Fate Reforged has hit the scene and [c]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/c] has already seen some fringe Modern play which makes me very happy. Tasigur is basically a [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] stapled to a [c]Treasure Trove[/c]. While he isn’t completely broken he gives, what I believe, a new flavor and flexibility to midrange decks.
Here is a rough list I came up with that might be decent.
[d title=”Sultai Midrange (Modern)”]
3 Polluted Delta
2 Verdant Catacombs
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Creeping Tar Pit
3 Watery Grave
1 Sunken Ruin
3 Tectonic Edge
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Breeding Pool
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
3 Snapcaster Mage
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Eternal Witness
1 Vendilion Clique
4 Abrupt Decay
1 Murderous Cut
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Mana Leak
3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Hero’s Downfall
2 Creeping Corrosion
2 Golgari Charm
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Fracturing Gust
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Obstinate Baloth
1 Sword of Light and Shadow [/d]
What you really lose from playing Sultai over Abzan midrange is [c]Path to Exile[/c] and [c]Lingering Souls[/c]. From Jund, we really only lose [c]Lightning Bolt[/c]. There are a few more key pieces in Jund, but I think Abzan is just better as a beast than Jund.
So what does Sultai get? Basically more spot removal and countermagic. While countermagic isn’t great for the mirror match or against other midrange decks, it will help you insure control over grindy decks and even more so against combo decks. No only can we strip our opponent’s hand with [c]Thoughtseize[/c] and [c]Inquisition of Kozilek[/c], but we can continue to keep up pressure with [c]Remand[/c] to out-tempo our opponent and push in more damage.
The one anti-synergy in this list that really stinks is how delve can hurt our own [c]Tarmogoyf[/c]. Still, he always gets bigger in the long run so it shouldn’t hurt much. We could also be playing [c]Dark Confidant[/c], but this isn’t the deck that wants to get hurt over extra cards. We want to get early pressure and keep it that way, and Bob just dies to pretty much any removal spell. Snapcaster gives us additional removal and countermagic and we all know how good [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] can be when doing that.
[c]Vendilion Clique[/c] also plays the Flash game, letting us make sure the coast is clear or prevent our opponent from stabilizing. I’ve seen too many games where a turn three Clique single-handedly won the whole game.
Really, though, the heart of the deck is [c]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/c] himself. He allows you to play a cheap threat for only a single black and keep up disruption throughout your opponent’s turn. In the midrange mirror, you can one-for-one until someone gets their fuel going and then it’s all over. Tasigur? You can get the fuel while also keeping your opponent on tilt. He isn’t perfect, but he seems good enough to get card advantage from. It’s also why we are playing [c]Murderous Cut[/c] to help better the selection in our graveyard to force our opponent to give us what we need.
[c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] can also help filter our graveyard as well as keep our opponent from getting value out of their own Tasigurs! While Tasigur is not a single blue for a flying 3/2 insectile aberration, he’s a single black for a 4/5 with “4 mana: draw a card.” [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] and [c]Azure Mage[/c]? Yes, please!
Some of the one-of spot removal spells might seem off, and that’s a choice that I like to do when I make and brew decks. Not only does it let me see what could possibly be useful in the deck, but it gives me more diversity in different situations. It also gives us options with Tasigur and makes it more difficult for our opponent to play around certain cards.
[c]Hero’s Downfall[/c] lets us deal with not only creatures, but planeswalkers as well. In the midrange mirror it can kill [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c] if we can’t connect to her with our creatures. [c]Slaughter Pact[/c] gives us a reasonable kill spell while we are tapped out or need to get rid of a creature immediately, mostly good against Splinter Twin if they try to go off quickly or they try going for the long game. Yeah, we have to pay for its cost on our upkeep, but it still allows us to apply pressure while we are tapped out.
[c]Disfigure[/c] kills smaller creatures or cheap threats, but it can also win us the Tarmogoyf war during combat. They block our Tarmogoyf with theirs? Well, now it can get -2/-2! [c]Murderous Cut[/c], as noted before, can help us filter our graveyard to better abuse Tasigur with while also providing a cheap removal spell.
What I would like to talk about is [c]Mana Leak[/c]. Why not play [c]Remand[/c] over Mana Leak? Because I’d rather deal with the threat now than trying to find ways to deal with it later. Yes, it draws us a card, but Tasigur can do the same thing. In the late game [c]Remand[/c] can prove to be useless while Mana Leak can stop the spell right in its tracks. It could be possible that we want to find room for [c]Cryptic Command[/c], though I doubt it works in this particular list. It’s just too blue-mana intensive to fit into the deck.
Tasigur is really sweet because so far he has been seen in Abzan and Jund midrange and I only wanted to bring up the possibility of building around him. It’s even possible that we can just play straight Green/Black good stuff. Though what I would love to try is fitting him into something like a Grixis control build. It’s hard to tell, but I really believe he has a home in Modern somewhere. With straight GB we can just play things like [c]Courser of Kruphix[/c], more hand disruption, and even mainboard that [c]Dark Confidant[/c] to give us another draw engine. Grixis control? Play a more grindy game and hope Tasigur gives us an edge that we desperately need. It would be cute to see a [c]Cruel Ultimatum[/c] returned with Tasigur’s ability.
Not having tested this deck, but have been playing midrange decks in Modern before, I would enjoy testing this deck. What cruel things will you do with the Sultai Khan?
Have fun Brewing!