Modern has been pretty stable, even stale, for months—but that's changing with Kaldheim. Already released on Magic Online, it started breaking Modern immediately by spawning one of the most extreme and ingenious Magic decks ever created.

It's all because of Tibalt's Trickery.

Once upon a time, Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded was more likely to show up in a punchline than in a decklist. Now he's the one laughing.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Tibalt's Trickery by Sodeq

'Tibalt's Trickery' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Sodeq

Event:

Rank:

Modern

Market Price: $1525.58

Cards

Ketria Triome

Color Identity:G,R,U

Market Price: $10.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212697_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}, {U}, or {R}.)
Ketria Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Violent Outburst

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $0.72

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/31833_200w.jpg

Cascade (When you cast this spell, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile a nonland card that costs less. You may cast it without paying its mana cost. Put the exiled cards on the bottom of your library in a random order.)
Creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.

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Summoner's Pact

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $10.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/234026_200w.jpg

Search your library for a green creature card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
At the beginning of your next upkeep, pay {2}{G}{G}. If you don't, you lose the game.

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Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $13.90

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206936_200w.jpg

You may play an additional land on each of your turns.
Lands you control are every basic land type in addition to their other types.

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Zagoth Triome

Color Identity:B,G,U

Market Price: $12.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212691_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}, {G}, or {U}.)
Zagoth Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Tibalt's Trickery

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230206_200w.jpg

Counter target spell. Choose 1, 2, or 3 at random. Its controller mills that many cards, then exiles cards from the top of their library until they exile a nonland card with a different name than that spell. They may cast that card without paying its mana cost. Then they put the exiled cards on the bottom of their library in a random order.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/tibalts-trickery

Misty Rainforest

Market Price: $64.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128281_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Misty Rainforest: Search your library for a Forest or Island card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Breeding Pool

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $19.64

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182842_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G} or {U}.)
As Breeding Pool enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Polluted Delta

Market Price: $28.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92829_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Polluted Delta: Search your library for an Island or Swamp card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/khans-of-tarkir/polluted-delta

Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230468_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Vesuva

Market Price: $30.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/234219_200w.jpg

You may have Vesuva enter the battlefield tapped as a copy of any land on the battlefield.

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Wooded Foothills

Market Price: $24.90

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92831_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Wooded Foothills: Search your library for a Mountain or Forest card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Explore

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227337_200w.jpg

You may play an additional land this turn.
Draw a card.

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Field of the Dead

Market Price: $17.71

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192562_200w.jpg

Field of the Dead enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {C}.
Whenever Field of the Dead or another land enters the battlefield under your control, if you control seven or more lands with different names, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.

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Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Market Price: $27.81

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/179448_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
When you cast this spell, take an extra turn after this one.
Flying, protection from spells that are one or more colors, annihilator 6
When Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is put into a graveyard from anywhere, its owner shuffles their graveyard into their library.

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Snow-Covered Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230146_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Khalni Garden

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171229_200w.jpg

Khalni Garden enters the battlefield tapped.
When Khalni Garden enters the battlefield, create a 0/1 green Plant creature token.
{T}: Add {G}.

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Mystic Sanctuary

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199417_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)
Mystic Sanctuary enters the battlefield tapped unless you control three or more other Islands.
When Mystic Sanctuary enters the battlefield untapped, you may put target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard on top of your library.

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Flooded Strand

Market Price: $21.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92828_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Flooded Strand: Search your library for a Plains or Island card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Blast Zone

Market Price: $2.97

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188636_200w.jpg

Blast Zone enters the battlefield with a charge counter on it.
{T}: Add {C}.
{X}{X}, {T}: Put X charge counters on Blast Zone.
{3}, {T}, Sacrifice Blast Zone: Destroy each nonland permanent with converted mana cost equal to the number of charge counters on Blast Zone.

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Primeval Titan

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $8.86

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145289_200w.jpg

Trample
Whenever Primeval Titan enters the battlefield or attacks, you may search your library for up to two land cards, put them onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.

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Scalding Tarn

Market Price: $56.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128282_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Scalding Tarn: Search your library for an Island or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Steam Vents

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $9.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175202_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {R}.)
As Steam Vents enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Cavern of Souls

Market Price: $56.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/179480_200w.jpg

As Cavern of Souls enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.
{T}: Add {C}.
{T}: Add one mana of any color. Spend this mana only to cast a creature spell of the chosen type, and that spell can't be countered.

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Castle Garenbrig

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $4.90

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199288_200w.jpg

Castle Garenbrig enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Forest.
{T}: Add {G}.
{2}{G}{G}, {T}: Add six {G}. Spend this mana only to cast creature spells or activate abilities of creatures.

