Ever since the printing of Insolent Neonate, players have been trying to
figure out the best Vengevine deck in Modern for a while now. The builds
have varied wildly as players have tried out a ton of different shells for
it. Most versions started out playing Hollow One, which seemed like an easy
shoe-in because the versions played a lot of looting effects.
- 4 Simian Spirit Guide
- 4 Street Wraith
- 4 Vengevine
- 4 Burning-Tree Emissary
- 2 Hooting Mandrills
- 4 Reckless Bushwhacker
- 4 Insolent Neonate
- 4 Bomat Courier
- 4 Hollow One
These builds were generally pretty consistent, but never really did
anything more powerful than traditional B/R Hollow One decks that didn’t
get too fancy with cards like Vengevine. The B/R Hollow One decks were much
more consistent, and because of that there wasn’t too much upside for the
potential explosiveness of Vengevine.
The build of these Vengevine lists have evolved over time, and the addition
of Bridge from Below and effective “zero” mana creatures were added in as a
way to add to the explosiveness of the deck. These decks were very powerful
and very explosive, but the consistency required for being a viable deck in
Modern just wasn’t quite there. It was missing something.
Well, I’m happy to say that the wait is over, and that piece has arrived in Core Set 2019.
- 2 Bloodghast
- 4 Goblin Bushwhacker
- 4 Vengevine
- 3 Viscera Seer
- 4 Gravecrawler
- 3 Hangarback Walker
- 4 Insolent Neonate
- 4 Walking Ballista
- 4 Stitcher's Supplier
This deck is a masterpiece, and I’m confident we’ll be seeing more and more
of it as more people pick it up and learn how to play it. I went 4-1 in the
first three MTGO Leagues I played with the deck and all my losses were
easily attributed to silly mistakes that I made due to lack of experience
with the interactions within the deck. That’s pretty good for my first time
around, and I think it speaks to the raw power of the deck. Similar to how
it took Ironworks a while for its pilots to fully master the deck, I think
this deck also has a steep learning curve to really figuring out the best
way to sequence all of the draws.
This deck is much faster than the traditional B/R Hollow One decks, and I
believe that Stitcher’s Supplier has given it the consistency that it needs
to be a real contender. Not only does it beat up on U/W/x Control decks,
but it’s also more explosive than Humans and can go faster than most combo
decks in Modern, including Storm and Ironworks, which were typically bad
matchups for other graveyard decks, like Dredge.
This deck is chock full of interesting little synergies, so let’s take a
look at that by looking at some of the individual card choices.
Stitcher’s Supplier flew under the radar for a bit after its printing in Core Set 2019, but the printing of this card is what really pushed
this archetype over the edge. It does everything that this deck wants.
- It’s a cheap creature that can help trigger Vengevine
- It’s a Zombie for Gravecrawler
- When it dies it triggers Bridge from Below
It’s a body that can be sacrificed to Viscera Seer for value or it
can be pumped up by a kicked Goblin Bushwhacker.
That’s so much utility and synergy for a one-mana creature!
When initially looking at this list, I was pretty skeptical of Viscera Seer
and Gravecrawler, but after playing through a few leagues I’ve realized
that these two have amazing synergies with the deck, and the inclusion of
Viscera Seer was actually genius. The amount of utility that this card
brings the deck is crazy.
The most obvious use for the card is the synergy between Viscera Seer and
Bridge from Below. You tend to have a lot of silly little creatures
floating around the battlefield and with a Bridge from Below in your
graveyard, you can often upgrade these creatures into a 2/2 Zombie or even
multiple Zombies if you have multiple Bridges.
Sometimes when you have a Bridge from Below in your graveyard and a bunch
of Zombies, your opponent is going to want to block with one of their
creatures so that it dies and will exile your Bridge from Below, but
another useful trick with Viscera Seer is sacrificing your own creatures so
that your opponent’s creatures never die in combat to exile your Bridges.
This may sound like a corner case scenario, but it happens much more
frequently than you may think.
You can even sacrifice your recursive creatures like Bloodghast,
Gravecrawler, and Vengevine effectively for a free scry whenever you know
you are about to get them back. It felt strange, but there were definitely
a few times where I had a Vengevine or two on the battlefield and was about
to cast my second creature for turn, when I realized I could just use the
Vengevine to scry for free before casting my second creature and getting it
It’s also incredibly useful to sacrifice your Stitcher’s Supplier to
Viscera Seer to load up your graveyard and look for more payoff graveyard
interactions. The synergy between these two cards lets you dump a ton of
cards into your graveyard, often hitting multiple Bridge from Belows or
Vengevines and generating insane amounts of value. One trick I found was
that if you have multiple Stitcher’s Suppliers on the battlefield that you
want to sacrifice, you can sacrifice one of them, allow the mill trigger to
resolve, and with Viscera Seer’s Scry trigger still on the stack you can
sacrifice your other Stitcher’s Supplier so that the mill doesn’t mess up
This was another card that I was skeptical about at first glance, but after
playing with the deck, it is very clear that this card belongs as a
four-of. Because we’re leaning away from actual looting effects in favor of
mill cards like Stitcher’s Supplier and Corpse Churn, having access to free
creatures that we can cast from the graveyard is really powerful. It adds
to the consistency of having a second creature to cast for Vengevine.
