GerryT’s Ten Things: The Deepest, Darkest Corners Of MODO

Gerry is back with commentary on a lot of decks across multiple formats, but the truth is…someone has gone too far. See Gerry talk about a deck so deep, so dark, that it absolutely must be stopped before it’s too late.

This might be the best Ten Things article I ever have the pleasure of
writing. ‘Nuff said.

10: The Modern Mashups Continue

Ah, yes. The classic Ensnaring Bridge / Life from the Loam combo.
Realistically though, the “combo” isn’t as embarrassing as it might seem.
Instead of using mill rocks to lock your opponent out once you establish
Ensnaring Bridge, it burns its opponent out with Seismic Assault and Life
from the Loam. I guess that’s a plan? Should your opponent have a Rest in
Peace or Leyline of the Void, there’s Chandra, Torch of Defiance to get

If nothing else, Seal of Primordium has to be better than Naturalize in
your Ensnaring Bridge deck. The split on Faithless Looting, Tormenting
Voice, and Cathartic Reunion can’t be right either. Overall, it could use
some fine-tuning, but couldn’t everything? Whether this deck is actually
better than Lantern remains to be seen, but right now, this deck probably
falls apart if there’s a slight breeze.

These sorts of decks existing should be a clear indicator that cards like
Blood Moon, Ensnaring Bridge, Simian Spirit Guide, and Chalice of the Void
shouldn’t exist. I guess we just put ’em all in the same deck and make sure
no one gets to play Magic.


9: Going Deep with Academy Rector

A deck with Veteran Explorer, Academy Rector, and Evolutionary Leap has my
attention. Both benefit immensely from sacrifice effects, so Phyrexian
Tower and Cabal Therapy are great inclusions. I’m not a huge fan of the
Dryad Arbor because of Evolutionary Leap, but it is what it is.

Once you trigger Academy Rector, what’s the best way to win the game?
Overwhelming Splendor, Dovescape, and Cruel Reality could all be
situationally great. Things like Curse of Death’s Hold, Moat, and Ground
Seal seem extraneous. My biggest gripe with decks like these is how absurd
the tutor packages get in these decks. With only two copies of Living Wish,
half the sideboard is taken up by tutor targets.

With the current absence of Stifle in Legacy, if you want to drop giant
enchantments on people, now is probably the time.

8: Neo Lantern

More Ensnaring Bridge decks. Joy.

Again, the question here is whether or not a pile of random artifacts is
better than Lantern of Insight and some mill rocks. Obviously this deck is
better against Tron with its Ghost Quarters, Field of Ruin, and Crucible of
Worlds, but is that worth it? For the most part, this deck is largely
unaffected by Stony Silence, so it does have that going for it.

It also seems like this deck would also get decimated by a slight breeze.
Are people just not playing Disenchants in Modern? After sideboard, four
Welding Jars is going to help against a couple Wear or whatever, but
Ancient Grudge or Fracturing Gust is still going to beat you up.

Without playing with the deck myself, it’s tough to say, but this specific
deck has put up more than a singleton 5-0. Maybe it’s for real-ish.

7: I’m on a Boat

Magic Online Championship 2016 Top 4 competitor Lighdar won the Magic
Online PTQ this weekend with a hugely innovative W/G Tokens list.
Apparently the way to win with aggressive white decks in Standard is to cut
Adanto Vanguard!

Aside from the lack of Vampires, this deck also features seven (!)
vehicles, including three copies of the seemingly forgotten Skysovereign,
Consul Flagship. The boat is a huge threat, plus it clears away random
threats that clog up the battlefield, allowing your ragtag crew of Servos
and Merfolk to attack freely. Having a way to constantly answer
Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Whirler Virtuoso in longer games can be huge.

W/G Tokens is already a solid archetype, but Lighdar tuned his deck for the
metagame beautifully and was rewarded with a Pro Tour invite.

6: The Wrong Way to “Fix” Eldrazi

Look, using Gemstone Caverns and Serum Powder to function as fake Eldrazi
Temples is close to reasonable, but Noble Hierarch is a proven way
to do that. The added value you get from exiling Eternal Scourge isn’t
exactly worth it.

Locking yourself into a colorless manabase isn’t worth it. Simian Spirit
Guide into Chalice of the Void has to be insanely good in the format, and I
don’t think we’re quite there. Bloodbraid Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor
have slowed down the format a bit. Players need to play more grindy
elements, which typically means fewer concentration on one mana cards.

Using Eternal Scourge to power out giant emerge monsters is a plan, but
it’s not a good plan. Similarly, please stop with the Heartless Summonings.

5: How’d That Emrakul Get Inside of that 3/3???

