Rogue Deck Review 2: Summer Notables
- Hans Davidson
Welcome to the second installment of Rogue Deck Review! Today we're taking a look at five rogue decks that are worth sharing, whether it's because of quirkiness, metagame viability, or accessibility. Without further ado, let's jump right in to our first list!
1. Blue-Black Eldrazi Aggro
Blue-Black Eldrazi Aggro by Tenshi (MTGO Competitive Leagues, 5-0)
|4Cavern of Souls||3Abundant Maw||4Chalice of the Void|
|4Eldrazi Temple||4Elder Deep-Fiend||4Serum Powder|
|3Gemstone Caverns||4Eldrazi Skyspawner||2Dismember|
|3Sanctum of Ugin||4Eternal Scourge|
|4Unclaimed Territory||4Matter Reshaper|
|3Underground River||4Reality Smasher|
|2Damping Sphere||3Distended Mindbender||3Ratchet Bomb|
|4Relic of Progenitus||1Sorcerous Spyglass||2Spatial Contortion|
I'll always have a soft spot for my Eldrazi babies, especially when they're played in something off the wall, and this Blue-Black Eldrazi Aggro list is anything but normal. Sure, the standard Eldrazi Temples, Thought-Knot Seer, and Reality Smasher are featured prominently, but the deck also runs a playset of Chalice of the Void for the additional "Oops, I win" angle. In order to facilitate getting its haymakers out as fast possible, the deck plays three copies of Gemstone Caverns. A playset of Serum Powder helps out with mulliganing for those explosive hands that Eldrazi aggro decks are known for. Other than that, though, the cards that pop out (and the main reason it's classified as "UB Eldrazi") are the Abundant Maws and the Elder Deep-Fiends. Both cards are unconventional, particularly the former, but I can see how they provide either the extra reach or the tapping down of permanents to clear the way for a lethal board state.
The deck looks extremely fun to play, and it would actually be reasonably affordable if it weren't for the egregious prices of Cavern of Souls and Chalice of the Void. If you've got those pieces, though, it won't take much more to complete this list, and the deck might be just eldritch enough to catch your opponents off-guard.
2. Grindy Jund
I know what you're thinking: "Grindy Jund? That's a tautology. It's like saying unappetizing pineapple pizza"! In this case, I'll let the deck list do the talking:
Grindy Jund by Jaberwocki (MTGO Competitive Leagues, 5-0)
|4Blackcleave Cliffs||2Bedlam Reveler||4Faithless Looting|
|1Blood Crypt||2Pia and Kiran Nalaar||4Inquisition of Kozilek|
|4Bloodstained Mire||2Scavenging Ooze||2Maelstrom Pulse|
|2Overgrown Tomb||4Lightning Bolt|
|3Raging Ravine||2Liliana of the Veil|
|1Stomping Ground||2Liliana, the Last Hope|
|3Ancient Grudge||2Collective Brutality||1Fatal Push|
|4Fulminator Mage||1Huntmaster of the Fells / Ravager of the Fells||4Leyline of the Void|
Have I convinced you yet? There's a lot to unpack here, starting from the two-two split of the Lilianas. While Liliana of the Veil is the midrange powerhouse that quickly takes games over if left unchecked, Liliana, the Last Hope is arguably the better card when it comes to accumulating card advantage. The +1 of Liliana, the Last Hope picks up mana dorks, spirit tokens, and other one-toughness creatures, and the minus ability can return creatures that end up in the graveyard throughout the course of the game back to your hand. Speaking of creatures, Grindy Jund plays both Pia and Kiran Nalaar and Mardu all-star Bedlam Reveler, two cards that provide value when they hit the battlefield and are backbreaking in conjunction with Liliana. The three copies of Kolaghan's Command further emphasizes this all-in midrange approach of maximizing creature value.
The other bit of technology that I love in this build are the Faithless Lootings. Faithless Looting has had a breakout of sorts over the past a year or so, with tier 1 decks in Mardu Pyromancer and BR Hollow One showing the world the power of what some call "Modern's Brainstorm." It wouldn't surprise me at all if more red-based decks begin trying out Faithless Looting as their choice of semi-cantrip, as the card selection that the deck provides is quite monumental for a card that had flown under the radar for such a long time.
In any case, if your meta is full of midrange decks duking it out, this Grindy Jund is definitely a deck that could out-grind the best of them.
3. Blue-Red Wizards
Blue-Red Wizards by Jeff Hoogland
|1Faerie Conclave||4Delver of Secrets / Insectile Aberration||2Burst Lightning|
|1Flooded Strand||2Nimble Obstructionist||4Lightning Bolt|
|2Island||4Snapcaster Mage||3Mana Leak|
|1Polluted Delta||2Vapor Snag|
|4Scalding Tarn||4Wizard's Lightning|
|2Abrade||3Alpine Moon||1Ceremonious Rejection|
|2Disdainful Stroke||1Flame Slash||1Harvest Pyre||2Izzet Staticaster||2Negate||1Roast|
Jeff Hoogland, for those of you not familiar with who he is, is a Twitch streamer who plays every imaginable kind of deck in Modern. He recently posted a deck, UR Wizards deck, that combined UR Faeries and Delver into a tempo aggro deck that looked like a lot of fun. As someone who used to play Grixis Delver, I'm always keen to take a look at decks that put Delver of Secrets to good use, and this deck looks like a hoot.
