Ascending Into Modern

Last week I reviewed my Ad Nauseam deck and detailed why I think it will be good post-bannings. I still feel true to my word. The bannings for January 19th have finally been revealed and I have to say that I’m very happy with the decisions. Formats now can be renewed and a new beginning has come, and one such deck was possibly given the chance to still rise in the ranks of Modern’s glorious gauntlet. [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c] can still shine and, seeing [c]Birthing Pod[/c] has kicked the bucket, Jeskai Control can now return from the brink.

With [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] and [c]Dig Through Time[/c]now banned, the deck becomes a lot slower. So is playing things like Thought Scour and Izzet Charm still worth it? Possibly, but probably not as much now. [c]Fatesticher[/c] and [c]Faerie Conclaves[/c] are still our main nightmare fuel to get the combo going. However, [c]Wind Zendikon[/c] has seen some play in the Legacy version and now with some space to fill up, why not try it in Modern?

Here is a rough draft of a list I’ve come up with. This hasn’t been tested yet, but I will try it out in the near future.

[d title=”Next Level Ascendancy”]
Creatures
4 Fatesticher

Spells
4 Jeskai Ascendancy
4 Serum Visions
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Remand
2 Path to Exile
3 Thought Scour
3 Izzet Charm
2 Peek
2 Telling Time
2 Wind Zendikon
1 Gut Shot

Lands
3 Faerie Conclave
3 Flooded Strand
2 Hallowed Fountain
2 Island
1 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Scalding Tarn
1 Seachrome Coast
3 Steam Vents
1 Celestial Colonnade
Sideboard
4 Deceiver Exarch
3 Pestermite
4 Splinter Twin
2 Swan Song
1 Gigadrowse
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker [/d]

Not having tested this version of the deck yet, I feel like it isn’t in its prime but it’s a start.

[c]Peek[/c] lets us draw additional cards at instant speed without paying life and gives us a leg on what the opponent is up to. It also allows us to keep up [c]Path to Exile[/c] and [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] on turn one so we can be more reactive to our opponents.

[c]Remand[/c] is still good to stop our opponent from developing his board state, but [c]Telling Time[/c] lets us dig further at instant speed to insure we can get our combo pieces on time in case the opponent is playing anything we don’t need to worry about.

[c]Wind Zendikon[/c] insures we have some other way to combo off – a backup plan. It still triggers Ascendancy while comboing off so its possibly we may want more. The same goes for [c]Celestial Colonnade[/c] in that it acts as a slow win condition but also serves to let us combo off. It’s very mana intensive, but its there and should be respected in how it can push our late game clock.

[c]Gut Shot[/c] also gives us a way to let us trigger our Jeskai Ascendancy faster and gives us more mana with things like [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c], though I’m compelled to play things like [c]Lightning Helix[/c] over it. The lifegain is really nice, but [c]Gut Shot[/c] lets us kill mana dorks like [c]Birds of Paradise[/c] and even problem cards like [c]Young Pyromancer[/c].

The sideboard is transformational and this is an option that I feel more geared towards. Some like the straight [c]Young Pyromancer[/c] package but with the bannings he doesn’t seem to be as good, though he remains a win condition nonetheless. [c]Monastery Mentor[/c] is a possible inclusion with or replacement for the young wizard, but it’s probably too slow. Sure, it can make bigger dudes later in the game, but it just dies to all sorts of removal that we can’t answer effectively.

We have a [c]Gifts Ungiven[/c] package to get [c]Iona, Shield of Emeria[/c] or [c]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/c] alongside [c]Unburial Rites[/c] to lock our opponents out of the game, but it feels like it is a sideboard option used too often and people will honestly plan for.

