Rafiq of the Many Art

Welcome Back!

Usually, I write Legacy articles. But this week, I made such a crazy Modern brew that I had to share it with you guys. It is the pinnacle of playing a greedy, easily-punishable-by-Blood Moon mana base with a bunch of … well, let me show you the list so that I may better explain:

Four Color Über Greed (Modern)

Bros (28)
Birds of Paradise
Noble Hierarch
Tidehollow Sculler
Siege Rhino
Doran, the Siege Tower
Wilt-Leaf Liege
Rafiq of the Many
Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Instants (7)
Path to Exile
Bant Charm
Abzan Charm
Sultai Charm
Gifts Ungiven

The Hammer (1)
Behemoth Sledge

Kill Stuff (1)
Maelstrom Pulse

Realms (23)
Ancient Ziggurat
Reflecting Pool
Mana Confluence
Gemstone Mine
Windswept Heath
Verdant Catacombs
Marsh Flats

It’s easy to tell why I am saying that this deck is greedy. That manabase flat-out dies to Blood Moon. It’s fairly Choke-proof, which I suppose is a good thing, but otherwise I’m going to break it down.

Brew Theory

I wanted to play something:
A) With a LOT of creatures
B) Which would be super saucy yet powerful
C) That played Rafiq of the Many and Doran, the Siege Tower, but for goodstuffs only.
D) That sported a minor Gifts Ungiven package.
E) With a stupid 1-of Equipment that no one would expect.

This is the lovechild. It really came down to wanting to play what is essentially 4-color Goodstuff with Rhinos and Lieges and flipping Rafiq. The theory is that this is so unorthodox and so unexpected that it is just good.

To be honest, it started with Rafiq of the Many. Rafiq is an absolute beast. By himself, at four mana, he sports a whopping eight power. He gives an attacking creature double strike the turn he comes into play. He allows for a defensive plan against other creature decks without sacrificing offensive power; just attack with 1 huge creature and leave the rest to block. There is one simple reason no one, not even Zoo, is playing Rafiq in Modern. He fails the Bolt test every time.

The next thought was how to get my three Rafiq (I was settled on that number) out of Bolt range in a way that makes sense with a goodstuff creature strategy. Enter Wilt-Leaf Liege. This gal pumps every creature in the deck, except for Tasigur, and puts Rafiq in respectable 5/5 range. She is also amazing against Liliana of the Veil and the 8-rack decks, while still being castable.

doran banner art

Doran was my next big love. He is essentially a 5/5 for only 3 mana that makes Vendilion Clique and Snapcaster Mage laughable creatures. He is pumped to a big 2/7 (effectively 7/7) by the Liege, and provides some marginal bonuses to our Siege Rhinos and the one-of Tasigur. Doran also makes our mana dorks into small threats which can poke away at the opponent’s life total. Overall, his high power to mana cost ratio is what led to my attraction, and led to his inclusion in the deck.

“Only the best spells!” I said. “Play multi-modal spells so that you can play fewer!” I said. So Bant Charm is the obvious choice. It serves as a removal spell that can blow up Affinity’s Cranial Plating. It is also a Dispel when necessary, which can be surprising to control players when they are relying on countering a threat to stay alive. But then, I wanted more. I wanted some card draw options that were also modular. Why not add Abzan and Sultai Charms? They likely aren’t as good overall as Bant Charm, but then they allow me to play a Gifts Ungiven. Gifts can find any Charm and a Creature, four creatures, more removal… It’s just a value gifts.

A few good mana dorks in Birds and Hierarch, with a greedy multi-color mana base, and my monstrosity was born. I did run it through a few testing games, with mixed results. For the most part, performance was good. As I have already stated, Blood Moon is pretty much a blow-out. The fetches for basics and the mana dorks help, and in the three games where I saw Moon, they helped me die in one, but the card is a serious hoser for any four-color deck.

The Tidehollow Scullers are awesome. For the most part, the mana dorks allow the deck to “skip” the two-drop slot to move onto three mana spells, but Sculler is quite a great card on turn two regardless. Even taking a Lightning Bolt is fine, as if they want the bolt back, they have to Path the Sculler which is a very strong play… I considered playing 4 Qasali Pridemage in the maindeck. It is a solid Exalted creature against Affinity and Twin, and also gets a serious boost from the Liege. I could probably cut some Charms and the Gifts and the Tasigur to make room, but… Eh. That is untested :)

For the sideboard, any number of things can be played. Red cards aren’t typical in sideboards, and we play the four others. Whatever the meta is, I have so many slots to use that I can adapt. I will keep testing and keep you guys posted as to how my janky brew goes.

Thanks for reading, and see you next week for some Legacy action!

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