Let’s Build The Best Asmoranom(Urza’s Saga)ardicadaistinaculdacar Deck In Modern

Between Asmor and Urza’s Saga, GerryT is reveling in a Modern full of broken possibilities. He offers a feast of Food decklists… and a surprise at the end.

Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, illustrated by Ryan Pancoast

It’s funny how one card can change everything.

Ovalchase Daredevil

Before Bryan Gottlieb so rudely sniped my article topic on Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, I was doing my usual pre-game research, trying to see what would go well with Asmor in Modern. I know for a fact I came across Ovalchase Daredevil and didn’t even consider it, despite testing decks abusing it for a Pro Tour at one point. Once you realize a single Daredevil removes the activation cost on each copy of The Underworld Cookbook, you start to wonder what’s possible.

Feasting Troll King

Initially, folks were enamored with the idea of recapturing the glory of Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis using Feasting Troll King. When your Cookbooks can create a steady stream of Food for Feasting Troll King, returning it becomes almost trivial. 

Still, there are many flavors of Asmor decks, each looking to take advantage of different engines. Splashing green enables Trail of Crumbs and Gilded Goose, plus Life from the Loam if that interests you. Blue provides Emry, Lurker of the Loch and Metallic Rebuke for the lean versions and Urza, Lord High Artificer combined with Academy Manufactor if you want to get bigger. Red typically leaves you with an aggressive stance thanks to Lightning Bolt, Seasoned Pyromancer, and maybe Hollow One. White, as always, provides little.

The whole concept of this archetype is bizarre because you operate on a spectrum. Go too slow and you risk losing to things like Primeval Titan and Hedron Crab and if you go too fast, trying to maximize your Turn 2 Feasting Troll Kings, you get weaker to graveyard hate. Most of these decks shrug off one-shot graveyard hate like Nihil Spellbomb and Tormod’s Crypt, although they’ll usually struggle against Rest in Peace, Leyline of the Void, or Dauthi Voidwalker to some degree.


These decks all have the same game plan: generate artifacts, make two Constructs with Urza’s Saga, and control the battlefield with Asmor. Does that plan seem too slow for Modern? In some matchups, it can be. Decks with Primeval Titan or Archive Trap can easily go over the top of you. Dredge can be faster. That’s what the rest of your deck is supposed to address.

Gaining Asmor would have been enough to make Food a viable option but we also happen to have Urza’s Saga as a backup engine.

The Elephant in the Room

Let’s talk about Urza’s Saga for a moment. 

Urza’s Saga

Bryan Gottlieb and I were quickly able to identify the potential of this card. The Constructs can be huge in the right archetype and being able to tutor up a key piece to an engine is exactly what some decks in the format needed. It seemed powerful and I didn’t even realize you could make a second Construct on its way out. The first time I saw that happen might have been the biggest “uh-oh” moment of my life. 

Even if your opponent is doing a good job of keeping your synergy under control, a single Urza’s Saga later and they might be dead. If you have a second copy, chances are they can’t beat it without something extreme like Creeping Corrosion. 

It’s still too early to definitely talk about bans but the Food decks will still exist even if Urza’s Saga goes the way of Hogaak. In the meantime, we should focus on how to build the best version of the deck and how to attack the metagame in general.

For starters, how many discard outlets do we need? Obviously we’re starting with four copies of The Underworld Cookbook. Depending on where you’re going from there, you’ll typically have enough reasonable discard enablers, especially if you’re willing to play Street Wraith.

Lotleth Troll Street Wraith Bone Shards Lightning Axe Smuggler's Copter Seasoned Pyromancer Barren Moor

So far, I’ve enjoyed having the cheap enablers. I can’t imagine playing without four copies of Street Wraith and The Underworld Cookbook. There are Rakdos versions with Seasoned Pyromancer, which means you have enough creatures to crew Smuggler’s Copter. That version tends to be on the slower side of things, which isn’t the strongest plan with Urza’s Saga. I tend to favor versions with mostly cheap spells, which gives you time to activate Chapter II of the Saga while still doing your thing.