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Call of the Herd getting cast, and
this is likely its first appearance in Modern. While not an impressive card
on its face, and certainly not when compared to other three mana cards in
Modern, if it’s a spell that makes a token, there’s some consideration to
playing it alongside Polymorph and Proteus Staff.

That said, is putting Call of the Herd in your deck worth it, despite the
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn end game? Honestly, I’d much prefer to Through the
Breach an Emrakul than to Polymorph it, especially in a format with Jace,
the Mind Sculptor. Granted, this deck has a better backup plan of winning
ramp, tokens, and planeswalkers, but the overall game plan is so weak that
I wouldn’t touch it.

If you’re looking for something sweet to do in Modern, this is just as good
an option as any other. Just know what you’re getting into.

4: Pure Control Isn’t Viable

U/R Control? Nah, let’s just attack people. Similarly to the Grixis Energy
game plan, this deck takes a controlling slant, but will ultimately win
through tempo and giant monsters. Even the U/B Control decks in the format
are using Torrential Gearhulk as a tempo-positive, large Snapcaster Mage.
Grinding someone out forever just isn’t viable anymore, so I like this take
on U/R “Control.”

Being counterspell light isn’t exactly where I’d want to be, especially
considering how great Essence Scatter is right now. Commit is a fine
Vraska’s Contempt proxy, so I’m somewhat surprised to not see any copies
main deck. Then again, it is a clunker and this is basically a tempo deck,
so the choice makes sense.

Saheeli Rai might be nonsense, but you can’t argue against the power of
copying a Glorybringer or Torrential Gearhulk. It does seem mostly
unnecessary though. If I were playing a deck like this, I would probably
cut the planeswalkers for more interaction, but maybe that’s wrong.

If you want to play blue cards in Standard, and especially if you’re
looking for a deck without The Scarab God, this is a fine take.

3: Best Backup Plan for a Combo Deck Yet

My main issue with the Devoted Druid / Vizier of Remedies combo has always
been how awful the enablers were. You would very rarely see the combo in a
normal deck because the combo pieces themselves are rather weak. That
doesn’t change in these decks, but the rest of the deck actually has some
powerful cards.

Knight of the Reliquary and Tireless Tracker are incredible and more than
make up for the weakness of playing a 1W 2/1 in your deck. Collected
Company and Chord of Calling pull it all together, but the real thing that
caught my eye is the land destruction package in the deck. You can disrupt
your opponent with Ghost Quarters and Field of Ruins, which gives these G/W
creature decks a great Tron matchup.

Typically you see some mopey beatdown plan in these decks, and while these
decks have that, it also has that land destruction angle. You don’t
typically see that sort of plan in a creature combo deck, but it’s clever
and I love it, regardless of how good it is.

2: The Real Value Town

Bloodbraid Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, working together in harmony. A
combo kill in Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai caps it off, but really?

Coiling. Freaking. Oracle.

You’d think that the full playset of Fiery Justices would make me happy,
but Coiling Oracle is basically the best card that hasn’t seen nearly as
much play as it should have. Typically the green creature decks don’t also
play blue cards, so Coiling Oracle rarely has a home. In the Copycat combo,
Coiling Oracle finally has a place to be!

Again, the specifics need work. The sideboard is untuned, four Jaces and
four Eternal Witnesses might be a lot, and the manabase could use some fast
lands. Still, I like this version of Copycat, probably more than I should.

1: The Greatest Deck You’ve Never Seen

This is one of the most ingenious decks I’ve ever seen. It might take you a
while to see it. I’ll give you a few minutes.

Get there yet?

This is a Dark Depths shell that can make a 20/20 with the help of Vampire
Hexmage or Thespian’s Stage. It features a pile of mana acceleration to
ensure that can happen quickly enough. That same mana acceleration also
allows for a quick Chalice of the Void. Tolaria West helps set everything
up in longer games, but the Tolaria West package is so large? What’s that
Walking Ballista for?

Still, some of the card choices are strange. Tolaria West helps set
everything up in longer games, but the Tolaria West package is so large?
What’s that Walking Ballista for? The real standout is Cunning Wish, a card
rarely seen in Legacy.

What are we Wishing for?

*glances at the sideboard*

Oh. Oh! It all makes sense now…

Not only can this deck make a quick 20/20, but it can also Cunning Wish for
Ad Nauseam. The total mana cost of the entire deck is eighteen! If you’ve
cast a Cunning Wish for Ad Nauseam, that makes it fifteen. Ad Nauseam can
draw your entire deck naturally. Some fast mana and another Cunning Wish
will get you a Lightning Storm which will be lights out for your opponent.

I’ve seen decks like this in Legacy before, but this one actually looks
legit and is a huge upgrade from the list that Bryan Hoyt debuted in early
2017. It’s probably not good, but it’s one of those remarkable decks that
makes me love Magic.