Daily Digest: Maximum Security Prison

It’s not enough for some Modern players to win; they have to make their opponents suffer while doing so. Ross Merriam highlights an utterly fiendish Prison deck from #SCGWOR that you’d best be aware of before playing in the #SCGCOL Modern Classic!

Picture the following scenario. You’re playing Jund in Modern and have a Raging Ravine on turn 1 and Swamp plus Tarmogoyf on turn 2. Oddly, your opponent elects to cast Spreading Seas on your Swamp instead of your Ravine on their turn. Why would they do that?

Because you’re dead. That’s why. I hope that Tarmogoyf deals twenty damage, because you only have one more spell. Better make it a good one.

I struggle to imagine the level of vitriol Dan Ward’s opponents had to hold back as he cast all of the most annoying cards in Magic:

Chalice of the Void? Check.

Blood Moon? Check.

Spreading Seas to compound the Blood Moon? Check.

Ensnaring Bridge? Check.

It’s the superfecta of Modern Prison. I think it’s safe to say that Dan Ward is an unrepentant monster, lacking any semblance of decency, nor does he show any remorse for the horrors he unleashed upon his poor, unsuspecting opponents.

And I love it.

Magic doesn’t have to be pretty. Sometimes you just need to brutalize your opponent with no mercy.

That being said, this deck has some nice interactions that demonstrate at least some degree of humanity for its creator. Thopter Spy Network is a perfect win condition, since most of your lock pieces turn it on and the 1/1 Thopter tokens easily attack with an Ensnaring Bridge on the battlefield by simply holding your card for the turn until after combat. Being able to break the symmetry of Bridge is an important problem to solve, since otherwise you end up giving your opponent too much time to draw out of the lock.

The other issue to solve is how to leverage redundant copies of your lock pieces. The second Blood Moon is much worse than the first and you are incentivized to play four copies because you want to see it early. Izzet Charm comes in to provide a looting effect that can also protect your lock pieces or kill an early creature. Or you could head down to the Trading Post and turn that Ensnaring Bridge into something shiny and new.

Hangarback Walker and Spellskite are perfect cards to play early defense against aggressive decks, and you have a couple of ways to sacrifice your own Hangarback Walker when you’d rather have a horde of fliers. Pia and Kiran Nalaar looks like an all-star in this deck in part for that reason, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see later versions of this deck add a second or even a third copy.

I’ve never been afraid to be that person at tournaments who ruins everyone else’s fun, and apparently Dan isn’t either. If you want to make friends, this isn’t the deck for you, but if you want to put up results, then welcome to the dark side.