[c]Silence[/c] feels like it can be a good sideboard inclusion to grant us a way around control decks, but that’s what the [c]Gigadrowse[/c] is also there for. It’s difficult for our opponent to counter and play around us if we can manage to tap down all their lands. A trick to remember is when you cast Gigadrowse and replicate it, if you opponent is impatient with a [c]Counterflux[/c] they can counter the gigadrowse, even with overload. However, they have to wait for the Replicate triggers to resolve. So make sure when you cast Gigadrowse and see a following overloaded Counterflux, just smile and say, “Sure, my Gigadrowse is countered. My replicate trigger resolves?” Its a bit like Cascade – just don’t be impatient. It is silly to point out, but cute all the same.

Another sideboard option we can think about having is [c]Geist of Saint Traft[/c], especially since Jeskai Control will most likely be on the rise due to the new bannings. Sure, the list loses [c]Dig Through Time[/c] itself, but with [c]Birthing Pod[/c] now leaving the format, there isn’t much stopping it. Pod was its worst matchup and Jeskai Control can more than likely dominate the metagame. Geist lets us dodge control’s removal while still having burn and dig spells for the late game. If they have an answer for Geist, it might already be too late for them.

The transformational sideboard into [c]Splinter Twin[/c] allows us to kill the opponent when they least expect it. If they tap out turn three without us having a [c]Fatesticher[/c] in the yard or Jeskai Ascendancy in play, they might be thrown off balance when we just slam [c]Deceiver Exarch[/c] or a [c]Pestermite[/c] and show them the [c]Splinter Twin[/c] for the game. It’s something I want to test out to hopefully allow us to trick the opponent, and who doesn’t like that?!

If that sideboard option doesn’t really tickle you, then it’s possible you want something more stable and diverse like this.

[d title”Next Level Ascendancy Sideboard v2″]
Sideboard
4 Young Pyromancer
2 Wear // Tear
2 Torpor Orb
2 Geist of Saint Traft
1 Path to Exile
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
2 Vendilion Clique[/d]

This version is a bit transformational as well but still lets you grind out games instead of comboing off against tough matches. Young Pyromancer still works great with Jeskai Ascendancy and Geist of Saint Traft as noted lets us pressure our opponents. Hurkyl’s Recall is added because I’m pretty confident that Affinity will come back and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Vendilion Clique is good in the mirror and combo matches while applying pressure.

I’m not gonna lie – This feels like a weaker Jeskai Control and slower than Scapeshift. Though it never hurts to sit down and test a deck. Honestly, Modern is all about getting good with a deck you feel comfortable with. Most decks you just can’t pick up and instantly pilot. Many Modern decks take time and some dedication to truly know the ins and outs of a deck, and this deck might be just one of those. I use to play a ton of Jeskai Control when it was extremely popular, but I got bored of it so quickly because that’s just how I felt about control. I haven’t touched a control deck in some time and this is my first take on it. While Ad Nauseam sat in my backpack I was playing Jeskai Combo before the bannings and now I still want to give it a chance before I tuck it away and go back to drawing my entire deck the old fashion way (much quicker and more painful).

UR Storm might even be better than this list and I would have to say it is – afterall it was the first Modern deck I built and competitively played. This Jeskai Combo deck feels as if it’s going to be more difficult to pilot, seeing as you can’t just willy-nilly play the cards in your hand while discarding to Jeskai Ascendancy. It will take some time learning the deck but overall I’m comfortable in testing it out and hopefully making it work in the new Modern metagame. With UR Delver being pushed out of the format and Pod now getting the banhammer, it might be time for a new deck to completely shine and this might be the one. Not this list in particular, but possibly something along these lines. I believe the manadork version is now completely dead and shouldn’t even be looked upon (and it wasn’t honestly all that good in the first place).

Would you guys like to see some live footage of the deck if possible, or see me play it online as video coverage? If so let me know and I will try to make it happen!

~Totem

Published by

Clayton Harring

Howdy! I'm Clayton, or TotemChakra (which ever you prefer). I'm a young adventurous guy just playing Magic the Gathering when he isn't working and going to culinary school!