Breaking Turn 4, Breaking Modern: Eggs

Hi all,

Due to some sort of avian flu or other, many chicken farms in the United States of America have been forced to restart their egg game. One family in Ohio had to slaughter 5,000 chickens in order to prevent selling contaminated eggs. As a result, the cost of eggs in some places has doubled.

There’s a twisted Magic metaphor here.

The banning of [c]Second Sunrise[/c] brought a tragedy to eggs and wiped them out. Many players turned to [c]Urza’s Mine[/c], [c]Urza’s Power Plant[/c], and [c]Urza’s Tower[/c] to pay for the doubled cost of their eggs [c]Prophetic Prism[/c] and [c]Elsewhere Flask[/c]. I’m here to tell you, though, that there is another way.

Today I’m not bringing you a new brew but an old favorite that is well-positioned in today’s metagame. No one is playing graveyard hate, so some are playing a combination of [c]Griselbrand[/c], [c]Through the Breach[/c], and [c]Nourishing Shoal[/c] to draw lots of cards. Why not draw all the cards with [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] and dorky artifacts?

Like many of the great Modern decks, Jund, Twin, Infect, and Storm, Eggs has a rich and strained history with Modern. Also like those decks, it has fought banned list updates and made it to the other side. It is perhaps not as fast, but usually when decks lose speed, they gain resiliency. This is no exception. Recently many players brought the list into the Modern Festival Preliminaries on Magic Online and qualified for the main event easily.

The List

Before we get into playing the deck, here is the list. It is only a slight variation from MTGO player Spokes, who seems to be the mastermind behind the resurgence of the archetype.

[d title=”Drinkard Eggs”]
Land
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Ghost Quarter
5 Island
4 Plains
2 Radiant Fountain

Artifacts
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
1 Codex Shredder
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks
3 Lotus Bloom
4 Mox Opal
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Terrarion

Other spells
4 Faith’s Reward
3 Open the Vaults
4 Reshape
1 Tezzeret the Seeker

Sideboard
2 Erase
2 Void Snare
4 Defense Grid
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
2 Aether Spellbomb
4 Sunbeam Spellbomb
[/d]

The differences between my maindeck and Spokes’ are the [c]Tezzeret the Seeker[/c] and an extra [c]Open the Vaults[/c] in place of 2 [c]Edge of Autumn[/c].

Cards in my sideboard that are not in his include [c]Erase[/c], [c]Void Snare[/c], and [c]Aether Spellbomb[/c]. In their place, he plays 4 [c]Tormod’s Crypt[/c] and 2 [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c]. He argues that if anti-hate is necessary, then the deck needs to be put on hold for a bit. I think [c]Stony Silence[/c] is too common in the metagame, but its foils are easily drawn into with your draw effects.

Let’s analyze each of the components of the deck.

The lands
[c]Darksteel Citadel[/c] these help to turn on [c]Mox Opal[/c] and are often the first lands to sacrifice to [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] to activate a [c]Chromatic Sphere[/c] or [c]Chromatic Star[/c] for white. Additionally, if you should need white or blue mana, then you can activate [c]Ghost Quarter[/c] targeting citadel without being down a land.

[c]Ghost Quarter[/c] – Besides the mentioned interaction with [c]Darksteel Citadel[/c], [c]Ghost Quarter[/c] is insane with [c]Faith’s Reward[/c], granting you a new land drop with each resolution. The card randomly gives you wins against Bloom Titan also. Play [c]Ghost Quarter[/c] turn one, pass, and set yourself back one turn in order to set your opponent back the game. If they try to go off with [c]Summer Bloom[/c] and [c]Amulet of Vigor[/c], then simply respond to the trigger to destroy the tapped land.

[c]Radiant Fountain[/c] – These are much more versatile than they seem. Normally, Eggs decks play between 15-17 lands, but they also play more artifacts that draw a card upon entering the battlefield. Here, our artifacts don’t draw until we are comboing off or trying to. In match-ups where your life total matters, these can be a [c]Time Walk[/c] to get us to the critical turn. In match-ups where the life total doesn’t matter, our mana resources do. Whether it is resolving a spell through [c]Spell Pierce[/c] or [c]Mana Leak[/c] or just hitting our land drops to have [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] before an opponent can [c]Cryptic Command[/c] it, [c]Radiant Fountain[/c] is a necessary resource.

Artifacts
We have 16 card-drawing Eggs, 7 accelerants, 2 win-condition pieces, and 4 [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c], without which the deck usually doesn’t work (but it can). There are just a few things to take note of:

[c]Mox Opal[/c] – These are essential for developing your board early and having an early critical turn. Just remember to tap it for white or blue mana before you begin sacrificing your eggs. It is really awkward to hold [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] with 7 colorless mana and two artifacts on the board.

[c]Codex Shredder[/c] – If you see that you are on the [c]Open the Vaults[/c] plan, then you can activate these once per untap in order to build critical mass in your graveyard. This is especially important against Jund and other [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] match-ups.

[c]Chromatic Star[/c] and [c]Chromatic Sphere[/c] – Star will draw a card when used with [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c], and Sphere will not. Just remember that this fact does not necessarily mean that Star should not be used for colored mana or that Sphere should not be used for colorless. One mistake with these decisions can cost the game!

[c]Pyrite Spellbomb[/c] – This kill condition is played over [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c] in the maindeck because it is more powerful in the opening hand or as a top deck. Much like [c]Living End[/c] combo, we want to be able to put together cogs that later kill the opponent and minimize bad draws.

Other Spells
[c]Reshape[/c] – This is more versatile than it seems. Get [c]Mox Opal[/c] for overall development of board and to prevent blow-outs, [c]Lotus Bloom[/c] to go for it (and as a ‘ritual’ effect for one mana), [c]Ichor Wellspring[/c] to draw more cards, or [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] to get the wheels turning!

[c]Tezzeret the Seeker[/c] – While I have not activated his ultimate to date, it is a bizarre out against [c]Stony Silence[/c], [c]Rest in Peace[/c], and [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c]. What’s more, though, is that it is a fifth copy of [c]Reshape[/c] when it needs to be, [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] when that is what you need, or [c]Codex Shredder[/c] to cycle to the win. On your [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] turn, remove all of his counters to tutor up any artifact knowing that he’ll come back for another round.

[c]Open the Vaults[/c] and [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] – These are dead draws, the former more so than the latter, but they are the value win conditions. The third [c]Open the Vaults[/c] is a concession to the attrition and [c]Remand[/c] matches. Remember that [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] is an instant, so often you will cast two back to back or a [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] in response to their response to [c]Open the Vaults[/c] in games two and three.

Preparation

The deck is not quite as forgiving with opening hands as the Tron variety because of the times that cards such as [c]Terrarion[/c] draw cards for you in contrast to [c]Elsewhere Flask[/c] and [c]Prophetic Prism[/c]. Nonetheless, you generally want to look for one to three lands with the hopes of having four mana and access to a few artifacts on turns three and four. The four mana can come from lands, [c]Mox Opal[/c], a [c]Lotus Bloom[/c] to suspend, or a [c]Reshape[/c].

[c]Terrarion[/c] gets priority over other one mana artifacts in your early turns because you may need to use it for UU to cast [c]Reshape[/c].

Serving Up Breakfast

Soon you will need to do some math and determine that you will have a [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] in hand and W3 with a very small board. Additionally, the [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] needs to earn you some value in the form of artifacts that draw more cards. This can happen as early as turn two, but the earliest I’ve ever gone for the kill and succeeded is turn three.

Once you are able to use [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] and [c]Open the Vaults[/c], you will want to find [c]Codex Shredder[/c] quickly, using either [c]Tezzeret the Seeker[/c], [c]Reshape[/c], or off the top of your deck. Again, with Tezz, be sure to use all of his loyalty counters even though shredder costs one. In paper, you can ask the judge to present him a loop. On MTGO, you sacrifice enough artifacts to pay W8 and can draw infinite cards. 5 activates the shredder and W3 cast the [c]Faith’s Reward[/c] that you target with the shredder.

Eventually, you go infinite on your opponent with [c]Pyrite Spellbomb[/c], [c]Codex Shredder[/c], [c]Faith’s Reward[/c], and WR8. I prefer the 8 to come from cards that do not draw upon entering the battlefield, so you do not deck out.

Second Breakfast
..and elevensies.

Humpty Dumpty may have had a great fall when [c]Second Sunrise[/c] was banned, but this time around, without the use of a single horse, eggs have been put back together. It is good at times to set your opponent up for the kill without them being able to do much about it. Many cards in their deck and sideboard will be dead as they aim to eliminate creatures. Enjoy this essential part of a balanced breakfast.

Modern Festival Qualifying Decklists Analysis

Happy festival days, everyone!

Sunday is coming upon us quickly, and someone is going to win a copy of every Modern-legal card when all the dust settles. I will not be so brash as to say I can do it, but I certainly am eligible to compete. Today I’ll give you guys a list of the archetypes that could be brought to the event.

The decks that qualified for the main event are an interesting meta to me because they show what happens when Wizards really supports Modern. This has been quite a month for Modern players on Magic Online; every big event is in the format. Pro Tour Qualifiers, Magic Online Championship Series events, and of course the Festival have pulled people out of the woodwork of every other format. It’s Modern… for the rest of us. Examples of this include a domain deck with ten maindeck cards that hate burn, Travis Woo’s [c]Waste Not[/c] Storm deck, numerous Stompy and Death and Taxes builds, and event Mono-Green Infect.

Before posting data and charts, let me state a few odds and ends about the research.

1) There is one event with no input to this data. I began looking through the event results posted on the mothership yesterday and saw later that one last event was posted after I finished. Normally, we could all say “just throw on the new decks, and we’re fine,” but…

2) I only included one instance of each player with the same decklist. So when robert15184 posted 4-1 or 5-0 finishes with [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c] combo twice, I didn’t count it, but when he posted again with Simic Infect, there was a new entry. Obviously both of these decks will not be entered, but this is the best way to get a good guess at what will be brought to the table.

3) This data may or may not be useful to guess what lists will be used in the Festival itself. I would assume that the majority of players will dance with the girl they brought, but those with the financial wherewithal and understanding of what to do in light of the top-performing decks will likely change. Additionally, players seemed to have slight shifts toward things that Luis Scott-Vargas, Gerry Thompson, and other big names were doing. Jund and [c]Living End[/c] combo seemed to perform after pros performed with them.

4) My biggest regret is that early on in the data collection, I did not distinguish between Grixis lists that play [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] and [c]Young Pyromancer[/c] alongside their [c]Gurmag Angler[/c], [c]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/c], and [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] and those that did not. They are all “Grixis Control.”

5) This research is lousy with the human element. I don’t consider myself qualified to get this data and present it to you all effectively, but I saw that no one else was doing it. I certainly will not be recommending what to do with the data as far as what deck will win, what you should play, or how you should prepare a sideboard.

Let’s get onto it then!

There were 61 different archetypes that went 4-1 or 5-0 in 22 events.

Modern Festival Qualifiers Event Archetypes

The top three archetypes are:
1) Grixis Control (Delver and no-Delver variants) with 64 lists
2) Burn with 44 lists
3) Jund and Affinity tied at 35 lists

Twin variants, including TarmoTwin, U/R Twin, and Grixis Twin, make up 55 lists, so it is technically the second most popular archetype.

The other archetypes that posted between 10 and 34 times include:
Gruul Tron 24
Grixis Twin 19
Merfolk 17
Bloom Titan 17
Naya Zoo 17
Elves 15
Living End 13
Grishoalbrand 11
Infect 11
TarmoTwin 10

Abzan Midrange posted a surprisingly low 7 times, and Scapeshift, Ad Nauseam, and Little Kid posted 6 times.

The “Other” Category

Archetypes that posted five or less times are lumped together in the “Other” category. Nearly unique archetypes make nearly a fifth of the qualifying lists.

Five posts:
1) Abzan Company
2) Bogles
3) U/R Storm

Four posts:
1) Azorius Control
2) Jeskai Control
3) Eggs

Three posts:
1) Tribal Flames Zoo
2) Suicide Zoo
3) Dredgevine
4) Esper Control
5) Mono U Tron
6) Soul Sisters

Two posts:
1) Makeshift
2) Stompy
3) Azorius Tron
4) Orzhov Tokens
5) MartyrProc
6) #TeamGeist
7) Mardu Midrange
8) Rakdos Midrange
9) RUG
10) Kiki Chord
11) Death And Taxes
12) Ghostway

And all the one-ofs:
1) Mill
2) Boros Troll
3) Travis Wizard Waste Not
4) Jeskai Ascendancy
5) Mono-Green Infect
6) Tribal Control Brew
7) Arbor Gifts
8) Restore Balance
9) TopControl
10) Sligh
11) Aristocrats
12) GW Hatebears
13) Faeries
14) UR Delver
15) Esper Gifts
16) Bant Company
17) Mardu Land Destruction
18) Jeskai Twin

The Modern Festivus! Conclusion

Many players have been airing out their grievances about Modern as a format, but this data shows you that the best-performing deck is the grindy Grixis Control list. Personally, I find it satisfying that only one Lantern Control deck made it to the Festival because I know people brought it. I will be bringing a certain deck with a great strength-to-weight ratio: the Modern Festival Pole, I’ll call it.

What deck will win the feats of strength? Some of the decks with lower numbers have long-time Modern grinders that have performed well with them over the course of years. Will choosing a deck or being skillful be more important on Sunday?

Good luck all. Have fun.

-drinkard

 

Release the Kraken!

golgari grave troll art

“The ocean is big and blue. I just wanna sink to the bottom with you.”
-Fountains of Wayne

Introduction

Before Pascal Maynard was infamous for having some fiscal sense in a GP, I respected him for his Modern Dredge deck. I faced him round one of a daily and watched him dredge 18 cards on turn two. The cards included [c]Unburial Rites[/c], [c]Bloodghast[/c], and [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c]. In short, my clock was ticking, and fast. A [c]Narcomoeba[/c] and another [c]Bloodghast[/c] later, in addition to his [c]Greenseeker[/c] (of all things!), and I was to be attacked for well over 25 trampling damage on turn 4. Here is the deck he was playing:

[d title=”Garltik Dredge (Modern)”]
Lands
4 Windswept Heath
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Blood Crypt
1 Temple Garden
1 Stomping Ground
1 Godless Shrine
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Forest
1 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Swamp

Creatures
4 Bloodghast
4 Narcomoeba
4 Greenseeker
4 Llanowar Mentor
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Stinkweed Imp
3 Craterhoof Behemoth

Other spells
4 Faithless Looting
3 Life from the Loam
4 Lightning Axe
4 Unburial Rites

Sideboard
4 Ancient Grudge
4 Engineered Explosives
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Gnaw to the Bone [/d]

I really loved what he was up to, and I acquired the deck that night. When I was taking it out for a spin, though, I noticed a lot of times that I would limp out of the gates. Whether one of my precious 1/1 enablers were killed before I could untap with them, a card with Dredge never appeared, or the only engine piece I had was [c]Faithless Looting[/c], I found [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c] to be less exciting in this deck than, say, Legacy Elves. Why jump through all these hoops when the end result was a non-lethal 5/5 for 4? With all the power creep going on, is a [c]Juzam Djinn[/c] even playable?

None of this is to say that Maynard failed brewing this up. The deck is extremely consistent at turn 4 kills, and in the control matches where [c]Unburial Rites[/c] will not resolve, we have recurring 10/10 [c]Golgari Grave-Troll[/c]s as backup.

Nevertheless, I wanted a fatty that would come into play and virtually win the game immediately even if the only thing I had done all game was cast [c]Faithless Looting[/c]. I tried [c]Iona, Shield of Emeria[/c] and [c]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/c], and while both did win many games on their own, there were still games that they weren’t enough. I consulted results from Legacy daily events and found this gem tucked away in some of their sideboards:

[c]Stormtide Leviathan [/c]

He doesn’t win immediately, but he shuts down most opponents (I’ll get to you later, Affinity and Merfolk), and he wraps up the game in 2 to 3 attacks.

Then I decided that instead of going all Job 40 on people, I was going to go Job 41 on them. (Plus 1 for getting the reference.)

stormtide leviathan art

My adaptation

Immediately, the first change is to take out [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c] and replace them with [c]Stormtide Leviathan[/c]. During my practice sessions, against Zoo, Burn, and other aggressive decks, I was tremendously disappointed with [c]Bloodghast[/c]. So often, I needed him as a blocker, and he wouldn’t come to my aid. Now that he can’t attack when we have gone off, he is certainly on the chopping block. [c]Narcomoeba[/c], meanwhile, helps us get to our critical turn by blocking [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] et al. Additionally, [c]Stormtide Leviathan[/c] making our lands into [c]Island[/c]s allows us to cast the worthless Narcs that would otherwise be totally dead draws.

In place of the 4 [c]Bloodghast[/c], we have a few packages that are interesting to me:

A) 2 [c]Vengeful Pharoah[/c] + 2 [c]Gnaw to the Bone[/c]
B) 4 [c]Lingering Souls[/c]
C) 4 [c]Tormenting Voice[/c]
D) 4 [c]Simian Spirit Guide[/c]

Each of these serve some different functions. Option A makes the most of a good thing. You want to beat Zoo and Burn nearly 100% of matches? Here you go. Since Merfolk is a problem (Islandwalking creatures can attack), it is nice to combine these two cards and try to see if they stall long enough for [c]Vengeful Pharoah[/c] and a dredge card can wrath their board. Option B is helpful against Affinity and Infect, providing critical blockers. Additionally, it is solid in the control matchups that suffer some from losing [c]Bloodghast[/c]. Option C gives us another enabler, allowing for dredging 12 on turn 2 even without our one-drops. Finally, option D allows for a turn 3 combo. With [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c], this was bad because he wouldn’t have enough company. Now, with a standalone reanimation fatty, it is an option to consider.

I tested each option some and found A and B to be the best because they operate after being dredged. Option B wins out because it helps favorable and unfavorable matchups.

The sideboard is going to change a bit to help us against the three decks that can still attack us: Affinity, Infect, and Merfolk. Here is what we’re left with:

[d title=”Behold the Leviathan (Modern)”]
Land
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Windswept Heath
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Blood Crypt
1 Godless Shrine
1 Stomping Ground
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Temple Garden
1 Forest
1 Plains
1 Mountain
1 Swamp

Creatures
4 Narcomoeba
4 Llanowar Mentor
4 Greenseeker
3 Stormtide Leviathan
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Stinkweed Imp

Other Spells
4 Faithless Looting
4 Unburial Rites
4 Lingering Souls
4 Lightning Axe
3 Life from the Loam

Sideboard
1 Blazing Archon
1 Terastodon
2 Vengeful Pharaoh
4 Gnaw to the Bone
4 Ancient Grudge
3 Abrupt Decay [/d]

How does this monstrosity work?

Well, the gameplan is simple, and there are not too many decisions to make. This was going to go under the Linear Primers series, but I felt that more established archetypes should go there.

