There have been many fringe strategies in Modern that involve Martyr of Sands, and it’s been a delight to watch them evolve over time. Right now, I really like this list.
This deck has all the usual pieces: Mistveil Plains to recur Squadron Hawks, Martyr of Sands to pad your life total and turn on Serra Ascendant, Ranger of Eos to find them, and Emeria, the Sky Ruin to provide a great late game. Decks like Jund have little chance keeping up.
The maindeck Ghostly Prisons maindeck are excellent. They not only stop Splinter Twin for comboing you out, they are also great against almost every deck in Modern. As it turns out, most decks try to win using the combat step. Wrath of God maindeck is great for the same reason. You’re not trying to grind people out, just keep your life total high enough to beat down with Serra Ascendant or buy time to turn on your late game.
Awkwardly enough, the Burn matchup isn’t great, despite the ability to gain 18 life with a single card. Martyr has no way to play around Skullcrack and Atarka’s Command. The Leylines of Sanctity are entirely necessary.
- 1 Kami of False Hope
- 2 Weathered Wayfarer
- 4 Martyr of Sands
- 4 Ranger of Eos
- 4 Serra Ascendant
- 4 Squadron Hawk