MTG: Modern Decks – Some more, some less competitive – featuring: a Guest deck

Dear readers of this here my humble blog! Fellow M:tG aficionados!

It’s been a looong while since I posted ANYTHING on here – far too long actually. But yeah, making a living and real life stuff took its toll on me and it was only yesterday that I was able to complete my massive work on the sequel to the Siralim Retro Roguelike RPG (www.siralim.com), for which I had made literally hundreds of monster and NPC sprites/pixel artworks etc – and just on time. The deadline ended yesterday as a matter of fact!

But now…

I am free again!!

And this means that I can indulge myself in posting some more stuff on here in the near future, until the next paid job pops up! (And just to be clear: I totally enjoyed the pixel work on Siralim 2 and nevertheless I am happy to have finished all and now am able to work on my own stuff and do idle things such as posting about Magic decks again.)

So yeah, long story short, I will treat you to yet another Magic Decks & Strategy article, this time all about

some more or less competitive Modern Format Decks!

So yeah, in the following I will showcase some of my more recent Modern Format Decks, some of which would rather be considered less competitive, but nonetheless original and unique, so basically for Casual play, including a deck built by my good gamer buddy Robin (with the obligatory advice/nagging from my side!).

I would say let’s get right on to the first deck, which will be tantamount to “dropping the bomb” right away, as I would consider this the most competitive among the decks I am about to present to you here. Before I go on to the card list, I must say a few words about this deck which worked out REALLY well in my initial test runs (at home…).

I like to call the Deck

“Modern ‘Drazi-Tron”

I always had a soft spot for the “holy trinity” of Urza Lands, which will produce insane amounts of mana when you manage to gather all 3 on the battlefield (1 Urza’s Tower, 1 Mine and 1 Power Plant will produce exactly 7 Mana!!). I checke the current decklists for Modern Urzatron Decks and disliked what I saw… First off I want my decks to be unique, so even provided that I own one copy of Karn Liberated, and provided I had the money to purchase 3 more to complete the playset, I wouldn’t want to just net-deck the current tourney winning Karn-Tron Decks which seem to be popular and successful these days… So with the advent of Battle for Zendikar, which brought us loads of high cost, generic-mana-requiring Eldrazi behemoths, I had quite a different idea. What also helped were my two copies of my favorite fatty of all time…

…so Eldrazi Urzatron or “‘Drazi-Tron” it would be for me. And so far it seems that the Urza-Lands and some of the old and some of the new Eldrazi were a match made in MtG-heaven. But let me show you the full decklist before I elaborate any further:

Modern Green-Red ‘Drazi-Tron:

Creatures…6

4 x Conduit of Ruin 6

2 x Emrakul, the Eons Torn 15

Sorceries…16

4 x Ancient Stirrings G

4 x Sylvan Scrying 1G

4 x Pyroclasm

4 x All is Dust 7

Artifacts…12

4 x Chromatic Sphere 1

4 x Chromatic Star 1

4 x Expedition Map 1

4 x Oblivion Stone 3

Lands…22

4 x Urza’s Tower

4 x Urza’s Power Plant

4 x Urza’s Mine

2 x Eye of Ugin

4 x Sanctum of Ugin

4 x Karplusan Forest

About the Deck:

Yeah, yeah… this deck runs a lot of staples of any Red Green Modern Urzatron Deck like Chromatic Star/Sphere, Pyroclasm and the obligatory Urza-Land-Fetchers Expedition Map and Sylvan Scrying. These all are needed to set the stage not for Karn Liberated nor for Ugin the Spirit Dragon (I still dislike the whole Planeswalker thing to some degree as I must admit) but for some badass Eldrazi, more precisely for two of them; one being Conduit of Ruin, which tutors for the other and makes him cheaper to cast at the same time: I am talking about none other than the big-bad Eldrazi Overlord: Emrakul, the Eons Torn. Eye of Ugin makes not only your Eldrazi Creatures cheaper but also let’s you facilitate All is Dust earlier and more easily, and on top of that, the mighty land serves as a tutor for your (colorless) Eldrazi. Speaking of All is Dust:

This goes perfect with Urza-Tron as you can sweep the board clean off anything of color on turn 3 in the best case scenario, leaving your permanents, which happen to be all colorless, unharmed. In case your opponent plays lots of artifacts or Eldrazi themselves, I packed a playset of Oblivion Stone into the deck – so yeah, one could argue that it is very control-heavy, with 4 Pyroclasms for the small guys and 4 All is Dust and 4 Oblivion Stones for anything else.

The many test games I did already with this particular build went down really really well as I must note and I could swing in for the win without meeting noteworthy opposition with good old Emrakul on turns 6 or 7. I am really glad to have found an original and unique approach to an established archetype, that differs greatly from the decklists I have seen on the web and that is what makes a deck most enjoyable to me, a deck that is not your regular, run-of-the-mill deck to beat just copied off the internet. I am very much looking forward to giving this a try in an actual Modern Format Event nearby as I really think this could have potential – from what I have seen so far!

