Rise of Aintrazi – Modern Modern Modern

Ali definitely takes brews to a different plane; look at the decklists under consideration by the reigning National Champion, including his signature Turboland archetype.

Modern is just around the corner, and if you’re anything like me, your mind is just swarming with old and new deck ideas. We all know about Zoo and Caw-Blade. I’ll give you most of the top tier decks you’ll face and then attempt to give you a new deck idea.

First up, the no brainer: Zoo, by Mark Ruby.

Oh Zoo! Ever a popular deck, this deck can be aggressive enough to just beat combo decks out of nowhere with the help of Teeg and other creatures that disrupt their plan. The only problem with Zoo that I see is that everyone will be ready for it in some way, shape, or form. That shouldn’t deter you from playing it though—especially if you love attacking with creatures.

Mark managed to place 3rd in a Modern 2k with his Zoo list. Nothing looks out of the ordinary except for maybe the Molten Rains over Tribal Flames. I personally like the Molten Rains, especially if big mana decks are on the rise like Tron or 12 Post. Not to mention the times you are able to mana screw your opponent with the Stone Rain effect.

Unfortunately Pat Cox and I do not share the same love of Zoo. I will most likely not be playing this, but I would definitely test against it. I believe many people will audible to a Zoo deck.

Next up we have U/W Tron by David Tsukuno.

Awww yeeeeea, I love me some Tron! I believe Tron can beat any other deck if they are not prepared for it. If people start packing hate like Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon, or just some land destruction spells, this may not be a good choice. Tron is extremely powerful when assembled, but it doesn’t do much without the help of all the Urza lands.

David is attempting to steal my heart. He managed to get 2nd at the same event, losing to the dreaded Caw. If you love big mana decks, this is a deck for you. I don’t like some of his numbers and card choices, but this would be an excellent skeleton to start out with.

For example, I wouldn’t run Circle of Protection: Red. It also seems hard to cast Pulse of the Fields multiple times. I’d rather run multiple Timely Reinforcements. I don’t like two Academy Ruins either; I would definitely just run one. I’m sure David had his reasons though. I’d also try and fit in my boy Karn Liberated somewhere in this list.

It looks like the Caw has teamed up with Fae to create this monstrosity!

Sad Face Deck:

‘Aw, Caw-Blade, will you ever just die?’
Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.’

This deck seems extremely solid, and if it struggles with any Zoo deck game one, it sure isn’t going to games 2 and 3. If you’ve been playing Caw-Blade in Standard and you’ve enjoyed it—I don’t see a reason for you to not play some version of this deck.

Can you guess what place Tom Strong finished with his list of Caw-Blade? Yep… 1st, making sure nobody forgets this feathery menace. These birds’ caws have echoed throughout all formats except Vintage. This deck is a wrecking ball and seems extremely well positioned. You have Sprites and Swords to keep Zoo under control. You can keep combo and control in check with Vendilion Clique, Sword of Feast and Famine, and counterspells. Make sure this deck is in your testing gauntlet. Don’t get caught with your pants down!

Another deck that I believe is well positioned right now Bant.

Bant, the only deck where I actually enjoy attacking with creatures. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because I’m also playing blue and countermagic. This is a good alternative to Zoo. I personally would play this over Zoo because of the swords and powerful blue cards like Cryptic Command and Vendilion Clique. Bant also seems to have a better matchup than Zoo against control and combo.

You have eight ways to get a turn 1 mana accel—as long as you don’t draw Dryad Arbor—thanks to Green Sun’s Zenith and Noble Hierarch. The reason we have Rhox War Monk over Kitchen Finks is because the Monk can avoid dying to Punishing Fire a little easier than Finks. Most of your guys are bigger than Zoo’s, giving you an edge in that matchup. If I were going to play a creature deck, it would be this one. I’m usually not a fan of tempo decks, but I like being able to draw cards, untap my lands, and counter spells. Bant seems like a very solid deck in Modern; see if it plays to your style.

Next up a deck you may have forgotten about. Good ole’ Lark

Lark has a natural advantage against aggressive decks since it can trade creatures or spells one for one and recur them all with Lark. They even get the cards back with the help of Mulldrifter. I can see Lark struggling game one against any combo deck, but after you bring in Meddling Mages, Archmages, and maybe even Runed Halo, combo should be much easier to handle. I can see myself playing this type of deck for the Pro Tour.

