this deck was practically built for the beast.
I'm actually looking forward to playing this deck more in the new Modern format, as I think with Birthing Pod out of the way, a deck like this could really shine. We still have a toolbox aspect, as well as a way to retrigger all of our creature abilities, which could be huge. We even have a way to enable a combo win with the deck, and we can even include a second that we know about. Who knows if there is a convenient third waiting out there somewhere. Maybe a one-of Heliod's Pilgrim along with a one-of Splinter Twin to slap on a one-of Village Bell-Ringer! While I'm not entirely sold on that, it should give you an idea of how limitless the possibilities are.
Next week we should have some Fate Reforged cards to play with and I for one am stoked! Hopefully I'll see you then, and if that isn't enough, be sure and catch my daily stream at http://www.twitch.tv/franklepore, Monday through Friday, starting at 2 pm PST! Thanks for reading and I'll see ya then!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV, streaming Monday-Friday, 2 pm-6:30 pm PST