Spicy Decks from Mythic Championship IV
Modern is a new format after the recent banning and unbanning. People are looking to brew tons of new decks, but Rone decided instead to look back at Mythic Championship IV Barcelona. Sure, the decks were tuned for Hogaak, but maybe there were some gems that you could adapt in the new Modern.
Howdy folks! I don't know about you, but I'm still recovering from the last banned and restricted announcement. But rather than wallowing in my sadness at the loss of a card I've played quite a bit of over the last year (as long time readers of my column know), I'm instead looking forward…. by looking backwards! I didn't review the decks from Mythic Championship IV, which took place in my home country of Spain (in Barcelona), so I thought I could do two things at once.
Because of the distance from the tournament, both in time and in b&r announcements, it goes without saying that I won't talk about how Hogaak dominated the tournament. It was obvious that it would and it's banned now, so let's focus on what information we can use. As such, I'll be looking at the spicy brews of the event might give you some ideas moving forward in this fun brew-heavy environment, though obviously the exact builds will likely need tweaking in a post-looting era!
7. Unexpected Emrakul
Unexpected Emrakul by Erich Hellauer, MC IV Barcelona
|1Breeding Pool||4Emrakul, the Aeons Torn||1Anger of the Gods|
|3Cinder Glade||4Primeval Titan||4Farseek|
|2Forest||3Sakura-Tribe Elder||2Flame Slash|
|5Mountain||4Search for Tomorrow|
|2Steam Vents||4Unexpected Results|
|3Stomping Ground||3Through the Breach|
|4Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle|
|Surgical Extraction||Veil of Summer||Abrade|
|Anger of the Gods||Krosan Grip||Tireless Tracker|
|Obstinate Baloth||Fracturing Gust|
Hail to King Emrakul, the Aeons Torn! What we have here is a Scapeshift deck with a plan B in Through the Breach to almost win on the spot. That isn't by itself uncommon, but the addition of Emrakul, and, more importantly, the spicy addition of the namesake Unexpected Results makes this deck special. Mr. Eric Hellauer knew this gem though, and clearly felt lucky enough to hit some Emrakuls off the top of his deck with the Gatecrash Sorcery. Looking at the new cards, we can see potential sideboard All-Star Veil of Summer from Core Set 2020. It's been doing work in Standard and seems to have Modern and even Legacy potential.
6. Scale Up Infect
Scale Up Infect by Timothy Wu, MC IV Barcelona
|2Breeding Pool||1Dryad Arbor||3Blossoming Defense|
|2Forest||1Birds of Paradise||2Distortion Strike|
|4Inkmoth Nexus||4Glistener Elf||1Groundswell|
|2Pendelhaven||4Noble Hierarch||4Might of Old Krosa|
|2Verdant Catacombs||4Blighted Agent||4Mutagenic Growth|
|3Waterlogged Grove||1Spellskite||4Scale Up|
|2Windswept Heath||1Spell Pierce|
|2Wooded Foothills||4Vines of Vastwood|
|Grafdigger's Cage||Spell Pierce||Veil of Summer|
|Force of Vigor||Leyline of the Void|
Once upon a time in Modern, Infect dominated the metagame. In those days, Gitaxian Probe was legal in the format and it helped make the format quite wacky. Nowadays, this deck is pretty off the radar, minus a few sweet upgrades Wizards recently released for it.
Scale Up is a pretty absurd card, combined with infect creatures enables turn two kills with a Glistener Elf and another pump spell. Moreover, having Scale Up means you don't need to fill your graveyard for Become Immense, so you have a better land base and you only have to have one copy of the previously necessary Delve Growth effect.
Modern Horizons also brought Waterlogged Grove to the deck, offering extra lands that you can trade for extra cards, along with sideboard all-star Force of Vigor in the sideboard and, of course, there are also some copies of Veil of Summer.
5. Four-Color Snow
Four-Color Snow by Craig Rocco, MC IV Barcelona
|Collector Ouphe||Stony Silence||Ashiok, Dream Render|
|Force of Negation||Lingering Souls||Plague Engineer|
|Leyline of the Void||Obstinate Baloth|
Let's talk about Modern Horizons again, as it has released a ton of new stuff into Modern, most of which was overshadowed by the Hogaak menace before its eventual banning.
