Last week, Atsushi Ito, better known as _matsugan, shook the Modern World with his "Eternal Devote" deck (otherwise known as Turbo Vizier).
While many of you may be unfamiliar with this deck, it's not actually new. _matsugan has been working on it and advocating for it for months. After racking up good results with the deck, he finally had his Breakthrough by winning the Modern Challenge on Magic Online last week.
The deck revolves around a two-card combo, Devoted Druid and Vizier of Remedies, that allows you to have infinite mana: Devoted Druid asks you to put a -1/-1 counter to untap, but Vizier of Remedies won't let you, so it untaps for free. With an infinite amount of mana, you can cast an abnormally large Walking Ballista and shoot your opponent for way too much damage.
You found that combo in Collected Company decks, however this deck aggressively tries to combo out as early as possible – that's the "Turbo" of "Turbo Vizier" with as many tutor/dig effects Modern can provide. The biggest difference is that Eternal Devote can win in one turn thanks to Hall of the Bandit Lord, which gives Devoted Druid haste and therefore can go off on the same turn you cast it.
4 Devoted Druid
4 Vizier of Remedies
2 Walking Ballista
As explained above, the combo produces infinite mana, which you use to cast Walking Ballista and then proceed to sideboard or sign the slips.
4 Adventurous Impulse
4 Ancient Stirrings
2 Commune with Nature
4 Summoner's Pact
4 Traverse the Ulvenwald
That's 18 tutor/dig effects, but they won't all find the card you want. Adventurous Impulse is the newest addition to the deck. It will dig through the next three cards to find either one of your combo pieces, including a Hall of the Bandit Lord, or a much-needed second land.
Ancient Stirring lets you look for a land (including a Hall), a Walking Ballista or a cantrip artifact (Mishra's Bauble or Conjurer's Bauble). The artifacts help you get delirium to enable the tutor effect from Traverse the Ulvenwald. Once delirium is enabled, Traverse the Ulvenwald is the only card that will efficiently tutor Vizier of Remedies.
Commune with Nature is the other way to dig and look for a Vizier. It goes a little deeper than Adventurous Impulse but won't get you a land. Summoner's Pact's prime goal is to find a Devoted Druid. Once you have infinite mana, it will also find a Duskwatch Recruiter to spend your mana into to look for a Walking Ballista. The hidden mode of the green Pact is to turn a green mana into a white mana by fetching a Wild Cantor and allowing you to win on turn two. Cast a Devoted Druid with Hall of the Bandit Lord, add GG, Pact for Wild Cantor, turn G into W, cast Vizier….
Needless to say, you don't ever want to pay for your Pacts as you plan to win before your next turn.
1 Deadshot Minotaur
4 Street Wraith
1 Wild Cantor
1 Postmortem Lunge
4 Pact of Negation
1 Conjurer's Bauble
4 Mishra's Bauble
1 Duskwatch Recruiter
In a normal world, Deadshot Minotaur is a target to Summoner's Pact if you're desperate to find a Vizier and go all-in for it. But here, _matsugan went really deep to find an extra use to it: let's say your opponent has killed or discarded all your win conditions. You still have Conjurer's Bauble to bring one back into your deck but it would at least take another turn to draw it. Thanks to Duskwatch Recruiter, you can find all your cycling creatures, given that you have infinite mana, stack your deck (which takes a very long time on Magic Online), put the Conjurer's Bauble on top, cycle, play it and put a Ballista back in your deck, look for it with Recruiter, cast it and win. The cycling creatures also are an easy way to put a creature in your graveyard for delirium purposes.
Pact of Negation plays an important role against removal-heavy decks. A single Lightning Bolt or Fatal Push is enough to ruin your day and since you're going off early in the game, it's unlikely they have more than one way to interact with you. Pact of Negation backs up your combo on your turn, and since you're never passing it, you'll never have to pay, though there are very rare configurations where you can counter on your opponent's turn, and pay with Manamorphose on your upkeep.