Essentially, we want to discard dredge cards into the graveyard, dredge every draw step that we can, and cast [c]Unburial Rites[/c] targeting [c]Stormtide Leviathan[/c] for the soft lock and kill. By turn 4 (or 3 if we have accelerated with [c]Llanowar Mentor[/c]), we want to have a fatty in the graveyard with [c]Unburial Rites[/c] and four mana, one of them being white.

greenseeker mtg

Turn Zero

In order to do this, we need a hand that contains one of the following things:

A) Two mana sources, one of them green, a discard outlet, and a dredge card
B) A [c]Greenseeker[/c]
C) A [c]Llanowar Mentor[/c] and a white source

With option A, we can find [c]Life from the Loam[/c] and get the colors and lands we need.

Option B is simplest because it operates on green mana alone and can find the colors we need as well as discard cards.

Option C allows us to ramp, flashback [c]Unburial Rites[/c], and discard.

Other than these things, most hands are mulligans. An ideal opening hand will include one of these and a dredge card.

Turn One

Sometimes our opener presents a few decisions. If you have multiple enablers, which takes priority between [c]Faithless Looting[/c], [c]Greenseeker[/c], and [c]Llanowar Mentor[/c]?

If you have two lands in your opening hand that produce green mana, then [c]Llanowar Mentor[/c] should be played first. You can cast [c]Greenseeker[/c] afterward to get the other colors you need, and you will benefit from the mana acceleration.

Otherwise, a creature should get priority over [c]Faithless Looting[/c]. First of all, looting is more powerful when you already have a dredge card in the graveyard, and secondly, you want the creature to be active on turn two rather than three.

Playing in MTGO, remember to set a stop at your upkeep to ensure you activate your creatures or cast [c]Lightning Axe[/c] and dredge cards from your library during your draw step.

Against control, simply play your creatures out as you are able, and recur [c]Golgari Grave-Troll[/c]s for beatdown. If you ever have a window, go ahead and cast [c]Unburial Rites[/c]. Stop dredging when you are under 30 cards in your library.

Against everything else, go off as soon as possible, and enjoy the easy ride to victory! A fatty that prevents your opponent’s creatures from attacking AND blocking is rather sweet!

Sideboarding is fairly simple. The matchups where [c]Lightning Axe[/c] can be cut are easy to identify. Otherwise, you can shave on combo pieces, particularly against combo and aggro.

8-man report

In the midst of testing this, I accidentally queued it up for an 8-man and didn’t realize it until going into round one versus burn. Expecting to see a [c]Death’s Shadow[/c] in my opening hand and instead seeing a [c]Llanowar Mentor[/c], I was in for quite a shock.

RD 1 Burn 2-1
You will likely lose 90% of game 1s against burn, but with 4 [c]Gnaw to the Bone[/c] (for combo pieces and [c]Lightning Axe[/c]), games 2 and 3 are so easy.

RD 2 Zoo 2-0
Somehow he stumbled game one enough for me to chump block into [c]Stormtide Leviathan[/c]. I was at 4 life, so he had two turns (because of his manabase) to draw [c]Boros Charm[/c] or some combination of bolts, and he did not.
Other than his misstep in game 1, this match is much like Burn.

RD 3 Anafenza’s Company 2-0
He has [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c], but [c]Lightning Axe[/c] took care of him before he got out of hand. Besides, the deck is constricted on green mana if you are able to dredge well. You are slightly concerned for their infinite combos, but with [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] and [c]Lightning Axe[/c], you should be able to keep the problem under control.

I had no intention of writing about this deck until after this mistake, but once I played these decks and found them to be such a cakewalk to beat, I realized that this deck is very powerful. I want to play some ranked events where I encounter Merfolk, Affinity, and Infect to be sure, but I am otherwise positive that this deck is an easy one to acquire some packs and qualifying points!

-drinkard

Tribal Fun in Modern #7: Silvery Slivers

sliver hivelord art

On with another week of Tribal Fun in Modern! This is going to be another fairly laid back week. This week I’ll try to make the best of the great casual tribe of slivers. Here is the deck:

[d title=”Slivers (Modern)”]

Lands
4 Mutavault
4 Sliver Hive
4 Cavern of Souls
3 Verdant Catacombs
1 Windswept Heath
1 Godless Shrine
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Watery Grave
1 Blood Crypt
1 Swamp
1 Forest

Creatures
3 Homing Sliver
3 Manaweft Sliver
4 Necrotic Sliver
2 Harmonic Sliver
4 Galerider Sliver
4 Sedge Sliver
4 Predatory Sliver
4 Sinew Sliver
2 Sliver Legion

Artifacts
4 Aether Vial

Instants and Sorceries
4 Abrupt Decay

Sideboard:
1 Harmonic Sliver
3 Thoughtseize
2 Relic of Progenitus
3 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Combust
4 Mana Leak [/d]

A deck somewhat similar to this did well in Grand Prix Milan towards the end of last year. As always, I am going to give you the run-down on card choices, strategy, play style, match-up and sideboarding guide, and some different versions of the deck.

[c]Homing Sliver[/c] and [c]Manaweft Sliver[/c] are the straight up utility cards. [c]Homing Sliver[/c] allows for you to fetch any sliver you need. [c]Manaweft Sliver[/c] allows for ramp, fixing, and blocking all day when combined with [c]Sedge Sliver[/c].

[c]Necrotic Sliver[/c] and [c]Harmonic Sliver[/c] destroys things. [c]Necrotic Sliver[/c] can do some work and allow all of your slivers (+3 mana) to trade with anything on the board. He is a real powerhouse. [c]Harmonic Sliver[/c] can do some work against Affinity and can be fetched if need be. He is not nearly as good as [c]Necrotic Sliver[/c] but still warrants an inclusion in the deck.

[c]Galerider Sliver[/c], [c]Sedge Sliver[/c], [c]Predatory Sliver[/c], [c]Sinew Sliver[/c], and [c]Sliver Legion[/c] are the slivers that win you the game. [c]Galerider Sliver[/c] allows for great early evasion. [c]Sedge Sliver[/c] likely provides a nice +1/+1 boost and allows for regeneration, which is very nice. [c]Predatory Sliver[/c] and [c]Sinew Sliver[/c] both allow for very nice aggression and are cheap anthem effects. [c]Sliver Legion[/c] probably just means that any sliver will get through for lethal. It is a [c]Coat of Arms[/c] effect.

[c]Abrupt Decay[/c] is the only spell-based removal in the deck and can get rid of problems. [c]Aether Vial[/c] allows for great aggression and acts as somewhat of a mana fixer.

The land base is pretty complex. [c]Mutavault[/c] is the only colorless land and acts as a big sliver. [c]Sliver Hive[/c] is a five color land and pumps out 1/1 slivers late game. [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] is as good as ever.

The strategy is a bit in-depth. I don’t know a ton about the deck, as I haven’t tested it a ton, but still, it plays all five colors, so make sure that you play your lands in an effective manner. As well, the deck is fairly aggressive. In general I like to keep [c]Aether Vial[/c]s at 2 counters, ticking up to 3 as I need it. The deck is fairly aggressive so try to dump out your hand and use your on a stick removal only when you really need it or to push in for some extra damage. As well, the deck has a decent late game.

Mulligans are tricky with this deck, especially game 1. Generally, if you feel a hand is too narrow I would generally probably still keep it, as that means that there are a lot of outs you can draw into to make the hand increasingly better.

The deck plays like a casual slivers deck. There is a lot of pumping of the whole team and games feel hectic but fast paced. I don’t really know any other way to describe it.

As I said I haven’t tested this deck a ton and it seems like it is fairly high variance so it is fairly 50%/50% in most matchups. It generally does a little better against Tron and Twin. The extra [c]Harmonic Sliver[/c] is for Affinity. The [c]Thoughtseize[/c]s are if you need early disruption, such as a Twin, control, or combo matchup. The [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c] are for anything graveyard and anything that runs [c]Tarmogoyf[/c]. The [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] is for the burn matchup, the [c]Combust[/c] against Twin, abzan, and anything white or blue, and the [c]Mana Leak[/c] is if you can slow down and want to take more of a control/tempo route.

There are so many slivers out there to change up the deck but those I recommend are [c]Bonescythe Sliver[/c], [c]Darkheart Sliver[/c], [c]Diffusion Sliver[/c], [c]Fury Sliver[/c], [c]Hibernation Sliver[/c], [c]Leeching Sliver[/c], [c]Megantic Sliver[/c] and [c]Sliver Hivelord[/c]. These all could potentially find a home in the deck. As well, of course you can play with the numbers and reduce to possibly 3 colors (jund, abzan, mardu, naya).

Thank you for the continued support of the series and I hope you have some fun times playing with this sliver deck! I can talk to you about any choices in the comments! Feel free to ask.

-Dylan

 

Tribal Fun in Modern #6: Elves

elvish visionary art wide

Today we will be looking at the infamous tribe of elves. This deck has a minor combo in it, but here is the list:

[d title=”Elves (Modern)”]

Creatures:
4 Arbor Elf
4 Devoted Druid
3 Elvish Mystic
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Heritage Druid
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Elvish Archdruid
2 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
1 Imperious Perfect
1 Elvish Champion
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Regal Force
1 Reclamation Sage

Instants and Sorceries
3 Chord of Calling

Lands
12 Forest
3 Cavern of Souls
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Sideboard
3 Choke
2 Creeping Corrosion
3 Dismember
1 Plow Under
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Tajaru Preserver
2 Spellskite [/d]

A deck rather similar to this top 16ed at a Grand Prix fairly recently, so I like to think that this is quite a good deck (and it is fairly budget). As always, I am going to give you the run-down on card choices, strategy, play style, matchup and sideboarding guide, and some different versions of the deck.

Of course the deck is very creature-heavy, running 38 creatures. [c]Arbor Elf[/c], [c]Devoted Druid[/c], [c]Elvish Mystic[/c], [c]Llanowar Elves[/c], and [c]Heritage Druid[/c] all are the mana dorks of the deck. [c]Devoted Druid[/c] is part of a combo I will get to later. These all help accelerate into the bombs.

The [c]Nettle Sentinel[/c]s are great aggressive cards that basically always have vigilance and can help accelerate a lot with [c]Heritage Druid[/c].

The 1-of [c]Reclamation Sage[/c] helps toolbox against annoying artifacts and enchantments and can help game 1 against affinity.

The lords of the deck include [c]Elvish Archdruid[/c], who not only pumps you elves but also generates a lot of mana, [c]Ezuri, Renegade Leader[/c], who provides protection and an overrun effect to all of your elves and is the second piece to the combo, [c]Imperious Perfect[/c], who not only pumps all of your elves, but also churns out elves him/her/itself, and a 1-of [c]Elvish Champion[/c] to fetch against anything that runs forests. So the combo, 2 [c]Devoted Druid[/c]s and [c]Ezuri, Renegade Leader[/c] and 1 untapped land means that you can not only get infinite overruns, but also infinite mana.

Use that infinite mana to cast some of your big finishers. [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c] and [c]Regal Force[/c], who both provide tremendous advantage and [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c] could win you the game on the spot.

The list only has 3 [c]Chord of Calling[/c] because I couldn’t really tell the difference and I really wanted the 19th land.

Speaking of lands, they are pretty basic. The [c]Nyxthos, Shrine to Nyx[/c] can generate a lot of mana most the time and the only reason I run 3 [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] rather than 4 is because [c]Chord of Calling[/c] requires triple green.

The strategy is fairly simple. It is a bit like an aggro deck. Play your mana dorks then very quickly you will be able to dump you whole hand and either beat down with the elves you already have or fetch a finisher via [c]Chord of Calling[/c] well before they’re ready to deal with it.

The deck feels very aggressive. Unlike the aggro decks of today, it feels very old-school. As well, it has a combo feel. It also is a big beatdown deck. To compare it to another deck, it feels like Storm or Affinity. There is one turn where you “go off.”

The matchups for the deck are decent. Generally it can beat Abzan and most control decks (UWx Midrange, Tron, etc.).

It has more 50%/50% match-ups against traditional aggro decks, RDW, Boros Burn, Infect, Scapeshift, and Affinity and probably has about a 40%/60% matchup against Twin, despite little interaction.

The [c]Choke[/c]s are for anything that is blue (Twin, control, etc.), the [c]Creeping Corrosion[/c] is for Affinity, the [c]Dismember[/c]s are for Abzan, Twin, and other creature-heavy decks, the [c]Plow Under[/c] is for Tron and Scapeshift, the [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c] is for Abzan and any graveyard-based strategy (Dredgevine, reanimator, etc.), the [c]Tajaru Preserver[/c] comes in against Abzan, Death and Taxes, and basically anything that runs [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c].

Finally, the [c]Spellskite[/c] is for Twin, Burn, and anything else relevant.

Some other spins on the deck include removing the [c]Chord of Calling[/c]s and going for an all creature deck. Some creatures to add include [c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c] and [c]Joraga Warcaller[/c] as another lord. As well, [c]Ezuri, Renegade Leader[/c] can be cut to 1 to make room for 4 [c]Chord of Calling[/c]s.

Also, you can change the numbers, finisher package, and play around with some spell-based interaction.

That’s it for this week. Again, feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments and I can talk with you about them.

Thanks! -Dylan

Linear Primers: Suicide Zoo, Part 2

temur battle rage

Hi all,

Last week I introduced you to a list that was brought to the Modern scene by MTGO user _matsugan. The take I have been playing is more like the user SUM0364’s version, with one less [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c] and one maindeck [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c]. The sideboard has 2 [c]Faith’s Shield[/c] in place of the 2 [c]Pact of Negation[/c] to protect your creatures even on the turn where you aren’t winning and for utility against Burn.

My success with the deck includes a number of 8-man queue wins as well as 3-1 and 4-0 daily finishes. I handily won the requisite 15 qualifying points for the Magic Online Championship Series in as many events.

As promised, today I will analyze some of the match-ups and present sideboarding strategies. First, let me remind you of the list.

[d title=”Suicide Zoo (Modern)”]
Land
4 Marsh Flats
4 Wooded Foothills
2 Arid Mesa
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Windswept Heath
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Temple Garden
1 Blood Crypt
1 Overgrown Tomb

Creatures
4 Death’s Shadow
4 Wild Nacatl
4 Steppe Lynx
2 Monastery Swiftspear
1 Hooting Mandrills
4 Street Wraith

Other Spells
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Mishra’s Bauble
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Temur Battle Rage
4 Become Immense

Sideboard
4 Thoughtseize
4 Nourishing Shoal
3 Hooting Mandrills
2 Faith’s Shield
2 Ancient Grudge [/d]

The top six decks listed on Goldfish are:
1) U/R Twin
2) Burn
3) Grixis Delver
4) Junk
5) Abzan Company
6) Jund

I’m going to call some audibles here and include other pervasive matchups:
7) Affinity
8) Bloom Titan
9) Tron Variants

Let me present to you my history with these matchups, how you should sideboard, match notes, and what I think the matchup percentage would be in a larger sample than my games. I want to add here that all of my records are in ranked play, whether in 2-man queues, 8-man queues, or daily events. There are no tournament practice room or friendly matches here. I’ve even ignored Player Run Events results, even though I have a result in the money there.

Vs. Twin

My record: 4-0 (3-0 versus Izzet Twin, 1-0 versus Tarmo Twin)

Sideboarding: [c]Become Immense[/c] is a liability when the opponent is likely to bring in [c]Vapor Snag[/c] and additional counters such as [c]Negate[/c] and [c]Dispel[/c]. In their place, we want [c]Thoughtseize[/c]. One [c]Ancient Grudge[/c] is likely a good choice too.

Notes: They are a turn four combo deck, and we are a turn three combo deck. I have never had any trouble against any Twin variant, and with it being the number one cashing deck, I am more than happy to play Suicide Zoo. They may tap down one creature with [c]Deceiver Exarch[/c], but they still often need to block the other, at which point you pump and remove their combo piece.
They will side in [c]Vedalken Shackles[/c] and [c]Blood Moon[/c]. To prevent them from gaining control of your creatures, [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c] is a beauty. There is nothing you can do about [c]Blood Moon[/c], but if they tap out turn three to play it, you usually win with free spells and [c]Temur Battle Rage[/c].

Match Verdict: Highly favorable, 80-20 or better.

Vs. Burn

My record: 2-2

Sideboarding: We have to bring in [c]Faith’s Shield[/c], [c]Nourishing Shoal[/c]s, and extra copies of [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c]. [c]Thoughtseize[/c] targets are often better discarded than cast, so we end up with -1 [c]Temur Battle Rage[/c], -2 [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c], -4 [c]Steppe Lynx[/c], -4 [c]Street Wraith[/c] for +4 [c]Nourishing Shoal[/c], +3 [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c], +2 [c]Faith’s Shield[/c] and +2 [c]Thoughtseize[/c]. We can afford to go less wide here because there often are no blockers, and we can eliminate some of the value from [c]Searing Blaze[/c].

Notes: This is the worst matchup. In this small sample, I think that I’ve stolen two match wins away on the back of [c]Death’s Shadow[/c] alone, but this is unreliable in the long term. [c]Nourishing Shoal[/c] and [c]Faith’s Shield[/c] are good at what they do: giving us one extra turn. Your opponent may have [c]Path to Exile[/c] and [c]Deflecting Palm[/c] for the loss.

Match Verdict: Highly unfavorable, 20-80. This means that Suicide Zoo is best when you can advance and finish in the money with X-2, but Burn isn’t prevalent enough to avoid entering 8-mans and dailies altogether with Suicide Zoo. (Sidenote: RIP Modern Premier Events!)

Grixis Delver

My record: 3-1

Sideboarding: This is the toughest match to sideboard. Again, [c]Become Immense[/c] has to go out because of all the instant-speed removal. We want to go wide and protect ourselves from removal, so I go -4 [c]Become Immense[/c], -4 [c]Street Wraith[/c] for +3 [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c], +2 [c]Faith’s Shield[/c] and +3 [c]Thoughtseize[/c].

Notes: [c]Murderous Cut[/c], [c]Inquisition of Kozilek[/c], [c]Terminate[/c], and [c]Vapor Snag[/c] are some of our least favorite cards besides [c]Path to Exile[/c]. [c]Slaughter Pact[/c], if they play it, is our least favorite card. [c]Young Pyromancer[/c] provides blockers for days. A flipped Delver is unblockable. The match looks grim, but the opponent will be doing himself a lot of damage, and he has to tap out fairly aggressively to apply pressure. This strain usually creates a window for you to get some creatures to attack, and one of them will be able to finish the opponent off.

Match Verdict: Although I am sitting at 75%, I imagine in a larger sample the match is closer to even or die roll dependent.

Junk

My record: 4-3

Sideboarding: +3 [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c], +2 [c]Faith’s Shield[/c], +2 [c]Thoughtseize[/c], -3 [c]Become Immense[/c], -4 [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c]. The growths are less applicable here when removal does not damage. [c]Faith’s Shield[/c] evades [c]Lingering Souls[/c] tokens and “counters” [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] and [c]Path to Exile[/c].

