This deck may seem new to a lot of players. The bigger Zoo decks featuring cards like Loxodon Smiter and Knight of the Reliquary are being replaced by faster and leaner versions of Zoo. This is one of the most explosive decks in the format without being an actual combo deck. Sure Burning-Tree Emissary and Reckless Bushwhacker is a very powerful two-card combination, but this deck can win in a variety of ways. Whenever the opponent has even the slightest stumble the Naya Zoo deck is going to capitalize. This is my current list:


Here is a deck that is not only powerful but also pretty easy to play. There won't be many decisions during the game, as a lot of times you are just playing creatures on-curve and there is nothing the opponent can do to stop from getting Overrun. Other times, games get drawn-out, but Zoo can win those games too. This is a deck the pros can pick up as well as relative newcomers to Magic.

I wasn't surprised to win all my matches this week.

There are going to be a lot of close matchups in Modern, but that doesn't mean that a small advantage is irrelevant. Playing Naya Zoo I almost always feel I am the favorite no matter what the matchup is. This may sound a bit irrational but it is the truth. This could be due to opponent's mistakes but most of the times the games come down to how good the opening hands are. The issue with playing a deck like this is there isn't much to do with excess mana when flooding out.

I have found the Black/Green midrange matchups to be close. Game one versus that deck the closest decision on our side was whether we wanted to let our opponents' Dark Confidant die or try to kill them with it. That was a tough call but even though the game went long we put ourselves in a position to be able to win, and if we had topdecked better right at the end we would have won that game. The nice thing about the matchup is how comically bad their discard spells become after the first couple turns of the game. Devastating Summons is great here.

Playing against the Humans deck was a treat. While Collected Company wasn't a card our opponent actually cast I have to imagine it was in their deck. That Mantis Rider really was a surprise when it came down to steal the second game. The matchup versus Dredge wasn't all that exciting. Sometimes you do need to draw Grafdigger's Cage to win the matchup, but we didn't have to here. Once they are able to flashback a Conflagrate the game can turn very quickly. I still can't believe we won game one after having three creatures die to Vengeful Pharaoh.

Zoo may be a little under the radar because of the presence of Suicide Zoo and Burn, but the deck is really good. In fact aggressive decks in general are in a great position in Modern. There are so many strategies that just aren't fast enough to keep up with them.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield