ummer means different things to different people. For some, it's a herald of adventure, of long days and gorgeous nights. For others, it might mean evenings with the barbeque, getting that infamous burger of yours just right. But for many of you this year, it highlights something else entirely: Modern season!
Yes, that's right. The Modern PTQ season just kicked off last weekend and it's time for attention to swing around to one of the most interesting and diverse formats in Magic's history.
I'm always excited every time Modern season hits because of all the new decks that will come out of it—and that's similarly true for running Modern ReConstructed weeks! You guys send in some of the coolest decks, and I look forward to seeing what new concoctions will arrive in my inbox each and every time.
In fact, there are so many cool decks submitted that today I have a bit of a two-for-one for you. (And if there's anything I know about Magic, it's that you always want a two-for-one.) I couldn't bear to leave either of these decks out of the spotlight! I'm going to get an overview of both of them.
Are you ready for this? Let's get started!
...but probably not the Eldrazi you're expecting.
Sure, Slippery Bogle is no stranger to Modern play. But there's a good chance you've never seen him and his friends quite like this before.
Let's take a look:
Mekanic's Flash Conscription
The Battle Plan
Let me run through a couple of the situations this deck might put its opponent's into.
First, there's always the simple route. Turn one, hexproof creature. Turn two, Arcanum Wings. Turn three, use everyone's favorite Constructed-staple ability Aura Swap to slam an Eldrazi Conscription on that creature. Attack for 11—and annihilate two permanents, to boot.
Another easy option is Academy Researchers. Just cast a turn-three Researchers and give it an Eldrazi Conscription. Your opponent had better have a removal spell.
The key is going to make this deck more consistent and more versatile. Half-Hexproof deck, half two-card combo deck, this deck can draw upon lessons from both to make it stronger, overall.
The core of this deck is its one-drop hexproof creatures and the combo pieces. Slippery Bogle and Gladecover Scout are both cards I am going to want some number of, as are the set of Arcanum Wings, Gigantiforms, and Eldrazi Conscriptions. You want to draw those together as often as possible.
Additionally, while susceptible to removal, Academy Researchers is a strong enough one-two punch for me to keep it around.
This deck has a ton of things going on outside of its core combo that lacks focus. Those pieces could use some reworking.
I'm all for drawing cards to dig deeper toward the combo, but there are better ways to accomplish that in the format than Aura Finesse and Thought Scour. While there is a universe where you Thought Scour and Retether to set up a combo, every other time where that doesn't happen, Thought Scour is just tremendously worse than Serum Visions. Aura Finesse, while cute, I wouldn't expect to actually come up very often. Remand is good, but this deck isn't going to leave a lot of mana open and two copies of Remand aren't worth it here.
Speaking of Retether, it tends to be fairly situational.
In some off-the-cuff theory, it's protection for when your combo doesn't work out: if they kill your conscripted creature, you Retether it back. The problem is that more often the problem is going to be having Eldrazi Conscription stranded in your hand rather than in your graveyard. If you manage to put it on one of your hexproof creatures, the odds of it dying are quite low. This means it's only really a good defense if you go the Academy Researchers route and it gets blown up. I'd much rather have a different card here.
Finally, I want to trim down on hexproof creatures a bit. Bassara Tower Archer costs two and I already have a solid amount of hexproof in this deck—I don't need more random creatures or I risk drawing too many do-nothing hexproof creatures.
First, I want to try and drive up the consistency of this deck. My first reaction is to add in some one-mana card filtering: Serum Visions and Sleight of Hand let you dig to the cards you're looking for.
Those cards also do something else important: cost exactly one blue mana. One of this deck's biggest holes is getting Academy Researchers removed if you go all-in with it. Most of the removal spells people play are one mana, meaning the opponent can easily cast them...
...and that makes Disrupting Shoal pretty much the perfect counterspell.
Disrupting Shoal acts as a huge source of protection for this deck's combo. It is very similar to a Force of Will here, using any of your one-mana blue cards (including Slippery Bogle) to pitch to counter a Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, or similar. (Spell Pierce on Arcanum Wings is also annoying, which this hits.) You can even slow down other combo decks like Splinter Twin pretty effectively as well by countering a Pestermite or Deceiver Exarch.
There's room for one more card, and so the one I'm interested in is a single Commune with the Gods. It can dig to find the right enchantment or creature in a pinch.
That brings the list to:
Gavin Verhey's Aura Swap
If you're looking to go a slightly different direction with this, something AJ Sacher was trying out and having success with was a version of this deck with Tallowisp and Geist of Saint Traft. It's certainly worth giving a look if this more all-in combo version isn't quite striking your fancy.
This deck is capable of some truly explosive draws. Enjoy!
No, don't worry—it's not Turbo-Fog...
...although it may make your opponent similarly unhappy. Let's take a look at the second deck up today!
Champy-kun's Savor the Friendship
The Battle Plan
Take all of the turns.
Yes, really. This deck's eventual goal is to lock out the opponent and take every turn for the rest of the game. With a regular draw, this deck can go off around turn five, and with a really strong draw you can go off as early as turn three.
So, what's going on here, exactly?
Well, this deck features a pretty full boat of extra turn effects. Time Warp, of course, but in addition to that it also has Savor the Moment. And, now that Deathrite Shaman is gone, you can chain these effects together pretty effectively thanks to Noxious Revival. While Savor the Moment has the downside of not letting you untap, all of your extra draws like Howling Mine will still work and you can still use Planeswalkers again—and if you can untap your lands with Garruk, it's pretty easy to remove the downside.
