With Oath of the Gatewatch spoilers in full swing, there are two new decks I'd like to talk about for Modern that are getting a huge boost from the new set! The first is a Black Eldrazi deck that uses Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple to power out all the sweet new Eldrazi creatures in Oath of the Gatewatch. The other is an equipment deck based around Puresteel Paladin and his new best friend, Stone Haven Outfitter! If you're looking for a new deck to play in Modern that showcases the newest toys of the format, I have exactly what you're looking for today!
This deck has a lot of disruption. Six one-mana discard spells let you sculpt a game plan around whatever the opponent is doing while setting them back by taking their best card. We also have four Thought-Knot Seers as further disruption to the opponent's hand.
In addition to the ten discard spells, we also have a pair of removal spells. I chose Dismember and Slaughter Pact because both are good against Twin. We also have four copies of Relic of Progenitus as graveyard hate against Snapcaster Mage, Living End, Storm, Goryo's Vengeance, and Tarmogoyf, but the real reason we are running them is to fuel Wasteland Strangler and Blight Herder.
Our early drop is Eldrazi Mimic. We can play it on the first turn off Eldrazi Temple or Eye of Ugin. In fact, we can play all our Eldrazi Mimics on the first turn off Eye of Ugin! On the second turn, if we have a black mana, we can cast Wasteland Strangler. If our lands are Eye of Ugin and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, then we can play Relic of Progenitus first, exile their fetchland or the card we had them discard on the first turn (off Urborg + discard spell), and cast Wasteland Strangler killing their first turn creature. We can actually play two copies of Wasteland Strangler if we wanted to!
Or if they haven't played a creature yet, we can cast Thought-Knot Seer on the second turn off Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple, taking their best card, and turning all our Eldrazi Mimics into 4/4 attackers.
The following turn we can play Reality Smasher, making all our Eldrazi Mimics into 5/5 attackers and attacking with everyone, including the hasty smasher himself!
Or if we don't have a smasher but we have a second Eldrazi Temple we can cast Oblivion Sower on the third turn, exiling cards from the opponent's library and putting any lands among them onto the battlefield under our control!
We usually want all the lands that we see off Oblivion Sower, but if we haven't yet found any other way to exile cards, we might only take two of the revealed lands and leave the other two cards in exile so that we can process our Blight Herder next turn and make three Eldrazi Scion tokens.
Cavern of Souls, Ghost Quarter, Eldrazi Temple, and the Eldrazi Scion tokens produced by Blight Herder are our 12 ways to produce colorless mana to cast Thought-Knot Seer, Reality Smasher, and Kozilek, the Great Distortion. I chose Ghost Quarter over Mutavault because I think it's more important to interact with opposing lands and also because it is a way to get black mana if we draw too many Eye of Ugins and no black sources, but it's possible that Mutavault is the better option. I chose the singleton Cavern of Souls to make our Eldrazi uncounterable because that seems worthwhile. Bojuka Bog was chosen as a black source that can also exile cards for Blight Herder and Wasteland Strangler.
This brings us to the most exciting part of the deck – casting Ulamog and Kozilek!
The two ten-mana Eldrazi were chosen as top end creatures we can find with Eye of Ugin later in the game when we're flooding. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger can get us back into a game when we're behind on tempo by exiling the opponent's two most important permanents while also giving us an indestructible 10/10. Kozilek, the Great Distortion can win us a game when we're instead behind on cards and just want to draw 7.
The deck can come out of the gates turbo style, threatening lethal by the third turn with a heavy Eldrazi Mimic draw. Or it can play the midrange disruptive role by tearing apart the opponent's hand with its ten discard spells, killing the opposing creatures with Wasteland Strangler, and beating down with giant undercosted monsters. Or it can play the role of a ramp deck that casts Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger as early as the fourth turn!
In the sideboard we have Duress for burn and control decks. We have All Is Dust (which is cheaper with Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple) to clear opposing boards. It's possible those should be main deck over the Slaughter Pact and Dismember, but for now I'll leave them where they are at. We also have Disfigure for aggro creature decks and creature combo decks. Flaying Tendrils will clean up against Affinity while also exiling everything, which works especially well against Coco Chord decks. Spellskite is good against Infect, Burn, and Twin and can be searched out with Eye of Ugin. Dismember is great vs. Twin, Infect, Tarmogoyf, and Merfolk. Ruin Processor comes in against Burn and any other deck where our life total is very important. Finally, Surgical Extraction gives us even more protection against graveyard strategies (in addition to our two maindeck Bojuka Bogs and four Relic of Progenitus), but really it serves a pair of even more important purposes:.
