Here I am with my first article about a Modern deck. The initial list and the only one I played so far I got from Tom Ross (@Boss_MTG) who has been working on it for a long time. This is the build I refer to for the rest of the article:
|Modern Yawgmoth by Tom Ross|
This is a combo deck in a color combination not necessarily known for combos, so of course we have some strange cards in here. Basically we run a bunch of different combos and some pieces that give us additional angles of attack, some of which are also combos. Playing both Eldritch Evolution and Chord of Calling the deck is fairly good at finding the missing piece in preboard games and the perfect silver bullet in postboard games. In game one, one of the new additions this deck got from Modern Horizons 2, Grist, the Hunger Tide, is virtually the only card that's not getting you toward a combo, being a tutorable planeswalker instead.
You have a bunch of mana creatures in Ignoble Hierarch and Wall of Roots, rounding the numbers out with one Birds of Paradise and a Gilded Goose. Take care that Wall of Roots only works at instant speed on Magic Online, not like the mana ability that it should be. The land selection isn't especially interesting. It's maximized to cast both double- to triple-green cards and triple-black cards at the same time, so you can't get too fancy. Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth being one of the other new additions from Modern Horizons 2 helps with that.
As basically all other cards are for different combos, let's look at them in that context.
Let's get down to business, starting with the most basic combo this deck has to offer: Yawgmoth, Thran Physician plus Geralf's Messenger plus any second undying creature.
As long as you have more life points than your opponent to begin with, you can pay 1 life and sacrifice one of your undying creatures to Yawgmoth, Thran Physician to put a −1/−1 counter on the other undying creature. Afterward you do the same thing, but changing directions, so that sacrificing one of the undying creatures removes the +1/+1 counter from the other, making it ready for repeated returns from the graveyard. As said, this basic loop only works if you have more life than your opponent, because it deals 2 points of life loss to your opponent per 2 life points you pay.
The basic loop has a bunch of variations: First of all, you can replace the second undying creature with a second Messenger, which allows you to kill opponents who have up to twice your life total. Secondly, you can incorporate a copy of either Essence Warden or Zulaport Cutthroat so you can kill opponents regardless of their life total, given you can pay the 1 life that Yawgmoth needs to start. Zulaport Cutthroat also allows you to replace Messenger with a green undying creature.
Next up is a combo that the addition of Modern Horizons 2 brings to the table, consisting of Scurry Oak and Ivy Lane Denizen. This one is fairly basic: if you have both cards, you get a Scurry Oak of infinite size as well as infinite Squirrels, through Denizen triggering for every Squirrel and then putting a +1/+1 counter on Scurry Oak.
To start this combo off you need to either play the Oak while Denizen is in play or the Oak to be small enough so that playing the Denizen triggers it. Otherwise you'll need another green creature. Adding Essence Warden to this loop makes you also gain infinite life (or rather any number of life points), which can come in handy against fliers and such. If you replace Scurry Oak with both Kitchen Finks and Yawgmoth, that is also an infinite life combo even if there's no creatures onto which to put Yawgmoth's counters, because the card says "up to one."
The last combo does not go infinite by itself, but given enough life points it kills your opponent's whole board: Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons plus Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. You need a sacrifice as starter, but once Yawgmoth begins dishing out −1/−1 counters, Hapatra will naturally replace every creatures you sacrifice with a Snake token, which then continues to fuel Yawgmoth. If you add Essence Warden you get to draw your deck, if you add Zulaport Cutthroat, your opponent dies as long as their life total is lower than the number of cards in your deck.
These are all the basic combos, but there are quite a few. In most games, as long as you have some pieces and a tutor, you'll probably be able to figure something out.
The sideboard is a bit wild, featuring twelve one-ofs. I don't have fixed sideboard plans for the more than 30 decks populating Modern, not to mention a metagame on the move right now. Instead I want to try to give some rough explanation for which matchup which card is.
Before we get to that, let's discuss shortly which cards you cut most often. It's the Scurry Oak/Ivy Lane Denizen combo, which generally gets worse postboard when facng more interaction, Grist, the Hunger Tide in nongrindy matchups, Hapatra against decks without creatures, Birds of Paradise and Gilded Goose if speed isn't as important, and occasionally a tutor or a green undying creature.
The deck is quite sweet and has a lot of play to it. The sideboard in particular gives you a lot of flexibility. If those things appeal to you, you should give it a spin. One thing you need to be aware of, though, is that the deck is extremly bad against Grafdigger's Cage, so if that card sees a lot of play, and Urza's Saga makes that more likely, you should be careful about playing this list.
Have a good time—until next time,
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.