Daily Digest: The Tribal Double

Ross Merriam highlights an intriguing Magic Online Modern list with strong Human and Soldier synergies ahead of the Classic at SCG Columbus this weekend!

Modern is full of cards that are powerful only in a narrow range of shells that can either unlock their full potential or mitigate a critical drawback. Ancient Stirrings is an important example, supplying important card selection for Tron and Lantern decks that play mostly colorless cards anyway.

Today’s deck utilizes two such cards. First is Field Marshal, a card whose value has historically been bolstered by its play in more casual formats, as is typical of tribal lords. But with the large Modern card pool, you have enough soldiers to make it work. Every other creature in the deck is priced reasonably for Modern, with most of them having seen significant play outside of this list. The curve is aggressive, making for a classic “small white creatures” aggro deck.

And fortunately, every Soldier in the deck is also a Human, so you get to utilize Champion of the Parish and Thalia’s Lieutenant for the rare double-tribal deck. Against the goldfish, this deck should be able to kill around Turn 4 very consistently, which puts it right on par with the top tier decks in the format.

The second narrow card this deck gets to leverage is Brave the Elements. It’s hard to see just how versatile this card is from reading it, but play with it some and you’ll see just how much it can do. It counters spot removal and damage-based sweepers. It can act as a game-breaking combat trick in combat-centric matchups, and it’s a great Falter effect if you’re in a race, all for the low cost of one mana. Brave the Elements was a key card in aggro decks during Theros Standard and I’m sure it’s one of the most important cards in this deck that needs flexible interaction since it doesn’t have lots of space for noncreatures.

Last, I want to point to just how good this deck’s manabase is for a mono-colored deck. Cavern of Souls, Ghost Quarter, Eiganjo Castle, Horizon Canopy, Mutavault, and Shefet Dunes all provide value outside of making mana, meaning this aggro deck won’t have issues flooding very often and can keep the gas flowing into the mid-game against heavy removal decks. Fetchlands and shocklands get the press in Modern for good reason, but there’s value to limiting your colors and accessing the deep trove of utility lands in the format.

For a format with a reputation for speed, there aren’t many classic aggro decks in Modern right now, so I’m looking forward to flooding the battlefield with creatures and getting in the red zone.