Sometimes all you need to trigger a Vengevine is a single Stitcher’s
Supplier that hits a Gravecrawler because the Stitcher’s Supplier is a
It also adds a lot of lategame power, because if you have a Gravecrawler
and Bridge from Below in your graveyard and a Viscera Seer on the
battlefield, you can create 2/2 Zombies and scry 1 for just a single black
mana. This can get really out of hand really quickly.
Goblin Bushwhacker does a lot to add to the explosiveness of this deck. Not
only is it another one mana creature that can help trigger Vengevine, but
it can frequently shave turns off your clock and it can turn some of your
medium draws into very powerful and fast draws all on its own.
These zero mana creatures have a lot of utility in this deck. They serve
two main roles: first, they can be a free creature to cast to trigger your
Vengevines ahead of schedule. Second, if you have a Bridge from Below in
your graveyard, they can be cast for zero and will die immediately,
effectively netting you a 2/2 Zombie. They’re often involved in your most
busted draws, either triggering a Vengevine as early as the first turn of
the game or creating a hoard of Zombies when you’re able to dump multiple
Bridge from Belows in your graveyard.
Sometimes they even do both at the same time!
While the most common use for these cards is casting them for zero, it’s
important to remember that sometimes you will want to cast them normally.
Sometimes you will want to ping down a Noble Hierarch or a Steel Overseer.
Sometimes Hangarback Walker can be used as an excellent value creature
against decks like Death’s Shadow who don’t have easy answers to it.
While Ingot Chewer doesn’t have a slot in the maindeck, I wanted to mention
it here because it has a lot of surprising utility that might not be
intuitive. If you have a Bridge from Below in your graveyard, not only does
Ingot Chewer destroy an annoying artifact, but it will also net you a
Zombie. Be sure to stack the evoke and “destroy target artifact” triggers
appropriately though if you happen to be targeting an artifact creature, so
that the Ingot Chewer dies before its target.
You can also use Viscera Seer to sacrifice the Ingot Chewer before its
evoke trigger resolves for a little extra value!
Tips on Playing the Deck
The hardest part of playing this deck is finding the balance between speed
and value. When picking up the deck for the first time, you will
quickly realize that sometimes you can dump a Bridge from Below in your
graveyard on turn 1 and cast two zero-mana creatures for two Zombies on the
first turn. While these plays are tempting because it feels powerful to do
things on the first turn, you will often get more value by using your
resources more effectively and holding off on casting those zero-mana
creatures for a turn or two. Often that gives you the time you need to get
multiple payoff spells in the graveyard like multiple copies of Bridge from
Below and/or Vengevine.
I would generally recommend leaning more towards trying to get more value out of your spells than trying to cast them all as soon as you
can. The speed is kind of built into the deck already. Your plays will be
very explosive. It’s often better to set up and really “go off” on turn 3
or so than it is to do just a little bit in the first couple of turns. This
can vary depending on matchups of course, but the general idea is to try
and think a couple of turns ahead, instead of trying to maximize value on
just a turn by turn basis.
I found this matchup to be very favorable for BridgeVine. Not only is the
Vengevine deck more explosive than Humans, but it can also do a lot to out
grind Humans in the lategame because they’re never really interacting with
your graveyard. Just make sure you don’t let your Bridge from Belows get
exiled by attacking into them when you don’t need to, and you should be
able to take over the game with a bunch of Zombies. Viscera Seer is
typically clutch in these long games.
VS U/W/x Control
Keep the sideboarding to a minimum here. It might be tempting to bring in a
bunch of Thoughtseizes and Collective Brutalities, but your maindeck is
more than favored against them already. You run a ton of recursive threats
and can get under them most of the time.
VS Mono-Green Tron
Unless your opponent finds specifically Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, they’re
going to have a very difficult time beating you. Bring in the Thoughtseizes
and wait until the turn before they can cast Ugin before casting your
Remember that you can use Viscera Seer to sacrifice the creature that
Wurmcoil Engine blocks to push damage when you go wide.
This matchup is generally a pure race and one in which you should be pretty
favored unless you stumble.
We cut a bit of explosiveness for a lot of disruption in this matchup.
Generally, you’ll be fine as long as you put on a reasonable clock backed
up disruption here.
I’m really excited about the evolution of R/B Vengevine, as I believe that
Stitcher’s Supplier will push this archetype into the top tier of Modern.
This deck is very powerful and very consistent, and its matchups against
the most popular archetypes in Modern right now seem to be pretty favorable
across the board.
If you are looking to get an edge in Modern, give it a shot. This might
just be the next big thing.