Pyromancer Ascension used to be a staple of the Modern Storm deck. With Baral, Chief of Compliance pushing that deck in a new direction, we don’t see much of the convoluted enchantment these days, but the card is still quite powerful when paired with cheap cantrips, burn spells, and Manamorphose. If you untap with an active Ascension you start drawing cards at such a high rate, tearing through your deck, that the game often ends on the spot.
Manamorphose is the key there, as it’s the only card that nets both mana and cards with an active Ascension on the battlefield. It’s the card that allows you to keep chaining cantrips and set up a pile of burn at the end so be sure to dig hard to find them. It also lets you be more protective of your life total, fetching basics and filtering them into more blue or red mana, depending on what you need.
The problem, of course, is that going all-in on that plan forces you to utilize your graveyard, which makes you vulnerable to a lot of common sideboard hate. Thing in the Ice slots in nicely as a secondary win condition that doesn’t use the graveyard, plays well with the same cheap spells as Pyromancer Ascension, and buys you lots of time against aggressive creature decks. This deck easily flips Thing in the Ice in one or two turns, making it a must-answer threat that threatens to end the game very quickly when combined with a couple burn spells.
The last innovation here is the addition of Bedlam Reveler, which is particularly helpful in disruption-heavy matchups where they can run you out of threats with removal and discard spells. Not only does Reveler refill your hand, it represents another hard to answer threat in a deck that doesn’t have many and risks chaining cantrips into air if too many of them are answered.
There are plenty of great sideboard options to become a little more interactive, since your threats can turn the corner on turn ten just as easily as they can steamroll an opponent on turn four. You can easily sit back on your cheap threat and play a control game with counterspells and removal, all the while setting up for a combo finish.
Relative to other Modern combo decks, this list is a touch slow, but the high velocity gives it built-in resilience and consistency while the maindeck removal and Thing in the Ice give it more interaction than the faster combo decks. With Jeskai Control and Humans at the top of the metagame, that’s is a good place to be.