GerryT’s Ten Things: Jace And Bloodbraid In Modern, In Practice

Speculation has come to an end! These are the army of decks that have put Jace or BBE into their lists in order to flesh out this new Modern! Gerry comments on each!

Are Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf destroying Modern yet?

Let’s find out!

10. Jace and Bloodbraid: Dream Team?

It should be a match made in heaven, right? Both are four mana midrange
cards, so they kind of point you in the same direction — accelerate your
mana, trade with your opponent’s cards, then grind them out with some sort
of advantage. Honestly, maybe they are, but they also trick you.

Bloodbraid Elf wants you to get greedy and play with Ancestral Vision. She
whispers to you, telling you not to worry and that Jace will help set it
all up. You’re clearly still skeptical, so then she tells you about how you
can also add As Foretold to your deck. It’s all a bunch of nonsense, but
it’s Bloodbraid Elf. She would never steer you wrong.

The deck designer did a great job at mitigating the potential for
Bloodbraid Elf to have poor hits, so this deck definitely has that going
for it. There are no dead Inquisition of Kozileks to cascade into here,
which is a draw to Temur over the more traditional Jund, but I’m still not
buying it, at least with this version.

9. Land Destruction Now a Viable Strategy?

The land destruction deck was basically a meme for a long time. Now that
people have started to play against the versions with Bloodbraid Elf and
Tireless Tracker, you can see the realization slowly set in.

“Wait… This actually seems kinda good…”

As it turns out, Bloodbraid Elf with some disruption ends up being pretty
great. Despite a 3/2 haste body not looking very impressive, it’s a fast
clock, especially when you’re slowing your opponent down. It’s exactly the
type of card these decks needed.

If you want to Stone Rain people into the dark ages, now is probably your

8. A Legitimately Good Bloodbraid Deck

I had already pinpointed this as a deck to use in the column, and
especially in the “like” column, then good man Grzegorz Kowalski went ahead
and won Grand Prix Lyon with the pre-Bloodbraid Elf version. Well then.

This is another prime example of Bloodbraid Elf plus some disruption doing
great work. The haste body also adds to an already impressive arsenal of
Reality Smasher, Hazoret the Fervent, and Eldrazi Obligator. Combined with
Lightning Bolts to finish, you’re not going to live long against this deck.

An Eldrazi deck playing Blood Moon is humorous, but it’s one of the best
pieces of disruption against the format.

7 Jace, the Mind Sculptor is Going to Steal Your Lunch Money and
Your Turns

People have been following these rules:

Step 1: Add Jace, the Mind Sculptor to bad combo deck.

Step 2: Profit.

That’s definitely not how it works though. The common theme throughout this
article (and recent Modern events, really) is that Jace, the Mind Sculptor
needs to be utilized in a proactive shell. Planeswalkers don’t defend
themselves easily, and while Jace’s -1 can help with that to some degree,
ultimately you need to actually deal with their threats or block them.

Still, this deck is a tad different. It’s not like Scapeshift where you’ll
probably resolve Jace and have it die almost immediately. Instead, you look
for a spot where you can combo it with a Time Walk effect (Exhaustion
counts) and go from there. In a way, Jace is a harder to use Howling Mine
that has numerous upsides, namely giving you more selection than a Howling
Mine would, but also functioning as a win condition.

Of all the decks that fall under the category of “Jace deck that has no way
to protect Jace,” this is among the best of them, and actually has been
performing quite well.

6. Unplayable Modern Cards, Now With 3/2 Haste

If you’re casting Bloodbraid Elf and hitting unimpressive Magic cards,
Bloodbraid isn’t going to yield impressive results. There’s something to be
said for the staying power of Strangleroot Geist and Kitchen Finks,
especially in a shell with Eldritch Evolution, but ultimately those cards
are pretty weak. Either they’re going to fail in the face of Thalia,
Guardian of Thraben or a large Champion of the Parish or they’re going to
be mostly irrelevant clocks against combo decks. There’s also the whole
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon problem. They just don’t seem great against

That said, if you throw enough sticky permanents against something like
Jund or Jeskai, you will probably do alright, barring you have ways to
actually remove or ignore their problematic permanents. Renegade Rallier
and Voice of Resurgence help pile on the pressure, but I’m not too excited
about Wilt-Leaf Liege.

