So I've been talking about a deck like this for a couple weeks now. I found one a while back amongst the Magic Online decklists that had gone 3-1 in a Daily Event. It was before Born of the Gods was released and also before the bannings had taken place, so I wanted a more up-to-date version to try out.

Then I played against one in my video article a week or so ago.

I scurried to find out what the list was from the pilot, including making a post about it on Reddit, since his clan name on Magic Online was "MTGO Redditors." Eventually he responded to the thread, giving me a couple lists that he took his inspiration from. Melissa and I began looking them over before cutting things we didn't like and adding things we did.

This was the eventual list we ended up with for today's videos:


We ultimately figured out the core of the deck revolved around a handful of basic strategies:

- Blood Moon
- Ghostly Prison
- Ensnaring Bridge
- Chalice of the Void

The central idea of the prison deck was to hinder both creature and mana development which each of the aforementioned cards looks to do. Each of the decks we found had a few of these cards; we chose to incorporate all of them. Let's see how our efforts paid off.

RW Prison vs. Monoblack Discard

RW Prison vs. 4C Birthing Pod

RW Prison vs. Melira Pod

RW Prison vs. UB Mill

Wow, did we really lose to the mill deck?! I mean, we did, but that's not a very good matchup for us to begin with. I mean, we have the slowest clock in the Modern format and our primary goal is to prevent creatures from attacking. Believe it or not, the Hedron Crab didn't actually attempt to enter the red zone very often. (Though it is rewarding facing a deck that you helped introduce.)

As you might have noticed, one problem the deck has is control decks. Our maindeck is obviously heavily geared toward aggressive strategies. Cards like Ghostly Prison, Ensnaring Bridge and the four wrath effects are all fairly lackluster against control decks. This isn't terrible as there aren't that many control decks in the format, but it does leave us with a lot of cards that we want to board out and not as many cards that we want to board in.

For decks like Splinter Twin we have several ways to combat them. Ghostly Prison and Gideon Jura are the best answers in the maindeck, but after sideboarding we also have access to Spellskite and Wear // Tear. Lightning Helix also helps if they're going for the combo with either Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker or Pestermite and Ensnaring Bridge isn't impossible to use effectively against them; I just wouldn't bank on it.

Creature decks are obviously the deck's preferred matchups. We have a ridiculous 20 cards that are just awesome against creatures; maybe more depending on how you see them. The only cards I didn't include in that category were the two Elspeth, Knight-Errant, the two Assemble the Legion, the four Blood Moon, the four Chalice of the Void, and the four Mind Stone. Everything else is pretty efficient at dealing with creatures whether singular or multiple.

Speaking of Chalice of the Void, we wanted to make sure we had four in the maindeck. It's simply too good right now if you manage to stick one on "one." It counters almost the entire Zoo, Monoblack Rack, Burn, and Pyromancer Ascension decks, and it can do some real damage on "two" against a lot of other decks as well. When we put a Chalice on "one" we are literally unaffected by it. When we have to put it on "two" we end up losing Mind Stone and Lightning Helix, but it's a small price to pay for the things it ends up shutting off. Mostly I'm thinking about things like Dark Confidant, Snapcaster Mage, Tarmogoyf, Tribal Flames, Remand, Mana Leak, etc. If you end up getting two Chalices out against any of the aforementioned decks, they basically don't get to play Magic against you, which usually spells victory for you, but could be rather miserable for them.

Blood Moon was the other "meta" inclusion. We knew that Blood Moon was still pretty amazing against most of the field (although you might have been able to tell that a lot of decks started packing more basics). Blood Moon is a card that you either want all of or none of, so four of them it was! We had a ton of Plains so it didn't really affect us, but again, against the decks it was strong against, it was really strong. We toyed with the idea of Simian Spirit Guide, to get the Blood Moon out on turn two or a four-drop out on turn three, but ultimately we liked the versatility and usefulness of Mind Stone a little better. It worked better with Trading Post, and not only ramped us from two to four, but from four to five as well.

As for threats, Assemble the Legion is actually awesome in Modern. It often gets around our Ensnaring Bridge, and there aren't that many cards that can actually deal with it, which is great. Gideon Jura and Elspeth, Knight-Errant are also on par and Trading Post can let us sacrifice our Ensnaring Bridges once we have control to start attacking with Gideon Jura. Also ultimating Ajani Vengeant is definitely a real thing and happened more than once in our games.

Overall the deck was definitely fun, but we did feel like it had some holes. We would love to shore up the sideboard some and make sure we have enough cards to bring in for all the cards we need to take out against certain matchups; but honestly, I'm not sure it's possible. We simply have too many aggressive cards and we still need a lot of sideboard space against combo decks. We might have to accept that control is just a poor matchup for the deck. Either way, the deck is a pretty unique offering in the format that feels like you can pretty much "play whatever you want." I hope you guys enjoyed and I'll catch you back here on Thursday!

Frank Lepore
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