Alright, on to the next deck: We are going through them in order of competitiveness (based on my gut feeling on each of the decks :P) and again we will see some badass Eldrazi in the following decklist, which is based on land destruction, card draw and amassing of mana by vile, nasty means. The two key Eldrazi Creatures in this deck are the following:

Exhibit A…

and here Exhibit B:

I was SO stoked about breaking both of these new, powerful Eldrazi, and I am not sure if I did it with the following deck approach – maybe these would be more fit for a Legacy deck of sorts (thinking of discarding and reanimating them early on, which would be especially devastating for the opponent in the case of Sire of Stagnation) – but again, it is more about having an unique and original deck than one that wins every single tourney. Lets take a look at what I tried to do with the mighty duo of Oblivion Sower and Sire of Stagnation for Modern or Casual Play:

Eldrazi Landkill (Modern/Casual):

Creatures…9

4 x Oblivion Sower 6

4 x Sire of Stagnation 4UB

1 x Emrakul, the Eons Torn 15

Instants…8

4 x Pyretic Ritual 1R

4 x Seething Song 2R

Sorceries…15

3 x Banefire XR

4 x Pyroclasm 1R

4 x Stone Rain 2R

4 x Molten Rain 1RR

Artifacts…8

4 x Chromatic Star 1

4 x Relic of Progenitus 1

Lands…20

4 x Crumbling Necropolis

4 x Bojuka Bog

4 x Ghost Quarter

8 x Mountain

About the Deck:

The basic idea behind this deck is the following: First off I am going to try to destroy as many opponent lands as possible as early on as possible. With Pyretic Ritual you can start the devastation on turn 2, casting either Stone Rain or Molten Rain. Ambushes of small Creatures can be stopped by means of Pyroclasm. Then I want to get out Sire of Stagnation also soonest, as your opponent will find themselves between a rock and a hard place when they are forced to play more lands because I am destroying the old ones, which will lead to Sire drawing me 2 cards and exiling the top 2 cards of the opponent deck every single time they put a land into play. Stage 3 of the diabolical Plan would be casting Oblivion Sower, whilst having exiled your opponent’s graveyard by means of 4 Relics of Progenitus and 4 Bojuka Bogs prior to casting Sower, thus maximixing the land “harvest” in my favor. This way I am trying to amass enought mana to cast a deadly Banefire, or, as my secondary win condition, the obligatory Emrakul the Eons Torn.

That basically is my convoluted plan on how to win with this deck. Destroy lands, force opponent to play new lands with Sire of Stagnation facilitating superb card advantage, exile lands in graveyards to maximize what you reap with Oblivion Sower in order to deal a killing blow with Banefire or Emrakul. That is basically how it is supposed to work!

IF it works has still to be seen… I would like to have some cheap reanimation handy, but that would be exclusive to Legacy or Casual (Exhume would be a good example), to discard Sire of Stagnation having him on the board starting turn 2, to get the card advantage engine roaring soonest. Also I have to point out that neither Sire of Stagnation nor Oblivion sower are warded in any way against opponent removal and the deck does not provide any protection either so I would guess the whole build would be a bit too “frail” to be called “competitive”. Anyways it will be fun giving it a spin!

On to deck 3 in this long-overdue Modern Deck-a-Thon:

Andi’s Anti-Meta Weenie (Modern):

Creatures…20

4 x Judge’s Familiar U/W

4 x Aegis of the Gods 1W

4 x Leonin Arbiter 1W

4 x Soltari Priest WW

4 x Mesa Enchantress 1WW

Enchantments…18

4 x Ethereal Armor W

4 x Hyena Umbra W

4 x Greater Auramancy 1W

2 x Oblivion Ring 2W

2 x Banishing Light 2W

2 x Armored Ascension 3W

Lands…22

22 x Plains

About the Deck:

This deck is my answer to the meta-game I have been facing in my local Modern events where one out of three people at least was playing some black at least for the dreaded Liliana of the Veil among other nasty things. Now when I like something then it is to foil a multi-hundred-bucks heavy deck/strategy with a bunch of (rather) cheap cards. The main combination that will lock down most of the decks I have been encountering is as follows:

Play this…

(luckily I bought my playset of Greater Auramancy when they were still dirt cheap) and combine it with that:

These two will lock down any targeted Creature removal as well as any evil spells or abilities targeting a player, such as Liliana’s Sacrifice ability, Wrench Mind or Geth’s Verdict to name a few. To elaborate further if it isn’t yet obvious anyways: Aegis of the Gods gives you Hexproof and if you combine it with Greater Auramancy, it, being an Enchantment as well as a Creature, will gain Shroud, making it extremely difficult for an opponent to break through so to say, unless they are running global creature removal such as Wrath of God etc. Of course, the other Creatures in the deck will be Shrouded too once enchanted, so I included plenty of Auras, most notably Ethereal Armor, which will give the Creature it enchants First Strike and +1/+1 for each Enchantment you control for the mere cost of 1 white mana. With 18 on average rather cheap enchantments, Ethereal Armor will make any Creature into a huge threat easily, and a prime target for it would be the practically unblockable Soltari Priest. The two odd Armored Ascensions serve as finishers, giving a Creature +1/+1 for each Plains you control AND flying. Two more notable cards: Leonin Arbiter will shut down any high cost deck running a substantial amount of “Fetchlands” and Mesa Enchantress, with her power to draw you a card each time you play an Enchantment, will provide you with valuable backup, card-wise…

Well and that’s it basically. I do not know if I’d stand any chance against my meta in our local Modern Format events but I’d gladly give it a try, wagering that I could catch one or two opponent’s unprepared!

