Modern is in a weird place, and yet I’ve come to enjoy its wild rides and quick combo decks that have come and gone. When it comes to Magic, I’m usually playing a weird lock deck such as Goblin Stompy for Legacy, and in Modern I use to play a ton of Storm. However, when my meta started to have a ton of control decks, my storm deck sort of fell to pieces. I took a break and when I came back, I found something that touched my heart over and over again.
Over and over again.
And over and over again.
And over and over again.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Ad Nauseam.
Ad Nauseam (Modern)
This deck (my personal list) has been forgotten once more in the world of Modern Magic. When Modern was just getting going, this deck was underrated and no one respected it, therefore no one had really the guts to pilot it. However, during Pro Tour Born of the Gods it got 9th place. While not a Top 8 finish, it still shows the strength of the deck and what it can bring to the table. It started to gain popularity, but then was once more returned to rest. But like any deck it’s ready to resurface sooner or later!
How does this deck win?
The main idea is to draw your entire deck. While doing so you go to a negative life total, but fear not! This life total truly doesn’t matter because before you cast Ad Nauseam you should either have one of two things already out. You should have cast an Angel’s Grace before the Ad Nauseam or already have a Phyrexian Unlife.
Each has its pros and cons, but they both get the combo going and get the job done. Ideally you want to cast Angel’s Grace only because it can’t be countered (Split Second is too good). While Phyrexian Unlife can pull off the combo with one less mana, giving it the possible turn 4 kill, it’s vulnerable to the one card you’ll probably hate the most (I’m staring at you Abrupt Decay ). After you have a hefty hand of cards, you skim through them to find three Simian Spirit Guides and exile them and with that floating red mana you will cast Lighnting Storm.
A tip before casting Lighting Storm – ask how many cards are in your opponent’s hand. Once you find this out, set that many lands aside from you hand and discard the rest all-the-while you maintain priority with Lighting Storm on the stack. Keeping the extra lands in hand will give you insurance that your opponent can not redirect the original Crackling Doom at you!
You can play Conflagrate instead of or alongside Lightning Storm, which is in the sideboard for me for the discard matchup (mainly Jund/Junk), though it doesn’t allow you to go off at instant speed.
Why would I recommend playing Ad Nauseam in Modern?
Simply put, it’s a deck that makes interaction hard for your opponent. While many combo decks get shut down with things like Rest in Peace or even a Rule of Law, this deck has many ways around hate cards that decks like Storm cannot easily circumvent. Even Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is no match for us! That Pentad Prism now lets us gain three mana instead of the usual two thanks to the Guardian of Thraben!
People have mentioned to me that they wish free counter spells existed in the format. Well, we have Pact of Negation and Angel’s Grace. It’s almost like a Force of Will, but you pay a single white instead of paying a life. You also get to draw your entire deck without having to play Omniscience or Enter the Infinite. You get to draw your entire deck.
Your ENTIRE deck!
The deck is no longer an unknown creature within the Modern metagame. People will most likely know what you are playing simply by seeing your mana base, since not many decks in Modern play Esper colors. Still, it doesn’t have a place in people’s sideboards just yet. While everyone is trying to hate on UR Delver, Scapeshift, and Jeskai Ascendancy, your deck remains almost untouched.
In general, hate is very hard to come by against Ad Nauseam. Ethersworn Canonist, Rule of Law, and Meddling Mage are probably the cards that give you the most pain, but there are certainly ways to work around them.
With Ethersworn Canonist or Rule of Law, you can simply have a Phyrexian Unlife out in play and at the end of your opponent’s turn you can cast your Ad Nauseam, draw your entire deck, and still be at negative life on your turn. On your Upkeep go ahead and cast the Lightning Storm and hope they don’t have a Burrenton Forge-Tender out in play. Most people will have a Leyline of Sanctity of their own to stop your combo, but you can bounce it with Echoing Truth, no matter how many they have out!
Phyrexian Unlife also acts like extra life against Burn and Aggro decks, though there is a thing you need to know that most people fail to understand. If you are at, let’s say, 6 life and your opponent swings with attacking power of 10, you won’t go to 4 poison. It is only the next time you are dealt damage while you below zero that will give you poison.
In all honestly, I love playing this deck.
I’ve been piloting the deck for a few years and I’m happy to say I’m still enjoying it now. Every time I play it, I end up finding new tech that works, such as the new Dig through Time. It’s only a single copy, but let’s just say there was one game where I looked at seventeen cards of my deck before taking my turn and it was a satisfaction I never felt before. It will at times let you grab both pieces of the combo which is something Peer Through Depths can not do.
But the main reason I’m talking about this deck for my first article is because of the bannings that are coming around the corner. If Treasure Cruise and/or Dig Through Time bite the dust, Ad Nauseam won’t take any pain and won’t have to retreat to an older ancestor. It has a rough matchup against the evil UR Delver, but if Treasure Cruise does go then it is possible the deck will only weaken and might not be tier 1 anymore.
I’m possibly going to do some coverage and videos of Ad Nauseam, seeing as it’s my main Modern deck and would like to get myself a MTGO deck in the works that isn’t Pauper.
In the meantime you should check out Binkabi’s coverage over on the YouTube channel. Here’s a playlist:
Thanks for taking your time to read my short article! Hope to see you next week!