Notes: Their game depends on having [c]Thoughtseize[/c] into [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] or [c]Path to Exile[/c] into [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c]. Any game this doesn’t happen is one that I am extremely favored. If they can untap with Lily, and I have no creatures, then I can write it off as a loss. I like my odds in any game where they open with creatures, as mine are just bigger and better, especially when a [c]Become Immense[/c] shrinks down the opposing [c]Tarmogoyf[/c].

Match Verdict: In two back to back matches I lost to Abzan Junk after repeatedly taking mulligans and flooding thereafter. Unlike the Burn matchup, variance has misrepresented the Abzan matchup to be even when really I believe it to be 70-30 or better in favor of Suicide Zoo.

Abzan Company

My record: 2-1

Sideboarding: [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c], [c]Ancient Grudge[/c], and [c]Thoughtseize[/c] come in for [c]Become Immense[/c] and [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c].

Notes: If possible, bolt the bird.

Trample makes all the difference in this matchup. Remember that any creature and land combination equaling five likely means that [c]Chord of Calling[/c] can get [c]Spellskite[/c] at instant speed. They have [c]Kitchen Finks[/c] which are annoying, but as long as they do not go infinite, any life total is subject to a double striking [c]Death’s Shadow[/c] attack for up to 38 (it’s my record high).

Match Verdict: Abzan Company is, as they say, all the rage, and the deck is still in its infancy. Its build and play will improve over time, but right now, I think that in a larger sample of games the percentage would fall between 55-45 and where it is now.

Vs. Jund

My record: 2-1

Sideboarding: Cuts and sideboard choices are more difficult here than against Abzan because of [c]Lightning Bolt[/c]. We can no longer cut [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c] with ease. -3 [c]Become Immense[/c], -4 [c]Lightning Bolt[/c], +3 [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c], +3 [c]Thoughtseize[/c].

Notes: This match is slightly more difficult for me than the Abzan match, but at the same time, we aren’t concerned with some of the benefits of playing Jund over Junk. Namely, [c]Dark Confidant[/c] is not great against us. Their life total is lowered, and their mana is so constrained in the early game anyway that it is difficult to make use of the removal, cheap and efficient though it may be. Fortunately, [c]Siege Rhino[/c], [c]Lingering Souls[/c], and [c]Path To Exile[/c] are not used here.

Match Verdict: I would give a few more percentage points to Jund over Junk. 65-35 Suicide Zoo.

Vs. Affinity

My record: 1-2

Sideboarding: We want trample and [c]Ancient Grudge[/c], so [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c] can come out for them.

Notes: What a tough match for Suicide Zoo. Affinity goes wide right away, and its [c]Galvanic Blast[/c] are so much stronger than [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] in other matches. Aside from the hate from blockers and removal, they have a very significant clock. [c]Temur Battle Rage[/c] is our key card, and all hope rests on him.

Match Verdict: After more games in ranked play I may come up with a better solution in the sideboard. [c]Apostle’s Blessing[/c], for example, may prove better than [c]Faith’s Shield[/c] in an overall metagame. Still, as is, I think the matchup is between my 33% and 40-60 in Affinity’s favor. Their sideboard bombs are way better than ours: [c]Blood Moon[/c], [c]Spellskite[/c], and, most notably, [c]Chalice of the Void[/c].

Vs. Bloom Titan

My record: 0-3 sad times.

Sideboarding: +4 [c]Thoughtseize[/c] for [c]Lightning Bolt[/c], and [c]Ancient Grudge[/c]s for [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c].

Notes: This is a race. The opponent is fast and can interact with you, and you cannot do much to interact with him. He plays our least favorite cards: [c]Pact of Negation[/c] and [c]Slaughter Pact[/c], and he can randomly win as fast as we can.

Match Verdict: I have spoken with some Bloom Titan players about the matchup, and they say that they must have an incredible opening hand to win the games. In real life, I suppose this is easy for Bloom Titan, but even online, I have a complete losing record. In multiple games here, I’ve gotten stuck with opening hands that had an unplayable [c]Death’s Shadow[/c] or [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c] that gave them time they needed to win. I think in a larger sample, my record would come up to a good 40-60, maybe even better.

I will add a note here saying that I hate Bloom Titan. I know I have no room to complain since I’m on a turn 3 combo-aggro deck, but they’re on the combo attack plan with an alternate route and some interactive spells. So I will complain. [c]Summer Bloom[/c] needs to go.

Vs. Tron

My record: 3-1 versus Gruul Tron, 1-0 vs. Azorius Tron, 1-0 versus [c]Open the Vaults[/c] Tron, and 1-0 vs. Mono Blue Tron

Sideboarding: [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] and [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c] are likely cuts for [c]Thoughtseize[/c] and, when applicable, [c]Ancient Grudge[/c]

Notes: These are easy. They take a long time to develop, and we win in a short time. I had to highlight this match because all the various forms are picking up in popularity online, and this is a good reason to play Suicide Zoo.

Match Verdict: I can’t believe I lost a match to Gruul Tron. It is an incredibly favorable match, and variance really didn’t work out for me in the opening hands and early development. I had to win before [c]Ugin, the Spirit Dragon[/c] was dropped, and I didn’t. At a 6-1 match record, I genuinely believe that for every six match wins against an opposing Tron build, I would lose only once or less.

Conclusion

This concludes my write-up on my favorite deck in Modern at the moment. I just can’t believe how well Wizards knocked it out of the park with the Ferocious and Delve mechanics. Who would ever have guessed that Ferocious would have more application in constructed than limited?

Were there any matches that you were interested in that I missed? Otherwise, do you have any questions about how to play the deck, particularly in certain match-ups? If so, let me know in the comments below!

-drinkard

 

Linear Primers: Suicide Zoo, Part 1

become immense

Hi all,

Modern is a format that rewards players for choosing decks that win as quickly and efficiently as possible. The top decks to prepare your 75 cards against are Burn, Affinity, Grixis Delver, Twin, Abzan, Infect, and Bloom Titan. The latter two are most capable of exploding and winning by turn 3. Burn and Affinity are less explosive but more consistent at winning by turn 4. Splinter Twin is a “slower” combo deck that wins on turn 4 or later, but it has means of controlling the opponent until the pieces come together. Delver and Abzan are capable of winning quickly or grinding the opponent out.

Aside from these top lists, Bogles, Collected Company Elves, Merfolk, G/R Tron, and other lists are fairly linear. For purposes of this article series, I am using “linear” to describe decks that have a limited number of decisions to make in the early turns where decision-making is critical. When plays open up, the decisions are likely irrelevant. Of the above list, Tron is likely the least linear, but once you figure out a few nuances, its early turns are very similar.

Background

This month I decided to qualify for MOCS. It will be the first time since I got MTGO two years ago that I have attempted to do it, and at this article’s writing, I am 13/15 the way there. I have earned these points, easily might I add, on the back of a Modern linear strategy: Suicide Zoo. I am profiting while playing in 8-man queues and maintaining a 60% win rate.

[d title=”Suicide Zoo (Modern)”]
Land
4 Marsh Flats
4 Wooded Foothills
2 Arid Mesa
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Windswept Heath
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Temple Garden
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Blood Crypt

Creatures
4 Wild Nacatl
4 Death’s Shadow
4 Steppe Lynx
2 Monastery Swiftspear
1 Hooting Mandrills
4 Street Wraith

Other Spells
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Mishra’s Bauble
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Become Immense
4 Temur Battle Rage

Sideboard
4 Thoughtseize
4 Nourishing Shoal
3 Hooting Mandrills
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Faith’s Shield[/d]

While the deck is explosive and extremely consistent at turn three kills, it also plays through a lot of disruption. I am undefeated in 3 ranked matches against Twin, and I am highly favored in the Abzan matchup as well. The deck has a surprising ability to go wide for so few creatures because of all the cantrips, and all you need is one opening to end the game.

This deck is more powerful than the sum of its parts. Consider the resources that you use which are unlike any resource pools that any other deck takes advantage of:

  1. Land-drops, particularly from fetch-lands, enabling ferocious and explosive power from [c]Steppe Lynx[/c].
  2. A low life total produces a lethal [c]Death’s Shadow[/c].
  3. Cards in graveyard enable the casting of [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c] and [c]Become Immense[/c].
  4. Non-creature spells power up [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c].

Each of these cogs rotate together very smoothly and powerfully. When you are making your land drops, you are building your graveyard and lowering your life total. Cyclers like [c]Street Wraith[/c] and [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c] lower your life total and increase the graveyard resource. Comboing out with [c]Temur Battle Rage[/c] and [c]Become Immense[/c] naturally powers up [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c] as well.

Because of the interaction between these resources, it is very inadvisable to make any changes to the deck. Many people are tempted to change the land base or bring in [c]Goblin Guide[/c], but both of these changes create a marginal increase in consistency with a huge collapse in explosiveness. The deck is a brick wall that stands strong but needs all of its components.

The next question that comes to everyone’s mind when they see [c]Become Immense[/c] is “Why not just play Infect?” After all, [c]Become Immense[/c] and a creature deals 70% of the damage needed to kill with Infect and only 33% of the damage needed to kill with regular damage. To answer this, I say that this our opponents’ Modern mana-bases are dealing damage to them, that our creatures have more durable backsides, and we play more creatures than Infect can. I have played with Infect, and I have played with Suicide Zoo, and the latter is the more consistent early killer.

The Game-plan

Turn Zero:
Your opening hand is critical, and what’s more is that there are many question marks in your opening hand. You have twelve cantrips, and when examining your seven, it is impossible to tell what those twelve will become once you’ve kept. You have to mulligan hands without creatures, and if you suspect [c]Thoughtseize[/c] or [c]Inquisition of Kozilek[/c], even one creature can be suspect. What’s more, [c]Death’s Shadow[/c] and [c]Hooting Mandrills[/c] have varied reliability in the early game. Any hand with 1-2 creatures and 1-2 land is a snap keep. Remember that you can go aggro the old-fashioned way without a combo piece.

Opening plays:
The best fetchlands to play in this deck have the same color configurations of the shocklands that you do not play. Since we do not play [c]Godless Shrine[/c] or [c]Stomping Ground[/c], the fetchlands we have 4 of will fetch any shock in the deck. The design for the rest is to have a balance between the shocks, but the best configuration to have on turn 2 is [c]Temple Garden[/c] and [c]Blood Crypt[/c]. The reason is that often you want [c]Steppe Lynx[/c] on turn one and need access to [c]Wild Nacatl[/c] mana and [c]Death’s Shadow[/c] or [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c] mana on turn 2.

[c]Mishra’s Bauble[/c] is the most misunderstood card in the deck. With 13 fetchlands, you can use [c]Mishra’s Bauble[/c] to draw a card and give yourself some security knowing that you are drawing a card you want. Take a look at your own top card before activating a fetchland, and you can decide whether you want to pick it up with [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c] or [c]Street Wraith[/c]. If not, wait until after shuffling. Additionally, [c]Mishra’s Bauble[/c] can be activated on your opponent’s upkeep to see what they are drawing and play around it. The card that you draw from this activation will be safe from discard spells.

Aside from bauble, I see many people misplaying the other cantrips. My advice to you for the early game is that if you already know what you are playing that turn, then there is no need to cantrip. Needlessly cycling [c]Street Wraith[/c] and [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c] open you up to crippling [c]Thoughtseize[/c]s and [c]Inquisition of Kozilek[/c]s. I’ve smiled as many opponents target me with discard, placing [c]Street Wraith[/c] in the graveyard, only for me to topdeck [c]Wild Nacatl[/c] and proceed with the beatdown undeterred.

Besides these cantripping mistakes and directions to take your lands, your first two turns are spent widening out your board. A creature has to get through blockers to combo off.

Finish Him!

The combo is [c]Temur Battle Rage[/c] and [c]Become Immense[/c]. Because you are playing a 48 card deck, this is assembled with relative ease. Even without the pair of cards, either one is often enough to deal lethal damage. Many games will be won with [c]Temur Battle Rage[/c] alone on a creature targeted also by [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c] or just on a [c]Death’s Shadow[/c].

I do not want to advertise this deck as the turn 3 deck of the format that always accomplishes this feat. I win many games on turns six through as high as thirteen. Unlike other aggro decks, this deck does not fold if the opponent survives past turn 4. Any opening creates a kill, and your opponent will not be making good trades with [c]Death’s Shadow[/c] in the late game.

Conclusion

Before I move on to other decks I will look at matchups playing this deck.I’ll show you my numbers against decks in the metagame and tell you how the games play out. Some of them might not be what you think. After that, I will explain the sideboard and tell you how I side in different matches. Continue to Linear Primers: Suicide Zoo, Part 2.

-drinkard

 

Modern Masters 2015: Set Review for Limited

etched champion art wide

Hello all! I am veering from my usual tribal fun in Modern today to talk about the limited environment of the upcoming set: Modern Masters 2015. Hopefully all of you are excited for the release of this amazing set of reprints but I am most excited about the hand-picked and well-polished draft environment created by these special sets.

This is going to be one big long article / primer. It will be broken down as follows and you can jump around as you like.

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As I said earlier, I am very excited for Modern Masters 2015 and will hopefully be drafting it more than I did the original Modern Masters. As well, right now I am going to go over my grading system for cards.

Grading System

A+: Best of the best. Best bombs in the format. I would splash for this nearly regardless. To distinguish this from an A, A+s can win the game, stabilize the game, and bring a player back from a losing position (yes, all of this in one card).

A: Still a very good bomb, just maybe only posses two out of the three of the traits that an A+ card has. These cards are auto-includes and might be splashed for too.

A-: The highest non-bomb cards can get. Very good utility. This is the premium removal or evasion creatures. As well, this would be maybe a bomb that cost 1 more mana than it should, but still very likely an auto-include if you are in the colors.

B+: Decent removal, evasion creatures, and utility cards. As well, this is about the average bomb. These are usually where the quality aggro creatures are at too. It is pretty likely that you will be playing these cards

B: The average card. Removal that works, decent evasion creatures, average aggro creatures, and low-end bombs. The middle of the road deck would have mostly B cards. In general, you will be running a decent amount of these cards.

B-: Good filler. Very low-end bombs, maybe not as effective removal, and not very efficient cards or evasion creatures. You probably will run some of these cards just as filler.

C+: Decent filler. Very bad removal and debatably costed vanilla creatures. Hopefully you are only running one or two of these cards.

C: Bad filler. Generally poorly costed vanilla creatures or creatures that have irrelevant abilities and so they are poorly costed. You are only going to be playing this is bad decks.

C-: Very niche cards that only act as bad filler in a few decks.

F: Fails. I would strongly advise against these cards in any deck or strategy.

S: Sideboard material. It shouldn’t make the mainboard but you might want to keep it handy for sideboards

These reviews will be slightly more relevant for sealed than draft, but in general the grades apply for both sealed and draft. This set is designed for the optimal draft experience, so my grading my be higher than a regular block set, but hey, that just means that the draft experience is more fun!

Draft Archetypes

Here are the archetypes that I think are draftable:

  • G(x) Eldrazi Ramp
  • (U)(W) Affinity
  • Ux Control
  • R(B)x Aggro
  • RU Elementals
  • UB(W)(G) Counters
  • W Spirits and Arcanes
  • GW Tokens and Convoke
  • U(x) Flyers
  • RB Sacrifice and Midrange
  • Midrange of any single color or two color pair

As a note, when I give a card that may be horrible out of context a good grade, remember that it has to be in its respective archetype to be good. As another note, if you crack open a foil [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] or [c]Karn Liberated[/c] or anything worth big money I would strongly recommend that you take it.

Take cards that will more than pay for this already expensive draft, despite the fact the my grades might not reflect the price tags of some cards. Hopefully you are as excited as I am not only to draft Modern Masters 2015, but also for this limited set review.

Feel free to discuss any of my grades in the comments below.

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Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Blue Cards in MM15

The first color is blue. I’ll be going in alphabetical order.

[c]Aethersnipe[/c]: B+
This card should find a home in most blue decks. Not only can it provide tempo and a big body, but can bounce something in a pinch. It can have synergies with enter the battlefield triggers as well. I would be careful as 6 mana is a lot so I wouldn’t quite first pick it.

[c]Air Servant[/c]: B
This is an efficiently costed flyer that is a force to recon with in the air. Not only does the creature have a nice size for its price, but it is a tapper. Tappers are always good in limited and although it is limited to only flyers, that is what you usually want to tap the most. As well, it can tap down your opponent’s only blocker and attack in the same turn. The last plus is that it has evasion.

[c]Argent Sphinx[/c]: B+
The card is slight better priced than the [c]Air Servant[/c] and still has evasion. Alone the inclusion of this card can be justified in most blue decks, but if the metalcraft ability is turned most the time (i.e. affinity decks) then the card gets much better. For only {u}, it protects itself.

[c]Cloud Elemental[/c]: B-
It is a decent costed flyer. It can attack decently and it does definitely hurt that it is a 2/3 but yet has a huge drawback in blocking. In more aggresive strategies this card might be a bit better, alone that card isn’t great.

[c]Cryptic Command[/c]: B+
I gave this card a B+ (rather than a B or an A-) not only because I do feel that this is one of the cards you might consider picking up even if you aren’t in blue just for the value, but also [c]Cryptic Command[/c] just isn’t quite as good in constructed play. First of all, it costs {1}{u}{u}{u} and that triple {u} makes it very hard to play in a two colored deck. Also, it seems that especially in blue decks turn 4 is a busy turn and it would be hard to leave mana up for the command. Regardless of all of this, the card is very good at permission and card draw and will easily find its place in a control deck.

[c]Faerie Mechanist[/c]: B-
I was inclined to give this card a B, as a 2/2 flyer for 4 is always fine in limited, but the ability will be a whiff in most deck. Now considering that Affinity seems like a very viable archetype, and this card should likely find a home in most all affinity decks. Regardless, this is a fine-costed flyer and can be good in blue midrange or flyer decks.

[c]Flashfreeze[/c]: S
This is a great sideboard card against red or green decks. Bring it in against these decks and it is a straight up [c]Counterspell[/c], but I wouldn’t recommend maindecking the card.

[c]Guile[/c]: A
This is a premium finisher in any control deck. Not only can this big body either be just straight up unblockable or it will likely clog up the whole ground. At this point, it is already a big evasive creature. As well, in a control deck the counter clause can be backbreaking for an opponent, either scaring them out of playing spells or forcing them to play very conservatively or letting you steal all of their spells. On top of that, not even a removal spell can stop this from coming back. The only real downside of this card is {u}{u}{u}.

[c]Helium Squirter[/c]: B
A 5 mana 3/3 is nothing great, but for 1 mana you can make it gain flying. As well, you can give any creature that enters the battlefield after it gain flying for only 1 mana. This ability can be very good in a blue flyers deck or even just a good blue midrange deck.

