Daily Digest: Yes, Erayo

Don’t adjust your monitors. The list reads accurately. Have we been so focused on using traditional shells for prowess that we missed the future of the strategy? Ross Merriam gives you yet another means to show your prowess at #SCGBALT’s Modern Classic!

Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease April 2-3!

Okay, my love of casting cheap spells to enable Prowess may be getting out of hand, but this deck is too sweet to keep to myself.

Just imagine the following sequence:

Turn 1: Serum Visions.

Turn 2: Erayo, Soratami Ascendant.

Turn 3: Manamorphose, Monastery Mentor, Gitaxian Probe, Mishra’s Bauble.

Now you have a Mentor, two Monks, and a flipped Erayo on the battlefield, making the Mentor nearly impossible to answer. The game is over. While this draw is very good, it’s far from unrealistic. You simply have to draw the cards you play four of in a good mix.

Erayo is a card that many of you may not be familiar with, but it saw a good amount of play in its day, especially in Affinity decks that could reasonably hit the four-spell requirement on the early turns of the game without much help. Here the card just plays perfectly with all the cheap cards we want to play alongside Monastery Mentor and Snapcaster Mage. Snapcaster even counts as two spells for its requirement, which is a little added bonus. And if you don’t have any experience playing with this card, let me just say that a flipped Erayo is nothing short of a nightmare.

With seventeen cards that can be cast for zero mana, flipping Erayo has never been easier and Monastery Mentor has never been scarier. This deck can have some absolutely broken turns, flipping Erayo as early as turn 2 and possibly killing its opponent on turn 4 with a turn 3 Mentor. Notably, Erayo can be the third spell of the turn and still flip when you play your next, but if it is exactly your fourth spell, then it is not on the battlefield to trigger, so sequencing with this deck is important.

I love the choice of Slaugher Pact as a removal spell here since we will gladly pay three mana next turn to cast another spell now, and it can kill some large roadblocks like Tarmogoyf that Gut Shot misses. Dark Confidant is a nice role-player that helps assemble a critical mass of spells to enable our other creatures, but the most interesting member of the supporting cast is Myth Realized. I like the card in this deck for two reasons:

First, it can easily get out of hand with all the cheap spells in the deck and with your opponent focused on stopping the more immediate threats in Erayo and Mentor. This can give the deck some resiliency going into the late-game. After trading a bunch of resources, you can be left with a large creature to finish the job.

Second, it is still a cheap spell for our other threats, so you have fewer worries of flooding on creatures and having them all be anemic. Erayo is poor in multiples, but the first one is so good and you want it as early as possible that playing four makes sense. Still, this runs the risk of some awkward opening hands. Mentor also has diminishing returns, although not as great. Having a dual spell/threat mitigates some of the inconsistency maxing out on your most powerful cards brings.

The sideboard looks haphazard and certainly could be improved, although I assume Burn is a horrible matchup because of Eidolon of the Great Revel and their ability to present a fast clock while dealing with your first threat or two, so the full four copies of Leyline of Sanctity make sense. Four Rest in Peace, even if Grishoalbrand is popular, seem excessive, and I would like to see some Thoughtseizes or other point discard somewhere in the 75. Having a cheap spell that can serve to protect your powerful cards but also be played proactively is perfect for a deck like this.

Modern has such a high number of playable zero- and one-mana spells that I am sure you can take this deck in a number of directions, and we are still early in our exploration of the ways to abuse them. And that can only mean one thing…

More sweet Prowess decks! If loving cheap spells and Prowess creatures is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease April 2-3!