8 Modern Brews To Peruse And Amuse

Don’t look now, but Pro Tour Champ Shaun McLaren is ready to brew for the #SCGBALT Modern Classic! His boundless creativity is powerful and frightening. Don’t be surprised if one of these archetypes grows into a dangerous beast in the coming weeks and beyond!

Kaladesh cards have already had a big impact on Modern thanks to Blossoming Defense in Infect and Cathartic Reunion in Dredge, essentially supercharging two established decks.

But Kaladesh is deep, and so is Modern. The format will continue to evolve and I think there are plenty more Kaladesh cards that will play a part in that evolution.

Let’s get right to it. Here are eight brews that I think have potential in Modern.

Warning! Decklists may be experimental, volatile, and untuned. Play at your own risk! Make these even better, please! Then win events!

Here’s my latest version of W/R Control, more similar to Todd Stevens’s Sun and Moon deck than my previous versions with Boom // Bust.

Normally the focal point of the deck is Blood Moon, but with the strong resurgence of Dredge decks, Blood Moon’s ineffectiveness against a good chunk of the field, the focus moving away from land destruction, the increase of decks packing Blood Moon, and the general awareness everyone has for Blood Moon, I’m not a big fan of that plan at the moment…at least in the maindeck.

It’s still essentially an “Oops, I win” deck smooshed together with a Control deck, but instead of Blood Moon, the “Oops, I win” portion is targeted towards Dredge with Rest in Peace and Anger of the Gods. Rest in Peace seems like a solid card right now, great against Tarmogoyf, Grim Flayer, Snapcaster Mage, Become Immense, and more. You also have plenty of ways to cycle away redundant copies.

Chalice of the Void on one unchecked also essentially wins plenty of matchups by itself, including Infect, Storm, Hexproof, Burn, and Lantern.

Nevermore is going to continue the denial theme and shore up the deck’s ability to handle problem cards like Karn Liberated, Through the Breach, and Ad Nauseam, or just get value by naming any old card from Snapcaster Mage to Liliana of the Veil to Reality Smasher.

The fear, of course, is that you draw the wrong portion of your deck at the wrong time, since you’re often dependent on one card doing a lot of the work to win games by itself.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance seems like a nice addition to the deck, but nothing spectacular. Ajani Vengeant seems better in most situations where you want a removal spell and is better at disrupting your opponent’s mana. Chandra, Torch of Defiance is going to be better at “drawing” cards and has a lethal ultimate in case you accidentally exile your Emrakul, the Aeons Torn to her +1 or Rest in Peace.

Gemstone Caverns is a low-opportunity-cost way to keep Simian Spirit Guide in the deck without having to run any. You have plenty of cards you’re not too choked up exiling away to get the extra ramp.

Madcap Experiment into Platinum Emperion has failed to find a foothold in Modern so far.

Two of the big hurdles are making sure Platinum Emperion survives when it does show up and making sure your deck can draw Platinum Emperion as a dead card and still function.

This deck tackles both problems.

One of the ideal homes for Madcap Experiment is in a deck loaded with discard spells. That way, you can spend the early part of the game making sure the coast is clear for Platinum Emperion, even if it means falling to a low life total as a result.

Collective Brutality and Liliana of the Veil really help take the edge off running dead draws like Platinum Emperion and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn by giving you something you don’t mind discarding anyway.

I might be going a little overboard with Rest in Peace in the maindeck here, but I think it’s an important card right now if you don’t use the graveyard and are soft to Dredge.

This deck has plenty of silly name equity, since you can call it Marduscard or Discardu.

This is essentially 8-Rack, but without any The Rack effects.

It’s okay… you can let the sheer genius of the idea wash over you and sink in.

Instead of winning the game by torturing our opponent to death, we’re closing out games with Nahiri, the Harbinger or Platinum Emperion. Is it worth double splashing for Nahiri, the Harbinger instead of just running The Rack and Shrieking Affliction? Plausibly, and that’s good enough for me.

Flagstones of Trokair; Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth; and Smallpox are the unholy trinity of value on turn 2.

Flagstones of Trokair won’t work with Rest in Peace and Relic of Progenitus doesn’t work well with Madcap Experiment, so there’ll have to be some sort of other answers to deal with Dredge, probably Leyline of the Void and maybe even Surgical Extraction.