Snow is a mechanic from the Ice Age era that later showed up in Cold Snap with some success and it looks like Modern Horizons is expanding on that success with cards like Ice-Fang Coatl and Acrum's Astrolabe pushing the power level of snow quite far.
This deck seems a bit strange to me with a weird mix of utility creatures, Teferi, Time Ravelers, discard, counter magic, and some removal. In Legacy, they have a term for random midrange concoctions – a pile. This seems like a pile to me, especially because of its choice to use Fallen Shinobi, which seems a bit slow for Modern, even if it's great with the Coatl.
4. Devoted Abundance
Devoted Abundance by Jon Stern, MC IV Barcelona
|2Breeding Pool||2Dryad Arbor||4Karn, the Great Creator|
|3Misty Rainforest||2Arbor Elf||4Finale of Devastation|
|2Snow-Covered Forest||4Birds of Paradise||4Utopia Sprawl|
|1Temple Garden||4Noble Hierarch||4Freed from the Real|
|3Verdant Catacombs||4Devoted Druid||4Leyline of Abundance|
|4Windswept Heath||4Sylvan Caryatid|
|3Wooded Foothills||1Vizier of Remedies|
|Tormod's Crypt||Walking Ballista||Burrenton Forge-Tender|
|Grafdigger's Cage||Hexdrinker||Pithing Needle|
|Liquimetal Coating||Scavenging Ooze||Tocatli Honor Guard|
|Ensnaring Bridge||Teferi, Time Raveler||Mycosynth Lattice|
Moving away from the fair side and into the unfair side of Modern, we have a combo deck leveraging the popular Vizier combo in conjunction with a new card from the last core set: Leyline of Abundance. Traditionally, only white and black leylines have seen real competitive play, but maybe this is a chance for one of the other Leylines to have a chance in the spotlight.
With the new London Mulligan rule, it's easier to start the game with one of these in play, and then every mana dork in your deck adds an additional green mana when they tap. Combine this with Freed from the Real, a blue enchantment from Saviors of Kamigawa, and you've got yourself an infinite mana combo alongside the regular Vizier of Remedies combo.
In order to finish the game, Karn, the Great Creator will do the trick, locking up your opponents with the infamous Mycosynth Lattice or just tutoring up a Walking Ballista for millions. It's an interesting take on a previously powerful deck. I'm not sure it's better, but it's definitely worth mentioning.
3. Mardu Shadow
Mardu Shadow by Andrew Baeckstrom, MC IV Barcelona
|2Arid Mesa||4Death's Shadow||4Mishra's Bauble|
|1Blood Crypt||1Hex Parasite||2Nihil Spellbomb|
|3Bloodstained Mire||4Tidehollow Sculler||3Fatal Push|
|2Godless Shrine||4Ranger-Captain of Eos||2Inquisition of Kozilek|
|4Marsh Flats||4Street Wraith||4Path to Exile|
|4Silent Clearing||2Temur Battle Rage|
|2Celestial Purge||1Shenanigans||2Fulminator Mage|
|1Kolaghan's Command||1Liliana, the Last Hope||2Plague Engineer|
|1Gideon, Ally of Zendikar||4Leyline of the Void||1Wear // Tear|
Oh, Shadow decks! I love them all, but at the same time, but it definitely wasn't the right time for them at this event. But this event has passed and Modern has changed, so we're gonna feature this lovely Mardu Shadow combination. Last month, I discussed the Esper version, which you can read about here. Sadly, no one thought it was a deck worth playing for the Mythic Championship.
This one leverages some of the advantages the esper version had, using Ranger-Captain of Eos not only for Death's Shadow, but also to get a singleton copy of Hex Parasite. Some versions even run a Giver of Runes to protect your threats.
Since there's no blue counter-magic in this deck, it relies more on discard to disrupt your opponent. Tidehollow Sculler fits that role perfectly since it can be a great target for Unearth in addition to keeping your opponent on the back foot.
