I’ve seen a lot of Revolt Zoo lists floating around recently. They mostly look like this list which finished in ninth place last weekend in Indianapolis, a Naya list that shifts heavily toward green cards in order to best leverage Hidden Herbalists. That is certainly the most straightforward build and in a lot of metagames it would be best, but it has several issues right now in Modern when having to face Death’s Shadow, which is currently the deck to beat.
One, it has no good way to remove Death’s Shadow and Tarmogoyf, both of which match up quite well against red removal. The black splash in this list allows you to play Fatal Push, which I don’t think I have to go into too much detail about. It’s great, and it kills things that you need to kill to get your relatively small creatures through.
The nice part is that, with such a swarm of creatures, you usually only have to worry about the first roadblock, since you can sacrifice a creature in ensuing combats to get through the remaining points of damage you need to win the game, so you don’t have to go overboard on Fatal Pushes to get the desired effect. The two maindeck with more in the sideboard for when the games bog down look ideal to me.
Second, you don’t have a lot of staying power with the Naya list. You’re just trying to get in as much damage as you can as quickly as possible and hoping that you’ll have the requisite burn to finish the game should your opponent stabilize the battlefield. Scrapheap Scrounger in the black-splash list is great against removal-heavy decks, not to mention very easy to cast, allowing you to double-spell with any creature or removal spell so long as you have enough total mana.
One card from the stock lists I’d like to find space for is Rancor. It functions very closely to a one-mana, two-power green creature, but it also provides resilience from removal, lets you get through a bigger creature in some spots, and combos very nicely with Scrapheap Scrounger as well as Narnam Renegade. Where that space comes from is unclear when you also want Lightning Bolt, Atarka’s Command, and Fatal Push, but I think it’s worth a slot or two.
This deck is capable of winning as early as turn 2 with a fantastic draw, and turn 3 wins are not as uncommon as you might think, which puts it well ahead of where the current Modern metagame is in terms of speed. If the black splash gives the deck balance with some needed resilience to disruption, then we could be looking at the next big thing.
- 4 Kird Ape
- 4 Wild Nacatl
- 4 Burning-Tree Emissary
- 4 Experiment One
- 1 Hooting Mandrills
- 4 Reckless Bushwhacker
- 3 Scrapheap Scrounger
- 4 Hidden Herbalists
- 4 Narnam Renegade