GerryT’s 10 Things: Dance Dance Evolution

Gerry Thompson’s hitting the Magic Online results ahead of SCG Atlanta! And for this edition of GerryT’s 10 Things, it’s all Modern, all the time. From unusual takes on Burn to some downright scary Eldritch Evolution decks…including one Gerry says he’d play in a tournament in the dark, without any changes…there’s a new surprise every 75 cards!

Dominaria is live on Magic Online, but that will have to wait until next week. I have a deadline and MTGO.com is currently not displaying any Dominaria cards in decklists.

In the meantime, hope y’all enjoy Modern!

10. Bomat’s Delivery Finally Arrives!

I’m actually excited to try this.

Burn was pretty good at dealing twenty (although sometimes it was only seventeen and they needed some help from their opponents), but once Burn is disrupted by a Fatal Push or Collective Brutality, suddenly they can only deal about half of what’s necessary. Bomat Courier won’t always live, but when it does, you should win those games.

The move toward Burst Lightning to clear blockers instead of Boros Charm or Skullcrack is something I’m a fan of. Zero copies of Inspiring Vantage or Copperline Gorge is interesting, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the pilot wanted to get to that fifth mana untapped for kicker purposes. Games could potentially go longer with Bomat Courier in your deck, so having untapped mana to fire off some burn spells once you cash in Bomat Courier for a fistful of cards makes sense too.

Maxing on Grim Lavamancer makes sense for Atarka’s Commands and the lack of fastlands. Keeping the curve low is important for Bomat Courier too, but you still want stuff to do heading into the late-game. Mutagenic Growth is another card I would consider with Bomat Courier in the mix.

I’m always concerned when players cut Eidolon of the Great Revel because of Burn’s poor combo matchup, but playing sixteen one-drops and Atarka’s Command moves the needle for me.

This list is perfect.

9. Where Grixis Shadow Goes from Here

In a Humans- and Hollow One-infested metagame, Stubborn Denial isn’t accomplishing very much, so things have to change for Grixis Death’s Shadow.

Tarmogoyf isn’t great at the moment, since it’s not blocking much of anything that’s relevant these days, so the Traverse the Ulvenwald lists are out for me. I don’t mind Grixis with Young Pyromancer and more interaction for the creature matchups, but Kiln Fiend might be the better deal for 1R.

Since this version is all-in on Temur Battle Rage, obviously that comes at the cost of some interaction. You still have Thoughtseize and Lightning Bolt, but the point is that not many things are worth interacting with. With the occasional Thoughtseize to slow down your combo opponent and a Lightning Bolt to remove a key Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, you don’t need much else. For anything where you do, you have a sideboard.

If I were going to register Death’s Shadow in a tournament, this is what my decklist would look like.

8. Note to Self: Do Not Register Hornet Nest in Modern

If you wanted to play a Valakut, but instead of maximizing consistency like the deck is known for, you wanted to add a bunch of cards from your trade binder at random, this is probably what you’d end up with.

Whenever people add Through the Breach and/or Nahiri, the Harbinger to their G/R Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle-based decks, I question it. If you decided that your Primeval Titan needed to be a little faster, maybe you add Amulet of Vigor to your deck or remove your Primeval Titans altogether. Valakut is traditionally good against disruption and adding other combos to the deck significantly weakens that angle.

Oath of Nissa tends to be dangerous in these lists because you end up with more whiffs than you’d like. This list has sixteen (not counting the Oath of Nissa that’s on the stack), so it’s not entirely a large concern, but adding things like Wall of Roots in order to mitigate that doesn’t inspire confidence. I like any reason to play Tireless Tracker in Modern though, even if it’s by accident.

I’m a big fan of innovation in general, and maybe this deck is better than I think it is, but it’s really not doing it for me. I mean, splashing a Rest for the Weary when they are better options in green is ludicrous.

7. Yet Another Sweet Eldrazi Deck

Is Mono-Red Eldrazi sweet? It very well could be.

The comparisons to make are to Colorless Eldrazi or G/R Eldrazi, and I can see pros and cons for each. Cards like Hanweir Garrison and Hangarback Walker aren’t ideal, even if you can live the dream of melding. Since this deck is clearly trying to get in some hasty damage in the mid-game, I’m surprised to not see any copies of Eldrazi Obligator maindeck.

Ramunap Ruins is an exciting pickup, as is the ability to play Field of Ruin. Given the Gemstone Caverns and maindeck Relic of Progenituses, I could see merging this with Colorless Eldrazi and including the Serum Powder / Eternal Scourge package.

I absolutely love some aspects of this deck and utterly despise others, so I guess that’s something. It’s probably why most Eldrazi decks are multiple colors, especially since it’s relatively easy on the mana. Maybe, like Colorless Eldrazi, this list will continue to be tuned now that it’s out there.

6. The Key to My Heart

I can get behind playing something even as mopey as Skred if you simply add some Bedlam Revelers to the deck. Is it right? Who caaaaaaares.

Including the Faithless Looting / Bedlam Reveler package makes sense, though! This deck often has dead cards, could desperately use some card filtering, and is great at emptying its hand. To top it off, there’s a lot of red mana and it plays a reasonable number of spells already. If Mardu Pyromancer isn’t cutting it against Tron, this approach could be what you want.

