Breaking the Mold: Having Fun in Modern
Modern is quite the established format, overrun with high-powered strategies that barely leave room for outsiders, it seems. Can wacky brews even stand a chance in such a well formed metagame? Here are two decks that most certainly can! Let's shape the world anew and storm the castle!
I love wacky brews. It makes me happy to see crazy ideas flourish into competetively viable decks. When decks like today's top events or do well in leagues online, I am reminded of how vast of a game Magic really is. I mainly want to point out that no matter what your budget, no matter what your preferred playstyle, there is a deck out there for you. All you have to do is sit down, brainstorm, and playtest. Here are two decks for Modern that did well while being quite budget friendly and a lot of fun to pilot!
Deck #1 – Shape Anew
Surely warranting the nickname Blightsteel Turbo, this is a deck I brewed up after finding the namesake card Shape Anew completely by chance while leafing through random cards on Scryfall. It reminded me of Tinker right away with its ability to sacrifice an artifact and get another artifact straight from the library. Notably, though, Shape Anew cannot be toolboxed because of the fact that we will need exactly one artifact in our deck to hit, lest we sacrifice consistency.
We can run multiple copies of this artifact and we choose to as well, because otherwise we would be very vulnerable to removal. The artifact of choice is of course the king of all artifact creatures, Blightsteel Colossus. It can end the game on the spot against an opponent regardless of their life total and the rest of our deck is tailored to help with this goal.
Since we don't play any artifacts in our deck other than Blightsteel Colossus, how do we get artifacts to sacrifice to Shape Anew? The answer comes in the form of nonartifact cards that create artifacts, namely cards with the investigate keyword, which will create Clue tokens on our side of the field. Clues aren't just sacrifice fodder for Shape Anew — they can come in handy on their own, too! We can pay 2 and sacrifice them to draw a card if we have spare mana or need to dig into our deck. This also means our token generators will almost never be dead draws.
The two best cards with this effect for our strategy are Thraben Inspector because it's the cheapest enabler and Expose Evil for its ability to tap down attackers or blockers. This lands us comfortably in the colors of the Azorius guild and that's perfect for our strategy. We'll play the role of a control deck with a combo finish.
The Game Plan
Against nonblue decks and more aggressive decks we will have no problem resolving our combo. Simply by playing out our pieces we should present an unbeatable threat on turn four. We can, of course, take longer, since we have tools to deal with our opponent's threats, plenty countermagic and removal.
There is also quite a funny option to accelerate the combo, namely this play pattern that will come up more often than you'd think. Turn one Thraben Inspector, turn two Path to Exile your own Inspector, keeping mana up for a Spell Pierce if necessary. This turns our removal spell into ramp, allowing us to combo off a turn earlier, especially useful against decks that don't pack a lot of interaction.
Our controlling game plan should hopefully keep most of the board clean for our Colossus to be able to smash right through. However, if we need a bit of an extra push, Expose Evil and Press for Answers will come in to tap down our opponent's blockers and allow us to get our damage through.
Sacrificing an artifact to Shape Anew is not an additional cost, so if it gets countered you get to keep your artifact. Declaring a target is necessary, though, and this leaves an opening for your oppnent to target your token with removal – this will counter Shape Anew with no effect, so watch out!
Teferi, Time Raveler is a great disruptive threat that prevents our opponent from playing at instant speed. He also allows us to play Shape Anew on our opponent's end step, which shuts down our opponent's ability to interact with it whatsoever.
Deck #2 – Goblin Storm
This is a Storm deck that wants to combo off by casting a lethal Grapeshot or creating a huge Goblin army with Empty the Warrens. However, instead of using a multitude of rituals and graveyard recursion spells like Past in Flames or Underworld Breach, this deck relies on repeatedly sacrificing Goblins to generate mana and draw cards.
Believe it or not, this deck got fifth place at the LatAm Magic Series in Tutubahia last year piloted by Vinicius Cardoso. When I first saw it I could hardly believe my eyes. An unquestionably janky deck that costs under €100 managed to come in fifth place?
The deck relies on an interesting two-card combo: Skirk Prospector and Fecundity. The Prospector lets us sacrifice a Goblin to add one red mana to our mana pool and with Fecundity on the battlefield, this also nets us a card! This means that every Goblin we create is worth one red mana and a card to us. Cards like Goblin Instigator that create two Goblins for 2 mana essentially become cards with no mana cost and a text of "draw two cards." This allows us to draw our entire deck in theory.
On its own, it's not enough to win the game, though. We have to somehow gain mana throughout our combo and we have a few cards that do just that. Mogg War Marshal nets us one additional red mana and Postmortem Lunge can revive it for the same effect. Infernal Plunge is a much simpler way of getting us into mana-positive territory. We also have four copies of Wild Cantor to filter our mana and possibly get multiple Fecundities online — drawing two cards for each creature that dies!
Drawing more gas is at the heart of every Storm deck and guaranteeing consistency and speed is possibly the most difficult task while deck building. Magmatic Insight helps us get through times when we just keep drawing lands. Commune with the Gods gets the cards we need into our hand. This should primarily be used before we combo off. However, in a pinch, it's perfectly okay to cast it during our combo with Wild Cantor's mana filtering effect, or with our lands, if they happen to be untapped. Just make sure to have enough mana availible after you cast it to keep going!
Most of the time, we want to go off on turn four with a grip full of Goblins and all our mana available, but with great hands and a little luck going off on turn three is possible.
Winning the Game
There are multiple ways to win the game with this deck and once you have the combo live, there should be no way for you to lose if you set up well, except variance of course. There are three main ways to win with this deck, all revolving around our storm cards. First off, you can just keep going until you find your Grapeshot and shoot your opponent out with twenty copies of it. Alternatively, Empty the Warrens opens up two new ways to win. You can either cast Reckless Bushwhacker with surge and swing with an army of hasty Goblins, or you can cast Voracious Dragon and let it devour your Goblin army to burn your opponent out.
Honestly, above all, this deck really is a blast to play. I'm not a huge fan of Storm, but I really fancy the way this deck goes about storming off. It's unique, it's cool and a ton of fun to pilot. I highly recommend trying it out!
|Goblin Combo by Vinicius Cardoso|
Let me know what you think about these two deck, and if you choose to play either, let me know what your experience was like and whether you took it to any amount of success!
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