[c]Hurkyl’s Recall[/c]: S
Although affinity may be a popular archetype, in most games you will get little to no value out of this card. This card finds a good home in the sideboard against affinity decks.

[c]Inexorable Tide[/c]: C-
This card is no better than when it was in Scars of Mirrodin. It is still an overpriced enchantment that still has little to no impact even in counter decks.

[c]Mana Leak[/c]: A-
This is one of the best permission spells in Modern and at common rarity I would pick up as many of these as you can get. Likely you will be countering any spell that is even close to on curve or even just make a great tempo play. This card is just as good as it is in constructed play as it is in limited. Likely the best counterspell in Modern Masters 2015 (maybe [c]Remand[/c]).

[c]Mulldrifter[/c]: A-
[c]Mulldrifter[/c] is just as good as it way in its Lorwyn days. Likely you are playing it as a 2/2 flyer for 5, which is already half decent, but then you get to draw not one, but two cards off of it. This tremendous advantage more than compensates for the slightly inefficient mana cost, making it an amazing card. I would pick up this card when you see it because I highly doubt something this good will wheel.

[c]Narcolepsy[/c]: A-
This card is basically a blue [c]Pacifism[/c]. At two mana [c]Narcolepsy[/c] is an extremely efficient removal spell that will likely take any creature out of the picture. Again at only two mana this is one of the best creature removal spells in the set and likely the best spell in blue. At common, I would pick up as many of these as I can get.

[c]Novijen Sages[/c]: C
6 mana for a 4/4 is pretty bad to start with. Even in a counters deck, the card draw isn’t really that helpful. For 8 mana you get only 2 cards. This creature is fairly inefficient and its card draw ability doesn’t really make up for its bad cost. I would try to stay away from this card if possible.

[c]Qumulox[/c]: C+
8 for a 5/4 flyer isn’t exactly good, but the affinity for artifacts might help to make this card playable. In a deck with little to no way to reduce the cost, this card shouldn’t be in a deck, but in an affinity where you can get the cost down to around 5 or 6 mana consistently, this beast can be a lot better and even act as a finisher in an affinity control build.

[c]Remand[/c]: B+
Probably the second best permission spell in Modern Masters 2015, this card is slightly worse in limited than in constructed, although it is still very good. For 2 mana not only do you get a card draw, but likely you get to time walk them with a very good tempo play, sending their threat back to the hand, giving you 2 draws minimum to find an answer to the upcoming threat. At uncommon, I would try to draft these as much as possible still.

[c]Repeal[/c]: B+
This is an amazing tempo card. You can make x=0 to return a land or get rid of a token for good and draw a card. As well, you can delay your opponent’s threats for likely another turn or get another enter the battlefield trigger off of one of your cards. It also can work very well against the counters decks to reset your or the opponent’s counters on a permanent.

[c]Somber Hoverguard[/c]: C+
I was on the fence between C and C+, but considering that the average affinity deck should be able to get a 2 mana reduction on this card, it will be at healthy 3/2 for 4. At this price, the card is definitely playable, although with no cost reduction this card is way overpriced.

[c]Steady Progress[/c]: C-
This is a bad cantrip. It is essentially two mana for a counter, which is likely a 1/1 with haste and a card. At this price, the cantrip is very overpriced and makes not nearly a large enough impact in combat or even in a counters deck to be played really at all.

[c]Stoic Rebuttal[/c]: B
I am not quite sure on my grade for this. In an affinity deck likely by turn 3 this will be a [c]Counterspell[/c]. The fact that it costs {1}{u}{u} makes it a bit hard on two colored decks. Even a non affinity blue deck would like to have it, even acting as a [c]Counterspell[/c] for one more mana. At common I would definitely pick up a few of them as they may be a major part of your control package.

[c]Surrakar Spellblade[/c]: B-
With no evasion and not exactly an aggressive cost or body, it is fairly hard to get this guy through to deal damage, even if it means drawing a lot of cards. Even a 1/1 can block and kill him. Against a blue control deck or a slower deck this could mean a lot of cards for you, but in general this will be a 2/1 that will be quickly blocked and will result in a loss of 3 mana.

[c]Telling Time[/c]: B+

[c]Tezzeret the Seeker[/c]: A-
In a non affinity deck, this card is likely a whiff. I wouldn’t pick him if you already aren’t in the affinity direction, I wouldn’t pick him, but he is a great first pick to get you into the affinity direction. In an affinity deck not only can he tutor an artifact and let you have multiple uses out of utility artifacts or let them have sudo vigilance.

[c]Tezzeret’s Gambit[/c]: B-
Paying two life and 3 mana for a counter and 2 cards is good deal. It is nothing amazing and this card loses a lot of its value if you can’t consistently proliferate but in a counters deck this is a great proliferate cantrip.

[c]Thoughtcast[/c]: B+
In affinity decks, this card is great. Even with just a 1 mana reduction, this card provides decent value, but in an affinity deck where you can get 2-3 mana reduction, this card is a very good straight up card draw engine.

[c]Thrummingbird[/c]: B
2 mana for a 1/1 flyer is already good value. At this point, the card is already good, but in a counter deck you can get even more value off of the proliferate triggers. If you combine all of this together, this is an efficient costed flyer that can really help you with getting extra counters on permanents.

[c]Vapor Snag[/c]: B+
For only one mana [c]Vapor Snag[/c] is an amazing tempo play. Not only do you get a life point off of them, but also likely a time walk since they have to replay the creature. At one mana the only downside to this efficient bouncer is that it only hits creatures.

[c]Vendilion Clique[/c]: A
This Modern staple is not only an efficiently costed flying beater, but also lets you see your opponent’s hand and take a card or even cycle a card from your hand. Without this ability, the card is still a great beater and blocker but adding this on top of it makes [c]Vendilion Clique[/c] an auto include in most any blue deck.

[c]Vigean Graftmage[/c]: B-
A 2/2 for 3 is fine in limited. The ability to make creatures with +1/+1 counters have sudo vigilance for only two mana makes this creature have fairly decent utility. He can find a nice spot in a counters deck.

[c]Water Servant[/c]: B
4 mana for a 3/4 is already a decent costed body. The ability to shapeshift the power and toughness makes this card a very good attacker and defender, all packed into a well-costed creature.

[c]Wings of Velis Vel[/c]: B
Personally I liked the card similar to this in Dragons of Tarkir. This spell can not only jump but also boost a lot of smaller creatures. I would usually run this type of card in an aggressive blue deck to smash in for a few extra points of damage.

Again I will talk about any discussions in the comments below. Tomorrow will be red, so get ready!

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Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Red Cards in MM15

The second color we’re going to look at today is red.

[c]Banefire[/c]: B+
This [c]Fireball[/c] can finish off a player or act as a removal spell. In an aggressive deck this can easily finish off your opponent with an x=5. As well, this spell can act as removal, burning a creature out. Also if you need to finish off a control player the uncounterable clause can help.

[c]Blades of Velis Vel[/c]: B-
This pump spell is a fine combat trick. The creature type is likely irrelevant in most decks, but being able to give two creatures +2/+0 in combat can either crunch in a lot of extra damage or make some favorable blocks for you. Since it is an instant, the card can also be used on the defense.

[c]Blood Ogre[/c]: B-
Depending on how aggressive your deck is, this is either a 2/2 for 3 or a 3/3 for 3. If you can get the bloodthirst to trigger consistently, this can be a fine on curve filler, and even at 3 mana for a 2/2 this can find a slot in most aggressive decks.

[c]Bloodshot Trainee[/c]: C
A 2/3 for 4 is nothing great to start off with. You would need either a lot of equipment or a lot of pump spells to be able to turn on a big burn engine. Unless you need a bad filler, it is probably not worth it to try to get him up to the 4 power.

[c]Brute Force[/c]: B
I’d be happy to pick up a red [c]Giant Growth[/c]. [c]Giant Growth[/c] is already a great combat trick on its own. The boost in power and toughness means that you can use this to save a blocked creature, bolt your opponent by giving the boost to an unblocked creature, or make one of your guys block well. I would pick up a few of this versatile cheap combat trick.

[c]Burst Lightning[/c]: B-
Most the time this is a [c]Shock[/c], which isn’t the best burn in the set. If this is kicked then it becomes a slightly worse [c]Lava Axe[/c]. All around this isn’t a bad burn spell. It gives you options, but it isn’t the most efficient burn spell around.

[c]Combust[/c]: S
Against a white or blue deck, this is an amazingly efficient removal spell. I wouldn’t recommend this maindeck but it definitely finds a good home in the sideboard.

[c]Comet Storm[/c]: B+
This letdown of a mythic is still a fairly effective [c]Fireball[/c]. Although this costs one more mana than [c]Banefire[/c] and is always counterable, for a slower red deck this can hit not only a player, but also 1-2 creatures. For this reason, this is still an effective and scalable burn or removable spell.

[c]Dragonsoul Knight[/c]: C-
I do not at all suggest to try to build a 5 color domain deck. Since this archetype isn’t really a viable option, this is just an intimidating 2/2 first strike for 3.

[c]Fiery Fall[/c]: C
This very highly costed burn spell is a bit of a letdown as a finisher. First of all, it costs 6 for 5 damage, not the greatest efficiency. As well, the damage only hits creatures. It basically removes one creature for 6 mana. The best part of the card is the basic landcycling.

[c]Goblin Fireslinger[/c]: C+
This 1/1 for 1 is a decent aggressive creature that can basically act as unblockable. He is a fine filler for an aggressive deck, but I wouldn’t jump on him.

[c]Goblin War Paint[/c]: C+
For 2 mana likely the haste clause of this card will not be relevant. An aggressive deck likely wont be able to play a threat and have 2 mana to spare, but, regardless, the boost in power and toughness provides a big boost on any creature.

[c]Gorehorn Minotaurs[/c]: B
Either a 3/3 for 4 or a 5/5 for 4, this card just depends on how consistently you can deal damage. Even if you can deal damage super consistently, a 3/3 for 4 still isn’t horrible and a 5/5 for 4 is quite good.

[c]Gut Shot[/c]: B
1 mana or 2 life for only 1 damage isn’t great, but it works as a burn spell. Simple as that.

[c]Hellkite Charger[/c]: A-
This is a pretty good bomb. A 5/5 for 6 that has flying and haste is just a very good big body on its own. It is fairly unlikely that you will be getting any extra combat steps off of him, but the ability is there and can potentially be used if you get a land and have nothing better the next turn. I would definitely pick this up for a R(x) midrange deck.

[c]Incandescent Soulstoke[/c]: C+
The elemental theme is definitely one of the weaker ones throughout this set. It is unlikely that you will get to cheat an elemental into play, but there are some spells that make a creatures all creature types, which allows you to take use of the pump. A 2/2 for 3 is a respectable body.

[c]Inner-Flame Igniter[/c]: C+
Again a 2/2 for 3 is not horrible in limited. Likely in any aggro deck 3 mana for a mere +1/+0 to your whole team isn’t quite good enough. In a slower deck, this ability may be used to push some extra damage through and I highly doubt you will activate it three times in one turn.

[c]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/c]: A-
This [c]Splinter Twin[/c] on a stick is very good. Even though it does cost {2}{r}{r}{r} for a 2/2 haste, it is likely that you can easily get a lot of value off of his ability. Copying something that has an enter the battlefield trigger or just another attacker, Kiki-Jiki provides invaluable value.

[c]Lightning Bolt[/c]: B+
This classic burn spell is just as good as ever. Use it to pick off a smaller creature or even hit to the face, this card is a very efficient use of mana and a card.

[c]Skarrgan Firebird[/c]: B+
Either a 3/3 flyer for 6 or a 6/6 flyer for 6, either way the cost is still respectable (of course a 6/6 flyer for 6 is quite good). What really brings this card over the top is not only its ability to be a finisher, but also its insane recursion. What was once a rare is still a very good common.

[c]Smash to Smithereens[/c]: S
Against an affinity deck, this card is not only great removal but also a [c]Lightning Bolt[/c]. I would pick one of these up for the sideboard.

[c]Smokebraider[/c]: B-
This is basically a 2 mana 1/1. Your deck will likely just become a UR good stuff deck if you don’t pick up a few of these guys. If you go die hard elementals, I grab some of these, if not, then just draft the good stuff.

[c]Soulbright Flamekin[/c]: C+
A 2/1 for 2 is a decent deal and giving trample to some of your 4/1s, 5/1s, 6/1s, etc. can be very useful. This ability may even resolve three times in a turn in a more midrange deck.

[c]Spikeshot Elder[/c]: C
This is little more than a 1/1 for 1. It is very unlikely that you will get any value off of his ability at all.

[c]Spitebellows[/c]: B-
A 6/1 for 6 is nothing great, but likely removing a creature when this big beater dies provides it enough value to be picked up. On top of that, you can evoke it to likely remove a creature for only three mana.

[c]Splinter Twin[/c]: A-
Much like its on a stick counterpart, [c]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/c], this enchantment can provide a lot of value, whether providing another attacker or blocker or simply getting more value off of the creature’s ability. The problem with enchantments are that they allow for you to get 2-1ed.

[c]Stormblood Berserker[/c]: B
Even without the bloodthirst trigger, a 1/1 that likely can’t be blocked the first turn it is played is good value. If you can get the bloodthirst trigger then you get a 3/3 that has decent evasion. For only 2 mana, that is an amazing deal.

[c]Thunderblust[/c]: B
At five mana this will likely be chump blocked then crunch in a matter of a few points of damage, but it can bring down creatures with it. This is a pretty nice finisher in an aggressive deck and even works well in red midrange decks.

[c]Tribal Flames[/c]: F
As I said, five color decks aren’t going to work. This will never be an effective burn spell. I would not recommend picking these up.

[c]Viashino Slaughtermaster[/c]: C
A 1/1 double strike for 2 is decent. That is likely the whole value of the card, considering that I wouldn’t play 3 colors in this format, despite the bounce lands, and even then this wouldn’t be something I would want to put my mana into.

[c]Wildfire[/c]: B
At 6 mana, this can do a good job shutting out a player, but you will need multiple outs to let you win after this near wrath. There are so many situations where this just is a flat out waste of mana and very few situations that work out well for you. Regardless, this can be used as a one sided sweeper in a ramp deck and does deserve a slot in a lot of RG decks.

[c]Worldheart Phoenix[/c]: C
4 mana for a 2/2 flyer is fine in limited. That is all this card is. The {w}{u}{b}{r}{g} alternate casting cost is not very realistic. So the value as a filler is fine, nothing great.

[c]Wrap in Flames[/c]: B-
Not only can this pick off a few 1/1s, possibly 2 for 1 the opponent, but it can also let you alpha strike in for the final points of damage. This is a slightly less good and overcosted [c]Pyroclasm[/c], but I would still pick one or two up.

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Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Green Cards in MM15

Now on to the green cards!

[c]Algae Gharial[/c]: C
A 1/1 for 4, even with shroud, is not that good. Its ability is to slow. It is way to slow to get any good value out of the card at all.

[c]All Suns’ Dawn[/c]: B-
The five color deck is not a viable option. Despite the cool art, you will never get full value out of this card. Regardless of this, in a 2 colored deck you can still get some good recursion value for your 5 mana, even if it isn’t the most efficient.

[c]Ant Queen[/c]: A-
A 5/5 for 5 is a nice starting point and being able to churn out tokens for only 2 mana a piece is a very good ability. Alone this is a nice sized body but the ability to either make many attackers or clog up the ground for a cheap cost is a very good ability and can help break board stalls.

[c]Aquastrand Spider[/c]: B-
A 2/2 for 2 is fine value. The graft ability gives it a little more value and the last ability adds little value to the card. It is a very narrow ability that likely won’t do much, but still it is a fine card.

[c]Bestial Menace[/c]: B-
Getting 5 power out of 5 mana is a fine trade. It is both good and bad that this power is dispersed throughout 3 tokens. For the pros, it clogs the ground and can help break board stalls. On the negatives, all 3 of these creatures are fairly small and can be killed quickly. Both the pros and cons are fairly minor and I still believe this card is fairly good.

[c]Commune with Nature[/c]: B
This is a solid cantrip for a green deck. If you are playing green, it is highly likely that you will at least hit one creature off of this card. At common, I would pick up a few of these as some early game action and to fill up your hand.

[c]Cytoplast Root-Kin[/c]: B+
Again a 4/4 for 4 mana with graft is nothing to laugh out, but both of the other abilities on this guy are relevant. In a creature heavy deck, this can get quite a few counters down on other creatures. The last ability can be used to push through extra damage or even a constant threat, as it was a combat trick on a stick. I would try to pick up these guys.

[c]Gnarlid Pack[/c]: B-
As I have said many times now, a 2/2 for 2 and after the first kick the card gets to have pretty bad value. The card is fine and the multikicker is an option to scale him up for the late game, but it is likely a 2/2 for 2 or a 3/3 for 4, both fine inclusions.

[c]Karplusan Strider[/c]: C+
3/4 for 4 has some value. About 40% of the time the card will have hexproof. I would definitely consider it for the average green deck but for some stronger green decks you may want to the sideboard.

[c]Kavu Primarch[/c]: B+
A 4 mana 3/3 with convoke is a very good deal, especially in the GW Tokens Convoke. You ca easily power this out for 3 or even 2 mana and the ability to make it likely a 7/7 for around 5 is a very good scaleable option for the mid to late game. I would try to pick up a few of these.

[c]Kozilek’s Predator[/c]: B
A 3/3 for 4 is fairly good in limited, but it isn’t great. What really helps this guy is the fact that he makes not 1 but 2 tokens that can be used to convoke spells, ramp, and chump block if needed. All of this makes him just as good as he was in the Rise of Eldrazi days.

[c]Matca Rioters[/c]: C
Again I don’t believe that the 5 color domain strategy will really work so at best this is maybe a 2/2 or a 3/3. I wouldn’t prioritize this common over much better commons in the set.

[c]Mutagenic Growth[/c]: B+
2 life or 1 mana for +2/+2 is fine value. What really brings this over the top is its versatility. Not only can this be used to crunch in some extra damage, but also as a fine combat trick even when you are tapped out. All of this I feel makes this a very effective combat trick.

[c]Nest Invader[/c]: B
A 2 mana 2/2 is nothing to laugh at. On top of that, you get a token that can convoke, chump, and ramp. All of this for only 2 mana is a good deal that I would pick up.

[c]Noble Hierarch[/c]: B
This Modern staple is not nearly as effective in limited. In general, [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] is just a 3 mana fixer and a mana dork. The exalted triggers doesn’t do much. Most decks, especially green decks, won’t want to only attack with one creature. The card is still quite good, but still not the best bomb.

[c]Overwhelm[/c]: B-
This near [c]Overrun[/c] can have the potential to be very good. At 7 mana it is not at all worth the cost, but with convoke this spell can get a lot cheaper. Although the convoke doesn’t work well with the rest of the card, tapping creatures to cast it. This prevents you from attacking with them. Even despite these fore comings, the card can be quite potent for an alpha strike.