The big addition from Dominaria is Wizard's Lightning, a card that turns into Lightning Bolt as long as you control a Wizard. With a total of twenty-three cards that share the "Wizards" creature type in the 75, the deck is going to have plenty of opportunities to cast Wizard's Lightning as Lightning Bolts #5-8, and for a tempo deck that looks to close games out of nowhere, that's a powerful weapon to have.
Another point of interest is the relatively high land-count – the deck sports twenty-two lands. However, as Jeff explains, the creature-lands function similarly to spells and he treats them as such, meaning that flooding out just means having more mana to activate and swing in with Mutavaults.
The blue-red archetype in Modern is such a flexible archetype that you can take it into all sorts of directions as long as you have the core of Bolts, Snapcasters, and Scalding Tarns. This is an innovative take on a tempo version of the archetype, so if you already own the staples, it could be an opportunity to flip Delvers and Bolt-Snap-Bolt your opponents at your next tournament!
4. Green-Black Infect
Infect had a bad year in 2017 – not only was Gitaxian Probe banished into the shadow realms via the January bannings, the printing of Fatal Push knocked off the former tier one deck from its pedestal into oblivion. We're finally starting to see the blue-green version of the deck come back into the meta, and accompanying it is the green-black version of Infect. This GB Infect deck by MTGO player Rhynocerous took 2nd place in the Modern PTQ on MTGO last month.
Green-Black Infect by Rhynocerous (2nd Place, MTGO PTQ June)
|2Forest||1Birds of Paradise||3Inquisition of Kozilek|
|1Hashep Oasis||4Glistener Elf||2Rancor|
|4Inkmoth Nexus||4Noble Hierarch||3Become Immense|
|4Misty Rainforest||4Phyrexian Crusader||4Blossoming Defense|
|3Overgrown Tomb||4Plague Stinger||2Fatal Push|
|1Pendelhaven||3Might of Old Krosa|
|4Verdant Catacombs||2Vines of Vastwood|
|1Dryad Arbor||2Fatal Push||2Grafdigger's Cage|
|1Inquisition of Kozilek||3Nature's Claim||2Scavenging Ooze|
|1Sylvan Scrying||2Thoughtseize||1Viridian Corrupter|
Infect is a great deck when the metagame is full of Tron and Ancient Stirrings-based combo decks, and the midrange decks have been pushed out. While Jeskai and UW Control have seen a rise to prominence, cards like Path to Exile and Lightning Bolt look terrible when facing down Phyrexian Crusader and a slew of protection spells.
Other than that, what might convince someone to play GB Infect over the stock UG lists? Swapping the typical blue splash for black means that this version of Infect has access to powerful disruptions spells in the form of Inquisition of Kozilek, Thoughtseize, and Fatal Push. That kind of disruption can be backbreaking in the mirror and other protect-the-queen strategies. If Infect is starting to become popular again in your metagame, it could be time to take GB Infect out for a spin.
5. Red-Green Devotion
Wrapping up this week's article is this spicy list from MTGO player Mox_Emperor. I'm calling it Red-Green Devotion because that's the only thing that comes to my mind, but the name itself doesn't do justice to the deck list.
Red-Green Devotion by Mox_Emperor (MTGO Competitive Leagues, 5-0)
|1Abrade||2Blood Moon||1Damping Sphere|
|2Lightning Bolt||2Natural State||2Obstinate Baloth|
|2Relic of Progenitus||2Spellskite||1Thrun, the Last Troll|
Remember that article I wrote about M19 cards that would see Modern play? Well, it turns out that you can also stick Runic Armasaur (!) and Gigantosaurus (!!!) onto that list because this is Modern and anything is possible.
One of the biggest things that leaves me scratching my head about this deck is the seeming lack of consistency. While the plan in most games is to smash opponents by making a bunch of mana and then casting fatties like the aforementioned Gigantosaurus], certain creatures in the deck are much better against certain opponents. Acidic Slime, Scavenging Ooze, and Runic Armasaur are situationally good cards, and if you're casting these cards against opponents who aren't affected by the effects of these cards, the deck is going to feel clunky and underpowered. In other words, it shares a similar problem with Death & Taxes lists that need to have the right hatebear against the right decks. Then again, if you're hitting your opponent hard enough with creatures and casting Bloodbraid Elf (in multiples, even), perhaps this isn't as quite comparable to Death & Taxes being stuck with 2/2s.
The last thing I want to mention about this deck is how affordable it is. Green-Red decks tend to be very affordable in Modern (take a look at Ponza, Titanshift, and other RG midrange variants), especially when compared to the four-digit prices of many of the tier-one decks. These decks are even cheaper when you pick them up online, with this particular devotion list costing a whopping 168 tickets (or about 142 euros, assuming that we're going by the standard rate of 0.85 euros per ticket). If you like devotion-based strategies of ramping into big creatures, this is a great deck to get started with in Modern, and it has the additional benefit of costing very little to switch to a different green-red midrange deck.
Anyway, that's all the rogue decks for the time being. I'll keep my eye out for the next installment of Rogue Deck Review, and feel free to send me lists either in the comments or via my Twitter. Thanks as always, and I'll see you next week!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.