Return Of The Modern Bucket List

The multitudinous possibilities of Modern have Gerry Thompson excited, and he’s ready to take a walk on the format’s wild side! From Seismic Swans to Madcap Moon and beyond, check out the wonderful and just-plain-weird (yet surprisingly successful) decklists he wants to pilot!

Well, this should be fun.

It’s been a while since I’ve done videos, but that should change next week. With my glorious return, I’ve decided to highlight some weird Modern decks, so I might as well bring back the Bucket List branding.

My plan is to start with fringe decks, move into incredibly fringe, and then eventually work on some of the more normalized decks. When Aether Revolt drops, I’ll probably take a break for Standard. In the meantime, I’ll be searching for truly absurd Modern decks to do at some point.

This is my rough order.

This deck, and decks like it, are what make Modern exciting.

Despite that, obviously some of these decks are going to fail. I’ve tried decks similar to this one and wasn’t a huge fan, but we’ll see.

There is no full combo, but it shouldn’t take long until after you have Swans of Bryn Argoll and Seismic Assault on the battlefield to close the game. Even Molten Vortex is probably going to do it. Obviously the downside is that you need a Seismic Assault or Molten Vortex for your deck to do anything, and will likely need to find a Swans sooner rather than later.

On the bright side, this deck can probably afford to mulligan very aggressively for its combo pieces. You have enough land that even a one-lander is a fine keep. Very few cards actually matter, and you don’t really need raw cards as much as specific parts. To some extent, you want as many lands as possible so you can fuel Seismic Assault and Molten Vortex, but Life from the Loam helps.

The flip side is that you’re in a bad spot if your Seismic Assault or Swans of Bryn Argoll gets removed. Countryside Crusher is a nod toward that issue. Jund, in particular, seems very difficult. As lists go lower and lower on Abrupt Decays, Seismic Assault becomes more potent.

The first Swans deck is way more exciting than this one, but I’ve always liked decks like this. It could be a better version of Madcap Moon (and could still play Madcap Experiment out of the sideboard anyway). This isn’t Splinter Twin, but a blue control deck with a big combo is always powerful.

Two Serum Visions is a little loose, but something has to give when you’re trying to fit in all your sweet cards.

There are certain metagames where this deck would be absolutely dominant. Both Blood Moon and Platinum Emperion are game over against wide swaths of the format. Unfortunately, when those cards don’t line up well, they are close to blank.

If you’re trying to gain an edge by heavily metagaming, keep this deck in the rotation. If you like your decks to have game against anything, you should probably stay away.

I like this deck, but maybe not this build exactly.

This deck is built on the grindy end of Jund-like decks, but I don’t think that plan is conducive to winning with Bitterblossoms and Intangible Virtue. Instead, I’d prefer to mildly disrupt them while attacking with threats that are resilient to spot removal.

Trying to grind them into the dust with Liliana of the Veil while Bitterblossom slowly kills you isn’t very appealing. Attempting to combo it with some lifegain makes your plan even more difficult to execute, because now you require more pieces to function.

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Smuggler’s Copter have less utility, since they are mostly offensive cards. Liliana might seem stronger because it can play offense and defense, but W/B Tokens should be a beatdown deck, or at the very least more aggressive than Jund is slanted.

Smuggler’s Copter could be the missing link. Filtering through your dead discard or removal spells is excellent, as is being another strong card you can cast on turn 2. Cards like Intangible Virtue get worse the more you move away from tokens, but I think that’s probably fine. You can either play Smuggler’s Copter with Intangible Virtue, or you can omit Intangible Virtue altogether.

I’m mostly convinced that Faeries isn’t very good. The Faeries themselves are weak compared to the rest of Modern, and compounding that fact with reactive, situational blue cards isn’t a recipe for success.

This is another place where Smuggler’s Copter could shine, but this is probably a bad W/B Tokens.

A velocity-based deck with a pseudo-combo kill? Yes, please.

If you use Brain in a Jar to cast a card with fuse, you get to fuse that spell. Beck//Call becomes “make four 1/1 fliers, draw four cards,” which is absurd.

