I'm usually opposed to decks with ridiculous names, or giving decks ridiculous names, but this time I figured…why not?
And trust me, if any deck I've played was worthy of a ridiculous name, it's this one. And don't worry: we don't actually have to call it Chromantiflayer. We can call it simply Chromanticore. Or 5C Flayer. Or something like that. Whatever your heart desires, in fact. The point is that the deck we're looking at today has Chromanticore...and Soulflayer...and they're working together in harmony.
A week or so back when I was at the Sunday Super Series I ran into my old Florida buddy John Cuvelier. We got to chatting and he told me he wasn't sure what he was going to play at an upcoming Standard event when he got home, and that he had two potential decks that he liked. When he mentioned one was a list with Chromanticore and Soulflayer, my interest was immediately piqued.
While I wasn't able to see the list at the time, I kept looking for a Chromanticore / Soulflayer list online that had any amount of success. After being unable to find one, I finally just messaged Cuvi and asked for his. This is what he sent me.
I was super stoked about it! Aside from having to pick up some Tasigur, the Golden Fangs and a couple other odds and ends, the deck looked awesome. It looked like a sweet Whip of Erebos deck, except without all the boring things like Whips. I couldn't wait to see if the deck actually worked, so I pretty much dove right in.
Chromantiflayer vs. Jeskai Tempo
Chromantiflayer vs. Ensoul Artifact
Chromantiflayer vs. UB Control
Chromantiflayer vs. Ensoul Artifact, Match 2
Well, the first thing I realized was that Soulflayer was insane! Sure, he costs one more than Tasigur, the Golden Fang if we're delving for the full amount, and he has one less toughness, but the potential upside is huge! I was so impressed with this card every time I cast it, and often this could be done on turn three thanks to Commune with the Gods and Satyr Wayfinder! The cards in the deck that grand Soulflayer abilities are Sylvan Caryatid, Chromanticore, Silumgar, the Drifting Death, Torrent Elemental, and Pharkia, God of Affliction. That's 13 creatures in total, so not a ton, but you only need one in the graveyard to make Soulflayer super hard to deal with. Flying, hexproof, and indestructible are all pretty insane to delve with Soulflayer and make the demon very hard for your opponent to deal with. Do you know how hard it is for UB Control (or any control deck) to deal with an indestructible, hexproof creature? They basically can't outside of, like, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.
For a while, I was wondering why Hooting Mandrills weren't getting any attention and Tasigur was getting a ton. They would both end up costing one mana, and we've had access to Hooting Mandrills for three months now. I don't care how picky you are about your creatures, a 4/4 for one mana is an insane deal. I was even wondering if the Mandrills might see Legacy play, considering a 4/4 for one mana could be pretty strong there, especially when it can Shrink your opponent's Tarmogoyf. At the time the response I got was that no one really wanted to cast a 4/4 for one mana and delve their entire graveyard, when they could draw three cards for one mana instead. This made sense. I could see that point, but I then figured Hooting Mandrills' day might come after Treasure Cruise was banned.
...nope! Along came Tasigur, and boy is Tasigur, the Golden Fang the real deal. Five toughness is much better than four, and even if you never activate his card drawing ability...it's still there. Additionally, his delve ability means that there will be plenty of times where you can actually play him on the cheap and draw a card in the same turn. He's kind of like a mini Mulldrifter that way.
I was super impressed with this deck. When John told me about it, I didn't know what to expect, but it defied my expectations. Exiling a Torrent Elemental with delve only to put it into play from exile (not cast mind you; this can't be countered) when your opponent least expects it is huge. Especially since there are so many ways to exile it! Doing this more than once is just the icing on the cake.
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant not only fills up the graveyard for things like Soulflayer, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, and Murderous Cut, but she's also pretty much a must-kill threat netting you a couple of creature in just as many turns. Meanwhile Pharika, God of Affliction allows us to make lots of tiny snake men (and women, I suppose) with our useless graveyard cards, of which there are several. (I'm looking at you, Satyr Wayfinder.) All in all this deck was a blast to play, and I'll probably be playing it some on my daily stream today starting at 2 pm PST. So be sure to stop by and check it out if you want to see more action with it.
That's about all we have for today! Thanks for reading and I'll catch you on Monday with some more new Modern action. We should have something to deal with all these Burn decks that are so prominent. We'll see.
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV, streaming Monday - Friday, starting at 2 pm PST