[c]Overwhelming Stampede[/c]: B+
Another [c]Overrun[/c] like spell, at five mana this is likely a +4/+4 to all of your creatures. For 5 mana, [c]Overwhelming Stampede[/c] is a very potent [c]Overrun[/c] spell that can easily allow for a big alpha strike.

[c]Pelakka Wurm[/c]: A-
This is quite a good finisher. This wurm is a huge 7/7 for 7 with trample. A big creature with semi evasion and it doesn’t even stop there. You gain 7 life when it enters the battlefield and you get a card if it ever leaves the battlefield. All of this for 7 mana, this card has great value as a finisher

[c]Plummet[/c]: B+
For only 2 mana this is a very effective removal spell likely for a flying finisher. In some decks this could find its place in the sideboard, but I feel like it is still very potent in the mainboard.

[c]Primeval Titan[/c]: A+
This standard and Modern powerhouse is still an amazing powerhouse in constructed. For 6 mana you get a big 6/6 with trample. Not only that, but also you get to ramp out a ton of lands. This giant will likely finish off the game fast, if not then it will allow you to play the spells that will finish off the game.

[c]Rampant Growth[/c]: B
In some type of eldrazi ramp deck, this can be an efficient ramper and fixer. For only two mana, if you want to play stuff off curve then pick up 1 or 2 of these.

[c]Root-Kin Ally[/c]: C+
3/3 for 6 is not that great at all. Adding convoke makes the spell closer to an acptable 3 or 4 mana. The second ability I feel is to overcosted. 2 less attackers for only a +2/+2 bonus I feel isn’t that worth it.

[c]Scatter the Seeds[/c]: B-
5 mana for 3 1/1s at instant speed is pretty mediocre to start with, but to add convoke to reduce the cost, this can allow you to add chump blockers, attackers with sudo haste, or extra creatures to convoke all at instant speed. This is enough value to try to grab 1 of these.

[c]Scion of the Wild[/c]: B
What was once a rare is now still a glorious common. In a tokens convoke deck this can easily become a 3 mana 4/4 or 5/5. At this rate, the creature is just value, a second [c]Tarmogoyf[/c]. I would pick up quite a few of these at common.

[c]Scute Mob[/c]: A-
This is a nice finisher, despite its small size. Play this turn five and it is only one mana. If you can keep the fragile 1/1 body alive to untap with it, he is going to get very big very fast. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any form of evasion so he is likely going to just get bigger and bigger. This little bug is a good bomb in my eyes.

[c]Simic Initiate[/c]: C+
A 1/1 for 1 that can give a counter to another guy is just fine filler. Pick him up if there is nothing more exciting in the pack. Simple as that.

[c]Sundering Vitae[/c]: S
A 3 mana [c]Naturalize[/c] is a fine sideboard card, but having the option to convoke it and make it 2 or even one mana earns this card a fine spot in the sideboard.

[c]Sylvan Bounty[/c]: C-
Life isn’t that important especially in the GW Tokens and Convoke deck. For 6 mana, 8 life is no where near that important. The only thing that keeps this from a fail is the basic landcycling ability, which is at a reasonable cost.

[c]Tarmogoyf[/c]: A-
This Modern staple and the most valuable card in the set is not nearly as good in limited as in constructed. Of course he is still very good, but by turn 2, since there aren’t fetches, cantrips, and perfect curves in limited, he will likely be a 0/1 or a 1/2. Still, later in the game your 2 mana investment will likely result in a huge payout later in the game when the beast is around a 4/5. I would almost always try to snag this guy.

[c]Thrive[/c]: B
In a counters or tokens and convoke deck, this spell can provide a lot of value. If you have a lot of creatures on the board or even just a few this can add a counter likely to all of them. The only downside is that it isn’t instant speed.

[c]Tukatongue Thallid[/c]: B
This green [c]Doomed Traveler[/c] provides not only a small body, but another body when it dies. For 1 mana you get 2 power and 2 toughness. In a convoke and tokens deck (or any deck), this can provide a lot of value in convoking and chump blocking.

[c]Vines of Vastwood[/c]: B-
This classic infect pump spell can provide a lot of value. Against maybe a control deck an unkicked [c]Vines of Vastwood[/c] can make a difference, but most the time you this is {g}{g} for +4/+4 and shroud. At this cost, this will likely mean that you want to pick up a few of these.

[c]Wolfbriar Elemental[/c]: A-
A 4/4 for 4 is a fine deal. Hopefully you won’t just be playing this as a 4/4 for 4, hopefully you will be able to kick this 2+ times. If you can do this, then you will be getting a increasing amount of value. 4 mana for 4 mana, 5 mana for 6, 6 mana for 7, etc. At this rate, this wolf can work real well to flood the board with 2/2, which act as attackers, blockers, and convokers. I would pick this wolf up if you are in the colors.

dismember art wide

Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Black Cards in MM15

Next up we have black.

[c]Bitterblossom[/c]: A
This faeries deck powerhouse is still as good as ever in limited. For 2 mana, you will be getting quite a few tokens. Even if they are 1/1s, not only do they have evasion, but they also can act as chump blockers and creatures to sacrifice. The life loss isn’t really that much. I would definitely snag this card if you see it.

[c]Bloodthrone Vampire[/c]: B-
2 mana for a 1/1 isn’t anything great, but being able to trade small creatures for a whole +2/+2 boost. At this rate, this vampire is a fine filler especially in a sacrifice and midrange deck.

[c]Bone Splinters[/c]: B+
A 1 mana destroy target creature is absolutely amazing value. In basically any black deck you can likely find a useless creature to sacrifice. If you are already going for the sacrifice archetype, this is the prime removal. Either way, if you are in black this will be quite good.

[c]Daggerclaw Imp[/c]: B-
This is a pretty good aggressive creature. Even at a 3/1 for 3, since it has good evasion this creature has nice value, especially as an aggressive creature. In general, it shouldn’t be a hinderance that this can’t block. I would definitely snag 1 or 2 of these if you are already going aggressive and even in a midrange deck he is a nice filler.

[c]Dark Confidant[/c]: A-
This Modern staple is still quite good in limited. Not only is it a decent 2/1 for 2, but also he provides an amazing amount of card advantage. Even if you do hit a bomb, the amount of life loss is nothing compared to the amount of card advantage. I would take this guy real quickly.

[c]Death Denied[/c]: B-
I really liked this spell in the first Modern Masters and now that the spirit and arcane theme is slightly supported, this card is even better. Personally, I found great recursion value even just to get back 1 or 2 cards back to your hand.

[c]Deathmark[/c]: S
Amazing removal against a green or white deck, but other than that I would keep it in the sideboard.

[c]Devouring Greed[/c]: F
First of all, I don’t think that I would want to sacrifice any number of spirits, especially considering that it would be traded for a simple life drain. If you add the 4 mana it costs to cast this, I wouldn’t even consider picking this.

[c]Dismember[/c]: A-
[c]Dismember[/c] is premium removal. Even just as a {1}{b}{b} target creature gets -5/-5, the card is great value and will likely get rid of any creature. What really brings this over the top is that it can be played in any color deck and can be a simple 4 life and 1 mana. As well, it is instant speed. All of this combined makes an amazing removal spell.

[c]Dread Drone[/c]: C+
A 5 mana 4/1 isn’t quite a great deal. Since it will be played in the midgame, the opponent will likely be ready to deal or trade with it. What makes this card fine is that it creatures acceleration, chump blockers, and sacrifice fodder.

[c]Duskhunter Bat[/c]: C+
Even just a 1/1 flyer for 2 is fine, but in a very aggressive deck with quite a few 1 drops this card can easily become a 2/2 flyer for 2, in which case it is pretty good filler.

[c]Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder[/c]: A-
My favorite EDH general is still quite good in limited. Especially in a sacrifice deck, this allows for any spell to provide its own sacrifice fodder and when the card isn’t a sacrifice outlet, Endrek provides some attackers or blockers or some sacrifice fodder. It is unlikely if you have a decent amount of sacrifice outlets that Endrek will ever dies (or if you have a big bomb of converted mana cost 7+). Endrek can really put you in a dirrection and can really help an already forming black deck.

[c]Ghostly Changeling[/c]: C+
A 2/2 for 3 is just fine and maybe the changeling ability will be relevant in a RB Elementals deck, but most of the time it means nothing. The pump ability is fairly inefficient but can still allow to crunch in some extra damage or block better.

[c]Grim Affliction[/c]: B-
In a counters deck is where this card gets most of its value. 3 mana for two -1/-1s and some other counters is a fine deal. At instant speed, this can act as a very nice combat trick. At this rate, it is a nice filler spell.

[c]Instill Infection[/c]: C
4 mana for a -1/-1 and a card is pretty bad deal. Even with both of these effects on one card, [c]Instill Infection[/c] still is very mediocre. It does allow you to hit another creature when you proliferate, but other than that it isn’t really worth the cost.

[c]Midnight Banshee[/c]: A-
{3}{b}{b}{b} for a 5/5 wither is fine value but a little heavy on the black mana. The wither works very well in a counters deck and on a 5/5 can really hurt blocks for your opponent. As well, especially in a mono black deck the second ability is amazing. Every turn making each of your opponent’s creatures weaker and opening any of them up to proliferate. Even in a two colored deck the cost you pay is fairly reasonable to the gain you get.

[c]Nameless Inversion[/c]: B+
For only two mana this can act not only as removal but as a pump spell as well. A -3 in toughness is pretty significant and a +3 in power can result in a lot of extra damage. With that much versatility, this is definitely good utility.

[c]Necroskitter[/c]: A-
A 1/4 wither for 3 is fairly nice value. As well, he is a very nice elemental in a deck that cares for this. As well, blocking can set the seed for proliferation. The second ability may have varying levels of potency. In a black midrange deck the ability likely won’t get to much use, but in a proliferate deck the ability could easily be a win condition. Just because of its potential, I would definitely still take this if you are in the colors.

[c]Plagued Rusalka[/c]: B+
A 1/1 for 1 is fine value. Also doubling as a pretty nice sacrifice outlet. It puts the creatures to decent use. The biggest problem with this is the 1 mana. This means that you have to waste a lot of creatures and likely a whole turn to bring down a big creature with this guy. He is a nice filler in a counters deck and fine in a black midrange deck.

[c]Profane Command[/c]: A-
With 4 all very potent modes, this can act in so many ways, all of which are scalable. It can act as removal, allow an alpha strike, an [c]Exaguinate[/c] style finisher, and a reanimation spell. Not only that, but it acts as two of these modes at the same time. With so much versatility and power level, this is probably the best instant or sorcery in black. The only downside is that it is sorcery speed.

[c]Puppeteer Clique[/c]: B+
A 3/2 flyer for 5 is nothing great, but this puppeteer has a bit more going for him. First of all he comes back as a 2/1 flyer after he dies once. As well, the biggest thing going for him is that you get to steal not one but two of your opponent’s best creatures, whether they died, were milled there, or simply taking a creature that traded with the Clique after its first death.

[c]Reassembling Skeleton[/c]: B
2 mana for a 1/1 is fine, but what makes this card a bit better is the recursion ability. For only 2 mana you can get this guy back. This makes him an invaluable chump blocker or sacrifice fodder. For this reason, this skeleton is quite a good card for most all black decks.

[c]Scavenger Drake[/c]: C+
4 mana for a 1/1 flyer is pretty subpar and in most sets the second ability would be just to slow but in this set the sacrifice theme is fairly prevalent. If you do find yourself with a heavy sacrifice theme then this card could be worth it. If not, then this card becomes a lot less good, likely being quite slow.

[c]Scuttling Death[/c]: C+
A 5 mana 4/2 is nothing great. Again likely by turn 5 the opponent will at least have decent trades with this guy. His ability is fine. It can complicate combat math, kill a 1/1, and most importantly return a spirit with converted mana cost 4 or less from your graveyard to the hand. This recursion value is what makes this card significantly better.

[c]Shrivel[/c]: B-
Likely all this will do is kill off 1 toughness creatures. This can really hurt against an aggressive deck. If you set it up well, this can also pick off blocking creatures. This is a usefully spell to have, but not quite a black [c]Pyroclasm[/c].

[c]Sickle Ripper[/c]: B-
2 mana for a 2/1 wither is pretty good value. It can be used for a 2/1 for 2 in an aggressive deck or still an aggressive wither creature in a counters deck. Either way, he is a fine pickup.

[c]Sign in Blood[/c]: B
2 mana and 2 life for 2 cards. I’d take that deal any day. This is a great draw spell for any black deck. The only real downsides are that it is sorcery speed and that it cost {b}{b}, a hard cost for a 2 colored deck by turn 2. Regardless, I would pick up one or two of these if they come to you.

[c]Spread the Sickness[/c]: B+
I’d be fine with {4}{b} destroy target creature, even if it is at sorcery speed, but this spell not only is non conditional removal, but it also fits in very well in the counters deck. I would play this even if you aren’t playing a counters deck.

[c]Surgical Extraction[/c]: F
In limited, this has no value. It does absolutely nothing. End of story.

[c]Thief of Hope[/c]: B-
3 mana for a 2/2 is fine. What puts it over the top is the life drain ability whenever you cast a spirit or arcane and you can get back one of your early aggressive spirits. I would pick this up especially if you are already devoted to the spirt and arcane theme.

[c]Vampire Lacerator[/c]: B+
This is the premium aggro creature. 2/2 for only {b} is great early aggression. The life loss really doesn’t matter. If you want to be aggressive at all, I would take as many of these as possible.

[c]Vampire Outcasts[/c]: B-
Either a 2/2 lifelink for 4 or a 4/4 lifelink for 4, this card is pretty nice value. Most decks will be able to deal damage turn 4, so at that rate as a 4/4 lifelink for 4, this card has great value as not only a nice sized body but can also gain you some life.

[c]Waking Nightmare[/c]: C+
Its an arcane [c]Mind Rot[/c] rot. That is fine as in filler in that deck. I would maybe take one of these if I want to be a bit more control-like, but it isn’t anything premium.

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Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

White Cards in MM15

Now on to the white cards!

[c]Apostle’s Blessing[/c]: C+
1 mana and 2 life or 2 mana for protection not only from any one color but also artifacts is a pretty nice spell for a control deck. I would still consider this for some other type of white midrange or aggressive strategy.

[c]Arrest[/c]: A-
Even if it was just a [c]Pacifism[/c] for 3 mana, I would still take every one of these that comes around. But, this card is better than just a [c]Pacifism[/c]. For 1 extra mana, you completely shut down a creature. I would pick up every one of these that comes around.

[c]Battlegrace Angel[/c]: A-
5 mana for a 4/4 flyer is a fine deal. Even just attacking alone, a 5/5 lifelink for five is a fine deal. What makes this better is the potential for a voltron style deck and giving your best creature +1/+1 and lifelink is a good enough bonus on a 4/4 flyer. It is a nice bomb.

[c]Celestial Purge[/c]: S
Against a black or red deck, this card is amazing removal. 2 mana to get rid of anything on their board is great value, of course in the sideboard.

[c]Conclave Phalanx[/c]: B+
A 2/4 for 5 isn’t great value, but the more devoted to the convoke and tokens theme you are, the better this card gets. It can easily be 2 or 3 mana and gain you around 5 life. At this rate, [c]Conclave Phalanx[/c] is a key card in most convoke and tokens decks.

[c]Court Homunculus[/c]: C
Likely a 1/1 for 1, even if this does become an [c]Isamaru, Hound of Konda[/c], in terms of today’s creatures that isn’t that good. It is quite unlikely that this will happen. In particularly aggressive affinity decks, this can be a fine aggressive filler. In other decks, this is really just a 1/1 for 1.

[c]Daybreak Coronet[/c]: F
There are so few other auras in the set that this can’t really enchant anything at all, so in basically every case it is just a dead card in your hand. I wouldn’t even take it for a voltron deck.

[c]Dispatch[/c]: B
A 1 mana instant speed tap spell is pretty nice value. Stop an attacker or blocker at instant speed is pretty nice. What really puts this over the top is in an affinity deck, this is {w} for exile target creature at instant speed. That is insane value and is premium removal in an affinity deck and quite good value in any white deck.

[c]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/c]: A
A 4/7 vigilance for 7 is definitely subpar, although it does attack and block decently. What makes this a bonkers card is the fact that it makes your 1/1s better than their 4/4s and kills all of the opponents creatures with toughness 2 or less. This swings any board state very quickly in your favor the second it hits the battlefield.

[c]Fortify[/c]: B-
In a tokens and convoke deck, this can be 2 mana for an extra 4+ damage and more favorable blocks. Just that mode alone allows for a relatively cheap offensive combat trick. With the option to give a nice boost to all of your creatures’ toughness makes this quite a fine combat trick on the offense and the defense.

[c]Hikari, Twilight Guardian[/c]: B
This is basically a 4/4 flyer for 5 that has very conditional protection. A 4/4 in the air is nice size and body and for a fine cost of 5 mana. There really isn’t a flicker or enter the battlefield theme in Modern Masters 2015 and there aren’t a ton of instant speed arcane, so the second ability, although it may save Hikari occasionally, most the time it will do nothing. Still, it is a very nice in the air beater.

[c]Indomitable Archangel[/c]: A-
At even better value, a 4/4 flyer for 4 is a pretty nice deal and is a pretty nice in the air beater. Even if you can’t activate the metalcraft, this is a very nice beater. If you can, then it makes this card slightly better. Granted in limited shroud doesn’t do a whole lot, but in some cases it can provide some nice inevitability.

[c]Iona, Shield of Emeria[/c]: B+
It you get her down, this is backbreaking for the opponent. A 7/7 flyer that will likely shut down at least half of their deck. The biggest problem I have with her is her cost. 9 mana is a ton, not to mention the {w}{w}{w} included in the cost! She is great if you ever get to play her, but she is just so expensive, that is the big problem.

[c]Kami of Ancient Law[/c]: C+
A 2/2 for 2 is fine. That is likely all that the card is. It is very unlikely that there will be a really pesky enchantment where this comes in a ton of use, so it is just a fine on curve vanilla creature.

[c]Kor Duelist[/c]: B-
A 1/1 for 1 is fine value and if you do happen to be going for voltron deck (which I don’t think is that strong) then he definitely reaps the benefits of the enablers. I would pick him up if you already have a fine voltron shell, otherwise, unless you need a 1/1 for 1, I wouldn’t take him.

[c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c]: C+
There isn’t as much burn in limited. This doesn’t provide you nearly as much value as it does in a constructed format. You can’t aggressively mulligan into it and there isn’t a ton that is going to be targeting you. As well, 4 mana for hexproof isn’t great for the same reasons. It is basically a dead card.

[c]Mighty Leap[/c]: B
2 mana for evasion and +2/+2 is decent in my eyes. Play it on the offense or the defense, the spell is cheap and has a pretty potent effect, especially if you are jumping a big creature.

