Daily Digest: How To Midrange Without Tarmogoyf

Jund and Abzan have been two sides of the same awesome B/G/x coin in Modern for some time now, but what if it was the green you could give up and mix the two of them? Today’s pair of Mardu decks ask exactly that.

Lightning Bolt or Lingering Souls – that has been the question for B/G Midrange players. It’s been shown that we can have both, but the toll that takes on your manabase isn’t free. Ajundi was a deck for a while, but that deck also had Deathrite Shaman. If we really want both, I think we have to cut Tarmogoyf, and that’s a fine tradeoff.

Tarmogoyf is the best two-drop without question. It blocks, it attacks, and it’s nearly immune to commonly-played removal such as Lightning Bolt. It might seem like just a dopey creature that only attacks or blocks, but it is very, very good. If we cut it from our midrange decks we lose a big part of what makes those decks so good, so we either need another card that does something similar for us or to build a deck that doesn’t necessarily need it.

Grischa__’s deck does that well. In addition to Dark Confidant, he’s playing Bitterblossom as a two-drop. It’s similar to Tarmogoyf in that it dodges removal and blocks well (and is even excellent against something like Affinity), but it’s not quite the same. Your life total is now a resource that you need for both your two-drops, and each card already had diminishing returns. However, Lightning Helix helps a lot, and pairing them with Vault of the Archangels does much more. With an active Vault of the Archangel, your Dark Confidants and Bitterblossoms will basically have no downside.

That’s not the only way to do things though. My favorite thing about the second list is the Cavern of Souls. Monastery Mentor, Young Pyromancer, and Monastery Swiftspear are two cards that play really well in a deck full of cheap spells and Dark Confidant fuels that. Flashback spells like Lingering Souls also help to a certain degree. The second list is a little more aggressive and isn’t interested in playing a longer game, which is a strategy I can appreciate in Modern.