Sometimes, when I’m scouring decklists, I get to one that’s completely baffling. I just can’t for the life of me piece everything together, get inside the mind of the builder, and deduce what is going on with the list. This is typically followed in quick succession by a “Eureka!” moment where the lightbulb goes off and the seemingly disparate pieces come together and form a pretty picture.
For this deck, it was the moment I scrolled over Primal Forcemage. As it was from Time Spiral, I had completely forgotten this was a card. I can’t recall it ever seeing play, since it’s fairly difficult to take advantage of its ability. But the one surefire way to do so is with haste creatures.
We normally associate haste with red, but in the wide and wonderful world of Modern there are plenty of nice options still in green. Strangleroot Geist is probably the most recognizable, since it saw significant time at the top tables during its time in Standard, and Giant Solifuge is a Pro Tour champion. Then we come to Groundbreaker and Uktabi Drake.
Groundbreaker is just a green Ball Lightning, which is perfect for this deck. And Uktabi Drake is very poor on stats alone, but with Primal Forcemage, you have what amounts to a one-mana, five damage burn spell with upside. The result is a synergy-laden burn deck of sorts, where a turn 2 Primal Forcemage, powered out by one of your eight mana creatures, is followed by a flurry of creatures that connect for huge chunks of damage immediately.
Blockers can be taken care of with Timbermare or the trampling power of Rancor, which is in itself a two-damage haste creature of sorts, and those pesky removal spells are thoroughly punished by Vines of Vastwood. Summoner’s Pact ties the room together, letting you find the key haste creature or extra copies of Primal Forcemage.
Some of the singletons are out of place and several of them should likely be lands. In fact, I wouldn’t mind having fetchlands and Dryad Arbor here, since ambushing your opponent’s creature with a 4/4 can swing a race quite easily.
The sideboard is a nice collection of hate cards. I particularly like Defense Grid, since your opponent has to interact on your turn to have a chance. Path to Exile is a little loose off of just the mana creatures, but some fetch lands can help that too, not to mention giving you access to all of white’s premier sideboard cards. Even the Fogs, which look strange, do good work against opposing aggro decks where your lack of interaction dictates every game be a race.
Once I figured out what was going on here, I couldn’t help but smile. This is Magic in its purest form, because I know Daniel saw Primal Forcemage sitting in someone’s trade binder or a bulk rare box at his local store and had to build around it, as irresistible as the siren’s song. But when you’re attacking with a nine-power hastu trampler, your opponents are the ones who end up wrecked against the rocks.
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 1 Giant Solifuge
- 4 Primal Forcemage
- 4 Groundbreaker
- 2 Timbermare
- 4 Uktabi Drake
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 1 Scavenging Ooze
- 3 Strangleroot Geist
- 1 Slaughterhorn