Can Resurgent Belief Seize The Modern Magic Spotlight?

Living End and Crashing Footfalls aren’t the only options for Cascade decks in Modern. Dom Harvey dives into the puzzle of building around Resurgent Belief.

Resurgent Belief
Resurgent Belief, illustrated by Cliff Childs

Living End Crashing Footfalls

If you dipped your toe in Modern in the past year, you’ve played with or against the Cascade decks featuring the costless suspend cards. Living End has been a fixture of Modern from the beginning, and its current incarnation is one of the best decks in the format. Crashing Footfalls arrived in the first Modern Horizons to give Modern a full cycle, as Hypergenesis was (rightly!) banned from the outset, but it took Shardless Agent and another round of free spells in Modern Horizons 2 to put Temur Crashcade on the map. 

Glimpse of Tomorrow

That set also gave us Glimpse of Tomorrow, a card more charming than dangerous – for now – that is starting to break through, but the rest of this Modern Horizons 2 cycle has barely made a mark. There’s one other card from this cycle that might break through:

Resurgent Belief Replenish

Resurgent Belief is a throwback to an iconic card that defined various Constructed formats more than twenty years ago. As a four-mana sorcery that relies on the graveyard, Replenish itself would be a healthy addition to Modern if that were allowed, but this new take asks more of us. 

Cast Out Lay Claim

Shark Typhoon Colossal Skyturtle

Living End is the most natural comparison, and it doesn’t bode well; it’s much easier to find creatures that can deposit themselves directly into your graveyard than enchantments that do the same, and Living End comes with an in-built sweeper. Still, we can use this template for a Cascade deck built around Resurgent Belief. 

Bant Resurgent Belief

Our big finish here is harder to set up and has a less impressive impact on the battlefield, so we have to look for other strengths.

Teferi, Time Raveler

Teferi, Time Raveler is the nemesis of any Cascade deck in Modern, but also an irreplaceable tool for them if you can make the mana work. The Time Raveler can give you a turn of reprieve from a hate card like Chalice of the Void or Meddling Mage, is the ideal trump against another Cascade deck, and is the best proactive tool against the ever-popular Counterspell and friends. You want to be anchored in white anyway, and Teferi is an easy pickup from there.

Resurgent Belief

The main appeal to Resurgent Belief is that it isn’t completely reliant on your Cascade cards. A Crashing Footfalls in your opening hand might have an impact in the distant future, yet is dead if drawn later; a Living End drawn at any point can only hope to be pitched to Grief

By contrast, a Resurgent Belief suspended on Turn 2 arrives on Turn 4, giving you the turn in between to fill your graveyard or interact with the opponent. Without branching into another colour for Violent Outburst, you have another four ways to work towards resolving your namesake card (though Outburst being an instant is valuable enough, especially with effects like Lay Claim or Cast Out, that it may be worth starting in the full four colours anyway).

As Foretold Electrodominance

A few years ago, you were more likely to see Living End or Restore Balance via As Foretold or Electrodominance than Violent Outburst. The printing of Shardless Agent allowed the Cascade decks to consolidate into the Temur colours, and successive cycles of pitch spells like Force of Negation and Subtlety, as well as other ways of cheating the Cascade mana value restriction like Adventures or split cards, made that restriction easier to embrace. At that point, you’d rather have your access to your signature spell guaranteed by a single Cascade card instead of needing to assemble both pieces of a combo. 

However, Resurgent Belief in particular has a strong interest in one- and two-drops – both enchantments to return with it and interactive spells that buy time for it – and these alternatives let you look at these when trying other builds. 

Faithful Mending Thirst for Meaning

The standout here is Faithful Mending, which, alongside other cheap discard outlets, lets you use Resurgent Belief as an unconventional reanimation effect to cheat out expensive enchantments. Mending is an ideal card to fill that window in between suspending and resolving Resurgent Belief, and a Turn 2 Faithful Mending is the perfect way to set up Turn 3 As Foretold + Resurgent Belief. 

Omniscience Overwhelming Splendor Kiora Bests the Sea God

What are you meant to bring back, though? Omniscience is a go-to ‘target’ for cards like Show and Tell in other formats, but it requires further specific payoffs to accomplish anything. Overwhelming Splendor will end the game against many decks with a little support; Kiora Bests the Sea God wins any fair fight with enough time.

Azorius Resurgent Belief (Kaheera)

The Modern Age Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

The Sagas from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty have impressed across formats and widen the range of good enchantments to enable Resurgent Belief on both ends. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is a proven card but occupies an awkward spot on the curve – if you suspend Belief on Turn 2, it will resolve before the second chapter of Fable lets you fill your graveyard. The Modern Age is a much less playable card in the abstract, yet fits this sequence better when time is important. Then again, the red splash is relatively easy, and if you don’t need to be as fast as possible (an assumption you make when choosing this strategy in the first place), just playing the better card may be the move.

Spreading Seas Dress Down

Another approach is to focus on a fair game that uses cheap enchantments as support, allowing Resurgent Belief to function as the finisher for your combo-control deck that can break open close games. Cards like Spreading Seas and Dress Down have earned their stripes in Four-Color Control (Yorion) or Azorius Control, but the cheapest enchantment of all is a contender for best card in Modern:

Urza's Saga

Archetypes ranging from combo to ramp to midrange have demonstrated that you can easily take over a game with an uncontested Urza’s Saga without even needing to show off your deck’s intended gameplan. The curious exception there is control; even though Saga seems like the ideal control finisher, the steep mana requirements of cards like Archmage’s Charm and high mana value of the usual finishers make it hard to find room in your manabase.

Additionally, relying on Saga as your main finisher allows the opponent to tease out your reactive cards on turns where you plan to spend that mana on Saga instead, forcing you to choose between interaction and Construct creation. A control deck hoping to use Saga has to lean harder on free interaction like Force of Negation; these trade down on card quantity, but Saga offering two threats and something else on the way out more than makes up for this. 

It’s a neater fit in a combo-control deck that is more proactive and can make use of its unique combination of card types.

Azorius Resurgent Belief (Yorion)

Take a look at this hot mess:

This deck keeps the same basic structure as the list above but adds Yorion as another strong end-game and uses these extra slots to fit a Saga package as well as more cheap enchantments that replace themselves and enable small Resurgent Beliefs for value to assist the fair plan. This padding makes it harder to find Belief or the As Foretold to pair with it, so this control element is both necessary and welcome. 

There’s even more going on in this manabase than appears at first glance:

Tolaria West Hall of Heliod's Generosity

Tolaria West can find Resurgent Belief to pair with As Foretold as well as Engineered Explosives, additional Urza’s Sagas, the Neon Dynasty legendary lands, or Hall of Heliod’s Generosity. Hall can endlessly recur Shark Typhoon and Dress Down or even Urza’s Saga, as well as buying back a disrupted As Foretold for the combo. Expedition Map can find these lands; it also allows Saga to eventually find Tolaria West and thus Resurgent Belief with enough time. 

Resurgent Belief lacks the raw power of Living End and is vulnerable to the same graveyard hate or dedicated anti-Cascade tools like Chalice of the Void and Teferi, Time Raveler, but offers an intriguing second-tier alternative with lots of room for optimization.