First off, in conjunction with Ghost Quarter, it can permanently take an opponent off Urza Tron or off Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle (or sometimes Inkmoth Nexus). Also, in conjunction with Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek, it can permanently take an opponent off an important combo piece such as Splinter Twin, Scapeshift, or Living End. And this effect is especially useful in this deck because exiling multiple cards sets up all our processing for the rest of the game. Just be careful. If you have the game essentially won by removing their combo altogether, don't give it back to them by putting it in the graveyard and then losing to Snapcaster Mage or Eternal Witness getting it back!
Some other cards I considered for the 75:
Go for the Throat
Liliana of the Veil
Memoricide is similar to Surgical Extraction, but I went with the cheaper card because we can use it as a tempo play that quickly turns on our processing for no mana investment. Go for the Throat is another removal spell that almost made the cut that could give us more help against Twin. Liliana of the Veil could be another reasonable removal spell that is also good against slower decks, but I'm not sure where to make space for it. Nihil Spellbomb is another card to consider, but I went with Relic of Progenitus and Bojuka Bog instead. Expedition Map is in most Black Eldrazi lists but I chose to instead run the full four copies of each legendary land because the Eldrazi creatures are aggressive enough now such that we will win a lot of games off tempo. The map will only serve to slow us down and we ain't got time for that!
The second deck I would like to share with you is a brew that Caleb Durward and I worked on this week based around the new card Stone Haven Outfitter and an old favorite - Puresteel Paladin!
The basic idea of the deck is to play out a bunch of equipment spells, draw cards, play more equipment, and eventually grind out the opponent with dudes wielding more weapons than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The key component of the deck that didn't exist until Oath of the Gatewatch is Stone Haven Outfitter. The Outfitter allows us to draw cards each time one of our equipped creatures dies. This is especially potent in conjunction with our living weapons since it turns them into a real two-for-one. Puresteel Paladin likewise turns our equipment spells into card advantage right off the bat. He also lets us equip and re-equip for free once we have metalcraft, which is not hard for this deck.
A typical interaction with this deck would be to play Puresteel Paladin and immediately play Accorder's Shield or Flayer Husk, drawing a card. Then next turn play Stone Haven Outfitter and Mortarpod (off Springleaf Drum or Mox Opal). Draw a card from Puresteel Paladin off Mortarpod entering the battlefield. Then sacrifice the Germ Token equipped with Mortarpod to kill the opponent's creature and draw a card from Stone Haven Outfitter. Then equip the Mortarpod for free to the Germ Token equipped with Flayer Husk because you have metalcraft with Puresteel Paladin. Then you can sacrifice that Germ Token to kill another creature or to finish of the first one if it had two toughness – and draw another card off Stone Haven Outfitter!
All these extra cards will likely find you more equipment. The swords will really start to get things rolling, drawing even more cards. Then if you draw Trinket Mage you can use it to find Basilisk Collar (or just draw the Basilisk Collar naturally). In conjunction with Mortarpod, Basilisk Collar will turn all your creatures into deadly suicidal killing machines, combining deathtouch with the one damage when sacrificed via Mortarpod.
Thopter Foundry is a late game way to turn a bunch of excess living weapons, Mox Opals, and Springleaf Drums into flying Thopter Tokens that can hold equipment. Etched Champion and Vendilion Clique can evade while holding equipment, as can Inkmoth Nexus, which can act as an alternate win condition against Soul Sisters, Melira combo, or any other deck that makes racing with regular damage not a viable strategy.
Serum Visions smooths out the draws while Path to Exile and Dispatch provide additional protection against bigger creatures. Mox Opal and Springleaf Drum smooth out the mana.
Out of the sideboard we get Sylvok Lifestaff as a way to gain life against Burn decks, though Caleb prefers Kor Firewalker. We also have extra dispatches against Twin and any other creature deck that gives us enough time to set up metalcraft before needing to exile their creature. Leonin Relic-Warder is mostly for Stony Silence but can come in against anyone running artifacts or enchantments. Swan Song is a way to break up opposing combo decks or to stop cards like Blood Moon or Shatterstorm. I prefer it over Negate because we can counter our own spell if we just want a creature and also because we only have to keep one mana up for it, but Caleb prefers Negate. Spellskite comes in against Burn, Infect, and Twin. Vendilion Clique and Meddling Mage, in addition to Swan Song, are our tools for combating a lot of combo decks that rely on resolving a single spell such as Living End.
