Daily Digest: Eloquent Beats

If 8-Rack continues to become a growing part of Modern, what can we do about it that will also survive against the other big decks? Ross Merriam says not to overthink it! Just hit ’em in the mouth at #SCGINDY’s Modern Classic!

Does the rotation of Dromoka’s Command have you down in the dumps? Are you not sure how you’re ever going to mow people down with a pile of efficient green and white creatures backed by the best removal spell Selesnya has ever seen?

Well, fear not, good sir or madam, hope springs eternal. Or, in this case, hope springs (in) Modern!

Dromoka’s Command has popped up occasionally in the format, most notably in Naya Company decks, but this list seeks to abuse the card alongside Wilt-Leaf Liege, the latter being most well-known in the more aggressive flavor of Abzan. Like those Abzan decks, we have a healthy number of mana creatures and black remains in the deck as a small splash for Lingering Souls, but the rest of the list is decidedly more aggressive.

You have Dryad Militant and Fleecemane Lion, both of which get +2/+2 with a Wilt-Leaf Liege on the battlefield, and the former helps you against a lot of the minor graveyard interactions that pop up in Modern, from Snapcaster Mage and delve cards to the Flashback on Faithless Looting and Conflagrate. (You can’t see me, but I’m making an annoyed face at that last one.)

Dromoka’s Command supplements Path to Exile to give you eight great removal spells, and the deck is rounded out with powerful Auras Rancor and Gryff’s Boon. There’s no doubt about it; this deck is trying to beat down and beat down hard.

As a result, it eschews cards with more utility like Knight of the Reliquary and Kitchen Finks, although the latter is always a great sideboard option against Burn and Zoo. You could try to go bigger with more three-drops and maybe Voice of Resurgence, but with how fast Modern is these days, there’s a lot of merit to starting with the more aggressive approach.

The one clear area for improvement is the manabase, where Razorverge Thicket and Horizon Canopy are curious omissions, perhaps for budgetary reasons. I’d also consider replacing Ghost Quarter with a more suitable utility land like Gavony Township or Stirring Wildwood. There are plenty of options, which is great because the decreased power level that goes along with lowering the curve means you are more vulnerable to flooding, so I’d try to max out on the total number of utility lands without hurting the deck’s ability to curve out.

Much has been made about Modern’s current speed, with arguments on both sides. But ultimately it’s not the players’ responsibility to shape the format, but to adapt to it. Bigger aggressive decks like Abzan need to get faster in order to compete. Expect this adaptation to take hold across the Modern metagame and react to them sooner rather than later.