Brain in a Jar is fine on its own, but Beck//Call is not. Any Beck//Call you draw is effectively a dead draw. Thankfully, there are more than enough cards to help you assemble the combo or slow down your opponent.

This list is still in its infancy, and I’m sure improvements could be made. Obviously I’m going to try to jam in some Timely Reinforcements.

I’ve championed Amulet before, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see it on the list. Enough people are finally working on the deck sans Summer Bloom and the deck is starting to get refined. It’s even performing quite well in tournaments.

Sakura-Tribe Scout is weak to Lightning Bolt, but that’s a fine trade. It means you have this threat that absolutely must be killed on sight. Plus, even if they do kill it, it’s taking the majority of their turn to do so. This deck loves when its opponent skips a turn, because it means Primeval Titan is one turn closer to happening. If we could cast Summer Bloom instead, that would be better, but we don’t have that luxury. Sakura-Tribe Scout is a fine replacement.

Hive Mind is out and Pact of Negation is not particularly good against the current metagame. Playing one maindeck is mostly free, but it’s not good enough to where you’ll happily play two and include Hive Mind because you could. In its place, they play cards that slow down the fast decks in Modern like Engineered Explosives and Obstinate Baloth. It’s a wise choice.

While you can play those anti-aggro cards and function fine, I’d prefer to play a deck that’s naturally good against those decks in the first place. Twisting your slow deck and hoping it becomes something it’s not is definitely an option, just not one I’m a fan of.

I’ve long believed that, if piloted well, Lantern is one of the best decks in Modern. Since I have literal zero experience playing with the deck, I’ve never picked it up. I think it’s about time I fix that.

At its best, Lantern Control is an underrepresented, unrespected deck that silently crushes the majority of decks in Modern. At its worst, it’s a pile of unplayable cards that fails to come together or leans on a specific piece of the puzzle and can’t deal with it being destroyed.

That’s not a great argument in Modern, though. Each deck has its flaws. What if Burn doesn’t have a one-drop or what if it gets killed or what if they gain five life? It’s tough to win those games.

Mishra’s Bauble is an interesting inclusion, although maybe that’s become stock and I just haven’t noticed. As Modern gets faster, having extra ways to fully lock them out with Ensnaring Bridge becomes even more important. You’ll notice that a common trend of successful decks in Modern is fortifying your deck against the fastest decks in the format.

I trust The Daddy over Bard, even though Bard is quite good at Magic. I mean, two Electrolyze and one Kolaghan’s Command instead of the other way around? Heresy!

We have a tournament pedigree, a clock, disruption, great removal, and a sideboard that covers most of the format. Your aggression helps against bad matchups. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

Grixis Delver is excellent. Burn has my attention at the moment, but I run the risk of registering Grixis cards at any time. If I’m going to do that, it might as well be with the winningest version out there.

There’s no fluff, no gimmicks, no nonsense.

I can already imagine all the ways in which I’d lose playing this deck. It has Blood Moon and Kolaghan’s Command, so that’s automatically going to win you some matches in Modern.

Are Faithless Looting and Demigod of Revenge going to actually beat people in Modern? Are they going to do any job that something like Tarmogoyf, Madcap Experiment, or even Pia and Kiran Nalaar could do?

I highly doubt it, but it looks fun as hell.

Any aggressive deck with disruptive elements and a combo finish is going to get my attention.

Any creature deck with only disruptive elements is usually going to fail in Modern. Their clock is slow and their disruption doesn’t typically line up perfectly against the variety of threats in Modern. Modern decks can burn you out, combo kill you, or go over the top of you, and these slower aggro decks are weak to each of those strategies.

However, once you throw in the ability to combo on your own, you no longer have to disrupt them long enough to deal them twenty damage. Sometimes you hit the “I win” button.


I could probably list 100 Modern archetypes. There are several more that exist but wouldn’t make that list. For those looking for something abnormal, I’m sorry. This might not be good enough for you.

In the coming months, I’m going to try to change that.