[c]Mirran Crusader[/c]: A
This is a great aggressive creature. 3 mana basically for a 4/4 is very good value and aggression. What really puts the card over the top is that it has protection from about 40% of everything. If you are in white, this is definitely the type of early beater I would pick up.

[c]Mirror Entity[/c]: A-
A 1/1 for 3 is not very good and there is really no use for the changeling ability. What makes this card good is its ability to break board stalls. Late game you can make all of your creatures huge. This could mean that only 1 creature getting through could be lethal. With mana open, this can close out a game fast.

[c]Moonlit Strider[/c]: B-
A 1/4 for 4 isn’t great, possibly better in a control deck. What makes this card a lot better is the ability to protect another creature on a stick. You can threaten to counter any of your opponent’s removal spells. As well, it recurs another spirit if you are going for the spirits and arcane deck, but even if you are just playing a control deck I would pick up a few of these.

[c]Myrsmith[/c]: B+
This is the premium card for an affinity deck. It doesn’t matter what the body is (although a 2/1 for 2 is nice), the ability to crank out not only creature tokens, but artifacts creature tokens as well allows for quick enabling of metalcraft and a flood of tokens. I would pick this up even if you are just thinking of going into affinity.

[c]Oblivion Ring[/c]: A-
This is premium removal. 3 mana for any nonland permentant. Little more than another [c]Oblivion Ring[/c] or a [c]Kami of Ancient Law[/c] can get rid of this. Even though it is at sorcery speed, I would splash for this if I need removal.

[c]Otherworldly Journey[/c]: B
Being able to flash a creature for only 2 mana is like countering a removal spell for only 2 mana. As well, the creature grows when it comes back. This can fit in with the arcanes and spirits or just be a good spell in a control deck.

[c]Raise the Alarm[/c]: B-
This is the premium card in a GW tokens and convoke deck. At instant speed you get 2 1/1s, all for only 2 mana. It floods the board with tokens that can block and convoke. Even in a non tokens and convoke deck I would consider picking 1 or 2 up, at common.

[c]Skyhunter Skirmisher[/c]: C+
Another fine creature for a voltron deck. Basically a 2/2 flyer for 3 is good, but if you are in the voltron deck then this can become a huge evasive beater. Even if you aren’t, it is fine value for some semi early aggression.

[c]Spectral Procession[/c]: B
This is the prime card in GW tokens and convoke, even more so than [c]Raise the Alarm[/c]. Even if you can’t cast it for {w}{w}{w}, 4 mana for 3 1/1s that fly is very good value. Again, they flood not only the ground but also the air with evasive creature, blockers, and convokers. I would even consider this in a different white deck, but it mostly does wonders as a GW Tokens and Convoke deck enabler.

[c]Sunlance[/c]: B+
This is more very good removal. It is close to a [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] in white. Granted it has some restriction, this can still bring down nice sized creatures and in conjunction with a chump block, much bigger creatures. Against some decks this is slightly dead and it is to bad that this doesn’t work as a combat trick, but still I would pick this up and add it to the pile of great removal in white.

[c]Sunspear Shikari[/c]: B-
Again in most decks this is just a 2/2 for 2 if you need it, but if you already have a voltron shell going, this is definitely one of the better cards to equip. Lifelink and double strike really helps pay the equip cost. If you are building a voltron deck, snag these. Otherwise, only take it if you need a 2/2 for 2.

[c]Taj-Nar Swordsmith[/c]: B-
A 4 mana 2/3 is nothing great, but what is great about this card is its ability to enable voltron. I feel like there aren’t a ton of great equipments in this set but they definitely are cheap. The average converted mana cost is a mere 2, with the most expensive being only 3 mana. This means that with 7 mana open you can get any equipment in the set and with 6 you can get quite a lot. What brings down this guy’s grade is the fact the he isn’t that good in any other deck.

[c]Terashi’s Grasp[/c]: S
Against an affinity deck, this is quite good. Not only do you get to destroy their best artifact for only 3 mana, but you gain some life too (granted it is at sorcery speed). This is a fine card to have in the sideboard if you don’t already have a ton of removal.

[c]Waxmane Baku[/c]: B
A 3 mana 2/2 is fine in limited, but this is a very big enabler for the arcane and spirit deck. You should fairly quickly be amassing ki counters on this guy. Tappers are always good in limited and what makes this guy better is that he can not only keep a creature tapped down, but can also tap down multiple creatures and keep himself untapped for a fog or to enable an alpha strike. What brings this guy’s grade down is that he is really just a 2/2 for 3 in a control or any other type of white deck (maybe you will get a little value), but in the devoted arcanes and spirits, this guy is quite good.

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Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Colorless Cards in MM15

On to the colorless cards (artifacts, eldrazi, karn, and lands). I’ll sort these alphabetically by subcategory: colorless, then artifacts, and finally lands.

Eldrazi and Karn

[c]All is Dust[/c]: C
A 7 mana sweeper is not that good at all. What makes this not a fail is that maybe an affinity deck might want to run this, as it is a one sided sweeper, but even then it is so expensive.

[c]Artisan of Kozilek[/c]: C
Again the same problem. It is just so expensive. Ramp isn’t really supported in this format. 9 mana is just so much. Again if you do get to cast it, it is a huge swing. Reanimating something and annihilator 2 on a 10/9 is big. Regardless, 9 mana is just to much.

[c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c]: F
I have to disregard the power level on this monster. There is no way to cheat this into play and 15 mana is WAY too expensive.

[c]Karn Liberated[/c]: B+
More expensive cards. 7 mana is achievable and you do get a payout when you play this. It can turn the tables in your favor and assure the win and even act as a restart button in some cases, but t is just so expensive, so that is what it really holding it back.

[c]Kozilek, Butcher of Truth[/c]: C-
More of the to expensive syndrome. 10 mana is just way to much for basically every deck. This is the only one of the eldrazi that may very vaguely be castable, which is why it doesn’t fail.

[c]Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre[/c]: F
11 mana is to much. I don’t care what it does. 11 mana is to much for limited.

[c]Ulamog’s Crusher[/c]: C
8 mana is finally near the realm of castable in some decks (maybe a ramp or control), granted that you will need likely around half of your lands. If you do cast it, an 8/8 annihilator 2 is quite backbreaking for the opponent, but it can’t quite stabilize you as it can’t act as a blocker. Regardless, the 8 mana is the most prohibiting part of this card and that is why it gets such a poor grade.

Artifacts

[c]Alloy Myr[/c]: B-
A 3 mana 2/2 is fine in limited. What makes this card better is it’s ability to ramp and fix. He can attack and block fine. I would pick a few of these up for most affinity and 3+ color decks.

[c]Blinding Souleater[/c]: B+
A 1/3 for 3 is nothing that impressive, but what really makes this card good is the tapping ability. In my experience, tappers are very good in limited. Granted this goes a lot better in a white deck where you don’t always have to pay 2 life, it does leave the option to put it in any deck. Tap down a blocker at their end step then still tap down an attacker next turn. Keep a threat on the board tapped. Any of these things. Its like a removal spell that can change what it is getting rid of. I would pick a few up especially if you are in white.

[c]Cathodion[/c]: B
A 3/3 for 3 is fine. It is a nice body and has the added utility of making the opponent afraid to kill this, and when it does, you could get nothing out of the mana, which is still fine (you got a 3/3 for 3 so be happy) or you could use it to play to spells in a turn or ramp into something off curve. All of these are fine options to utilize this nice sized artifact beater.

[c]Chimeric Mass[/c]: B-
This is anything you need it to be. A 1/1 for 1, a 2/2 for 2, a 5/5 for 5, anything. As well, it can act as a 0 cost artifact. The more counters you put on this the less that 1 mana to activate it becomes and this can be a good late game mana sink, but generally this is just an on curve creature that takes 1 to activate.

[c]Copper Carapace[/c]: C+
For a total of 4 mana +2/+2 and can’t block isn’t quite great value, but it is an equipment, so this means a few things. First of all, it acts as a 1 mana artifact for affinity decks and helps voltron decks. As well, you can move it around and pay that 4 mana in 2 installments. For those reasons, this is a fine equipment to suite one of your creatures up with.

[c]Cranial Plating[/c]: B
I was very conflicted over what grade to give this card. It can be decent in voltron, but really shines in affinity, where you will be getting great value out of it. I don’t care at all if you aren’t playing black, the equipment is still really just as good. What brought the grade down slightly is that this is a fairly narrow card.

[c]Culling Dais[/c]: C
Although its effect can be potent in a sacrifice deck, a total of 3 mana, a few turns, and a few creatures with a payoff of only a few cards doesn’t find a spot in most decks. In the sacrifice decks, this is a decent sacrifice outlet, but there are better ones.

[c]Darksteel Axe[/c]: C
It doesn’t matter that this thing is indestructible, still, 3 mana for +2/+0 (and 2 of that on the equip cost) isn’t that potent of an effect. Maybe in a voltron or affinity deck, but in most decks this will be just another under par pumper.

[c]Etched Champion[/c]: B+
3 mana for a 2/2 is fine but not great, but the ability to make it untouchable is what really makes this card over the top. Metalcraft is not that hard to get, and this guy provides a big payoff for that. In non affinity decks, he is just a 3 mana 2/2, but in an affinity deck he (it?) is definitely a great early aggressive creature.

[c]Etched Monstrosity[/c]: B
A 5 mana 5/5 is fine. I highly doubt that you will be able to make him a 10/10, for {w}{u}{b}{r}{g}, especially turn 6. If you can then it is a great payoff, a 10/10 and 3 cards, but this will likely be a trap of a bomb. Still this guy is a big 5/5 that may intimidate opponents and fits in any deck, affinity or otherwise as a 5/5.

[c]Etched Oracle[/c]: C
Another artifact card that goes with the 5 color theme, although in most decks this is a 2/2 for 4, maybe a 3/3 for 4. There are very very few decks that can put this out as a 4/4 for 4 on turn 4. The only reason this gets a C is that in a proliferate or counters deck this can get up to a 4/4, which means a big payout in cards.

[c]Everflowing Chalice[/c]: B-
I like a 0 mana artifact, even if it just sits there and activates metalcraft. For 2 mana you can get a decent mana dork and the best part about this is that it is scalable. Lategame this can be easily generating 3 mana. The only real problems are that the mana is colorless and it is a little expensive, but still good.

[c]Expedition Map[/c]: B-
In a limited environment where all this does is fixing, it is a little expensive. 3 mana to fix your mana is a little much, and that is all that is holding this card back from being in most all decks that need fixing.

[c]Flayer Husk[/c]: C
A 1/1 for 1 is fine. 2 mana to give another creature only +1/+1 is just to pricey. This could be a bit better as one of your low end equipments in a voltron deck, but in most decks it isn’t quite worth the spot.

[c]Frogmite[/c]: B-
A 2/2 for 4 isn’t great and in most decks this frog will be just that, although, if you are playing affinity then this could easily cost 1 or 2 mana. If you aren’t playing affinity, this is way to inefficient, but if you are then this is just another piece to the puzzle. Fairly cheap and it enables metalcraft.

[c]Glint Hawk Idol[/c]: B
Again, in a decent amount of decks this is a completely dead card, but in any white deck it is a fine inclusion. Only 2 mana then another {w} to make this idol into a 2/2 flyer. What makes it even better is that in an affinity deck you basically get a 2/2 flyer for 2. I would pick this up if you are playing affinity or are in white.

[c]Gust-Skimmer[/c]: B-
A 2/1 for 2 is pretty average. What makes this playable is easy evasion. Jumping itself is a nice thing to do in the early game to get in some extra points. In a non blue deck I wouldn’t recommend this pest, but in an affinity deck this is nice and also just in a blue deck it is good.

[c]Kitesail[/c]: C+
Again this is a bit to expensive for most decks. Granted it does give evasion, a +1 boost in power really isn’t that much. What makes this fine is the ability to make a creature in a voltron deck have evasion. That is generally the only place where this shines at all.

[c]Lodestone Golem[/c]: B
This vintage shops powerhouse isn’t nearly as good in limited. A 4 mana 5/3 is a pretty good body, but that isn’t exactly the focus of the card (although 5 power is very nice). In a limited format, even in an affinity deck, you will still have a significant amount of non artifact spells. Although this will definitely hurt the opponent more, affinity in limited isn’t as aggressive and it doesn’t matter nearly as much that you opponent is slowed down by a turn while you are sometimes slowed down too. Regardless, the card still does have some value as both a 5/3 and in slowing down your opponent, so if you are going the affinity rout I would pick it up.

[c]Lodestone Myr[/c]: C+
A 4 mana 2/2 isn’t that good, even if it has trample (trample on a 2/2 doesn’t do that much). What makes this card fine is that in an affinity deck you might be able to pump it up a little. Its not the best of cards in an affinity deck and definitely not the best of rares and is quite bad in any other deck, but you could give it a try.

[c]Long-Forgotten Gohei[/c]: B-
In a spirit and arcane deck, this card can not only be an anthenem effect, but it can also reduce the cost of a lot of your spells. For only 3 mana, in that specific deck it is a pretty nice utility card to have. In any other deck it is completely dead. Maybe you will get a little boost off of it, but in general it is completely dead. So, if you are already headed down the path to spirits and arcanes then pick this up, otherwise, don’t.

[c]Mortarpod[/c]: B-
A 2 mana 0/1 that pings is fine. The ability to keep on equipping this to keep on pinging is what makes this good in a tokens or sacrifice deck. I would definitely consider this for tokens and convoke decks and sacrifice decks.

[c]Mox Opal[/c]: B
This staple in affinity can still do lots of work in limited affinity decks. Although you likely won’t have metalcraft turn 1, even if you get metalcraft turn 2 or 3 this is still a premium mana rock in any affinity deck, although its only power is in its ramping and fixing ability. Even though it has a good spot in an affinity deck, it doesn’t have any insane power.

[c]Myr Enforcer[/c]: B-
A 7 mana 4/4 isn’t great value in most decks, but with a 3 mana reduction this becomes a nice beater as a 4 mana 4/4 in an affinity deck. By turn 4 or 5 most decks can get a 3-4 mana reduction on this guy, making it worth the big body. If you are going the affinity rout, this can be a nice sudo finisher, if not, then this is a dead card.

[c]Precursor Golem[/c]: B+
5 mana for 9 power is a really good deal. Even if this is distributed over 3 3/3s, it is still a nice deal. In an affinity deck this is a very good finisher. It adds a lot of decent sized artifact creature tokens to the board. It can also be decent in a tokens and convoke deck and can generally find a home in any deck, if it needs a sudo finisher. The big downside with this is that removal hits all of your golems. In an affinity deck, this can be a huge blowout and it can still be a pretty big blowout in any other deck, although this can work in your favor if you use pump or protection spells.

[c]Runed Servitor[/c]: C+
A 2 mana 2/2 is a fine deal. In most decks, this will act as just that. In an affinity deck it can act as another artifact. When this guy dies, each player draws a card so it evens out, making this little more that a 2 mana 2/2.

[c]Rusted Relic[/c]: B-
In an affinity deck, this is a likely a 4 mana 5/5. By turn 4 most affinity decks should have metalcraft, if the relic doesn’t make the 3rd artifact. In an affinity deck, this is a nice big and efficient beater but in anything else this is dead card, which brings down the grade a little.

[c]Sickleslicer[/c]: C+
3 mana for a 2/2 isn’t great, but not only is this an artifact but it can also be a pretty effective equipment in a voltron deck. +2/+2 is a pretty potent boost and 4 mana is fairly reasonable. This can find a place especially in voltron and affinity (and maybe even a sacrifice deck).

[c]Skyreach Manta[/c]: C
For most decks this will be a 2/2 or a 3/3 flyer for 5, which isn’t that good of a deal. There are few decks that can get any value out of this card at all. Maybe an affinity deck might pick 1 of these up or a 5 color deck, but generally I wouldn’t recommend it.

[c]Spellskite[/c]: B+
This Modern powerhouse is still quite decent. Not only is it a 2 mana artifact, but also an effective blocker. In a blue deck this can just be an annoyance to the opponent, sucking up burn, removal, and pump spells, although the ability for it to suck up burn and removal means that its lifespan is short. In a non blue deck the 2 life can hurt quite a bit, but still I would consider picking this up in any deck.

[c]Sphere of the Suns[/c]: B
This acts as a decently cheap fixer and an artifact for affinity decks. If you need the fixing, this can fit the bill. Other than that, it does nothing.

[c]Sunforger[/c]: B+
In any deck 3 mana for the equipment then another 3 mana to equip is a pretty nice deal for +4/+0. In a RW deck the ability to fetch up basically any instant or sorcery in your deck is a very nice ability for only {r}{w}. I would definitely consider this for any deck, but I would strongly consider this for a white or red deck.

[c]Tumble Magnet[/c]: B-
Tappers are pretty good in limited. 3 mana for 3 taps is fine. If you are playing an affinity deck or need a filler then this is a fine filler. To watch out for, once you use it all up, it just sits on the board.

[c]Wayfarer’s Bauble[/c]: C+
This, similar to [c]Expedition Map[/c] is decent fixing but is a little expensive. Your first 2 turns are spent fixing (or maybe ramping a little). Unless you need the fixing, this isn’t the best card to pick up.

Lands

Guild Karoo Lands: B
E.g. [c]Azorius Chancery[/c], etc. In general, these lands all fix pretty well and allow for a bit of ramp and prolonged land drops. In a faster deck, this can shut down your turn 2, but in general this is the best fixing in the set and should be your first attempt if you need fixing.

[c]Blinkmoth Nexus[/c]: B-
Generally this is just a colorless land. Sometimes you can crunch in some extra damage in the air. Little more than that. Mostly it is just a colorless land and maybe an artifact. The 3rd ability means nothing. I’d maybe consider this in most decks, especially affinity.

[c]Darksteel Citadel[/c]: C
In most decks this is just a colorless land, which brings down the grade on this card significantly, but in an affinity deck this can be very good, acting as not only a land (since color matters a lot less, it doesn’t matter as much that the land is colorless) but also a free artifact. In an affinity deck, this is a pretty good land but it does nothing in any other deck.

[c]Eldrazi Temple[/c]: C-
Maybe if you have picked up some of the cheaper eldrazi then you will get some value out of the second ability, but most of the time this will just act as a colorless land and even in a deck that uses its second ability this card is not very potent at all.

[c]Evolving Wilds[/c]: C+
This is a nice fixer. If you need the fixing then this is worth the value. If you already have your colors set then this isn’t the best fixer out there.

[c]Eye of Ugin[/c]: F
This does nothing in basically every deck. Simple as that. I wouldn’t recommend this for any deck.

niv mizzet art wide

Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Multicolored Cards in MM15

Now the last section, multicolored!

[c]Agony Warp[/c]: B+
This is pretty premium removal. For only 2 mana you can likely remove one creature and fog another creature. If this isn’t close to a 2 for 1, this can really mess up combat math for the opponent. This might not be a first pick as it puts you in 2 colors, but it is definitely quite good if you are in the colors.