Finally, four copies of Silent Clearing gives you a great land base for growing your Shadows while fixing your mana and preventing flood in the late game. Another Modern Horizons addition, which is becoming a staple in every black sideboard, is Plague Engineer, ideal for dealing with tribal decks and it's even useful against combo decks like storm to fight the Goblin tokens from Empty the Warrens.
2. Rakdos Elementals
Rakdos Elementals by Patrick Kenkel, MC IV Barcelona
|1Arid Mesa||3Dreadhorde Arcanist||4Faithless Looting|
|4Blackcleave Cliffs||4Thunderkin Awakener||2Fatal Push|
|3Blood Crypt||2Young Pyromancer||4Inquisition of Kozilek|
|4Bloodstained Mire||2Ball Lightning||4Lightning Bolt|
|1Fiery Islet||4Lightning Skelemental||4Thoughtseize|
|1Scalding Tarn||1Kolaghan's Command|
|Alpine Moon||Shattering Spree||Collective Brutality|
|Dark Confidant||Goblin Cratermaker||Magus of the Moon|
|Plague Engineer||Leyline of the Void|
Speaking of tribal decks, this is one you probably didn't expect. I was going to talk about Goblins but this list from Patrick Kenkel caught my eye for a couple of reasons: Lightning Skelemental and Dreadhorde Arcanist.
Both creatures deserve more love in Modern. The first looked like a meme, but really reached new heights with Unearth. In this deck, the Skelemental is even better since Thunderkin Awakener can bring it back a second time.
Arcanist, a Legacy staple in red-based Delver decks, is also a key piece to the Feather, the Redeemed deck in Standard. The ability to replay your cheap discard and removal during the combat phase is amazing and I strongly believe it will see more Modern play in the future.
Although the individual cards feel strong, the combination lacks a bit of consistency and I think it's worth looking to Seasoned Pyromancer and other cheap spells moving forward, especially considering the Looting ban.
Speaking of which! This deck is losing a key piece in Faithless Looting, and it will need serious adjustment to keep up, starting with more reliance on cards like Seasoned Pyromancer to stack your graveyard (maybe). It remains to see if another version will appear, but the combo of Unearth and Skelemental is still very potent and deserves exploration in the format, especially when other graveyard decks have been weakened.
1. W/U Quest
W/U Quest by Jerry Mee, MC IV Barcelona
|Ceremonious Rejection||Path to Exile||Surgical Extraction|
|Celestial Purge||Meddling Mage||Phyrexian Revoker|
To cap off this list, I thought I'd discuss the Jankiest brew I highlighted, utilizing Quest for the Holy Relic, a card from the original Zendikar that I played in Standard when it first came out.
For those of you who don't know how it works, is a white enchantment for one mana that gets counters when you cast a creature and if you get to five counters, you can search your library for an Equipment and put it onto the battlefield attached to a creature.
That, combined with 0 mana artifact creatures like Onrithopter or Memnite that can be bounced with Glint Hawk allows you to cheat Argentum Armor into play alongside a busted Sword to attack as early as turn two! The deck is obviously quite all-in on the equipment plan and has little else going for it should that plan fail.
And hey! It has Stoneforge Mystic now, if it wants it. I think it's cool that Jerry Mee chose to play this in a sea of hyper competitive decks, built by the best of the best It feels nice to see personal brews at the highest levels of play, even if open decklists makes these rogue decks less effective.
Thank you so much for reading and I've got not much else to say, other than that it's fun to look through these tournaments for spicy strategies that might be the next big thing in Modern (or, more than likely, not that). I can't wait to see how the format evolves now that Stoneforge Mystic is available in Modern and graveyard based decks aren't the menace they were before.
As usual, thank you so much for reading and please, leave your comments or questions below or you hit me on my shared Twitter account.
See you in fifteen days.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.
Editor's Note: All the decklists apart from the Mardu Shadow list didn't have complete sideboards reported, so they are listed above with the information available (cards, but not the quantity of each card).