I’m not excited by “Naya with no disruption” in general.

5. New Attraction at Your Local Zoo

While Jund is the biggest winner from Bloodbraid Elf, it looks like a
toss-up for second place between Land Destruction and Zoo. Whether you’re
trying to Tribal Flames people or not, Bloodbraid Elf is a great top end
for decks that don’t really want to play Collected Company.

Zoo, despite being an aggressive deck, always has the tools to metagame for
whatever’s necessary. You can cast Boom//Bust and Blood Moon if you want to
beat up on Tron (note that you will cascade right past Boom with Bloodbraid
Elf now), Tribal Flames if you want closing speed and more answers to big
creatures, and blue for Spell Queller if you want disruption.

Depending on what colors you play and how deep you go, you can also
sideboard basically whatever you want to. Thoughtseize, Ancient Grudge,
Rest in Peace, Grim Lavamancer, Collective Brutality? It’s all there! Zoo’s
clock plus insanely powerful sideboard cards is what makes it a contender
for me.

4. Jeskai Players Realize They Need a Clock

Jace doesn’t do everything on his own. He needs help, and desperately at
that. You might look at Wall of Omens and say, “Oh, that’s nice against
Bloodbraid Elf, I’ll put it in my deck,” but it takes more than that. Also,
if you’re being proactive, presenting threats, and forcing your opponent to
react to you, your Jace is going to be miles better than it would be. If
their resources, like their Lightning Bolts and Dreadbores, are being
allocated to other threats, it makes it more likely that Jace lives, or at
least the Spell Queller that’s been beating them down is going to live.

Either way, you win.

These are the Jeskai decks of the future. Whether they have Wall of Omens,
Geist of Saint, or Spell Queller likely won’t matter too much since it will
change month to month. Regardless, once Jeskai starts playing more
creatures it will be more successful.

3. Mediocre Midrange Deck Adds Jace, Still Mediocre

Lucky_Dragon has the right approach with Dark Confidant, Vendilion Clique,
Collective Brutality, and a bunch of Lilianas maindeck. Being proactive
with Jace is always going to be more powerful. I like that type of shell in
the Esper color combination since you can maindeck a bunch of Collective
Brutalities and Lingering Souls, which is a powerful combination. Lingering
Souls also happens to protect your planeswalkers and pressure theirs.

Unfortunately the rest of these decks are piles of grindy cards that will
probably get attacked to death by Bloodbraid Elf, Karn-ed by Tron, and lit
up by Goblin Guide. There are too many weaknesses, and obviously you can
fix some of those issues, but not all, which has been the problem for
control decks in Modern.

2. Noble Hierarch Solves All Problems

These decks actually look incredible. Not only do we have one by Hyper (aka
Kelvin Chew), but Cavedan is a blast from my past and his deck might be the
best of the bunch. No Jace, the Mind Sculptors makes me a little
disappointed, but Bloodbraid Elf might actually be a better fit. The backup
beatdown plan is now very real.

Mout’s deck is also great. Noble Hierarch into Bounding Krasis into Jace,
the Mind Sculptor is quite the curve, especially considering you’re also
threatening a combo kill at some point. Temur Twin might actually be back.

1. Disrupting Shoal is Taking Over Modern!

“Force of Will was the only thing stopping Jace, the Mind Sculptor from
taking over Modern.”

No. Just… no.

There are so many problems with Disrupting Shoal that I don’t even know
where to begin.

1) Card disadvantage is a real thing. You need to activate Jace’s
Brainstorm multiple times in order to make the card a real thing.
Additionally, recouping that deficit is even more difficult when you’re
trying to get to four mana in the first place.

2) There is no guarantee that you have the correct mana cost. This ain’t
Counterbalance, and you’re not going to be happy to use Disrupting Shoal on
a mediocre card just to get some use out of it. You also have no shot of
hitting cards like Karn Liberated that are going to destroy you.

3) Hardcasting Disrupting Shoal is doable, but nowhere near ideal.

4) Most of the matchups in Modern aren’t ones where you need or even want a
Force of Will.

Please just stop.