The Black Eldrazi deck has some room for variation, but for the most part its game plan is pretty clear and is playing all the cards that are clearly best in that deck. Only a few other cards are worth considering. This Puresteel Paladin deck, on the other hand, has tons of room for variation.
Considerations in the 75:
Hero of Bladehold
Return to the Ranks
Glimmervoid is risky because we don't have as many cheap artifacts as Affinity and sometimes we want to Path to Exile a Goblin Guide on turn one with no other play.
Mutavault is about on par with Blinkmoth Nexus, but it doesn't fly and doesn't help with metalcraft.
Darksteel Citadel helps with metalcraft but I went with Blinkmoth instead because I'd rather have another creature to hold equipment.
AEther Vial is useful but it doesn't help us cast our living weapons and we really don't have many creatures in the deck.
Cranial Plating was in my original build but I took it out because it was usually a win more card and was not as important as the other equipment spells. Again, we don't have as many artifacts as Affinity.
Glint Hawk can pick up a living weapon to get a germ back and draw a card off Puresteel Paladin, but I chose the three-drops instead.
Hero of Bladehold could be great, but I went with the cheaper threats.
Arcbound Ravager can be useful, but Thopter Foundry seemed more in line with what we want.
Memnite and Ornithopter would speed the deck up, but we're already playing Flayer Husks and Mortarpods. A deck can only fit so many unplayable cards. Can you imagine trying to win with an opening hand of Ornithopter, Memnite, Flayer Husk, Mortarpod, Springleaf Drum, and two lands? While enablers are important, we also need to keep the enablers to a minimum and maximize the amount of higher impact cards in our deck.
Blade Splicer produces two bodies for three mana.
Flickerwisp can spread germs to the living weapons, retrigger Trinket Mage or Vendilion Clique, and/or draw more cards off Puresteel Paladin.
Etherium Sculptor makes the equipment spells cheaper while providing a body to hold them, but it felt like a win more card. I could be wrong and this would be another direction to explore.
Myr Superion would work well in an Etherium Sculptor build and/or with AEther Vial. Inkmoth Nexus and Blinkmoth Nexus could also cast him after you active the creature land.
Doomed Traveler provides multiple bodies for putting underneath the Mortarpod.
Moorland Haunt can likewise produce more bodies.
Vault Skirge can gain life, though Basilisk Collar accomplishes that.
Phyrexian Metamorph can copy an equipment or one of our white engine creatures (Puresteel Paladin or Stone Haven Outfitter).
Phyrexian Revoker can be disruptive while holding equipment.
Steelshaper's Gift can find whatever equipment spell we're looking for, but I chose Serum Visions instead because I'd rather find creatures, lands, or equipment than only equipment.
Return to the Ranks could be great in some more heavy-creature builds, though we need a high enough density of equipment to make this deck work.
Thought Scour could help fill up the yard for Return to the Ranks, Sword of Light and Shadow, and Moorland Haunt if we decided to go that route.
Krark-Clan Ironworks can produce a lot of mana and can allow us to go crazy, especially in an Etherium Sculptor version, but without Sword of the Meek legal, you can't go infinite with it.
Paradise Mantle is a hedge between Accorder's Shield and Springleaf Drum.
Bonesplitter can apply more pressure if we go that route.
Kor Skyfisher can do a lot of the same things Glint Hawk and Flickerwisp can do and is especially good in a version running AEther Vial because it can then save Puresteel Paladin and Stone Haven Outfitter from removal spells by flashing it in at instant speed with the Vial.
Kor Firewalker is a great sideboard card against Burn if you want more protection for that matchup.
Sunlance is great against any deck running cheap creatures: Merfolk, Zoo, Burn, Infect, Affinity, etc.
What do You Like in Oath of the Gatewatch for Modern?
So these are two of the decks that I have built so far based on cards from the new set.
The Black Eldrazi deck is powerful and hits hard. The equipment deck is surprisingly resilient, able to out-grind a lot of decks you would not expect it to be able to out-grind. More importantly, both decks are a blast to play! Modern has so many decks to choose from and just when I think I've played with or against nearly all of them, I sit down across from an opponent who shows me something I've never seen before. That's part of why I love Modern so much. There's always a new idea to explore and new decks to try.
What have you seen so far from Oath of the Gatewatch that you hope will have an impact on Modern?
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