[c]Apocalypse Hydra[/c]: A-
Either a 4/4 for 6 or a 10/10 for 7, this usually isn’t exactly on curve. Usually this will be played as an early aggressive creature or a chump blocker. The versatility makes it quite good and this hydra scales very well. Also you can ping things. If you play it small you can crunch for some damage then cash it out for damage and as a big hydra and ping off some smaller creatures.

[c]Ashenmoor Gouger[/c]: B
A 3 mana 4/4 is very good in any mono red aggro deck. It is an efficient beater that comes down fairly quickly. This is a nice card to have in any aggressive deck.

[c]Boros Swiftblade[/c]: B-
This is a fine creature in an aggressive deck. It is from the days when double strike is way overvalued, although this is a pretty good price for a creature who suites up very well.

[c]Creakwood Liege[/c]: A-
This is a [c]Call of the Heard[/c] every turn. All jokes aside, a 4 mana 2/2 is nothing great. Pumping your whole team with a potential +2/+2 every turn is very potent. This is another great card for the BG sacrifice deck. Not only does this allow you to get a little extra kick out of sacrifice fodder, but also pumps out tokens every turn to sacrifice. Even if it does leave you with an army of 1/1s afterwords, this is still a nice card for any BG deck, especially sacrifice decks.

[c]Dimir Guildmage[/c]: B
A 2 mana 2/2 is a fine deal. What makes this nice is that it is both an early and late game thing to do. It is versatile and a good mana sync. Whether you make your opponent discard or draw some cards, this is a nice pick up for any BU, B, or U deck.

[c]Drooling Groodion[/c]: B-
6 mana for a 4/3 isn’t very good. What makes this card very good is in a sacrifice deck, this is a very good sacrifice outlet. Even though this costs 4 mana, not only can this act as pump and removal, but can also really mess up combat math for the opponent. This is definitely a good sacrifice outlet if you are going for that deck.

[c]Electrolyze[/c]: B+
This is a very good removal and cantrips. For only 3 mana, this can easily be a 2 for 1 and get you a card. Even if it is just a 1 for 1, it still cantrips. If you are in the colors, this is just the kind of thing you want to pick up.

[c]Ethercaste Knight[/c]: B-
A 2 mana 1/3 is fine in limited, but exalted is a very nice ability. Even though late game in a limited game exalted isn’t nearly as good, as you usually don’t just want to be attacking with just 1 creature, in a fairly aggressive affinity deck not only is this a nice artifact creature but it can provide a nice boost to one of your guys.

[c]Fulminator Mage[/c]: B-
A 3 mana 2/2 isn’t great. In a midrange deck this is fine, but this isn’t nearly as good in an aggressive deck. The ability that makes this card great in constructed is basically dead in limited. Although you may get some use out of it, generally this is just {1}{b/r}{b/r} for a 2/2.

[c]Ghost Council of Orzhova[/c]: A-
There is lots to this card, but this is the kind of a strong card that puts you into a WB Sacrifice deck. If you pick up then you are likely going to only be playing WB, as it does cost {w}{w}{b}{b}, but its effects are quite potent. First of all it is a 4/4 for 4, a nice body. Also, granted sacrifice fodder, it not only protects itself but can also drain a lot of life throughout the course of the game. All of this combined makes [c]Ghost Council of Orzhova[/c] the premium card for a WB Sacrifice deck (although it doesn’t fit in most all other themes).

[c]Glassdust Hulk[/c]: B
First of all, this cycles for {w/u}, which is always a good bonus. If this is not needed, just cycle it away for another card. Now on to the real stats. This is a 3/4 for 5 and is an artifact creature. Although that is a nice body, what really makes this good is in an affinity deck you can just go artifact, hit for 4, repeat. This can close off games pretty fast and is fine even in a non affinity deck.

[c]Hearthfire Hobgoblin[/c]: B-
Again back to the days when Wizards thought that double strike was the most over powered ability, this is basically a 3 mana 4/2. At that rate it is a fine aggressive creature in a RW or mono red aggressive deck and this is a decent card to suite up, but it isn’t the greatest aggressive creature.

[c]Horde of Notions[/c]: C
Elementals are cool and this is a cool card but really it is just going to sit stranded in your hand. Even with its stats, it is just to hard to cast. I wouldn’t recommend picking this up. Even in a 5 color deck the payout isn’t huge.

[c]Lorescale Coatl[/c]: B+
This is a very good card. A 2/2 for 3 is fine. If you can power this out turn 2 than it gets even better. Every turn this just grows and grows. If you have card draw spells, graft, or proliferate then this just gets bigger faster. If this snake doesn’t suck up a removal spell then he is going to be a big problem for the opponent. This can get you and put you into the UG colors very well as a great 3 drop.

[c]Mystic Snake[/c]: A-
This is [c]Counterspell[/c] plus [c]Grizzly Bears[/c]. A [c]Counterspell[/c] on a stick is always a big surprise. Even at 4 mana ([c]Cryptic Command[/c] is 4 mana remember), this is great value. For essentially a 2/2 haste and a [c]Counterspell[/c], this is a great pickup to start or add to a UG deck.

[c]Necrogenesis[/c]: B
This set doesn’t even use the graveyard, so for only {b}{g} to cast and 2 mana to generally pump out 1/1s is quite good. This is the best uncommon for a GB sacrifice deck. It repurposes all of the dead creatures into more sacrifice fodder and at a decent cost to. Even if you aren’t in the colors this is still a pretty nice card.

[c]Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind[/c]: A-
A 6 mana 4/4 flyer is decently costed, even though there is a {u}{u}{r}{r} included in that cost. A 4/4 flyer is a nice beater, but what makes this card quite good is that it can not only act as a big flying beater also pings every turn and can draw you an extra card every turn. With this much utility as a beater, pinger, and a card drawer, the 6 mana cost is warranted. I would pick this up if you are in the colors.

[c]Nobilis of War[/c]: B+
A 5 mana 3/4 flyer isn’t great value. What really makes this card good is that attacking creatures get a big boost in power. This card is versatile, pretty good in a token deck, an aggressive deck as a finisher, or in a midrange deck. All of this makes this a fine pick up.

[c]Pillory of the Sleepless[/c]: B+
Although this is multicolored and is 1 more mana, this is the [c]Pascifism[/c] of the set. Not only does this shut down a creature, but for an extra mana it pings your opponent every turn. Granted this is 2 colors so it isn’t as first pickable, if you are even thinking of going into BW then this is the premium removal.

[c]Plaxcaster Frogling[/c]: B
A 3 mana 3/3 is a pretty good deal. In a GU counters deck, the graft really helps. As well, for only 2 mana giving the majority of your creatures shroud. For that value, this is definitely a nice graft card for any deck, especially a counters deck.

[c]Restless Apparition[/c]: C+
A 3 mana 2/2 is fine, even if it does recur as a 1/1 (although this is quite good in a sacrifice deck), but the ability to make this a 5/5 for only 3 mana can help you get in some extra damage or mess up combat math for the opponent. It is just fine card in a midrange or sacrifice deck.

[c]Savage Twister[/c]: B
This is a pretty effective mass removal spell. Although this is no [c]Pyroclasm[/c], it can still easily clean up the whole board. At only 2 mana to start, this can easily reset the board in a RG Ramp or Aggro deck.

[c]Selesnya Guildmage[/c]: B
Just as [c]Dimir Guildmage[/c], this has 2 good abilities that are decently costed. Whether you want to pump out 1/1s every turn or provide an anthem for your army of tokens, this is a late game mana sink and an something good to do early game. This is a quite nice pick up for any GW Midrange or Tokens deck.

[c]Shadowmage Infiltrator[/c]: B+
A 3 mana 1/3 with evasion is fine. Most of the time it will be unblockable, 1 damage doesn’t do that much damage. What really makes this good is that it is a consistent card draw engine. With the decent cost and a potent ability, this is a good pickup to start or add to a BU deck.

[c]Shrewd Hatchling[/c]: C+
A 4 mana 2/2 isn’t very good. If you are in a UR Elementals, Midrange, or Control, or a deck of U or R, this is a nice card. He will slowly (or even quickly) become a big 6/6 that has very nice evasion. He is a nice big creature for any deck in the colors.

[c]Sigil Blessing[/c]: B
Even just {g}{w} for +3/+3 at instant speed is fine, but in a tokens deck were you can easily get a total of +8/+8, this spell is potent enough to make the cut in basically all tokens decks and most all GW decks. This can act to crunch in a lot of extra damage or mess up combat math or be used as a combat trick.

[c]Swans of Bryn Argoll[/c]: B
This is generally a 4 mana 4/3, which is a fine deal. It is nearly indestructible, but if you are playing some burn then you can get some card draws off of this. Otherwise, it is a fine attacker or blocker, although it can be a big draw engine for your opponent.

[c]Vengeful Rebirth[/c]: C+
For 6 mana this spell is a bit to expensive, despite its potent effects. 1st of all, it is sorcery speed. 2nd of all, there aren’t huge spells that really need recurring. Since this spell is just a bit to expensive for its effects, it isn’t quite premium.

[c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c]: A-
If you are in the colors, this is a great pick up. A 4 mana 4/4 is pretty good but to boost all of your tokens is a very good effect in a tokens deck. Even though the last ability doesn’t matter in limited, it still provides a big anthem to all of your little tokens.

[c]Wrecking Ball[/c]: B-
For 4 mana, most of the time this is going to be a nice creature removal spell. In a RB deck, this is pretty nice removal. Most of the time this won’t hit lands at all, but it also has that option, but most the time this will be a 4 mana creature removal. No catches.

Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Hopefully you made it through this very long article / primer and you are excited to draft Modern Masters. Again feel free to discuss any of my grades below!

-Dylan

 

Tribal Fun in Modern #5: Fiery Elementals

incandescent soulstoke

This week we I have yet another fun tribe for you. Although this deck may not be quite as competitive as the last, it is an extremely fun aggro deck. So, here is the list.

[d title=”Elementals in Modern”]
Lands
3 Cavern of Souls
18 Mountain

Creatures
4 Ball Lightning
3 Coal Stoker
4 Nova Chaser
4 Spark Elemental
4 Flamekin Harbinger
4 Incandescent Soulstoke
3 Fulminator Mage

Instants and Sorceries
2 Fling
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lava Spike
3 Rift Bolt

Sideboard
2 Ingot Chewer
2 Smash to Smithereens
2 Molten Rain
4 Rending Volley
3 Blood Moon
1 Dragon’s Claw [/d]

So, the deck looks a bit like some very strange Red Deck Wins. Following tradition, I am going to give you the run-down on card choices, strategy, play style, matchup and sideboarding guide, and some different versions of the deck.

Card Choices

The lands are pretty self-explanatory. The deck is aggressive so the list only runs 21 lands and wants to play all of its burn so it doesn’t run the full playset of [c]Cavern of Souls[/c].

Going down the list, a large portion of the creatures are simply meant to be aggressive creatures that are also elementals. These include [c]Ball Lightning[/c] and [c]Coal Stoker[/c] who can allow very explosive turns. We also have [c]Spark Elemental[/c], and then [c]Nova Chaser[/c], who can champion[c]Flamekin Harbinger[/c] for an extra tutor.

After those there is [c]Flamekin Harbinger[/c] who obviously tutors for an elemental, [c]Incandescent Soulstoke[/c], who is the one lord in the deck and also allows for you to play some of your other creatures that already are going to die at a slightly cheaper cost, and [c]Fulminator Mage[/c] who does an amazing job at destroying man-lands, punishing greedy mana bases, and just general land destruction.

The instants and sorceries are a fairly straightforward burn package. The [c]Fling[/c]s synergizes well with the high power / low toughness creatures ([c]Fling[/c] plus [c]Nova Chaser[/c] could be game).

Flamekin Harbinger

Strategy

The strategy is much like any other aggro deck. Play all of your creatures, attack with them, burn the face or a threat. The only thing to note really is that [c]Nova Chaser[/c] can champion [c]Flamekin Harbinger[/c] for an extra tutor.

As well, the play style is much like a RDW. There is significantly less burn and of course it doesn’t splash white, but the feel is generally the same. As well, although the deck is quite aggressive, it isn’t that aggressive as the average RDW or Boros Aggro deck.

As I mentioned earlier, the deck isn’t horribly competitive. Its very fun to play with, don’t get me wrong, but the results from testing don’t exactly show me that this is going to win the next Pro Tour. In general it beats most control decks. It can have some trouble against Tron. The deck has survivable matchups against Abzan, Affinity, and Merfolk and generally loses against most forms of aggro and fast combos (RDW, Boros Burn, Infect, Twin, etc.) and basically everything else.

This is finally a sideboard that I am fairly happy about. The [c]Ingot Chewer[/c]s and the [c]Smash to Smithereens[/c] are both for Affinity, the [c]Molten Rain[/c] is for Tron and other greedy mana bases, even Abzan (it can replace [c]Fulminator Mage[/c] if he isn’t working), [c]Rending Volley[/c] is for Abzan, Twin, and anything else in the colors, [c]Blood Moon[/c] can be a good sideboard backup plan for Abzan, Tron, the mirror, and many other decks, and [c]Dragon’s Claw[/c] is good for the mirror and against other aggro decks.

The variants are when things get even more fun with the deck. As I said earlier, for the $150+ spent on [c]Fulminator Mage[/c]s and [c]Cavern of Souls[/c], the deck isn’t up to par on competitiveness. For that reason, here is a simple budget fix (including the sideboard).

mtg-morph-art

[d title=”Budget Elementals in Modern”]

Creatures
4 Ball Lightning
3 Coal Stoker
4 Nova Chaser
4 Spark Elemental
4 Flamekin Harbinger
4 Incandescent Soulstoke
3 Spark Elemental

Instants and Sorceries
2 Fling
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lava Spike
3 Rift Bolt

Lands
21 Mountain

Sideboard
2 Ingot Chewer
2 Smash to Smithereens
2 Molten Rain
4 Rending Volley
1 Dragon’s Claw
3 Searing Blood [/d]

And there is the deck for less than $100, and still basically just as good (especially if you are playing this at your kitchen table). A [c]Malignus[/c] or two could be added to the deck to spice things up a bit too.

As well, the other major change that could be made is to make it a 5 color [c]Horde of Notions[/c] deck. This would be a major revamp of the deck, so I am not going to talk about it in detail (if you would like I can discuss more in the comments) but here are two good decklists and deck techs for 5 color [c]Horde of Notions[/c] decks:

5-Color Elemental Blitz

Elemental Awareness

That’s it for this week. Again, feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments and I can talk with you about them.

Thanks! -Dylan

The Many Flavors of Goblins in Modern

krenkos command art

Hi all,

Everyone goes gaga over tribes, and Goblins are no exception. They’re cheap to buy and cheap to cast, and droves of them often swing for lethal by the critical turn four. Still, they aren’t producing results. Perhaps it is because we are giving them the wrong role. Consider where they are most powerful in Legacy: a slew of them mix with [c]Rishadan Port[/c] and [c]Wasteland[/c] for a control deck. Again, in Vintage, where many decks win with a few cards, the go-to game plan is [c]Goblin Lackey[/c] on turn one into [c]Goblin Warchief[/c] and [c]Earwig Squad[/c] on turn two. This is a very controlling strategy.

In Modern, we have been focused on one thing: attacking quickly, and reaching with [c]Goblin Guide[/c]. The most recent exciting thing for many Goblins enthusiasts has been [c]Howl of the Horde[/c]. A turn four triple [c]Goblin Grenade[/c] still doesn’t launch our green friends to success, though.

Instead of the aggressive strategy, then, let’s try and take Goblins through the other two modes of play: Control and Combo.

Control Goblins

What exactly are we trying to control with a red-based deck, and how do Goblins contribute to it?

Looking at Modern as a whole, we want to have favorable percentages, or at least plans, against Twin, Abzan, Affinity, Infect, Burn, and Amulet Bloom.

vs. Twin – First of all, we can assert the aggressor role and race. Traditional Goblins decks have been blown out by [c]Electrolyze[/c] in the match-up, but we can do better than a horde of x/1 creatures. Sideboard [c]Combust[/c] and [c]Rending Volley[/c] keep them off their combo plan, and other pieces of burn removal ensure that we can get there.

vs. Abzan – This is a nightmare matchup for Goblins. If they develop their mana, we will throw fodder into massive rhinos and lhurgoyfs until finally succumbing to the stampede. Goblins do not have to allow them to develop their mana, though. We have two of the most powerful effects against Abzan available: [c]Magus of the Moon[/c] and [c]Blood Moon[/c]. We can bolt their birds or target them with [c]Mogg Fanatic[/c].

vs. Affinity – It is strictly a race, but we can play cards that give us the edge in the race: [c]Tin Street Hooligan[/c] seems limited in scope, but a beater for two that grows is efficient enough. [c]Mogg Fanatic[/c] keeps [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c] shenanigans at bay, and our sideboard has the most powerful effects available to beat Affinity.

vs. Infect – Infect folds to sufficient removal. [c]Mogg Fanatic[/c] and [c]Lightning Bolt[/c], coupled with a nice clock should eliminate their [c]Blighted Agent[/c] and [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] so that we can keep blocking and establishing a clock.

vs. Burn – Like Affinity, we are out to race Burn, but [c]Aether Vial[/c] keeps us from just losing whenever they have an [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] and are ahead, and [c]Dragon’s Claw[/c] post side will give us a lot of life since we are casting red spells as well.

vs. Amulet Bloom – We have the only relevant cards against the [c]Primeval Titan[/c] plan and the [c]Hive Mind[/c] plan: [c]Magus of the Moon[/c] and [c]Blood Moon[/c].

So why choose Goblins for a control deck, anyway? Well, [c]Goblin Rabblemaster[/c] has shown himself to be a capable card even in Jund Midrange, so if those same wheels get turning in Goblins, the train will be hard to stop.

Now that we know what we need to have a plan against archetypes, let’s see if we can build a deck with consistency and pressure.

[d title=”Control Goblins (Modern)”]
Lands
4 Copperline Gorge
8 Mountain
4 Stomping Ground
4 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
4 Ember Hauler
1 Goblin King
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Magus of the Moon
1 Siege-Gang Commander
4 Simian Spirit Guide
3 Tin Street Hooligan
4 Warren Instigator

Other Spells
4 Aether Vial
3 Blood Moon
4 Lightning Bolt

Sideboard
1 Blood Moon
4 Dragon’s Claw
4 Rending Volley
4 Searing Blaze
1 Shattering Spree
1 Tin Street Hooligan [/d]

If we’re being honest, this is really a deck that is looking for free wins with turn 2, [c]Simian Spirit Guide[/c] and [c]Blood Moon[/c] or [c]Magus of the Moon[/c]. Of course, while this works against a massive portion of the format, we have to place it in a shell that can still win otherwise.

Looking back at the list, I like our chances here against the format. The only deck that gives me a lot of pause is Zoo, and that is why the 4 [c]Searing Blaze[/c] are in the sideboard.

