Daily Digest: Packin’ Heat

Ah, Pack Rat, how beloved you were in Standard! Well, maybe not, but it sure seems fairer in Modern! Ross Merriam highlights one of the most distinctive decks from SCG Regionals that just might offer you some fun at SCG Dallas!

I know it’s been awhile since you’ve all played with and against Pack Rat in Standard, and I’m pretty sure you miss how great it is, so Logan Pressely and I are bringing it back today: he by building an innovative midrange deck and piloting it to a Top 8 finish at Regionals earlier this month, and me by piggybacking on his hard work.

This deck takes the typical Jund plan of set up an undercosted threat with early discard and ride it to an insurmountable advantage to its extreme by replacing the mopey green creatures with threats that absolutely have to be dealt with immediately.

You didn’t kill my Dark Confidant? You’re dead because I have so many cards.

You didn’t kill my Pack Rat? You’re dead because I have another Pack Rat. Good luck killing two Pack Rats.

You didn’t kill my Goblin Rabblemaster? You’re just dead. Zero life and signing the match slip dead.

And then of course there’s Blood Moon. Much of the time, it immediately ends the game, and if it doesn’t, this deck is well-poised to play through it. All of your fetchlands find Basic swamp so you have thirteen effective copies of the card, enough to consistently have one or two in play early.

The other thing I like about this manabase is that all your lands enter the battlefield untapped. You want to use all your mana in the early game in Modern and sometimes a small stumble is enough to decide a game. Sure, Blackcleave Cliffs enters tapped later in the game, but you still have enough mana to make a Pack Rat; what more could you want?

Pack Rat and Blood Moon even play nicely together. Blood Moon slows the game down to a crawl, so you’re free to play cautiously and wait until turn 5 to drop Pack Rat with mana up to make a copy should your opponent have a removal spell. Normally such a line would be disastrous in a fast format like Modern but like the B/G/x Midrange decks before it, this one is trying to gum up the works and ensure no opponent has fun by doing something silly like execute their game plan.

So whatever you did with those Pack Rats when they rotated, unless you shredded, burned, or ritualistically sacrificed them, find them, dust them off, and brush up on that Pack Rat combat math.