A card that you'll probably have to read again since you only last picked it in New Phyrexia is Postmortem Lunge. It's a reanimator spell that lets you bring a Devoted Druid back from the graveyard, with haste, meaning that if you have a Vizier in play you get to go off without having to use a Hall of the Bandit Lord. The most common use is to first play your Druid off a Hall, give it haste, play a Vizier just to have your Druid bolted on the same turn. If you have two extra mana, pay two life and bring your Druid back and move along.
4 Hall of the Bandit Lord
2 Horizon Canopy
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Temple Garden
2 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wooded Foothills
Fourteen lands isn't a lot, but you only need two to win, and along with free cyclers, you should be good. Fetch lands are extremely important as they give you that extra card type in the graveyard for delirium. The deck is fun to play and is regularly winning on turn three, sometimes on turn two. However, it's quite easy to disrupt and you can't really play the long game as you don't have enough lands to threaten to play your combo more than once a turn. The only thing you can do is wait for a Pact of Negation or two before going off. The problem is that none of your tutor or dig effects get them.
There are a lot of very intricate synergies between each card of the deck – it took me a while to understand them all and I'm pretty sure I'm missing some of them. The sequencing is super tricky. I found myself sequencing the cantrips wrong a couple of times (including in the videos), and it's crucial to do it right to give you the most chances to find the right cards at the right time.
I'll give you an example. You have a Mishra's Bauble, a Street Wraith, a fetch land and an Adventurous Impulse. Depending on which card you are looking for, the sequencing will be different. Mishra's Bauble is much better than a random cycler as it gives you the option to "scry away" your top card with a fetch land – or to keep it on top if it's one of the cards you're looking for – which you then draw with Street Wraith and then play your Impulse so you can find another card you want). I told you. Tricky.
Some matchups seem completely unwinnable. Any kind of Hatebear deck like Death and Taxes or even Humans is a nightmare. All their creatures are a problem: Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Leonin Arbiter, Meddling Mage, anything that keeps you from fetching or playing your spells. Jund and decks with Lightning Bolt, Fatal Push and hand disruption only have to pass the turn with lands untapped to make you take risks that will usually not pay off (remember, they #alwayshaveit).
Like many "all-in" decks, Turbo Vizier has very limited wiggle room when it comes to sideboarding. You can back your combo with some Path to Exile to deal with the aforementioned creatures, but the more interaction you board in, the less efficient your combo will be.
The deck has one more problem: it requires a lot of life to work. Street Wraith costs two life to cycle, you're almost all the time fetching for an untapped Temple Garden and Hall of the Bandit Lord costs three life to activate. That means that against a deck with a fast clock, you can't afford to not win on turn three, which can be tough against Affinity or any kind of Zoo deck that will burn you out or have a few ways to interact with your creatures. You basically give them a turn on their clock, so sure, you can win on turn three, but if you fizzle they kill you on turn three.
_matsugan had a transformation plan with Mystic Enforcer, but I fail to see any matchup where you want to bring them in. It's too slow and too vulnerable, even as a 6/6 pro-black flyer. The only matchup I could see it being useful would be against Death Shadow, but even then they'd need to go down to six life and not be aware of your strategy, which is unlikely since they play a ton of hand disruption, just so you can catch them off-guard with a hasty Enforcer. Unfortunately, they also run Lightning Bolt and Nihil Spellbomb, so you won't always have threshold and they can kill it with one red mana. I'd say it's a lot of sideboard slots for a tech that is far from being fullproof.
I played a lot of matches with this deck, and while it can be powerful, it feels that it falls short a little too often. I don't have the expertise Atsushi Ito has with it, and I don't want to mess with his piece of art (you wouldn't draw over a Da Vinci painting, would you?), so I don't know exactly how I would improve the deck. The one thing I'd probably cut is the Conjurer's Bauble from the main deck as well as the Deadshot Minotaur, which felt a little underwhelming, for more Manamorphose, which proved very helpful.