Deadguy Ale in Modern

pack rat art wide

This article was submitted by Jack Marion. If you like it, let him know in the comments, and maybe he will write some more!

Hi Everybody,

For some time now I have been toying with a way in which to crack this current modern format. Modern is in an interesting place right now because there is no clear “best deck” like there has been in the past. Despite the fact that there are a few top tier decks (to name a few: Amulet Bloom, Grixis Delver, Twin, Jund, burn, Tron, and maybe even Grishoalbrand), these decks function in extraordinarily different ways.

Even if you find a way to one up all of these top-tier decks, which is nigh on impossible, you can’t even begin to account for all of the random rogue decks making a resurgence, like Ad Nauseam, Infect, or Merfolk (speaking of Merfolk I have also been toying with a Collected Merfolk deck, but that is for another article).

So sitting in my lair I was spending all of my time trying to figure out how to game the meta, and thus validate my god-complex. But then inspiration struck me: why find a way to beat each of these decks specifically when I can have at least an even match-up against every deck ever conceived. With this goal is mind I present to you my rogue beauty: Deadguy Ale.

[d title=”Deadguy Ale (Modern)”]
Lands
1 Fetid Heath
3 Godless Shrine
4 Marsh Flats
3 Mutavault
2 Plains
2 Swamp
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Vault of the Archangel
3 Windswept Heath
3 Bloodstained Mire

Creatures
4 Dark Confidant
4 Fulminator Mage
1 Hypnotic Specter
4 Pack Rat
1 Tidehollow Sculler

Instants
2 Dismember
4 Path to Exile
2 Slaughter Pact

Sorceries
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Lingering Souls
4 Thoughtseize

Enchantments
1 Bitterblossom

Planeswalkers
1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

Artifacts
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
Sideboard:
2 Disfigure
1 Dismember
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
2 Kor Firewalker
3 Leyline of Sanctity
1 Mirran Crusader
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Rest in Peace
2 Stony Silence [/d]

For those of you not familiar with the archetype Deadguy Ale is an old legacy deck that wins the game through efficient creatures in combination with efficient discard. This deck was the original BW good stuff. I really do believe that this deck is well-positioned right now, otherwise there is no way it could convince me not to play a deck with either counter magic or some degenerate combo.

One of the best things about this deck is how loose its list actually is. You can change out almost any card in this deck, maindeck or sideboard, depending upon what you expect to be facing.

Let’s rundown your strategy when running this deck. You want to start off with a turn one discard spell, you have a whopping eight main-deck so it really shouldn’t be difficult to have an opener with one. After you put your opponent on a deck is where things get interesting. The reason why the list is so loose to begin with is because the deck is so reactive and malleable, much like Jund. So after you see your opponent’s hand your deck is suddenly either a linear aggro deck, or an incredibly disruptive control deck. This malleable play style is supported by the hyper-efficiency of your creatures.

A perfect example of this is [c]Pack Rat[/c]: [c]Pack Rat[/c] is always going to be a good card no matter what play-style you opt into. If you are playing against a mid-range fatty deck like Junk, you just go all in on your rat and it’ll eventually be big enough that you can fight a [c]Siege Rhino[/c] in combat, which is a really good feeling, and their clock isn’t very fast so you have time to get there. Playing against a combo deck like Twin? Just strip their hand to nothing and drop a Pack Rat when the coast is clear, when it’s out of bolt range they may as well scoop. Pack Rat really is the defining card of the deck due to its flexibility. We saw this trait most clearly when it was dominating Standard, you go in on a Pack Rat in a match-up where they can’t deal with it, and you leave your options open into those that can.

[c]Dark Confidant[/c] is how you out-value a grindier matchup, you just drown them in card advantage. Not to mention the sick wombo combo with pack rat.

[c]Fulminator Mage[/c] is key in helping with matchups that would otherwise be very difficult, such as Tron, Scapeshift, and Amulet Bloom. It was also surprisingly good in aggro matchups during testing. Into burn, a matchup where the card is traditionally useless, it is pretty sweet because of all of the rampant splashing. It is currently in style to play three or even four color burn decks, but skimp on actual shocks in favor of fetches, so I you drop multiple Fulminators you can frequently entirely lock them off certain colors.

[c]Hypnotic Specter[/c] and [c]Tidehollow Sculler[/c] do similar things in this deck: just being a nuisance to card advantage matchups like Twin or Grixis Control. You win those matchups by stripping their hand, so these one-ofs are key.

[c]Lingering Souls[/c] is a card that doesn’t need much introduction, it’s been omnipresent in the format for months. Lingering Souls are here because of just how efficient they are, you would be surprised how many decks just can’t answer this card, so a playset is a must.

Our removal is pretty self-explanatory, [c]Path to Exile[/c] because [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c] is a decent Magic card. Dismember for fatties like [c]Tarmogoyf[/c], [c]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/c], [c]Gurmag Angler[/c], and [c]Siege Rhino[/c]. [c]Slaughter Pact[/c] is a bit weird but having the extra instant speed removal really helps us destroy Twin.

[c]Bitterblossom[/c] and [c]Sorin, Lord of Innistrad[/c] are there to have some hard to answer threats in case you can’t strip their removal.

[c]Sword of Fire and Ice[/c] is just amazing in the age of Grixis we live in today, if you stick this on a creature you just win those matchups.

Our eight one-drop discard spells really are the cornerstones of the deck, and I think I’ve talked about them enough.

As for the sideboard, you can really change all of it to fit the meta you expect to be facing. I’ll quickly run through each inclusion:

  • [c]Disfigure[/c] is for Delver, Elves or other similar small creature decks.
  • [c]Dismember[/c] is for decks that have big stuff in them (Angler, Tasigur, Goyf).
  • [c]Ethersworn Canonist[/c] hoses Storm, Ad Nauseam, Grishoalbrand, Living End, or Jeskai Ascendancy.
  • [c]Kataki[/c] for Affinity or other artifact based strategies.
  • [c]Kor Firewalker[/c] for Burn and Goblins.
  • [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] for Burn and discard.
  • [c]Mirran Crusader[/c] for Jund, Junk, or any green or black deck.
  • [c]Nihil Spellbomb[/c] and Rest in Peace for any graveyard strategy.
  • [c]Stony Silence[/c] for Affinity, Tron, and Eggs.

Anyway, that’s all for now, hope you enjoy playing the kind of scumbag deck that I love to play!

Good Luck, Have Fun!

-Jack