Should we have additional ways to cheat Asmor onto the battlefield, such as Aether Vial or Finale of Devastation? D00mwake has been playing Finale of Devastation to solid results, but I’ve yet to find a configuration with Aether Vial that I like. Admittedly, I haven’t tried very hard though.

What’s The Right Build?

As you can see, the options are seemingly endless.

You’ll notice Kanister’s name shows up a couple of times as he’s been doing a ton of work with Urza’s Saga on his stream. Getting to watch him explore the various synergies definitely improved my understanding of the archetype. Being able to gain that understanding while frantically trying to open Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer in Modern Horizons 2 drafts (and failing!) was nice. Shoutouts to both his and D00mwake’s stream for the content.

Here is my proposed decklist. 

I was able to 5-0 a Modern League on my first attempt with this archetype very easily. My confidence level is high that this is the best core strategy for Asmor and Urza’s Saga. Trail of Crumbs dodges hate, fights interaction, allows you to mulligan aggressively, and ensures your engine pieces come together, even through interaction. Maybe the details need some ironing out, but Trail of Crumbs is the way to do it at the moment. 

Decks that should be good against you in theory, such as black-based aggro-control decks with Dauthi Voidwalker, aren’t even that difficult. Asmor tends to stymie their aggression and Trail of Crumbs allows you to fight through their disruption. It’s unfortunate that the best answers to things like Dauthi Voidwalker and opposing Asmors or Cookbooks are all spells, which means you can’t find them off Trail of Crumbs.

Trail of Crumbs Smuggler's Copter

Smuggler’s Copter would be a fine, albeit slow, way to enable Asmor but we’re very light on ways to crew it. Other decks get around that by playing Lotleth Troll and Stitcher’s Supplier, but I’m not that desperate. Lotleth Troll is a medium enabler, even if it can get out of control in the late-game. I’ve enjoyed not being hyper-reliant on my graveyard, so Stitcher’s Supplier isn’t a consideration. That said, drew3141’s list might be great and I’ll get around to trying Emry, Lurker of the Loch at some point. Emry and Supplier have some similarities, except Emry helps your engine come together.

Feasting Troll King isn’t necessary, but you do want a way to close games faster. Plus, some decks can’t beat it. It also tricks your opponent into thinking you’re more reliant on your graveyard and you can easily sideboard around it. 

Getting the correct configuration will involve figuring out the best sideboard plans. Nature’s Claim is a solid answer to Urza’s Saga and The Underworld Cookbook. Graveyard hate is largely ineffective unless it’s something very impactful like Leyline of the Void or Dauthi Voidwalker, although both are easily answered.

Nature's Claim Veil of Summer

Veil of Summer is too small-ball for the Golgari matchups. Those games tend to hinge on whether or not you can keep an engine on the battlefield rather than making small beneficial exchanges. However, if you’re using Veil to force a Trail of Crumbs through a counterspell, I could see an argument for it, but maybe Thoughtseize is better. 

My sideboard strategy typically involves shaving on non-essential engine pieces to bring in a small amount of relevant interaction. That usually means shaving a Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven alongside a small number of Feasting Troll King, Bloodghast, or Trail of Crumbs depending on the matchup. If my opponent doesn’t have relevant creatures, cutting the Bone Shards makes things easy.

Is Modern messed up right now? With a new set full of bangers, it can seem that way. Eventually things will settle down and we’ll see if Urza’s Saga can be stopped. Until then, pick your favorite powerful thing to play and enjoy the chaos.

Is Humans Still Good?

It wouldn’t really be my brand if I didn’t write about the best version of the most powerful thing, but I didn’t start exploring Modern Horizons 2 by playing Urza’s Saga. My first 5-0 in a daily event was with Humans, which is also a very powerful deck right now.

Here’s my updated decklist. Enjoy!