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Gemstone Caverns

Market Price: $38.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/234032_200w.jpg

If Gemstone Caverns is in your opening hand and you're not playing first, you may begin the game with Gemstone Caverns on the battlefield with a luck counter on it. If you do, exile a card from your hand.
{T}: Add {C}. If Gemstone Caverns has a luck counter on it, instead add one mana of any color.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230465_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/island

Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $15.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/33464_200w.jpg

Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle enters the battlefield tapped.
Whenever a Mountain enters the battlefield under your control, if you control at least five other Mountains, you may have Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle deal 3 damage to any target.
{T}: Add {R}.

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How Does It Work?

The idea is to use Tibalt's Trickery not as a funky counterspell, but as a tool to turn against your own spell to trade it up for something better—like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, the biggest and baddest card in Magic. Actually controlling what Tibalt's Trickery flips into is easier said than done under normal circumstances, but it happens to be simple with cascade spells like Violent Outburst.

Cascade from Violent Outburst digs into a single Tibalt's Trickery as the only hit in the deck, and Trickery will then counter the Violent Outburst that's still sitting on the stack waiting to resolve. At that point the only spells left in the deck are other copies of Violent Outburst (which are passed up for sharing the same name) and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, which Trickery will cast.

Unlike other common methods for sneaking Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play, Tibalt's Trickery actually casts it, triggering Emrakul's extra turn ability. That ensures Emrakul can attack and annihilate the opponent's board and life total, setting you up to win the game easily on the following turn.

That equates to a turn-three kill, and with what's essentially a one-card combo. That sort of speed and consistency is hard to come by, and it makes this strategy a legitimate threat in Modern. It's also incredibly simple to play, so it will be easy to unlock the power of the deck.

How Do I Win With the Deck?

The entire deck is built to do just one thing. All you need to do is mulligan until you find Violent Outburst and cast it ASAP. If through bad luck you actually draw Tibalt's Trickery, your only choice is to hard-cast it on Violent Outburst, so you have to wait a couple extra turns before you combo off.

All of the "play" to the deck is in its lands, which don't interfere with Tibalt's Trickery and allow for a huge variety of potential options. Gemstone Caverns adds the potential to be even faster with a turn-two Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, so it's an enormous asset for the deck. So is Mystic Sanctuary, which can recur Violent Outburst or Tibalt's Trickery when they run into discard or countermagic. Blast Zone adds a bit of removal, whether it's against creatures or hosers interfering with the combo.

Because the deck plays over 50 lands, Field of the Dead adds a very powerful backup plan that will inevitably produce many tokens. This certainly is very slow and won't beat many opponents, but it's the perfect tool against control decks that might be great at stopping the main combo but are poor at actually winning the game quickly.

How Does the Deck Lose?

Unfortunately, this deck's speed and power does come with fragility, and it folds easily to disruption. Mystic Sanctuary can beat discard by recurring Violent Outburst, but opponents can hold countermagic for Tibalt's Trickery itself, which means you'll have to recur it and find another Violent Outburst to target. Effects like Deafening Silence or Ethersworn Canonist shut things down completely.

The best way to fight back is simply speed, and comboing off as early as turn two may beat the opponent before they can even cast their disruption. Otherwise, the deck can turn to its sideboard.

How Do I Sideboard?

Normally this deck can't sideboard any spells without interfering with its combo, so besides just sideboarding utility lands, the only real option is to swap into a whole new strategy altogether. Luckily, the Field of the Dead land plan in the maindeck forms a great backbone for a transformational sideboard plan against opponents who have too much disruption, especially countermagic.

Primeval Titan acts as a perfect sideboard pivot. With Summoner's Pact, it can be found reliably. Explore accelerates it. So does Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, which also unlocks Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle as an alternate win condition. Copies of Castle Garenbrig (already in the maindeck) help accelerate Primeval Titan into play, while Cavern of Souls pushes it through countermagic.

The post-sideboard deck won't be quite as good as a normal Primeval Titan deck, but with 15 cards to bring in and the maindeck already set up to support it, it does a surprisingly fine impression.

You'll want to transform most often against countermagic. Cut all nine combo pieces, four Gemstone Caverns, and some combination of Blast Zone, Mystic Sanctuary, and Khalni Garden depending on what utility you may need in the matchup. Then bring in all 15 sideboard cards.

What Does Tibalt's Trickery Mean for Modern?

The Tibalt's Trickery strategy is certainly gimmicky, but it's also very powerful. Violent Outburst used to be used to cast Living End as one of the top decks in Modern before fading away as the metagame moved on. This is the sort of upgrade that could bring cascade back into the picture, because Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is a lot better than a few random cycling creatures, and requires no setup.

The deck does suffer from disruption, but the option to transform from the sideboard will keep opponents honest. This deck is also still very early in development, and will only improve as players further tune the deck and discover new secrets and strategies for making the most of Tibalt's Trickery.