Porting standout Standard shells into Modern is something of a favorite pastime for the Magic community, but rarely is a shell powerful to make such a leap. However, every so often we get one that meets the high bar. The combo of Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian is so close to Splinter Twin of old that the port makes complete sense; the only question is where to put it.
Much like Standard a few months ago, the most obvious place is a Jeskai control deck, but as we’ve seen over the last few months, perhaps the best shell for the powerful combo is a four-color, creature-heavy deck.
Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch provide some mana fixing and much-needed acceleration. A turn 2 Saheeli Rai represents a potential combo on turn 3, putting the fear into your opponent incredibly early and forcing them to play awkwardly or risk an immediate loss. The false tempo gained when you don’t have the combo is as valuable as it has been in Standard and the added speed lets you reasonably race against the myriad fast combo decks that exist in Modern right now.
The creature-heavy aspect of this shell also lets you take advantage of each combo piece as a value card. Either half lets you reuse Blade Splicer’s trigger for an extra Golem token, as well as cards like Eternal Witness and Reflector Mage. It also lets you include a singleton Sun Titan, which now not only has a number of good targets by itself but also lets you go arbitrarily large if you have two copies of Saheeli Rai between the battlefield and your graveyard.
The end result is a deck that looks very similar to Abzan Company, but with pieces that are more powerful individual cards and a combo that isn’t vulnerable to the graveyard hate that is becoming more and more common with the rise of Jund Death’s Shadow. Deriving its power from the same place Abzan Company and Splinter Twin do means this deck is off to a good start, and the combination of sticky creatures and good removal is good against most fair decks, which is the way Modern is moving right now.
Everyone is focused on Standard right now with the impending release of Amonkhet, but don’t let this deck take you by surprise if you have a Modern tournament coming up.
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 1 Eternal Witness
- 1 Essence Warden
- 4 Tarmogoyf
- 2 Noble Hierarch
- 3 Lotus Cobra
- 1 Sun Titan
- 4 Blade Splicer
- 1 Restoration Angel
- 1 Reflector Mage
- 3 Felidar Guardian