Modern’s New Combo Deck Is The Ultimate Crossover Episode

How would it feel to play every Modern combo deck at once? Dom Harvey breaks down the next-best thing: the multi-combo Twiddle Storm deck by Matt Nass.

Lotus Field
Lotus Field, illustrated by John Avon

Modern is reasonably diverse right now – and I’m excited to see if any new decks burst onto the scene at the Pro Tour – but the most glaring omission is the lack of pure combo. Modern Horizons 2 introduced so many strong interactive cards that it’s hard to stomach placing all your hopes on one tactic that’s easily foiled, and you want to play that interaction yourself if possible. My beloved Amulet Titan is the closest thing to classic combo in mainstream Modern, but that has sadly fallen on hard times recently. 

That void may have just been filled – and my Amulets won’t be forced into retirement just yet. Matt Nass has done it again! 

Amulet of Vigor Lotus Field Goblin Charbelcher

This deck is catnip for any combo enthusiasts, featuring an Endgame-esque crossover of Modern’s all-time great combo cards. It’s easy to sell me on using Amulet of Vigor to untap Lotus Field to cast Goblin Charbelcher – the hard part is figuring out the details. 

Lotus Field Twiddle Dream's Grip

If you have played Lotus Field Combo in Pioneer – or twiddled your thumbs from the other side of the table while it goes off – this concept will look familiar. The decade of sets legal in Modern but not Pioneer contains the most efficient ways to untap a Lotus Field you could ask for, with all-time Alpha classic Twiddle and Dream’s Grip both just sneaking in under Modern’s 8th Edition/Mirrodin cutoff.

Seeking Lotus Field

If your entire mana engine revolves around a single card, you want to maximize your access to it. Some conventional Twiddle Storm lists touch green just for Ancient Stirrings or Sylvan Scrying, while others lean on Tolaria West or Wishclaw Talisman (which also lets you turn your instant-speed untappers into additional Demonic Tutors), but all have the best cheap card filtering that blue has to offer in Modern.

Abundant Harvest

If you can guarantee that the only lands in your deck are Lotus Fields, Abundant Harvest becomes a one-mana tutor for Lotus Field or can turn itself into another spell once that job is done. This pushes you towards the all modal double-faced card (DFC) manabase which acts as the foundation for Gruul Charbelcher and the Balustrade Spy / Undercity Informer combo decks across various formats. 

Bala Ged Recovery Silundi Vision

Tangled Florahedron Jwari Disruption

You know you want the blue and green mythic DFCs that enter untapped but after that you have to make up the numbers with the common and uncommon options. Silundi Vision can find a crucial Recross the Paths or untap effect; Bala Ged Recovery can buy them back. 

With this setup, you could play up to four copies of Lotus Field and get close to the required redundancy that way. The Matt Nass list has… exactly one copy of Lotus Field?!

Recross Rebus

Recross the Paths

Recross the Paths opens up a larger decision tree than any other card in Modern in these landless combo decks, but there’s yet another angle in this list. By definition, the decks that play it because they have zero lands to unlock the deck stacking ability ignore the land clause, but having exactly one land makes Recross a direct tutor for that too. By just playing a single Lotus Field, you get to count Recross as a tutor, restoring your effective total number of Fields, and can then use that same Recross to build a deterministic combo pile (assuming you win the clash, which is likely given the low curves of most Modern decks and your replacement of lands with expensive MDFCs). If you found the Lotus Field already with Abundant Harvest, you can stack your deck and start the fireworks.

A sample stack might look like this:

  • Sea Gate Restoration (will be clashed to the bottom of your library but is likely to win that clash, returning Recross to your hand in case this stack fails and you need it again)
  • 4x Vizier of Tumbling Sands (the top Vizier is the first card drawn; each copy cycles into the next one netting one mana, yielding seven total mana)
  • Manamorphose (if you need to convert colours of mana again)
  • Goblin Charbelcher (an immediate win condition; can replace with Wish to unlock other kills)

If you have an additional draw effect like Abundant Harvest or Manamorphose, Pact of Negation can join the stack as an additional layer of protection. You can also put more copies of Goblin Charbelcher beneath the first and present a lethal threat turn after turn until one sticks. 

Amulet of Vigor, Role-Player

Amulet of Vigor

If you’re used to Amulet of Vigor powering out fast Primeval Titans, it takes a while to adjust to its role here as just one more enabler. It’s another Twiddle of sorts that you can pay for in advance (at the cost of not working if drawn after Lotus Field is on the battlefield) and lets your tapped MDFCs like Bala Ged Recovery or Tangled Florahedron function as normal lands.

