Let’s Build The Best Blue-Based Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar Deck In Modern

GerryT is cooking up the next great Asmor deck. What is the secret sauce behind his Izzet Food build?

Steam Vents, illustrated by Jonas De Ro

We’ve seen all this before. There’s a potential for a new best deck, yet to get to that place, we must explore all the options first. Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar started as a Golgari deck, but the people weren’t satisfied and started working on other ideas.

Blue has a history of working well with artifacts in Modern. Cards like Emry, Lurker of the Loch have the potential to work well alongside Asmor and The Underworld Cookbook. Emry can also dig for Ovalchase Daredevil, which means you can probably trim a copy. Adding cards like Emry opens you up even more to graveyard hate, which players occasionally bring in to fight the Daredevil synergies. Hopefully you can sideboard in such a way that cards like Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void aren’t completely devastating.

Aether Spellbomb is another excellent addition, mostly as an Urza’s Saga target. Combining it with Emry can lock down a single large threat like Death’s Shadow or the germ from Kaldra Compleat. It’s not the worst card to naturally draw either.

The potential blue cards don’t end there, but we’ll get to that.

Even with the hype riding high on Grixis Food, it still managed to win the first Modern Challenge of last Saturday. Another player made Top 8 on Sunday’s Challenge playing the same deck. 

This particular build of Grixis Food is interesting because it’s mostly a pile of rares. There’s some cohesion between the blue artifact cards alongside Asmor and The Underworld Cookbook but it’s a mixed bag. Games tend to go long, yet there are also some Ragavan, Nimble Pilferers that rarely matter in the later stages of the game. Granted, they can steal wins early, enable Mox Amber, and make artifacts, but it’s usually a heinous topdeck. 

Urza, Lord High Artificer is a clunker. He’s powerful, but any four-mana card should be in Modern. Obviously there’s synergy with the rest of the deck, although there aren’t any infinite combos to build toward, nor any mana sinks outside of Urza himself. 

Urza, Lord High Artificer Thought Monitor

Here’s the thing about the blue-based Asmor decks. When things come together, they look great. However, there are certainly games where your opponent is interacting with you and you have three lands, no permanents, and some Thought Monitors in hand. It can be awkward and the deck could use a card to bridge those gaps. Urza certainly helps potentially expensive cards like Thought Monitor be more palatable, although I’m not sure it’s the answer. 

Mmuck deserves some credit for experimenting with the Asmor core. Instead of maxing on Street Wraith, they shaved a couple and opted to get their discard clause met with Lightning Axe instead. That takes away some of the potential to cast Asmor on Turn 1, plus getting double red for Axe and Asmor in the same turn isn’t trivial. 

Lightning Axe Metallic Rebuke

There are more Metallic Rebukes maindeck than I’m used to seeing and it’s a card I typically love. Sadly, it’s another card that doesn’t contribute to casting Thought Monitor and will typically make that problem worse. Despite that, it could be the best card in your maindeck depending on the metagame. I’m firmly in the “maybe” category. 

Both Urza and Ragavan strike me as cards that wouldn’t necessarily be there if there were better options. All that considered, I think we can do better.

Cain Rianhard also made Top 8 of that Modern Challenge, although he was playing Dimir Food. Their setups are mostly the same, except the support cards are slightly different and it’s easier to cast Ovalchase Daredevil if the game comes down to it. It comes up more often than you’d think, especially if you start shaving win conditions. There’s only a singleton Mox Amber, which is a conservative choice considering how powerful it can be. Multiples aren’t great but it’s strong enough that I’d prefer two copies. 

What about black VS red as splash color? Bone Shards, Fatal Push, Thoughtseize, and Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas are Cain’s black cards. Nihil Spellbomb can easily be replaced by Soul-Guide Lantern and Ashiok, Dream Render is slightly easier to cast. When compared to Ragavan, Galvanic Blast, Abrade, Lightning Axe, and Ghirapur Aether Grid, it’s very close, especially if you want to cut Ragavan.

The interaction is similar, though the nod goes to black because of how easily Thoughtseize and Bone Shards deal with your problems. Ghirapur Aether Grid is the wild card. It’s irreplaceable if you decide it’s necessary, but it’s not a card I think is necessary or even all that impactful.

Izzet is what I’ve been playing and the primary reason is for a card nobody else is playing.

This is my personal spin on Izzet Food and one I like quite a bit. 

If you take anything away from this article, let it be that Expressive Iteration is wildly underplayed in Izzet-based Food decks. Despite it showing up in nearly every Izzet deck in Modern, I haven’t seen it in a Food deck. It’s the sole reason I prefer Izzet to Dimir. 

Expressive Iteration

Thought Monitor is one of your best cards and is worth building to, yet doesn’t seem possible in some games without a source of card advantage. Aside from Engineered Explosives and Expressive Iteration, each card in this deck costs one mana when operating at its best. All you need to do to achieve that state is acquire enough resources. The clean draw-two is incredible for setting that up.

Some folks run some artifact lands to enable Thought Monitor and I could see that being a necessity. Most of the time, Thought Monitor is only really castable on the cheap when you have The Underworld Cookbook going. There are some games where you have a few artifacts, usually from Urza’s Saga, where Thought Monitor could be cast for three mana. In those games, maybe the artifact land could help. Adding to affinity comes at a cost, either with the colorless mana from Darksteel Citadel or the slow nature of Spirebluff Bridge, so I’m going to leave them on the bench.

I should note that in my goal to streamline the deck, I’ve removed some of the raw power, which also tends to translate to closing speed. That’s a trend throughout the entirety of my deckbuilding, especially in older formats. Usually it’s technically correct, but especially in these instances, actually winning the game can be a chore. I’ve had to watch my Magic Online timer with Golgari Food and the same is true here. 

This version of the deck combines the Asmor and Emry synergies with an Underworld Breach combo. If you have Emry, Grinding Station, and Underworld Breach on the battlefield with a zero-mana artifact somewhere, you can mill your entire deck, Breach back some Mox Ambers, and cast Thassa’s Oracle. In terms of the Magic Online timer, this version is potentially more difficult to play but it solves the timer issue in real life.

The original Grinding Breach was a clear work of love from Marc Tobiasch. It had a powerful draw engine and combo kill but didn’t have much in the way of a backup plan. Merging the Asmor shells makes a ton of sense and has the potential to be the best deck in the format. Maybe adding the combo kill is the closing power and new angle that puts this deck over the top.

I’m skeptical of the lack of Street Wraiths. Fitting everything into the deck is tight but I don’t believe the Asmor package is a strong enough addition when you only have The Underworld Cookbook (and the Urza’s Saga backdoor) to enable her. Playing Asmor is worth it, so I’d do whatever I could to make it possible.

A white splash for Teferi, Time Raveler is mostly a holdover from before the deck had enough playables. Prismatic Ending and Wear // Tear are incredible cards but maybe not worth the splash. You could cut the white cards, add Expressive Iteration, and have something potentially great. 

I haven’t gotten a chance to try this yet, but it’s next on the list.

Now we’re talking. 

We have a proactive gameplan, some of the strongest cards in the format, and a powerful combo kill. Ideally, there would be something in the sideboard to dodge their graveyard hate, but I haven’t found a great answer to that quite yet. Urza has potential, but it doesn’t seem better than trying to win with Asmor and Urza’s Saga Constructs. I also wouldn’t mind having an additional Street Wraith in the maindeck or some spot removal spells. 

Maybe the deck could use some fine-tuning, although that will take time. If it all plays out well, we could have a new best deck on our hands. With cheap card advantage, a low mana curve overall, and some of the strongest cards in Modern, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the next Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar deck to break out.