Combo Goblins

Modern does not have anything remotely close to [c]Food Chain[/c] in terms of power level, but when we fail to port a list from Legacy or Vintage into Modern, we know our next step: old Extended.

There is a long-forgotten piece of equipment that combined nicely with Goblins and Shamans there: [c]Thornbite Staff[/c]. Together with [c]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/c], a number of infinite combinations are present. The easiest two are [c]Mogg Fanatic[/c] and [c]Lightning Crafter[/c], winning on the spot. [c]Ember Hauler[/c] may or may not win immediately, but he will certainly get you close. Aside from those, we can likely easily clear the board with [c]Siege-Gang Commander[/c] or [c]Lightning Crafter[/c].

[d title=”Combo Goblins (Modern)”]
Land
20 Mountain

Creatures
4 Ember Hauler
4 Goblin Chieftain
4 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Krenko, Mob Boss
4 Lightning Crafter
4 Mogg Fanatic
2 Mogg War Marshall
1 Siege-Gang Commander
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Warren Instigator

Other Spells
4 Aether Vial
4 Thornbite Staff

Sideboard
4 Blood Moon
4 Dragon’s Claw
4 Rending Volley
3 Shattering Spree[/d]

Finally, since so many want to do stuff like this …

[d title=”Aggro Goblins (Modern)”]
Land
20 Mountain

Creatures
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Goblin Buswhacker
4 Goblin Chieftain
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Mogg War Marshall

Other Spells
4 Dragon Fodder
4 Hordeling Outburst
4 Krenko’s Command
4 Obelisk of Urd
4 Shared Animosity[/d]

If it isn’t [c]Foundry Street Denizen[/c] into [c]Krenko’s Command[/c] (attack for 3) into [c]Hordeling Outburst[/c] AND [c]Obelisk of Urd[/c], then my friend, it isn’t curving out.

So will any green men rise to the top besides Elves, aided now by [c]Collected Company[/c]? I think if we shift gears away from Aggro, Goblins can do it!

-drinkard

Tribal Fun in Modern #4: Merfolk Under the Sea

master of the pearl trident art

Welcome back to Tribal Fun in Modern! This week we have even more of an aggro deck than last week. We are going to be looking at the increasingly popular mono-blue merfolk. Lets look at the list:

[d title=”Merfolk (Modern)”]

Lands
2 Cavern of Souls
4 Mutavault
1 Tectonic Edge
14 Island

Creatures
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
2 Merrow Reejerey
4 Cursecatcher
4 Silvergill Adept
2 Master of Waves
2 Phantasmal Image
1 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
2 Spellskite

Instants and Sorceries
4 Spreading Seas
2 Dismember
3 Vapor Snag
1 Spell Pierce

Artifacts
4 Æther Vial

Sideboard
3 Tidebinder Mage
1 Swan Song
1 Spell pierce
3 Hurkyl’s Recall
2 Mana Leek
2 Stubborn Denial
2 Echoing Truth
1 Relic of Progenitus [/d]

Following tradition, I will go over the card choices, strategy, play style, matchup and sideboarding guide, and some different versions of the deck.

Lands

The lands are fairly basic. Since we are mono colored there isn’t much to talk about. As I have said earlier, [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] is great in tribal and really there is no need to be cut. In some very rare situations you may get a hand of [c]Mutavault[/c], [c]Cavern of Souls[/c], and [c]Spreading Seas[/c] but I never got that so it isn’t much of a hindrance.

The [c]Mutavault[/c]s are great because not only do they generate mana, but they become 2/2 merfolk.

The one [c]Tectonic Edge[/c] is for the Tron matchup.

silvergill adept art

Creatures

The [c]Lord of Atlantis[/c] and [c]Master of the Pearl Trident[/c]s are a must have 4-of a piece. Not only do they pump your merfolk but also make them unblockable in tons of games, either because your opponent is playing blue already or because you cast [c]Spreading Seas[/c]. The [c]Merrow Reejerey[/c] on the other hand is not quite as impressive. He is definitely good, but not nearly as good as the other two lords. Sticking with the negatives, he costs three mana, which is high on the curve, and only provides one devotion. One the other hand, he synergizes well with [c]Aether Vial[/c]s and the tap/untap ability is useful, but he is not quite as good as the other lords. Despite this, his effects still warrants his inclusion.

Although some are opposed to him, I find [c]Cursecatcher[/c] is a great card. Not only is he a body, but if he is on the table it basically [c]Time Walk[/c]s your opponent (or at least stops them from playing anything that important for another turn). Even better he can be [c]Aether Vial[/c]ed in and act as a [c]Counterspell[/c] in that situation.

[c]Silvergill Adept[/c] is an automatic four-of. Not only is the extra cost clause easy to fulfill with so many merfolk in the deck, but also it acts as the [c]Mulldrifter[/c] of the deck. Although he may not seem great, pure value makes it so that he definitely needs to be a 4-of.

[c]Master of Waves[/c] is a fairly new inclusion to the deck but he is probably the biggest bomb in the whole deck. Considering that even by just turn 4 you can rack up a lot of devotion, not only will he create a ton of 2/1s, but also he can be a body himself with all of the buffs from lords.

[c]Phantasmal Image[/c] is an amazing and cheap [c]Clone[/c]. He is pretty self-explanatory. Copy an opponent’s best creature, copy your own creature, or [c]Aether Vial[/c] him in to respond to something, he is a cheap [c]Clone[/c].

[c]Kira, Great Glass-Spinner[/c] is a good way to protect your threats. She obviously makes it very hard to remove or even target any of your cards, which is an amazing ability, especially considering that she can be [c]Aether Vial[/c]ed in to respond to something. It is worth noting, of course, that she is not a merfolk.

To finish out our creatures we have 2 [c]Spellskite[/c]s. Of course they are an answer to Twin, but also they help against burn and are great blockers. I think their inclusion is fairly self-explanatory, considering that they are live basically every single matchup, even though they are also not merfolk.

Spells

[c]Spreading Seas[/c] is a staple in this deck. Not only does it help a lot in the Tron matchups and against other greedy decks that need a lot of mana requirements, but it also turns on islandwalk, which many times means that all of our creatures are unblockable (and this likely means you win the game very quickly). On top of all of that, it draws you a card when you play it.

[c]Dismember[/c] is the only removal in the deck. Since the deck is so aggressive, the removal is very light, but this can get the job done.

[c]Vapor Snag[/c] and [c]Spell Pierce[/c] are the control package. [c]Vapor Snag[/c] is a great tempo play and can answer a threat (temporarily). [c]Spell Pierce[/c] is the only counter in this whole mono blue deck, but again it can usually be used as a hard counter or at least a tempo play.

Finally, there is [c]Aether Vial[/c]. It is pretty obvious why this card is so good (and who at R&D put this at uncommon in Darksteel). Not only does this act like lands 22-25, but it allows basically all of the creatures to be flashed in. This is not only a way to be efficient with your mana, but also adds some control elements to the deck as well. Finally, it synergizes very well with [c]Merrow Reejerey[/c], being able to dump out your whole hand very quickly.

So, after praising [c]Cryptic Command[/c] last week, you may wonder why it isn’t included, not even 1, this week. This is not a mistake. No merfolk decks run [c]Cryptic Command[/c] because it is to slow for the deck and the deck doesn’t need/want its abilities. Some other cards I choose not to include were [c]Cosi’s Trickster[/c] as it only really triggers on fetches, [c]Coralhelm Commander[/c] as I felt it was to slow, and [c]Thassa, God of the Sea[/c] because I couldn’t find room for her (even though her power level is definitely on par) and I didn’t want another non-merfolk creature.

gtyb art

Strategy

The strategy, as I earlier mention, is very aggressive. You want to try to get as much damage in as quickly as possible. Since there is so little of a control element to the deck, it is very easy to play. Generally you are removing, bouncing, or countering the first opposition to try to push as much damage through as possible. Generally I keep my [c]Aether Vial[/c]s at two counters because most of my creatures are at two. I’ll let it go up to three when I really need to.

The deck plays a lot like a red or Boros aggro minus the burn. In general, the burn is replaced with effective burn that allows you to push through extra damage ([c]Spreading Seas[/c], bouncing, countermagic, and removal). If you like a deck like UR Aggro or even just RDW or Boros Aggro, then you will likely like merfolk just as much.

The deck’s matchups are somewhat similar to that of an aggro deck. It does pretty well against most traditional control decks, such as Tron and UW Midrange, has more of a 50%/50% matchup against Abzan (it can really depend on the build), RDW and Boros Aggro, and Infect and generally has poor matchups against Twin, [c]Scapeshift[/c], and other quick combos (it is hard for us to interact with these).

Sideboarding

The [c]Tidebinder Mage[/c]s obviously come in against anything red or green (Abzan, RDW, etc.).

The [c]Swan Song[/c] comes in against Twin, Aggro (haven’t quite decided if this is the right choice yet), Control, and anything else relevant.

The extra [c]Spell Pierce[/c] comes in against Aggro, Tron, Scapeshift, Infect, and other non-aggro matchups where you can afford to slow down.

The [c]Hurkyl’s Recall[/c]s come in against Affinity, obviously.

Again the [c]Mana Leak[/c]s come in against decks where you can usually afford to slow down a bit (Abzan, Control, etc.) and Twin usually.

[c]Stubborn Denial[/c]s come in against aggro, twin, and other racing matchups.

[c]Echoing Truth[/c] is usually a catchall, for Twin, Abzan, Aggro, basically anything to fill up the space of a dead card.

Finally there is [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c] for graveyard decks and for [c]Tarmogoyf[/c].

In hindsight I put a lot of spaces for Aggro when I could have filled them up with something more relevant for the even worse matchups, but I can fine-tune the sideboard as I continue to test.

More thoughts

So the big thing I choose not to do with this deck is splash white. A few fetches, shocks, and a playset of [c]Wanderwine Hub[/c] opens up [c]Path to Exile[/c], [c]Harm’s Way[/c], and many sideboard options.

Of course the numbers can be changed too. Even splashing black could be viable. Some specific cards that I decided not to include that could definitely still be good in the deck and in your meta are [c]Thassa, God of the Sea[/c], [c]Coralhelm Commander[/c], and [c]Cosi’s Trickster[/c] (likely in the sideboard). The control and removal packages have some slight wiggle room. I wouldn’t go with more than 11 cards for both removal and control and the deck isn’t a control deck, it is an aggro deck.

There are many sideboard options. As my main resource for sideboards (since I am not very good at it myself) I usually use the compare feature of mtgtop8.com (it is a great website for netdecking and seeing the metagame, most the time at least). That shows you many more options for sideaboards, basically all of which I think are viable, depending on your meta.

There it is, my take on the ever-popular Modern Merfolk deck. If you have any suggestions at all feel free to talk about them in the comments (I do usually respond). Thanks for sticking with me, as today’s article was a little long again, but hopefully interesting.

Thanks!

– Dylan

How To Take Advantage of Modern Masters 2015

kor spiritdancer art wide

Hi all,

If you have been interested in moving into Modern, or if you are interested in trying new decks in the format you already play, then this article will help you know how to do it best. Keep in mind that the information presented here is time-sensitive and based on thirty cards spoiled so far. Further, as a primarily online player, keep in mind that I am more knowledgeable about prices in terms of tickets.

People are always excited about reprints. They make cards cheaper! Unfortunately, what they tend not to do is to make decks cheaper. When [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c] was reprinted in the original Modern Masters, players were disappointed to see that the Affinity deck cost the same despite the price drop. What had happened was that [c]Mox Opal[/c] and other Affinity requirements increased in demand. The same cycle continues to happen as we see shock land and fetch land reprints.

So here I will give you pre-existing decks that have Modern Masters reprints and what you need to buy now in order to move into them. I’ll close the article with a budget brew that will be available to us thanks to Modern Masters 2015.

Deck 1: Bogles

Bogles is a great deck for consistent MTGO grinding. It has not earned many states, SCG IQ, Pro Tour, or qualifying wins, but if you want to take six tickets and consistently turn them into 18 with minimal time and clicking investment, then Bogles is right for you. Not many appreciate how, but you do get better with the deck after experience, particularly in games two and three, even if the learning curve is easy. It is like playing Vintage Dredge or the bass guitar in that way.

So far we have seen two crucial reprints for Bogles: [c]Daybreak Coronet[/c], the most obvious one, and [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] for the sideboard. Arguably, depending on the metagame, [c]Spellskite[/c] is another essential we’re being given.

If you want to move into Bogles, then here is a list of the cards you need to buy before they become more expensive:
-[c]Kor Spiritdancer[/c] (at one ticket!!)
-[c]Windswept Heath[/c] and [c]Wooded Foothills[/c]
-[c]Horizon Canopy[/c], though I may be wary of a reprint here
-[c]Slippery Bogle[/c]: For whatever reason, this guy climbs to a full ticket from time to time.

Deck 2: Tron

Who doesn’t want to begin exiling his opponent’s board on turn three, following it with a [c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c] that exhausts all of the opponent’s remaining resources, just in time to slam down recurring Eldrazi? Similarly to Bogles, Tron is powerful enough to forgive mistakes. It cycles through itself at an aggressive pace, and the power level of the cards you begin dropping on turns three and four often win regardless.

We have seen a ton of reprints for Tron: [c]Eye of Ugin[/c], [c]Karn Liberated[/c], [c]Spellskite[/c], and the Eldrazi: [c]Emrakul, Aeons Torn[/c], [c]Kozilek, Butcher of Truth[/c], and [c]Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre[/c].

Here are the cards you need to consider buying before the rest of the prices drop:
-[c]Grove of the Burnwillows[/c]: Again, this may see a reprint, but for whatever reason, I’m doubting it.
-[c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c]: The promo foil of this can be scouted for and found cheaply in the classifieds. Otherwise, I am fairly certain that any version is a good investment.
-[c]Oblivion Stone[/c]: It isn’t cheap, and it won’t be. If you wait, though, it will be regrettable. I guess we do have [c]All Is Dust[/c], [c]Perilous Vault[/c], and [c]Ugin, the Spirit Dragon[/c] to catch our fall, but these all operate best when we have assembled Tron. Stone works when we are limping, and it helps us catch some air in the midgame.

cranial plating art wide

Deck 3: Affinity

This is probably my number one deck to recommend you to buy into if you want to grind Modern for tickets. It is fast, it is oppressive, and it is consistent.

[c]Mox Opal[/c] is the main reprint we are excited about to play Affinity. The rest of the deck can be acquired really cheaply. Still, we are being thrown other bones in [c]Cranial Plating[/c] and [c]Etched Champion[/c].

Non-[c]Mox Opal[/c] pieces can be acquired for around 100 tickets, but they are already seeing spikes. Quickly acquire these cards:
-[c]Glimmervoid[/c]
-[c]Blinkmoth Nexus[/c]
-[c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c]
-[c]Master of Etherium[/c]
-And, depending on how you want to sideboard, [c]Blood Moon[/c] and [c]Chalice of the Void[/c].

Deck 4: Living End

The namesake card has tripled in price in the past two months, but still the deck can reasonably function for about forty tickets. The card that sets the budget decks from the consistently prizing ones is coming back: [c]Fulminator Mage[/c] has been confirmed at rare. Our best removal (perhaps arguably over [c]Beast Within[/c]) [c]Dismember[/c] is also being reprinted.

If free rides through aggro matches is your thing, and you don’t mind learning how to slog through control and fight combo and burn with spells that cost three or more, then you need to buy:
-[c]Living End[/c]
-[c]Blackcleave Cliffs[/c] and [c]Copperline Gorge[/c]
-[c]Bloodstained Mire[/c] and [c]Wooded Foothills[/c]: Remember, [c]Verdant Catacombs[/c] is better, but it is joining us later in the year as we return to Zendikar.

noble hierarch art wide

Deck 5: Infect

I don’t recommend buying into Infect, really. Sure, it is getting [c]Noble Hierarch[/c], and some evidence suggests that [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] is a card to buy into anyway, but other than that, the deck hasn’t recovered from the price spikes that have existed since the Pro Tour where Team Pantheon introduced Tom Ross’s brew.

Some brews

Of the 42 cards spoiled so far, I am most excited about [c]Iona, Shield of Emeria[/c] and the Eldrazi. Let’s throw them together with some Tron lands and see what happens.

[d title=”Tooth, Nail, and Tron (Modern)”]
Land
1 Eye of Ugin
5 Forest
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Stomping Ground
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower
4 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
1 Elderscale Wurm
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Eternal Witness
1 Gaea’s Revenge
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
4 Overgrown Battlement
3 Thragtusk
1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
4 Wall of Roots
1 Wurmcoil Engine

Spells
4 Expedition Map
4 Explore
4 Summoning Trap
4 Sylvan Scrying

Sideboard
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
2 Choke
3 Dismember
3 Feed the Clan
1 Gaea’s Revenge
1 Nature’s Claim
1 Obstinate Baloth
2 Primal Command
1 Thragtusk[/d]

This is a no-nonsense ramp deck that doesn’t aim to play [c]Genesis Wave[/c], [c]Tooth and Nail[/c], or even [c]Primal Command[/c], but creatures. Should that plan fail, then we will resolve [c]Summoning Trap[/c] and get a fatty who is likely as sweet or sweeter.

[d title=”Gifts Eggs (Modern)”]
Land
3 Adarkar Wastes
2 Darksteel Citadel
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower

Creatures
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Myr Retriever
1 Snapcaster Mage

Other Spells
1 Aether Spellbomb
4 Azorius Signet
4 Chromatic Star
2 Expedition Map
1 Faith’s Reward
4 Gifts Ungiven
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks
4 Mox Opal
1 Noxious Revival
4 Open the Vaults
4 Prophetic Prism
1 Thopter Foundry
1 Unburial Rites

Sideboard
3 Erase
1 Favor of the Mighty
3 Path to Exile
1 Phyrexian Unlife
2 Pyroclasm
1 Rest for the Weary
4 Swan Song[/d]

These two paths may seem too discordant to be put together in a deck, but I think that [c]Gifts Ungiven[/c] may be just what the Eggs archetype needed. Now we can completely shut down Burn even in the face of [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] (a large part of why this deck doesn’t exist anymore), and [c]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/c] both works well with [c]Thopter Foundry[/c] and attacks opposing aggressive strategies also.

This deck ramps into [c]Gifts Ungiven[/c] better than most; with [c]Mox Opal[/c] and [c]Azorius Signet[/c], you are highly likely to ramp into a turn 3 [c]Unburial Rites[/c].

If the Rites package is not optimal for the moment, [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c], [c]Noxious Revival[/c], [c]Faith’s Reward[/c], and [c]Open the Vaults[/c] ensure a big turn coming up.

Lastly, [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c], Tron pieces, and mana fixing can just naturally ramp you into an [c]Iona, Shield of Emeria[/c] or [c]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/c].

Hope you all enjoyed. Happy mastering of Modern!

-drinkard