Is There Any Reason To Not Be Cascading Into Valki, God Of Lies In Modern?

Has Modern truly polarized between “Cascade decks” and “mistake decks” with the printing of Valki, God of Lies? Five SCG creators weigh in.

Valki, God of Lies, illustrated by Yongjae Choi

Welcome to What We’d Play! With the arrival of Kaldheim, many are unsure what they’d play in Modern. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this advice aids in your decision making for your next Modern event!

Ari Lax — Five-Color Cascade

If you aren’t playing Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor, you aren’t trying. Here are my exact words on Four-Color Cascade from Monday:

I think if this deck is going to succeed, it needs to be rebuilt to not be the same kind of blue deck as the other Uro-Omnath decks. Force of Negation might still be necessary for opposing nonsense, but Cryptic Command sure isn’t.

I thought the answer might be Supreme Verdict or high-impact spells, but the answer was actually just to get leaner. Petty Theft is a super-effective answer to opposing Tibalts, bouncing it with the original cascade spell on the stack or just pressuring it with Brazen Borrower damage. Same with Far. And same with Commandeer as a massive mirror breaker. Far and Petty Theft also cover Blood Moon out of the Jund Cascade decks and the cheaper interaction drastically improves Teferi, Time Raveler by letting it cleanly stick more often.

As crazy as it is to say, Omnath and Uro just aren’t fighting on the same level as the rest of the format anymore. Get your wins in while you still can with better versions of the same deck.

Shaheen Soorani — Four-Color Control

In the world of Modern, one pair dominates. Omnath and Uro have made all other similar decks look silly by comparison.  The lifegain, card advantage, and sheer power of these two creatures revived control upon their entrance and are not slowing down one bit.

Even though there are some flashy, near-broken combo decks floating around now, nothing is as consistent as Four-Color Control.  When the format gets more combo-centered, this list adds more blue disruption to swing the matchup in its favor.  No matter what direction the metagame shifts, Four-Color Control has the tools to cleanly answer it.  Force of Negation is continuing to prove its power in Modern, keeping control competitive even through the tough times.  When it is paired with powerful tap-out planeswalkers and the two best creatures out there, it can be too tough to contend with.

Corey Baumeister — Five-Color Cascade

This Modern format is giving me some serious Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis vibes. At Mythic Championship IV in Barcelona, there was only one deck that was competitive; you were either playing Hogaak or you were wrong. The way competitors were gaining an edge at that tournament was to put hate cards like Leyline of the Void into the maindeck — not exactly what I would call a healthy format!

That’s precisely what we are starting to see in Modern with the sheer power level of cascading into Valki. Every successful deck is either playing this powerful interaction or they’re wrong. So, just like with Hogaak, the natural thing to do is to start adding hate cards into the maindeck. That’s why I recommend this list that’s playing Brazen Borrower; Teferi, Time Raveler; and Force of Negation maindeck, as all of these cards stop your opponent from having fun with Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor.

Even with Uro about to get banned, this deck will remain the best deck in the format until they do something about the cascade interaction with Valki. Enjoy it while you can because I don’t expect it to be around for too much longer.

Ross Merriam — Five-Color Cascade

Remember my rule from yesterday? If not, here’s a reminder:

In non-Standard formats, do the broken thing.

Secondary reminder: Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter is the broken thing. In Modern, you have the ability to turbo it out as early as Turn 1, so your decklist should be build to do three things:

  1. Turbo out Tibalt.
  2. Stop your opponent from turboing out Tibalt.
  3. Win games when your opponent stops you from turboing out Tibalt.

The first item is accomplished by the cheap cascade spells and Simian Spirit Guide. Check.

Item 2, well, you’re going to want a free counterspell and some sort of asymmetric permanent-based hate card. Force of Negation and Teferi, Time Raveler. Discount double check.

And third, you have the same Uro-Cryptic Command-Mystic Sanctuary engine that fair blue decks have been using to great success for the last year. I’m still not sure how it all fits but it does. Triple check.

The rest of the deck is filled with specific tools for the most common corner-case scenarios. Brazen Borrower is the best answer to a resolved Tibalt that doesn’t interfere with your cascades. Similarly, Dismember is the best answer to the various creature combo decks that can race you.

I love combo and I find this deck revolting. It’s an affront to the game of Magic. But I can’t imagine registering anything else.

Cedric Phillips — Five-Color Cascade

I mean…

If you’re not trying to cheat Tibalt onto the battlefield as quickly as possible while also having ways to interact with your opponent that’s (obviously) trying to do the exact same thing, you’re not trying. This isn’t Hogaak all over again because these cascade decks operate differently, but it’s in the spirit of Hogaak insofar as this is utter nonsense that you won’t be allowed to do for very long, so don’t miss your opportunity to do so.

While Wizards of the Coast (WotC) announced earlier this week that Uro is headed to exile permanently rather soon, don’t be surprised if they errata how cascade works with DFCs so we can no longer cheat Tibalt onto the battlefield as soon as the first turn of the game. And with that in mind, I will remind you of the following, as I always do in spots like this:

Do you want to be the person who was trying to (unsuccessfully) beat Five-Color Cascade, or do you want to be the person winning with the cards/deck/interaction that was banned/given errata for being too good? Do yourself a favor and be on the right side of history.