Alright then, before we come to our first (and last, do not fear!) encore, just a quick decklist I came up with revolving around this nice card here…

…which I would not dare to call comeptitive by any means. So yeah, while the deck is technically Modern legal, this is rather a fun/casual approach here:

Thopter Ambush (Modern/Casual):

Creatures…11

4 x Etherium Sculptor 1U

4 x Myr Retriever 2

3 x Sharding Sphinx 4UU

Enchantments…7

3 x Intangible Virtue 1W

4 x Tempered Steel 1WW

Artifacts…20

4 x Chromatic Star 1

4 x Terrarion 1

4 x Ichor Wellspring 2

4 x Thopter Foundry W/B U

4 x Semblance Anvil

Lands…22

4 x Foundry of the Consuls

4 x Adakar Wastes

8 x Plains

8 x Island

About the Deck:

Well, as mentioned intially, this deck is built around Thopter Foundry and its awesome ability to generate a little but growing army of 1/1 Flying Thopter Tokens. This is done by sacking artifacts that give you benefits when they go to the graveyard, most commonly drawing you cards (namely Chromatic Star, Terrarion and Ichor Wellspring). Myr Retriever can be sacked for a Thopter (and 1 life!) and will then let you return any artifact card from your Graveyard to your hand. Semblance Anvil can make things really ugly for your opponent as if you imprinted an artifact or artifact creature, most of your artifacts can be cast for free and you’d only need to figure in the 1 generic mana for sacking it to the Foundry. The deck runs a few supportive Enchantments that will turn your army of Thopters into a real menace, namely Intangible Virtue, which will give all tokens (your Thopters) +1/+1 and Vigilance for 1W. Tempered Steel on the other hand gives all artifact creatures +2/+2. If you got both out, each and every of your once so tiny Thopters will be threatening 4/4 Vigilant Flyers! There is also the option of exponentially increasing the number of your Thopters through Sharding Sphinx (if you are able to power it out at converted mana cost 6):

The only thing the deck could really need would be a playset of Disciples of the Vault considering how many and how often artifacts will be sacked… maybe I shall take out the Etherium Sculptors in favor of those. The major problem with this deck however is that there is nothing you can do to interfere with what your opponent is doing, no disruption, countermagic, removal, no nothing – hence, only recommendable for casual play!

And now for our long-anticipated encore! If you are still with me (I thank you for that if this is the case), let us take a look at a guest deck, built by one of my best gaming buddies, Robin, who is fairly new to the game. Of course it took a bit of meddling… errr advice on my part but I think his Modern Deck turned out pretty sweet! Let’s take a look!

Robin’s Scry Beatdown (Modern/Casual):

Creatures…14

4 x Augury Owl 1U

4 x Flamespeaker Adept 2R

2 x Cryptic Annelid 3U

4 x Prophetic Sphinx 3UU

Instants…14

4 x Condescend X

4 x Titan’s Strength R

2 x Voyage’s End 1U

4 x Magma Jet 1R

Sorceries…4

4 x Serum Visions U

Enchantments…6

4 x Aqueous Form U

2 x Eyes of the Watcher 2U

Lands…22

4 x Izzet Guildgate

4 x Terramorphic Expanse

7 x Island

7 x Mountain

About the Deck:

Yeah, this deck is all about Scrying and making profit off of that. Your chief weapon here is…

As you can see, for every time you Scry, she will get a +2/+0 boost (and first strike on top of that). Since virtually every card in the deck except for lands and Eyes of the Watcher (which lets you scry though) has the Scry Ability, Flamespeaker Adept can get really really huge pretty easily. A particularly deadly combination can be achieved by enchanting her with this Aqueous Form:

It will make Flamespeaker Adept not only unblockable but give her a +2/+0 boost on top of that for free and by default.

Of course, any half-decent deck cannot rely on just one card as the only winning strategy, so, as I urged Robin, we included a playset of Prognostic Sphinx:

For me, this card is the total package and I can’t say why they are giving it away for dirt cheap. I mean a 3/5 Flyer for 3UU isn’t half bad but seeing it has the option to become Hexproof quite easily AND the Scry 3 upon each attack makes this one the total package and perfect secondary win condition for this deck.

That all being said, I would consider this low-budget deck fun to play in a casual setting whilst it may succumb to many more competitive decks in a Modern tournament environment…


And that concludes my long-overdue Magic Modern Deck Marathon. I thank you very much for your time and interest if you should have come that far! In any case, you can be expecting me to post more regularly on here now that I have more spare time on my hands and wish you, as always,

HAPPY GAMING!!

Yours,

Andi