Today I’ll be trying Angel Pod (or Melira Pod without Melira, Sylvok Outcast) in Modern. While I’ve been pretty happy with the combo when I’ve played Pod, I
definitely win a lot of games without it, so I think it’s worth investigating how much can be gained as a fair deck by giving up the potential to be
My list is based on LSV’s, but I’ve made a few small changes. I have even fewer Chord of Callings because it seems a lot worse when you’re not searching
for cheap combo pieces, but despite that, I think I like the first Kataki, War’s Wage in the sideboard more than I like the second Creeping Corrosion since
it’s really nice to be able to search for sideboard hate. (Note that with LSV’s sideboard, you can just find Harmonic Slivers.)
Anyway, I’ll be playing:
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 1 Spike Feeder
- 1 Eternal Witness
- 2 Wall of Roots
- 1 Orzhov Pontiff
- 1 Harmonic Sliver
- 1 Shriekmaw
- 1 Reveillark
- 2 Kitchen Finks
- 1 Murderous Redcap
- 2 Noble Hierarch
- 1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
- 1 Spellskite
- 1 Scavenging Ooze
- 1 Restoration Angel
- 1 Sin Collector
- 3 Voice of Resurgence
- 1 Archangel of Thune
The second game was embarrassing, and my rust with Modern clearly showed, as Aven Mindcensor is very obviously the card I’m supposed to be thinking about
in the matchup. For game 3, my plan felt pretty good, and I liked how it avoided his early game interaction, but it was ultimately too small ball and
grindy and he was able to just go bigger with Sphinx’s Revelation and Cryptic Command.
Twisted Image is really incredible in that matchup. There’s a lot of play to it on both sides, and I certainly made some big mistakes, like fetching the
basic Swamp when he had Tectonic Edge, but getting hit by Twisted Image both games felt really hard to recover from.
I’ve seen people ask if Blood Moon is good against Pod, and I think the answer is that it’s very good if it’s part of a comprehensive plan with Spreading
Seas and a lot of removal for the mana creatures. That third game was just very frustrating on all levels.
I think this is a matchup where cutting the Melira combo helps a lot. The extra random value cards I had were good, and the opponent has enough removal
that comboing is going to be extremely difficult, but unlike Twin, they can’t punish me for tapping out to threaten random two-for-ones, and too much of
their interaction answers my cards as permanents rather than as spells, like the UW deck earlier, so I’ve already gotten value out of them. This is a spot
where they really need Sphinx’s Revelation, and they need my discard to not take that plan apart.
All in all, I’d say that was a slightly skewed view of the format, which I assume has decks that aren’t blue. In those matches, Pod as an archetype broadly
felt pretty bad, while Pod as a value deck without a combo mostly felt like a good place to be except that the curve goes up a bit when you cut cheap combo
cards for expensive value cards–although, really, I guess the cheap combo cards are being cut for cheap interaction, and the real problem may have just
been lack of pressure. It made the deck more reactive in a way I’m not sure I wanted.