I was a huge fan of Reveillark back in the day—especially when it had the bounce permanent combo. Now you have that combo along with Gifts Ungiven. Your first Gifts should not be for the combo but good cards with Lark and one other combo piece, say Venser. The second Gifts, you can get Lark, Mirror Entity, Noxious Revival, and Body Double and proceed to combo off. Gifts can also just be used to get a Lark in your hand with Lark, Body Double, Revival, and X, X being whatever you want.

A nice thing to note about Knight of the White Orchard is that he fetches up a “Plains” card so he can get shocklands—WOOT! Back in its day Lark was known to beat pretty much any aggro deck but struggled against Fae. Now that Fae is gone and aggro is going to be rampant, I don’t see why this deck can’t rise again.

Your board is made to beat combo and control. Usually against control, one Glen Elendra Archmage is hard to deal with but doable. Once you start recurring her or playing more, it’s just too overwhelming for the control player. Meddling Mages and Runed Halos put a damper on any combo deck. Stillmoon Cavalier will do battle against hawks any day—all the while dodging Path to Exiles. I’m excited for this deck!

Faaaaaatttttyyyy Time!

What an oldie! I think I like this deck more than Eldrazi Green Post just because of Oblivion Stone. The Stone gives you outs against aggro instead of just trying to race them. I believe you are favored against control decks since you have inevitability, not to mention eight ways to fetch up Boseiju. Against combo, you can’t really do anything game one. For the other games, you have Rule of Law to try and slow them down along with Platinum Angel and Leonin Abunas. Against control you gain another Mindslaver and the white Bringer to try and lock them out of the game with a Slaver. Man I missed this deck!

This deck abuses the full power of Tron to cast Tooth and Nail. If your opponent has little board presence, you can end the game with Sundering Titan and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, or you can just lock your opponent out of the game with Painter’s Servant and Iona, Shield of Emeria until you can cast another Tooth and Nail for Kiki-Jiki and Deceiver.

It’s hard to cast Wrath of God in this deck; that’s why we use Oblivion Stone. Also Oblivion Stone gets around Gaddock Teeg and destroys pesky birds along with their annoying swords. We no longer have Moment’s Peace, but Timely Reinforcements is a decent replacement.

What would an Ali article be without some crazy Turboland list?

This is a high-risk, high-reward deck. It’s also an exhilarating deck to play! Game one against any combo decks, you are almost like a sitting duck, since they will draw cards off your mine effects before you do. They need to stumble in order for you to start chaining Time Warp effects and end the game. Against aggressive decks like Zoo, you should be fine since Timely Reinforcements and Cryptic Command will buy you time to go off. Try to save Firespouts for Teeg game one since he pretty much shuts you down. Thankfully they will probably only have one maindeck if any. Against control you will be favored since they can’t counter all your spells, and you should eventually be drawing more than one card per turn.

If Ghost Quarter gets popular, you can no longer run Utopia Sprawl. You will have to run Rampant Growth instead. It’s just that Utopia Sprawl and Garruk work together to give you a huge mana advantage. Just so you know, you can copy your big spells with Mirror Sheen more than once.

Against Zoo, you can just gain 21 or more life from Primal Command or Time Warp yourself three or more times, which should end the game on the spot. You also shouldn’t mill yourself since you are playing Primal Command to shuffle your library back in. Just make sure if you have Crucible out that you have the lands you want in play already.

You can win the game with infinite turns via Walk the Aeons and Crucible of Worlds, destroy all their lands with Ghost Quarter and Crucible of Worlds, or just kill them with Garruk tokens and Time Warp effects. This deck is most definitely in its infancy stage. Try it out—switch some cards around and let me know what you think!

We’ve gone over a handful of decks, but we haven’t even scratched the surface of Modern. There is still 12 post, Punishing Fire decks, Reflecting Pool Control, Hive Mind, Dragonstorm, Ad Nauseam, and many others. This format is going to be insanely diverse and exciting. I’ll try and have another article up soon about more of the Modern decks. Leave me comments of what kind of decks you want to see!

Heart you all,
Ali, Azami’s Familiar