The main appeal of Amulet is as a setup card for Recross the Paths – with an early Amulet, it’s easier to cast Recross on Turn 3, and you then immediately untap the Lotus Field it finds, giving you the initial burst of mana to cast other untap effects and recast Recross the Paths to start your combo chain. Amulet helps the deck win on Turn 3 reasonably often, but is expendable and can be sideboarded out if you need room for answers to hate or don’t want/need to prioritize speed in the matchup. 

Goblin Charbelcher

Goblin Charbelcher

In a one-land deck that aims to become a no-land deck as soon as possible, Goblin Charbelcher is a scarily efficient and self-contained win condition. In the Gruul Charbelcher deck that has this card as a namesake, you use the red Rituals and Irencrag Feat to race towards casting and activating Charbelcher as quickly as possible, and those cards are included in service of that goal. The deck is designed from the ground up around Charbelcher, and the MDFC manabase is the cost of enabling that. 

Here, Goblin Charbelcher is more of a means to an end – the conditions you have to meet for the Abundant Harvest / Lotus Field setup align with Charbelcher’s, and it is the simplest way to convert your Lotus Field mana into a kill. You can manually cast Charbelcher using your MDFCs, but this is a slow backup plan rather than your main route to victory. You usually have to walk through the Lotus Field first. 

If you don’t have Lotus Field yet, Goblin Charbelcher isn’t an automatic one-hit knockout! You have to gamble that Lotus Field isn’t in the top third or so of your deck, which in a paper tournament results in the thrill of flipping cards like you’re chasing that high in a casino. 


Wish Underworld Breach Tome Scour

Wish is another way to access Lotus Field without having to play more copies, as well as the Underworld Breach + Tome Scour + Thassa’s Oracle package that powered the Lotus Breach decks in the early days of Pioneer as an alternate win condition. It lets a mostly non-interactive combo deck find answers to various forms of disruption without having to sideboard them in and can even represent proactive disruption such as Tormod’s Crypt against Living End.

Facing the Hate 

Unholy Heat Leyline Binding Solitude

The joy of playing a combo deck that operates entirely on the stack is that you dodge most of the common interaction in the format. Any opponent who isn’t solely focused on executing their own plan will be saddled with dead removal.

Spell Pierce Counterspell Force of Negation

That leaves counterspells as the only reactive disruption. The good news here is that you rarely face a lot of counters at any one time. The average Izzet Murktide deck threatens Counterspell and a few copies of Spell Pierce, while Izzet Breach and Five-Color Creativity mostly just have their own Pierces.

Pierce is effective against a Recross the Paths that would find Lotus Field, but if your enabler is Abundant Harvest, it’s easy enough to wait until you can pay for Pierce – and, once you have Field, your cheap untappers can easily generate enough mana to ignore Pierce. Even the dedicated control decks tend to have Counterspell and Archmage’s Charm, but they can’t easily cast several of these in the same turn, so you can overwhelm a single copy.

Discard and Pact

Thoughtseize Grief

Discard effects are as potent as ever against a deck that needs to stitch together specific cards, but your ‘lands’ all being spells adds another vulnerability. Don’t lose the game on Turn 1 because your one mana source was snatched away by Thoughtseize!

Pact of Negation Veil of Summer Swan Song

As a combo deck that can cast all its relevant cards in the same turn, Twiddle Storm can use Pact of Negation to force through its spells for free. Veil of Summer is an incredible answer to both counters and discard as well as other threats like Necromentia. Swan Song is a promising option against Izzet as a cheap way to fight on the stack that also hits a big problem card for the deck:

Blood Moon and Boseiju

Blood Moon

Blood Moon continues to be the nemesis of any deck trying to do cool things with lands. The more normal Lotus Field manabases or decks like Amulet Titan and Mono-Green Tron can at least hope to search up Boseiju, Who Endures as an answer, but the MDFC setup shuts that down. 

Goblin Charbelcher can be your saviour here. Gruul Charbelcher was one of the best decks to cast Blood Moon in; here, Charbelcher fights its old comrade as a colourless win condition that’s easily castable under Moon (or sometimes because of Moon, which makes MDFCs like Bala Ged Sanctuary enter untapped).

Boseiju, Who Endures

Boseiju is a straight-up Sinkhole against these MDFC manabases and puts you farther from controlling two lands to sacrifice to Lotus Field (though you can get around this sometimes with a flurry of Twiddles in response to Lotus Field’s sacrifice trigger to let it generate mana on its way out). If you have to play Charbelcher with the intent of activating next turn, Boseiju will end those dreams even through Pact of Negation. 

Tempted by the Ring?!

The One Ring

Hype for The One Ring is out of control and people are currently putting it in every eligible deck – assuming they can even find copies to play. This build isn’t equipped to support it right now, but the idea of using Twiddle and Dream’s Grip as better Ancestral Recalls is so appealing that it’s worth trying regardless. I hope someone out there cracks the code!