However, if you have to cut into Blood Moons in order to make Bedlam Reveler work, I might have to advise against it. After all, that’s gotta be how Skred Red actually wins most of its matches, right? Bedlam Reveler is tight, but Molten Rain doesn’t quite do the same job against Tron.

The Molten Vortex is cute, but c’mon, that dream will never happen. Play something else, please.

5. How to Make Bloodbraid Elf Good

You know what makes Bloodbraid Elf good? Other ways to capitalize on the haste. That means early pressure and reach.

This deck only has two Bloodbraid Elves, but Wild Nacatls and Tribal Flames are the best ways to complement Bloodbraid Elf. I’m not exactly thrilled by Lingering Souls and discard, since it goes against the Zoo gameplan, but you might need the well-rounded approach to Modern. While the “sixteen one-drop plus Atarka’s Command” deck from earlier might be fast enough to fight combo, this deck is a little too slow.

Some sorceries are necessary for Grim Flayer, too, especially since you can’t exactly jam a bunch of Mishra’s Baubles in the deck unless you want the weakest Bloodbraid Elves of all time. Playing some discard makes sense at that point.

Bloodbraid Elf in Jund is a failure in this metagame. Obviously that might circle back around, but at the moment, that’s not where your Bloodbraid Elves should be. If you want to cascade, I highly recommend Wild Nacatl and Tribal Flames.

4. Speed It Up, Slow It Down

Is this a lifegain deck or a beatdown deck? Why not both? If Tom Ross has played it before, it’s probably great.

It’s a little odd to care about gaining life while also pressuring your opponent, but that’s how you trigger all your big threats, like Archangel of Thune and Ajani’s Pridemate. There’s the added bonus of having a good Burn matchup and always being able to win a race.

Legion’s Landing might be secretly great in Modern. Especially in this deck, each lifelinker can be super-valuable. There are already Auriok Champions in addition to the Soul Sisters, so there’s not exactly a need for more lifegain effects. Still, having additional bodies for Archangel of Thune is great.

My only criticism is the lack of Flagstones of Trokair to hit with your own Ghost Quarters. Tom Ross would say a lack of Pendelhaven is an oversight, and without Honor of the Pure, I don’t disagree. Obviously it’s a little awkward with Spectral Procession, but so is Ghost Quarter without Flagstones. The lack of Serra Ascendant and Ranger of Eos is a bit odd, but I’m going to trust the deckbuilder on this one, as they definitely have more experience than I do.

I wouldn’t touch this deck, but it’s not the worst deck in the world.

3. Eldritch Evolution Will Eventually Be Broken

This isn’t the first time Eldritch Evolution has had success, and it won’t be the last.

Adding Bloodbraid Elf into the mix is something I was already behind, and this version, with Lotus Cobras, seems better than the other version with Coiling Oracle. This deck doesn’t even max on combo pieces, which means you can function like a real deck the majority of the time instead of pigeonholing yourself into having to combo every game. Maindeck Blood Moons and an Eldritch Evolution package that goes all the way up to Sun Titan is another step in that direction.

We’re getting closer to having a real list for this archetype and that makes me excited. The four-color sideboard options are particularly exciting, even if this list doesn’t use them.

2. Outing Martin Juza’s Secret Magic Online Account

This is an odd take on Humans, but I’m down with it.

Quad Reflecting Pool with three Birds of Paradise is a good way to make Bloodbraid Elf castable in your Collected Company Humans deck. Mana Confluence is ballsy with Dark Confidant, but hey, greatness at any cost, right?

There’s no real Human synergy outside of being able to cast most things off Cavern of Souls and Unclaimed Territory, but that’s a real upside. Being able to play cards like Lightning Bolt and Ancient Grudge is a great boon in Modern.

The amount of haste in this deck is enormous. As I mentioned earlier, haste plus Bloodbraid Elf is exactly where you want to be. This might not have Tribal Flames, but it does have access to Eldrazi Obligator, which is kind of the same thing.

1. Full Combo

This deck looks awesome to the point where it scares me. It’s a fine compromise between traditional Vizier of Remedies decks and the Commune with Nature / Hall of the Bandit Lord monstrosity created by Matsugan.

When trying to assemble a combo that involves having a Devoted Druid without summoning sickness, Lightning Greaves is a pretty obvious way to upgrade the deck. Postmortem Lunge, however, is a card I’ve been incredibly fond of for quite some time, and it makes perfect sense to include here. Most opponent will assume you can’t combo off if you’re tapped out and don’t have Devoted Druid on the battlefield, so they might tap out themselves. Additionally, Postmortem Lunge gives you an insane amount of access to your combo pieces, spot removal be damned.

The singleton Renegade Rallier to Summoner’s Pact for is a sweet way to turn Summoner’s Pact potentially into a Vizier of Remedies. Playing two copies of Walking Ballista is kind of strange, but maybe it’s some maindeck protection against Scavenging Ooze getting your win condition? You would think that drawing every creature in your deck and putting them onto the battlefield might be enough, but there’s actually not a lot of total power in this deck.

I wouldn’t be upset if I registered this 75 in the dark, and that says a lot.