The quest to rediscover the perfect recipe for Eggs continues.

Here is the semi-realistic dream sequence for this version of the deck:

While you have Greater Gargadon suspended and Aetherworks Marvel on the battlefield, sacrifice a bunch of your permanents to get six energy. Activate Aetherworks Marvel. Find Faith’s Reward and cast it, in response sacrificing the rest of your permanents including Aetherworks Marvel. Return everything with Faith’s Reward then repeat the process. Mix in a bunch of cantrip artifacts and you’re set.

Greater Gargadon and Faith’s Reward form a combo just by themselves, essentially allowing you to untap all your lands and permanents.

You want to draw a bunch of cards until you find Emrakul, the Aeons Torn with Aetherworks Marvel or can hardcast it with Krark-Clan Ironworks. If something happens to your Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, the alternate win condition is just attacking with a bunch of Greater Gargadons.

I already wrote about this deck, and the basic premise is still the same: get Worldspine Wurm or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on the battlefield with Through the Breach or Aetherworks Marvel.

Nahiri, the Harbinger out of the sideboard is a good answer to hate cards while being able to loot and ultimate into Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

Wall of Roots is a great roadblock that ramps and is extra energy fodder for Aetherworks Marvel.

Speaking of extra energy, Gods’ Eye, Gate to the Reikai is the ultimate tech to get a potentially crucial extra energy for Aetherworks Marvel with Greater Gargadon.

Here’s a mashup of Caleb Durward’s recent Open-winning Bant Spirits with Shota Yasooka’s Eternal Command deck from Worlds 2012

Collected Company and Spell Queller are proving themselves in Modern and this deck is abusing them both like crazy.

Aether Vial isn’t necessary, but it will certainly make things go a lot more smoothly.

Eternal Witness in conjunction with either Collected Company or Cryptic Command is absolutely bonkers. Bounce Eternal Witness and counter a spell with Cryptic Command, Vial in Eternal Witness and return Cryptic Command, and repeat every turn.

I can’t imagine the frustration it would cause to Aether Vial out Phantasmal Image to copy Spell Queller and eat another of your opponent’s spells.

Here’s my take on Esper Control inspired by Guillaume Wafo-Tapa’s recent Esper deck.

Torrential Gearhulk has proven itself to be very capable of mopping up the competition in Standard. Can it make a splash in Modern as well?

Possibly. The main draw is that Torrential Gearhulk is insane with Cryptic Command. It’s easy to compare to Snapcaster Mage in that regard. You’re paying six mana both times, but instead of a 2/1, you’re getting a sizable 5/6.

Obviously Torrential Gearhulk isn’t as versatile as Snapcaster Mage, but the idea that it surpasses Snapcaster Mage in certain situations is very tempting. Chaining together Cryptic Commands is no joke. Imagine a Fog that draws a card and makes a huge body. Imagine bouncing Torrential Gearhulk back to hand and countering a spell. This might be just what Control in Modern wanted all along: more Snapcaster Mages.

Esper Charm, Path to Exile, countermagic, or Mystical Teachings are also all fine targets for Torrential Gearhulk, but the other really exciting option is Consume the Meek. It allows for some very swingy turns and is much better with Torrential Gearhulk compared to Snapcaster Mage.

Perhaps it wasn’t Nahiri, the Harbinger or Ancestral Vision destined to save Jeskai. It might actually be Torrential Gearhulk.

Why is Torrential Gearhulk better than Goblin Dark-Dwellers? Torrential Gearhulk doesn’t even combo amazingly with Ancestral Vision and it costs an extra mana.

I think the interaction with Cryptic Command in particular is the key. That, along with the power and versatility of having flash, is what makes it so appealing. Restoration Angel demonstrated the power of a flash creature with a decent-sized body, and that’s part of what makes Torrential Gearhulk so appealing. Who knows, though; Torrential Gearhulk might end up being a bit of a Bust compared to Goblin Dark-Dwellers.

There you have it: eight brews that will hopefully put up a fight in Modern, or at least inspire some new ideas. Have any suggestions for the decks? Are there cards or strategies I missed? Let me know in the comments.