At this point I think it’s safe to assume that the Eldrazi will be banished from Modern in the near future. As such, it behooves us to look at how the metagame should change as the format adjusts to January’s bans without the presence of a broken mana engine that warps the format.
The most important dynamic in that format would be how the metagame reacts to the removal of Splinter Twin. Obviously hate for the combo itself would decrease or disappear entirely if it has no other applications, and many players will be searching for the next best way to fill out the Lightning Bolt – Snapcaster Mage – Remand – Serum Visions shell.
But what if that way is just another Twin deck? Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker still exists, and while it stretches your mana farther than Twin did and makes your combo more vulnerable, the combo-rific Goblin is a synergy gold mine that makes it function more fluidly in a nonlinear deck that can win via multiple paths.
The Temur Twin variant was never as focused on the combo as its U/R brethren because Tarmogoyf is such a powerful win condition and we see the same principles at work in this list. Bounding Krasis takes the role of Pestermite and Deceiver Exarch in the list, since it’s a much more effective attacker. The ability for Exarch to dodge Lightning Bolt is largely irrelevant, since Kiki-Jiki would die to it anyway when you go to combo.
In addition to Krasis, Kiki-Jiki synergizes nicely with Snapcaster Mage and Huntmaster of the Fells, so it can function in your midrange plan as well as the combo. One card I could see playing that is simply absurd with Kiki-Jiki is Thragtusk, although having that many five-mana creatures could be problematic. Still, a player can dream.
Farther down the list, we see the collection of incredibly efficient spells that we had come to expect in Twin decks. Spell Snare and Remand are the most efficient counterspells available and that is not going to change once the Eldrazi are gone. The same goes for Lightning Bolt, Dismember, and Roast in the removal slots. Nothing out of the ordinary here, and that’s a good thing. Those cards are staples for a reason.
I imagine this deck plays out looking like a Temur Delver or Temur Control deck to your opponent. With Splinter Twin gone they will be apt to tap out much more aggressively than they otherwise would, so this deck is poised to earn a lot of free wins until players catch on, and, just like the Twin decks of old, if opponents play too conservatively to stop the combo, Tarmogoyf is there to punish them.
I have focused on this deck’s place in Modern after an Eldrazi, ban but even in the unlikely event that the Eldrazi stay around for another cycle, or if you happen to have a Modern event before the ban, I think this deck could even hold its own against the Modern menace. The removal matches up fairly well against Eldrazi’s creatures, and Sower of Temptation in the sideboard is an absolute all-star. The deck also looks well-positioned against the rest of the metagame with Ancient Grudge against Lantern and Affinity, good disruption against combo decks, and a faster clock than anyone will expect.
So if you are looking for a change of pace in Modern, to get a leg up on the post-ban metagame, or you are in mourning for the loss of Snapcaster Mage, fear not and give this one a try. Is anyone else concerned by the fact that we’re looking to what’s basically a Twin deck for salvation?
Just me? Okay. Carry on.