Your mana acceleration can help get you there fast—and since your mana acceleration is all enchant lands, Garruk accelerates you even further! Once you've started the extra-turn chain, you can eventually lock out your opponent and take all of the turns with a Tamiyo ultimate, Isochron Scepter, or Panoptic Mirror.
This deck has a really strong core—it just needs to be tightened up around the edges and given enough focus. Let's go deeper!
There are several things that I definitely want to keep. The extra turn effects I want all of, and I definitely want to raise the number of Time Warps to four. Noxious Revival is very important as a "free" way to draw another extra turn effect once you've cast one.
Garruk Wildspeaker is one of the most important cards in your deck, since he simultaneously helps accelerate you, lets you keep going when taking turns with Savor the Moment, and can also serve as an eventual win condition by way of making Beasts and overrunning. I want to add a fourth of him as well.
And finally, both Utopia Sprawl and Fertile Ground are important pieces of this deck. They're cheap acceleration that works with Garruk, helping to make your Savor the Moments much less painful. I'm going to keep four of each of those.
Awakening Zone is a cute idea, generating mana while you take a bunch of extra turns, and if one just appeared on the battlefield that'd be great. However, as-is, it's not really worth the three-mana investment over numerous cards I could be playing there instead. Those can go.
Additionally, while Echoing Truth is a nice sideboard option, Game One I'm not too concerned about hate cards. I'd rather just try and go off quickly, then sideboard for what I think my opponent might have. Those can go.
The idea with Primal Command is that, if you're about to deck out, you can loop your deck endlessly while you slowly set up a lethal number of 3/3 Beasts from Garruk. While a cute idea, Command isn't really space-efficient in the deck. I can easily get it down to one card by using Laboratory Maniac, and in actuality I'd rather just play Kessig Wolf Run and take up zero extra spell slots in the deck. You can already just loop Noxious Revivals to ensure you don't deck out.
And finally, while I appreciate the diversity of Scepter, Mirror, and Tamiyo, in the main deck I would rather just have three copies of the Mirror. Why? Well, Panoptic Mirror can just give you free wins on its own. There will certainly be a reasonable number of games you just slam a Mirror on turn three or four, and then untap and kill your opponent.
A trick worth knowing is that you can put Mirror's triggered ability on the stack in your upkeep (even if nothing is imprinted) and then respond to it with Mirror's activated ability. You can then cast that card when its original triggered ability resolves. Simply put, if you play a Mirror and your opponent can't kill it, having either a Time Warp or Savor the Moment in your hand will immediately cause you to win the game.
One card I immediately want to put in is Rites of Flourishing. This is a fantastic card in this deck! It takes the place of Jace, since it can't be attacked and killed like Jace, and you can have multiples of it on the battlefield. It also accelerates you while you're taking extra turns, as well as just drawing cards. I'd like to play all four copies.
There are two more spots left, taking into consideration all of the other numbers that I've bumped up to four. This could be Dictate of Kruphix (still preferable to Jace here), but the other card I am a bit more interested in here is Explore. While I prefer Utopia Sprawl and Fertile Ground over it, it's the next-best piece of acceleration I want to have: it accelerates me a land without costing a card, which is very important in a deck that wants to keep its hand full like this one.
With all of those changes in mind, that brings the decklist to:
Gavin Verhey's Turbomirror
This deck is an absolute blast to play! The first thing I did when I saw it in my inbox was fire up Magic Online and take it for a spin. It's fun, and surprisingly strong; you can win very quickly.
Have fun with it!
As we've seen, Modern has some pretty cool stuff going on—and there's plenty more where that came from. Let's take a look at some of the other great decks sent in this week!
Alex Baxter's Mirror, Mirror
Yuki A.'s WU KikiPod
Matt's Shrieker of Minds
Derek Rafols's Infections and Vitamins
Itou Kazunari's Saints' Crusade
Hiroaki Ikeda's Springjack Trades
Naoto Horiguchi's Old Maid
Toyoharu Sonohara's Gate Mono-Green
Shenny Lam's Universal Carnage
Steve's Bant Combo Walkers
Lane Engelberg's Land Ho!
Thor_Naadoh's Stromgald Pox
Tony Youssef's Black Heartbeat
S.S. Chuah's Dimir Comboland
2015 in 2014
It's crazy to think about, but in just two weeks, Magic 2015 previews will be upon us! I can't wait to start to show off the set to you. You'll want to tune in, then.
Since it's a preview week two weeks from now, there's no deck building mission this week.
In the meantime, if you have any feedback or thoughts on either of these decks or the article, please let me know! I've never done this kind of two-deck format before and would love to know what you think. Feel free to post in the forums, send me a tweet, or ask me a question on my Tumblr with your feedback.
I'll be back next week with something a bit wibbly-wobbily and a smidge timey-wimey. It's a one-of-a-kind topical blend article you won't want to miss! Talk with you then!
When Gavin Verhey was eleven, he wanted a job making Magic cards. Ten years later, his dream was realized as his combined success as a professional player, deck builder, and writer brought him into Wizards R&D during 2011. He's been writing Magic articles since 2005 and has no plans to stop.